Disclaimer: This little story was written merely to satisfy a plot bunny stuck in my head. I do not own any of the characters, and I doubt that J.K. Rowling will take this approach to the inevitable Harry/Ginny ship, but it was very fun to write. I may later take a longer version that isn't so short and sweet, but I would need my life back for that and a vaccine for the plot bunnies!
It was the beginning of Ginny Weasley's fourth year at Hogwarts, after dealing with a summer etched in fearful anticipation of Lord Voldemort's return. The high stress rate placed upon each person's shoulder was enormous, thus the teenagers of Hogwarts were finding ways to relieve themselves.
Under the Muggle-born, offhanded suggestion of Hermione Granger, the girls of Gryffindor had begun a game of Truth or Dare. Ginny, not quite used to a Girls Only activity (even though her twin brothers had been trying to magically and mechanically open the door to the dormitory), was discovering that she enjoyed the game immensely. This point of view, of course, was bound to change when her turn came around.
Brushing long locks of bright red hair away from her eyes, Ginny leaned forward, elbows on her knees as Lavender Brown confessed a very personal and embarrassing secret. Pavarti Patil, Angelina Johnson, Alicia Spinnet, and Katie Bell burst into shrieks of giggles as Lavender's face turned red. Ginny smirked as well, but her mind was really focused on other things.
For most, was why Hermione, a good friend of her brother, Ron, and Ginny, had not joined in on the game. Hermione wasn't extremely fond of girlish activities, but she had suggested the game, even if it was to shoo Lavender and Pavarti away. Hermione probably had her nose buried in a book, or was busy scolding Ron for something he had or hadn't done. Ginny felt a smirk tug at her lips when thinking about her brother and friend. Hermione had confessed last year that she had strong more-than-friends feelings for Ron. Personally, Ginny couldn't understand what exactly Hermione saw in her brother, but that was the other girl's problem. Fairly, she loved Ron dearly, but he was extremely dense when it came to the subject of girls and Hermione. Last year's Yule Ball was proof enough for that!
The other thing that preoccupied Ginny's thoughts—well, always did, really—was her brother's best friend. Harry Potter.
An unavoidable sigh escaped Ginny, drawing the attention of Katie Bell, who was sitting beside her. The girl raised her eyebrows and grinned slightly before turning her attention to Angelina, who was begrudgingly admitting that Fred and George, Ginny's identical twin brothers, had indeed tricked her into kissing them both.
Her mind went instantly back to its continuous subject of intense study. Harry Potter was famous before he could even speak or chew proper food. The fact that he'd defeated the Dark Lord Voldemort when he was still in diapers was amazing enough, but it wasn't this mystery of Harry Potter that had completely captured her sanity and heart. Well, at first, she admitted wryly, it had been. She'd grown up reading about him just as everyone else had and being awed, but she felt something different than mere famous adoration.
When she'd first seen Harry Potter at King's Cross Station with Ron, when they'd returned from their first year, she'd been ecstatic. She had missed her first chance of meeting him at the beginning of the year, but had known she would meet him again. Of course, she wasn't formally introduced to him until the summer before her first year at Hogwarts when he'd come to the Burrow, her home.
Harry Potter, at first glance, looked nothing like a celebrity, nor did he act like one. He was skinny and short, with messy jet black hair, glasses, and the brightest green eyes Ginny had ever seen. A lightning bolt scar on his forehead identified him as the only wizard to defeat the Dark Lord. Harry was pretty quiet, got into a lot of trouble with Ron and Hermione, and was an exceptional Quidditch Seeker.
When he'd come to the Burrow, Ginny hadn't been able to think clearly or speak in front of him. He'd been nice, but she'd been too busy blushing and fumbling that she never spoke back. Thinking back to her antics, she felt her cheeks go slightly red. Her crush on Harry Potter was indeed horrendous, and she didn't really blame him for not thinking of her as anything but Ron's silly little sister.
Now, she was in her fourth year and Harry, Ron, and Hermione in their fifth. Ginny had worked extremely hard at controlling herself around Harry, and she was extremely proud of herself. When Harry had showed up at the Burrow just a week before school started, Ginny had carried on as if he were merely a good chum of Ron's, not someone she was desperately in love with. She'd even played Quidditch with everyone else in the back paddock, gone swimming, and had managed not to break anything or royally embarrass herself.
Still, it was inevitable, Harry Potter still saw her as Ron's little sister and always would. They were only a few months apart, but it didn't matter.
"Okay," Katie Bell cleared her throat, drawing Ginny's thoughts back to the dormitory room. The Chaser's eyes were riveted on Ginny. "Let's see . . . Truth or Dare—"
"If she picks Truth," Lavender interrupted, "don't bother asking the Harry question. We all know it."
