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SIYE Time:18:04 on 17th May 2022


Just a Hopeless Romantic
By werekitten

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Category: Post-DH/AB, "Baby, It's Cold Outside" Challenge (2008-1)
Characters:None
Genres: Fluff, Romance
Warnings: None
Story is Complete
Rating: G
Reviews: 28
Summary: ** Winner of Best Romance in the Baby, It’s Cold Outside Challenge **
Ginny is trapped in a state of romantic denial. Harry is ignoring any memories of romance. Neither wants to admit any feelings for the other. But when a locked door and SIYE Challenge force them together, who knows what can happen?
Hitcount: Story Total: 9303



Disclaimer: Harry Potter Publishing Rights © J.K.R. Note the opinions in this story are my own and in no way represent the owners of this site. This story subject to copyright law under transformative use. No compensation is made for this work... and all that jazz.



Author's Notes:
This is, I think, my new favorite of the stories I've written. It's the first time I've ever been moderately pleased with my romance. I hope you like it as much as I do!
This story started out as a normal fic -- I had the first section written already. Then the message about the new challenge showed up, and I wanted to work this story to make it fit. I think it could work as a non-challenge story, too, so I'd prefer if you view it as such,
Thanks to my friend Jonathan (frankleybrilliant on SIYE) for beta-ing this for me!
I know you're all sick of hearing it, but I'll love you forever if you leave a review! Thanks!




ChapterPrinter


“…and we shall we shall dance the dance of life together, my love, until the end of time.” And, at long last, he drew her dainty body closer to his and leaned in to kiss his one true love.

Ginny felt her throat catch as she leaned back on her bed and closed her book. It’s so sweet! she thought to herself. The sensible part of her argued that it was nothing but a load of junk written by a talentless author with fanciful ideas of romance, but she couldn’t help but be moved by the tragic story of a peasant maid who fell in love with a prince.

Reading romance novels had become rather a habit of Ginny’s in recent years. They were so far removed from real life, and yet conveyed the hopes and dreams of, well, anybody. True, they were filled with endless clichs, and true, many were so similar that they all started to blur together. Even so, Ginny got a little thrill whenever the beautiful, winsome heroine kissed her strikingly handsome lover. Much as she hated to admit it, she’d even cried a few times at particularly heart-throbbing parts.

It bothered her that these rubbishy stories could move her so much. Why was she so touched that a fictional lady, too perfect to exist in real life, got to live happily ever after? It shouldn’t mean anything.

But it did. And she knew the reason, though it hurt to admit. Ginny knew that she wanted to be the one with that oh-so-clich happily ever after. Hadn’t she gotten through the hard part, the suffering? Wasn’t it about time that Mr. Right showed up to kiss her, mount his hippogriff, and ride off with her into the sunset?

Mr. Right. That was an issue right there. Ginny knew, deep down, who she wanted Mr. Right to be. But she had gotten over him, hadn’t she? Ginny sighed. She had told herself that she had never liked Harry Potter. She had told herself this a million times. She had told herself that any feelings she might have felt were just a girlish crush on the Boy-Who-Lived. Yes, those had come to fruit in her fifth year, but that was before she’d really seen war, and the power of love. She’d told herself that now all she wanted was true love, not the remnants of an old crush.

Ginny could tell herself this all she wanted, but that didn’t make it true. Still, she could hope that her feelings for Harry would stay buried deep inside her, only to be released in quite times of introspection.

There was no hope for her and Harry, so the sooner she got over him, the better.

She couldn’t help but compare the considerate tokens and romantic gestures of the dashing prince of the novel to her own rather pathetic love life, if she forgot all about her brief months with Harry, as she intended to. No one sent her downy owls bearing fresh roses, red as her lips, still sprinkled with glittering dew, every morning. She’d never been swept of her feet and enfolded by a feeling of safety in the strong, muscular arms of her boyfriend.

Harry doesn’t count, she told herself. He was just like Michael, or Dean. Just another ex-boyfriend.

She would believe it if she kept repeating it, wouldn’t she?

