Disclaimer: I don't own anything connected to J.K. Rowling.
A.N.: This started out as a one-shot, but I'll probably chapter it 6/7 or so. This is my first real project since the termination of my account, so I'm excited to get started again.
This chapter is dedicated to H/G writer Concealed. Read her stuff! (Every chapter will be dedicated to a writer/reviewer who brightens my day. You could be the next!)
"So who was your best?"
"Snog? Mmmm . . . either Abott or Weasley."
Harry Potter stopped dead in his tracks, his broom nearly slipping out of his fingers. Nearly, of course, because stone, granite floor isn't especially kind to brooms, (especially one so cared for as his), and more importantly, the loud clanging sound the broomstick made would have alerted his presence to the boys he was now shamefully eavesdropping on.
He instantly recognized their voices: Dean Thomas, who Harry had previously considered a decent bloke and Michael Corner, who Harry really didn't know anything about except that he was in Ravenclaw.
But . . . their best snog? Ron? Weasley? As in Ron Weasley? Was there more than one? What in the name of . . . ? He shuddered. Ron. His best mate. Ron . . .
"Oh, Merlin, mate. I almost forgot . . . you dated her for a while didn't you?"
Her? What the . . . ? And then Harry remembered, sighing in relief. There was a "her" Weasley that he had forgotten about. He shook his head, the panic in his body now subsiding. Absurd really — to think that Ron was . . . And then, the boy performed a picture-perfect double take. Wait a minute . . . "Her" meant Ginny Weasley. He frowned, indignant.
First of all, Ginny wasn't . . . er, well . . . she wasn't . . . something. Yeah. Ginny wasn't the type of girl whose kissing just shouldn't be talked about. Ever. In fact, Ginny kissing anybody irritated him. Harry wasn't quite sure why a normal teenage boy's conversation about a girl got him so riled up, but . . . Ginny Weasley deserved better. Harry knew that, at least.
"Oh yeah. Ginny Weasley. Merlin, she had all the right moves."
The wizard froze, pressing himself up against the stone wall. He mentally reprimanded himself for his actions. Honestly, what was he — a petty first year who felt compelled to hear what other people said? Still, the boy was held captive against his will, more than entranced by the conversation in process just around the corner. These boys were cutting up one of his friends. Or, friend by association, at least.
Harry meant to leave. He was on his way to the quidditch pitch for practice and would be late if he listened to much more. But somehow, his shoes had been replaced with lead, and he couldn't make himself move.
He heard Michael, (or perhaps it was Dean?) give a low whistle of appreciation. "She knew what she was doing, I'll give her that."
Harry suddenly had the overwhelming desire to go over there and give Corner the beating of his life. At the same time, a very small part of him was fascinated at this information. Yes, they were discussing his best mate's little sister like the centerfold of Playwizard, which was utterly revolting, but Harry couldn't help the spark of curiosity that ignited within him.
He supposed he had unconsciously noticed that of course Ginny had grown up, (as everyone does) and was entitled to kiss whomever she chose, but was unprepared for this.
Hadn't he noticed the growing number of boys that clamored for her attention after quidditch practice? Apparently not. But she was, after all, their newest (and best, if he were honest with himself) chaser, and did look quite good riding a broomstick . . .
At the same time, the boy made a face; this was the little girl who used to yelp and run away whenever she saw him, for goodness sake! The very idea of Ginny Weasley as someone he could . . . think about in, well . . . that way was repulsive. For the love of Merlin, she was Ron's baby sister!
Emphasis on baby. Yeah, in fact, what year was she? Third?
Fifth. Oh. Well, that didn't count.
Er — yeah.
"Ginny was by far the hottest, come to think. She kisses like . . . like a nymphomaniac on death row."
Nymphomaniac on death row . . .
"So, did you ever—?"
"Hell no! I tried to feel her up one night and she punched me in the face. Most painful right hook I think I've ever had. Was black and blue for days. And then we were over." He paused, sighing nostalgically, and Harry leaned closer, raptly listening. "Worst loss ever. She had nice lips. Nice everything, come to think."
Harry felt an unexplainable surge of pride for the witch. Way to go, Gin! At least she hadn't . . . with Thomas. He sighed, not sure why that would have upset him so much.
"Bloody tease. What a whore."
"She was hot. Too good for me though. And I think she was always hung up on Potter."
Harry started, his breath caught somewhere between his lungs and mouth.
"No. I doubt it. She gave up on him long ago. Damned idiot. Cho said he's more than a bit daft when it comes to girls."
"Oh yeah. You guys are still going out. What's she like?"
"Honestly? . . . She's got nothing on Weasley. That girl's got passion that'll rip you down, and burn yoursmoldering carcass. Cho's normal. She's got chemistry, and is pretty hot but it's nothing like the fervor that Weasley had."
Harry felt sick. He leaned against the stone wall, breathing slowly. His stomach gave a funny flip. He so desperately wanted to never have heard that. To never have listened, and never be haunted by the image of Ginny and Corner shacking it up in a deserted hallway.
