Notes, Part the First: You asked for it! This little one-shot follows Put Your Elbow in the Butter Dish, Harry, so it's better if you read that fic first.
A belated happy birthday to Cherie of Hogwarts Philippines! More notes at the end of the fic. Indulge yourselves in fluff in the meantime.
If it weren't for Dobby, I probably wouldn't have had the chance to kiss Cho Chang. Ever.
I had an excuse. Yep, you said it—the mistletoes, all care of Dobby, bless him and all the good house-elves of the world.
I didn't try to jump out of my place under the mistletoe that day in the D.A. room in my fifth year. When Cho started to walk slowly towards me, I distinctly felt two things: I was both excited and scared. Excited, because...this was Cho Chang, and God, she was about to kiss ME. Scared, because...
...I honestly don't know.
So, anyway, she walked towards me, the streaks of tears on her cheeks contrasting heavily with that...that really...sexy smile of hers. Then she told me that she really liked me.
Now I was really frozen in spot. What to do, what to do, my brain was repeatedly asking. The boys and I had had—still have—talks till midnight in our dormitory, see, about girls and how to, you know, do certain things with them. All of their advice (God knows where they get them) came racing through my head as Cho's face drifted closer. Should I close my eyes? Yep, so I'd feel the kiss better. Where to put my hands? Waist, yeah, that's it. How to move my lips? Er...tilt my head this way, and mind myself not to open my mouth too wide—or at least not yet—
Suddenly her lips were on mine.
And I forgot to close my eyes.
This was...this was new. I knew I should be moving my lips or doing at least something, but shock overcame me and I wasn't able to move. Besides, she was doing all the kissing. She probably had a lot of practice with Cedric...but I wasn't thinking about that while she was kissing me.
I tasted salt.
Something at the back of my head finally took charge. A bit jerkily, my hands came to rest on her waist. I willed my eyes to close as I, hesitantly at first, kissed her back. Uh-huh. Right. Much better.
Then she hiccupped, pulled away from me and started bawling on my shoulder, and six months later she started going out with Michael Corner.
More than two years had passed since that first kiss. I hadn't kissed anyone since then.
But as you probably know, I already had a clear idea of whom I'd love to kiss.
No, wait...you know what? I really don't like dwelling on it too much. Sure, I imagine myself kissing her (and countless times, too) but...I try to stop myself before things get a tad awry. Somehow it's as though I can just do anything to her in my imagination. And I don't like it that much, thanks—it's almost like...abusing her in my mind. The mind is a powerful thing, you see; I can stop right here and now and stare at empty space for a few seconds and let all these images of ourselves snogging passionately in my empty dormitory come....
And you know the rest.
Let's leave it at that, shall we?
(Saint Potter. Ha ha.)
Where was I? Oh, right. All these tosh about kissing.
I wasn't stopped from planning my first kiss with one Ginny Weasley, however. In my mind the mistletoe was still a perfect excuse; however, my last Christmas in Hogwarts had already come and gone, and I had to resort to something else. Probably something sweeter. The Astronomy Tower sounded appealing, but judging from all that I'd been hearing, the place is the hotspot of some late-night rendezvous among couples. Still, I thought and thought and planned and planned.
I admit I'm that pathetic, you all.
It's not as if the very idea never came up between us, though. We'd talked about Ron and Hermione (and snorted in half-disgust), who was going out with who, the couples in Madam Puddifoot's....
And speaking of which.
Spring was just starting when Ginny and I spent the Hogsmeade weekend together. No, we didn't make it a date. Ron, Hermione and I ran into her in the Three Broomsticks, and I...I sort of ditched my two best friends and took a walk with her along the High Street.
We walked past Zonko's, Gladrags...then Madam Puddifoot's came to view. I cringed slightly; I was half expecting Ginny to suggest that we come in there. I shouldn't have assumed so quickly. After all, Ginny isn't like any other girl.
Instead, she let out a groan and muttered, "I hate that place."
I looked at her in surprise. "Well...it's really warm inside."
Ginny looked at me incredulously. "You like it there?"
"No!" I said, a bit more forcefully than I had intended.
"Oh, good," said Ginny, grinning. "Cheesy place if I ever saw one. You'd have to endure couples making noises louder than the one you're making when you're sipping coffee...."
The two of us burst out laughing. How very true.
"You've been there, then?" I asked her.
She rolled her eyes. "You have no idea."
My smile began to fade. I began to feel suspicious. How many boys had she snogged inside Madam Puddifoot's, then?
"It's really annoying," Ginny was saying. "You'd feel like your date was expecting you to do the same."