And then there were the oh-so-romantic kisses that the heroines got in the books. Ginny knew all about those, and she missed them so badly it was like a physical ache. From the middle of the common room to a quiet corner of the library, Harry had never been stingy with his kisses.

But those weren’t really proper kisses, Ginny told herself. Harry wasn’t Mr. Right. He broke up with you. He did nothing when you gave him his, erm, birthday present. That wasn’t about Ron walking in, that was all Harry’s choice. Right. That was right. She just had to keep repeating it.

Ginny wanted a sweet, romantic kiss with the man of her dreams. The type that threw you out of the world, onto another planet where there was only joy and bliss, for eternity. And those Mars, Jupiter, and even Pluto experiences she’d gotten with Harry weren’t what a real kiss was supposed to be, right? Ginny just wanted real kiss with her one true love.

And that was the crux of the problem: Ginny believed in true love. There is no such thing as true love, she’d told herself firmly. Or tried to tell herself — no matter how hard she argued that true love simply couldn’t exist, there was always one little part of her that resisted. One little corner of Ginny that kept saying, “Isn’t it nice to think that there is? Isn’t it comforting to believe that one day you’ll find him, one day you’ll marry him, one day you won’t have to worry about what will happen the next, just because he will be there with you?”

And it was comforting. Very comforting. That one little part of her that held out was the bit that kept her going from day to day.

It’s not healthy to be that focused on romance, she’d tried telling herself. Even if you ignore that little sentiment, it’s always there, and it shouldn’t be. You should be able to forget about boys entirely, just focus on your friends, your family, your schoolwork…

But she just couldn’t.

Ginny sighed and picked up her book again. A guilty pleasure, that’s all these books were. But they were one that she couldn’t live without.

And as she felt the softness of his lips on hers, the maiden knew that she was finally where she belonged. She leaned into his embrace, and gave a sigh of pleasure…

~*~*~



It was nearly Christmas time in the Burrow, but the Weasleys were barely celebrating. It was as if things were just barely returning to normalcy. The summer after Voldemort’s defeat had been filled with mourning, but just as everyone was beginning to recover, the school year started and Ginny had been whisked away back to a newly-repaired Hogwarts. Harry and Ron had left the emotional sanctuary of the Burrow to begin Auror training, and Hermione had gone to recover her parents from Australia. Though Percy stopped in at the Burrow far more often, George came by much less. The memories that it contained were apparently too painful for the grieving twin, and he preferred to lose himself in his work.

But at Christmas, Molly Weasley had decided that the grief ought to end. She’d invited all of her children, including Harry, to abandon whatever rented flats they were living in and spend the holiday at the Burrow. However, though some holiday cheer permeated the rooms, Christmas was thus far paling in comparison to Christmases past.

In the old days, it would have been up to Fred and George to fix the situation. They would have forced the family to be happy, to laugh and smile, and have a good time.

And that was the fact that hit George the hardest as he sat in alone his room on the first day of Ginny’s holiday. When he’d lost Fred, he’d lost himself, too. It was as if the fun, playful, and hilarious part of him had been buried under the falling bricks.

And that just wasn’t right. Could he give up his life just because his twin had? No, George decided. It was time to start living again.

The best way to do that, of course, was a prank.

The best victims for a prank were the youngest, those most likely to appreciate it. Ron and Hermione, however, were very nearly adults, in George’s mind. Harry and Ginny… well, they were still working things out. Sure, they were more mature than any teenagers ought to be, but not in one area… romance.

George had noted that Harry had hardly looked at Ginny since she’d come home. It was almost as if they were ashamed to talk to each other. And that needed some fixing.

They would sort things out eventually, of course, if left to their devices. But Fred and George had never been ones to leave others to their own devices, and that policy hadn’t faded with Fred.

And so the plot took shape. It was a simple one, really. Lock the two budding young lovers in a room together, and don’t let them out until they’ve revealed their feelings. George was sure that it would yield pleasing results.

And so he concealed himself outside Ginny’s room, to wait for the opportune moment.

