A/N – A Christmas treat for y'all, inspired by good ole Barbara Streisand's song: 'It Must Have Been the Mistletoe'. It's a bit late, but a treat nonetheless. Enjoy!
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It Must Have Been the Mistletoe
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Ginny pulled the blanket further up around her shoulders, lounging lazily beside the cosy, crackling fire. She looked out the window and sighed, wishing the snow wasn't so thick. Last night, she had hoped that the snow wouldn't last until morning but she had been wrong; when she looked out the window when she woke up she couldn't even see the Forbidden Forest it was coming down so hard.
There was absolutely nothing to do in the common room, or outside the common room as a matter of fact – except eat. Most of the students had gone home for the Christmas break but Ginny had proffered to stay at Hogwarts to catch up on the work she had fallen far behind on. It was her NEWT year next year and she wanted to be ready. She regretted it a lot now, nobody – well none of her friends – had stayed so she had nothing to do once she had finished the work.
The common room was empty now, the remaining Gryffindors had gone down to the Great Hall for a late breakfast but Mrs Weasley had sent Ginny some extra food so she had chosen to stay behind and finish off the two foot long Potions essay on hellebore and its many uses. Now she had finished it though, and was slowly being driven insane by boredom.
Hermione had been planning to stay but, at the last minute, she had finally convinced Ron to go skiing with her. No doubt they were having a good time; they always did - even if they had to argue all the bloody time. Ginny grinned and shook her head, those two were head over heels in love but they always dismissed it as a small crush, not knowing everyone else knew they hated being separated and it was much, much more than a 'small crush'. Ron had been sceptical about skiing for ages that Hermione had given up and Ron had abruptly changed his mind when she stopped asking. Ginny had an amused feeling that he hadn't suspected Hermione to agree at such late notice and had gotten a nasty shock when she had.
Ginny sometimes felt jealous, she wished she had someone she could always talk to and laugh with and kiss. Boyfriends came fairly often for her but they didn't mean that much and didn't last long. The person who did mean that much to her she had given up on a long time ago. But Ginny was slightly mollified by the fact that that person never seemed to have a girlfriend. Not that there was lack of offers though.
Ginny heard the portrait door swing open and she lay still, the couch blocking whoever it was from seeing her. She peeped her head around the armrest and saw with surprise that it was Harry.
Harry had stayed at Hogwarts for the Christmas break too, studying hard for his NEWTS that were coming up. He was determined to be an Auror and his hard work showed it. It made him all the more introverted though, he barely spoke to anyone except for Ron and Hermione and the boys in his dorm. He was amazing at Defence Against the Dark Arts, there had been a competition for the subject held and he had won beyond doubt. Ginny sometimes wondered if he would one day be more powerful than Dumbledore.
He had even created his own spell, although that was a secret between him and Dumbledore. It was the spell that had destroyed Voldemort and he had only used it once. Ginny had thought Harry would be able to grow up properly after all that was behind him, but he had remained the same. Only his two best friends knew him well, many tried but he never wanted to open up. He was friendly of course, but he liked his comfort zones. Ginny sometimes thought that Harry had many more friends than he realised.
She watched him sit down and remove his clock and his boots. Obviously he had been outside in the snow – probably visiting Hagrid. She had forgotten about Hagrid, he was the only other person Harry opened up to. Ginny wished he would open up to her, she would love to sit and talk with him but she never really got the chance.
Harry always said hello to her in the halls, made polite conversation when it was the two of them and they couldn't even avoid talking at the Burrow when he came to stay. But it was never any more than that. He never sought her out in the common room, never sat with her in the Great Hall, never waited outside her classroom door like other friends.
Maybe he was nervous, or shy. Nah, Ginny thought, he just likes his comfort zones.
He looked up and she didn't hide quickly enough. He looked surprised for a second but then the expression passed.
"Hiya Ginny," he said awkwardly.
"Hey, Harry," she answered, sitting up a bit straighter and waiting for a conversation to start.
Ginny rolled her eyes and slumped back down on the pillow. Was it so damn hard to talk? Anything would do!
Harry got up and walked over to a single armchair where a chess set lay in front of him on the table. He stared at it for a few seconds, and poked one of the pieces with disinterest. The knight looked belligerent but didn't complain.
