SIYE Time:22:00 on 17th September 2021

Second Chances and First Occasions
By Rogan

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Category: First Time for Everything Challenge (2019-2), First Time For Everything Challenge (2019-2)
Characters:Harry/Ginny, Hermione Granger, Ron Weasley
Genres: Fluff, General, Romance
Warnings: None
Story is Complete
Rating: PG
Reviews: 30
Summary: ***Honourable Mention in the First Time for Everything Challenge*** After Harry survives his second Killing Curse, he makes a decision that changes things quite drastically. Getting a second chance at some of the events in his life, Harry resolves to do a few things right he did wrong on his first attempt.
Hitcount: Story Total: 9449; Chapter Total: 1568


As they all gathered in the Common Room, Harry ensure that he was ready long before it was time to go down to the Great Hall for the dinner and dance. This time around, there was no need to help Ron remodel his dress robes, and they were both actually looking forward to the Yule Ball - something that had been a lot less true several years in Harry’s past. Of course, it helped that they both had their preferred dates - even Ron admitted to that now - and that there was no imminent threat of death looming over them. Harry had already put in an owl order for a liberal supply of Gillyweed, and had even splurged on some useful underwater equipment, such as a waterproof watch and a diving knife. This all meant that his thoughts could be simply on the present for now, and he reveled in having no worse problems than making sure his date would be happy during the Yule Ball. As he sat waiting for Ginny in one of the plush armchairs by the fire, he reflected on the fact that after all he had already been through in his life, an evening in which he would have to be the center of attention for a while would be no challenge at all.

And so, it was with a huge, relaxed smile that he stood up to greet Ginny as she arrived at the bottom of the stairs of the girls’ dormitory. The smile was not just for the fact that he was glad to see her and looked forward to spending a great evening at the Yule Ball with her and his friends, but also showed his amusement at the self-conscious way she walked into the common room. She was a different Ginny from anything he had seen before in the dress he had ordered for her. The dress was chosen for its colouring, but he had left the details up to Madam Malkin after simply specifying that he needed a dress for the Yule Ball, what his preferred price range was, and who it was for. Since Ginny had been in for robe fittings that year, Madam Malkin had still had her measurements. The result had become a floor length emerald green gown which, Harry had to admit, cast Ginny in a completely new light. And she was obviously nervous about wearing it, taking care not to brush it against the walls of the stairway and holding it up so it kept away from the floor.

“You are…” he began a bit breathlessly, but then hesitated when he realized he had no idea what to say. She looked at him expectantly, and he found himself grinning and continuing, as if his mouth had developed a mind of its own: “You’re looking so good I can’t find any words for it.”

Ginny rewarded him with a brilliant smile, then twirled on the spot and struck a pose to show off her dress.

“I’ve never worn anything remotely like this,” she exclaimed, then leaned in close and whispered: “but I’m afraid to move in it, because I want to keep it safe. It’s really scary. What if I get a big stain on it that won’t come off again? This isn’t the kind of dress you just wear once, you know.”

Harry laughed, but Ron interrupted them before he could speak.

“Wow,” he exclaimed, as if he had been saving up that word during their entire conversation so far, “Harry, did you buy her that dress? It’s amazing!”

Ginny made an elegant little curtsy to her brother in acknowledgment of the compliment.

“It is sort of the colour of fresh pickled toad, though,” Ron continued in a thoughtful voice, “don’t you think? Goes well with your eyes, Harry.”

Ginny had the grace to smile as a pink flush once again crept up behind her freckles. Harry decided to be a gentleman about it, and whacked the back of Ron’s head with his open hand.

“Git,” he grunted, without much venom, “that’s my date you’re talking to.”

“That’s my sister you’re dating,” Ron replied smartly, “and if you’re not careful I’ll withdraw my permission.”

“Try to do anything like that and you can try and dance with Hermione with one broken leg,” Ginny said in a sweet voice that made the hair on Harry’s neck stand up very straight.

“Remind me to be a gentleman tonight,” Harry told her, “I wouldn’t want to get on your bad side.”

“You’re the hero who saved the world from You-Know-Who,” Ginny said, turning a sly smile on him, “so you’ve got some credit with me.”

