A/N: After my 'serious' fics, I guess I needed a fluff break. Enjoy!
Harry had no trouble at all recognizing his muffled name; he had been hearing it pronounced that way for the last hour or so. He disentangled himself from Ginny and grinned at how marvelously numb his lips felt. Ginny sucked in a large lungful of air as Harry regarded her fondly. "I told you to take a deep breath"
"Speak for yourself," Ginny huffed. Her hair, which had been braided neatly at the start of their tutorial, was now a tangled sunburst of flaming red. Harry could hardly imagine what the state of his normally messyhair might be. Evidently, Ginny loved feeling its tousled scruffiness every time they…
Exchanged affection Harry thought firmly, refusing to refer to them in the same degrading way that he had referred to Ron and Lavender, Bill and Fleur, and so many couples who made him ill. He and Ginny weren't sickening, oh, they had received many a hostile stare while walking hand in hand down the halls but Harry, thinking Romilda Vane, attributed it to jealousy. Not to mention of course, that he was famous Harry Potter, going out with one of the best-liked girls in Hogwarts.
And for the first time in a very long time, Harry let all the jibes at his identity sail over his head; he was almost feverishly happy these days, as proved all too well by his absentminded, floor-staining accident in Potions class yesterday…
She yawned, snapping him out of his thoughts. "Ohhhh…" it was half groan, half pleased sigh and he loved it, catching her just before she lazily flopped on the classroom floor. Harry held her tight, running a hand through her hair and breathed into the fresh flowery scent wafting from her slight body. Ginny always smelled good, always, sometimes, even she had no idea how much.
"Harry! I'm tired, we haven't gotten anything done—well not anything OWL-worthy anyway— and you're sniffing my hair?"
Harry smirked and inhaled deeper. "Can't help it…" He should have known the second he caught a whiff of the enticing Amortentia, all those times he had passed her by in the Burrow….
She shot him a Look. "Can't help what? The snogging or the sniffing?"
Well if she liked the term snogging… "Both" Harry replied in complete honesty
"Harry," she murmured, burrowing her head in his shoulder, "this is your entire fault."
"Me? You started it," he retorted, patting the small of her back.. In the past months, Harry would never have imagined Ginny reacting to his mere touch…and yet here she was, shivering slightly under her robes; Harry felt answering tingles in his spine; her slender arms drew him closer as if she could feel them too
"That stu…id fpell waf boring me to deaff." Ginny mumbled into his shoulder, hardly comprehensible now. Harry chuckled softly; it was just like her to break an intimate moment with levity.
"So you thought you'd create your own definition of magic, did you?" he teased.
"Erm…" she lifted her head so that their faces were level. "You didn't mind"
Harry pressed his lips light against her forehead, setting off another shiver. "Not at all," he replied. "In fact…I've got another spell coming, if you're ready…"
And the door to the empty classroom slammed open with such force that Ginny let out a startled gasp. This was soon followed by a familiar disapproving grunt and Harry looked up guiltily at the tall, indignant figure standing in the doorway.
"R…r….ron" he faltered, trying not to be cowed by his best friend's hostile gaze. He sought out his wand but to his dismay, it rested on one of the poufs that they had intended to use for Summoning Practice. Ginny's wand lay beside it, a testament to their delightfully idyllic afternoon, along with the spellbooks they had neatly piled on the floor and conveniently forgotten about. In fact, the classroom that they were supposed to have converted to an OWLS practice zone still looked like a classroom.
Contrary to his flustered embarrassment and Ron's visible discomfort, Ginny looked unfazed, as usual. She pushed Harry away, drawing herself up to the fullest height she could and stared her brother down. Well, up actually. Harry fought back a grin; she barely reached Ron's shoulders. Glaring back, Ron crossed his largish arms; a gesture that he seemed to think made him look more threatening; Harry had seen it countless times before and the only people it seemed to work on were miniscule first years.
"You two're supposed to be studying!" Ron accused, in an icy voice reminiscent of Hermione's. "I reckon Hermione's right, Harry, you are distracting her!"
"He is not!" Ginny was firing up. Harry knew she was lying through her teeth; nevertheless, he was her partner in crime. He stood parallel to her, putting one arm across her shoulders.
"Break, Ron. We were just having a break"
"Ron, what's going on?" a familiar voice rose behind him "I thought you were looting the place for ---oh!"
Hermione froze at the threshold of the classroom, her bushy hair swinging madly. And then quick as the surprise registered on her face, it was replaced by icy severity. "Well really!" she sniffed. Harry exhaled, knowing full well that one of her lectures was due; she was without a doubt struggling to hold it in for Ginny but the stern, steel glint in her eyes could have been meant for no one but him.
