|SIYE Time:7:07 on 23rd April 2021|
Realizations Under the Sunset
By Been Reading
- Text Size +
Category: Muggle Picnic Challenge (2005-2)
Genres: Fluff, General
Story is Complete
Summary: After spending the day at a muggle picnic with Ginny, Harry makes a startling discovery.
Hitcount: Story Total: 4687
Disclaimer: I don't own anything in the Harry Potter universe, I'm just playing with it for a little while.
Realizations Under the Sunset
Harry Potter was lounging lazily in the almost empty Gryffindor common room. His body was covered in a fine layer of sweat from his training session with Dumbledore and he didn’t have enough energy left to move. He closed his eyes and tried to take in as much as possible of one of the few peaceful moments he had found during his sixth year.
“It’s a good idea, Ron!” Hermione’s voice rang through the common room as she came through the portrait hole, shattering Harry’s temporary peace.
“It sounds absolutely ridiculous!” came Ron’s reply.
Harry groaned turned around in his chair to try and figure out what they were arguing about this time. He felt like all they did lately was argue. The last he had heard they were going outside to enjoy the unusually nice April weather, but it appeared that something had happened to disrupt this peace since then.
“We already decided, Ron, so there’s no use arguing now. Colin, Justin, Seamus, Hannah, and I all thought it would be good to promote unity, and then the head boy and girl agreed!” Harry could tell Hermione was now assuming her defensive stance.
Ron, on the other hand, looked completely flustered. “But, you’re all, you’re all…”
“We’re all what, Ronald?” It looked like steam was going to start pouring out of her ears at any moment. Ron looked down at the floor sheepishly. “Muggle-born? Raised in muggle homes?” she asked tensely.
“Well, you are,” Ron replied awkwardly. Harry decided that this was as good of a time as any to try and find out what was going on.
“Sorry to interrupt, but what is it exactly that is or isn’t such a good idea?” Harry asked.
Hermione seemed to notice his presence for the first time since she entered the room. “Well, Harry, we had this brilliant,” she paused to glare at Ron, “idea that we’d hold a muggle style outdoor day. It’s going to be a barbeque picnic. The weather is so beautiful now; we thought it’d be fun to take advantage of it.”
“But Miss Crazy over here wants to do the whole thing without magic!” Ron interrupted. “The entire thing! Even the clean up! And you know who ends up doing the setting and cleaning up? The prefects! Bloody insane, this one.”
“Muggles survive doing this kind of thing everyday,” Hermione replied tensely. “It will be fun.” Harry couldn’t help but notice how Hermione put emphasis on every word to prove her point. “What do you think, Harry?”
Harry shrugged his shoulders. “It sounds like fun to me.”
“Because you’re not a prefect!” Ron exclaimed. “I swear, I wish I had a time turner so I could go back and tell myself not to accept this bloody badge!”
Hermione was speechless. She stared at Ron like he had lobsters coming out of his ears. “You wouldn’t want to be a prefect anymore?” she asked, her voice close to a whisper.
“It’s a lot of work.”
“It’s an honor!”
“Will you two continue this later, please?” Harry asked patiently. “The Dursleys used to go to this kind of thing for Uncle Vernon’s company all the time, but I never got to go. What kinds of things do you do?”
Hermione’s eyes lit up. “Oh, they’re so much fun! We’re going to have a big grill so we can cook out, and then everybody’s going to eat outside on picnic tables and blankets.”
“Sounds like a blast,” Ron mumbled.
Hermione chose to ignore him. “When we went to Dumbledore for approval he said that we could make kites that we could fly, do sack races, and have three-legged races!”
“You are not going to transfigure a third leg on me anytime soon!” Ron cried. Harry and Hermione burst into laughter at the pained expression on Ron’s face.
“You bind one of your legs to someone else’s and then you try to run together,” Hermione said through her laughter.
“Well, it just sounds wrong,” Ron said defensively. “I still don’t think I’m going to enjoy this thing very much.”
