A/N:Back for round two, eh? After popular demand, here's a nice little sequel to 'The Woes of Christmas Parties.' Thanks so much to my beta, Caledon, who helped so much with this story. Enjoy!
(This story can also be downloaded as an audio-clip, read by Shaldana, at the LJ community, Fellytone. Links to both the community and the audio clip can be found in my author's profile. Be sure to check it out and read along!)
WARNING: This is a STRONG PG-13 story, rated for mature themes and language. Read at your own risk.
> > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > >
That was really the only word I could think of to sum up the state of my head at the moment. That, and a whole slur of swear words that would make even my profanity-filled brothers cringe. I clamped my eyes shut and snuggled deeper into the warmth of my hard bed, willing the pounding and the aching to go away, hoping I would just fall back asleep. This was the last time I ever drank. Ever. No more. Seriously. I squeezed my eyes tighter, trying to gather warmth for my freezing cold body. I truly had to get warmer nightclothes. I—
Forget about warmer, I had to get nightclothes!
I instantly shot up from my lying position, the quick motion increasing my already blasting headache. I crushed my flimsy sheets to my bare body in sheer panic. Oh, shit. Oh, fuck. What did I do last night? My pounding head mixed with my obvious fatigue made for a rather blurry memory. Oh, this is wonderful! I've been gathering warmth from an unidentified naked man! I began breathing heavily; quite close to hyperventilating, I was sure. I didn't even want to look beside me, afraid of whom I'd see.
All right. Calm, Ginny, just stay clam. Deep breathing. In. Out. Now think. Think, goddammit, think! Yesterday. Christmas. Mum's Christmas party.
Slowly the images began to replay in my head. Mum, waving her spoon about, scolding me for my lateness… Hermione and Ron and little Abby…. Fred and Weasley's Obliviator… The memories kept flowing as I strained to remember everything. Talking with the relatives… Sneaking out and—I cringed—getting caught… Hermione sentencing me to the Table of Mutants… I sighed, rubbing my throbbing head and biting my lower lip nervously. This was when things started getting a bit foggy. Someone else came, but who... oh!
Oh, fuck, I remembered.
I turned my gaze to the sleeping form beside me, already knowing who I'd find.
Double bloody fucking shit.
Sleeping beside me, his dark hair tousled more than usual against the pillow, his tanned bare body reflecting off the white of my sheets, slept Harry Potter.
Bloody fucking Harry Potter.
I groaned again, burying my face in my hands. I was in so, so much trouble.
Fighting back the urge to cry, I slowly removed my hands from my face, looking back down at the sleeping Harry, trying to figure out exactly what I was going to do now. My heart was pounding against my chest and a sickening feeling began to brew in my stomach. Should I wake him? Absolutely not. Should I grab my clothes and run? No, that wouldn't work either. This was my apartment after all, where exactly would I run? And even if I did have a place to run to, what would that accomplish? Even after his drunken state of last night, Harry would still be able to put the pieces together. Him, naked in my bed. It only really equaled one thing.
Major, mind-blowing, shagging.
And from what my Sober Charm-influenced head remembered, that's what it had been. Major, mind-blowing, really good shagging. That I'd enjoyed. And I believe Drunken-Harry had enjoyed. However, Morning-After-Harry wouldn't remember that. He wouldn't remember any of it. Which is actually quite a pity because that means we can't do it again.
A shock shot through my body. Not that I would… well, I mean, I would, but… not…
Oh, blast it all, who am I kidding? Shagging Harry Potter has been my life-long ambition since I was eleven years old! My stomach rolled disagreeably at the realisation of such a thing. The truth was, that if given the chance again, completely sober, I'd probably still be lying here in this same situation. My stomach lurched again. This wasn't good. Why was I acting like this? Where were these thoughts coming from? I hadn't thought of Harry like… that since I was nearly thirteen! Well, at least not directly anyway. It was just that sometimes a girl couldn't help but notice when a bloke was looking particularly good, or when this certain bloke happened to make her laugh, and her stomach jumped a bit. Given the chance, any sane woman would shag a person like that. Therefore, it was okay that shagged him.
Oh, no, it wasn't! Not like this! I completely took advantage of the drunken fool!
Uhhh, my head.
