Harry stood in the shower, letting the water pour over him, cleaning his body and somehow cleaning his soul. He had cast an imperturbable charm on the shower when he came in, simply because he didn't want Ron to hear and take the mickey out of him again. Not that he blamed his best friend, of course; if it had been the other way around, he probably would have done the same. Well, but Ron's singing voice was rather more impressive than Harry's moody tenor, so maybe not.
'Boy-Who-Lived and shower soprano,' Harry thought with a smile, continuing to carol the silly little tune he'd picked up from Dudley's wireless. He'd always done it at Hogwarts, but the cubicles were all soundproof there, so Ron didn't know. But he'd found out one morning while they were at the Dursleys together. 'Ginny would have loved the look on his face,' Harry thought, genuinely happy to think of her just now. She'd been so sweet and so careful with him, and he would never ever be able to make it up to her, how strong her kind, unobtrusive affection had made him feel. He'd been so afraid she would hate him, but she seemed to have decided that he would do what he had to do, whether he was miserable or not, and she was going to go out of her way to make him as not miserable as possible.
Of course, thinking about her in the shower was probably not a good idea. He was a teenage boy, after all, and there were things that happened to teenage boys who daydreamed about girls in the shower. So instead he remembered what Ron had said after he came in to the Dursley's bathroom and, to Harry's shock, started singing along in an obviously schooled voice while shaving at the mirror. All wizard-born children were taught music - at least one instrument, and voice. It was obvious to Ron that Harry wasn't taught either. Not that he was bad, Ron had reassured him, certainly not like Percy. Harry wondered idly what Ginny played.
He finished his song, turned off the water, and turned halfway to grab the towel he'd left hanging on the bar on the door. As he reached around the door, the next shock nearly cost him his balance, but he clapped his hand on the bar and couldn't move, not even to grab the towel and rescue what - if anything - was left of his dignity.
A pair of sparkling, bright brown eyes locked with his own, and a pair of pale pink lips, parted in surprise, snatched away whatever ounce of sensibility he might could have mustered at this point. He felt himself blushing every where. At the same time, color shot up her cheeks and all over her face, so red that her freckles became nearly invisible. They stood like this for what felt like a small eternity, and then his hand flopped uselessly off the bar. The color now drained from her face entirely, bringing her freckles into sharp relief, and she gave what looked like a little scream, turned at once, and fled.
Harry swore loudly - no one could hear him - and yanked the towel from the bar, suddenly grateful it had been there. She might have seen more than he would have wanted under the circumstances, but certainly not the whole centerfold. He laughed to himself at that one - Seamus had coined the phrase in second year when he walked into the bathroom at Hogwarts and caught Oliver Wood in the altogether.
Drying himself almost half way and throwing his clothes on as he went, Harry lifted the charm on the shower and dashed into the hall to find Ginny. She might be more than a little freaked out and he needed to apologize. It was only when he reached her room, opened the door, and found her lying on her bed with her fist stuffed to her mouth that it occurred to him to freak out himself. What if she hadn't liked the view? He stopped sharply and stammered at her.
Her eyes widened briefly, then batted down and closed, then she looked at him again, this time with that same blazing, challenging look that always made him want to do whatever she wanted. "It's ok, Harry, honest. I have now seen every single living soul in this house in some embarrassing state of undress. I guess I finally got to see one I wanted to."
His brain, fried as it seemed to be, discarded the last statement and turned to the former as something sane to hold on to. "Everyone?"
"Oh yes," she assured him merrily, and patted the seat of the chair opposite her bed. He was still under the power of those eyes, so he walked toward her without even thinking about it and sank warily into the chair, still wondering vaguely if she would hex him. "I thought I'd seen it all when I walked in on Fred and George buck-naked and dancing around some damn thing they'd made, painted within an inch of their lives. But that was the summer before the Tournament, and I've still seen worse since."
"Earlier this afternoon, and you don't want to know. I'll help you change your sheets before you go to bed, though."
Harry felt as though his eyes were about to start out of his head. "Even your parents?"
"I was five."
"Urgh. I can't imagine. You must have lost it."
"No, because by then, I'd already caught my Auntie Muriel and Uncle Bilius at it at their house. I just snuck back out and went to hide under my covers."
"Ack. I just got the most god-awful imagine of... yuck... Dursleys... gah..." He took a deep breath. "Don't say Aunt and Uncle again."
She giggled delightedly. "What would that look like, anyway?" she wondered briefly, then stopped, apparently remembering what they actually looked like, because she stuck her tongue out and made a disgusted face. "Yack, you're right, that's god-awful."
Harry grinned at her sheepishly. "But you said everyone. How about Bill?" He mentioned the groom to be with great amusement.
"Well, there was the time Charlie accidentally banished his clothes the summer after his third year, but then there was last summer, and I never want to think about that again."
"I take it that involved the blushing bride?"
"Yep. Hope she swears like that in front of Mum one day - she'll wash Phlegm's mouth out with soap." She sighed. "Charlie was the shower during the Christmas we visited him in Romania. I decided not to inquire what he was doing, but he really DOES have those scars everywhere. Mr. and Mrs. Delacouer was last week the night they got here. Don't know what they were doing, either. Real people don't... weird."
His eyes were getting wider.