“It’ll be fun, Ron. I promise. We’re even going to have a contest to see who the best dressed boy and girl are. Everyone’s going to be wearing muggle clothing.” Hermione looked like she was almost begging for Ron’s approval at this point, and Harry could tell Ron was cracking.
“Just don’t expect me to do any bodily transfiguration.”
Hermione clapped her hands in glee and then quickly kissed Ron on the cheek. “You’re going to have fun, even if you do end up on clean-up duty.” Ron’s face turned bright pink, but he was saved from any further interrogation by the portrait hole opening again.
“I am officially giving up on guys!” Ginny proclaimed as she walked over to where they were standing.
Harry felt a foreign emotion at her news. He didn’t know why it would surprise him; Ginny had been to almost every Hogsmeade weekend this year with a different boy. She dated Dean for several months at the beginning of the term, but it had ended badly when Harry caught him trying to get too friendly with her in a broom cupboard. After that she seemed to go out with anyone who asked her once, but no one more than that.
Ginny had become one of Harry’s closest friends this year. He was beginning to value her friendship just as much as Ron and Hermione’s. It had definitely been nice to get a fresh outlook on things, and it had been even better to have someone to escape from Ron and Hermione’s rows with.
“What happened this time?” Hermione asked, leading her frustrated friend over to a couch to sit down.
Ginny let out a long sigh. “Harold already heard about this thing you’re planning, Hermione, and he asked me to go with him. He didn’t seem to understand that I wasn’t interested after our Hogsmeade date. I mean, honestly! I turned my head when he tried to kiss me and I wouldn’t even let him hold my hand. Can’t boys take a hint?”
“No,” Hermione replied simply.
“Did Dingle try to take advantage of you?” Ron asked. He was looking around the room like he wanted to punch something.
“Ron, just let me deal with my own business,” Ginny said sharply.
Harry was fighting the urge to want to pummel Harold Dingle himself. He obviously wasn’t good enough to be Ginny’s boyfriend. Actually, Harry couldn’t think of anyone that was good enough to be Ginny’s boyfriend.
“Well, I’m going to go start making a list of everything that needs to get done for our big picnic,” Hermione said, standing up from the couch. “I know that Justin said he would be in charge of the costume contest, and Dean volunteered to be in charge of getting people to make kites, I think I’m going to handle the rest of the activities, we still need someone to be in charge of the food… There really is so much to do before next Saturday! I’ll see you guys later for dinner.”
Harry exchanged a grin with Ginny as they watched Ron stare after Hermione. “See something you like?” Harry teased.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Ron replied, blushing furiously.
“You should ask her to go with you to the picnic, Ron,” Ginny said seriously.
“Why would I do that?” Ron asked. “But, I mean, hypothetically, if I did, do you think she’d say yes?”
“I think she just might,” Ginny replied.
“Well, I may ask her, but only because we’re going to be together all day anyway. Might as well take off some of the pressure, you know?” Harry rolled his eyes. “But I’m going to go up to our room. I’ll see you later.” Ron hurried up the stairs with a determined look on his face.
“So you think he’ll do it?” Harry asked, turning his attention to Ginny.
“I think he just might this time. He’s fancied her forever, and I think he finally figured it out this summer. He’s just been too scared of what she’ll say, and probably even a bit scared of what you’ll say.”
“Why does he care what I’d say?” Harry asked.
“Well, I guess he wouldn’t want to make things awkward for you since you’re all three so close. It would definitely change things.”
“I hadn’t thought about it much, to be honest with you. Hermione and Ron are like my sister and brother. I guess it would be weird at first, but I’d get used to it.”
“What about you, Potter?” Ginny asked, her eyes twinkling. “Is there some girl you fancy?”
“Nah,” Harry replied with a shrug. “I’ve got too much on my plate. Besides, who would want to get involved with a marked man like me?” When Harry was looking into Ginny’s bright eyes, saying that he wasn’t interested in anyone felt strange. He couldn’t comprehend why. He hadn’t felt his stomach as much as flutter over a girl since Cho.
“There’s always time for a little romance,” Ginny replied with a smile, but Harry could tell the smile didn’t reach her eyes.