With my head lying back in my hands and the tears of pure frustration and embarrassment threatening to pour out, everything began to get blurry again. What was I going to do? What was I going to say? What would my mother say? Oh, Merlin, my mother! Had she realised that Harry and I left? Of course she had! Molly Weasley never missed a beat. Again my stomach grumbled uneasily. Oh, what am I going to do—?
My head snapped up as I heard the quiet murmur of my name beside me. Harry was stirring awake. Oh, fuck.
I remained still and quiet, hoping he'd fall back asleep, giving me more time to come up with some sort of plan. I watched frozen in my spot as Harry's heavy eyelids slowly flickered open. Damn.
"Erm... morning, Harry," I muttered quietly, readjusting the flimsy sheets against my body, trying to conceal the obvious. I think it was safe to say I'd never been so fully aware of my breasts than I was at that moment.
In his fatigued and hung-over state, Harry didn't seem to notice either of our lack of clothing yet. He groaned, rolling over on his side, blinking furiously.
"Head," he moaned, a drowsy hand going up to his obviously throbbing noggin. I bit my lip nervously, not knowing what to do or say. I continued to sit stock still, watching him in anguish, waiting to see how long it took him to notice he had somehow misplaced his clothing.
"I'm never drinking again," Harry grumbled softly, squinting slightly at me as he removed his hand from his head. He continued squinting. I stared at him curiously for a few moments. Oh, stupid Ginny! His glasses! Where were they? I didn't have to wait long for an answer, as Harry tiredly reached over to my nightstand, grabbed his glasses and slipped them on. I gave him a small smile as his emerald eyes continued blinking owlishly through the round frames. I began mentally counting how many seconds I had left before Harry suddenly realised his state of dress.
He started to sit up, and opened his mouth perhaps to speak, but then stopped, obviously finally noticing that he was lying naked in an unfamiliar bed. I cringed, looking down at the whites of my sheets, too ashamed and embarrassed to even look at him, the knot in my stomach still lying uncomfortably in place. It seemed like forever when he spoke next, but in reality, it couldn't have been more than a few seconds.
He spoke so hesitantly, as if he was still trying to understand what had occurred and was looking to me for answers. I didn't acknowledge his question. My mouth remained shut, as if glued that way, and my eyes remained stuck on the sheets. What could I say? What could I do? 'Yes, Harry, we shagged and it was brilliant. You were drunk, but I was slightly sober, so I remember most of it,' didn't exactly seem appropriate, but at the time, it was the only ridiculous thing my idiotic mind could come up with. So I sat there for a few moments longer until he spoke again.
"So we... through the window... then came here and...er... well..."
"Looks that way, doesn't it?" I murmured quietly without thinking, looking up at him for the first time. He barely took notice of my quiet response. He just kept glancing from me, to the bed, then back to me, as if that would help give him more answers.
"I..." he started, his voice hoarse. "I mean, this...it's..."
Had the situation not been so utterly and completely humiliating—not to mention so utterly and completely my fault—I probably would've found it rather funny that the normally decently articulate Harry had been turned into a blundering fool, but that naturally wasn't the case, so instead I continued to keep my mouth shut.
"Ginny?" he repeated, this time a little more awake and a little more confidently.
"Harry?" I responded, barely raising my glance to him.
"Don't you think we should, er... talk... about this?"
Um, no, Harry, I don't.
I shrugged my shoulders. "I guess."
But I didn't want to talk about it. In fact, after a moment's thought, I discovered that I really, really didn't want to talk about it. I didn't want to give too much thought of the reasons before, but now they shone far too clearly for me to ignore, because whether or not Harry realised it, the truth was, that whatever he was inevitably going to tell me, was going to hurt. It was going to hurt horribly, because I knew two things that Harry didn't know. The first was that, while he'd been completely and utterly intoxicated during this little venture of ours, I at least held a small morsel of normal consciousness, and yet still willingly went on snogging him, knowing exactly where it was going to lead. And second, that whether or not I cared to acknowledge it or do anything about it, this whole fiasco really came down to one stupid character flaw.
That I was head-over-heels in love with the stupid bloke.
