Chapter Twenty-Five: Harry and Ginny Sitting on a Tree
Ginny still felt as though she was walking on the moon that evening when she entered her room. Hermione was sitting on Ginny’s bed waiting for her.
“So,” Hermione said, standing up, “how was it?”
“Oh Hermione!” The tears Ginny had been holding all day started running down her cheeks freely. “It’s so amazing,” she said between sobs as she hugged Hermione.
There was an annoyed “Shush!” coming from the bed of one of Ginny’s roommates and Hermione motioned Ginny toward her bed and closed the curtains around them. After putting an Imperturbable charm on the curtains, Hermione turned back toward Ginny.
“You didn’t cry in front of Harry, did you?” she asked alarmed.
“Of course not!” Ginny made a sound between a sob and a laugh as she dried her cheeks. “I was cool and collected. A bit idiotic at first, but considering the shock I think I managed to recover rather quickly.”
“Then why are you crying now?” There was a hint of impatience in Hermione’s voice.
“I don’t know,” Ginny chuckled this time. She was not sure if she wanted to laugh or cry. It was unnerving. “I guess it’s because I always wanted this to happen, but I never actually expected it to happen. You know?”
“I know,” Hermione smiled. “Are you happy?”
Ginny stared at Hermione for a moment, completely dumbstruck by the question.
“Happy doesn’t even begin to define how I’m feeling,” she said, very much aware of the silly smile on her lips. “This is so overwhelming that I haven’t quite grasped the fact that I am now Harry Potter’s girlfriend.”
“Well, I’m happy for you,” Hermione said. “Both of you.”
Ginny and Hermione lay on the bed, talking until well into the night. Ginny couldn’t stop talking and Hermione was very good at listening. And when Hermione finally went to her room, Ginny fell into a deep sleep and dreamed of Harry.
When Ginny woke up the next morning she was not sure if it all had been just a dream. Could it be true that Harry had kissed her? Was she really his girlfriend now? How could that be possible? She must have dreamed it all.
Her doubts, however, were gone when, after a rap on the door, Hermione walked in. She looked tired, as if she had only had a couple hours worth of sleep.
“Good morning!” she beamed at Ginny. “How did you sleep?”
“Perfectly,” Ginny smiled at her friend. “Although I think I’d still feel great even if I hadn’t slept at all.”
“I bet. Ready for some breakfast?”
Ginny nodded and both girls walked out of the room. Ginny suddenly realized how anxious she was to see Harry again. She was determined not to become one of those obsessive, clingy, needy girlfriends, but right now all she wanted was to be with him. In fact, she was actually nervous. She was finding it hard to breath due to the pounding of her heart.
From the top of the stairs she saw Harry and Ron standing in the middle of the common room, apparently waiting for them, because as soon as they were in sight, Harry looked up, right into Ginny’s eyes. Ginny’s breath caught in her throat. Will she ever get used to this? She hoped not.
She smiled widely at him, and he smiled too. Ginny walked down the stairs and directly toward Harry.
“Good morning,” he whispered somewhat awkwardly.
“Good morning, Harry,” she replied, looking up at him. He grabbed her hand. His hand tightened around hers and Ginny’s stomach did a somersault.
Ginny suddenly remembered they were not the only two people in the world and looked around. Hermione was standing next to them, beaming, and Ron was looking at them with a raised eyebrow.
“Oh! Come on!” he said impatiently. “I’m starving.”
“That’s not exactly breaking news, Ron,” Hermione said sternly. “You are always hungry.”
They lead the way to the Great Hall, yapping all the time, while Harry and Ginny walked silently a couple of steps behind. There was really no need for words, Ginny thought happily. All she needed was him next to her. She could feel the warmth of his hand on hers, and how he rubbed his thumb on her fingers in a tender caress. And every couple of steps he looked at her and smiled. She didn’t need anything else. This was heaven.
The walk to the Great Hall was very surreal for Ginny. It was not only that she was walking around the castle hand in hand with Harry –which in itself was amazing enough-, but there was also the reaction of everyone else when they saw them together. And to be honest, she was enjoying the unfriendly looks she was getting from many girls. Harry Potter was her boyfriend now and she was not going anywhere. They would have to deal with it.
