SIYE Time:14:23 on 21st July 2024
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By Zen

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Category: Post-HBP, "Baby, It's Cold Outside" Challenge (2008-1)
Genres: Comedy, Drama, General, Humor
Warnings: None
Story is Complete
Rating: PG-13
Reviews: 11
Summary: A little shopping trip to Muggle London may not be as innocent as it looks...
Hitcount: Story Total: 5334

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.

Author's Notes:
Well, I wrote this on a whim when I first got the inspiration and I was so eager to update it that I didn't even cosult my beta (gomen!), but anyway, I think it's okay for now. I hope...



“Right, so you will distract Harry for a while so I can go and buy his gift, okay?”

“But, Hermione...!”

“Thanks, Ginny! I promise I won’t be long!”

Ginny stared at Hermione’s retreating back for a few moments until it finally disappeared between the crowds, before finally turning to steal a glance at Harry, who was standing next to a corn booth, buying cups of steamed corn covered in molten butter for the three of them, while being chatted up by the pretty blond standing behind the counter.

She sighed in exasperation. This had all started back in the Burrow’s kitchen. The war with Voldemort was still at hand, but yet everyone had returned to the Burrow this Christmas to celebrate the merry occasion together. She was very happy, of course, that she was getting to spend Christmas with her family and friends despite all the horror that was going around, and the security procedures that the Order was pulling up, but there were two problems at hand. The first was Harry. The memory of their break up right after Dumbledore’s memorial was still fresh in her mind, and she was having a difficult time dealing with him — always avoiding his eyes, always running away when the coast seemed to be clear for just the two of was a mess.

The second was the gifts. After finding out that they were on the only ones who hadn’t done their Christmas shopping yet, she, Harry and Hermione had huddled around the kitchen table while everyone else was asleep to discuss tactics. They had already gone through all Diagon Alley’s shops, and still hadn’t bought a single present. That’s when Hermione had decided that desperate needs required drastic measures.

“We need to go to Muggle London,” she had suggested.

That sounded like such a good idea at that time. They would go to some Muggle shopping mall, buy presents for the whole family and return home in time to wrap them up and place them behind the tree, which Mr. Weasley had set up in the living room earlier during the week. However, she hadn’t known then that it would end up with her being stuck alone with her ex-boyfriend and the giggly blonde who looked a few moments away from actually spoon-feeding Harry a sample of the corn.

“There’s nothing more dangerous than a boy with charm,” she muttered to herself.

“Did you say something?”

Ginny jumped; she hadn’t noticed that Harry had returned, and now she struggled to appear composed. “No, nothing,” she replied, and gratefully accepted the corn cup he handed to her.

Harry glanced around. “Where’d Hermione go?” he asked, puzzled.

“Umm...she needed to go and get a book from the bookshop,” she said hastily, which wasn’t a complete lie — knowing Hermione, the girl might actually go and get Harry’s gift from the bookshop. “Should we go and buy her presents while she’s not around?”

“Good idea.”

Munching on her corn, Ginny walked alongside Harry in the vast hallways of the mall. She found herself brushing shoulders with him more than once, as people were always milling around themselves, pushing against them as they ran off to some store or the other. Ginny, herself, was holding a couple of carrier bags, too, having found the ideal gifts for both her mother and her father — a beaded silk shawl and a toy she had picked up from a store which consisted of a real electric circuit with all the different wirings and tools needed. She was rather pleased with the gifts. Two down, several more to go.

She found herself glancing at Harry every so often, while wondering what was on his mind. This was the first time the two of them had been alone since the time they broke up, and she was sure that Harry was trying not to acknowledge that. Was he sorry? Regretful? Did he ever have thoughts about getting back with her again? Kissing her? She realised she was actually looking at his lips now, and she looked away, her cheeks tinged with pink. More than anything else, she wondered what she should be getting him for a gift. What can a girl get for a bloke without actually suggesting that she might still have some feelings left for him?

“Where do you want to go first?” Harry asked suddenly, breaking her stream of thoughts.

She swallowed the bit of corn that was in her mouth and threw a quick look around the place. She shrugged. “I really have no idea,” she retorted. “You’re the expert on Muggle things, so why don’t you tell me where I’m supposed to find good gifts?”

He smiled. “You forget that my years living with Muggles were mostly spent in a cupboard under the stairs,” he reminded her, making her feel embarrassed. “Never mind. You want to get something for Charlie? How about we head for that clothes’ store and check out their leather gear, what do you think?”

