Author's Note: I've been reading a lot of these little ficlits lately...only about three chapters long, but everything someone could want in a story. So I've set out to write one! Go me! Wahoo!
You can laugh once it's over, but only once it's over. Until then, you have to be nice and say, "Gee, Molly, it's a good thing that you're trying new styles. I'm sure you'll get better as time goes on." And then, once it's done, I invite you to laugh and point and mock me while chanting, "Hah! Hah! You suck! You suck, you suck, you suck!"
:P All right, well, now that that's settled...
I blame Snape.
I know what you're thinking: Of course you do. Just throw all of the blame onto the slimy git's shoulders; what's it to you if he's innocent? But I'm telling you, it's his fault. If he hadn't given me detention last Saturday, if he hadn't made the detention at five o'clock - sharp - and if he hadn't made the detention in the Great Hall, as opposed to in the dungeons like usual, none of this would have happened.
If I had been the in dungeons, I wouldn't have seen Ginny Weasley holding hands and laughing over a cup of hot chocolate with Dean Thomas in the Great Hall. And if I hadn't seen that, then I wouldn't have felt that weird little twinge.
No, it wasn't jealousy.
I was just looking out for her, is all, and that little twinge simply meant, 'Oh, look, my honorary sister is growing up.'
So anyway, I went and sat at the table and waited for Snape to come and tell me exactly what my detention was. And come he did, handed me a mop and a bucket of water, and ordered me to clean the entire floor of the Great Hall.
I still could have been out of there before anything major happened if he didn't have to add, "It's almost a bittersweer feeling, seeing you do this, Potter. I would have so loved to have done it to your father."
And, as we all know, I don't take snide comments about my diseased parents well. "Oh, shove off, you great ugly git," I snapped, before realizing what I was saying.
Snape paled even more than usual.
Despite myself, I was impressed.
And I knew then that I was in big, big trouble. Hermione was going to blow a fuse - Head Boy's did not talk back to professors, they did not lose House points, and they certainly didn't get Saturday detentions.
I wasn't particularly worried about Snape - he couldn't dish out anything new. Two hundred thousand million points from Gryffindor, a year's detention, fail me out of the class...
Not anything to worry about.
No, no. It was Hermione that I was afraid of at this point.
"Potter, how dare you address me that way!" Snape shrieked, his voice unusually high-pitched. Sweat dripped from his hairline and he shook - literally - with anger. "Y - You - one hundred - and fifty points - Gryffindor!" He roared. "D - Detention! DETENTION FOR THE REST OF THE YEAR!"
I crossed my arms coolly. I could almost recite his threats. "You - you're just like your father - arrogant and - and - "
I ignored him and mopped the floor as he ranted.
And then, Snape sunk to an all-time low.
He brought in Malfoy.
Stormed out, and ten minutes later (I was doing my best to ignore Ginny and Dean's excited talk about the incident) came back in, dragging Malfoy. "Potter, you may not respond in any way to Mr. Malfoy!" He said gleefully. "Or - Expulsion!"
Now, I'm not really sure if that was a valid threat, but I certainly didn't want to risk it. So Malfoy watched me for a moment, seemingly perplexed with the situation until he said, "Wait - so - I can say whatever I want?"
Snape hastened to assure him that yes, he could, and exited the room.
Malfoy had a field day.
First he started on me. Now, insults in my direction I can handle. I've had a fair few in my lifetime. Then he started on Hermione, and I bristled, tightening my grip on the mop. I stopped cleaning and glared at him, but said nothing.
Then he began on Ron.
The sick prat was enjoying it.
I threw the mop down and tightened my fist into balls, but said nothing. he said all sorts of horrible things about Mr. and Mrs. Weasley (I really was shaking out of anger at that point) and finally, Ginny.
She ignored him, instead focusing intently on me.
And then he decided to go in for the kill.
"Do you miss Black?" He asked abruptly. "I mean, I know you killed him, but do you regret it? Because, it's your fault, you know. You as good as did him in. You did do him in. And I was just wondering what it felt like to kill a family member. Same goes for Diggory, although he wasn't really your family. Just decided to get an innocent bystander, did you? Shame, really - broke Chang's heart."
He paused thoughtfully. "So who's next, Potter? Weasley? Granger? Weaselette?" I bit my lip so hard it bled and my nails were digging into my fists and making little cuts.
Remaining in Hogwarts couldn't be worth this.