Harry, Ginny, Ron and Hermione sat at the Gryffindor table and started eating breakfast. Ginny looked around as she took a sip from her pumpkin juice. Even though it was still early on a Sunday morning, there were quite a few people in the Great Hall. Ginny gazed up and down the Gryffindor table looking for Dean. He was not there. She hadn’t seen him since their conversation right after the game. She hadn’t seen his reaction when she and Harry kissed in front of everybody. She hoped he was alright. She had never meant to hurt him.
“What are we going to do today?” Ron asked when he was done with his breakfast.
“Dunno,” Harry shrugged, and turned to gaze at Ginny. By the look in his eyes, she knew he was thinking the same thing as her: no matter what they were doing, they were doing it together… and preferably alone.
“Oh!” said Hermione. “I was hoping you would help me with something, Ron.”
“Please don’t mention the word library,” he said, annoyed.
“Can I count on you or not?” Hermione asked him, raising an eyebrow.
Ron’s shrewd gaze went from Hermione to Harry and Ginny. “All right,” he rolled his eyes, resigned. “We’ll do whatever you want.”
“Then come,” Hermione sprang to her feet. “See you later,” she told Harry and Ginny, before she practically dragged Ron out of the Great Hall.
“So what do you want to do?” Harry asked Ginny once Hermione and Ron were gone.
“Anything” Ginny shrugged. As long as it is with you. “It’s a beautiful day,” she commented, looking up at the ceiling.
“It is,” Harry agreed, looking up as well. “Do you fancy a walk?”
They walked outside the same way they had done the day before and took a little stroll on the grounds before they sat by the lake. Ginny couldn’t help remembering she had done the same thing with Dean countless times before, but all that seemed like ages ago. Besides, with Harry everything felt new.
They had been talking about Quidditch, and Ginny was giving Harry a play-by-play account of the previous day match. He would interrupt her from time to time to ask a question or for more details; she obliged. She wanted him to feel like he didn’t miss anything.
“… And then I saw the Snitch, but we only had a hundred points at that time and if I caught it we would have won the game but lost the Cup,” Ginny said excitedly as Harry looked at her eagerly. It was great to have such an interested audience. “I was just trying to keep my cool and praying Cho didn’t see it.”
“But she did, right?”
“Of course she did,” Ginny said without resentment. Cho was a great Seeker and even she had to admit it. “And she would have caught it too if Coote hadn’t hit a Bludger at us.”
“Coote hit a Bludger at you?” Harry gaped at her.
“He sure did,” Ginny exclaimed cheerfully. “It was a smart move. Cho and I had to make evasive maneuvers to avoid being knock down. In the split second that took to get out brooms steady again, the Snitch was gone.”
“And when it appeared again you caught it,” he smiled at her.
“I wish you could have been there. But had you been there, you would have caught the Snithc instead of me.”
“I also wish I could have been there, but I think things turned out just fine.”
He put both hands on the ground between them, leaned over and kissed her. A sweet, soft kiss. Exactly the way Ginny had dreamed so many times he would kiss her. The way her overly romantic eleven-year-old self had hoped he’d kissed her after rescuing her from Riddle in the Chamber of Secrets.
The Chamber of Secrets! She pulled away and looked straight into his eyes. He looked at her questioningly.
“I never thanked you for rescuing me from the Chamber of Secrets,” Ginny said.
“It was not necessary,” Harry said, taking her hand into his.
“Yes it was,” she said firmly. “But I was too ashamed,” she added, looking away. Before Harry could say anything she was talking again. “I’ve never talked about this with anyone,” she gazed at Harry again. “Bill knows bits and pieces, but I’ve never told him how I was feeling.” Ginny looked at the lake. “I still have nightmares sometimes.”
“We don’t have to talk about it,” said Harry.
“You are the only person in the world with whom I can talk about it.” Ginny fixed her eyes on Harry’s and he nodded. “There was a part of me that always knew you’d find me.”
“It was really a stroke of luck,” he started, but Ginny cut him off.
“Harry don’t! You always try to play it down whenever you do something amazing,” she said somewhat sternly. “I knew you were coming, and you did.”
“You knew it because I have a ‘saving people thing’?” Harry asked, rolling his eyes, and to his surprise, Ginny threw back her head, laughing.
