Author's Notes:Just a one-off I started a few weeks back and was inspired to finish. No promises on other stories.
And yes, I realize that this bit's been done to death. So what? I like it. :P Inspired by multiple Broom Closet fics.
by Raine Lionheart
Damn Argus Filch.
Damn that man to the eternally desolate plains of Hell.
Damn him and that dusty, foul cat of his.
Damn the both of them and their stupid ugly faces.
And damn this infernal closet.
Harry pulled the door closed as quietly as he could and backed into the broom closet, putting as much distance as he could between himself and the door. His back touched the far wall, and he let himself start to relax… at least until scuffling footsteps became audible. He could hear heavy breathing (Nose-breather, Harry thought with annoyance) and the clinking together of several keys - this had to be Filch and Mrs Norris.
"This way, my sweet," came the muffled, yet ever-sickly voice of Hogwarts' caretaker, "we've got a scent, we do. Putrid scent of… of youth."
Harry heard a soft miaow, and the footsteps quickened in pace.
So, they were gone. Nonetheless, Harry eyed the door, knowing that it couldn't be that easy. It never was.
Damn Argus Filch.
To be fair, it was Harry's own fault anyway. Only he could have been so stupid, leaving his Invisibility Cloak in the Room Of Requirement, when he needed it the most. And only thinking to consult the Marauder's Map moments before Mrs Norris came bounding around the corner, a feral glee in her feline face - Harry would have loved to give her a good prod with his wand, to see what would happen.
He shook his head and made to leave just as the silence of the corridor was broken by a new set of footsteps - running this time.
Before Harry could make a move, the door of the broom closet peeked open, and a figure slipped in. They pulled the door shut behind them, incanted a locking spell, then backed into the closet, keeping an eye on the door.
Again, Filch's footsteps echoed through the corridor.
Whoever it was that was now sharing accommodations with Harry, they were somewhat breathless from their game of (literal) cat and mouse. He didn't say a thing, however, opting to try and stay unseen by anyone this night.
This plan failed miserably when the newcomer backed right into Harry.
Luckily, Harry's reflexes allowed him to clamp a hand over the person's mouth before they could cry out. Filch couldn't be more than a meter to either side of the door, and Harry knew that a single shout would be the icing on Filch's cake.
"Filch is right out there," Harry hissed, "so don't say a bloody word when I remove my hand."
The person nodded. Harry pulled his hand away, but didn't move. Nor did his companion.
Instead, the both of them were listening with great intensity. Filch's nasally breaths were still plain, but they sounded as if they were moving off again.
"Lost them, my sweet, but not long!" A miaow. "Let's try the dungeons."
The footsteps receded once more.
As his veins were now flooded with adrenaline, Harry's head was rather light. He leaned against the wall for support as his companion sighed and did the same.
"Close one, eh?" Harry said.
"Yeah," came the reply - a female voice. Unfamiliar. A bit hoarse. Otherwise, a pleasant change from Filch's grotesque excuse for a voice.
Harry didn't say anything, merely urged himself to calm down. His companion, on the other hand, asked, "Who are you?"
Harry raised an eyebrow. Determined to stick to his Don't-Get-Caught policy, he replied in kind. "Who're you?"
The girl chuckled. "Right. No need to ask."
It struck Harry as odd that his voice didn't give him away… then again, Hermione had said at one point that a few other boys had the same sounding voice. He hoped that she was right. The last thing he needed was for a giggly, anonymous girl to tell everyone that she'd been alone in a dark closet with Harry Potter tonight.
And what about her? He couldn't place her voice. Maybe she was a younger student from a different house. He doubted she was from Hufflepuff or Ravenclaw, it was almost unheard of for their lot to go sneaking around at night. So a Gryffindor or … ugh… a Slytherin.
"What house?" the girl asked, as if following his thinking.
"Lions," she affirmed.
"Good, I'd hate to be stuck in here with a Slytherin."
The girl giggled again, and he could imagine her nodding her head furiously.
