Harry wiped the sweat off his brow as he stacked the final box in his new apartment. Malfoy was laying face down on the couch. He hadn’t moved for the last twenty minutes or so, so Harry was very startled when he finally broke the silence. “Remind me again why wizards have the ability to heal broken bones with the simple wave of a wand, and yet we are reduced to manual labour when we want to move to a new house?”
Harry chuckled exhaustedly at his friend’s remark as he fell down into a chair of his own. “We’re complicated sadists that relish in the art of making each other miserable. Either that, or the fact that wizards tend to stay in the same place for generations. Besides, I haven’t seen you in weeks, so a little manual ‘muggle-labour’ was worth getting some time out my best friend’s busy schedule.”
They had been moving Harry’s stuff out of his trunk from his old flat to the new apartment he had purchased in whales the entire day. Using an undetectable extension spell on his old Hogwarts trunk and an array of shrinking spells on everything Harry owned, they managed to get the lot in one go via apparation.
His new living space was by far bigger than the little matchbox he used to have back in London. The location came highly recommended by the magical real-estate agency Harry had used, as it was the only “magic friendly” location that wasn’t infested with mice or flobberworms.
The pudgy old landlady had explained earlier that morning that he would have a neighbouring young woman, and that she expected him to not try any “funny business” as she quite liked the girl. She rather reminded Harry of his uncle Vernon, only with more neck and a slightly smaller moustache.
Uncle Vernon was married to Harry’s mother’s sister, Aunt Petunia. They had a son roughly Harry’s age named Dudley whom they always had to visit them over the Christmas Holidays. (Harry and his father, James, had always despised these visits, but Lily Potter insisted – and you did NOT want to get on the wrong side of Lily Potter!).
Malfoy heaved a deep sigh and gave Harry a very disgruntled look. “PLEASE tell me that’s all of it,” he pleaded, “I couldn’t get up off this couch even if I wanted to either way.”
Harry laughed at his friend’s remark and patted him on the shoulder, “That’s all of it, mate.” He took out his wand and conjured up two glasses, filling them up with pumpkin juice. “Thanks again for your help; I would’ve probably never gotten this far without it.”
Draco turned onto his back “Just you remember this the next time I ask you for a favour, Potter. Then I don’t want to hear a SINGLE word of complaint!” he said in a very serious tone. “So, I hear you have a lady-neighbour.” Malfoy smiled his most disturbing smile.
Harry snorted at this, “What do you look so excited about? I don’t even know what the girl looks like.” he took a sip of pumpkin juice. “You know old people! Think just because we’re boys, we’re drawn to do ‘funny business’ with any female no matter WHAT they look like. With my luck, she’ll be the club-footed troll offspring of some giant come out of the mountains to live a ‘normal life’ with us ‘little people’. Not even to mention the fact that she’ll probably have a boyfriend that’s sickeningly nice to you and makes you want to kill yourself right after your introduction. ”
Malfoy rolled his eyes at him, “You’re doing it again,” he said to Harry with an exasperated tone of voice.
“And what exactly would ‘that’ be?” Harry shot back at him.
“Oh please, you bumped into this ‘Gilly’ once in a supermarket, and you haven’t stopped grumbling about your rotten luck once this entire day!” Draco said as he sat up straight on the couch. “Mate, chances are you’re never going to see her again, and if I were you...”
“Ginny.” Harry corrected Malfoy very abruptly.
“...I’d just forget all about... Wait, what?” Malfoy looked very confused.
“Her name is Ginny.” Harry had a very stupid grin on his face.
Draco rolled his eyes at his friend, “Same thing, spelling just differs a little. Anyway, now you seem to think all girls are inferior to this amazing Ginny,” he said and promptly downed his glass of pumpkin juice. “I’ll be going then, mate?” Harry snapped back to reality at this remark, “What? Why?”
“I have to get back to work, Potter, no rest for us new Healer interns.” He laughed at his statement, even though the dark circles under his eyes suggested that he was being extremely honest. “Healer Johnson is a real slave driver!”
“Yeah, I guess.” Harry stood up and shook Draco’s hand. “Don’t be a stranger, Malfoy.”
Draco grinned at Harry, “Good luck with your club-footed neighbor, Potter,” and with that he turned on the spot and disapparated, causing a very loud ‘popping’ sound. Harry fell back into his chair, exhausted at his day’s work. And fell asleep almost instantly.
He was startled awake at a faint scratching sound at his front door. Realizing that it was long after dark, he took his wand out of his jacket and stalked to his front door. This is ridiculous. He thought to himself. My first night in a new place and some bloody burglar is already at my front door. He shook his head at this and placed his left hand on the door handle.