"It just seems that everyone around you dies, doesn't it? The werewolf, maybe? You seem particularly close to him...or how about the fat Weasley woman? She's cared for you, I gather, loved you like a son - the idiot woman - so I imagine you'll get her next, right?"
That was it. Screw Hogwarts - I whipped out my wand and was a millisecond away from cursing him into oblivion when I realised that Ginny had beat me to it.
He had warts, tentacles, jelly-legs, no wand, and was stunned.
I admired the work. "Admirably done, Ginny," I complimented, although still furious.
But it's not fair to be angry at people that aren't involved in the situation.
And besides, I wanted to let Thomas know that I was her friend and that I'd had her first.
"Thank you," she said primly. "I only beat you by a little." She paused, frowning at me. "And you're lucky I did, too, you silly git. You would have gotten expelled! Honestly!"
She has been spending entirely too much time around Hermione. I've got to save her before it's too late.
Thomas looked between she and I and then asked timidly - "Ginny... would...would you like to get back to eating now?"
The git! It was an important moment! And he interrupted it!
So. Ginny shrugged and I went back to mopping.
I really began to hate Dean at that moment.
The speed at which she had cursed Malfoy! It was like nothing I've ever seen. It was really strange, but I began to see Ginny in a new light... a light in which was favourable in some aspects, because at least I learned the little things about her - like never get on her bad side, she eats like a sumo wrestler and doesn't gain a pound, her pet peeve is when one-half of a collar is turned up and one down - but less favourable in the respect that I found myself doing slightly stupid things.
Like putting my elbow in the butter dish when she sat next to me at lunch. Or walking into doors. Or hitting my head on things. Or stubbing my toe, flubbing spells, choking, blushing, staring, getting rendered speechless, missing the Snitch, falling off my broom...
She's an enigma, though. She'll dash down to breakfast in the morning, her hands ink-stained, her hair tied up in a hasty bun, flash me a smile and then dissapear. Her tie is sloppy and hanging, little strands of hair hang down over her eyes.
Ah. And so I have come to the eyes.
They're wide and trusting, or narrowed and fiery, or sparkling with mischief...beautiful, beautiful eyes.
She captivates me.
So anyway, I blame Snape. Because if he hadn't given me that detention, I would have never seen her in this new light, and therefore I would not be sitting in this blasted hospital wing with a massive headache.
Poor Madam Pomphry. She got me my own bed, you know. Made a plaque that said 'Harry Potter's Bed' and magically adhered it to the one I'm in.
Merlin love the woman.
But anyway. The reason I have this migraine would be because I was in Defense Against the Dark Arts when she came in to give Professor Tonks (Gods, but it feels weird to say that, even now) a message from McGonagall. Tonks and I were duelling in a friendly sort of way, just to exersize, when she came in, and Tonks stumbled.
She knocked into the bookshelf, which tilted right at Ginny.
She stared as it came down towards her head. Not really thinking, I shoved her out of the way.
Only, I tripped on a desk because her lips - all shiny and full, opened slightly in shock - distracted me.
And so I got the bookshelf corner, right in my forehead.
But you know, it's funny. I don't regret getting bashed by the damn thing at all, because Ginny didn't. I don't think I'd manage to keep breathing if something happened to her. If she weren't at my -
Oh dear Merlin.
Will you listen to me?
Damn you, Snape! Damn you, damn you, damn you!
Everything was much, much easier before all of this nonsense.
Do you hear what I'm saying? All poetic and cutesie when she doesn't even know that I fancy the freckles off her. Can you say 'Pathetic loser'?
Over here - no, no, behind the flowers.
This is all hideously embarrassing. First I make a fool of myself by tripping and getting my arse kicked by an inanimate object, and then all these little midgets come in, blushing and stuttering, to bring me flowers and candy and get-well cards.
I have, as of yet, managed to stay civil and say, "Thanks very much."
She hasn't come around yet, though. I asked Ron how she was and he burst out laughing, the git. Wouldn't tell me why. Same reaction with Hermione, except she patted my arm and said in a very comforting voice that lips were very distracting things.
Now, I ask you - how did she know about that?
Anyway, Madam Pomphry is letting someone in now.
Ah, I'd know that beautiful head of hair anywhere.
Now, if I focus very carefully, I can make myself not blush and if I just don't move, I won't get hurt. That's the plan.
"Hullo, Harry," she chirps, and plops down on a stool beside me. "How's your head?"
