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Blushes and Pranks
By drawjones

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Category: Pre-OotP, First Week Challenge (2008-2)
Characters:All
Genres: General, Humor
Warnings: Mild Language
Story is Complete
Rating: PG
Reviews: 30
Summary: Have you ever wondered what might happen if Harry made it on to the Hogwarts Express for his second year? Would it force Ginny and he to address her crush on him in a more straightforward manner than Canon? Set back and watch what happens as during the first week back, as no matter how desperately Ginny may want to avoid Harry, she can't. Harry, Ginny, and Gryffindor Tower may never be the same.
Hitcount: Story Total: 18150; Chapter Total: 5607





Author's Notes:
This is my first attempt at a Challenge story. Let me begin by saying thank you to my wonderful Beta, Ginny Guerra, whose input into this story has been phenomenal. She has the patience of an angel and her creative input was a great help. I hope everyone enjoys this story. I have intended it to be one of humor and have chosen to completely ignore the presence of the Tom Riddle's Diary from Canon. By the way I've developed this story, I do not feel Ginny will turn to it in loneliness. Were this story to be carried out to encompass all of Harry's second year, I would still feel that Ginny would be the one to open the Chamber and be possessed by the Diary, although the reasons would have to be a bit different. With that said, I hope everyone enjoys the story. Please read and review - whether you like, hate it or are somewhere inbetween, your comments are what I use to make myself a better writer.




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Harry shifted uncomfortably in his seat. She was still staring at him. How can one person stare for so long! Doesn’t she have to even blink at some point? he cried out frustratedly in his mind as he shifted yet again in his seat. Her eyes were literally burning a hole into him. Harry could feel the beads of sweat on his forehead as he gave a weak smile, hoping to break her stare. Alas, that had just the opposite effect though, and her eyes widened in surprise for a moment before she giggled, blushed a bright red, and then returned to just staring at him.

Fixing his eyes on out the window and trying to focus on the passing countryside, Harry’s mind quickly drifted back to Ron. I’m going to petrify him and then hit him with a tickling charm for this! Harry swore to himself. Everything had been fine when Ron and Hermione were in the compartment with Harry and his staring companion. She had had Hermione to talk with and Harry had Ron.

Then Ron had to go and say something stupid. Geez, Harry thought to himself. I know blokes are thick, even me, but Ron just takes the cake! Of course, once Ron had rammed his foot so far down his throat that his knee was even with his chin, instead of being quiet or apologizing, he just continued to press on. Granted, arguing with Hermione was doomed for failure the moment she took offense to something that was said, Harry knew enough to realize that, but Ron had just continued to dig his grave.

What they had began fighting over, Harry could hardly remember. Actually, it did not really matter. All that mattered was about ten minutes ago, Hermione had cast aside whatever book she was reading — Harry thought she had said it was something about wizard and magical creature relations — and told Ron that if he was going to be an idiot, then she would just find somewhere else to sit for a while. That in and of itself was not so horrible, but then Ron had decided to chase after her and continue to prove his point.

The result left Harry in his current predicament. Here he sat, alone in a compartment with her. Of course, ‘her’, was Ron’s younger sister, Ginny. Even before they boarded the Hogwarts Express earlier that morning, Harry knew she had a painfully obvious crush on him. After all, the way she had reacted when he had come to stay with Ron at the Burrow earlier in the summer had clearly shown that. Being alone with her now, though, all Ginny could do was stare at him, gob smacked and unable to talk.

After the first few awkward moments after Ron and Hermione both stormed out, Harry had tried engaging Ginny in conversation, but between her giggling and blushing, he quickly felt himself getting a headache. Realizing that he did not understand the strange language that was girlie giggles, Harry had quickly abandoned that idea and set about doing his best to ignore her. Of course that was about as successful as ignoring Fluffy when he, or was it they, guarded the way to the Philosopher’s Stone the previous term.

Harry gave out a sigh as he realized that the countryside was far from interesting. Furthermore, if he looked out the window at just the right angle, he could still see Ginny just staring at him. Finally deciding that, Ron’s little sister or not, he had to do something to save his sanity. Taking another deep breath, he steeled his resolve and turned his eyes towards the small redhead across from him.

