Ginny continued to give both Harry and Dean the cold shoulder on Thursday and Friday. While Harry had stopped trying to seek her out, she had resumed avoiding eye contact with him at mealtimes and in the corridors.
By dinner time on Friday, Harry was beginning to think that the talk with Dean had accomplished nothing. He hadn’t seen Ginny and Dean together at all over the past couple of days, and he had thought, that upon realizing the severity of the situation, Dean would rush to make up with her.
His blood boiled as he imagined Ginny embracing Dean after receiving a heartfelt apology that Harry and Ron had put him up to. He couldn’t deny that part of him would rather have their row go on forever, so that he could kick Dean off the team.
But all thoughts of Ginny and Dean were banished when a tawny barn owl landed on his dinner plate.
“That’s Fred and George’s owl,” said Ron loudly, swatting at the owl to move him off of Harry’s food.
Harry untied the scroll from around its leg. The owl ruffled its feather and nipped at Harry’s potatoes before flying away.
He carefully opened the envelope, wondering why Fred and George would be writing to him. As he pulled out the letter, a soft candy fell out that looked like a giant rainbow-colored marshmallow. Ron picked up.
“What is this? It looks like a giant, squishy marble,” he said, examining it and giving it a sniff. “It smells like...bacon.”
“Ron, be careful with that!” said Hermione, snatching the marshmallow from him and studying it.
Harry unfolded the letter and read aloud, so that Ron and Hermione could hear:
It’s time to pay your debt for losing the poker game over the holidays. You may have tanked the game to spare Ron’s feelings, but that doesn’t mean we’re letting you off the hook.
We’ve enclosed three items that you’ll need to test the our latest invention, the Mood Mallow:
A piece of Mood Mallow candy
A mood list
Weasley Wizard Wheezes parchment and quill to record your colors and feelings
First, you’ll need to eat the enclosed Mood Mallow candy. The Mood Mallow makes your face change colors with your mood. For example, if you’re happy, your face will turn yellow. If you’re angry, your face will turn red. Think of it like a Muggle mood ring.
As our first tester, we need you to validate whether the colors we’ve recorded on the enclosed mood list match your mood. Once you eat the Mood Mallow, we need you to record your mood and the color of your face on the provided parchment. You MUST use our parchment, or we’ll make you test it live with us during the next holiday. We’ll then compare your notes against our mood list and adjust accordingly.
The effects will only last for an hour, so be sure to expose yourself to many people so that you experience a range of moods! We’ll know if you’re not honest, so don’t test your luck.
And one last thing – make sure you eat it during a meal; you’ll vomit and turn pink for a few days if you try this on an empty stomach (we’re still working out that lovely side effect).
Fred and George”
Harry lowered the letter, shifting his gaze to the Mood Mallow. He felt sick with dread. This candy would essentially expose all of his inner feelings to everyone for an hour.
“Don’t do it, Harry,” said Hermione, shaking her head and eyeing the candy with suspicion. “This is a really bad idea.”
“Blimey, they sure do love pranks that involve baring your soul. First the Veritaball and now this,” said Ron in a low voice. He grabbed the envelope and removed the mood list, parchment, and quill.
“What are you doing?” asked Harry. He wasn’t sure he wanted to test this out in front of so many people.
“I’m going to make up some notes, so they think you did it!” said Ron as if it were obvious. He put the tip of the quill in his mouth as he read the mood list.
Hermione sighed. “And you think Fred and George didn’t think of that already?”
Ron shrugged. “It’s worth a try.”
Harry and Hermione peered over his shoulder and read:
Mood Mallow Mood List - Version 12
Crimson Red - Angry
Tomato Red - Embarrassed
Pumpkin Orange - Excited
Orange Peel - Panicked
Carrot Orange - Anxious
Amber - Nervous
Golden Yellow - Stressed
Lemon Yellow - Tense
Neon Green - Jealous
Lime Green - Annoyed
Grass Green - Uneasy
Emerald Green - Passionate
Teal - Joyful
Robin’s Egg Blue - Happy
Sky Blue - In Love
Periwinkle - Hopeful
Lavender - Smitten
Mauve - Amused
Orchid Purple - Calm
Deep Purple - Relaxed
Violet - Sad
Eggplant - Despondent
Harry wasn’t keen to let a table full of Gryffindors analyze his mood. He turned to Ron. “Right, let’s make up a few and send it back with Hedwig.”
