Time of My Life by Evie_S



Summary: ** Winner of Best Overall and Best Relationship in the “First Week” Challenge **
Harry Potter never expected that his first week back at Hogwarts would be so exciting, but when a unlikley friendship strikes up between him and Ginny, who knows what will happen?
Rating: PG starstarstarstarstar
Categories: First Week Challenge (2008-2)
Characters: None
Genres: None
Warnings: None
Challenges: None
Series: None
Published: 2008.04.29
Updated: 2008.04.30


Index

Chapter 1: The Hogwarts Express
Chapter 2: A Challenge
Chapter 3: Flying With Ginny
Chapter 4: Slave For A Day
Chapter 5: Library Conversations
Chapter 6: Time of My Life


Chapter 1: The Hogwarts Express

Author's Notes: God, talk about a late time to be entering the challenge. But this challenge made me really want to write something good, so I've been writing for about 29 days and now I'm ready to start posting. This is the first chapter, and the rest will be here either today or tomorrow! And you could always find a second to review and let me know what you think. Please. The other chapters will be way shorter, this is two jammed into one.

Thanks goes to my beta!


Life with the Weasley clan was never quiet. Harry had always known this, of course, but the full realization only hit him as he flew into a flustered Mrs Weasley on one of the Burrow’s many landings.

“Harry,” she said breathlessly, grasping his shoulders. “Be a darling and wake Ginny, won’t you? I don’t know what is wrong with her, she knows how much of a rush today always is but no, she has to sleep in and I have no idea where George has gone and obviously Fred has no idea. There’s a good boy.”

Before Harry had received time to fully process what was going on, he had been shoved into Ginny’s room.

He had never been in a girl’s room before, but he was pretty sure Ginny’s was not exactly normal. Her walls were painted a vibrant purple and posters were plastered on every available space.

“Ginny,” he whispered in the general direction of the bed. The lump beneath the covers barely stirred. “Ginny,” Harry said again, louder this time.

A hand flew out from beneath the covers, making Harry jump. The hand groped around on the side table before hitting a button on a tiny, old fashioned alarm clock.

“Ginny,” Harry walked toward the bed cautiously, in case of any more sudden movements. The tiny redhead only burrowed further beneath the covers. “Ginny, you have to wake up.”

“I don’t wanna get up,” Ginny mumbled. “Five more minutes, Mum.”

Harry held back a grin. She really was quite adorable, he thought to himself.

“No, Ginny,” Harry reached forward and took the pillow. “Not five more minutes.”

She sat up, her eyes still squeezed shut. She reached blindly around for her pillow. “Mum!” she whined. “Five more minutes!”

“And I am not your mother,” Harry said, unable to stop himself from laughing. “It’s me, Harry.”

This statement caused Ginny wake up as quickly as if Harry had just poured a bucketful of water over her. Her eyes snapped open instantly.

“Harry?” she repeated in a mortified whisper, her big brown eyes seeking his. Harry shrugged.

“Sorry, Gin,” he said, handing back her pillow. “Your mum wants you to get up or we’re gonna miss the train.”

“The train,” Ginny repeated. She appeared to be in something of a trance.

“Yeah.” Harry coughed, suddenly uncomfortably aware that he was alone with a girl. In her bedroom. Alone. “So you’d, um, better get dressed. Um,” he stopped, trying to think of something light to say, to break the tension. “At least, you will if you want to be alive tomorrow. Um. Bye then.”

He hurried out of the room just as Ginny began to clamber out of bed, thereby saving himself from Ginny noticing his scarlet cheeks and the embarrassment of having to admit that he was blushing so profusely because of Ginny’s long, slim and very bare legs that her tiny pyjama bottoms had shown off to great advantage.

Ron would have killed him for such thoughts about his baby sister.

Harry was just leaning against the door, trying to turn his burning cheeks back to their original colour, when Fred (or possibly George) appeared in front of him.

“Alright there?” he asked, looking from Harry to Ginny’s closed door and back again. “What are you doing lurking around my little sister’s door then?”

“I wasn’t lurking!” Harry shouted quickly. Fred (or George) raised his eyebrows. “Your mum asked me to wake her up.”

“Mum let a boy go into her precious Ginevra’s room without armed security?” Fred (or George) whistled, obviously impressed. “Blimey. She must be more rushed than we thought.”

“She is,” Ginny said. Harry wheeled around to look at her sliding out of her bedroom and hunting around for something on the cluttered landing. She blushed and refused to meet his gaze, but to her credit she did not run away. “And she’s been looking everywhere for you, George.”

“I’m not George,” the twin said as Ginny pushed her foot into one trainer.

“Liar,” she said, not even glancing at her brother as she dropped to her hands and knees to search for the other shoe. George looked put out.

“Don’t even think about going in there,” he said as Ginny glanced into the bathroom.

Harry watched with interest as Ginny finally found her other shoe and raced into the bathroom with a gleeful, “Too late!”

Harry and George could hear her racing about, a tap running, cupboards slamming and a painful sounding bang.

“Stay an only child, Harry,” George advised darkly. “It’s the best way.”

***

Harry was surprised to find that once the family was actually on the road, the journey had gone pretty smoothly. There was little traffic on the roads, although Harry highly suspected that Mr Weasley’s car may have played some part in the quick journey. Harry and Ron went through the barrier together, and they were promptly greeted by a shrieking Hermione.

“You’re late!” she said, throwing her arms around Harry and hugging him tightly. “I’ve been so worried; I was convinced you were going to miss the train!”

“Us?” Ron said, looking amused as Hermione released Harry and pulled him into a rib-breaking hug. “Miss the train? What do you take us for, Hermione? Amateurs?”

“You really will miss the train if you don’t get on sharpish,” Mr Weasley interrupted. Ron and Hermione instantly sprang apart, cheeks burning. “Your trunks are already on board,” Mr Weasley continued, looking as though he was holding back a smile. “Now get on. Look after Ginny and try to behave.”

And with that, the trio had been pushed aboard the Hogwarts Express.

“Come on then,” Hermione said as she hauled Ron, who had stumbled and fallen in his surprise about getting on the train so promptly, to his feet. “Let’s find a compartment.”

Ron turned to Ginny, who looked very small and lost, glancing anxiously around.

“Buzz off, Ginny,” he said rudely. Harry scowled at him. Ginny was only a first year, they should have been showing her kindness, not having a go.

“Ronald!” Hermione scolded. “Ginny is more than welcome to sit with us if she wants to. Isn’t she, Harry?”

