A/N: Hey everyone! I'm back after a little while for a little Roommates fun! Be warned, this is...like...a lot of smut. So, if that's not your thing, please look away. If it is your thing, I hope you enjoy!
The trunk was old. Hard edges that had dulled with years of being dragged around for this move and that vacation. The straps were worn, but magically repaired enough times that they were still functional. The rich brown was faded into a shade that somehow smelled like home. Just seeing the old thing brought a smile to Ginny's face, with memories of her dad carrying it around her whole life flashing through her mind.
The smile faded, though, because traveling via floo with a trunk of that size was never a pleasant journey.
Ron had better appreciate this, she thought to herself as she hefted the luggage under her armpit and stepped into the green flame.
"Harry Potter's flat!" she shouted as clearly as possible and rushed through the network. It wasn't her smoothest exit, but considering her added baggage, Ginny didn't flush at the poor dismount when Harry looked up from his kitchen table.
He stood up. "Hello, Ginny," he said, rather formally. Ginny tried not to be offended. She imagined it was hard for the Harry Potter to get comfortable with anyone, even his flatmate's little sister. Younger sister, Ginny corrected herself, annoyed that the epithet had even followed her inside her own head.
"Hi Harry," Ginny replied, looking around the flat. "Ron warned you I was coming, right?"
He smiled. "He did, but you hardly need a warning."
Ginny chuckled. "Well, I'm sure you wouldn't love strange people barging in your place at odd times of the evening."
Harry shrugged. "I've met stranger."
Ginny laughed outright at that, because it might just be the understatement of the year. Harry Potter had met all of the strange people. Killed and locked up his share of the evil subset of strange, too.
Ron chose this moment to walk into the sitting room. "Here's one of them now," Ginny said with a smirk, and was pleased to get a laugh out of Harry.
These interactions with him weren't exactly frequent—in fact, this might be the closest thing to banter the two had ever shared—but Ginny was pleased that they were happening with more and more regularity. She might even go so far as to say they were friends. That if Ron were to leave for a half-hour, she and Harry could carry on a perfectly comfortable conversation for the entirety of his absence. And Ginny wasn't so sure how many people could claim even that pitiful level of friendship with Harry Potter.
It made Ginny's chest constrict thinking about that kind of loneliness.
"Here's one what now?" Ron asked with a frown, shaking Ginny from her depressing thoughts.
"Oh never mind that," Ginny responded, dropping the trunk dramatically to the ground. "We were just chatting about grown men who still need their daddy's help with the simple things in life."
Ron scowled at her, and then at Harry when he laughed again. "Says the girl who still lives at home." He walked over to the trunk to inspect it.
Ginny groaned and threw herself onto the couch. "Don't remind me," she sighed. "Mum's getting unbearable, too. I love her dearly, but…"
"But you're ready to be your own person," Ron finished for her, sympathetically, while he unbuckled the trunk and opened it. "Oh, this will do just fine. Must be five closets' worth of space in here." He straightened and turned back to Ginny. "I get it, Ginny. That was me a year ago."
Harry had sat back down at his kitchen table and turned to his tea. Ginny cringed at their conversation, imagining how privileged they must sound, complaining about an overbearing mum. At best, Harry felt he had nothing to contribute. At worst, he envied them and found their attitude toward a loving and living mother to be entitled and gross.
But Ron knew him better than anyone, and kept the conversation going. "Maybe it's time you move out?"
Ginny shrugged. "I'm a reserve on a rookie contract, Ron. I could probably afford to live in a cardboard box right about now."
Ron laughed, but sobered with a thought. "Well, with me moving in with Hermione, Harry's got an open room here. And his rates are absurdly low."
Ginny was mortified. Especially when Harry spun back around in his chair, eyes wide. "Ron!" Ginny groaned. "You can't just invite me to move in with Harry!"
Her dear brother frowned, eyebrows knit together. The audacity to be confused about why it wasn't his place to make that invitation. "Why not?" he asked, glancing back at Harry. "You've been saying how you'll miss my company, haven't you Harry?"
Harry sputtered. "Sure, Ron. I mean…"
Ginny's heart thudded painfully at the awkwardness in the room. She felt her face flush when Ron still refused to see his error in all of this. "See? It's perfect," he concluded.