“Ginny,” he began as he watched her eyes light up once more. “You’ve got to stop staring at me!” His words came out much terser than he had intended and had an unnaturally high pitch to them — almost a screech, but not quite. It’s the stress of her staring. He told himself as he watched her eyes relay the surprise at the shortness of his words.

“Sorry,” Ginny muttered softly as she turned her eyes down towards the floor and began to find her feet very interesting.

Before she looked away, though, Harry had seen the hurt and disappointment in her eyes. Instantly, he regretted saying the words. “Ginny, I’m sorry,” he began softly, waiting until she looked up at him before continuing. “I didn’t mean to be short. It’s just…” Harry thought for a moment how to explain it to her without hurting her feelings.

It’s just that you’re driving me barmy staring at me. Don’t you ever have to blink? He at first thought, but quickly set that statement aside. Nope, best not imply she’s some kind of freak or anything, he thought to himself. She’s Ron’s sister after all. Besides that fact, though, Harry could remember the stories both Ron and the twins had told him about Ginny’s temper and her favorite hex — the Bat Bogey hex. It was something he did not want to risk learning about first hand if he could manage to avoid it.

“It’s just that I’m not used to people staring at me,” he finally began again. “It makes me feel like I’m weird or I stand out in some way.” He watched Ginny’s eyes widen in surprise for a moment.

Timidly she responded, “B-B-But you’re Harry Potter. You’re the Boy-Who-Lived. They tell bedtime stories about you…”

At that, Harry held his hand up. He could feel his discomfort growing as she was about to describe more and more the stories and legends that made him out to be more than he was. “No, Ginny…” he finally began, “I’m just Harry. I’m just like you. I didn’t do anything special, but it seems that everyone thinks I’m something I’m not.” Harry’s voice trailed off as he spoke.

He looked at Ginny to see a hint of surprise flash across her face. As their eyes met, a blush rose to her cheeks. Harry sighed. He knew her crush was going to make things very uncomfortable for him this term. Especially so, because he knew that in all likelihood she would wind up in Gryffindor. She’ll probably wind up president of the Harry Potter fan club! he thought sarcastically to himself before he noticed her watching him closely as his face was twitching in response to his thoughts.

“So you don’t want to be stared at,” Ginny finally stated once it was obvious Harry was once more paying attention to her.

“I just want to be Harry,” he responded. “I’m your brother’s best mate. I’m a kid. I’m not The-Boy-Who-Lived. I’m just me.”

Ginny looked at Harry for a few moments without saying anything. He could see her processing things in her mind. Now, behind her eyes, he could see her mind working, rather than her being star struck. He began to relax a bit as he waited for her to mull things over.

“Ok, then. You’re just Harry,” she finally said with a slight smile, and then a tremendous Weasley blush.

Fighting the urge to roll his eyes, Harry thought, Good enough for me.

“Exactly…” he said as he turned his attention once more towards the window, “…I’m just Harry.” This time he was happy to see that Ginny began to busy herself with something other than staring at him.

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For Harry, to deal with a staring Ginny Weasley was one thing, but a sobbing Ginny Weasley was an entirely different situation. If he had felt their time alone in the compartment on the train was awkward, where he found himself now had to be a downright bizarre. Here they were, alone in the last carriage going up towards Hogwarts and the Welcoming Feast.

Never mind the fact that first years were supposed to take the boats with Hagrid. By some horrible stroke of misfortune, Ginny had gotten separated from the other first years and mixed into the crowd of older students and unable to get to Hagrid before they left. Harry for his part, had wound up separated from Ron and Hermione and been forced to take the last carriage to the castle as he had been unable to find any of his friends to sit with. Actually, Harry had never found Ron or Hermione because they had never come back to the compartment after leaving in such a huff.

Now here they were, together again, but this time Harry sat with a sobbing Ginny crying against his shoulder and occasionally mumbling about being expelled even before she got sorted. Having no clue on how to comfort a crying girl, Harry awkwardly patted her back as he thought of something to say.

“They won’t expel you,” he finally said softly. “If they expelled people for something like this, then Fred and George would have been sacked a long time ago.”

Ginny giggled softly, as she pulled away from Harry’s shoulder, sniffling loudly as she wiped at her eyes with the back of her hand. “Do you really think so?” she asked quietly.