“This from the person who just declared that she had given up on guys,” Harry pointed out.
“Good point. It actually sounds like we’re in the same boat.”
“Well then, why don’t we just go to this muggle day thing together?” Harry asked. He suddenly felt nervous as he watched Ginny’s face while she contemplated his offer. He wasn’t sure why he had said it, but now he wasn’t sure if it had been the best idea.
“Sure, Harry,” Ginny said slowly. “That sounds great. We can make fun of all the silly people who get so worked up over finding dates together.”
“It’s a plan then,” Harry said firmly. He kept trying to tell himself he had no reason to be nervous. He had spent time alone with Ginny before. She was one of his best friends! He was being ridiculous. “I’ll see you there.”
Ginny giggled. “Well, I hope you’ll see me before then, Harry.”
Harry flushed. “Right, sorry.”
“I’m going to go see if I can help Hermione any with her plans before dinner.”
“Alright. Later, Ginny.”
All the next week the castle was buzzing with rumors about the upcoming picnic. There had been a few raised eyebrows at the news that Harry and Ginny were going together, despite the fact that they insisted it was just as friends, but the real surprise for everyone was that Ron had finally gotten up the nerve to ask Hermione. Harry could tell that Ron was practically bursting with excitement, and Hermione looked like she was absolutely glowing.
Harry was happy for them, but he was starting to realize what Ginny meant about it being weird. He was starting to feel like a third wheel when they were all three together, so he was spending more time with Ginny to allow them time to sort their feelings out. He wanted Ron and Hermione to be happy; he just wasn’t sure what it meant for their friendship.
“You look like you’re a million miles away,” Ginny commented as she plopped down next to Harry on the couch.
“Just thinking about Ron and Hermione,” Harry replied. “I can’t decide if I think it’d be better if things went really well today, or if they just decided they were better as friends.”
“Well, it’s out of your control now,” Ginny reminded him. “Are you at least looking forward to this afternoon?”
“Yeah. I know all the prefects have been working really hard to plan it, so I’m sure it will be great.”
“How could you not know how hard the prefects have been working?” Ginny asked with a giggle. “It’s all Ron talks about!”
“You’d think he’d never done anything the muggle way before,” Harry said, joining her laughter. “It’s not like he can do magic while he’s at home!”
“He conveniently forgets about that. I saw him running outside earlier this morning mumbling something about being expected to cook for everybody.”
Harry raised an eyebrow. “Ron’s cooking?”
“Apparently Hermione assigned him to work the grill,” Ginny explained. “I’m going to go change clothes so we can head outside. Things are supposed to get started in about thirty minutes.”
Harry surveyed Ginny’s clothing. Her t-shirt and jeans looked fine to him. “Why do you need to change?”
“Hermione lent me a sundress to wear,” Ginny explained. “She insisted that I not wear some of my everyday clothes.”
“I don’t think that there’s anything wrong with your everyday clothes,” Harry said.
Ginny smiled at him. “Thank you, but I’m still going to change.”
“Do I need to change?”
“I think Hermione was going to leave something for you on your bed. She said something about not trusting you to really participate on your own,” Ginny replied with a wink before heading up stairs to her room.
Puzzled, Harry walked up to his bedroom. He couldn’t help but groan aloud when he saw the outfit Hermione had left on his bed: a pair of khaki shorts, a bright red floral print shirt, and a pair of flip flops. He reluctantly changed into the outfit, knowing he would hear about it from Hermione later if he didn’t.
Harry walked back downstairs, embarrassed at his appearance. No one seemed to be paying him any attention, though. Everyone else seemed to be wearing the most outrageous muggle outfits they could come up with as well. Seamus was wearing a pair of very baggy pants and an oversized t-shirt, and kept calling his necklace bling. Lavender was wearing a knitted dress that you could see straight through, and Harry hoped that it was a bathing suit she had on underneath.
“I was starting to think I was going to have to come up after you.”
Harry turned around to see Ginny standing behind him. She was wearing a cotton sun dress with a red floral print that was much smaller and much less obnoxious than the print on Harry’s shirt. “You look great, Gin.”