"Practiced a lot today" Ginny chattered blithely. "Summoning Spells, you know. Tried them on…ummm…Arnold" She motioned towards the useless poufs and the pile of unread spellbooks. Harry didn't dare mention it to Ginny but these days, her lying finesse seemed be lose its edge; Her Pygmy Puff was nowhere to be seen, of course, because he had never been there in the first place. Giving an inward groan at the stony expressions on Ron and Hermione's faces, he tried with his might to sound breezy. "She Banished Arnold too. He's probably up in the common room right now…"
Pure rubbish… Ginny was as protective of her pet as Mrs. Weasley was of her children, and Hermione knew it. "You're supposed to be studying!" she grumbled, in the very same tone Ron had used. Ginny stifled a giggle and Harry laughed outright.
"Sorry," he said hastily as their scowls deepened. "Look, she has been practicing. She's good, really good." That last part was true; everyday, Ginny seemed to grow more and more powerful. To this, Ginny flashed him her soft curve of a smile, which made his knees wobble slightly; he doubted he would ever get used to it. And absentmindedly, he took his hand off her shoulders, resting it across her back instead, just because he loved feeling her soft against him, supple and small, warm and safe; knowing that only he knew this side of her… the creature buried in his gut was heaving deep contented sighs…
With a start, he realized that Hermione was looking away in apparent embarrassment, that Ginny had twisted her head to look at him quizzically. "Uh, Harry…"
Ron had uncrossed his arms, looking partly revolted, partly amused. Hypocrite, Harry thought sourly, but felt too kind to say it. He could almost feel Ginny, itching to throw out a snide comment about him and Lavender. And as if sensing what was going on in his sister's mind, Ron gave a defeated groan and surreptitiously tugged on Hermione's hair. "Fine, let's go. We'll be covered in great flapping things if we stay here…or not" he added, flitting his wary eyes to the far side of the room where Harry and Ginny's abandoned wands lay. "Anyway, let's go…"
"Alright then," Hermione snapped, "stop that!" She swatted at Ron's tugging hand. Did Harry dare imagine it or was she turning the faintest hint of pink at Ron's casual gesture? Ron caught Hermione's hand with a frown…only to have it vanish as his ears turned deep scarlet. It would have gone unnoticed to the careless observer, but Harry, a learned spectator, caught it.
Ron reached for Hermione's hair again, his lips now in a most unusual pucker. "Let's-"
"-go, I know!"
Harry hid his grin; beside him Ginny was smothering another laugh. It was quite absurd, really; they were turning the tables on Ron and Hermione without even saying a single word. Ron grimaced at the two of them and half-pushed Hermione out of the room "Don't stay up too late!" he tossed over his shoulder.
"We won't" Ginny said, her voice leaking suppressed mirth. "Don't you two stay up too late either!"
Hermione stopped midstride and her high, shrill voice bounced off the walls of the classroom "What's that supposed to---" But Ron gave her robe sleeve another hasty yank, practically dragging her out of Harry and Ginny's sight. A moment later, Hermione's indignant voice filled the corridors, punctuated by Ron's defensive retorts, only disappearing as they rounded the corner.
As soon as they were out of earshot, Ginny had started giggling helplessly. Now she crossed over to the door, shutting it, still quivering with merry laughter. Harry smiled too, more from her amusement than what had just occurred "Really," he sighed, shaking his head, "sometimes, I want to yell at them to snog already!"
"Now, now Harry" Ginny pretended to scold him, "just because you take the initiative to kiss girls in Common Room…"
"Yeah," Harry said, giving his chin mock-thoughtful strokes, "maybe I should give Ron tutorials…"
They both burst into sniggers again. Almost two years of Ron and Hermione tip-toeing around each other; and Harry and Ginny had beat them to it, much to his girlfriend's amusement. But he had wisely advised her not to interfere in Ron and Hermione's affairs and she had very reluctantly agreed. She couldn't resist dropping them hints every now and then, however
Ginny shook her head, as their laughter dissipated. "It's just hard to see them holding it in, one of these days; one of them'll just explode..."
"That wouldn't be pretty…"
"We've still got some time before dinner, Harry," Ginny pointed out suddenly, twirling his wand in her fingers. "Might as well prove that I'm as good as you say." She tossed him te wand; he caught it and wordlessly aimed it at her. Immediately, Ginny raised her own wand and her lips moved, murmuring what Harry knew to be whatever counterspell she had come up with. He was still concerned about hurting her with a nonverbal jinx so he settled for a Disarming spell instead. "Expelliarmus" he muttered. "Expelliarmus"
Ginny's wand twitched a bit but she blocked his spells with successful Shield Charms. In his firm mind's eye, Harry expelled any possibility of Ginny ending up with boils or unsightly blemishes. Harmless spells, Harry, harmless…Expelliarmus…Harry frowned and fueled his fierce concentration; but Ginny's wand remained stubbornly still, she clutched it with her eyebrows creased from the effort.Harry exhausted all the tamest spells possible, but none of them ever so much as penetrated the stubborn Shields Ginny had somehow conjured out of thin air.