"No, Ron," Ginny said before facing Harry. "I'm really sorry about him, Harry."
Harry seemed relieved at her common sense, and offered a small smile. "No need to be sorry," he laughed. "Though I am trying to remember what I'll miss about him once he's gone."
"Oi!" Ron shouted. "Right here. Besides, I don't understand what the big deal is here."
Ginny wanted to respond that the big deal was that she and Harry barely knew each other. Though Ron might just answer that he and Harry had barely known each other when Harry had invited Ron to move in. Or maybe she'd respond that she didn't like the idea of sponging off of the Savior of the Wizarding World just to avoid her mother. But that would be an insult at Ron for having done the same a year ago.
The one reason she knew differentiated her from Ron, she wasn't so keen on admitting to herself, much less blurting out in front of her brother and Harry, himself. The reason she kept buried because it was so silly and juvenile.
So she offered no reason. And after a moment, Harry hadn't offered one either, instead saying, "You know…you're right, Ron. And there's absolutely no pressure here, Ginny, but you're welcome to be my new flatmate if you'd like."
"Thank you, Harry," Ginny said with a smile, before turning on Ron with a glare. "But I'd rather figure this out on my own."
Ron shrugged, and motioned for Ginny to join him as he walked over to the kitchen table. "Suit yourself, but you're missing out. We've had a helluva time as flatmates."
Ginny sat at the table while Ron fetched a pair of tea cups for them. Meanwhile, Harry snorted and shook his head. "Speak for yourself, Ron. I've nearly torn down your horrible orange Chudley Cannons posters a dozen times. Can't wait to rid that room of those eye-sores."
"Ha!" Ron scoffed, a smirk on his lips. He filled Ginny's cup with tea and then his own. Ginny was so proud. Hermione was finally getting to him. "You're just jealous that the Cannon's are top of the league and crushed Puddlemere last week."
"Puddlemere?" Ginny asked, hand to her chest in mock-offense. "Not a Harpies fan, Harry?"
Truth be told, Ginny was a little surprised. In their brief conversations, he'd been able to talk Harpies Quidditch like only the most devoted fans could. Now knowing he supported Puddlemere, she had to wonder if he was just a savant of the entire league.
His cheeks tinged pink before he replied. "I'd probably say they're my second favorite team." He coughed into his tea and wouldn't meet her eyes. Ginny found it silly that he would be embarrassed to cheer for a different team, but found his state cute all the same.
"What do I have to do to win you over?" she asked before she realized how suggestive her words sounded. And sure enough, Harry turned to her with wide eyes and his blush deepened.
"I think his devotion goes pretty deep," Ron jumped in, graciously oblivious to the tension Ginny felt in the air. And the thought made Ginny shake her head, because it was silly to think there was tension, never mind the red stain on Harry's cheeks.
"Why Puddlemere?" Ginny asked, regaining her composure.
Harry shrugged. "Sirius was a fan. Claimed that the Black family helped found the team, and that's the one part of his family legacy he was proud of." He smiled fondly, then.
"I hated them growing up," Ron said. "Winning every other year. A bunch of entitled fans. Ugly colors."
Ginny laughed aloud at the irony of his last complaint. Harry merely shook his head with a broad smile. "He is right, though," Ginny commented. "Their switch to blue from that mud brown was inspired."
Harry's face took on an exaggerated look of offense. "How dare you? The both of you. That brown is tradition, and shame on the new ownership for sacrificing their identity for a few more jersey sales. It's no wonder the Cannons have beat them three straight."
Ron pumped his fist, and Ginny dissolved into laughter, always amazed at the way a fan's mind worked.
Their conversations didn't stop when the tea was finished. It didn't even stop when Ron repeatedly said he should be packing, but continued laughing and joking instead. She allowed herself to watch Harry as the night continued, and saw a lightness to him that wasn't always present. She'd wondered how he and Ron could have hit it off so well and so quickly. But this Harry, the one she'd only started to see recently, would fit in quite nicely at the Burrow. She wondered how she could make that happen.
The thought was enough for her to make an excuse and take her leave.
"Mum's already been on my case about not letting her know where I am at all times," she explained with an eyeroll. "And it's getting late."
Harry looked at her hard, like there was something he wanted to say, but was unsure how.