Keeping his wand arm at the ready, he quickly wrenched the door open to be met by... “Ginny?” Harry thought he must have been dreaming. She was standing with keys in her hand, probably because she was trying to unlock the already unlocked door. She was swaying a little from side to side as well.
“Harry! So nice of you to drop by my little place here in the outskirts of nowhere?” She was clearly drunk. “If you don’t mind my asking though, Harry. How the hell did you get into my apartment?”
Harry was dumbfounded. “Er, Ginny? This is my apartment. I just moved in today!” he stood forwards ready to catch her if she were to fall down, and asked: “If you don’t mind my asking, what the hell are you doing here?”
Completely disregarding his question, Ginny gave him a very friendly hug. “Never mind, I guess I have had worse company,” she said as she walked straight past him. “Why do you have your wand in your hand Harry? Just close the door by yourself!”
She shook her head and took a look around the little flat. “I swear magical folk are so LAZY...” she stopped mid sentence. “Good gracious, look at the state of this place! Had I known I would be receiving company as fine as you, Harry, I would have at least made an effort to put away all these boxes.” She tutted her tongue and shook her head again, only to lose her balance and fall straight back into Harry’s arms.
“Easy there, slugger,” he laughed as he tried to steady her back onto her feet. “Why don’t we go sit down on the couch?”
“Slugger!” she snorted very loudly, “My father used to call me slugger! Something about me chasing my brother with a beater bat after he told me that girls shouldn’t be allowed to fly brooms.” she patted Harry on the shoulder as she drunkenly giggled. “Mind you, I did break his broom earlier that day, so I can see why he would say so,” she seemed to mutter to herself. “Yes I do think the couch is a rather splendid idea.”
As Harry sat her down on his couch, he started a fire in the fireplace and turned on the lights with a flick of his wand.
“Can I get you something, Ginny?” he asked while walking back to the door to close it.
“Some Firewhiskey would be lovely, Harry!” she exclaimed excitedly. “Oh no wait, I don’t have any Firewhiskey left now that I think of it.” Then she became deathly silent. He seemed concerned at her sudden silence. As he turned to face her to see what was happening, he saw that she had started crying. “Oh Godric, Ginny, did I hurt you?” he panicked instantly, wondering if he had accidentally hit her with a spell as he opened the door like a madman earlier.
“No,” she bawled as she fell onto his shoulder and started shaking with sobs. “I’m just so happy that you came to visit me, and now I don’t have any Firewhiskey to offer you!”
Harry couldn’t contain his laughter as he heard her response. He put his hand on her back and tried to comfort her in her drunken state. “It’s okay Ginny, I don’t particularly like Firewhiskey.” She sniffed loudly and looked up into his eyes. He realized that they were about three centimeters away from each other.
“You have really pretty green eyes, Harry. They’re so pretty and sparkling in the firelight. I much prefer green eyes to the brown ones on the old boyfriend!” Harry was now very aware of her boyfriend and that she was very drunk at that moment, but he couldn’t help but smile at her comment. He quickly stood up and walked to the kitchen to ensure nothing happened to cause her to hate him in the morning. “Er, thanks Ginny. I’ve never gotten that kind of complement before, but I guess there’s a first time for everything.” he nervously chuckled.
“Hmm,” she replied.
He shrugged, conjured a glass out of thin air and filled it with water. He then tried to form a decent sentence to say to her once he got back into the living room. He was thinking something along the lines of: ‘So, Ginny. You and Dean broke up yet?’ or: ‘Hey Gin, why are you so drunk in the middle of the week? Boyfriend troubles?’ What if she didn’t like to be called ‘Gin’?He quickly dismissed these brilliant conversation starters and walked back into the living room, only to find her tiny form asleep on the couch.
Smiling at the innocence of her unconscious face, Harry picked her up and took her to his bedroom. He laid her down on the bed, took off her shoes and covered her with a blanket he conjured and put a pillow under her head, careful not to pull at her hair. He then summoned the glass of water that he left in the living room and put it by the side of the bed and left the room as silently as possible.
Harry found it hard to get to sleep that night – he couldn’t believe his luck. Ginny – whatever her surname was – was in his bed. Okay, it was a given that she is passed out and she thinks it’s her apartment, and that he wasn’t in bed with her as he would have liked to be as well, but he could live with that.
Baby steps, Potter. Baby steps. He told himself.
Harry went to sleep very happily that night. He had given up thinking about that conversation he was bound to have with Ginny the following morning, as most of his scenario’s ended in whispered “I love you” ‘s and a steamy snogging session (He realised that this was highly unlikely, but hey! A guy could dream right?), and decided that they could cross that bridge when they got to it.
Draco’s words flashed through his mind once more; ‘now you seem to think all girls are inferior to this amazing Ginny!’
Oh but they are, mate. They most definitely are, he smiled with his eyes closed.