Ginny blushed. “Thanks. Let’s go outside and see what’s going on.”
Harry wiped his inexplicably sweaty hands on his shorts and followed Ginny out of the portrait hole. When they got outside, things were already in full swing. People were milling around the picnic tables that were set up talking and Harry spotted Ron, who was wearing a similar outfit to his own, pacing in front of a big black grill.
Harry turned around and found himself face to face with Colin Creevey. “Hi,Colin.”
“Are you having fun?” Colin asked eagerly. He picked up the camera that was around his neck and flashed it in Harry’s eyes. “Can I get some pictures of you doing some of the events?”
“I don’t know, Colin…” Harry looked over to Ginny for help, but she just shrugged. “Well, maybe something fast.”
“Brilliant! They’ve set up horseshoes right over here if you want to play a quick game.” Before Harry could respond Colin was dragging him over to where Neville Longbottom and Hannah Abbot were tossing horse shoes towards a peg in the ground.
“I’m just going to throw one or two, okay Colin?” Harry said as Colin placed a shoe in his hand. Harry looked over his shoulder at Ginny and beckoned for her to come join him. “If I have to do this, you do too,” he told her laughing.
“I’m sure I’ll do better than you,” Ginny said, taking a shoe from Colin. They stood side by side and released the shoes, both missing the peg by several feet.
“Oh yeah, you’re great at this,” Harry said sarcastically.
“No worse than you,” Ginny replied, picking up another shoe from the ground. “Are you ready for round two?”
Harry bent down to pick up another shoe. “On the count of three. One, two, three!”
“Ouch!” Harry and Ginny both winced as their horse shoes came into contact with Colin’s shins.
“I am so sorry, Colin,” Ginny exclaimed. “I was so busy talking with Harry I didn’t even notice that you had moved!”
“I thought I could get a better picture from over here,” Colin explained, biting on his lip to try to absorb the pain in his legs.
“Well, we’ll catch you later, Colin,” Harry said, slowly backing away from the horse shoe area.
“I feel so terrible,” Ginny said when they were out of Colin’s ear shot.
”I really didn’t want to do that… I just have a hard time saying no to Colin.”
“Well, we’ll just have to work on that before you end up marrying him or something,” Ginny said laughing.
“Harry! Ginny!” Hermione exclaimed running over to them. “Have you signed up for any events yet?”
“Calm down, we just got here and we’ve already thrown horse shoes,” Harry said laughing. He exchanged an amused look with Ginny as Hermione started talking.
“Well, I’m going to go ahead sign you two up for the three-legged race,” Hermione said quickly. “I’m going to go try to pull Ron away from the grill for a bit before he has to start cooking. Would you want to come with us to fly kites?”
Harry looked at Ginny questioningly. “What do you think?”
“I think I want to go swimming,” Ginny replied, grinning at Harry.
Harry rolled his eyes. Ginny was very proud of the fact that she had taught Harry to swim the past summer during his stay at the Burrow. She was even more proud that she had managed to teach him without Ron finding out. Of course, it helped that once Hermione had arrived Ron had been preoccupied.
“I think we should fly kites,” Harry responded.
“Let me go get Ron and then we’ll meet you where they set the kites up,” Hermione said before hurrying off towards the grill.
“I still don’t know why you don’t want to swim,” Ginny said when Hermione was out of earshot.
“Just because I know how now doesn’t mean I feel completely comfortable with it,” Harry replied with a shrug.
“You just don’t want to be seen in your bathing suit,” Ginny teased. “I can just see the picture on the cover of Witch Weekly now!”
Harry gazed over to the lake where Zacharias Smith was splashing around in the water with two girls Harry didn’t know. “The thought crossed my mind.”
“Quidditch playing is definitely doing him some good,” Ginny commented, following his gaze.
Harry frowned. “Didn’t you go out with him?”
“We went to Hogsmeade together in December,” Ginny replied nonchalantly. “He wasn’t my type.”
“Is anyone your type?”
“What’s that supposed to mean?” Ginny looked genuinely hurt by his comment and Harry instantly regretted having said anything.