Three sets of eyes turned on Harry, who gulped. Hermione’s wide hazel eyes were reprimanding; she wanted him to be polite. Ron’s blue gaze was accusing; it was clear he thought Harry should be on his side.

But it was Ginny’s eyes that got him. Her warm brown eyes were filled with something that looked a lot like…hope.

“Sure,” he shrugged. “If she wants to.”

An hour or so later, Ron’s indignation appeared to have disappeared. The four kids had found an empty compartment and had settled in nicely. Ron was keeping them all amused with boisterous tales of their annual family holiday to visit their Aunt Muriel. Ginny occasionally chipped, her eyes sparkling with laughter.

“I’m starving,” Harry announced, stretching his legs onto two seats.

“Mmm, me too!” Ginny agreed. Hermione looked between the pair, her eyes twinkling with a mischievousness that was beyond out of character for the bushy haired witch.

“Well, why don’t you two go and see where the trolley is?” she suggested slyly.

Too late, Harry realized what she was trying to do.

“Oh I’m sure Ginny doesn’t want to lumbered with me,” he said quickly. “You up for it, Ron?”

“Huh?” Ron barely glanced away from the Quidditch magazine he had become engrossed in. “Nah, you and Ginny go, mate.”

Harry glanced helplessly at Hermione, but his friend only smiled evilly at him. He was going to kill her.

“Well,” Harry stood up awkwardly. “You coming, Ginny?”

The younger witch stood and followed Harry out of the compartment, refusing to meet his gaze.

The pair walked down the corridor in an awkward silence. Harry desperately racked his brains for something to say, but everything sounded stupid or childish.

“Everything okay then?” he asked eventually. Ginny only looked at him. “Right. Stupid question. Um.”

And silence blanketed them again.

A door slid open and Harry very nearly groaned aloud when he realized it was Draco Malfoy stepping out, Crabbe and Goyle close behind.

“Oh, look,” the blonde boy sneered, his upper lip curling in a gesture that was not unlike one of Snape’s. “It’s Potty and his weasel girlfriend. Can’t keep away, eh Potter? Not that I blame you.” Malfoy’s gaze slid over Ginny, a smirk resting on his lips. “She’s not bad for a first year.”

Harry stepped in front of Ginny so his body was shielding hers from Malfoy’s view.

“Get lost, Malfoy,” he snapped, reaching behind himself and grabbing Ginny’s arm. He pulled her through the next door, slamming it shut behind them.

“Merlin!” Harry exclaimed, letting Ginny go. “He is the most insufferable, big headed prat I’ve ever met!”

“Um, Harry?” Ginny said timidly. He wheeled around to look at her.

“What?” he asked. His tone must have been more hostile than usual, because Ginny took a step backward.

“Um,” she said. “You brought us into the baggage cart.”

“What?” Harry asked again. “Oh.” He had only just realized that the cart was pitch black, and that there seemed to be a lot of trunks lying around. “Sorry.”

Ginny sighed and he heard her walk over and attempt to open the door. She pulled twice, pushed twice then sighed again.

“It’s locked,” she said. Harry made his way carefully over to her. He pulled and pushed at the door several times before giving up.

“Well,” he said eventually. “I guess we’re locked in until someone realises we’ve gone.” He glanced around, squinting in the darkness, searching for the redhead. “Ginny?”

“Over here,” her voice floated up at him. She was sitting on someone’s luggage. Harry copied her, making himself comfortable as an awkward silence fell over them once more.

“I know!” Ginny said. It could have been seconds or minutes or even hours later; Harry was quickly losing track of time. “We’ll play a game.”

“A game?” Harry repeated, raising his eyebrows.

“Yes,” Ginny answered defensively. “A game to break the ice.”

“Break the ice?”

“What are you, a parrot?” Ginny snapped. Harry laughed. “Are you playing or not?”

“Depends on the game,” he replied. He could just imagine Ginny rolling her eyes, and the idea just made his grin widen.

“Okay,” Ginny was silent for a moment, considering. “You have to tell me what your first impression of me was.”

“My first impression?” Harry ran a hand through his already messy hair.

“Yeah,” Ginny said. Harry could hear her shifting around, trying to make herself comfortable. “The whole truth and the first thing that comes into your head. Don’t think about it. And then I’ll tell you.”

Harry scratched his head. It was an odd game, but there was nothing better to do.

“Cute,” he shrugged. Then he realised what he and just said and blushed. “I mean, um, you know.”

Ginny didn’t answer.

‘Way to go, Potter,” he scolded, giving himself a mental slap on the forehead. ‘Creep her out, why don’t you?’

“Cute?” Ginny repeated faintly. “Um. Okay. I should’ve seen that one coming, I guess. You have just spent the summer with Fred and George, after all.”

Truthfully, Harry had just told her the first thing that had come into his head, but it was far easier to let her believe he had been joking.

“Yeah,” he agreed, forcing a laugh. “Sorry. My turn.” He was eager to get over the awkwardness that had just risen. “Go on then, what were your first impressions of me.”

“Scrawny,” Ginny replied instantly.

“What?!” Garry exclaimed, his eyes seeking out her figure. Ginny giggled.

“I’m joking,” she said. “Keep your hair on. Two can play at the game, you know.”

“Oh,” Harry settled back down again. “Well, that’s not fair.”

“Neither was yours,” Ginny reminded him. “My turn.”

“I thought we’d just finished?” Harry said.

“It’s my game,” Ginny replied. “We can carry on if I say so.”

“Rule breaker,” Harry muttered under his breath.

Ginny giggled again. “You should see me at dares.”

Harry laughed. “I dread to think,” he teased.

Ginny ignored him. “My turn,” she said again. “Um…tell me a secret.”

“A secret?” Harry’s eyes were beginning to adjust to the dark, but he still couldn’t make out her form.

“Something no one else knows,” Ginny said.

“I know what a secret is,” Harry scowled. “I’m just trying to think of something.”

“I’ll give you a question,” Ginny compromised. “Um, what’s the grossest thing that ever happened to you?”

“Do I have to?” Harry asked, pulling a face.

“Yes,” Ginny snapped. “Don’t be such a baby. You’re as bad as Ron.”

“I resent that.”

Ginny giggled. “Are you passing?”

“What?” Harry sat up. He didn’t exactly know what passing in this game meant, but he was damned if he was going to lose. “No!”

“It’s not pretty,” Harry warned her. Ginny threw something at him, which narrowly missed his head. “Alright, calm down. Okay, so I was eight years old and it was Dudley’s birthday. He had his friends over for a sleepover and my aunt Petunia had made enough food to feed a third world country. Uncle Vernon was away on business, so my aunt kept me downstairs so she could keep an eye on me.”