“Honestly,” muttered Hermione, rolling her eyes.
Ron lowered the quill to the parchment, ignoring her. There was a gaudy Weasley Wizard Wheezes letterhead at the top.
But Ron paused, his quill just an inch above the parchment. “I can’t write anything!”
Harry pushed down on Ron’s arm, trying to force the quill to the parchment.
“Not so hard!” yelped Ron, drawing back his arm. “They’ve clearly enchanted it, so that we can’t lie.”
“You don’t say?” said Hermione sarcastically.
“Have you got a better idea, then?” snapped Ron.
“What if we use our own parchment and quill?” interrupted Harry, starting to feel panicked. He reached into his school bag and rummaged around for some spare parchment.
“No, it says you have to use their parchment, or they’ll make you test it live with them,” said Hermione, looking back at the letter.
Harry groaned. “That sounds even worse.”
Ron looked around the table. “It’s just Gryffindors here. Nobody from our year is close enough to notice us if you wanted to do it now.”
Harry looked down the table. Neville was sitting at the other end of the table...and there was no sign of Ginny or any of the Quidditch team. Dean and Seamus were missing as well. They were eating earlier than usual today, so they may be able to get the test over with before too many people saw them.
“Is there any way out of this?” asked Harry, turning to Hermione. She was examining the letter and parchment, tapping it with her wand and muttering to herself.
After a moment, she looked up at him sadly. “I don’t think so. You could just ignore it and see if they show up to make you test it live, but there’s no way to fake it. Their magic is air tight.”
“Alright, let’s just get it over with,” sighed Harry, taking the Mood Mallow from Hermione. He didn’t want to take his chances with Fred and George. They might decide to make it even more embarrassing if he ignored them. Now was probably the best time to do it, given the small crowd.
He raised the Mood Mallow to his mouth, but paused to add, “Don’t share the mood list with anyone! I don’t want anyone decoding my moods.”
“Of course, mate,” said Ron, nodding vigorously. Hermione nodded sympathetically next to him.
Harry popped the Mood Mallow into his mouth and started to chew. It had the consistency of a marshmallow, but tasted like bacon.
“How do you feel?” asked Ron, raising the quill.
“What does it look like?” asked Harry in a muffled voice. He was still chewing.
“Nothing yet,” said Hermione.
Just as Harry swallowed, he heard a high, shrill voice come up behind him.
Lavender threw her arms around Ron’s neck and planted a kiss on his cheek. Harry groaned inwardly, hoping Lavender wouldn’t be interested in their experiment.
“Oh, look at the time,” said Hermione suddenly, looking down at her watch. “It’s time to...er, go to the library.”
She jumped up, shooting Harry an apologetic look as she hurried out of the Great Hall. But Harry didn’t blame her. He didn’t want to hang out with Lavender either.
Ignoring Hermione, Lavender sat down on the other side of Ron and started to load her plate as she launched into a story about today’s Divination class. Harry’s stomach clenched and released as he felt a wave of warmth run up his spine; he hoped that was just the Mood Mallow taking effect.
His cheeks started to tingle. He looked at Ron, wondering if it was working.
Ron’s eyes got big and he immediately looked down at the mood list.
“What color?” asked Harry, suddenly feeling nervous.
“You were lime green, which means...annoyed, but now you’re turning yellow…” said Ron as he started to jot down notes on the parchment. He was able to write freely now that Harry had actually eaten the candy.
“What’s yellow mean?” demanded Harry, leaning over to see the mood list.
“It’s either tense or stressed…” said Ron slowly, looking back up at Harry’s face to compare.