“Well, it’s just that you’ve gone out with a lot of guys this year and you haven’t seemed to like any of them. It almost feels like you’ve been going out with them, knowing ahead of time you’re not going to like them.”
Ginny looked at Harry pointedly, as if she was expecting him to say something else. When he didn’t, she let out a long sigh. “I don’t know. Maybe I’m just destined to be alone forever. All I know is that I’m giving up guys for a little while.”
“I don’t think you’ll find Ron complaining about that,” Harry said, trying to lighten the mood.
Ginny laughed. “No, I don’t think you will. He’s shown great restraint this year.”
Harry resisted pointing out that he had been showing great restraint as well. He didn’t think it was a fact Ginny would appreciate. “Let’s go fly a kite.” Harry led Ginny over to where the prefects had set up several homemade kites that people could take turns flying. He picked up a red kite with a picture of a Gryffindor lion on it.
“That’s Dean’s work,” Ginny commented dryly.
“We don’t have to use this one if you don’t want to,” Harry said quickly.
“No, it’s okay,” Ginny replied, taking the kite out of Harry’s hands. “Now how do you work this contraption?”
“Actually,” Harry said laughing, “I don’t know! I’ve never even been allowed to touch one of these before.”
“What’s so funny?” Ron asked, walking up with Hermione.
Ginny quickly put the kite in Ron’s hands. “Nothing, we just wanted to see you fly this kite.”
Ron’s face paled. “How do you make it fly without a spell?”
“You extend the string and let the wind carry it,” Hermione explained patiently. “Here, I’ll hold the kite and then you start running with the string. Head towards the lake and the wind should be blowing in just the right direction to pick it up.” Ron started to walk towards the lake, and Harry was sure he heard him mumbling something about completely mental. Hermione frowned at the pace Ron was walking and began to shout out more instructions to him.
“Let’s get out of here,” Ginny muttered to Harry under her breath. Harry nodded and the pair quickly hurried away before Hermione could notice they were gone. “Do you think they’ll ever stop bickering?” Ginny asked after they were far enough away to slow their pace.
“Probably not,” Harry said. “That’s just how they are.”
“I think it’s their idea of foreplay,” Ginny added with a giggle.
Harry, however, didn’t find her comment to be the least bit amusing. Not only did thinking of Ron and Hermione like that make him feel physically sick, but he was suddenly very curious as to how much experience Ginny had with things like foreplay.
“What’s wrong? You look pale,” Ginny said sounding concerned.
Harry shook his head. “Nothing, I just want to sit down for a bit.”
“You know,” Ginny said as she grabbed Harry’s hand and started pulling him up a hill. “If we sit over there on top of the hill by that tree I bet Hermione won’t be able to find us and make us participate in all of the events.”
“Sound like a plan,” Harry replied, wishing his palms weren’t so sweaty. Ginny lead him over to a big oak tree where they sat down, leaning against its wide trunk. Harry was glad when Ginny released his hand so he could try to wipe it off on his shorts. He began to pick at the grass around them, tearing each piece into tiny shreds as they sat in silence.
“They do all look a bit ridiculous down there, running around with their legs tied together,” Ginny commented, pointing to where students were running the three-legged race.
“Yeah.” For some reason, Harry wasn’t as comfortable around Ginny as he normally was. Typically he found her to be an easy person to talk to, but today he felt completely tongued tied.
“Ouch!” Ginny yelped.
“What’s wrong?” Harry felt his heart rate increase as he scanned Ginny’s body looking for any sign of blood. When he didn’t see anything wrong, his heart began to beat even faster as his gaze got stuck on her bare legs. He had never noticed before that her legs were covered in freckles like her face.
“I have a splinter in my finger from the tree,” Ginny explained, holding her hand close to her face. Harry’s eyes shot up and his face flushed guiltily. “I can’t get it out. I know the spell to get it out, but we can’t use magic today.”
“Do you want to go to the hospital wing?” Harry asked, forcing himself to look at her face.