Oh, yes. Halfway between mentally breaking down and physically jumping out a window, the realisation that I had turned back into that lovesick eleven-year-old had struck. I wasn't stupid, and I was starting to grow tired of ignoring the truth. Pretending to be married to Harry wasn't hard. That slight burst of glee filling my body as we expertly fooled Aunt Sally didn't go unnoticed by me, but it did go ignored, as mostly everything has been where Harry was concerned. This was a long time coming, I suppose. Harry had always been that slightly present force behind all my motives, whether I knew it or not. He was that person you got dressed a bit nicer for, and the bloke you wished you ran into on your best hair days. Even in our many years of friendship, I suppose there was always that slight hope… that twinge of wanting… I mean, naturally I always ignored it, as any sane person would, but it was just too painfully obvious now. Why else would I willing shag him? I mean, I was not exactly an innocent, but I hardly go bed-hopping either. And the few times I have shagged a bloke, it was always after many, many dates and much consideration. It had taken all of two seconds and a few stormy kisses for me to completely jump Harry's bones.
My chest began to clench and squirm in the familiar pattern of so many years before, but as much as I tried to tell myself I was getting a sudden rush of early PMS, I knew that was not what it was. I was a silly, stupid eleven-year-old girl again, and once more my heart was breaking.
I was starting to find out that being a strangler of unrequited love hurt a whole hell of a lot more the second time around.
And without even realising what was happening, those tears of embarrassment and frustration that I'd been holding so desperately behind my eyes began pouring out. But they were no longer tears of humiliation. They were tears of pain. Pain, it seemed, that only Harry Potter could bestow on me.
"Oh, Merlin, Gin, don't cry. Please don't cry," Harry murmured at seeing my tears, pulling my shaking form to him, closing his arms tightly around me. I crawled into him, sobbing out my sudden burst of despair into his chest. I knew that having him holding me so close was doing nothing but making it worse, but I didn't care anymore. It just hurt too much for me to care.
"Shhhhh," he whispered quietly, gently rubbing my back and kissing the top of my head in a comforting way. The action was meant platonically, which only made the tears fall harder. My stomach continued contracting painfully and I felt more than a bit nauseous. But I didn't dare move. Not this time. This was the last time I would ever be in this position, and I was going to milk it for all its worth.
I wrapped my arms tightly around him and continued burying face in the crook of his neck, feeling the tears begin to dry. If he noticed me grasping onto him for dear life, he didn't say anything.
"Don't worry, Gin," he told me softly a few moments later. "We'll talk this over. It'll be fine."
But it wasn't going to be fine, and I didn't want to talk it over.
"No," I muttered without thinking. "I don't want to talk about it."
I felt Harry sigh. "It's not going to go away if you just ignore it, Ginny."
It's not going to go away.
The words burned painfully in my head. Of course he wanted it to go away. He had a life! He didn't want to be tangled up with stupid, little Ginny Weasley. He wanted that non-existent girlfriend who stayed home with his non-existent dog. And that wasn't me. He wouldn't even give me a chance to be it.
Suddenly I felt the anger begin to build up inside me, but whether it was anger at Harry, or anger at myself, or perhaps anger at the whole situation, I wasn't sure.
"Go away?" I cried, wrenching myself from Harry's embrace, squishing the sheets back firmly to my body. "It's already gone away! Do you even remember any of it Harry? Do you? Whether we talk about it or not, doesn't affect the going away of the situation!"
I felt the tears burning at my eyes again as the words poured from my mouth. I waited, wheezing with anger as Harry digested my attack on him. At first he just looked confused, but then the confusion seemed to turn to a bit of anger of his own. Where that anger was coming from, I couldn't predict, but I was too far gone in my own anger, confusion, and despair to even bother thinking of it.
"Don't go attacking me with all your hypocrisy, Ginny!" Harry snapped, his eyes blazing. "Can you remember any of it? Does it even matter? The fact is it happened, and I know it's bad, but getting angry won't take it back!"
His words continued to stab my heart like a knife and my anger only escalated. Of course he wanted to take it back, I knew he did, but that didn't make it hurt any less.
"Bad?" I hissed, the tears beginning to burn at my eyes. "I'm sorry that even the thought of shagging me disgusts you, Harry, but I'd rather not talk about that in detail, if that's all right!"