"I suppose we've got the greatest list of hall-wanderers the school's seen."
"Caught and uncaught," she added.
"At least by Filch. There's always Snape. He'd likely have any non-Slytherin whipped, if not expelled."
That struck a chord in Harry's head. He'd heard that voice say those words before.
Damn his stupid memory.
"He's going to make OWLs absolutely impossible to take," the girl said. "It's bad enough he hates me personally, but the fact that I'm in Gryffindor doesn't help me very much."
Ah, a clue! Fifth year, obviously (or just a very upstart fourth year following in Hermione's footsteps as top of the year). Hated by Snape, that was worth something.
"OWLs won't be terrible. Snape won't even be there to heckle you."
"Oh, great bloody hell, I'm going to be all right then."
They were silent again, for several minutes. Oddly enough, the urge to leave never rose within Harry, and he thought that the same could be said about the young woman across from him.
"What were you doing out at this time?" she asked him a moment later.
"Oh… I was… studying," he said lamely. "Advanced Defence Against The Dark Arts. I needed a break from the tower." He paused, then asked, "How about you?"
There was hesitation, followed by a feeble mumble.
At least he wasn't the only one here embarrassed.
"I didn't catch that."
"I was… I… oh, I was flying."
"Nightflying?" Harry asked.
"Yeah," the girl said. She sighed and explained, "I've been a nightflyer for a long time. Since before Hogwarts. It's helps me relax."
"How so?" Harry asked. He sank to the ground and sat against the wall. The girl heard this and did the same.
"I don't know. It's the air I guess. And the stars above… and the absolute quiet."
"I get you," Harry said. Indeed, Gryffindor tower could be a temple of din on any given day. He couldn't blame this girl for wanting solitude. Especially if she was about to face her OWLs in less than three months.
"Do you ever?"
"Nightfly, I mean."
"Oh." Harry frowned. As a matter of face, he didn't. It was sort of odd. It was something that he'd been wanting to do for a while now (since he'd first learned to fly, actually). "No, actually. I've been meaning to since first year, but never got around to doing it."
"Oh? Why not?"
Been prowling the halls. Been teaching DA. Been sneaking down to Hagrid's to question him about the giants and the Order and my mum. Been reading up on strong hexes and curses to battle Voldemort.
"Been studying like mad," he decided. "Kept me busy."
She didn't sound as if she believed him.
"You don't sound like you believe me."
"Well, you don't sound like Hermione Granger, and I don't know of anyone else in our house who studies as nearly as much as her."
"What about Harry Potter and Ron Weasley?" Harry asked flippantly.
"Oh, they only study because Hermione Granger makes them, everyone knows that. Hopeless, those two are."
"I'm not…" he started, but realized that his identity might be jeopardized in retorting. "Uh… I'm not that much of a bookworm. Just… recently, you know? Exams coming up and all. NEWTs soon."
"Quidditch much?" she asked.
"Just a bit," Harry lied. "Been rooting all year for the Lions."
"Me too," his companion said. "I think this year will be close though."
"Yeah," he conceded. "Ravenclaw's got a strong line-up this year."
"Especially with Cho Chang being booted out." Harry heard a note of triumph, but couldn't disagree. Cho had been a brilliant Seeker until their fifth year.
"Still, Nate Ashcroft isn't exactly Aidan Lynch, now is he?" Harry said.
"Or Harry Potter. He'd sweep the floor with Lynch's face."
Burning in his cheeks, Harry changed the subject.
"What do you make of the new commentator? No Lee Jordan, if you ask me."
"Who, Parkinson? Circe no. At least Lee was funny. All Parkinson does is screech about how unfair Madam Hooch is toward the Slytherins." She giggled. "But it was pretty funny when she hollered at Malfoy for breaking their Hogsmeade date last match."
Harry burst out laughing, remembering all too well his nemesis' face, stricken with fright when Pansy accidentally let it slip that Draco Malfoy still slept with a teddy bear ("It's a figurine of a grizzly bear! It's on my nightstand, not in my bed!"). That'd been Harry's easiest Snitch-catch ever.
