"Oi, what a plank..." Stumbling his way back up toward the castle, Harry shook his head, disgusted over his sudden bout of awkwardness.
It should have been simple -- find Ginny down by the lake shore, return her lost Potions essay, chat cheerily, and forget his Ron/Hermione problems. Instead, he'd found himself tongue-tied and twisted, floundering for a cringeworthy minute, then beating a hasty retreat before her initial gratitude could turn from puzzled bemusement to full-on laughter.
He couldn't figure why he had turned so divvy in front of Ron's little sister. He was even more puzzled that this bothered him so much. Derision had been a constant feature of Harry's younger years, easily ignored, so why care now? Was it just because her... her...
... her eyes had sparkled like the sun-kissed lake? Hair gleaming in the warm westerly glow -- an irridescent crown of-?
Harry jumped, whipping about, setting his gaze on... Michael Corner.
The Ravenclaw smiled and waved. "Harry, have you seen Ginevra Weasley? Her friends told me she might be by the lake."
"Uhh..." Harry stared dumbly, rubbing his jaw with the grace of an obliviated ape.
"I'm trying to find her." Corner pulled out his wand in a non-threatening way. "She was having difficulty with some of her DADA spells, and I intended to offer..."
Corner gaped. "Eh? Beg Pardon?"
Blinking at his own outburst, Harry shook his head.
"So you haven't seen her?" Corner raised an eyebrow.
Seen her? Harry frowned. In all these years, he'd never truly seen her, had he? The little girl from Platform 9 3/4? The living, quaking body that had clung to him down in the Chamber? The charming young woman with-
"Oh, sorry." Harry nodded. "I guess I never saw her, Michael. Say, have you tried the library?"
"Library?" Corner scratched his head. "I just came from there but... Perhaps we just missed each other?" He turned back toward the castle. "Okay, well thanks Harry."
Michael Corner had retreated out of sight past a heavy thicket before Harry loosed a long conflicted sigh. Then, preparing to make his own way up the hill, he heard something. A voice. A voice of gentle concern, a lilting D major arpeggio on a fine harp...
"What's the matter, Harry? Did I say something to upset you?"
Slowly, Harry turned to see two eyes gazing tentatively up at him; eyes wide, deep, and very... beautiful?
And there was a hand -- Ginny's hand; small and gentle; reaching inquiringly. "Are you okay? You look a bit peaky."
Harry's words failed him, but no matter, for his fingers (far wiser than brain or heart) had found the courage to act, to meet the proffered hand. To accept it. Cherish it. Draw it close.
Part two of 'little scribble', per Martin's request :)
My charming witches and gentlewizards, we have one wonderful story in hand. Are more forthcoming? Will Pleurocoelus's Cretaceous muse come through for him? Other hands helping Harry to pluck up the courage?
Please note that we are always on the lookout for judges. If you judged in recent challenges, you may expect to hear again from GinnyWeasey777 or myself soliciting your kind opinions for this round. If you haven't already judged, then do consider dropping us a PM or e-mail to volunteer.
Finally, it is not too early to consider topics for Challenge 2017-2. Below are some promising concepts from earlier. Please voice your choices here in this forum, and/or propose new topics.
1. It's not just the twins who can pull a prank. Somebody has just wronged Harry and Ginny, and they're going to get even in the most fitting and funny way possible. Tell us about it!
2. Someone is going on a magical creature hunt. The challenge would be to tell why they are hunting the creature, do they find it, and tell about the journey.
3. Years into their marriage, Ginny discovers something surprising about Harry. Tell us about it.
4. Harry ran away for all the wrong reasons. Ginny has finally tracked him down. What happens next?