At that point, all the voices in the common room dimmed and stopped, and Harry’s eyes, seeking the source of the disturbance, flicked over Ron’s face. His friend was staring, open mouthed, at something behind him. Everyone else seemed to be looking in the same direction, and Harry turned slowly to face the focus of their attention.

Hermione looked just like he remembered her. She, like Ginny, was a different Hermione, her hair straightened and sleek, her dress blue and floaty, and her posture more elegant than they would see for a long time. In fact, Harry could not remember her looking so well dressed up for a party until Bill and Fleur’s wedding which, he hoped, would still take place in about two and a half years. Becoming aware that Ron was just standing there, gaping, he poked him with his elbow.

“Go say hi,” he whispered to his friend, “girls like it when you say hi.”

Ron squeaked, then stepped forward until he was just in front of Hermione.

“Hi,” he said, his voice unnaturally high, “you, err, you look so good I can’t find any words for it.”

Ginny opened her mouth, but Harry preempted her.

“Don’t say anything, Ginny Weasley,” he whispered in her ear, stopping her just before she was about to utter something that would clearly have sparked off an argument between siblings, “and give your brother a break. He’s not the romance king of the Wizarding World, and if you give him trouble now, it’ll take him another three years to get his act together. Not to mention that business with Lavender Brown…”

Ginny, diverted, gaped at him.

“It took him that long to snog Hermione?” Her question was immediately followed by another. “And what about Lavender Brown?”

“I’ll tell you some of it over dinner,” Harry promised, “though we have to be careful who might overhear.”

And talk they did (and careful they were), on their way to the Great Hall, during dinner, and even on their way to the dance floor for the opening dance of the Yule Ball. To the tunes of the Weird Sisters, they showed off what they had practiced, and then settled into an evening of fun, dancing and talking with friends. It didn’t take Ron long to get Hermione onto the dance floor as well, and the four of them danced and sang and drank butterbeers and, in Harry’s opinion, had a far better time than they had ever done in the original life he had lead. It wasn’t until Ron and Hermione had gone off to get drinks, the Weird Sisters had started playing a particularly slow song and Harry and Ginny found themselves revolving slowly on the dance floor that anyone broached a serious subject - but when she did, Ginny did have a rather complicated topic in mind.

“So Harry,” she began, actually snuggling into him a bit as they shuffled along to the tune of ‘I can’t escape your spell’, “you’ve been here before, yeah?”

Harry just hummed an affirmative, enjoying the feel of her too much to pull back and look her in the eye while walking. He did glance around quickly, but didn’t see Professor Crouch-Turned-Moody anywhere. That was not necessarily a guarantee of safety, but he decided that he would ensure nothing was said that could tip off Crouch.

“And the first thing you did when you arrived,” Ginny continued, “was ask me on a date?”

After another affirmative noise from Harry, she pulled back a bit and looked him in the eye. Regretfully, he let her create that little bit of distance.

“And did you go to this ball with me the last time?”

Harry just shook his head. He didn’t think it would be a smart plan to bring up the details of his desire for Cho Chang at the time, or even the Patil twins he and Ron had eventually settled for.

“So what happened in our future,” she asked, engaging his eyes and giving him a serious look, “to suddenly make you pick me over every other girl in Hogwarts?”

“Are you sure you want to know the details of the future?” Harry asked the question in his best impersonation of Professor Trelawny, but Ginny actually nodded.

“I want to know,” she said.

“Probably better if I show you,” he murmured, feeling himself lean in a bit closer.

When she didn’t give him any obvious signals that she was opposed to this idea, Harry kissed her lightly on the lips. When he pulled back, she giggled.

“I was hoping it would be something like that,” she said, sounding rather out of breath.

“Actually,” Harry admitted, “it was a bit less subtle. I can show you, but we’d have to go for a walk outside.”

Giggling again, she let Harry guide her to the entrance hall. A walk in the grounds would follow, in which they could possibly succeed in dodging the patrolling professors and, perhaps, discuss a few snatches of an old future. This first kiss, Harry realized as they walked out of the Great Hall, was just as sweet as their first first kiss had been, only now it had come with a great deal less anxiety. He guessed this might also count as a first date, in any universe he had ever been in.
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