"Oh, brilliant," I mutter sarcastically. "The dent isn't too large."
She winces. "Right - sorry about that - my quick reflexes only show themselves on the Quidditch pitch, you know..." She frowns. "Although, you didn't have to throw yourself in the way. Pushing me out of the line of fire was sufficiant."
I blush but maintain my cool. "I didn't," I sigh, raking my hands through my hair. "I tripped. Trust me, if I could have avoided me attacked by a wooden box, I would have."
So far so good. As long as I don't make any large movements, I should be fine.
Ginny furrows her brow. "Yeah, I've noticed you've been a bit of a klutz lately."
She noticed me?
She noticed me?
It's worth the pain. It's worth the headache.
She noticed me! Me! Harry Potter!
Life is good.
Ish. Life is good-ish.
My head still hurts, you see.
"Have I?" I ask, delighted. "Can't imagine why."
She frowns again. "Are you feeling all right?" She pauses, and then - "Oh, Harry!" I raise my eyebrows in surprise. "You fancy someone!"
Good feeling gone.
Right down the drain.
Along with the colour in my face.
"S-Sorry?" I squeak.
She smiles benevolently. "It's obvious, Harry...the tripping, the blushing, the klutziness...you put your elbow in the butterdish yesterday..."
Damn. I didn't know she knew about that.
"So?" She asks excitedly, "Who is it?"
I blush madly and avoid her gaze. "How has Thomas been?" I ask instead, hedging the question. "Er - that is to say - How is Dean?"
She cocks her head, confused. "He's your yearmate, Harry," she says, sounding perlexed. "You're in most of his classes."
I shrug. "Yeah, but we're not close like you two."
"I should hope not!" She snorts, and then laughs pleasently. "Actually, Dean and I broke up."
You know, I am a master of self control. If I wasn't, I would not have been able to stop the 'Hallelujah!' that would have chorused out of me and the huge, idiotic smile that would have formed on my face.
All the same, I can not bring myself to look sorry. "Oh, that's too bad," I say, trying to sound sympathetic. "You must feel - er - badly."
She raises her eyebrows and laughs. "You don't do the after-breakup peptalk often, do you?" She asks. I flush and shake my head. Ginny sighs in exasperation, but a smile tugs at her mouth. "Well, I did at first, but then I realized that I don't even really fancy Dean."
"Oh?" I squeak, my voice higher pitched than usual. "Why'd you go out with him, then?"
"It's called a distraction," she says with a shrug. "You see, I was trying to get over this other bloke that I'm madly in love with, but he's too thick to see it."
I nod, feeling really put out that she likes another bloke. The agony on my face - which I assume she took for sympathy - was real. "Aw, I'm sorry, Ginny," I say consolingly. "Anyone would be a stupid idiot for not seeing that sort of thing. A bloke would be lucky to have you."
Another strange smile tugs at her lips. "Yes," she agrees. "Yes, he would be stupid."
We sit in silence for a minute, and then, "Ginny?" She looks up with a small 'Hm?' "Who is he? The guy you like, I mean."
She passes a hand over her mouth, as though concealing a smile. "Oh, you know him," she confesses. "You know him very well. He's a good friend of yours, actually."
My mouth drops open. "Dear Merlin - you fancy Neville?"
She chokes on her own spit and then bursts out laughing. "No, you prat!" She smirks, shaking her head. "Not that there is anything wrong with Neville, but Luna would have my head if I went after him. No, no, it's someone else."
I frown. "Why can't you just tell me?"
"This is more fun."
"Uh-huh." We lapse into silence and I think. "Seamus, then?" She shakes her head once more. "Ginny, I don't know very many people that well. And all my roomates have been listed, with the exception of Ron, and I'm assuming you and he don't - well - unless there's something I should know..."
"No!" She bursts out fervently, shaking her head.
Stop staring, Harry.
Not kidding, she'll notice soon.
Damn. Too late.
"Right," I squeak. "Right - well - someone younger then..."
She shakes her head, frowning. "No, not younger." She smiles. "Not older, either."
"So he's in a different House?"
She stares at me for a moment, then flings her hands into the air in exasperation. "Harry, you are a thick, thick prat, you know that?"
I blink. "Er - sorry?"
"You haven't listed someone in your year."
Yes I have!
Seamus, Dean, Ron, Neville!
Who else, besides me?
No one, that's who.
And she obviously doesn't like me anymore.