I didn't say anything. On one hand, she was saying exactly how I had felt when I had gone in the coffee shop with Cho two years ago. On the other, the thought of some bloke pressuring her for a snog made me clench my teeth. Really.
I suddenly realized that she was watching me. "Hey, hello?" she said, nudging me on the side. "Didn't you hear me?"
That little episode implied a few things. First, she didn't like anything corny and overly sweet. Second, she didn't like displaying her affections for anyone in public. Third and most importantly, she didn't want to be pressured.
The first two I can deal with; I'm not that cheesy, after all. (I'm not, am I?) I can find a perfect place—the Room of Requirement is there when, erm, required.
The real catch is in the third condition: she didn't want to be pressured.
How can she not be pressured, when she doesn't like me?
I had to face it: there was absolutely no way I could kiss her—or be with her as...as someone special.
But then, a rational part of my brain asked, How can you be so sure she doesn't like you, if you haven't asked?
But of course. I only knew she didn't like me (anymore) because Hermione said so, and because Ginny herself was already talking to me without blushing all over the place. Those reasons weren't enough to be very sure.
I'm so lucky to have a friend in Hermione, who also happens to be Ginny's friend. After much muttering and blushing, I had her help.
What Hermione didn't know, however, was that I still had in my possession a pair of Fred and George's Extendable Ears, so as she and Ginny had a small chat one night in the common room, I plugged the Ears on and eavesdropped from my dormitory.
The first voice I heard was Ginny's. "...Did a steep dive and almost killed himself, I think," she was saying.
I knew at once that she was talking about the last practice of the Gryffindor Quidditch team (it was the final match in two weeks, Gryffindor versus Slytherin) and my attempt at a Wronski Feint. It sounded like the conversation had just begun.
Hermione made a noise of assent, but I knew she didn't want to hear anything that had to do with Quidditch, what with Ron, Ginny and I talking about Quidditch all the time already. Then she remarked that Ginny and I seemed to be getting along quite well.
There was a pause. "Of course we are. We've been getting along for ages," said Ginny. Another pause, then, "What exactly are you getting at?"
Mumbling, Hermione told her that she thought there was something going on between Ginny and me.
Ginny suddenly let out a laugh. I could just imagine her throwing her head back, probably running her fingers through her hair. "Why does everyone ask me that? No, Hermione, we're not going out together, and you know that perfectly well."
Hermione said, why not?
"For one thing, Harry couldn't care less about me."
I blinked. Hermione must have had been as surprised as I was, for she said shortly that of course I do care about Ginny.
"Sure, of course. I'm his friend, aren't I?" Ginny let out a chuckle, and I could sense that it was a grim one. "But I doubt he thinks about those things, being the insensitive prat that he is."
Now that hurt.
I didn't want to hear anything else. I removed the Extendable Ears and subjected myself to a restless night—the most miserable night of my life.
It was a LOT worse than being turned down by Cho in the Yule Ball. Insensitive, she called me. She didn't say thick, but insensitive. Insensitive prat. Insensitive! Was she mad? How many times had I been insensitive to her?
Okay, I take that question back.
Ginny must have been reminded of that day in my fourth year when I moped and told Ron, right in front of her, that Cho had turned me down. Of course she was hurt. And now she was taking it out on me! She said that I was insensitive, and not even out of my earshot!
So I was using the Extendable Ears. But still.
Clearly, karma hadn't left me alone yet. Damn it.
I saw Hermione coming my way the next day, but before she said anything, I stopped her. Knowing girls, she'd probably tell the details to me gently, but I already knew. She didn't have to tell me.
I didn't talk much to Ginny the next few days. I was pretty stiff whenever I had to. And again, I felt that familiar sense of longing: I missed her like hell, even though she was right there and if I only had the guts to take a few steps towards her I'd be right beside her, and we could talk or probably just sit together and be silent, and I'd be free again.
But whenever I caught her eye, she'd smile at me, and I'd think that behind that smile she was probably thinking, insensitive prat.
I was still feeling miserable the day of the final Quidditch match. I arrived in the changing rooms before anybody else, so I simply sat on one of the benches there, bent forwards, my arms crossed on my thighs, and my head hung. I was the essence of all the brokenhearted blokes in the whole of Britain.
I looked up and saw Ginny setting her broomstick against the wall. "You all right?" she asked.
"Oh...yeah," I mumbled, sitting up straight and managing a smile. "I didn't hear you come in."
Ginny walked over and sat beside me on the bench. I kept my gaze on the ground. If I looked up at her I'd probably...well, I'd probably do or say something I'd regret later on.
"You seem really down lately," said Ginny softly. "Is anything wrong? Something about...Quidditch, or anything?"