"Want to play chess with me?" asked Ginny, raising her eyebrows.
Harry's head shot up and he looked, once again, surprised. "Yeah, yeah all right then," he replied.
Ginny got up and wrapped the blanket around her before walking over to the arm chair opposite Harry and sinking down into its squashy depths.
"Black or white?" she asked him.
Ginny nodded, tapping the white pieces with her wand. It was just like Harry to give her the dominant side, the side that made the first move. He was too passive for his own good.
- - -
It was a pretty long game, a difficult one too. Harry had learnt well off Ron and so, fortunately, had she. They both had the same tactics and once or twice Ginny could sense Harry giving her thoughtful glances.
He won in the end though, she got bored and her head began hurting from concentrating too hard. She always did that, she never won because she got bored. Ron was continuously getting annoyed about that, he could never finish a game with her.
"Good game," said Ginny, smiling as the pieces set them selves up again.
"Yeah…" said Harry. "Thanks."
There was an awkward silence for a few seconds before Harry said all in a rush. "D y'reckon Ron and Hermione are having fun?"
Ginny hid a grin at this forced conversation. "Yeah, I bet right now they're sitting in front of a cosy fire at the ski lodge wrapped up in a blanket and…" she giggled, "arguing."
Harry stared at her for a second and then let out a short bit of laughter, as if surprised and regretful she had made him laugh.
Silence fell over them like a blanket again and Ginny bit back an impatient sigh. Why did he make it so damned hard to have a conversation with his one-word answers?
"Do you ever think Hermione and Ron will break up?" Harry asked suddenly.
The question was so unlike him Ginny guessed he had been thinking about the whole time they had been away.
"Um," she said, thinking. "No, I don't."
"Yeah, me neither."
The conversation died again and Ginny pulled a face. This was getting nowhere.
"I wish it would stop snowing so we could go outside."
"It has," said Harry vaguely.
"It has stopped snowing. Look." He pointed out the window and Ginny saw he was right. The sun was out and she could see.
"Do you want to come out with me then?" she asked.
"I've just been," said Harry.
Ginny gave an inward sigh of disappointment but then stopped. He could bloody well come out with her instead of sitting in here like a boring lump.
"No, come on, come outside. It'll be fun. Please?"
He really didn't need much convincing. "Okay."
They pulled on the cloaks and hats and scarves and gloves and headed outside, avoiding Peeves as he flew by blowing raspberries at them.
It was cold outside but the sun warmed Ginny nose and cheeks as they walked. Her hands were deep inside her pockets and they walked towards the frozen lake slowly. The branches were encased in ice and they looked like they were made of glass. The whole grounds were a winter wonderland, every single thing covered in fresh white powder. It was breathtaking.
They both kept walking – wandering – along the snow-covered path, not saying anything. Ginny was getting kind of annoyed, she knew he could carry a conversation so why did he have to stay so silent? She looked at him and was surprised to see he kept opening and closing his mouth, like he wanted to say something but kept thinking better of it. Ginny frowned; maybe he was trying to make conversation after all.
"Harry, if you want to say something, just say it. No one's stopping you," she said easily.
Harry shrugged. He pointed at the lake with his gloved hand and shrugged again. "Pretty," was all he said.
"It's not pretty, it's beautiful," Ginny said, smiling at him. After a second he smiled back at her but it only lasted a second. Ginny kept smiling though, so far she had gotten a smile and a laugh out of him. Maybe it was a day for miracles.
"Yeah…" he agreed.
Ginny spied a particularly large mound of snow coming up on the right, Harry's side of the path. She didn't say anything and they kept walking closer to it, Harry seeming to be lost in his own world.
They came into line with the mound of snow and Ginny darted sideways and knocked into him "Wha-!" he yelped and he flew directly into the huge pile of fresh snow. His head went in first and then only his feet were sticking out and kicking madly.
The picture was so funny that Ginny just sat down on the snow and laughed and laughed. Harry was having enormous trouble trying to get out of the pile (which was now more like a cave) and stand up. Ginny just kept on laughing, going into fresh peals of laughter as more snow kept piling on top of him.
When he finally escaped she had tears streaming down her cheeks and Harry collapsed on the ground beside her, panting.
"What was that for?" he exploded, indignant.