During the next few minutes, Ginny and Harry managed to unearth gifts for both Bill and Charlie, and they emerged from the store, holding more carrier bags than they had when they went in, and looked rather flushed — neither of them was up to all the frantic crowds of shoppers.

“Should we head to the second floor and see the stores there?” Harry inquired, and she nodded in agreement. “Right then; let’s take the lift. Have you ever been on a Muggle lift, Ginny?”

“No, I can’t say I have,” she replied, regarding the glass column in which the lift was slowly rising. She felt her stomach tighten; she really wasn’t a big fan of enclosed places, but she wasn’t about to tell that to Harry. “Why don’t we take the stairs? The lifts would probably be crowded.”

He frowned at her. “Crowded? What are you talking about? Look, there’s currently no-one taking the lifts,” he pointed out. “Besides, you’re more likely to trip and fall on the stairs with all those people pushing their way to the upper floors. Come on — this will be like an educational experience for you!”

Hesitantly, Ginny trailed wordlessly after him. She didn’t say anything as Harry pushed the button to bring the lift down to them, and continued to remain silent as the steel doors opened to allow the two of them in. Harry, however, noticed that she seemed unwilling to ride the thing, and he gently ushered her inside, while breathing, “There’s nothing to be worried about,” in her ear, which made her skin tingle...more because of the close contact than anything else. When the doors closed, confining the two of them inside the lift, only then did she realise that the two of them were truly alone in there, and she swallowed.

Harry pressed the second floor button and stood back next to her. Ginny felt a tiny whooping sensation in the pits of her stomach as the lift rose, and her grip around the cords of her bags tightened. She told her self that this will be over within a few seconds, but...of course, she didn’t take into consideration how Muggle lifts tend to malfunction sometimes. A little way from their starting point, the lift seemed to jerk to a stop, causing Ginny to loose her footings and stagger back against Harry, who couldn’t support her with the bags clutched in his hands, and they both tumbled to the floor. Ginny recognized that she was on top of him, and she quickly moved away.

“Are you alright?” he asked her, helping her up to her feet, and she moved her head in affirmation. “I wonder what happened.” He went up to the switch panel and pushed a red button, which looked like it might be the emergency switch, several times before a voice crackled, sounding clear and magnified in the lift.

“Yes? Is there a problem?”

“Yes. I’m sorry, but could you please check if there’s a problem with one of your lifts? It seems to have stopped moving,” Harry replied into the intercom.

“I’ll get to that in a moment,” the voice replied, and there was a pregnant pause in which both and Harry and Ginny waited with bated breath to hear what the man would say. He returned with the bad news seconds later. “I’m sorry to tell you this, but the lift is currently inoperative. I’m going to get some technicians to work on it right away, but I’m afraid you might have to wait for a while. Is that alright?”

“It’s not like we have a choice, do we?” Harry retorted, and the man grunted in reply. He sighed and turned to look at Ginny, who was looking a bit ashen. “Well, Gin, it looks like the two of us are trapped in here.”


While Harry chose to sit down and lean back against the steel walls of the lift, Ginny apparently thought that pacing around in circles was a better way of dealing with the problem at hand. He watched, bemused, as she clenched and unclenched her fists, and beads of sweat formed on her forehead. Her lips seemed to be moving, but yet no sound came out. There was no doubt about it; she was obviously...

“Claustrophobic?” he said casually, and she turned sharply to look at him. He grinned. “Ginny, do you have claustrophobia?”

She seemed to blush then, and pursed her lips. “So what if I do, eh?” she demanded. “We’re not all brave and fearless like you are, Harry! We can’t all look death in the eye and yet act so calmly around it!”

He laughed. “Who said anything about dying?! Staying in here for a few hours won’t kill us — you can have my word on that,” he assured her.

However, Ginny seemed to have found a new reason for worry then. “A few hours? A few hours?” she repeated. “What exactly do you mean by that?”

“Well, we have to wait until the technicians arrive, and then they’ll have to find out what the problem is before they can get to work, which again might take a little it might take us up to two hours,” he replied, and her eyes widened. “Why are you so worried? Look, there’s a bloody blizzard outside the walls of this building, and I’m not in a hurry to go out there and head to Diagon Alley in all the cold. I say we stay put until the lift gets fixed, and hope that by then the storm would’ve calmed down a little.”

“Who said we even have to go through the blizzard?” she demanded. “We can simply Apparate to the Burrow right away! We don’t even need to go to Diagon Alley!”