“This is the gross part?” Ginny asked impatiently.

“I’m getting there,” Harry answered. Ginny let out an annoyed huff of breath. “Anyway, Dudley ate about three quarters of the food on his own. I was just dozing off. Dudley must have eaten too much, even for him, because the next thing I know I’m being woken up by vomit all over my face.”

“That’s disgusting!” Ginny exclaimed.

Harry shrugged. “You asked,” he pointed out. “And it’s my turn.”

“Go on then.”

Harry racked his brains for a good question. “What’s the worst thing you’ve ever done that you’ve never told anyone about?”

Ginny was silent for a few minutes. “Okay,” she said eventually. “Once, when I was really little, I had an argument with Ron. He was in a mood with me because Fred wasn’t talking to him because he thought Ron had broke his toy broomstick, when it had actually kind of my fault.”

“This is the bad part?” Harry interrupted teasingly. Ginny threw another mystery object, and this time it only missed because Harry ducked just in time.

“Anyway,” Ginny carried on as if nothing had happened. “Ron told me that I was a silly little girl that didn’t know anything and I got so angry that I — well, I turned his teddy bear into a spider.”

Harry burst out laughing.

“It’s not funny!” Ginny protested. “Ron’s been terrified of spiders ever since. And the worst part is that Ron thought Fred had done it in revenge and ran off to tell Mum. Fred got grounded for a week — stop laughing so loud! It’s not funny!”

“Sorry,” Harry gasped, wiping away his tears. “But a spider.”

“You,” Ginny said, sounding put out, “are completely useless. And you’ve got to swear that you won’t tell anyone. Ron would kill me, and then Fred would, then my mum. So you can’t say anything. Promise you won’t.”

“I promise,” Harry said, straightening up.

“Not even to Hermione,” Ginny added.

“I just said, didn’t I?” Harry pulled a face. “What do you want me to do, dress in drag, do the hula and take the boy scout’s promise?”

“Now that I would enjoy,” Ginny snorted. “But okay. I trust you.”

“Same goes for you,” Harry said. “No blabbing my story to your new first year friends. I don’t want to be nicknamed vomit boy.”

“Vomit boy?” Ginny repeated incredulously.

“Or Pukey-Potter,” Harry carried on. Ginny laughed.

“Where did you get Pukey-Potter?” she asked between giggles.

“You don’t even want to know,” Harry sighed gravely, only causing Ginny to laugh harder. The pair were just coming up with more nasty nicknames (‘The sickster’ and ‘Super Spew’ being in among the mix) when the door swung open and two silhouettes appeared in the door.

“There you are,” Hermione said, her tone reprimanding. “We’ve been worried sick.”

Harry sprang to his feet and, in the sudden light, saw Ginny do the same.

“Malfoy locked us in,” Harry shrugged.

“And you didn’t think to try Alohomora?” Hermione asked. Harry blushed.

“Alohomora,” he said, shaking his head. “Of course.”

“I despair of you, Harry,” Hermione said. “Ginny has an excuse, she’s only a first year but you should know better.”

“Sorry,” Harry shrugged, walking past his bushy haired friend. “Coming, Ron?”

Ron had been staring at Ginny and Harry, mouth wide open but now he started.

“Yeah,” he said as if just coming out of a daze. “Right.”

He fell into step with Harry, leaving Hermione to help Ginny out of the cart.

“Blimey,” Ron said as they reached their compartment. There was a pile of sweets on one seat; evidently, the trolley had come while Harry and Ginny had been trapped. Harry took a chocolate frog, unwrapped it and stuffed it into his mouth whole. “I feel sorry for you mate. Half an hour trapped with only Ginny for company.

“Yeah,” Harry laughed.

But truthfully, he wasn’t thinking that. He was only think of Ginny and what a great time he’d had with her.


Back to index


Chapter 2: A Challenge

Author's Notes: back again, posting more chapters! This is number two, and I know it's way shorter...sue me! I hope you like it and please review!


The Sorting ceremony and Welcoming Feast passed in something of a blur to Harry, a result of tiredness, excitement and shock. He did see a few notable things happen that first night though, including Ginny running excitedly to the Gryffindor table after being sorted, Nearly Headless Nick having an affronted discussion with Ron and Fred and George’s mischievous grins as Snape’s cutlery danced across the Head Table.

Before he knew it, he was flopping tiredly into his lovely warm bed. He could hear Ron snoring and Seamus laughing but his head was only filled with glowing images of a certain redhead.

***

Harry, Ron and Hermione were not about to be broken gently into lessons. They realised this about 30 seconds after receiving their timetables from Professor McGonagall, only to see that their first day started with History of Magic, followed by Double Potions, and then topped off by a nice portion of Defence Against the Dark Arts with the smarmy Professor Lockhart.

“Oh, isn’t this wonderful?” Hermione gushed, eyes bright. “We get Professor Lockhart on the first day back!”

Ron muttered something so rude about that ‘bloody Lockhart’ that a nearby first year girl squeaked in surprise.

“Ronald!” Hermione hissed. “What sort of example are you showing for the first years? And don’t talk about Professor Lockhart like that. He’s a very talented man!”

“Talent-less, more like,” Ron snorted. Harry sniggered into his food, earning himself a furious glare from Hermione. “Any old tosser can win Witch Weekly’s Most Charming Smile, Hermione. It’s nothing special!”

“Well I’d like to see you try!” Hermione retorted shrilly. “And if you’re going to have that attitude then I’m going to the library!”

“To do what?” Ron asked, exasperated. “We haven’t been set any bloody homework! We haven’t even had a flaming class yet!”

Hermione only stood up, slung her bag over her shoulder and stormed out, nose high in the air. Ron watched her go, ears red and jaw set.

“Probably to read up on Professor Lockhart’s bloody books,” he growled.

Harry agreed instantly, knowing from experience not to disagree with either Ron or Hermione when they were like this.

***

History of Magic and Potions turned out to be just as dreadful as Harry had feared. Binns had droned on for the full lesson about Goblin wars, proving to be so boring that Ron actually fell asleep, his snores vibrating around the class room. Potions was just as vile, with Snape picking on anyone and everyone, apart from, of course, the Slytherins.

It was with a heavy heart that Harry dragged himself into Defence Against the Dark Arts. He was still stuck in the middle of an indignant Ron and a sniping Hermione, and their constant arguing was starting to give him a headache.

Hermione headed for a desk right at the front, Ron following behind, keeping up a constant stream of sarcastic remarks. Harry had no choice but to follow.