Ginny went off into laughter again. "I'm sorry," she said, gasping and wiping a tear from her cheek. "It was just – just so funny." She laughed again, right in his face.
Suddenly a fistful of snow landed in her mouth and Ginny stopped laughing abruptly, spluttering. She spat out the snow and looked back at Harry who was giving her a serves-you-right face. She found the whole thing so funny she just started laughing again.
Harry was looked now at least a bit amused. "Why are you laughing?"
Ginny giggled and stared up at him from where she had lain back in the snow. "Oh, that was fun," she said, eyes alight.
"Maybe for you," he said huffily. "You didn't get pushed into a mound of snow."
"I had it thrown in my mouth!" Ginny protested, still laughing.
"Well, you deserved it."
It started to snow lightly and Ginny sat up and stuck her tongue out to catch the flakes. Harry watched her, noticing that she looked quite pretty with her hair all mussed up from where her hat had fallen off and her nose and cheeks all pink from the cold.
Before he knew what he was saying he said it aloud. "You're pretty." He kicked himself and blushed, feeling stupid.
She stopped giggling and stared at him. His hair was messy and his glasses were askew but for once he looked like he was having a good time. There weren't many of those moments since the war, since Voldemort. Goodness, she had given up on him! She couldn't go and fall for him now.
"Thanks," she whispered.
It began to snow harder and without a word they stood up and began heading back to the castle. The common room was warm and roasting compared to the cold from outside and they quickly shed their outer clothing. There were a couple of people in the common room now; none of them paid any attention to Harry or Ginny.
"Well," said Ginny, "I better have a shower."
"Yeah, all right. See ya," said Harry, looking a bit disappointed.
Ginny walked up to her dorm and, after making sure no one was in her room, took a great running leap and jumped onto her bed and sunk into the fluffy pillows. Harry had said she was pretty! He had laughed with her! She hugged her pillow and gave a whoop of glee before bouncing off the bed and into the shower.
- - - - - - - -
It was mid-afternoon when Ginny finally walked down the stairs and into the common room. She felt a wave of disappointment when she discovered Harry wasn't there.
She wandered out of the portrait hole and down the main corridor, presently finding herself at the door to the library. She scanned the room discreetly, nope he wasn't in there. She turned back around and almost let out a yelp of horror. The enchanted mistletoe was headed her way!
Heart beating like a drum, Ginny fled inside a nearby broom closet and hid. She held her breath for a few seconds and then let it out slowly with relief. She was safe.
The Enchanted Mistletoe was all Ron's fault. Well, partly the twins too but people preferred to blame Ron. When he had liked Hermione, but didn't have the courage to ask her out he had begun asking people for advice. No one really knew how to help him so at last, he was forced to turn to Fred and George. Ginny secretly thought that her twin brothers had been more excited about setting loose their newest experiment than helping their younger brother with his love trouble. Nevertheless, their experiment had helped Ron ask out Hermione.
The mistletoe worked in this way: it flew about Hogwarts preying on single people. It sensed if someone had a boyfriend or a girlfriend and steered clear of them. But people who were single constantly lived in fear throughout Christmas time of the mistletoe. Once it had spotted someone, it hung above their head belting out the tune 'Don't Talk, Just Kiss' loudly until that person kissed someone.
The twins had promised the mistletoe would only work with Hermione, but as it turned out, it worked on every single person without a boyfriend or girlfriend. And instead of floating above Hermione, it had floated upon Ron while everyone laughed until Hermione took pity on him and kissed him. It had been their first kiss of many.
But the reign of the Enchanted Mistletoe lived on, despite Ron getting his wish. After New Year's Eve the mistletoe would vanish, only to be back on December eighteenth the very next year. It was part of the reason so many people left for Christmas holidays, they couldn't stand the mistletoe.
Suddenly, the door to the broom closet opened and Ginny fell forward onto the ground. She looked up to see Harry staring down at her.
"What are you doing? I was just coming down the hall when I see you look like you've died and run into the broom closet."
Ginny got up and dusted herself off, glancing quickly up and down the hallways for any sign of the mistletoe. "Enchanted Mistletoe," she said shortly. "It was heading my way."
"I hate that thing, I hope it never gets me," said Harry.
"Me neither, I want to kill Fred and George every time I see it."
"Yeah, well, I s'pose they meant well," said Harry.