Letting out a sigh of relief as the water works seemed to have stopped for the moment, Harry nodded his head, “Yeah, I think so.” Actually, Harry had no clue. It was entirely possible someone would get in trouble for missing the boats, but he did not see Dumbledore as the kind of wizard who would just kick a student out. “And just think, since you haven’t been sorted yet, you can’t lose house points.”

Ginny smiled at him in appreciation. She continued to dry her eyes as the tears seemed to have completely stopped. She sniffled a couple more times as she began to realize just how close to Harry she actually was. Blushing a deep red, she quickly moved to the other side of the carriage.

They sat in companionable silence for a few minutes before Ginny softly spoke, “I must say, you’re not exactly what I was expecting, Harry.”

Tilting his head in amusement, Harry asked the most obvious question, “Really? Just how so?”

Giggling softly Ginny paused for a moment as she considered her answer. “Well, the stories my dad told me,” she finally began, strangely feeling that the truth was as good a place to start as any, “painted you out to be a hero.”

“Well, the stories he told at first,” she quickly amended. “But they were so fanciful, that I quickly realized they weren’t telling me about the real you.”

“I see,” Harry added, feeling his own cheeks flush a bit as a small amount of irritation rose up his back about the stories.

“They made you out to be this Knight in Shining Armor that would ride in on a white horse and carry the young girl away,” she added softly as her cheeks burned a deep crimson. She was no longer able to look Harry in the eye while talking to him.

“But I don’t even know how to ride a horse,” Harry added, a bit confused.

Ginny giggled softly, “Well, that’s good to know, but that’s the way these kinds of stories work, Harry. So you better learn.” Her voice was a bit stronger and full of humor as she looked up at Harry with a smirk.

“And then,” she pursued on, “Ron comes home, telling of all of your adventures. How you stopped Voldemort, AGAIN! Well, after that, reality seems so much better than fiction. It should be simple for you to see how a girl could wind up tongue tied with a crush on you.”

Harry looked at Ginny with a look of confusion for a moment. “I guess,” was the only response he could think to provide.

“Boys,” Ginny mumbled under her breath.

Suddenly finding himself appreciative of her candor, Harry began to feel the need to tell her what his impression of her had been. Annoying like a puppy that wants attention and demands to be played with? his mind offered, before a more intelligent, and female friendly part of his brain squashed that idea.

“Well, Ginny,” he finally began, “I’ll admit my first impression might have been a bit off as well.”

“Oh really?” she inquired, as the intrigue of her voice betrayed her blatant curiosity.

“Yeah,” Harry replied, “I mean for the entire time at the Burrow this summer, all I thought you could do was make funny noises. I actually asked Ron if you could even talk,” he continued as his voice dropped and he hung his head with his last statement.

Ginny huffed in indignation. “You wondered if I could talk?” she nearly cried out. “What on earth would make you think I couldn’t talk?”

With a slight grimace on his face that showed a more intelligent subconscious that was screaming for him to stop while he was ahead, he looked up to meet the small witch’s blazing eyes and answered, “The fact that all I’d heard to you say when I was around was an eek or a peep.”

Oh Bugger! Harry’s little voice thought as he saw Ginny’s response. I don’t think it was the best idea to say that, the little voice of his mind screamed. Yeah, well, obviously you should have piped up a bit soon then, an irritated Harry thought to the voice. Doesn’t matter now, you’re gonna get hexed just the same, the voice answered yet again.

Ginny sat silently for a moment, just staring at Harry. This time, however, it was not the stare of a crush, but instead that of a very irritated red headed witch. She opened her mouth to retort, but Harry was spared, for an instant before she spoke, Ginny gasped as the carriage rounded a corner and Hogwarts suddenly came into view.

“It’s beautiful,” she gushed, her attention focused on the magnificent castle before her and no longer on Harry’s stupidity.

“I know,” Harry responded as he felt himself relax a lot, glad that for now, he seemed to have escaped being hexed.

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Harry sat alone at the Gryffindor table for breakfast the morning following the Welcoming Feast. It was less than a day into the term, and Ron and Hermione were already arguing. When he had awoken in the morning, he had dressed and waited for Ron to go down to breakfast, only to find out that Ron had no intention of going.

“I’m not going to breakfast,” Ron stated flatly as he folded his arms across his chest. “She might be there.”