Normally Ginny could simply take whatever was bothering me out in the open for her to listen to...but this was different. I didn't know what to say. If I told her she was wrong—that I wasn't as insensitive as she thought (at least, not anymore—I grow up emotionally too, you know)—what would happen then? She pretty much said that she was over me, and if I told her that I liked her very much...what, then?
I heard Ginny sigh. "You don't seem up to telling anyone yet," she said quietly.
I shook my head no.
"Well." Ginny smiled. She patted my knee twice. "If you feel the need to talk...you know I'm always here." She stood up. "I'll be waiting."
One would expect a match between Gryffindor and Slytherin to be extremely dirty, which was exactly the case that April morning. After more than an hour Slytherin was in the lead by forty points, two of our Chasers were injured, Ron's goalkeeping was getting sloppy, and still, no sign of the Snitch.
Ginny was alone in goal-scoring now, thanks to Crabbe and Goyle. I kept a close watch at her and the Snitch. I knew that she was bound to be injured by those two idiots soon.
Ginny was zigzagging through the Slytherin Chasers when Goyle pelted a Bludger towards her. She didn't seem to notice it—
"Ginny!" I shouted.
Ginny looked around just in time. She deftly dived; the Bludger, less than five feet away from her a few seconds ago, suddenly hit the Slytherin Keeper in the stomach.
"Thanks, Harry!" Ginny yelled, swerving around amidst the yells from the crowd.
I turned to her...then froze.
The Snitch was right above her head.
I quickly flattened myself on my Firebolt and took off towards her. Judging from the way her eyes widened, I could tell that she realized where the Snitch was. Don't move, don't move, I muttered furiously in my head. Out of the corner of my eye, Malfoy was rushing for the Snitch too—the three of us were going to crash—
I caught Ginny's eyes, and in a split second I already knew what she was about to do. I reached out—and Ginny dived once more—
"Gotcha!" I yelled.
I heard Ginny shout in delight below me just as the crowd exploded in cheers. With the Snitch struggling in my closed fist, I slowed my Firebolt to a halt. Suddenly something rammed against me, something quite pliant...and I didn't realize that it was Ginny because it was impossible—
But it was really Ginny; it was her soft hair in which my face was buried, her arms that were around my neck, her laughter that was so, so close in my ear. Without me realizing it, I returned her embrace and laughed, for reasons that were still not clear to me at that moment.
Even now, I can't quite tell you exactly what happened afterwards. Somehow we found ourselves landing on the ground, still clinging to each other. Then when we broke apart I saw her brown eyes alive with mirth, and I...
...I kissed her.
Right in front of the whole school.
My first thought was that this wasn't kissing. This was...
So much for corniness and lack of privacy. But pressure? Honestly, it didn't matter then. The whole world seemed to have faded; the cheers had been reduced to a mere buzz. I was kissing Ginny, and she was kissing me too, and I thought, how could anyone ask for more when you could have this, just this? All the things I had wanted to tell Ginny seemed to flow out of me right then....
Suddenly, someone screeched at us by our surnames. It was Professor McGonagall's voice, breaking through my consciousness. My eyes flew open (did I just close them?) and Ginny and I jumped apart, almost pushing each other in the process.
I blinked twice to focus on my surroundings. The whole team was gaping at us, looking quite thrilled; the rest of the Gryffindors were doing the same. The Slytherins, meanwhile, looked frankly disgusted.
I stole a glance at Ginny and saw something I hadn't seen for three years: she was blushing.
For some reason, I didn't want to let her go away without any explanation, even with all the Gryffindors watching.
"Why?" I asked hoarsely.
She blinked. "Why what?"
I swallowed. My Adam's apple felt like it was fighting its way out of my throat. "Why did you.... I thought you didn't like me."
She knotted her forehead. "What are you talking about?"
"I—I was listening to you and Hermione some two weeks ago," I finally admitted. "You said I was an insensitive prat."
She gaped at me for maybe a minute. Oh, how I hated it whenever she looked at me that way every time I said something that sounded stupid.
But then, realization dawned on her face, and a smile began tugging on her lips.
"I think you didn't hear the part when I said I'm still waiting." She grinned teasingly. "Took you long enough, actually."
I say, it sure did.
Professor McGonagall did give us detentions—separate ones—later. But it doesn't matter now, does it? With me kissing Ginny right now, I'll say anybody can do his or her worst. Life is already complete as far as I'm concerned.
Notes, Part the Second: Actually it's not the end yet. There will be another one-shot after this. Ara Kane reminded me to refer to Adam's apple, so there it is. Please review! Click that link, go on. ;)