"You know what I think?" Ginny asked suddenly, rising slightly to prop her head on her fist, and glancing down thoughtfully at Harry.
The two were lying on the edge of the lake, enjoying the soft Easter breeze, and each other's company. It was a 'relaxing day', Ginny had announced this morning: the pale, amber sunlight of a new spring was intoxicating all of them, and there were "ages" until their exams. (Hermione disagreed, but was ultimately swayed.)
A year ago, if someone had told me I would be lying on the edge of the lake, on the holidays, with only Harry, I would have cried from laughter, Ginny thought giddily. The truth of it was, in the last year, she and Harry had become closer, closer than she could have ever expected. Ron and Hermione had finally decided to snog each other senseless (they went on various "prefect rounds", and there was no doubt in Gryffindor Tower of their intentions-however, their not-so-secret relationship caused much debate on the pool that had been riding on it.)
"Mm?" Harry muttered lazily in reply, keeping his eyes closed.
"When I said relaxing, I didn't mean dying, Harry," Ginny said, easy good humor in her voice as she continued, "Anyway, I think we should have nicknames."
Harry opened his eyes, and looked up at her. "Why?" he asked.
Ginny shrugged. "Well, Ron and Hermione have nicknames for each other," she began, and, noting Harry's eyebrows shoot into his hairline, she quickly added, "Not like theirs, though! Merlin, calling you 'snuggle bunny' when I think no one's listening would be just…" Ginny broke off, bursting into a peal of laughter at the thought.
"Are you saying I would be a bad snuggle bunny?" Harry asked, mock-offended.
"Oh, no, Potter, I'm sure your snuggling skills are wonderful," she teased, rolling her eyes. "Though the fact that you seem to have snuggled with…oh, no one, might affect my line of thought."
"How do you know?" Harry continued, "Maybe I'm secretly snuggling with some girl every night, at the astronomy tower."
Ginny cocked an eyebrow.
"Okay, maybe not," Harry relented, enjoying their friendly banter. He loved these conversations with Ginny-they were light, and they spoke in their own, strange language of mockery.
"No, I would have seen you there, eh?" Ginny replied, winking at him.
"Are you implying that you, the sweet, innocent Ginevra Weasley have been snuggling at the astronomy tower?" Harry threw a dramatic hand over his forehead, adding, "Ron might die of horror if I tell him."
"Piffle," Ginny waved a hand dismissively, "I'll kill him before he reacts if he even begins his 'baby sister' nonsense. Though I did like that 'sweet and innocent' comment, even if half of it may be off." She grinned at him slyly, and reached over to move the hand off of his forehead, trying to ignore the smoothness of his skin against hers.
"You're right," Harry said seriously, turning so he was on his side, and looking at her, "You're not very sweet at all."
Ginny punched his arm playfully, muttering, "Bloody wanker." Harry grinned cheekily at her, noting the edges of her mouth twitch.
"I have it on good information, actually," she giggled, "That I am 'sweet as four spoons of ginger and a triple-scoop rocky road ice cream cone, in the last week of April.'"
Harry stared at her, and promptly collapsed into laughter as Ginny fell into a giggling fit, tipping back onto the tickling grass.
"Who-who said that?" Harry gasped out finally.
"Michael Corner," Ginny said primly, "I think he may have been more in love with the dessert than me. Never have I heard such a terrible stab at poetry."
"Well…I can think of one," Harry said slyly.
"Spit it out, Potter," Ginny said, wondering if maybe Cho and Michael really were that similar.
"Something about 'eyes as fresh as a pickled toad', I think," Harry suggest pensively, as if it was a long-lost memory.
"Harry bloody Potter, I will murder you if you ever mention that again," Ginny squealed, fighting a blush, "And that was Fred and George."
"Really?" Harry asked, "That explains a lot…"
Ginny snorted, "Knowing those two exist can explain a lot," she said, "And besides, I would have told you myself, but I still had that god-awful crush on you."
"Darn, is it gone now?" Harry teased, "I was hoping to bring you to the lake and seduce you, but you, milady, have spurned my fantasy."
Ginny smirked at him, "Smooth, Potter, though I have to wonder, who seduces a girl on the lake? And besides," she continued, "I'm even more dubious about these 'seducing powers' of yours than the snuggling."
"Oh, I'm a master of seduction," Harry informed her, struggling to keep a straight face, "Just ask Witch Weekly! After all, according to them, I've seduced Hermione, Fleur, Professor McGonagall, Madam Romserta, and some," he frowned, "Gringotts Goblins."
"Ew?" Ginny said, wrinkling her nose, "Gringotts Goblins? I think I'm going to have nightmares."
"Not the point," Harry replied, as Ginny lay back, shutting her eyes, "But with all this obviously good evidence, how can you doubt me?"
"Please," Ginny said, "Maybe I'll believe it after I see you 'snuggle', Harry."
"Fine," Harry replied mischievously. He rolled over slightly, sliding his body next to Ginny's, and wrapping an arm around her. That snapped her eyes open.
"Snuggly enough for you?" he asked, suddenly struck by how intense Ginny's eyes were. It was like seeing a well of emotions, fusing and flashing between thick lashes. For a moment, he forgot his teasing, and stared at her, stared at those eyes.
"Maybe," she whispered, very conscious of the not-so-big gap between them. She knew Harry could feel her breath-his face showed it. Resuming her mocking tone, she added, "Though I think this is far from seduction, Mister Potter."
What happened next, Ginny would forever be stunned by. Harry always claimed that it was she who made the first move, at least when speaking within a three-mile-range of any Weasley.
In truth, however, it was Harry who shocked Ginny, by cupping her head in his hands, and pulling her to him, kissing her gently, with a tender passion that surprised her even more. He felt her stiffen momentarily, and she was lost, returning his soft touch, molding her figure to his.
Finally, the two broke apart. Ginny traced Harry's face thoughtfully, an action that was new, and pleasant, to Harry, whose arm was still around her, holding her close.
"Care to explain?" she asked, something strangely guarded in her tone.
"I-I've wanted to do that for a long time," Harry confessed, as panicked thoughts darted into his mind. Oh, might as well say it all, he decided mentally. "This year," he began, "I've really gotten to know you, Gin, and…I started liking you in a whole different way."
"And what are you going to do about it, besides snogging me senseless?" she asked, smiling at him sincerely.
"Er…ask you to be my girlfriend?" Harry stuttered, and went on, in smoother tones, "Will you be my girlfriend, Gin?"
Oh, she couldn't resist that nickname. Gin. Ginny was tempted to run around the lake screaming 'I am Gin, who just snogged Harry Potter!'.
She settled for saying, "I'd love to," and proceeding to wrap an arm around his torso.
Harry grinned, and Ginny returned his smile, feeling a sense of exhilaration grab her.
"I think I'd like to have relaxing days like this forever," she said, thinking out loud.
"Me too, love," Harry winked at her.
"Love?" Ginny repeated.
"Nicknames weren't my idea," he told her, running a finger along her cheek, wishing he could memorize it.
Far away, a supremely enthusiastic Ron and Hermione were cheering their heads off, binoculars in hand.