“Oh! Harry! You do have a saving people thing!” The hand Harry was not holding went up to touch his cheek. “But I know that’s only because you care.” That’s why I love you so much. The words were on the tip of her tongue. “I’ve always admired you for that,” she said instead, and he smiled; in the slightly abashed way he smiled whenever someone praised him.
“I was scared to death when I saw you lying on the floor. I thought it was too late.”
“I was scared too.” Ginny remembered too well the paralyzing fear she felt back then. “But not for myself. I was scared for what Tom Riddle might do to you.”
“That was the last thing on my mind,” Harry said truthfully. “When he told me he was Voldemort, I was only thinking about stopping him.”
Harry’s body tensed up at the memory. That was not what Ginny had planned. This was their time; no point in wasting it talking about Voldemort. There was a short silence while Ginny gathered the courage to say what she had always wanted to tell him.
“I kept thinking I wanted to see your eyes again,” she started tentatively, and saw the muscles of his face relax. That was all the encouragement she needed. “And then I opened my eyes and there they were.” Looking at her with concern and fear and pain. There was not a single more beautiful thing in the world than his eyes. However, she refrained from sharing that with him. “I really like your eyes, you know?” she ended up saying, but still, she wondered if it was too early in their relationship for her to say something like that.
“I know,” he said, and Ginny opened her eyes wide, surprised by the amusement in his voice. “You like them because they are as green as afresh pickled toad,” Harry chuckled and Ginny gaped at him.
“I can’t believe you just said that!” Ginny gave him a playful punch in the arm. “I was hoping you had forgotten about it,” she said, embarrassed.
“How could I?” Harry teased her. “That experience marked me for life,” he laughed, but when he saw Ginny’s flustered face, he passed an arm over her shoulders and pulled her closer. “Actually, I think it was very sweet,” he added.
“Did you like it?” she asked hopefully.
“Don’t get me wrong. Back then I was utterly mortified and I could have died at that very moment,” Harry said. “But as the years passed I have realized it really took guts to put yourself out there the way you did.”
“Well, I didn’t plan for you to find out it was me,” Ginny said. Thinking back, when she planned the valentine, the whole thing played very differently in her mind. The outcome had been disastrous. “But Malfoy overheard me when I was telling that horrible dwarf what I wanted him to do. When I realized Malfoy knew, I tried to call it off, but the little beast wouldn’t budge. He said he had his instructions and he was going to carry them out whether I wanted him to or not.”
“I admit that it wouldn’t have been as bad if I hadn’t tried to run away,” Harry chuckled again. He seemed to find the whole incident very funny. Grudgingly, Ginny realized he was right; it was.
“I wanted it to be funny,” she said, “Well, not funny-ha ha, but funny-cute. I’m really sorry I embarrassed you.”
“Never mind,” Harry said and gave her a soft kiss on the lips. He drew her back just an inch, those vivid green eyes locked with hers. “You know that’s the only valentine I have ever received?”
“You are kidding, right?” Ginny was flabbergasted. She knew there were girls really interested in Harry. How come no one had ever sent him a valentine? What about Cho Chang? They were dating last year during Valentine Day. The fact that the only valentine he had ever received turned out to be such a traumatic experience was inconceivable… and sad.
“No, I’m not.”
“Then I’ll have to do something about it,” Ginny said decisively. “I can’t let that repulsive singing dwarf be your fondest memory of Valentine Day.”
“Maybe you can make it up for me next year,” Harry suggested. His eyes were twinkling with amusement.
Ginny’s heart skipped a beat. Next year? He planned for them to still be together next year? Of course Ginny hoped to be with Harry for the rest of her life. It was hard for her to even think about being with anybody else. She belonged with Harry. But it had been a pleasant surprise to find out he was too hoping for a long-term relationship.
“I’ll think of something,” Ginny said with a smile, to hide the tears of emotion that were welling in her eyes.
The rest of the week was a blur of happiness for Ginny. She never thought that to be somebody’s girlfriend would be so amazing. Well, of course, she was not just anybody’s girlfriend, she was Harry’s girlfriend, and right now, she wouldn’t change her life for anything in the world.