A wicked smile grew on his face, and anyone who saw him would have said that it looked exactly like Fred.

~*~*~


A knock on the door startled Ginny from her book. Quickly noting the page number and shoving it under her pillow, she called, “Come in!”

The door swung open to reveal a sheepish-looking Harry. Ginny felt her pulse quicken. He looked even better than when she’d last seen him, stony faced and looking the other direction as she boarded the Hogwarts Express. Stony faced. That’s how she had to stay now. They were just friends with some old awkward feelings.

It had been all to clear too Ginny after the final battle that Harry was completely unsure of what to do about her. She hadn’t dared to let herself hope that he might want to be with her again. Ginny knew him well enough to guess that he was just too insecure about how she might react to say anything to her. And there hadn’t really been a good time to say anything, after all. But that was just a guess, and Ginny couldn’t let herself believe that it was true.

“I hate to bother you or anything,” he began, “but Ron wanted me to tell you that he’s game for a round of Chocolate Frog card swapping, only you have to come up to our room.” He gave an apologetic grin. “Don’t shoot the messenger.”

Ginny grinned. He’s being normal. Relaxed. That’s a good sign. “Ron’s just being lazy, as usual. So, did you get any good cards lately?” she asked casually, trying to make light conversation. She got up and began to pick through her trunk for her box of cards.

Unnoticed by either one, the door behind Harry swung closed.

“Er, not really,” he replied. “I got a Carmilla, I’d been looking around for her.”

“Oh, you should have asked me! I have two. Why don’t you sit down?” asked Ginny lightly as she tossed things out of her trunk. “This might take a while — my trunk’s a mess. Mum’s been trying to teach me cleaning charms,” she chatted on, “but she’s also strict about the whole no-magic outside of school thing, which makes it hard, and I’ve always been rubbish at household charms anyways.”

Harry perched uncomfortably on the edge of her bed. “Yeah, my trunk’s so disorganized that even I don’t know what’s lurking at the bottom.” He gave an anxious grin, clearly a bit uncomfortable in such close proximity to her.

Ginny, heedless of this, gave a real grin in reply and, within a few seconds, triumphantly lifted up a battered box. “Here they are! Bill gave me most of them -- by the time I got interested he said he was too old.”

Trying to calm down, Harry smiled and said, “I don’t think Ron will ever be too old for Chocolate Frog cards.”

Ginny laughed and made her way to the door. “You’re probably right. Coming?”

“Yeah.” Harry reached out a hand to push the door open. When it didn’t go, he tried the knob.

It rattled, but refused to move.

He gave Ginny a curious look. “Does this door stick?”

“Er, no,” she said. “Let me see?” He stepped aside, and she too tried to turn the knob, shoving the door outward as she did so.

“How did that happen?” asked Harry in confusion.

“No idea,” replied Ginny, but she knew exactly how it had happened. George! she concluded. Oh, Merlin, this has to be him. She gave an inward groan of despair. I was almost having a normal conversation with Harry! Why did he have to spring this, and ruin it? Oh dear, this will be so awkward. Perhaps someone is around to let us out? She said this last thought aloud, and she and Harry promptly began banging on the door and calling for help.

When no one arrived, Ginny groaned aloud. Silencing charm. I hate him! Of course, it’s good that he’s coming out of his depression or whatever, but why now?

Harry sighed. “Are we stuck?”

Ginny too sighed. “I guess, until someone realises that we’re gone.” Which, knowing George, will be quite some time.

He shrugged. “This is solved easily enough.” He took out his wand and murmured “Alohomora!” When nothing happened, Harry frowned and tried again. After a third failed attempt, he sighed and put his wand back in his pocket. “Either it’s a really complex spell holding it shut, or someone’s pushed something in front of the door.”