Harry's heart swelled pride; Ginny would pass the OWLs with no problem, at least when wandwork was concerned. He frowned, racking his brain for a more challenging spell…a safe one that she couldn't block without some difficulty…and inevitably, his mind wandered towards the book of the Half-Blood Prince, still hidden away in the Room of Requirement
Oh no, Harry chided himself, clenching his free fist remember what happened last time, Sectumsempra, remember you almost snuffed Malfoy…
But he had been so used to rifling through the pages of the Prince's book and as though automatically, a little voice in Harry's head insisted on the first incantation he could think of.
There was a shriek and a shout of panic, the latter having come from Harry. "Ginny!" he gasped, staring up at his girlfriend who was now dangling several feet above the place she had been standing in only moments ago.
"Damn! I didn't mean to…hang on…" he dropped his wand and scrambled towards the abandoned poufs as Ginny, who was thrashing uselessly in midair exclaimed, "Hang on!I can't help but hang on—"
Harry pushed two poufs beneath her, reaching for his wand. "Just wait, just wait… stop wriggling like that, it won't help"
Ginny went slack with as much dignity as she could. There she hung like a great redheaded rag doll, her brown eyes flaring at him from her ridiculous position. "Harry!" she protested as he pushed the last pouf into place, "those weren't built to cushion anybody. If I hit the ground…" she gave him a threatening scowl, "I'll hex you, I swear!"
Harry eyed her from his angle, trying to gauge where exactly she would land when she fell. "Fair enough," he smiled in acknowledgement to her not-so-playful threat. "Now try to hold still, all right?" He stepped closer to the makeshift human cushions he had created and after stopping to make sure he was exactly beneath her, he raised his wand.
A sharp gasp from Ginny, a blur of robes and red hair… Harry steeled himself; as her weight crashed into him, his knees buckling, and they toppled into a tangle of limbs onto the poufs.
"Ow!" Ginny's elbow had hit him hard across the mouth. Glad as he was to be lying on a soft surface instead of on the floor, Harry swiped his hand across his lips to check for blood. He lay back, rubbing his lips, and wondering why the classroom ceiling seemed to have gone fuzzy… Ah…my glasses… Harry blinked, wincing at the sudden realization…they're definitely broken after that bit.
Beside him, a hovering blur in his field of vision Ginny was struggling to sit up "Ack! That was…Harry, you okay?" …and then she was slipping the stiff wire of his glasses behind his ears, unbroken glasses, Harry thought fuzzily. He blinked through the clear glass at Ginny whose petite hands were now brushing his bangs back; she was more disheveled than ever, her cheeks were bright pink from the fall and her tangled hair caught the rays of the afternoon sun that slipped in through the closed classroom windows.
Ginny's eyes raked frantically over his immobile reclining form. "Harry? I didn't hit you that hard, did I?"
He just gaped at her, agog; a croak was all he could manage. Ginny leaned in closer and cupped his chin so that they were staring at each other face to face. "Harry?"
"I…ah…" it was very difficult to get the words out, not with a pair of lovely, gleaming brown orbs staring straight into his own. Harry mentally blessed his mother for giving him such unusually colored eyes; Ron had reminded him rather disgustedly that raving about them was one of Ginny's favorite pastimes. Apparently, she didn't know how captivating her own eyes were...
Ginny crouched towards him, his vision blurred from her breath fogging his glasses. "Hey…Harry?"
I'm perfectly all right. Harry sighed. Half-hypnotized, he decided to communicate this in a thoroughly nonverbal way...
"Hey!" Harry said indignantly; she had knocked his glasses crooked with a baleful swipe of the hand. She pushed herself up and flung something long and thin at him, it took Harry a moment to realize that she had thrown him his wand. He took it, narrowing his eyes. "What was that for?"
Ginny stalked past him with a snort, facing him eagerly. "What the hell was that?"
"A kiss!" Harry said, bewildered.
Ginny flung her red hair back impatiently. "Snogging! Is that all you can think of? That spell, you prat! Teach me that spell"
"Oh, that" Harry watched her flex her fingers and give her wand a practice flick. Now he was in trouble;fumbling for an excuse, he evaded "Erm, I don't think that one's going to be in the OWLS"
"And kissing is?" Ginny returned, rather mischievous now. Despite himself, Harry chuckled.