It turned out that Lockhart was even worse than he and Ron had predicted. He was full of himself, arrogant and downright annoying — not that any of the girls seemed to mind, much to Seamus Finnegan’s displeasure. Harry found himself switching off, choosing to gaze out at the Quidditch pitch longingly above listening to Lockhart recount another of his adventures. He was so caught up in daydreaming about racing his broom up and down the pitch at top speed that he didn’t notice the interruption until Ginny Weasley was right next to his desk.

She was looking up at Lockhart, her expression stuck between amusement, disbelief and disgust. He was recounting another story (something to do with a banshee) as Ginny listened, rolling her eyes every now and again.

“Actually, Professor,” she interrupted a couple of minutes later. Lockhart stopped mid-speech, his blue gaze shifting down to Ginny.

“Oh, sorry, dear!” he said. “What can I do for you?”

“Professor McGonagall has a problem in the classroom,” Ginny shrugged. “She asked me to come and fetch you to help. What with your expertise and all.”

Lockhart stared. “Yes, yes of course. I’ll be right there! Not to worry!”

Ginny stared impassively back up at him, her eyes wide. Harry was finding it very hard not to notice how pretty she looked right at that moment, with her fiery hair spread out across her shoulders.

“You do that, sir,” she agreed. Across the room, Harry heard Seamus and Dean snigger appreciatively.

“Yes,” Lockhart nodded. “Good!”

Once he had gone, Ginny turned toward the trio. Harry tore his gaze away as quickly as if looking at her had been suddenly made illegal.

“I really don’t see what people find so attractive about him,” she said. Hermione sniffed, making Ginny laugh. “Oh come on, ‘Mione! He’s an up himself, pompous, arrogant arse!”

Harry snorted and Ginny smiled at him, her eyes bright. Gathering up his courage, he leaned toward her on the desk.

“How’s your first day been so far?” he asked as Hermione and Ron got into another furious argument. Ginny blushed as red as her hair, leading Harry to wonder whether she had been blushing all through their conversation in the baggage compartment the day before.

Ginny shrugged, obviously fighting to keep her voice normal. “Not so bad,” she said. “Snape’s a git.”

Harry laughed again. “Tell me about it.”

“He hates me already,” Ginny sighed, gaining confidence. “All I did was tell Colin I wanted a new broom and he starts sneering about Weasleys and money. At least we use shampoo!”

Harry chuckled, then stopped, her words catching up with him. “Wait, a new broom?” he asked. “You fly?”

Ginny nodded. “I’m not excellent or anything,” she added hurriedly, “but I think I’m quite good. I’ve never had my own broom, though. I’ve always had to nick my brothers’.”

Harry considered her silently. She really was full of surprises.

“We should go flying together sometime,” he said eventually. “Show me what you’ve got.”

“You’d be privileged to fly with me, Potter,” Ginny replied promptly.

This easy, playful banter surprised Harry. It had taken him almost a year to achieve it with Ron and Hermione and now, only a couple of days after really meeting Ginny, they could have an easy, natural conversation with no trouble at all.

“I’m sure I would be,” Harry replied. “How about it then? A race, just you and me.”

“I’ll kick your arse.”

“Prove it,” Harry said.

“Prove what?” Ron asked, breaking away from his argument with Hermione. She huffed and picked up one of Lockhart’s books, burying her nose in it. Ron watched her, clearly torn between being frustrated and amused.

“That she can kick my arse at flying,” Harry supplied, stretching. Ron looked between Harry and his sister, his mouth dropping open.

“Flying?” he repeated in disbelief. Harry and Ginny nodded. Ron’s eyes instantly turned suspicious. “You haven’t got a broom,” he pointed out to Ginny.

The petite redhead scowled. “I’ll just have to borrow a school broom then, won’t I?” she said evenly. “Not that it’s any of your business, Ronald Bilius.”

The tips of Ron’s ears turned red and he gave the pair one last calculating look before turning around to talk to Seamus and Dean.

Ginny turned back to Harry. Her cheeks were still red, but this time it was out off annoyance rather than embarrassment. “Tomorrow, then?” she said.

Harry grinned back. “You’re on.

Back to index


Chapter 3: Flying With Ginny

Author's Notes: chapter 3. This is a bit longer, so I hope you appreciate it! I know I'm posting these in one lump, but please review and tell me what you think! Thanks goes to my beta.


Somehow, the word about Ginny and Harry’s race got out to plenty of people by the next day. Ron had told Fred and George, who had promptly told Lee Jordan and Percy. By the time Harry got to the Quidditch pitch, there was quite a crowd in the stand. The news had obviously reached the rest of the Gryffindor team, because Angelina, Alicia and Katie were there with Oliver. Dean and Neville were sitting together, smirking at Seamus who was leaning down between Pavarti and Lavender, clearly trying to chat Lavender up. Ron and Hermione were seated with Fred, George and Lee, and Harry could even see Hagrid waving at him from the stands.

Ginny stood against one of the poles, a broom slung casually across her shoulder. She was all decked out in Gryffindor colours, jeans, a red knitted jumper and a gold headband, her copper locks slung into a ponytail.

“Ready, Potter?” she asked as he made his way toward her.

Harry smirked at her. He hadn’t really seen her in the day, only during breakfast, where he had reminded her of their race. He had somehow missed her at break and lunch.

“Yep,” he replied. Ginny straightened up, standing away from the pole. “Who’s judging?”

“Fred and George,” Ginny answered.

“That’s not fair!” Harry exclaimed. “They’re your brothers! They’ll obviously claim you’ve won.” Ginny opened her mouth to protest, but Harry talked over her. “Don’t say they won’t, Ginny, you’ve got them wrapped around your little finger and you know it.”

Ginny grinned sheepishly. “Fine,” she relented. “We’ll let Hermione judge. She’ll be fair.”

Harry nodded, knowing that his friend would only tell the truth and not bend either way. “Once around the pitch then.”

“What are the stakes?” Ginny asked, taking her broom from her shoulder.

“Stakes?” Harry repeated in confusion.

“Yeah,” Ginny answered as if he were dense. “What are racing for? What does the winner get?”

“Okay,” Harry pondered for a moment. “If I win, you have to eat lunch with me for the rest of the week.”

Ginny raised her eyebrows, her pink tingeing pink but for once her full blown blush did not appear. “And if I win?”

“I’ll be your slave for a day,” Harry shrugged. Ginny grinned wickedly.

“This is going to be fun,” she said. “Come on then.”

Once the two teenagers were lined up at the beginning, Hermione eyed them both distrustfully. “No dirty play,” she said. “I don’t want either of you getting hurt. Just a fair race, okay?”