“Oh, Harry! What’s wrong with your face?” exclaimed Lavender, who seemed to only notice Harry now that Ron’s attention had turned away from her.
“We’re just testing some color charms,” said Ron, dismissively. “We might use them on Malfoy if we get bored.”
Lavender wrinkled her nose in disgust, but said nothing. She turned to her other side and started talking to a couple of seventh year girls. Harry was grateful for her indifference.
Ron was scribbling furiously. Harry leaned over his shoulder. “What are your writing?” he asked.
“You just went through several colors just now,” replied Ron, referring back to the list. “Some of them aren’t even on here! What were you feeling?”
“I don’t know,” said Harry, shrugging. “I was annoyed by Lavender, then embarrassed when she saw my face, and then relieved that she lost interest.”
“And now you’re green...maybe that means uneasy,” said Ron, scribbling some more.
Harry said nothing, just wishing the hour would end soon. He was extremely uncomfortable, but there was no color on the list for that. Perhaps Ron was recording it right now.
He stuffed some potatoes in his mouth, hoping he wouldn’t start vomiting next. He felt a surge of annoyance as he felt Ron’s eyes on him again.
Ron laughed. “You’re annoyed that I’m watching you. I can tell because you’re lime green again!”
“Shut it,” said Harry, feeling even more annoyed.
Ginny’s stomach growled loudly as she sat in the library, finishing her Charms essay. It was still early, but she was already famished from a long day of classes.
Dean had not spoken to her since their fight after he’d seen her boggart, even though they’d spent the next detention together with Snape and had been practicing Quidditch together every day for the past week and a half.
She shuddered as she thought back to their latest practice. She couldn’t even pass the Quaffle to him because he wouldn’t make eye contact. It was poor form to throw the Quaffle at someone who hadn’t made eye contact, unless it was a called play, so she couldn’t force him to play with her. If she’d hit him, it would only antagonize him more.
Even worse, she could tell the entire team felt their tension. Poor Demelza had to navigate playing between them. What would they do if they couldn’t resolve this before their next match? Or worse, what if they broke up? Would Dean keep playing like this? Would he throw their matches just to get even with Ginny? Would Harry kick them off the team if they couldn’t play together? Would she lose the chance to play at a development school if she got kicked off the house Quidditch team?
She sighed, taking solace in the fact that she would have no homework over the weekend once she finished her essay. It was difficult to concentrate on anything as she struggled with old memories that the boggart had dragged up and worried about what to do about her relationship with Dean.
Her heart sank a bit as she remembered that awful detention with Harry and Dean. There was no way she and Dean would be able to resolve their latest row any time soon.
Just two months ago, she had sat in detention with Slughorn wondering what Valentine’s Day with Dean would be like. She’d never imagined that their relationship would be in such dire straits now. Given the current situation, she didn’t expect to see him at all for the entire weekend.
But it was probably for the best. She needed some space to think about if she wanted to be with Dean at all...and to sort out her complicated feelings toward Harry. She’d thought a lot about them both over the past week and a half, but felt like she’d made no progress. It was uncomfortable to examine her own feelings, and she was still struggling with painful flashbacks of Tom Riddle intruding into her mind at unexpected moments.
Her stomach growled again as she finished reading her essay over for a second time. She looked at her watch. It was still early, but she knew the house elves would be serving dinner now in the Great Hall.
Satisfied with her essay, she shoved her schoolwork into her bag and headed to the Great Hall.
Ginny scanned the Gryffindor table as she entered the Great Hall. Automatically, her eyes sought Dean, even though she knew he wasn’t keen to see her right now.
But Dean was nowhere to be found. Nor was Seamus or Hermione or any of her teammates. Just as she started to look for her dormitory mates, a flash of green caught her eye.
Harry Potter was sitting with Ron, and his entire face was bright green. He was glowing like a green torch in the middle of the Gryffindor house table.
Drawn to him like a moth to light, she walked closer to him. Lavender had turned to talk to him, and his face started to cycle through shades of yellow. What was going on? And what was Ron writing? Surely he wasn’t doing homework at the dinner table?