“Ginny, you seem to forget that London is particularly bustling with its people today, and will continue to be so until the late hours of the night, so I don’t see how we can Disapparate on the spot and have no-one notice that,” he told her. “We’ll be breaching some secrecy rules there, you know, and Kingsley is not as kind as he seems. We would have to go to Diagon Alley and Disapparate from there. That’s the safest way to do things.”

“We can Disapparate right here from the lift!” she insisted. “We can do that and no-one will notice!”

Harry quirked an eyebrow at her. “You’re not making any sense now,” he chided her gently. “Did you not just see me talk on the intercom with that man? What do you think will happen once they finally fix the elevator and find that there’s no-one inside it?”

She faltered for a moment. “Well...”

“Oh, and I forgot to mention one little thing,” he said, and pointed to the side of the lift that was made completely out of glass and overlooked the mall below. “People can see us up here. We can’t risk Disapparition when someone down there might just be looking up at us.”

Looking rather dejected and out of argument, Ginny sank down to the floor across from him. She hugged her knees to her chest and lowered her head so that the only part of her face visible to Harry was her eyes. “So, what do we do now, then?” she asked quietly.

“Sit. Talk,” he said, smiling. Harry was actually rather pleased by this turn of events. He had wanted the chance to be alone with Ginny for quiet a while now, but whenever she saw the possibility occurring in a short distance, she would hurry to get up and leave the place. He wanted to talk to her about what happened between them, he wanted to see if there was even an inkling of a chance that they could be with each other again. The ball seemed to be in his court now. “What are you in such a hurry for? I told you, it’s cold outside, and we already have all these bags with us so it would be difficult to walk to Diagon Alley while carrying them. It’s really in our best interest to stay here in the warmth of this lift until it gets fixed, and then venture back home without being faced with the possibility of catching pneumonia. Hey, are you okay?”

Ginny was rocking ever so slightly now, and she looked a bit pale. “Oh, what will they say? What will they say?” she was muttering.

He blinked. “Who are they?” he asked, puzzled.

She seemed to dither for a brief moment. “My parents, and my brothers,” she answered. “What will they say when Hermione goes back home and tells them that she couldn’t find us anywhere? What will they think?”

Harry’s eyes flickered with anger, but he subdued it. “They won’t think or say anything,” he retorted, the bitterness all too audible in his voice. “We will just tell them all that we got trapped in the lift, and that we had to wait until it got fixed before we could get out. Besides, why would they even begin to think or speak things about us?”

She averted her eyes from him. “Somebody was spreading rumours,” she murmured.

“Rumours? About us?” he questioned, and she nodded quickly. He sighed. “I see. Well, it can’t be helped. We’ll just have to tell them to use Veritaserum on us and make sure that we haven’t been lying. Of course, making that potion requires a whole fortnight, so they might need to lock us up in the attic with the ghoul and place anti-Apparition wards around the place to prevent us from running away until they finally investigate the matter.”

Ginny giggled, raising her head up a little.

He smiled. “That’s better,” he said approvingly. “Why are you concerned about what they might or might not say, anyway?”

Ginny didn’t respond right away, and when she spoke, she wasn’t even answering him. “ about I just pop quickly at the Burrow and tell them that we’re here, and then I return quickly before anyone knows it?” she said with sudden inspiration.

Harry had to fight the impulse not to laugh; Ginny was doing a poor job of hiding the fact that she was as pleased as he was with how things turned out. “You well know that no-one’s at the Burrow now, and besides, I could never let you do that; you’ve only just passed your Apparition test and I doubt you’d be able to return to this precise lift. I’m sure you’ll just end up Apparating on the head of a poor, unsuspecting bloke in another lift, and you will never hear the end of it,” he teased her, and she stuck her tongue out at him. He chuckled. “Ginny, would you like a drink?”

She stared at him. “A drink?” she repeated.

Harry pulled out a bottle of Fire Whiskey from one of his career bags, and in answer to her baffled look, said, “I got this from the Leaky Cauldron. Your mum requested one, and Tom said he was going close the pub later on in the evening, so I thought I’d get it early on.”

“Well, a drink wouldn’t hurt anyone,” she agreed. “Do you have any glasses?”

“What am I? A crockery cabinet?” he retorted, and she rolled her eyes. “You don’t mind if we share the bottle between us, do you?”

Ginny didn’t respond for a moment, but then she brought down her legs from her chest, tucking them beneath her, and reached out for the bottle. “Give it here,” she said, her lips uncurling into a coy smile. “Those technicians, they could give you reports on elevator failures, couldn’t they?”

“That could be arranged, yes.”


About an hour later, and a half-empty bottle of liquor, and Ginny was rambling.