Damn it, why didn't I see her in this strange light when I had the chance?
As I was saying, she obviously doesn't like me. She couldn't. It's unthinkable. It's ludacris. I mean, what do I have to offer?
Sure, a vault full of money - but Ginny's not like that - and the whole 'I-Conquered-The-Dark-Lord' thing - but Ginny's not impressed by that, either, she knows me to well - and the fact that no matter where I apply, if I ask to be a Potions professor when I clearly know nothing about the subject, I'll get the job.
But Ginny isn't in to that sort of thing either.
So, basically, unless she's into guys at beat themselves up everytime she is within a continent of the vicinity, I've got nothing.
"Can't think of anyone that I missed," I say, bemused. "So it must be another House. Ravenclaw? Hufflepuff? Oh - please don't say Slytherin."
She blinks at me like I'm the most stupid idiot in the world. "What?" I snap.
She sighs. "Okay, I'll give you a hint," she finally caves, exasperated. "His first name starts with an 'H' and ends with 'Arry', and his last name starts with 'Po' and ends with 'Tter'."
H - Arry
As in, me?
"Harry Potter?" I choke out, my eyes wide. "As in - the Harry Potter?"
She smiles, amused. "Why, yes. That Harry Potter. Have you heard of him?"
Through my euphoria, I manage, "Once or twice."
We sit in silence for the third time, my mind reeling.
Yeah, she likes me.
'Madly in love', as she put it. Ginny Weasley, the girl that I've been obbsessing over for the past week, is in love with me.
Life is good.
Screw the headache, life is great! It's wonderful! It's perfect! It's ...
Hey. Hey! Where is she going?
"Ginny? Ginny! Where are you going?"
She turns back, frowning. "Well, you didn't say anything, so I assumed you don't really care that I'm in love with you, and therefore I decided to leave and save the last, minute thread of my dignity. Why?"
"You think I - I don't care?" I ask, my mouth dropping down to the bedcovers. "Are you mad?"
Her frown deepens and she looks away. "I guess so, because only a madwoman would think that you would actually return - "
Am I this clueless?
"Ginny, I've been tripping over myself and putting my elbow in butter dishes around you for a week. Or have you not noticed?"
Her eyes fly to mine. "Wait - what - what do you mean?"
It's odd, but her sudden lack of confidence seems to have boosted me up to where I need to be in order to do this right.
Oh, thank Merlin.
"Oh, just that I have been obbsessing over you for weeks now." So I exaggerated. Sue me. "It's weird, but I just - started noticing the little things about you - like the way your hair catches the sunlight, and how your eyes widen when your surprised and a smile tugs at your lips and..." I trail off, blushing like crazy.
She grins. "And?"
"...And - well - I mean, obviously I - er - liked those things..."
Time to curl up and die now.
She laughs, turns back, and leaps onto the hospital wing bed, throwing her arms around my neck. "Oh, but you didn't say anything and I thought Hermione must have been wrong about you liking me and - oh! It would have been horrible, to think that I'd broken it off with Dean for nothing." I grin broadly at her.
"Truly tragic," I lament, slipping my arms around her waist. She nods solemnly.
"Broke the poor blokes heart, I imagine."
I smirk. "Well, too bad for him, you're mine now."
And then - and thank Gods she took the innitiative, I'm too happy to even think about it (okay, that's a lie, but don't tell Ron) - she covers my lips with her own.
Her tongue darts out and carresses my lower lip. I groan.
I love her more every moment.
I struggle to maintain a train of thought as she kisses me, trying to think of a word that describes her.
Nah, too cliche.
Well, yes, but...it's not quite right.
...Yeah. Perfect. My Chaser.
Finally, when the need for air becomes desperate, she pulls away.
She rolls off of me and lies quietly by my side until - "You know, no one has ever jumped in front of a bookself for me before."
I am about to correct her and tell her that I didn't actually jump in front of it, but realize that I might as well milk the situation for all it's worth.
"I guess I'm the first bloke that's not family to love you enough to jump in front of something so terrible and risk my very life for you."
She has a very nice laugh.
"Would you jump in front of a rebel magnolia if I asked you?"
I grin. "If you asked me to, then yes. I would jump in front of a rebel magnolia."
"The one with lots of vines and petals falling off?"
She smiles at me, and I find it rather hard to think with her face so very close, barely brushing mine.
"My hero," she breathes before capturing my mouth with hers.
I smile against her lips.