The “She,” he referred to was all too obviously Hermione. Ron and Harry had argued for nearly ten minutes before Harry finally gave up and left on his own. Of course, when he had gotten to the common room, Hermione was not there, and after another ten minutes of waiting with no one else coming down, he had given up and went to breakfast alone.

Now Harry sat alone, the only occupant of the Gryffindor table, chewing idly on a piece of toast. For the first morning of the term, the Great Hall was relatively subdued. It was still a bit early and more students would be making their way down just a bit later. Although he missed his friends at the moment, Harry was also taking time to savor the relative peace and quiet that he was afforded.

Just as he took a drink of pumpkin juice, Harry looked up to see a familiar head of red hair come into the Great Hall. Ginny stood frozen, taking in the emptiness of the Great Hall. She tentatively looked towards the Gryffindor table and saw a familiar untidy black head of hair.

Their eyes met for a moment. A small sense of dread filled Harry as he saw a quick blush rise on Ginny’s cheeks. Setting his glass back down on the table, he watched her quickly making her way towards him. Thinking back on their discussion the previous night, Harry hoped that Ginny’s crush would not be a continuing problem over the course of the term, but he knew it would be asking a lot for her to give it up in a single night.

Picking up a crisp of bacon, he began to slowly chew it as Ginny came to a stop in front of him. Timidly, she nodded towards the seat in front of him. Fighting the urge to roll his eyes, Harry extended his hand and motioned for her to take the seat.

“Thanks,” Ginny mumbled softly as she kept her head down and began to fill her plate with food.

As Harry watched her, he could tell that she was still nervous. She kept her eyes down, only occasionally glancing up to look at him. Silently, Ginny ate as Harry watched her, having forgotten about his own half-eaten plate of food.

Bloody hell! Harry suddenly thought to himself. Now I’m staring at her! Shaking his head, Harry shifted in his seat as he focused his attention once more to his plate.

“Where’s Ron at?” Ginny finally asked, as she began to just push the remaining food around on her plate.

“Git was afraid he’d run into Hermione,” Harry replied as he began to mirror Ginny in playing with the food on his plate.

She giggled for a moment, but when Harry looked up; he realized that for once, she was giggling for a reason that did not pertain to him. “Hermione said the same thing,” she finally said as she looked up and met Harry’s eyes. “So I take it that arguing is nothing uncommon for those two.”

Harry snorted before answering, “Yeah, something like that.”

“What makes it even better…” Ginny continued, “…is that they’ll probably run into each other later when they come down to get their schedules.”

Harry laughed openly. In his mind’s eye he could see the annoyance on Hermione’s face and the irritation on Ron’s when they both showed up in front of McGonagall at the same time, wanting their schedules.

“Maybe they’ll at least sort out this out and start talking to each other again,” Harry offered.

“Maybe…” Ginny answered.

Both fell silent again, as they watched others begin to trickle into the Great Hall. In the distance Harry saw Draco Malfoy strut towards the Slytherin table, his nose held high in the air, flanked by both Crabbe and Goyle. With their attention focused on the Slytherin table, neither saw Professor McGonagall approaching them.

As the professor cleared her throat, Harry and Ginny both snapped their heads towards her quickly. Ginny immediately seemed to cower before the stern looking Head of House before her. Harry just waited as she quickly sorted through the stack of papers and handed Ginny and him their schedules. As she walked away, Harry noticed Ginny relax considerably.

“Don’t worry about her,” Harry offered as he saw Ginny watching Professor McGonagall walking away. “She’s firm, but she’s fair. Just do your best, and do what she tells you, and you’ll be fine.”

Almost as an afterthought, and much quieter than the rest, he added, “And don’t let her catch you when you’re up to mischief.”

Ginny giggled at Harry’s last statement and smiled briefly at him as she began to look over her schedule.

“So how’s your schedule look?” Harry asked, finding himself genuinely interested and quite at ease with her for the moment.

For the rest of breakfast, they sat in companionable conversation, with Ginny relaxed and Harry enjoying talking to her. Ron and Hermione never appeared in the Great Hall. Harry and Ginny both assumed they would get their schedules from McGonagall in her office just before classes started. As they left the Great Hall for class, Harry bid Ginny a good day — instead of blushing, she smiled, and Harry quickly returned it.
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