“I’ve missed you, you know,” she said softly. “Every night since you said you wanted to leave me, I kept thinking about you. I kept thinking that I shouldn’t have agreed with you, and stayed with you regardless of what you wanted to do. I’m so stupid for having let you go, don’t you agree, Harry? I mean, when you love someone you have to hold tight to them, you have to keep them within your sight...and I’ve gone and done the exact opposite.”

Her trainers lay next to her, having been taken off earlier during the hour. Her legs were stretched out before her so that the tips of her toes were touching Harry’s shoes. He, on the other hand, had his head buried between his knees, with the bottle standing on the carpeted floor next to him.

“Do you miss me, Harry?” she said, cocking her head to one side. “Do you still think of me?”

Harry was silent. Ginny didn’t push him, and reached out for the bottle. She placed it to her lips and took a quick sip. Overhead, the man on the intercom was just feeding them a brief of what was going on, saying things like, “...and the technicians are currently trying to figure out what the problem is, and it might take a little longer than we anticipated,” which barely registered in her mind. All that mattered at the moment was Harry and her, and the fact that they haven’t had a moment alone to themselves for more than five months. She couldn’t believe what this little shopping trip had ended up in.

“Ginny,” Harry suddenly croaked, and she looked up instantly. “I’m scared, Ginny. Everyone expects me to do great things, they think I will kill the Dark Lord, but they neglect the fact that I’m barely an adult. I mean, I turned seventeen a few months ago. I’ve just become of age. But I’m still lost. I don’t know what I’m supposed to do. I don’t know what my exact strengths are, and what my weaknesses are. All I know that I’m doomed to fight a life or death battle eventually, and I’m terrified of it.”

Ginny didn’t say anything. This was the first time she had heard Harry speak like this. She, along with everyone else, was guilty of believing that he was a fearless warrior, when he was just a boy...with a twisted fate. She found herself suddenly crawling over to his side of the lift, and nestling close to him, so close, in fact, that she was able to smell the scent of the Fire Whiskey hanging on his breath.

“I would like to be normal,” he continued as Ginny gently pulled his head and rested it on her shoulder. “I would like to fall in love and just act like any guy my age would. What I would do to be in your arms again, Gin, if it weren’t for what I know would happen to you. What I would to do to kiss you again...”

“Kiss me, then.”

Harry sat upright. He gazed at her with a mixture of wonder and longing, and his fingers reached up to gently brush her lips. “You know I can’t do that...”

“No one would know. We’re going to give them that error report, remember?”

He smiled lightly. “If I kiss you now, I will never be able to let go of you again,” he told her. “It was difficult the first time, and I don’t want to go through with it another time.”

“There doesn’t have to be another time!” she persisted. “I can go with you! I can help you defeat Voldemort! I’m as good as Ron and Hermione — have you not trained me yourself? Harry, you can’t do this. I can’t do it either.”

“We will wait. Until I come back, victorious, we will wait. I promise I’ll come back, and then our union would be so much sweeter.”

“But I don’t want to wait!”

“No, Ginny.”

“You can’t just decide whether...”

“I said...!”

The lift gave a sudden jerk, and this time it was Harry who fell against Ginny. Fate played with the pair, and their lips met in an unexpected kiss. Time seemed frozen for the two as their lips touched, and their breath seemed to be caught up in their throat. It was Harry who finally leapt up to his feet, blushing to the roots of his hair. Ginny on the other hand was grinning with suppressed delight.

“You will forget that kiss! It was an accident! It didn’t happen!” he cried out as he scrambled about trying to cork back the bottle and place it in the carrier bag as the lift started to move, and the man on the intercom was cheerfully filling them in on the good news.

Ginny laughed. “You can’t tamper with fate, Harry!” she told him, starting to pull on her shoes. “That kiss was meant to happen.”

“You just forget it, alright?!” he said furiously, even though the corners of his lips were twitching as he attempted to fight back a smile. He cleared his throat. “Well, they fixed it sooner than we expected, didn’t they? Do you reckon it’s still cold outside?”

The doors of the lift opened to let them out on the second floor, and for an instant, Ginny didn’t wish to leave it. She wanted to stay back in there, but Harry was already stepping out and she followed after him. She didn't know about the weather, but she felt considerably warmer.


A/N: Ehh...I feel the ending came out a bit cheesy. *head tilt* Ah, well, you can’t expect more from me at 5 30 in the morning. I’ve been writing this for the last two and a half hours, and I’ve barely even registered the time. Anyway, other than my cheesy ending, was it good? Did I do a decent job with the characters and ideas? I’d love to know what you think, so please review!!
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