"Who else is here at the moment? Oh, Remus and Tonks were at it in the drawing room during the summer after the Tournament, before you came. Neville got in the way of one of the twins' pranks and ended up standing in the altogether in the middle of the Common Room. Let's just say he was lucky it was only me and the twins, otherwise he'd have as many fans as you. Luna was during one of the summers we played together as little girls - and that was more embarrassing for mum than for me, since it was both of us - we were pretending to be nymphs. Charlie was supposed to be watching us, and he got into so much trouble because - well, I don't know why, but he did."
He grinned, getting into her wry humor and laughing chagrin. "You were probably adorable."
"Probably. Gerald Lovegood laughed hysterically. Luna's mum lectured us for days on why - I quote - 'real girls couldn't be nymphs, anymore than nymphs could be real girls'. A week later, Charlie told us the story of the Boy-Who-Lived and we stopped being nymphs to play aurors instead."
"Oh, people tell that story?"
"All the time. See, there was this kid once..."
"I kinda know the story. I was there," he reminded her, absurdly grateful that she was playing innocent with him - or had genuinely forgotten.
She lay down on her bed and continued to look at him. "I doubt you do know the story, actually. It's very much a fairy tale compared to the real thing. Not to mention ridiculous." She laughed and eyed him in quite a familiar fashion, her eyes burning and making his throat go dry. "Trust me," she murmured softly, "the story makes you everything my little heart desired. And you're much more impressive in real life."
He stared at her awkwardly, not sure what to say anymore, now that they weren't together and he couldn't do anything about the raging impulse to kiss her.
She seemed to remember this, blushed, and shook herself. "Let's see. Kingsley's here, right? He was on the cover of one of those ridiculous fund-raiser calendars and dad brought it home to annoy mum - that one was more embarrassing to me, as well."
"Playwitch. Parvati had a copy of it my third year and was trying to figure out how to get him to sign it."
"I think they kind of airbrushed him, though, a LOT. Gabrielle just flung her clothes off every which a way when we were trying on dresses. Again, that was worse on me."
Harry heard voices from downstairs, and took a few minutes to sort them out. "Oh, Merlin, not again!"
"Who is it?"
"Well, that was McGonagall, and I think she's arguing with Scrimgeour. It's probably another 'Bring Percy as an excuse.'"
"Now those are all ghastly. The closest I ever came with McGonagall was that night I caught her and... someone... in the hall. They were - um - very very close, and she turned stark white when she caught me and let me go without points, so I'm sure she was up to something, but I don't know what." Her smile was a little sad this time, which made Harry wonder if he wanted to know any more. She shook herself again and made a darling little disgusted face. "Percy... geez."
"You caught him snogging Penelope Clearwater your first year," Harry remembered.
"I caught him doing worse than snogging the next year."
"He was in the shower. With company."
Harry had been certain until this point that she couldn't shock him any more. Now he wasn't. "Weren't they worried they'd get caught? Her in the boys' bathroom and all, and after he'd bawled Ron out about it, too?"
"Oh, it wasn't Penelope."
Now his jaw dropped. "Who!"
"Are you sure you want to know?" she asked, teasingly.
"As long as it wasn't a picture of Barty Crouch, that's cool, I'm sure."
Her smile turned completely impish. "You're getting warmer."
"A copy of Playwizard?"
"Hum. I dunno, a girly doll?"
She laughed merrily. "No, alive."
"Who was it? Someone in Gryffindor, and probably someone in his year, since we never heard about it. I don't remember any girls from Percy's year."
"Oh, you were so close!" she exclaimed happily.
"Yes, someone in Gryffindor. Yes, someone in his year. No."
"Not a girl."
Harry gaped at her. "What? Percy never said he er... well... er..."
"No, never! No one ever said."
"No one knows but me. And the two culprits, of course, and now you. I'm trusting you with a big secret. You know the guy."
"I do? But I only knew Percy and..." Something in his head clicked. "No WAY."
"Yep," she nodded smugly.
"Merlin, Oliver Wood??"
"Not Merlin," she said, and laughed merrily.
Harry gaped at her, then remembered some rumors that didn't make sense to him at the time, and grinned wryly. "Poor Ginny."
She nodded. "So you can imagine. I'm pretty much scarred for life. It was ... nice to get to see something... um... well. For a change."
Harry couldn't help it. He felt like having an anxiety attack and smirking at the same time. So he smirked half-way and asked a stupid question. "Did you like the view?"
She rolled over on the bed and gave a little scream all filled with giggles - sorta like Romilda Vane last year every time he looked in her direction - only very funny and very attractive. "Oh, Merlin, I'll have dreams about it," she confessed breathlessly, turning over to meet his eyes, with hers brim-full of coy honesty.
He reached over and took her hand, wanting to kiss her more than anything. He even bent over to get closer to her, but in the end, they just stared at each other in breathless contemplation.
It was she who, again, rescued him from his moral dilemma. "Of course, I admit I've never seen Scrimgeour that way," she said, and sat up on the edge of the bed. "I don't want to, either."
The wheels in Harry's head suddenly spun into fast forward. "Why not?" he asked, feeling the smile he was fighting twitching at the corner of his lips.
"EEEW!" she shrieked. Then, she paused to consider him.
Just like it was when they were together, her brain suddenly seemed to synch onto the exact same pattern as his. "That would be evil, Harry."
"Yeah, it would. But not as evil as making your mum cry. Do you remember how Fred and George's prank on Neville went?"
Her lip curled into that naughty little smile he loved so much. "Oh, yes," she said, took his hand, and led him to the stairs.