"No, you're mistaking the phrase 'meant well' for 'evil intentions'," Ginny informed him.
He laughed, only for a second. It was the second time she had made him laugh today.
"Have you had lunch?" she asked him.
"Cause Mum sent me some mince pies and I was just wondering if you wanted to have some with me, instead of going down to the Great Hall," said Ginny.
Harry looked eager; he loved Mrs Weasley's cooking. "Er, yeah, that sounds nice," he said.
They walked up to the common room, Ginny keeping a careful lookout for the Enchanted Mistletoe, if it caught her now she would die of embarrassment. Harry would never look at her again. Harry sat down in one of the chairs while she ran up and got the food; she grabbed some homemade candy too and took it down. Harry was sitting on the couch by the fire, staring silently into the flickering flames as they danced in the fireplace.
Ginny plonked herself down next to him and pulled a blanket over herself. "Here, take your pick," she said as she handed him the bag of pies.
"They're all different," she told him, peering into the bag herself. "Watch out for the spicy ones."
Harry picked out one and took a bite, stomach rumbling happily as it went down. He polished it off in less than ten seconds, licking his lips with satisfaction.
Ginny laughed. "Hungry?" she teased as she handed him the bag, still halfway through her own.
Harry reached in and picked out one again.. "I didn't have breakfast," he protested. "Or lunch," he added. He took a bite out of the pie and his face became horrified.
"What?" Ginny frowned.
"Hot!" he gasped, grabbing a glass of water as his eyes watered.
"Oh, they can't be that bad!" Ginny said as she laughed at him.
Harry raised his eyebrows and held out the pie to her, she leant over and took a bite out of it, her lips brushing his finger and he jumped but didn't say anything. Ginny yelped and dropped the bag, her tongue was on fire. She grabbed the waterglass off Harry and gulped it down.
"Oh quiet, don't be an I-told-you-so," Ginny said, biting back a grin.
They finished off the pies, leaving the spicy ones. The fire crackled merrily in front of them, its warmth pooling over their hands and feet and faces. They began to talk. Words were falling off Ginny's tongue, she'd never realised how Harry had such an ironic, sarcastic sense of humour. It made her laugh aloud many times. They talked for so long they didn't even notice everyone leave for dinner.
When Ginny looked out the window it was night-time and the common room was empty. "Whoa, what time is it?" she asked, getting up.
"About eight," said Harry, looking at the clock on the wall.
"I think I'm going to turn in, we have Hogsmeade tomorrow morning," said Ginny, turning to go upstairs.
"Hey, Ginny?" Harry called suddenly.
She stopped and turned around. "Yeah?"
"Um…" Harry was stammering a bit. "Er, doyawannagotoHogsmeadewithme?"
"Sorry?" Ginny asked, hoping he had said what she thought he had.
"Do you want – to go to Hogsmeade with me tomorrow? Since we don't have anyone else… it's all right, don't worry," he said hastily.
"No, I want to!" Ginny said.
"Okay, cool. G'nite then." Harry looked relieved.
As soon as her door was closed Ginny screamed joyfully into her pillow. True, it wasn't really a date, but… she could pretend it was.
Little did she know Harry was grinning stupidly into the fire downstairs, whooping loudly.
- - - - - - - - -
The Shrieking Shack really wasn't that scary, from Ginny's point of view. She stared at it, burrowing deeper into her scarf. She looked sideways and saw Harry gazing at it too, many different emotions on his face.
"It brings back memories for you, doesn't it?" she asked him.
"Yeah," said Harry. "Yeah, it does." He looked away from her, blinking rapidly. The wound that opened when Sirius had died still hadn't completely healed and Ginny wished she could fix it sometimes.
She nudged him gently. "Mum and Dad love nothing more than filling that empty space that came when he died. You know that, right?"
"Yeah." Harry's eyes were glassy and he kicked the fence. Ginny bit her lip. "I know."
A silence stretched between them, they stared at the Shrieking Shack together, breath coming in short little puffs of steam. Ginny wondered if all of this was worth it. Harry would just go back to normal once Hermione and Ron were back, hanging with them all the time and no one else. Her pride told her to forget about it but her heart was telling her pride to get stuffed. And thank goodness for that, Ginny thought, smiling inwardly.
"Do you wanna go for a Butterbeer?" she asked.