“Who are you, Madam Hooch?” Ron muttered, earning himself a slap across the head. Fred and George hooted from the stands, making Ron turn red.

“We get it, Hermione,” Ginny said impatiently. “Now can we go?”

“Fine,” Hermione sighed. “And on your own heads be it. Mount your brooms.” Harry and Ginny did as she said, grinning at each other.

“You’re going down,” he told Ginny. She shuddered mockingly.

“I’m afraid!”

“On your marks,” Hermione said. “Set…GO!”

Harry kicked off from the ground, not bothering to turn around to see if Ginny was following. He flattened himself on his broom, putting all his speed and effort into it.

Out of the corner of his eye he could see a red blur quickly catching up with him. Soon enough they were flying side by side, and despite Harry putting nearly everything he had into his speed, Ginny was matching him meter for meter.

“Put some effort into it, Potter!” she called out laughingly. “Don’t Mollycoddle! It’s insulting!” the petite redhead put in another speed of burst, flying just in front of Harry. He growled under his breath, flattening himself even further, determined to catch up.

“You’re not gonna beat me, Weasley!” he yelled as he finally caught up with her. “Not a chance!”

“The question is, Potter, are you hungry?” Ginny was grinning widely, still a couple of yards in front of Harry.

“Huh?”

“Cause you’re about to eat my dust!”

They were nearly three quarters of the way around the pitch. Harry could clearly see Ron and Hermione waiting for them where they had started. The crowds in the stands were whooping loudly as Harry finally rode up by Ginny’s side, completely out of breath and not able to retort. Ginny, noticing him catching up to her, narrowed her eyes and pressed herself further into her broom. Harry cast one final helpless look between Ginny and the finish line before it happened.

Ginny Weasley beat him in a race.

The Gryffindors in the stands went mad. Fred and George grinned gleefully, handing out money to Alicia and the blonde Ravenclaw girl Percy had brought with him. Everyone else looked disgruntled. Harry didn’t know whether to feel cheered that so many people had thought he would win or annoyed that one of his own team members had bet on Ginny.

“Hermione?!” he asked in disbelief as Fred leaned over and handed her three Galleons. His best friend shrugged sheepishly as Harry dismounted the broom and strode over.

“Sorry, Harry,” she said. “But…you know, Girl Power and all that.”

Harry shook his head and turned to Ron. His gangly ginger mate held up his hands.

“I bet on you, mate,” he said, obviously disgruntled. “And now I’m five sickles down!”

“We, however, are ten Galleons up!” George said happily. “Thanks, little sis!”

Harry turned around to look at Ginny, who grinned up at her older brothers and blew them each a kiss. “Don’t look so surprised,” she said to them, laughing.

“Just a question, Firefly,” Fred chipped in, “how, exactly did you get to be that good?”

Ginny giggled. “I’d tell you,” she said, “but then I’d have to kill you.”

“Who’s the blonde girl Percy brought?” Ron asked. “She looks pretty smart. She bet on you, Gin.”

“Oh,” Ginny said, laughing even harder. “That’s Penelope Clearwater. She’s a sixth year Ravenclaw Prefect. She’s Percy’s girlfriend.”

Fred promptly fell over the waist height rail, landing in a heap at Harry and Ron’s feet. Harry and Hermione glanced down at him in alarm, but no one else seemed that bothered. George and Ron were too busy staring at Ginny in shock.

“Girlfriend?” George repeated incredulously. “Percy has a girlfriend? Prefect, Perfect Percy? Good Merlin!”

Fred looked up at Ginny from the floor. “Are you sure?”

“I’m sure,” she nodded.

“But how?” George wailed. “It’s unnatural-”

“-disgusting-” Fred added, finally clambering to his feet.

“-completely-”

“-and utterly-”

“-wrong!” the twins finished together. Hermione shook her head as if trying to clear it.

“That’s just plain creepy,” she said. “But Ginny, how on earth do you know this stuff?”

“I know everything,” Ginny replied mischievously. “Penny and Percy have been together since the middle of their fifth year. “They bonded over nightly patrols together.”

Fred and George exchanged gleeful looks and, without a word to anyone, Fred reached out his hands at the exact moment that George reached over to yank him back over into the stands. They set off together, plonking themselves down next to Percy and Penny. From the pained look on Percy’s face, they were not discussing the weather.

“Well,” Hermione said. “I’m going back into the castle to finish that Potions essay. Are you coming, Ronald?”

Ron started, looking surprised, but eagerly fell into step with Hermione as she set off toward the castle.

Harry turned to Ginny, who grinned up at him.

“How does it feel to be beaten by a girl, Potter?” she asked. Harry pulled a face.

“I let you win,” he said. Ginny laughed and he couldn’t help but smile. He liked being the one to make her laugh.

“Just keep on telling yourself that,” she said, patting his arm. “In the meantime, I plan to celebrate my winnings.”

“Oh God,” Harry groaned. “I knew I should’ve just bet you money.”

Ginny smirked. “Well, Potter, you didn’t. So you better get used to the fact that from the second you wake up until the second you go to bed tomorrow, you’re going to be my slave.” She laughed wickedly. “I’m going to have fun with this! Cheerio, Harry!”

Harry watched her walk back to the stands. He watched her hug Percy, scowl and reprimand Fred and George, who stopped teasing immediately, and throw her arms around a laughing Penny.

Yes, he thought to himself. He was going to have fun tomorrow.

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Chapter 4: Slave For A Day

Author's Notes: This one is longer again! Yay! Please review and as always, thanks to my beta.


Harry was woken up the next morning by a loud, gleeful voice booming through the second years boy’s dormitory.

“Wake up, Potter!” the voice said. Neville sprang up and Dean buried his head further under his pillow. Harry lifted his head wearily, looking around the room. No one was awake, apart from a very confused looking Neville.

“Come on, Harry, wakey wakey!” the person sounded like they were laughing. “Don’t look so confused! You’re my slave, remember?”

Harry pulled his sheets up his chest so fast that Scabbers, who had been sleeping on the end of his bed, fell to the floor with a painful thump and squeak.

“Ginny?” he said as Neville looked around the room, searching for where the noise was coming from.

“Yep,” Ginny said. “And I’m not in your room, Neville.”

“How can you see in here?” Harry asked, pulling the sheets tighter around him.

“I’m a woman of mystery,” Ginny replied. “Now get up. I want you in the Common Room in ten minutes!”

There was a click, and then she was gone. Harry lay back down on his bed in relief as Ron raised his head, blinking blearily.