"What?" The look of such angry disbelief evident on his face made me pause, but my anger still reigned and I glared harder. "Fuck, Ginny, if you think that's what—" he stopped, covering his face with his hands. "Ginny..."
"Don't bother," I told him coldly.
"No," he insisted, "listen to me, will you? I just… I don't…"
I just can't hurt your feelings.
I don't want you.
I just don't love you.
"Oh, please just stop!" I cried, though whether I was trying to quiet Harry or my internal doubts and pains, I wasn't sure. Regardless, neither ceased.
"Come on, Ginny, just listen for a second!'
"No," I repeated firmly, shaking my head. "It doesn't matter." But it did. "I'm not offended." But I was. "I'm just..."
In love with you.
The bile rose in my throat and I couldn't finish my sentence, though what I would have said, I wasn't sure. Oh, Merlin, this wasn't going well. This whole morning had become one big nightmare. How could I have been so stupid, sleeping with Harry? It was so immature. I knew… I mean, the feelings were always there. I should've known what would come of this. Harry had never thought of me that way, he never would. Yet here I was, practically laying my heart out on the line again. I bit my tongue, holding back all the things that I wanted to say, knowing no good would come of them. And all this time, Harry sat silent, watching me carefully as if at any moment I would explode, or perhaps collapse.
"But that wasn't what I meant," Harry insisted a few moments later, his voice hoarse again. "When I said… I didn't mean that you… not in the least…"
He was lying. I knew he was. He was trying to make me feel better. I fought back the urge to beat him silly. Stupid, stupid, Harry. Why are men so ridiculously stupid? Couldn't he see he was only making it worse? Of course he couldn't. Having a Y-chromosome completely deprives a person of any logical thinking, or so I've discovered. Not that I wish Harry didn't have a Y-chromosome, because, you know, that would make this a bit awkward. Moreover, I don't think Mum would fancy me in love with a non-Y-chromosome person. She had enough daughters-in-law.
"I said it didn't matter, Harry," I told him quietly, looking back down at the sheets, gently streaming them through my fingers. "It's not your fault that you wouldn't shag me on a normal basis, right? You were drunk; you didn't know what you were doing."
And I had, which was the difference between him and me. Oh, and the whole "love" thing.
Harry took a deep breath, but I still didn't look up at him. "That's not… I have to tell you something, Gin."
Tell me something? Oh, brilliant. This was going to be bad, I could tell. He had been lying. Perhaps that "non-existent" girlfriend had suddenly become extant. Her name was Danielle, she was a beautiful French Auror that was now patiently waiting naked in Harry's bed for him to return while their dog, Spot, rested at the foot of their bed. Oh, Merlin. I'm such an idiot.
"I…" he started slowly as I winced, my mind creating all these disturbing mental images. "I wasn't…" He seemed to have trouble telling me about Danielle. My heart continued to pound painfully. "I wasn't drunk last night, Ginny," he finished finally, his head dropping dejectedly.
So, no Danielle?
After my mental celebration of the fact that there was no naked French Auror lying in Harry's bed, his words suddenly hit me, and I couldn't help but snort. He had this all wrong. See, I was the non-drunk one, not him.
"Um, Harry," I started, throwing him an annoyed look. "You were drunk. I remember."
Harry looked up at me, his eyes shining with guilt. I swallowed hard.
"I wasn't drunk," he repeated, shaking his head. "I mean I was… but not when we…" He sighed, giving me a serious look. "While you were climbing out the window, I cast a Sobering Charm on myself. It didn't completely detoxify me, but I was still conscious, and when we came back here and… Merlin, I'm so sorry, Ginny."
Now doesn't this sound familiar?
I couldn't move.
I couldn't breathe.
In fact, I couldn't move and I couldn't breathe and I'm pretty sure that had my body's need to involuntarily breathe not kicked in, I probably would've died. Literally.
"You mean… you weren't… oh, Merlin, Harry!"
He looked so guilty, but I couldn't seem to find the words to tell him that he wasn't the only slightly conscious one last night. My mind was in an uproar. Did this mean… he'd wanted to? Like I'd wanted to? The thought seemed so inconceivable, I didn't dare dwell on it. It couldn't mean what I thought it meant because than that would mean…
"You… weren't drunk?" I asked again slowly, trying to make sure I wasn't just getting this entire thing all wrong. Harry nodded his head ruefully. He looked so depressed, so ashamed. I fought hard to keep the hopeful smile off my face.