"Er, okay. That'd be good," said Harry.
The Three Broomsticks was fairly full when they arrived and sat at a booth. Hogsmeade was a beautiful place to be during Christmas time and many families and couples came to stay – not to mention the Hogwarts that stayed for the holidays. They ordered their Butterbeers and sat in silence, both looking around the room.
There were many couples around; Ginny wondered why they weren't in a more romantic café.
She looked at Harry. "You know, you could have just gone to the Burrow for Christmas. Mum would have loved to have you."
"Yeah, but it would be weird 'cos Ron wouldn't be there. Or Hermione," he added.
Ginny shrugged, taking a sip of her Butterbeer and shivering in delight as the warm, golden liquid slid down her throat.
Ginny's head shot up. "Me?" Had he really wanted to spend time with her?
"Yeah, otherwise who else would there be? Fred and George are basically living at their shop and Percy has his own apartment and Bill and Charlie are working... wherever it is they work."
Ginny felt herself sink. A last resort. That was what he had meant, the person who came last after everyone.
Harry saw her face fall and he kicked himself mentally. What had he said wrong?
Another silence fell between them, an awkward one. Ginny looked out of the window and surprised to see it was almost dark. They had spent the whole day in Hogsmeade, going to Zonko's, spending hours eating candy and just milling around the snow-covered streets and talking.
"I think we have to be back soon," she said.
Harry seemed surprised and he looked out one of the windows. "It's dark already," he said, looking faintly astounded.
"Almost," said Ginny, smiling.
They left a couple of coins on the table and walked out of the Three Broomsticks. It was snowing again, lightly, but it would no doubt get heavier. Then Ginny stopped abruptly.
"Look!" she exclaimed.
She was pointing to where all the Hogwarts students were getting into sleighs lead by beautiful white horses.
"One of the professors must have sent them because it was snowing," said Harry, staring at the beautiful, velvet red sleighs.
"Oh, let's get on one!" Ginny said, running towards the closest one. Harry followed after her more slowly. Ginny climbed into the seat and grabbed the reins, Harry sitting himself beside her a few seconds after. Ginny tugged on the reins and waited expectantly for the horses to move, but nothing happened. She tugged again and frowned, looking puzzled.
"Is something wrong with them?" she asked.
Harry shrugged. He pulled on the reins himself but still nothing happened. He whistled at them but still the horses remained stationary. Ginny stamped her foot with frustration.
"Come on! Move!"
Harry clucked his tongue and the horses suddenly surged forward and Ginny and Harry were thrown backwards onto the seat. Ginny laughed and Harry managed to grin as the horses trotted along with both of them still knocked off their feet.
"That was clever," Ginny remarked.
Harry shrugged and pulled a face. "Didn't even realise I was doing it."
"Oh look, a blanket!" Ginny exclaimed as she pulled a deep red blanket out of the back of the sleigh and draped it over their laps. She rubbed her hands together and breathed onto them. They huddled together, moving along at a nice pace. Ginny looked up at the sky and gasped. The sky was as clear as anything, a black sheet stretched over the sky and decorated with millions and millions of tiny glistening stars.
"It's beautiful," she murmured. Harry looked up and nodded slowly. The lights from Hogwarts glistened in the darkness, leading them home. The air was cool and crisp and Ginny was chilly but she shifted closer to Harry's warmth.
"Thanks for coming with me today," she said.
"Er, it's okay. You're welcome," said Harry.
They fell into silence, but for the first time, it was a comfortable one. They watched the night fly by, the grounds dressed in white. It was breathtaking and Ginny never forgot that night for all of her life.
They arrived back at Hogwarts and stepped out of the sleigh and watched as the horses drove it off into the night until it disappeared. Ginny smiled at Harry.
"That was nice."
Harry didn't answer, but he looked nervous. Ginny bit her lip and looked at the front doors, wanting to go inside. The sleigh had been nice but standing still was too cold to bear for long. And then Harry didn't something Ginny hadn't expected.
He took her hand and held it, leading her inside. She didn't say anything, didn't protest or give him a weird look, she didn't tell him he was holding it a tad too tight. She had been cold only seconds before but now she felt like she was a roaring fire, warmed by magic. The special type of magic called love.