The truth was that she really enjoyed spending time with Harry, taking a stroll by the lake or sitting in front of the fire in the common room. During the last week Ginny had even enjoyed the nasty looks she kept getting from jealous girls. There were also the surprised looks of people who obviously thought Ginny Weasley would never be able to catch Harry Potter. She actually thought it would bother her to know some people might think of her as just another girl trying to share Harry’s spotlight, but it didn’t. She didn’t care what people thought at all.
But people were interested and all sort of gossip was going around. Ginny found the whole thing very amusing.
“Oh, Weasley!” Romilda Vane caught up with her as Ginny and Colin were on their way back from Herbology. She was making an obvious effort to look friendly, but Ginny knew better.
“Romilda,” said Ginny, doing her best not to show her utter satisfaction.
“How are things?” Romilda said in a would-be-casual voice that didn’t fool Ginny for a second. “With you and Harry, I mean.”
“Pretty fantastic,” said Ginny, deciding to play along for a while. “We couldn’t be happier.”
“That’s nice,” said Romilda, although her tone and the look he gave Ginny clearly indicated that she was wishing her the most painful death. “I hope you don’t mind my curiosity… but then again, having a famous boyfriend you should get used to this sort of questions…” she hesitated.
“What do you want to know? Ginny asked, raising an eyebrow.
“Something silly, really. I heard Harry has a tattoo of a Hippogriff on his chest,” she let the unfinished sentence sink in while she looked at Ginny, apparently waiting for her reaction. Ginny blinked several times in a bemused sort of way. This was about the only thing she was not expecting to hear. Was Romilda really interested in the tattoo or what she wanted to know was if Ginny had seen Harry without his shirt?
As a matter of fact, she had seen him without his shirt. Had dear Romilda forgotten they had spent almost every holiday under the same roof since Ginny was eleven? Stupid girl!
“Well, if you don’t know…” started Romilda maliciously and her friends started giggling.
“Of course I know Romilda,” Ginny grinned. “It’s just that you’ve been misinformed. It’s a Hungarian Horntail, not a Hippogriff,” she smiled sweetly. “And if you are so interested, I’m sure I can talk Harry into letting you see it.” Romilda opened her mouth, but closed it again, apparently lost for words. “You let me know, okay,” said Ginny before walking away.
“Stupid girl,” Ginny hissed when they were out of earshot.
“Wow, a tattoo of a Hungarian Horntail,” said Colin. “That must have hurt.”
“Don’t be silly, Colin. Of course Harry doesn’t have a tattoo.”
“Then why did you tell her he did?”
“Because she couldn’t care less about the tattoo,” Ginny smiled diabolically. “And because I love seeing that look of pure resentment in her eyes. It’s priceless.”
That evening when she arrived at the common room, Harry, Ron and Hermione were already sitting on their usual spot. She joined them and sat on the floor, leaning against Harry’s legs. Hermione was talking about Transfiguration and Ginny grabbed a copy of the Daily Prophet that lay forgotten on a nearby table. Things were getting worse, Ginny thought. There had been three Dementor attacks. It was incredible that people had time to gossip about her relationship with Harry.
“You’d think people had better things to gossip about,” said Ginny. “Three Dementor attacks in a week, and all Romilda Vane does is ask me if it’s true you’ve got a Hippogriff tattooed across your chest.”
Ron and Hermione both roared with laughter. Harry ignored them.
“What did you tell her?”
“I told her it’s a Hungarian Horntail,” said Ginny, turning a page of the newspaper idly, although she was actually looking Harry’s reaction through the corner of her eye. “Much more macho.”
“Thanks,” said Harry, grinning. “And what did you tell her Ron’s got?”
“A Pygmy Puff,” said Ginny, amused. “But I didn’t say where.”
Ron scowled as Hermione rolled around laughing. Ginny smirked. Bothering Ron was something that never got old.
“Watch it,” he said, pointing warningly at Harry and Ginny. “Just because I’ve given my permission doesn’t mean I can’t withdraw it…”
“Your permission,” scoffed Ginny, feeling her temper rising. “Since when did you give me permission to do anything? Anyway, you said yourself you’d rather it was Harry than Michael or Dean.”
“Yeah, I would,” said Ron grudgingly. “And just as long as you don’t start snogging each other in public.”
“You filthy hypocrite! What about you and Lavender, thrashing around like a pair of eels all over the place?” demanded Ginny.
Ron dared not to argue any further, but Ginny kept shooting him nasty glances for the rest of the evening.