"Oh, Merlin, Harry, I—"
But before I even got a sentence out, Harry cut me off, forcefully pushing his lips against mine in a familiar fashion of last night. At first I was shocked—albeit, pleasantly shocked, but shocked nevertheless—by his abrupt attack, but that jolt of surprise almost instantaneously faded, making way for the familiar burning sensation that had forced me into this uncomfortable situation last night. His breathe mingled with mine and his lips gently stroked my own, the familiar taste of him filling me with a memorable sense of passion. Almost tentatively, I began to kiss him back, but it seemed that when I had only just begun to feel the brush of his lips against mine, he suddenly broke it off. My lips tingled and my body ached in protest at the loss, but I tried to ignore them for the moment, trying instead to figure out just what insanity was floating through Harry Potter's head.
I slowly looked up at him, gently licking my still-tingling bottom lip. His emerald eyes bore down on me much as they had last night, dark with desire and filled with lust. I gulped involuntarily. Harry wasn't drunk now. Then again, if what he claimed was true, he hadn't been all that drunk last night either. My mind was blazing and so many questions flew through my head, I hardly knew where to start.
"Harry…" I started uneasily, still watching him with a slightly skeptical eye.
"Don't talk just yet," he interrupted me quietly, though his voice held a sense of urgency I'd rarely ever heard him use. I tried to talk once more, but Harry efficiently silenced me with another kiss. "I know what I did last night was wrong," he continued softly, after proficiently keeping me quiet a few more times, "and if you hate me for it I'll understand, but… Merlin, Gin, can't you feel it? I'm… I'm no good with this sort of thing, I know, but… tell me you didn't feel it when I kissed you? Tell me, and I'll leave you be, I swear."
He looked so sincere, and so utterly and completely guilty and hopeful at the same time, I couldn't help it when, against my own accord, a small giggle escaped my mouth. I obviously startled the poor bastard, for he nearly jumped ten feet when the small laugh escaped, but I couldn't help it. I suddenly felt so light I thought I'd surely float right off the floor. Ridiculous, I know, but I didn't think I'd ever heard something so totally and completely wonderful and yet so totally and completely silly at the same time. Hate him? Was he kidding? I couldn't hate the poor bloke if my life depended on it! Trust me, I'd tried, it just didn't work out. And there he was asking me if I'd felt it? Felt it? I'd been feeling it for the past decade! It was him who seemed to be slow on the uptake! But now… my heart was pounding harder than it had all morning, but for the first time, it didn't make me queasy, and it didn't make me want to cry. Well, at least, not cry cry, like sad cry. I could definitely do some happy crying, though. Most definitely happy crying.
In my state of surprised bliss, it took me a few moments to realise that I had yet to say a word to Harry since he'd made his little "feeling" statement, and when I looked back up at him, the trace of hurt was evident on his face. He obviously took my amusement the wrong way (as most people did). My mind quickly fumbled with all the things I could say—all the things I needed to say—but my head was such a jumbled mess I couldn't make two cents of anything. I could feel my mouth opening and closing like a fish, but for the life of me I couldn't make anything sensible come out. I saw Harry's frown deepen and my pulse instantly quickened when still nothing came out. So I did the only thing I could really do.
I pounced right back on him, and snogged him like there was no tomorrow.
He was startled again—maybe even a bit frightened this time—as was obvious when he easily fell back against the bed from my ambush. I couldn't help but laugh again at his shocked face as I reluctantly pulled away a few moments later. The stupid bloke actually thought I was going to abandon him like that? After everything? My smile widened slowly and I saw a small trace of laughter creep onto Harry's face as well as I gently lowered my lips back down to his, a burst of such happiness flying through me as I felt his arms wrap around me, and his lips moving against mine once more.
There was a lot to say, I knew, and so much I really should have told him, but as he continued kissing me, his hands and mouth roaming, I hardly cared. That I could save for later. Right now, I had something better in mind, something a lot better.
And this time, I'd make sure we'd both remember it.