"I wish!" he joked, in a woeful attempt to change the subject.
"Oh come off it!" Then an odd gleam came into Ginny's eyes. "Wait a second…it was from that book you were telling me about, right?" She pressed him further when he didn't answer "Come on, Harry…you were the one who said that spells from that book weren't dangerous…"
"Yeah, look where I got you!" Harry shot back. "Dangling six feet into the air…"
"It's more useful than dangerous!" Ginny persisted. "I bet you wouldn't think twice, if Malfoy and his two gorillas tried to attack you, you'd use it, and…oh Harry…please?" she ended pleadingly, her eyes bearing a remarkable resemblance to a doe's.
She really was cunning, Harry thought in with fond disbelief, insistent one minute and charming the next. But the mention of Malfoy sealed Harry's decision, in his mind's eye, he could still see his nemesis' chest spurting blood. Harry gave an involuntary shudder and fixed Ginny with an intent look. "Sorry, but no"
"If you teach it to me….I'll teach you the Bat-Bogey Hex!" she promised. When Harry looked skeptical, she amended "Okay, okay, I'll…kiss you in—"
It was Harry's turn to snort. "You've been doing that every hour, everyday since we started going out! Forget it Ginny"
"I'll ask Mum to send you those brownies you like!"
"She's been sending them almost everyday since she learned you're going with me…"
"Well…I'll…hex Snape so you won't be having your next detention!"
"Then we'd be having detentions together…great, I'd love the company but Ron would kill us both, if your Mum doesn't do it first"
"All right then, I'll…I'll…"
A dozen bargains later, Harry meandered around the classroom, covering a yawn. Ginny, clearly frustrated, looked to be on the verge of giving up. She rolled up her sleeves and pointed her wand at her spellbooks which she had lined in a row. The crease between her eyebrows was remarkably deep now, she was clamping her lips together struggling with herself not to say the words out loud.
"Ginny" he said gently, "it is a sixth year spell after all. I taught you the incantation anyway, so…"
"If you can do it, I can do it," she insisted. She gave her wand another useless jab, muttering what was undoubtedly the incantation under her breath. Harry raised his eyebrows.
"Liberacorpus" she whispered through gritted teeth. "LiberacorpusLiberacorpus"
This could go on awhile.
"I still can't believe it" Harry grunted for about the tenth time that night. He leaned back on his favorite Common Room chair after dinner, watching as Ginny picked through her load of schoolbooks, watching firelight flit through her vivid hair as she did so.
"I mean," he lowered his voice "There I was, checking my watch, wondering if you'd go on with the damn spell all night when…!" He raised one arm, mimicking a very heavy object being suspended in the air. Ginny arranged her books into a neat pile on the floor, then scooted closer and gave him a quick kiss on the forehead
"Shouldn't have taught it to me, then." she smiled. "I'm…errr…sorry aout the broken glasses."
Harry absently rubbed the still-warm spot on his temple. "Nothing Reparo couldn't fix" he shrugged, then straightened up and gave her an uncharacteristically cheeky grin. "Don't forget your end of the deal, though"
He was laughing again. "No, I didn't forget about it over dinner, as you might've hoped. Ginny, you promised!"
Ginny shook her head, flaming hair dancing. "We'll get into so much trouble! Can't we do something else?"
"When getting into trouble ever stopped you before?" Harry returned "Or me for that matter? And no we won't, it'll be one ride around the Quidditch pitch! …both of us, the Firebolt, sunset…"
Ginny began to look dreamy. "It does sound great…but it's the end of the season!" she half-heartedly argued "We have no reason to be out there; Madame Hooch always says—"
"—for Quidditch matches, for Quidditch practices, and unless stated by the headmaster, for absolutely nothing else" Harry finished, treading his arms around Ginny, chest against small pliant back.. "Mmmm…we'll find a way around that, tell her we're practicing new 'flying techniques' for the next season…" he mused, tucking his chin into her shoulder. For the past week they had cuddled this way, before she forced him away with apologetic sweetness, laughingly surrendering to the vast amount of studying she still had to do in the library. And it was a million swooping rides on a broomstick, a thousand stomach-dropping levitations, as he felt vibrations of her laughter and smelled the flowers in her hair, leaning in for his goodnight kiss
"Harry, you're insane" she said softly, making no move to pull away
Already imagining the blazing sunset below them, Harry hugged her tight and sighed his breath into her hair. "Hm, yeah, maybe I am" he murmured
It didn't matter, anyway. He didn't need broomsticks, hippogriffs, or levitations…this was real flying.