She stopped a few yards away from them, remembering that she had vowed to keep her distance from Harry as she tried to sort out her feelings. After watching his face turn more shades of green, her curiosity got the better of her and she decided to join them. Besides, there was no harm in talking to Harry in a group.
“Hi there!” she said brightly, as she reached the bench in front of Harry and Ron.
Harry’s face changed from the color of grass to a light blue.
“Oh! That’s a new one!” said Ron, his eyes scanning a piece of parchment. “Is that sky blue, Robin’s egg blue...or maybe periwinkle?”
Ginny sat down and squinted a bit at Harry to get a better look. He looked down, avoiding her eyes.
“Hmm, it looks more like sky blue,” she said thoughtfully. “Robin’s egg is a bit more green, and periwinkle is a bit more purple.”
Ron’s let out a gasp, his eyes wide. He waved a hand wildly at her, as if to shoo her. “Ginny, move! Who’s behind you?”
She looked over her shoulder and saw the backs of a bunch of first year Slytherin boys.
“Nobody I know,” she replied, annoyed by her brother. “Why’s Harry’s face blue? Are you feeling alright, Harry?”
Harry put his elbows on the table and put his face in his hands. She could see his forehead through his fingers move through some lighter shades of blue and purple. “It’s nothing,” he said, his voice muffled by his hands.
“Sky blue means he’s in love,” said Ron, smirking. “But it could have been periwinkle, which means hopeful…”
“What–” started Ginny, but Ron interrupted her.
“Did you see any girls come in with you? Or maybe sit behind you? Harry might be in love with one of them,” he said, craning his neck to see around Ginny.
Ginny felt her face heat up. Was Harry under a spell that showed who he was in love with? She looked around, wondering if there were any other girls they knew nearby.
Through Harry’s fingers, Ginny could see his forehead turn bright red. She didn’t need to Ron to tell her that he was embarrassed now…
Harry shot Ron a look, his face hidden from Ginny by his hands. She heard a thud under the table and Ron winced.
“You know, I think it was periwinkle,” said Ron hastily. “You definitely seemed hopeful to me, Harry.”
“Because I was hoping you’d all stop staring at me!” grumbled Harry from behind his hands. He turned even redder.
“Ok, he was embarrassed a moment ago, but now he’s just mad,” said Ron, a smile playing around his mouth.
Ginny felt like she was starting to understand. It seemed like Harry was under a spell that showed his thoughts as colors on his face.
“So why is Harry’s face changing colors?” she asked, hoping to confirm her theory.
“Fred and George are making him test a candy that shows his mood in the form of a color on his face,” explained Ron. “They gave us a list showing what each color means and we’re supposed to send them feedback.”
Ginny looked at Harry, confused. “Why would you agree to do this?”
“Because I lost the poker game,” mumbled Harry glumly through his hands as his face turned violet.
“That means he’s sad,” said Ron, as if Harry weren’t there. Harry turned lime green at this. Ginny assumed this meant he was annoyed.
“Ron, I don’t need you to translate for me,” she said, irritated. “It’s obvious that he’s not enjoying this, and you’re just making it worse!”
Lavender suddenly stood up next to Ron. She had been in deep conversation with the girls on her other side until this moment.
“Won-Won, I want to go now,” she said.
“Ok,” said Ron blankly. “See you later?”
“No, Won-Won! It’s date night!” she whined.
“Oh,” said Ron, his eyes getting big. “Right, I’ll come with you then.”
He pushed a couple of pieces of parchment and a quill across the table toward Ginny as he stood up. “You help Harry finish recording his moods for Fred and George.”
Suddenly, Harry slammed his hand down on top of the parchment. “We’re done,” he demanded.
His face looked like an orange peel now. Ginny leaned forward a bit and peeked at the list, which she could read between his fingers. Orange peel meant panicked.
Ron pulled a face as Lavender led him away by the hand. “See you both later.”