Harry forced a mild smile and rounded the corner, barely pausing to mutter a quick "'lo" as he passed the pair of boys. He bounded out of Hogwarts castle, onto the quidditch pitch, thankful for the distraction.
As he neared the field, Harry stopped mid-stride for the second time that afternoon. Ginny was on the Gryffindor quidditch team. He looked ahead, and sure enough, about 500 yards away, clad in stunning (where did that come from?) crimson robes, standing with the rest of the team, the youngest Weasley was smirking down the field at him.
He took a deep breath, steeling his nerves. Honestly a bit of gossip about his best mate's sister, baby sister, for Merlin's sake shouldn't be enough to rattle him. Still, Harry couldn't deny that the encounter had numbed him, to be sure.
Fortunately, (or unfortunately?) those thoughts were violently shoved out of his mind when Ron, wearing an expression oddly similar to his mother's when she had first learned of the twins' joke shop, marched up to him, index finger jamming into his chest and demanded an explanation for his "unprofessional, slackering, lateness that deprecates the entire team!"
"Run in with Snape," he lied quickly, hoping Ron would pass off his fierce blush as embarrassment, because at that moment, he caught Ginny's eye. Ron gave him an understanding look, all the while muttering about his first year as captain, and how the players were weren't committed.
Harry mutely followed, walking in line with the rest of the team, trying very hard to avoid their latest player. Unfortunately, said player took the opportunity to elbow him in the ribs and congratulate him on managing to force Ron into "yet another conniption fit. Fred and George would be so proud."
He smiled lamely, the words of Dean running through his mind like a badly broken record. Harry looked down, tearing his eyes away form what they had been unwittingly doing: that is, studying every inch of Ginny's profile. Her nose was quite pretty, a little turned up at the end; and, unlike the lanky beak that overtook so much of her brother's face, it suited her perfectly.
"Are you alright, Harry?" Ginny asked.
Harry gulped, praying she didn't notice the burning blush that was threatening to cover his entire face. Did she just bat her eyes? But no . . . Ginny's visage remained puzzled and innocent.
How could he not have noticed the color of her hair was so much more . . . demure than Ron's? (Or any other Weasley's for that matter) How did he miss the open mischievousness of her smile, or the way she carried herself so much more — femine-like than Ron? How did he miss the faint accent of her cheekbones that blended with her freckles in a way Ron's never could? Why hadn't he noticed before (as he subtlety moved closer to inhale) the sweet scent of perfume that lingered around her person?
And for a crazy moment, Harry knew exactly why she guys like Michael and Dean liked her. He found it not at all hard to believe that Ginny would be wild in a closet . . .
The team gathered around the center of the pitch, while Ron drawled on about the strategies they would attempt this practice. Harry put his best occlumacy skills to practice. The question was: why in the name of Britain, was this happening to him? He didn't even like her! He wasn't even attracted to her! She was barely more than the little girl he had saved so many years ago.
Harry chanced another quick glance to his left, capturing Ginny in his vision. Fate had decided to screw with his mind, he decided, which was the cause for the blustery weather that had pressed Ginny's robes against her body, conforming to her every curve and presenting her figure in a light Harry didn't think Ron would approve of.
In seemingly no time, said brother blew his new whistle, signaling practice to start. Ginny bushed her robes aside, straddled her broom comfortably between her thighs, and pushed off — her hair whipping behind her.
Harry groaned, not liking the funny feeling in his stomach one bit.
'I don't care. It was rubbish anyway . . .' He told himself and pushed off of the ground, resolve firm.
Yet as he watched her fly down the field, the picture of grace and athleticism, Harry couldn't help but wonder at the inexplicable tight feeling in his chest. Something had switched in the wizard after he heard that conversation. Something he didn't even know existed.
Harry dodged a bludger that whizzed past his head, ducking to the left and nearly colliding with a beater that was pursuing the ball. The boy licked his lips . . . determined to become focused on the game. Quidditch, at least, he was sure of.
After what seemed like an eternity, practice was over. Harry didn't bother to wait for Ron, practically ran back to the castle, and burrowed himself in his dormitory. The boy pulled at his messy hair. Why had he just noticed now that Ron's sister was a real girl? Honestly, it was pathetic that such base gossip could affect him like that.
What would Ron say? What would anybody say? He shook his head; irony had a strange sense of humor.
And did Ginny even know the things boys said about her in her absence? Harry didn't think so. It didn't seem right, somehow.
Harry sighed. Was he really that shallow? A couple comments that were fit to be written on the bathroom wall and he was fawning over someone he hadn't known existed until now. Harry groaned; the memory of Ginny flying in the wind was still fresh in his mind. For one second, Harry was a bit jealous of her broomstick — then literally slapped himself for the thought.
Really, Potter. You're no better than Thomas. She's just your best mate's sister.
But somehow, after what he had heard, and the new perception he had of this siren, Harry couldn't convince himself that was true anymore.
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