"Oh, I should send that girl flowers for costing Slytherin the match."
"I think Ron already did."
Harry snorted again.
"What side you follow?" his companion asked.
"Er… actually…" Harry had never really chosen a Quidditch team to follow simply because he'd only attended one match since he'd first heard of the sport, and that'd been the Quidditch World Cup.
"Mine's Puddlemere United. They've got Oliver Wood after all."
"Yeah…" Thinking hard, Harry said, "I guess I'm for the Tornados." He winced as he remembered Ron rebuking Cho Chang the previous year. "I'm not on a bandwagon or anything. They're just… good."
"Yeah, they are. But they haven't got Wood."
"Gryffindor pride, eh?"
"Rah-rah-rah," the girl said, lacking any enthusiasm.
Their conversation steered towards Harry a few times, but each time, he slipped in a comment that would divert this line of talk to something else, and eventually, they found themselves on the subject of fellow students. A dangerous subject, but one that Harry could hardly avoid without arousing suspicions in his still unknown companion.
Who coughed every now and then. When he asked her about it, she merely said, "Cold."
After several rousing minutes of every Gryffindor's favorite game (Ways To Get Malfoy Expelled), the talk shifted to Gryffindor.
"I really miss the Weasley twins," he said at one point. "They made last year bearable."
"Yeah. Umbitch didn't know what hit her."
"Well, maybe she does." Harry clicked his tongue. His companion giggled.
"Served her right. Filthy animal. I'm just glad Harry Potter and Hermione Granger got rid of her. Made the rest of the year a bit more pleasant."
Maybe for you lot,he thought bitterly.
There was a moment of awkward silence that Harry felt that he should break. The first thing that popped into his head popped out of his mouth.
"Erm… seeing anyone?"
He coughed, just as she did, and tried again. "Are you seeing anyone here? You know… a boyfriend?"
"Oh! No. Not exactly."
Harry snorted as the girl swatted him in the arm. "I was teasing, no need to retaliate."
"Hmph. No, I don't have a boyfriend, thank you very much. I had a not-so-serious one beginning of year, but it didn't work out. We ended it after Christmas."
"Oh." Harry frowned, wondering who'd been stupid enough to turn this young woman down. "I'm sorry."
"No, don't be. You didn't do anything."
"You don't even know who I am," Harry smirked.
"Argh. You… Anyway, how about you? Have a lucky young misses?"
"No. Not even a not-so-serious one."
"You sound surprised."
"A bit. Who'd turn down a boy like you?"
"Well, you're funny, and charming, and I haven't even seen your face. You must be a catch."
"I was thinking the same think."
Harry was certain that their blushing faces would illuminate the closet at any second.
"Well, I'll remember that," the girl said, and Harry's heart skipped a few beats.
Once again, silence pressed all around the two of them. This time, Harry was at a loss for words.
"I reckon I know your voice somewhere," the girl said now.
Panic filled him until he realized that he didn't really care now, after hearing what the girl had said to him. He wondered if she was down-to-earth enough to keep her head knowing that she was in a pitch-black closet with Harry Potter. More than that, he wondered if this girl looked like Eloise Midgeon…
When Harry said nothing, the girl said, "I guess it isn't a big deal. I mean, we'll probably see each other outside of here and not know it. Maybe it's better that way."
"Maybe… maybe not."
"You're curious too?"
"Yeah. About who you are, and about how you'll react when you see my face."
Harry sighed. Oh, how he wished for Gryffindor strength now.
"You can tell me, you know. You could be Neville Longbottom and I'd still like you."
"Neville? No, no, I'm not."
"You don't have to tell me if you don't want to."
Harry felt a hand slide into his and squeezed it in appreciation.
"I do. It's just…"
"I really want to meet you again. I really do. So would you like to go to Hogsmeade with me next date?"
The hand squeezed harder as the voice said (somewhat gleefully), "I'd love to."