“No, will you just try to get it out?” Ginny extended her hand to Harry and he took it hesitantly. “It’s not hard, you just have to push the skin back a little and pull it out.”
“Are you sure you don’t want to go to the hospital wing?”
“Not over a little splinter. Just do it. You’re not going to hurt me.”
Harry began to slowly work the skin around the splinter and was pleasantly surprised when he was able to get it out quickly. “I did it!”
Ginny leaned over and pecked him on the cheek. “My hero.”
Harry blushed again and was about to reply when Ginny covered his mouth with her hand a motioned for him to be quiet.
“Did you see the bathing suit Zac was wearing?”
“I know! I’d sure like to see Harry in that outfit, wouldn’t you?”
“Who is that?” Harry hissed under his breath.
“Parvati and Padma,” Ginny whispered back. “They don’t realize we’re here.”
“Obviously.” Ginny stuck her tongue out and continued to listen.
“Did you see Harry’s here with Ginny Weasley?”
“Yeah, I think he could do so much better than her. I’ve heard they’re shagging.”
“I’d sure like to get into a sack with him!” the other replied with a giggle.
Harry was furious and confused. He couldn’t believe they’d say that about Ginny and he had no idea why they were talking about a sack. He moved to get up and yell at the twins but Ginny put her hand across his chest to stop him. She nodded down the hill with her head and Harry saw a bunch of people hopping around in what looked like old potato sacks. Well at least that explains that sacks, Harry thought.
“Come on, Padma. I think we have to be down there for the best dressed contest soon.”
Harry and Ginny waited for a few more moments in silence before they thought it was safe to talk again.
“The nerve of those two!” Harry exclaimed. “Why didn’t you let me go over there and set them straight?”
Ginny shrugged, but refused to look at Harry’s face. “They’re girls, they gossip. Saying anything to them will only make them talk more.”
“But they were spreading lies,” Harry insisted.
“Were they really?” Ginny asked quietly.
“What do you mean?”
Ginny sighed. “I mean, everyone knows we’re just friends, Harry.”
Harry wasn’t sure how to respond, so he went back to watching the festivities. He had never found Ginny Weasley to be so confusing before in his life. For some reason she didn’t seem to be nearly as upset as she should be about the Patil twins spreading rumors about them. Harry was used to people talking about him behind his back, but he didn’t think it was fair for them to drag Ginny into it. The only thing she had done was be his friend.
“Looks like Lavender and Seamus won the costume contest,” Ginny commented, snapping Harry back into reality. “I’m not surprised.”
Ginny rolled her eyes. “I saw how all of you blokes were drooling over her in that outfit.”
“We weren’t all drooling,” Harry said defensively. “I actually think you look much better than she does.”
Ginny blushed and looked away. “Thanks, Harry.”
“What do you say we head back down there and grab some food? I’ve been watching and it doesn’t look like anyone has died from eating Ron’s cooking yet.”
Ginny laughed and stood up, brushing the grass off her dress. “Sounds good.”
They walked down the hill in silence, each lost in their own thoughts. Harry still wasn’t sure what had happened while they had been sitting on top of the hill, but it felt like something had changed. He was racking his brain, trying to figure out why he hadn’t been comfortable around Ginny all day, but he couldn’t seem to put his finger on it. They reached the bottom of the hill and were suddenly in the midst of students sitting at picnic tables and on blankets eating.
Harry turned to look at Ginny and froze in place. The sun was setting behind her, and something about the colors in the sky brought out all of the different shades of red in her long hair. He was mesmerized by the beauty of it. He could have stood there and looked at Ginny for hours. His heart began to race and he felt a warm sensation all over his body that he didn’t think he could attribute to the sinking sun. His stomach began to flutter and his appetite disappeared.
“Harry?” Ginny asked again, this time sounding alarmed. “I asked if you wanted to get food from Ron… It doesn’t look like there’s much left.”
Harry nodded his head mutely and turned away from her to try and regain his composure. “Yeah, let’s get some food before it’s all gone.” He started walking towards Ron, completely forgetting to wait for Ginny.
