A/N: Set alongside the events of HBP Chapter 24: Sectumsempra
Ginny and Harry found Hagrid and Fang waiting at his hut after they'd escaped from the snakes. While they had accomplished their task, Hagrid was dismayed that they'd left the path around the forest and felt that Harry had been foolish to call out to the snakes.
"They could tell yer voice was human," he'd explained. "And they don' like humans…"
After some resistance from Harry, Hagrid marched them both to the Hospital Wing, where Madam Pomfrey quickly treated them for smoke inhalation. Afterward, Hagrid had insisted on escorting them back to Gryffindor Tower, even going as far as the common room to ensure they both went into their respective dormitories despite Harry's vehement objections.
That night, Ginny laid awake in her bed, her adrenaline still surging from the snake attack in the forest. Her throat was still sore, but she wasn't sure if it was from the smoke inhalation or her screaming incantations. She'd been gripped with a fear so intense that she'd reacted without thinking-frantically casting spells until she couldn't feel the snakes on her anymore.
She closed her eyes and turned onto her back, exhaling heavily. They could have died. She'd beheaded several snakes that had come within inches of sinking their fangs into her. If Harry had fallen just a foot closer to the flames, the ashwinder could have attacked him without leaving the safety of the flames that had made it immune to their magic. She shuddered at the thought.
If only she had admitted her feelings sooner… If only she hadn't pushed Harry to talk to the snakes… There were so many "if only's" running through her head. And then she replayed in her head the last few moments with Harry before the snakes attacked them...
Her heart pounded as she recalled the way the he'd roughly grabbed her hip and leaned in with an intense look in his brilliant green eyes. His fingers had brushed the bare skin above her hip, sending waves of electricity through her body. She clutched her pillow to her chest, grinning so hard that her face hurt. It had all happened so fast that it felt surreal.
She buried her face in her pillow, still a bit stunned by the entire night. She wished she could have talked to Harry alone after Madam Pomfrey discharged them. The common room was fortuitously empty when they'd returned, but Hagrid had refused to leave until they both went to bed.
Ginny cheeks burned as she imagined what she would have done with Harry had Hagrid not been there… She had been so drunk on adrenaline and euphoria from surviving the attack and finally admitting her feelings to Harry that it would have been hard control herself.
Perhaps that was why Hagrid had insisted on watching her walk all the way up the staircase to the girls' dormitory. The stairs would collapse if Harry tried to follow, and there was no way Ginny would visit Harry's dormitory...not with Ron and Dean there.
As Ginny drifted off to sleep, she imagined what would have happened if the snakes hadn't attacked them.
The following fortnight saw the best Quidditch practices and the most homework Ginny had ever known. With Katie back on the team and McLaggen gone, the team was in top form. But Ginny spent almost all of her time off of the pitch holed up in the library, revising for the OWLs.
Yet Harry had still found a way to see her in the few spare moments in between practice and studying-but always with Ron in tow. They'd laughed and talked in the common room, walked back from practice together, and shared meals together. But it was impossible to shake Ron.
As the final Quidditch match approached, Ron seemed to be at Harry's shoulder at all times, constantly talking tactics. There were times when Ginny worried that maybe Harry had changed his mind about her. Perhaps that was why she'd never found him alone.
She'd contemplated simply sneaking into the boys' dormitory one night, so she could get a chance to talk to him alone. But Dean and Ron would both be in there, and she didn't know how that might look...
And then, the day before the final Quidditch match that would decide whether they would win the Quidditch cup, Ginny received an owl from Highlands Academy while eating lunch in the Great Hall. She slowly opened the letter and read:
"Dear Miss Weasley,
We are pleased to inform you that your application for Highlands Academy has been accepted, and you are eligible to try out for the team- "
Ginny stopped reading and let out a squeal of joy. She sprinted out of the Great Hall, heading straight for Gryffindor Tower. She had to tell Harry. He was the reason she was getting the opportunity of a lifetime.
But when Ginny arrived in the common room, she found a dejected Harry, flanked by Ron and Hermione. After a tense conversation with the three of them, she learned that he'd cursed Malfoy quite seriously in Moaning Myrtle's bathroom, and now he was missing the final Quidditch match of the season. Ginny would be playing against her romantic nemesis, Cho Chang, as Seeker.
In her anger and disappointment, she'd completely forgotten to tell him Harry her good news.