Ginny was extremely annoyed, but she couldn’t stay in a state of despair for long, and as Harry tried hopelessly to peer through the keyhole, Ginny began to see why George had pulled this prank. I guess they approve of the idea of me and Harry, she pondered. Of course, she hastily added, to avoid getting her hopes up, it has no chance of ever happening. It’s just nice to know that my brother is on my side. And while I’m in this situation… why not take advantage of it? And it is rather romantic… me and Harry locked together in a bedroom…

Keen to avoid taking her thoughts down that path, Ginny quickly restarted the conversation. “I don’t suppose you have your cards with you? We could trade them just between the two of us.” The two of us. Oh dear, this is incredibly awkward.

“No, I wish I did. Say, Ginny, do you think your mom would mind if I used a more complex spell to get us out of here? I’m fairly certain it would work, but it makes a loud noise and a bit of a mess.”

“No!” Ginny nearly yelped. “I mean, that probably wouldn’t be a good idea.”

“Why not?”

“You know how strict Mum is about magic use, and she’s already so stressed with Christmas preparations and housing all of us…”

“We wouldn’t even have to tell her, if it bothers you that much. I could clean it all up myself.”

Ginny grinned impishly. “Hiding something from Mum? A naughty streak in Mr. Perfect Potter?”

“Since when am I perfect?” he laughed back.

“Trust me, Harry, you’re much closer to perfection than you think you are.” Yup, just about perfect.

He gave her a doubtful look, but didn’t pursue the subject. “Seriously, Ginny, this is a good unlocking spell, better than Alohomora. Hermione dug it up and insisted that me and Ron learn it. I’m sure your mum won’t mind a few, y’know, sparks and bangs.”

“No, that’d be a really bad idea,” Ginny reiterated. “I’m sure someone will be along to let us out sooner or later.” Later, she hoped. She was really starting to enjoy being locked up with Harry. Alone with Harry. “And besides, you don’t have your wand with you,” she added, conveniently forgetting his earlier display of Alohomora.

“Yeah, I do.” He pulled the object in question from the back pocket of his jeans. “I’ve carried it everywhere for years — you never know when you’ll need it.”

Trying to erase the solemn look on his face, Ginny asked, “Did Moody ever tell you about that? Keeping your wand in your back pocket could blast off…” Ginny broke off and couldn’t help the faint blush that spread over her cheeks.

Harry, however, merely laughed. “Yeah, he told me. I think it was probably just his paranoia coming through.” He glanced at the door again. “Won’t Ron be wondering where we are?”

“Neh, Ron’s so thick he probably won’t notice.” She grinned to lessen the insult. “And anyways, we could just tell him that, I dunno, we were drafted to set the table.”

“Why not just tell him that the door randomly locked?”

Drat. He doesn’t realise it’s a prank. Mentally cursing, Ginny tried to think up a reason to lie to her brother. “Well, you know Ron. What would he say if he knew together in a bedroom with the door closed?” She gave a wicked grin.

It was Harry’s turn to turn a delicate shade of pink.

“And anyways,” continued Ginny, “why not just stay here a while?”

Harry shrugged, though he looked uncomfortable. “I guess I don’t see why not.”

“C’mon, sit down! We might be here a while.” She collapsed on her bed and motioned for him to sit next to her.

He reluctantly sat down beside her, keeping a good distance between the two of then. Casting about for something to talk about, he said, “Wow, your room is really warm. More so than the rest of the house.”

Ginny grinned. “Plenty of warming charms. I hate being cold, and it sure is cold outside.”

Trying to get more comfortable on her bed, Harry reached a hand behind himself for support. His hand felt something hard. He gave Ginny an inquisitive look as he pulled out her romance book.

Ginny blushed for real this time, a bright lobster red. She tried to laugh, but it came out sounding choked and forced. “Oh. That. It’s just, y’know a book I picked up.”

Harry cast an amused glance at the dishy young man and scantily dressed maiden on the cover. “You read this sort of thing often?”

Her face grew several shades redder, but she said quite firmly, “Yes, I like them. Of course, I know they’re junk, but they’re sweet.”

Harry was clearly trying not to laugh.