“Harry!” Ginny said panting as she caught up with him. “What’s gotten into you? You just walked off in a complete daze!”
Harry frowned. “I guess I just have a one track mind when it comes to food.”
“You sound like Ron,” Ginny said laughing. “Speaking of Ron… Hiya Ron! Can Harry and I each get a plate?”
“Where have you two been all day?” Ron asked, turning away from the grill. “Hermione really flipped a wig when she couldn’t find you.”
“We decided we’d rather watch than participate,” Ginny replied. “It’s much more fun making fun of people hopping around in sacks than actually doing it yourself, right Harry? Harry?”
Harry quickly looked up from where he had been staring at nothing. “Sorry, zoned out there.”
Ginny handed Harry one of the plates of food she had gotten from Ron. “Are you okay, Harry? You seem distracted.”
“The food does look good, Ron,” Harry replied absently.
Ron looked at Ginny confused and she shrugged. “I haven’t gotten any complaints so far. Neville actually ate four servings!”
“He really ate all that?” Ginny asked, eyeing the large portion of food on her plate.
“Yup. Says it’s some of the best food he’s eaten all year.”
“Well, Neville never did have very good taste in food,” Ginny teased.
“Hey!” Ron exclaimed.
“I’m sure the food is brilliant, right Harry?” Ginny nudged Harry in the ribs and he jumped.
“Yeah, it is getting chilly out here,” he said.
“When did Harry start acting like Luna?” Ron asked Ginny.
“About ten minutes ago,” Ginny answered. She took Harry by the arm and began to lead him away from the grill. “Let’s go sit down and eat.” They sat down at the closest picnic table and Ginny ate while Harry simply picked at his food. He couldn’t seem to focus on anything. He had the image of the sunset and the way in made Ginny’s hair look trapped in his head and he couldn’t seem to form a coherent sentence.
“What?” he asked, jumping again.
“Are you sure that you’re feeling alright?” Ginny looked genuinely concerned.
“Maybe I should just go to bed,” Harry said.
“I think I’ll walk you up. With as out of it as you’re acting you might actually get lost on your way to the common room,” Ginny teased, but Harry could see the anxiety in her eyes. She took his hand, and Harry again wished that his hands hadn’t decided to start sweating all the time. They walked in silence back into the castle, and Harry wished that they would hurry up and reach his room so he could try to think about things by himself.
In what felt like an eternity to Harry he was standing at the base of the stairs that led to his bedroom. “I’ll see you tomorrow, I reckon.”
Ginny shook her head. “You’re not getting rid of me yet. I’m going to make sure you’re safely in bed before I leave you alone.” Harry’s face paled but before he could argue with her Ginny was already halfway up the stairs. He hurried to catch up with her. Ginny stopped when she had reached his door. “I’ll wait out here until you’ve changed clothes.” She practically shoved Harry through the door and he stumbled over to his bed. He found his pajamas laying rumpled at the top of his trunk and quickly put them on.
“I’m dressed,” he called as he hopped up on his bed.
Ginny walked into the room and giggled. “Your shirt’s on inside out.”
“I like it that way,” Harry said blushing.
“Well, go ahead and get under the covers so I can tuck you in properly,” Ginny said in her best motherly voice. Harry felt his face flush further but did as Ginny requested. “Well, good night, Harry. I hope you’re feeling more like yourself again tomorrow.”
“Thanks.” As Ginny began to walk for the door Harry suddenly couldn’t stand the thought of her leaving without saying anything else. “I had fun today, Gin.”
She paused by the door and slowly turned around. “I did too, Harry. Get some sleep.”
“Good night.” The door closed and Harry banged his head against his headboard. He couldn’t believe what had happened. He didn’t understand how it had happened. He didn’t know when it had happened. All he knew was that he fancied Ginny Weasley, and that he didn’t have a clue what he was going to do about it. After dwelling upon this unsolvable problem for nearly an hour he drifted off to a sleep haunted by hair every color of the sunset.
A/N I wrote this challenge as a part of a series of one-shots that I'm writing as a prequel to my post Hogwarts fic, Seeking the Truth.
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