The final Quidditch match went by in a blur. Ginny was so focused on finding the Snitch that she'd barely saw any of the match. Cho had decided to tail her for the entire match, ready to swoop in and steal the Snitch, instead of searching for the Snitch on her own. Ginny was annoyed, but not surprised. This was how Cho always played.
In the end, it had come down to a head-to-head race between Ginny and Cho. Ginny had spotted the Snitch near Ron's ankle and shot herself at him like a cork out of a bottle.
With the Snitch still clutched in her fist, Ginny had screamed with joy as the team piled onto her. Moments later, they had been swarmed by their Gryffindor classmates, shouting and high-fiving each other until Madam Hooch brought out the Quidditch Cup.
As the team thrust the silver Cup in the air, Ginny felt a pang of disappointment that Harry couldn't be there. He had worked just as hard as the rest of them to get the team to this point, and he deserved to be celebrating with them.
Ron seemed to be thinking the same thing. Taking the Cup and hooking his arm around Hermione's, he shouted, "To the common room!"
And like a giant mass of red and gold, the Gryffindors slowly cleared the field. They sang several renditions of "Weasley is Our King" as they stampeded through the corridors, introducing new verses to extol the achievements of each player.
Ginny fought her way to the front of the crowd, determined to reach the portrait hole first. She didn't care if the entire house was there; she wasn't going to wait a moment longer to be with Harry.
The mob of Gryffindors poured into the common room so quickly that Ginny could not see over their heads to find Harry. Dozens of hands reached out to high five her and pat her on the back, as more students congratulated her.
She smiled vaguely, not really hearing them as she scanned the room for Harry. Surely his detention would be done by now?
And then, she heard another celebratory roar from the crowd near the portrait hole. She jerked her head around and saw Ron, lifting the silver Cup over his head and shouting, "We won!"
Without thinking, Ginny ran toward the portrait hole, shouldering her way through the crowd. She felt a jolt like an electric shock when she saw Harry, standing next to Ron and surrounded by students shaking his hand. But Harry paid them no attention. His eyes were only on Ginny.
Ginny threw her arms around Harry, collapsing against him and slipping her fingers into his thick, messy hair. She felt him slide his hands around her waist as he leaned down and kissed her, his lips warm and firm. Her body went rigid with surprise for a moment before she melted into him, feeling a smoldering heat spread through her veins as Harry gripped her harder, deepening the kiss.
After several long moments, they broke apart. Ginny rested her head on Harry's warm chest, hugging him hard and blushing furiously as she suddenly felt dozens of eyes on her. She could hear Harry's heart pounding in his chest. It was almost deafening in the sudden silence that had fallen around the room. Sliding her hands onto his chest, she lifted her head and looked up at him. His brilliant green eyes were bright and blazing with a passion she had never seen before.
He gestured wordlessly toward the portrait hole, and she let him take her hand and lead her away, so that they could finally be alone.
Ginny's legs felt like rubber as she stumbled clumsily out of the portrait hole and into the corridor, completely stunned by her passionate kiss with Harry. A moment later, she was swept up again in Harry's strong embrace, making her heart flutter.
He grabbed her hips and captured her lips again with a hungry kiss. Ginny returned his passion with enthusiasm, unable to believe that, after all these years of longing, she was finally kissing Harry Potter.
She slipped her hands around his neck, pulling him down slightly. His lips were so warm and soft that she let out a low moan.
"Ginny-" he whispered in a husky voice, sending a shiver down her spine. Never had her name sounded so electrifying.
He moved one hand to the back of her head, gently threading his fingers through her hair. The other hand found the small of her back, and he roughly pulled her against him, causing their lips to momentarily part.
She broke apart from him, gasping for breath and flooded with emotion. There was so much to tell him.
"I got a tryout at the Highlands," she breathed, resting her forehead against his.
Harry responded with another kiss; this time slow and gentle.
"You'll be brilliant," he whispered, his lips lightly brushing against hers as he spoke. He captured her mouth again with another long, slow kiss that made her insides burn. "So brilliant."
"Thank you so much, Harry," she replied, still breathless. She was thanking him for believing in her, for getting Gwenog to support her, and for patiently waiting for her all this time. Her heart surged with gratitude and joy.
He moved his hand to her cheek and smiled, his forehead still against hers. "Anything for you," he murmured.
She trembled at his words, placing her hand over his on her cheek. "Oh, Harry," she choked. It was almost a plea.