“Harry,” he said, his voice rusty from sleep. “Why is my sister giving you orders?”

“I’m her slave,” Harry replied, swinging his legs out of bed. Ron blinked at him. “Doesn’t matter, Ron. Go back to sleep.”

Ron turned over and a snore vibrated around the room seconds later. Harry grinned at Neville, who shook his head and snuggled back into bed as Harry quickly made his way to the bathroom.

He managed to shower and dress in record time before speeding down the stairs to the common room.

Ginny was sitting in one of the big, squishy arm chairs facing the boys staircase. When he arrived, her face split into a wide grin, and she glanced at a delicate golden watch around her wrist.

“Ten seconds to spare,” she said, pressing a button. “I’m impressed.”

Harry pulled a face at her, pretending to be annoyed at having been woken at such an early hour. The common room was almost deserted.

“Why are we up so early?” he asked as Ginny pulled herself out of the chair and brushed her hands off on her robes. Ginny shrugged.

“I’ve never been one to sleep in,” she said. Harry snorted, clearly remembering September 1st.

“Ginny, I had to almost drag you out of bed on Monday,” he reminded her. She scowled.

“That was different,” she said. “I was up all night, thinking about this place. Anyway, I’m hungry.”

She handed Harry her school bag. He looked at her disbelievingly and she raised her eyebrows. Sighing, he took the black rucksack and slung it across one shoulder.

Ginny smiled at him and, together, they set off for the great hall.

***

It was nearly half an hour later that other people started to arrive for breakfast. Harry and Ginny had sat in a comfortable silence, Harry watching Ginny as she worked on a Charms essay, her hand flying across the page. Her writing was large and loopy and he liked watching it form across the parchment. She had, of course, looked at him pointedly, waiting for him to pour her pumpkin juice and load her plate with sausages, beans and eggs, which he had done with a playful sigh.

Once Hermione and Ron had arrived, Harry had involved himself in their conversation, but he was unable to stop his eyes drifting to Ginny over and over again. He knew Ron, who was completely focused on his food, was oblivious to this, but Hermione kept sending him knowing smiles, which he found increasingly annoying.

Finally, Ginny packed away her essay and stood up. “Ready?” she asked Harry.

He stared at her. “Ready for what?”

“To walk to my class, of course,” Ginny replied sweetly. Harry glanced between her, Hermione and Ron, who had finally looked up from his eggs, his mouth full. “You are my slave for the day, after all.”

Harry stood up, ignoring the cat calls coming from Fred and George’s end of the table, slinging Ginny’s bag over his shoulder once more.

“What do you have first?” he asked once they were finally out of the Great Hall and away from the curious gazes of at least half the school.

Ginny pulled a face. “Defence Against the Dark Arts,” she said, setting off up the marble staircase. Harry followed her, adjusting the two heavy bags. “I really cannot stand Lockhart. I want to hex him every time I look at him.”

Secretly, Harry was quite relieved to find that Ginny did not have the same crush on the Professor as Hermione, Mrs Weasley and most of the magic female population did. Out loud, he said, “I don’t know. He’s quite handsome, I guess.”

Ginny stopped in her tracks and turned around to face him, her eyes shining “Harry!” she giggled. “I didn’t know that’s the way you swing!”

“What?!” Harry shouted, alarming a group of third year Gryffindor girls who were waiting outside a classroom with some other students. “I don’t!”

“Sure, Harry,” Ginny patted his arm soothingly. “It’s okay. I understand.”

“I do not fancy Lockhart,” Harry said as they started up the next flight of the stairs. “I’m just saying, lots of people think he’s very handsome.”

Ginny pulled a sympathetic face as they finally reached her classroom.

“Of course not,” she agreed patronizingly, finally coming to a stop where some other first years were waiting. A small blonde boy with a camera around his neck was staring at him in awe. “”I’ve got a double lesson,” Ginny said, not seeming to notice the boy. “So you can come pick me up at break.”

“I look forward to it,” Harry replied honestly.

***

Harry practically sprinted back up to Lockhart’s classroom to fetch Ginny. He had left Hermione and Ron with a yelled goodbye, leaving them confused, but he didn’t really care. By the time he reached the Defence room, most of the class had obviously left. Lockhart was just coming out of the room and Harry groaned as he spotted him.

“Harry, m’boy!” the professor said. “I wasn’t aware I had your class today! Just coming to talk to your hero, eh?”

“Um,” Harry said, peering around Lockhart and into the classroom. “Actually, I was looking for Ginny Weasley. Is she in there?”

“Miss Weasley?” Lockhart looked positively delighted. “Am I sensing some romance here, Harry?”

Harry kept himself from scowling and forced a smile on his face. “No, Professor. We’re just good friends.”

Lockhart smiled knowingly. “Of course, Harry. Well, she’s in the classroom.”

Harry side stepped the Professor, who set off down the stairs. He waited until Lockhart was fully out of sight before walking to the half open door and peeking in.

Ginny was sitting at one of the desks, resting her head in one hand. Opposite her was a dreamy looking blonde girl with misty grey eyes, her wand stuck behind her ear.

“How many times, Luna?” Ginny was saying. “Me and Harry are just good friends.”

“But you want to be more,” the girl replied. “It’s really quite obvious, Ginny. You’ve taken to him rather well.”

Ginny snorted. “I don’t fancy Harry,” she said. “Don’t be ridiculous.”

The blonde girl didn’t answer her for a long time. Eventually, she said, “It’s the mating season of woodworms.”

Ginny burst out laughing. “Honestly, Luna, you come out with the strangest things some times!”

“You can laugh,” Luna said unsmilingly. “But when woodworms are in mating season, it means romance for humans blossoms as well.”

Ginny tried stifling her giggles, but Harry could tell that she wasn’t doing a very good job. “I’ll remember that,” she said once she had finally gotten herself under control.

“Look,” Ginny said after a moment’s silence. “Harry is a very good looking, charming, sweet boy. But he’s just a friend.”

Harry’s heart, which had leapt at her description, dropped all the way to his feet. Just a friend. Was that all he wanted? His mind whirred trying to keep with his own emotions.

“You like him.” Luna said. It wasn’t a question, it was a statement.

“No, I-”

“You like him.”

“Look, I just-”

“You like him.”

“Fine!” Ginny shouted. “Maybe I do, a little bit. I mean, what girl doesn’t, right?”

“He likes you.” Luna said. Harry blushed scarlet.

“No,” Ginny shook her head. “He really doesn’t.”

There was silence in the room and Harry let his head fall back against the wall in despair. How could she think that? Of course he liked her.