Ron gave her a hug and thanked her again before he took the opportunity to go pack up his things.
Ginny walked slowly to the fireplace as Ron lugged the trunk back to his room. Harry stood and followed after her.
"I guess I'll see you…around," Harry said quietly.
She swung around, and her heart hurt at the look on his face. Thoughtful and sad.
She hadn't thought about it much before—probably because it would be admitting that they had a genuine relationship—but Ron moving in with Hermione meant that she didn't really have an excuse to see Harry any more. And when the thought had crossed her mind, she'd only thought about it from her perspective, caught up in her own insecurities the way she was wont to do at times.
But in this moment, she realized Harry wasn't just saying goodbye to his flatmate, but to the people that flatmate had brought into his life.
Ginny knew Fred and George had been frequent visitors. Hermione, obviously. Some of Ron's old school mates—Dean, Neville, and Seamus at least—had joined Ron and him for a night out at the pub. And now that lifeline was leaving. And even if they stayed in tight contact outside of work, which Ginny was sure they would do, it wasn't the same as living under the same roof.
And Ginny. Well, she hadn't considered herself to be on the list of people he'd be sad to see less of now. But here he was, forlorn and a little brooding as she froze in her grab at the floo powder.
"Just because Ron's moving out," Ginny said bravely, ignoring the twisting in her gut. "Doesn't mean we can't still hang out, Harry."
He blinked. "Yeah?"
"Sure," Ginny was bolstered by the hint of a smile on his face now. "I might even invite you to a Harpies match, so long as you promise not to wear your mud-brown jersey."
Harry laughed. "I sure as hell won't wear the blue!"
"Maybe I can convince you to wear mine," she said, caught up in his mood's quick turnaround.
And his laughter died, but the smile remained. "I bet you can."
And the odd tension was back, but Ginny didn't let it bother her this time. She reached for the powder. "I'll let you know the next available match, then."
"I'd like that, thank you."
And she flooed back to The Burrow, stupid smile on her face. It slid off immediately, however, when her mother stood waiting for her, foot tapping and arms crossed.
"Ginevra Molly Weasley, it is past midnight," the woman said. Ginny was surprised, rather amazed at how the time had passed. "If you are to stay in this house, you are to follow our simple rules."
Ginny sighed. She wasn't prepared to have this row tonight. Still, it was a long time coming.
Harry was fucked.
He slumped onto his couch, staring at the fire for a long moment before leaning his head back and groaning at the ceiling.
Ginny Weasley did things to him.
It was better that Ron was moving out, he reasoned. Better that he would see less of her. Fewer innocuous comments that made his mind go places it shouldn't. That she never intended. She was just friendly, something Harry could use a little more practice with.
And he did like his friendship with her. He truly did. He also couldn't deny how drop-dead gorgeous she was, and the horrible things she made him think about when she threw him that smirk.
He stayed on the couch for a while, listening to Ron curse while he packed his belongings, reflecting on the wonderful evening he had, and trying to shake his head of the memory of his awkward invitation to Ginny to be his flatmate.
He should punch Ron for even suggesting it. It was obvious Ginny didn't want to be his flatmate. And even if she did, was it really the smartest thing to have that girl sleeping next door? Her flowery scent on his couch? Sharing his shower?
Harry groaned. He couldn't let his mind go there.
Fortunately he was distracted by his fireplace burning green. Unfortunately that distraction turned out to be Ginny.
Her face was red, lips turned in a frown, and eyebrows furrowed in anger.
"Ginny?" Harry asked tentatively. "Already here to give me match tickets?"
"Your invitation," she said shortly. "To be flatmates. Were you being real, or just didn't know how to respond to Ron being an idiot?"
"Erm," he mumbled, his mind trying to catch up to her words. Instead, it supplied quick bits of advice that hardly helped at all.
She will be the death of you. You love her company. She'll drive you completely mad. You're going to be lonely otherwise. You like her. You like her.
"I was being real," Harry managed to admit through the war in his head. "You alright?"
"I think I will be," she said, huffing. "If I take you up on that offer."
"Right," Harry said, a little breathless. "Well, then. When are you moving in?"
"Tomorrow," she said, and walked back into the fire and vanished.
Harry sat back down on the couch.