Breathing deep, Harry let himself relax. "Then you can't scream or anything when I tell you who I am."
"Why would I--"
"You'll see in a second."
He squeezed her hand one last time, then raised it up to his forehead and let her fingers run over his lightning-shaped scar.
"What--- Oh my God, Harry?"
"See why I was worried?"
Harry sighed and repeated, "See why I was worried? You sound like Lavender Brown."
"Ohmygo-- wait, what? Hey!"
And he felt the girl swat him again.
Relieved, he asked, "Are you still freaking out?"
"Yes! I can't believe I didn't recognize you!"
"I still don't know who you are," Harry pointed out.
There was a moment of hesitation before the girl said, "It should stay that way."
She pulled her hand from his and got up. But Harry was quicker and snatched blindly for her hand.
"Wait. Please. I want to know who you are."
"Please. I mean, I already asked you to Hogsmeade. Doesn't that show that I've got some interest in you?"
"And please, please don't let the fact that I'm Harry Potter be what's worrying you, that'd be the stupidest reason."
There was another pause, but this time, the girl turned back to him and sighed. "It's not that. Not because you're Harry Potter. It's because you're Harry. And I don't know if I can handle letting you know who I am."
"I wouldn't care if you were Colin Creevey," Harry said. "Actually, no, I take that back."
The girl giggled. Harry was growing to like the sound of it.
He waited, and waited, until finally, the girl said, timidly, "Stand up. There's something I want to do before I tell you."
Harry stood, using the wall as support. The girl pulled him back into the middle of the closet and took his other hand in hers.
"Close your eyes."
Eyebrow raised, Harry said, "In case you can't tell, it's pitch black in here…"
"Oh, close your eyes you smarmy git!"
Grinning, Harry did as he was told. The girl brought his hands up to her face (she was a head shorter than him he now realized) and stroked his hand against her flushed cheek. Then she brought it up to the crown of her head and his finger traced down along her nose, across her lips and down to her chin, then back up to her lips where pressed against his fingertips. A soft, little, innocent kiss.
As if that hadn't been surprising, the girl started to run her hands down Harry's arms, down past his elbows, and up along his tense biceps (built and solid from long hours of Quidditch practice). She let her arms wrap around his neck, clasped her hands together and pulled Harry's head down to meet hers.
Their lips met in a soft, mellow (and somewhat tense, on Harry's part) kiss. Their lips did more than just brush together, but barely. It was as though the gentle gesture was simply a curious measure of what Harry was made of, and before he knew it, Harry had his arms wrapped around the girl's waist.
Now the kiss intensified, only slowly, until they were locked together in it, barely known to one another, not caring in the least. To Harry, this was right. And it was right to his companion, and that's all that he cared about.
Finally, she broke the kiss, breathing heavily.
"Blimey. I just kissed you Harry."
Stuttering, Harry said, "I know… did you ever."
"Oh, I hope I didn't give you my cold."
"It'd be well worth it."
They fell silent for a moment. Then, the girl pulled away. Harry heard her rummaging through her pockets before she muttered, "Lumos", filling the closet with light.
He could barely believe that he'd just been kissing a redhead.
Ginny Weasley's warm, chocolate brown eyes remained firmly on the ground. Her face nearly blended in with the fiery head of hair she bore, her face was so incredibly flustered. She looked close to tears.
"I'm sorry Harry. I'm really…"
But Harry cut her off by stepping forward, taking her in his arm and lifting her chin up.
"Never apologize for a wonderful first kiss," he breathed.
And he gave her a wonderful second kiss, which she melted into.
While their second kiss turned into a third, and then into a fourth, Harry's mind began to flash with strange thoughts.
What'll Ron say?
Eh. Bugger him.
I wonder if he and Hermione will know tomorrow?
Mmm. She tastes wonderful. Like chocolate and raspberry.
Is she really a Puddlemere fan?
I hope Peeves doesn't catch us.
Damn Argus Filch.
Now I have to buy that git a thank you present.