Ginny couldn’t help but notice that he didn’t look excited to leave. She supposed she wouldn’t be excited either if she were leaving to spend date night with Dean, given how things were going at the moment.
“How much longer do you think that will last?” asked Ginny, still watching Ron and Lavender walk away.
“Hopefully not much longer,” muttered Harry. Ginny turned to him and saw his face was now periwinkle. He had removed his other hand from his face now, so she could see him clearly as he watched Ron and Lavender.
When they were out of sight, Harry turned back to her. “You haven’t eaten anything,” he said matter-of-factly. His face was moving through shades of purple.
“Oh! I guess I’m just not that hungry,” she said, startled. She hadn’t even realized it until Harry had pointed it out. Her hunger had seemed to have vanished as soon as she sat down.
Harry reached across the table and scooped some casserole and potatoes onto her plate. His face had returned to the sky blue color she had seen when she’d first sat down.
“Eat,” he urged. It was the first time he’d made eye contact with her since she’d sat down.
Now that his hand was out of the way, she could read the parchment clearly. Ron had been right–sky blue meant “in love.”
There was no mistaking it–his face was as blue as the sky on a sunny spring day.
Ginn’s stomach lurched and her mouth went dry. She started to push her food around her plate, not sure what to say. She wasn’t ready to deal with this right now. She was still trying to sort out her feelings about Dean. If she was going to break up with Dean, it had to be because they truly didn’t work together–not because Harry had finally started to notice her.
Harry picked up the parchment in front of her and folded it. She wondered if he didn’t want her peeking at the list anymore.
“Fred and George have enough data from me. I’ll just send this to them later,” he said, tucking the folded parchment into his school bag.
Ginny nodded, unable to tear her eyes away from his sky blue face. She felt a familiar warmth spread through her body like sunshine as he looked back at her. It was unbelievable: Harry fancied her.
Harry Potter fancied her.
She smiled, unable to stop herself as she was flooded with joy. Images of a life with Harry flew threw her mind: flying on sunny days, walking hand in hand to Hogsmeade, sneaking into the kitchens late at night, moonlit strolls around the lake…
Suddenly, Harry’s voice yanked her away from her reverie. “What are you so happy about?” he asked, a goofy grin on his blue face.
“Nothing,” she said quickly. She took a bite of casserole. “I’m just glad to finally start eating.”
As she chewed, her joy was replaced by a stab of guilt. But it wasn’t the usual guilt about betraying Dean; this time, she felt guilty for giving Harry the cold shoulder for the last few days.
This blue face with emerald green eyes staring at her from across the table was the face of a boy who had, once again, put himself between her and Tom Riddle, her worst enemy. Even though it was Tom in his boggart form, Harry hadn’t hesitated to come to her aid and had even endured his own worst fear to make sure she was alright. He had done nothing to deserve her sudden indifference.
“Harry,” she said, her voice cracking a bit. “I wanted to apologize to you…”
Harry furrowed his brow, his face turning a grassy green. “For what?”
“I know I’ve been distant with you this week, and you didn’t deserve that,” she said.
His face flushed violet. Ginny felt another pang as she realized her distance had made him sad.
“I understand, Ginny,” he said slowly, looking down at his plate. “I know that Riddle and the dementor must have brought back a lot of terrible memories, and I’m sure seeing me makes it more difficult to move past that.”
Ginny’s chest tightened as the weight of his words hit her. Did he think that she associated him with Tom? That the mere sight of his face would bring back her worst memories?
“No, Harry,” she said quickly, her heart aching for him. “You don’t remind me of Tom...or of any bad memories. I just needed some time to myself.”
She reached out and put her hand on his. His face returned to the sky blue color that made her heart soar.
He smiled and put his other hand on top of hers. His palm felt warm on the back of her hand, and she felt goosebumps run up her arm.
“Take all the time you need,” he said quietly.
His words sent a shiver down her spine. It felt like his hand was sending electric waves of joy through her body.
“What color do you think my face would be right now if I had eaten the Mood Mallow?” she asked playfully. The words were out of her mouth before she’d even thought about it.