It was another five minutes before Harry finally gathered enough courage to enter the room.

“Sorry I’m late,” he said, pretending not to notice Ginny’s flaming cheeks or the way she jumped to her feet at the sound of her voice.

“It’s — it’s okay,” she stammered. “Let’s go, Harry.”

***

The rest of the day was pretty uneventful. Harry held Ginny’s bag, loaded her lunch plate, and carried the books she checked out from the library to the Gryffindor common room. He read her the paper, got her drinks and even brushed her hair.

Although he would’ve died before admitting it, he enjoyed every job Ginny gave him because it meant spending time with her.

After dinner that night, Harry, Ginny, Ron and Hermione sat with Fred and George in the common room, who entertained them with tales of the fireworks they had set off in potions that day. George claimed that if one had gotten close enough to Snape’s hair, it would’ve set the Potions Master on fire for all the flammable grease. This particular snippet of information made even Hermione laugh until tears streamed down her face.

“Speaking of smarmy gits,” Ginny said, glancing at Harry. “Guess what I found out about Harry and Lockhart today?”

“Don’t you dare,” Harry hissed. Ginny ignored him.

“This is breaking news,” Ginny carried on. “You see Harry-”

“I do not fancy Lockhart!” Harry shouted over her. The common room was instantly silent, and his cheeks turned as red as Ginny’s hair as his new friend rolled around laughing on the floor. Fred, George and Ron were wearing identical grins and Hermione was staring at him with wide eyes. The rest of the Gryffindors appeared to be in shock.

“I should hope not, Harry,” a prim voice said from behind him. Percy appeared, his eyebrows raised. “I believe he has a girlfriend.”

Harry moaned, hiding his face in his hands as Ginny climbed to her hands and knees, still giggling.

“I was only gonna say that you didn’t like his classes,” she said, pulling his hands away from his face.

“Minx,” he growled. She laughed, leaning down to give him a quick, chaste peck on the cheek. It happened so quickly that Harry was half certain he had imagined it, but before he could say anything she was gone.

That night he was plagued with sweet dreams of a laughing redhead dancing by the lake.

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Chapter 5: Library Conversations

Author's Notes: This chapters shorter but one of my favourites anyway. you have no idea how fast i'm typing to get these out! Anyways, review please and thanks to my beta.


Friday was an uneventful, yet good day for Harry. He ate his meals with Ron, Hermione and Ginny, had lessons with Flitwick, McGonagall, Sprout and Lockhart, and got such little homework that he suspected Hermione was actually disappointed.

After dinner, he said his goodbyes to Ron and Hermione and set off for the library with Ginny. He had never liked the silent, stuffy room before, but Ginny made everything seem more alive. She somehow made everything better.

He had learned a lot about her over those last few days. He had learned that she hated tomatoes but loved tomato ketchup, and would eat it with pretty much anything. She liked McGonagall but hated Transfiguration, her favourite band was the Weird Sisters and she supported the all Witch Holyhead Harpies. She hated the colour pink (clashed with her hair) and her cousin Mafalda (calling her a name that would’ve made Hermione blush and scold the younger witch), couldn’t get enough of Treacle Tart and had a secret love for the soaps played on the Wizarding Wireless.

Ginny loved to read almost as much as she loved to fly, but she wasn’t a studious reader like Hermione. She enjoyed fiction books, novels full of action and betrayal and romance. She would read them for hours at a time, her concentration never wavering, her lips silently moving as she flicked through page after page.

She always sat in silence in the library, curled up in a chair, completely lost in her book, but Harry didn’t mind the silence. It was comfortable and natural, like they didn’t need words to understand each other. Harry was perfectly content to just sit with her and watch her while he struggled through his homework without Hermione’s help.

On Friday evening, however, he decided to venture into the stands that Ginny enjoyed browsing and see why exactly she got so intrigued in these novels.

He was just running his finger along the dusty spines of books, trying to find one he wanted to read, when a voice sounded from behind him, making him jump about a mile in the air.

“Merlin, Percy!” he pressed a hand to his heart, wheeling around. “Are you trying to give me a heart attack? Why did you do that to me?”

“Sorry,” Percy said sheepishly. “I was studying with Penelope when I saw you come into this section. Thought I’d come up and say hello.”

“I’m with Ginny,” Harry said by way of explanation when Percy looked at him questioningly, knowing that Harry was only usually found in the library when dragged in by Hermione.

“Oh,” Percy nodded. “Yes, you and Ginny seem to be getting quite close lately.”

Harry blushed, but tried to ignore his flaming cheeks. “I guess,” he said, sliding his hands into his pockets. “She’s a good friend.”

“Nothing more?” Percy asked, crossing his arms across his chest. “I mean, I know my sister is quite beautiful. Are you certain you are not courting?”

Fight’ing a grin at Percy’s proper way of speaking (and the old-fashioned term “courting”), Harry shook his head. “Honestly, Percy, we’re just friends.”

“But you like her?” Percy asked. He seemed unusually interested in Harry and Ginny’s love lives. “Don’t you?”

“She’s pretty, I guess,” Harry shrugged, blushing redder, “and funny, and cheeky. But that doesn’t mean I like her.” Percy just looked at him. “Okay, maybe I do a little bit. Curse me.”

“I don’t think we’ll do that, Harry,” Percy smiled and for the first time in Harry’s memory, he smiled back, connecting to the most uptight and serious Weasley brother. “Although Bill might, if he found out. He can be a little bit overprotective when it comes to our Ginny.”

Harry had never met the oldest Weasley brother, but he was pretty sure that he didn’t want him as an enemy.

“Look, Harry,” Percy unfolded his arms and ran a hand through his hair. “You and Ginny are a bit young for dating and all that stuff…but when you do want to ask her out…well, it’s ok by me.”

Harry shook his head, pushing the shock he felt at Percy’s approval to one side. “I don’t even think she likes me that way,” he said.

“Are you blind?” Percy asked. “Of course she does! Just give it a couple of years, get to know each other. You’ll know when the time’s right.”

Percy clapped Harry on the shoulder, gave him one last smile and disappeared back into the many racks. Harry sighed, letting his head fall back against one of the stands. Was Percy right? Should he just let himself get to know Ginny better, become good friends with her and then ask her out? Maybe he was. They were too young for dating and stuff now.

He debated the issue for several minutes before finally coming to a resolve. He would do as Percy advised. He would give Ginny and his relationship a few years as just friends. When the time was right, he would ask her out. For now, he would keep his thoughts (and his hands) to himself.

By the time he got back to their table, he had been gone nearly half an hour. She looked up from her book as Harry slid into the chair and placed the book he had chosen down on the table.