They walked up to the common room, still not speaking, just smiling. They walked in the portrait hole and Harry let go of her hand and they peeled off their bulky clothes. Ginny went over to the couch by the fire where they had spent the majority of last night and Harry followed.
They sat down in front of the fire, feeling cosy and warm. Ginny spied the book she had been reading yesterday, a book of Muggle fairy tales Hermione had gotten her one Christmas. Ginny adored fairytales, she loved snuggling up in her bed and reading them for hours.
"Wanna read me a fairytale?" she asked, picking up the book.
Harry looked sceptical. "All those stories are the same. A prince and princess falling in love, an evil witch and a happy ending."
"What's wrong with that?" Ginny was indignant.
"That's not true in real life."
"Well, I think that real life matters too much to you Harry Potter. You could do with a happy ending, in my opinion," she said.
"Fine, I'll read it."
"No, don't do me any favours," replied Ginny coolly.
"No, I want to."
"No, you don't."
"Yes I do!"
"No you don't!"
"Yes I – fine I won't."
Ginny wasn't really that angry, she just wanted Harry to realise that real life could be like a fairy tale. Goodness, today had been like a fairy tale for her. Spending all day with Harry and then a beautiful sleigh ride through the snow.
"They're not all happy endings," Ginny said.
"What ones aren't?" Harry looked incredulous.
"Well, it depends on how you look at it. Take Little Red Riding Hood for example, her grandma was eaten by a wolf in the end! Sure, she was saved, but her grandma wasn't. Or… or… what about the stories where the children's mother dies and they get an evil stepmother? Sure, in the end the evil stepmother gets what's coming to her but the children's mother is still dead."
Harry looked lost for words. "Well, that's not in many. And grandma's aren't worth much anyway, always interfering. And what Grandma believes a wolf is her granddaughter?"
Ginny rolled her eyes. "You've got to judge things less harshly," she informed him. "Here, read this one."
Harry took the book and looked at the title. "The Ugly Ducking," he read aloud.
Ginny smiled to herself and curled up under the blanket, daringly leaning on his shoulder and closing her eyes. She listened to his voice, and she ignored the man's voice and listened to the child's smaller, inner voice. Harry was just a child at heart who had never properly grown up; he'd had to do all his growing up in a year. And now that everything was all over, he was trapped in a body he didn't really belong in. He needed a happy ending.
Harry kept reading, even after Ginny had drifted to sleep, despite his pride saying to stop. "Then he rustled his feathers, curved his slender neck, and cried joyfully, from the depths of his heart, "I never dreamed of such happiness as this, while I was an ugly duckling." Harry finished and looked down at Ginny. He had never dreamed of this happiness, all of what he had done today. It had been fun. He had laughed and joked and didn't feel left out like he sometimes did since Hermione and Ron had become a couple.
There must have been some sort magic in the air, or the beautiful sleigh ride beneath the stars but Harry now looked at the youngest Weasley in a different way. And he wasn't quite sure what to do about it. He felt a bit like the Ugly Duckling himself, though he would never admit it to anyone – even Ginny. And today she had made him feel like the swan that the duckling had become in the end. It sounded completely corny but it was true.
And he fell asleep too eventually, Ginny's head still on his shoulder.
- - - - - -
The next few days passed in a whirlwind. Harry and Ginny spent every waking minute together, snowball fights, secret midnight strolls in the snow, eating Christmas candies by the common room fire, falling asleep talking… They were both wrapped up in a spell, surrounded by magic. Harry blossomed, he opened up to her about everything. She had seen the real Harry, stripped bare and still looked at him in the same way. He had sympathised when she complained about always being the youngest and sometimes forgotten child.
Their first kiss came soon after that. The Enchanted Mistletoe came floating down the hallways on Christmas Eve. They both looked right at left for a broom cupboard, knowing they couldn't run. Then Harry stopped and beckoned her with his finger, Ginny moved closer and his arms went around her. The mistletoe hovered over them and Harry bent his head down to hers and their lips joined. The mistletoe flew off, and if a plant could look grinned cheekily, this one certainly would have.
They awoke Christmas morning side by side on the common room couch, as they had every past morning. The day passed like a dream, a fairytale. It was the perfect time to fall in love, Ginny always said.
But all fairytales have a sad part, and that part was soon to come.