Ginny shrugged, refusing to look him in the eye. “They’re sort of like, I dunno, an escape from reality.” Her voice dropped to just above a whisper. “Cheezy romance books are so different from this world… but wouldn’t it be nice if everyone really did get their happy ending?”

Harry sobered up immediately. He was silent for a minute, apparently lost in memory. When he spoke, his voice cracked a little. “It would be nice. Very nice.”

Ginny knew they were both thinking of everyone, including themselves, who had lost their chance at happily ever after because of the war.

After another minute of silence in which the tension between the two of them was nearly palpable, Harry once more brought up the subject of getting out. “You sure you don’t want me to use that spell?”

“Positive. Mum’d freak.”

“Then what about your window?”

“Harry, are you crazy? Not only are we up three stories, it’s cold outside! We’d freeze.”

“It’d just be for a minute. And won’t your parents, and Ron, and everyone be wondering where we are? Don’t you think they’d, y’know, talk?”

“People talk about us enough already,” said Ginny shortly. It was true. She’d seen people at Hogwarts looking at her oddly, girls whispering as she turned down yet another request from a boy simply because he wasn’t Harry. It was true even within her own family — her mother had taken to dropping not-so-subtle hints about her and Harry, and she’d caught significant looks from her brothers at Harry’s restrained greeting when she’d gotten back from Hogwarts.

Harry just winced and looked away.

Ginny never knew what made her do it, but she reached out and put a hand on Harry’s shoulder, saying, “Harry, don’t you think we should talk about us?”

As soon as she said the words, she wished she hadn’t. Harry remained silent, and that one sentence had just trashed all her self-persuasion that Harry was entirely wrong for her. The warmth of the room suddenly seemed entirely too hot. What had possessed to bring up old, not-yet-wholly-forgotten feelings? They had been acting so normally, like friends again. Why had she thought to change that?

After several seconds which seemed like several hours, Harry shifted himself away from her hand. Unconsciously, he reached up to touch his shoulder. Rubbing it slightly, he took a deep breath and began to speak. “What about us? What us is there?”

Does he want to play the “Let’s-Forget-What-Happened game, or does he really not like me? Ginny decided that it was all or nothing at this point, and she wanted to go for all. “Did you ever want to change your mind, about leaving me behind?”

He still refused to meet her eyes, and said nothing.

“Did you ever regret it?” she pushed on. “Did you ever think of me, when you were out adventuring with Ron and Hermione? Or did you forget about me completely? Did those few months we had, together, mean anything to you, or was it just a schoolboy crush? Did you ever wish we’d never ended it? Ever wish–”

“Yes!” he cried, cutting her of and turning around to look her full in the eye. “Yes, I regretted it. Every moment of that damn journey, I regretted it. You were home, you were safe, that was good. But you weren’t with me! Every night, before I’d go to bed, I’d wonder what you were doing, if you were missing me as much as I missed you. I clung to every shred of news we got of you like a lifeline. To know that you were still thriving, still fighting, still living your life was barely enough to keep me going. I never, ever forgot you. I never could.” He held her gaze, emotion surging through the connection as never before.

The passion in his eyes shocked Ginny. He’d never forgotten her. He still loved her. It was more than she could have hoped, more than she could have dreamed.

“I could never forget you either,” she whispered. It paled in comparison with his confession, but she knew it was the truth, pure and simple.

“Merlin, Ginny, you’ll never know just how much I missed you.” Unconsciously, they were moving closer together on the bed, leaning in towards each other. And, neither knowing quite how it happened, they kissed.

Kiss is such a simple word. Four insignificant letters. It does nothing to describe the tidal wave of emotion that surges from the connection of two people who are truly in love.

This kiss was not just a trip to Mars, Jupiter, or even Pluto. It was a journey that flung Harry and Ginny out of the solar system, past the Milky Way, past planets that are yet to be discovered, and into a fantasy world where nothing exists but the joy of true love. It was a release of years of pent-up emotions, finally coming into the form they were meant to take. It was a unity of two people whom Fate had forced apart for far too long.

So maybe happily-ever-afters really can come true.

Reviews 28
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