“What took you so long?” she asked. “I was about to send out a search party.”

Harry shrugged. “Ran into Percy,” he said. “We got talking.”

Ginny looked at him searchingly, then nodded down at the book. “It’s a good one. Really mysterious. It takes a long time to get there, but it has a happy ending.”

Harry smiled to himself.

“Exactly why I chose it,” he agreed, picking up the book and opening it. “Ginny?”

“What?”

“We’re mates, yeah?”

Ginny’s whole face lit up. Her face broke into a smile so wide he was half surprised her face didn’t split in half, her big brown eyes shone in the dim light.

“Yeah,” she agreed. “Really good mates.”

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Chapter 6: Time of My Life

Author's Notes: the last chapter! *sob!* I really, REALLY enjoyed writing this challenge peice and I hope you guys enjoy reading it! Thanks goes to my super beta, who got this done in record time, and as always, please review.


Saturday passed quickly for Harry. He simply spent the day lazing around with his friends. They spent the first part of the morning doing homework by the fire, by Hermione’s insistence. The four friends then visited Hagrid’s (choosing not to stay for lunch, a decision that Harry was sure Ginny understood after her first taste of Hagrid’s rock cakes) and spent the afternoon sitting by the lake. It was the type of day that made him want to put all of it’s memories in a box to keep forever. It would be a memory that smelled like autumn leaves and firewood and Ginny’s flowery scented hair and looked like the sun glinting off the lake in tiny chunks of light. It would sound like Ginny groaning in pain as she clutched her tooth after they had left Hagrid’s and Hermione scolding Ron for pretending to push his little sister in the lake and Ron giggling. It was perfect.

Sunday passed in much the same way, with Fred and George pulling a prank on Lockhart at breakfast. Ginny claimed that she had given them the idea to charm Lockhart’s robes to read ‘I’m A Pompous Prat!’ without being visible to him. Truthfully, Harry wasn’t surprised to find that no teachers pointed this out to the professor. When McGonagall passed the Weasleys, Harry and Hermione in the Entrance Hall, she awarded the twins twenty points each for moving out of her way.

It was late in the afternoon that Harry found himself alone with Ginny for the first time all weekend. They were lying by the lake again. Ron and Hermione had gone indoors. Ron was teaching Hermione chess, although Harry was certain it was just because it was the only thing he could beat their brainy friend at. Fred and George had disappeared hours ago, muttering something about Cormac McLaggen, an arrogant third year, and a map.

Ginny was on her front, reading a book. Harry was lying on his back, reading the book he had picked out yesterday. Ginny had been right, it was a good book. He found himself unable to stop turning the pages and, once again, he found himself admiring her taste in reading.

A sudden flash startled Harry out of the world of the two Wizards, stuck in the jungle with no wands and only a penknife to help them survive. The blonde boy from Ginny’s year stood there, his camera raised. Ginny looked up.

“Sorry, Harry,” the boy apologised moving toward them. Harry started. How did this boy know his name? He cast an alarmed glance at Ginny, who smiled and shook her head. “But I couldn’t resist. I’m Colin Creevey; I’m in Ginny’s year. A Gryffindor, like you! But I saw you two lying there and you looked so perfect I couldn’t stop myself taking a picture. You wanna see?”

Ginny looked like she was fighting a laugh, but Harry couldn’t speak. He was too busy trying to catch up with Colin’s babble. “Sure, Colin, that’d be lovely,” she said, putting down her book and sitting up. Colin pulled the photo out of the end of the camera and waved it around a bit.

“It’s a Polaroid camera,” he explained, seeing Ginny’s confused look. “It’s a Muggle thing. The photo comes out straight after. You just have to wait a minute.”

Ginny nodded, looking so interested that she actually reminded Harry a little of Arthur Weasley. He chuckled to himself, but when Colin finally handed him the picture, his laugh died in his throat.

Ginny scooted closer to see, but he was too busy staring at the photo to notice that she was pressing against him, leaning over his arm to get a good look.

“Oh my,” she said eventually.

The photo was lovely. They were lying side by side, almost touching but not quite. They looked comfortable together, happy.

“Can I keep this, Colin?” Harry asked finally, looking up. Colin nodded excitedly. “I can make you copies if you want!” he said. “So you and Ginny can both have one! And I can put it in that potion to make it move!”

“Would you?” Ginny asked, shifting so that she was no longer leaning over Harry, but her side was still pressed against his, making Harry blush at their closeness. “Thanks, Colin!”

“No problem!” Colin took back the picture, still smiling. “I can probably get it done by the day after tomorrow! See you, Ginny! Bye Harry!”

Once he was gone, Ginny turned to Harry, her eyes sparkling. “Sorry about Colin,” she said. “He can get a bit over excited sometimes.”

Harry grinned. “A bit?” he asked teasingly. Ginny rolled her eyes and swatted him before rolling away. Harry instantly felt as though part of him was missing, but he fought the urge to reach over and pull her back to him. “He’s good at photographing, though.”

“Isn’t he?” Ginny nodded. “I keep on telling him, he has this talent to capture exactly the emotion that the people in the photo are feeling. He’ll be famous one day.”

“What, photographing Ginny Weasley, top supermodel?” Harry laughed. Ginny blushed.

“Shut up,” she giggled. “I’m nowhere near pretty enough to be a super model.”

Harry stopped laughing and looked at her seriously. “Of course you are,” he said honestly. “You could knock those skinny arsed girls out of the business with just one smile.” Ginny blushed harder and Harry smiled, knowing how pleased she was. “I meant what I said, you know. That first day on the train, I wasn’t joking. I really did think you were cute.”

“Oh,” Ginny breathed, her eyes shining so bright they looked almost gold. “Thank you, Harry.”

“You’re welcome,” he replied sincerely. They stared at each other for a long minute before Ginny leaned over and gave him a short, sweet kiss on the cheek. This time, Harry knew he didn’t imagine it, and he let his eyes flutter shut.

“Race you!” Ginny shouted, pushing him onto his back. He snapped his eyes open just in time to see her tear away and quickly scrambled to his feet.

Maybe one day they would be more than this. Maybe one day they would kiss and cuddle and hold hands and be the golden couple of Hogwarts. Maybe one day they would get married and have children and grow old together. Who knew what could happen? There were endless possibilities. But for now, he was happy just to lie by the lake with her, to read the same books as her and to play chess against her.

Harry tore after Ginny. Their laughs and shrieks filled the grounds, their bags and books left behind by the lake, waiting.

For now, they had all the time in the world.

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