As the days passed, and the holidays began to draw to an end, Ginny couldn't help but wonder what was going to happen when school started up again. Harry liked his comfort zones, and those zones consisted of Ron and Hermione, not her. Who was to say Harry wouldn't go back to being the same as he had before the holidays began?
And Ginny asked him that, the very night before Ron and Hermione came back.
"Whaddya mean 'go back to being the same?'" Harry asked belligerently.
Ginny felt her eyes water and burn with unshed tears. "I mean when you didn't really talk to me, only if you had to. When the only time you paid attention to me was when you were training me – the team – for Quidditch," she whispered. "When I was just Ron's little sister."
Harry stared at her. "Well," he began slowly. "I guess it would be the same as it was before the holidays…"
Ginny stood up off the couch and nodded. She brushed away a tear that had escaped and forced a grin over her face. "Yeah, I thought it'd be like that." She shrugged. "Hey, it was you who told me in the first place fairy tales weren't realistic. Thanks for this holiday Harry, it meant a lot to me. I'll being seeing you." She disappeared up the common room stairs, tripping up them but keeping going.
"…except we would be going out," finished Harry lamely to the empty common room.
- - - - - - - -
Harry opened his eyes and groaned. Hermione's bright face was peering down at him expectantly.
"Ugh, what time is it?"
"Time for breakfast before classes start," said Hermione.
"Harry, mate," greeted Ron as he walked over, "Why are you sleeping on the couch?" he laughed.
"No reason," Harry muttered. After Ginny had run up the common room stairs last night he had been in no condition to move. "When did you guys get back?"
"Oh, just a few minutes ago."
"How was skiing?" Harry asked her.
"Oh it was fantastic, come to breakfast, I'll tell you all about it!"
Harry walked down to the Great Hall with his two best friends, listening to their chatter with one ear. Apparently Ron had been fascinated with the chairlift and had cause some trouble because when the chair reached the top of the mountain and he was supposed to get off he just stayed on and went back down again. And he had accidentally gone off a huge jump when he was going down backwards and everyone thought he had meant to do it and for the rest of the day he was the 'hero of the ski fields'.
But it was Ginny who controlled the majority of his thoughts.
Ginny looked up when they entered the Great Hall and then put her head back down again, after waving quickly to Ron and Hermione. She was sitting by herself and reading her fairytale book with a wistful look on her face. She didn't look at Harry, not feeling it was safe too.
They didn't sit with her, it was only the three of them Of course, thought Ginny bitterly.
Suddenly the Hall went silent. The Enchanted Mistletoe had just entered the Great Hall through the main doors. Everyone watched in trepidation, wondering who would be the mistletoe's victim. Ginny closed her eyes and cursed the thing, that stupid mistletoe had been the cause of all her problems. It had made her kiss Harry and in turn made her love him. It was all the mistletoe's fault. And Ron's fault. And the twin's fault and…
… crap. A familiar buzzing sound was drawing closer to her and that could only mean one thing. Ginny peeked one eye open and saw she had been right. The bloody mistletoe had chosen her. She was its victim.
It began to hum the tune 'Don't Talk, Just Kiss' and Ginny closed both her eyes in embarrassment. Everyone was laughing now, she was a laughing stock. Now she would have to walk out of the Great Hall alone and suffer torments for the rest of the day. And week, and month.
But then someone was in front of her, taking her hand in theirs. Ginny opened her eyes slowly and almost jumped when she saw Harry standing directly ahead of her. Ginny bit her lip and stared at him nervously.
And he kissed her.
The room had gone quiet, with the exception of the singing mistletoe, from shock. Everyone waited for the kiss to end, thinking Harry was just helping out.
The kiss didn't end.
Harry reached a hand up and knocked the mistletoe away from Ginny's head and it zoomed off, making and odd whooshing sound. Ginny expected him to pull back, but he didn't. People were starting to whisper now.
"Last night," Harry whispered in her air. "You didn't give me the chance to ask you out."
Ginny started to laugh. "You don't have to."
And he kissed her again. She could hear Ron spluttering in shock and Hermione shushing him, could hear whispers and talking but it all didn't matter anymore. Harry loved her!
She would bless that mistletoe for the rest of her natural life.
Merry Christmas everyone and a Happy New Year! Expect an update for HH soonish, but meanwhile a review for this would make an excellent pressie ;)