Harry turned red for a moment before turning a shade of purple that she didn’t recognize. Was it lavender?
“I don’t know,” he said slowly, a smile playing at his lips. “But I hope it would be blue.”
Ginny felt her heart jump into her throat. It was beating so hard she thought it might burst out of her at any moment.
“Robin’s egg blue?” she asked breathlessly, challenging him to be more forward. She knew she was playing a dangerous game, but she was feeling reckless.
“Sky blue,” he said in a husky voice that made her want to vault the table and fall into his arms.
He licked his lips and continued in the same husky voice, “Ginny, do you want to go for a walk around–”
“Hiya, Ginny!” came a voice from behind her.
The voice cut through her like a knife as the bottom dropped out of her stomach and her blood ran cold. Harry yanked his hands back as though he’d been burned.
Ginny spun around, her eyes wide. Colin Creevey was standing behind her with an envelope in his hand.
“C-Colin!” she said in a choked voice. “I–uh, I mean, you startled me.”
Ginny could barely focus on Colin because her mind was reeling. Had Harry been about to ask her out?
“Sorry about that!” said Colin brightly. He turned to Harry and waved. “Hiya, Harry! Why is your face orange?”
“Spell gone wrong in Charms,” Harry mumbled, moving a hand up to block his face from Colin. Harry looked as panicked as Ginny felt.
“So, uh, what’s up?” she asked Colin, trying to keep a casual tone.
Colin handed her the envelope. It said “Ginny” on the front in Dean’s familiar scrawl. “Dean asked me to give this to you.”
Ginny took it wordlessly as Colin bid them both good-bye. She suddenly felt numb all over. She looked up at Harry, who had turned a neon green color and was staring that the envelope with narrowed eyes. Ginny didn’t need to see the mood list in Harry’s bag to know that he was jealous right now.
The neon green slowly receded as his face turned back to its normal pale color. “The Mood Mallow wore off,” she said matter-of-factly, still shaken by Colin’s interruption.
“Good,” he replied tensely, his face still etched with jealousy. “So are you going to open the letter?”
“N-not right now...but eventually,” she said, feeling inexplicably guilty. She shook herself. Why was she feeling guilty for getting a letter from Dean–her boyfriend–in front of Harry?
Just because she’d decided to stop denying their mutual feelings for each other did not mean Dean suddenly did not exist. It did not give her permission to emotionally cheat on him.
She straightened up and gave Harry a stern look. “This isn’t right, Harry.”
“What’s not right?” he asked in a low voice. Ginny suspected he was being deliberately obtuse.
“I can’t go for a walk with you...tonight,” she said, stumbling over her words and finishing lamely. She realized immediately it had sounded like she was qualifying the statement, but she’d meant that she couldn’t date him when she had a boyfriend. Why was she suddenly so tongue-tied?
Harry nodded slowly, his face unreadable. “Could you go for a walk with me on another day?”
Ginny suddenly felt hot all over. She imagined disappearing with Harry into the quiet darkness of the school grounds, his arm around her to keep the April chill away.
“I–I need, er–,” Ginny broke off. She was babbling. She had impulsively provoked Harry to act on his feelings, and she wasn’t ready to handle the consequences.
Ginny took a deep breath. “Harry, I’m with Dean right now and I don’t think that would be a good idea.”
“Right,” said Harry, leaning back with a sigh and giving her a small nod. “You should be with your...chosen one.”
Without another word, he stood up and left her sitting at the table. Ginny didn’t move, feeling slightly dumbfounded by his last words.
He hadn’t said boyfriend. He’d said the one that she chose...or did he mean the “Chosen One,” as The Daily Prophet had taken to calling him? She knew he hated that name and had never heard him evoke it like that.
With her mind still reeling, Ginny stood up, leaving her food at the table. Automatically, her feet carried her into the Entrance Hall and out to the school grounds. She was vaguely aware that she was heading to her favorite thinking spot at Hogwarts–the broomshed.