He began nuzzling her neck with delicate kisses that sent goosebump down her arms. She caught a glimpse of the Fat Lady over his shoulder, who was watching them pointedly with her eyebrows raised. Ginny giggled, realizing that they should probably move before anyone came across them.
"Harry," she said softly, drawing back a bit. "Why don't we take a walk around the lake?"
"I don't think I can make it to the lake," he said thickly, tracing kisses up her neck and back to her face. "I've wanted you for so long."
"So have I," she breathed, feeling the blood rush to her head. She wanted to tell him that she had never really given up on him, the she'd longed for him to feel the same way as her, that she was sorry it took her so long to see it, that there would never be anyone for her but him. But she was so intoxicated by him that she could barely speak.
"Ahem," came a voice. Ginny ignored it, cupping her hands around Harry's face as she kissed fiercely.
Harry moved his hands back to her waist and slowly started to walk her toward the wall. Ginny tripped on her Quidditch robes, stumbling backward. Harry was unable to catch her, falling forward next to hear.
"Ahem!" came the haughty voice again. They both looked up toward the source of the sound, laughing at their clumsiness. The Fat Lady was staring them down, her arms folded.
"I think a walk-and a cold dunk in the lake-would do you both some good," she said icily. "Now run along."
Heeding the Fat Lady, Harry and Ginny stumbled through the corridors, laughing and kissing along the way.
It was a clear spring day, the sun gleaming on the Black Lake. There was barely a cloud in the sky as they crossed the Hogwarts grounds, with no destination in particular.
They stopped under a large oak tree next to the lake, sharing another long, passionate kiss. Ginny swayed under Harry's grasp, drunk with his kisses.
"Ginny," said Harry softly, still breathing heavily, when they broke apart.
"Hi," she said breathlessly, a silly grin on her face. She felt her cheeks turn pink as she realized how ridiculous she sounded.
Harry smiled back, taking both of her hands in his. The sun was behind him, kissing his jet black mop of hair with bits of gold. Ginny squeezed his hands. They felt firm and warm in hers.
"I-I want to be more than friends, too," he said, a little clumsily. She could see his ears turning a bit pink. Ginny blushed more as she felt a swooping sensation in her stomach. She giggled softly, amused that they could be so awkward around each other when just moments before they couldn't keep their hands off each other.
"I'd like that, Harry," she replied, still blushing furiously. She could barely find the words to speak. She felt lightheaded with happiness and wanted to collapse back into his arms.
With great effort, she found her voice. "You-you've been so wonderful-and patient with me," she said, stumbling over her words. She couldn't believe how shy she'd suddenly become.
"I don't want to wait any longer," said Harry, more confidently now. He leaned in and gave her a soft peck on the lips that made her heart skip a beat. "I think about you all the time. I look forward to Quidditch every day just to get the chance to fly with you-"
He paused for a moment and squeezed her hands with a goofy grin on his face that made Ginny's heart pound in her chest. She loved flying with Harry too…
"That was my happy memory," he said, his tone turning more serious and his eyes darkening with a fierce passion.
Ginny was reminded of Harry's boggart in the dungeons. "You mean when the boggart…?" she trailed off, her chest tightening at the memory of Tom stepping out of the cupboard.
Harry nodded, pulling her into a hug. "I imagined playing Quidditch with you at the Burrow. It's the only time I don't feel like I've got the weight of the world on my shoulders."
Ginny broke away, pulling her wand out of her pocket. Harry looked confused, but didn't protest.
"Accio Nimbus! Accio Firebolt!" she muttered, waving her wand.
Harry grinned broadly.
"How about I give you another chance to beat me in a race?" she said playfully.
"You're on," said Harry with laughter in his eyes. Ginny had not seen him looking so carefree in a long time.
They both raised a hand, deftly catching their brooms as they zoomed through the air above them.
"Where to?" asked Harry, mounting his broom.
Ginny mounted her Nimbus and kicked off, knowing she'd need a head start.
She looked over her shoulder as the warm spring air whipping through her hair, watching Harry scramble to follow her. "You'll just have to catch me!" she shouted.
As Harry gave chase behind her, she soared higher, flying toward the sun. In a few moments, he would overtake her. Her heart fluttered in anticipation, hoping for many more sunlit days in the sky with Harry.
A/N: I just wanted to say thank you to everyone who read and reviewed my stories! I had never written fanfic before I wrote this series, and I really appreciate all of the support and encouragement. This was such a difficult fic to write because I ambitiously tried to write this alongside half of HBP, but your positive words really motivated me to continue posting! Thanks, again!