Summer Song

" Downdowndowndowndowndowndownweallfalldown ", you say to nobody in particular, as the redhead clambers easily up the bamboo ladder to the rickety wooden frame. Late afternoon in the garden, you suggested hide and seek. She laughed, that short nervous laugh like an April shower. But there's only two of us. Still she covered her face with her small perfect hands ( Seeker hands ) and you didn't doubt she'd count right up to hundred.

Now she's found you looking down across a run-down fence, your knees pulled up against your chest. Her gaze flickers from the stack of Quibblers and half-eaten sandwich beside you, to the view from higher ground. Her trainers are old and scruffy. You're sure they're hand-me-downs. The Weasleys are poor. But that's OK.

" Wow, I've never been up on a treehouse before. "

" And now you are. "

And now she tosses her sweetcopper locks away from her face, the sun burns her freckles golden, and now she's looking at you, like she's run out of things to say even though she isn't said much yet anyway. There's a flush on her cheeks, which could be because she's young and strong and she's been running around the place with you since mid-day. Or. You remember that Muggle novel you'd read last summer, after bedtime with light from your wand-tip under the covers. Now she's leaning in, so that a part of your mind begins to chant

G i n n y a n d L o o n y s i t t i n g i n a t r e e,

and you don't get beyond that.

Up here the wind is cooler. It sings to her, and she sings back, but to you. To you.