As everyone burst into giggles, Ginny felt her cheeks begin to heat. Do not blush! You're a pro now, remember? Instead, Ginny merely shrugged and smiled at Katie. "I'm feeling adventurous. Dare."
Everyone's eyes lit up, and a sickening flop of her stomach warned Ginny that perhaps her dare had already been planned. Swallowing harshly, she did her best to look brave as she waited for the giggles to fade.
Katie, looking extremely pleased with herself, said, "I dare you, Ginny Weasley, to kiss Harry Potter for at least five seconds—"
"Complete contact!" Lavender shrieked. "If your lips part, you have to start all over."
The circle of girls erupted into loud giggles, sounding more like train whistles in Ginny's ears. She stared at them dumbly for a moment, trying to contemplate what had just been proposed. The blood pounded in her ears, turning into a dull roar as Lavender wiped her eyes and then burst into giggles again.
Kiss Harry Potter. She had to kiss Harry Potter! It was both a dream come true and her worst nightmare. If Harry would get around to kissing her, she wouldn't mind it one bit, and definitely for longer than five seconds! But the act of her going up and kissing him—in front of people, those were the rules: all dares performed before an audience—when he had inclined he wanted her to do so . . . Ginny just didn't think she could live after that.
"Uh . . ." Ginny coughed and cleared her throat as all eyes fell expectantly on her. "That's unfair!"
"No it isn't," Angelina grinned. "If it'd been Hermione in here, we would have dared her to go down and kiss Ron."
"And you didn't have to go down to the common room and sing God Save the Queen three octaves too high," Pavarti added, as if her task was so much worse.
Ginny could feel herself trembling slightly, and she took a deep breath. "I'll pass, thank you!"
Alicia gasped. "Gin, you can't pass. You know what happens if you do."
Oh, yes, she definitely knew. If one passed on a dare, they were then obliged to confess their undying love to Professor Snape during dinner in the Great Hall. In addition to the already horrifying procedure, they were then subjected to singing the sour Potions Professor a love song. What was worse, Ginny wondered, being humiliated before the entire school and serving detention with Snape forever; or kissing Harry and perhaps either grabbing his attention or being completely shunned forever?
It was a very fine line she was walking. And Harry doesn't notice me anyway, she thought. What?! Am I actually considering this insanity? No way! Ginny let her thoughts battle one another for a few moments. If she kissed Harry now, before the Saturday lunch, she would be saved of just having the Gryffindors in the tower witness it. Then she could avoid Harry Potter and be done with it. She couldn't avoid Snape, since he was her teacher. Harry would avoid her, and she would avoid him. What a wonderful relationship we'll have, she thought wryly.
"Well?" Lavender hissed. "We're waiting!"
"Alright," Ginny took a deep breath, gripping her shaking hands. "I'll do it. I'll kiss Harry. Happy?"
Loud and excited, the girls clambered to their feet and padded down the spiraling staircase to the Gryffindor common room. Hermione Granger was shooting Ron daggering looks, who was shuffling his feet and muttering something in Harry's ear. Ginny paused in mid-step on the stairs between Alicia and Angelina, feeling her heart and stomach begin a furious boxing match with each other. The fifteen-year-old wizard, who had been through so much, shot Ron an exasperated look while giving Hermione an apologetic shrug.
Angelina cleared her throat loudly, drawing the other Gryffindors' attention. Fred and George were creeping up behind a second year girl, their hands loaded with suspicious-looking items. Fred caught her eye, blushed slightly and elbowed George. The second twin looked a bit perturbed as their potential victim darted away.
"Thanks a lot," Fred huffed.
"You two should stop picking on Margaret so much," Angelina chided.
"Those pigtails are just asking for it," George argued.
"She knows she shouldn't wear them if we keep trying to cut them and such."
"Only logical," George agreed with his twin.
Ginny rolled her eyes at her brothers' antics, but her stomach was still writhing as she caught Ron and Harry watching the group with some curiosity. If there had ever been a time when Ginny had wanted a disaster to strike, this was it.
And it did, though not how she had hoped.
The lunch bell chimed, and Alicia let out a very enthusiastic shriek. Immediately, the girls pushed the twins away and huddled while the rest of Gryffindor, including Harry Potter, hurried down to the Great Hall.
"Guess what this means, Gin?" Katie hissed. "You have to kiss Harry in front of the entire school!"
* * * *
The entire trip down from Gryffindor Tower to the Great Hall was both too long and too short for Ginny. She was ready to faint and fall to her death down the stairs, but with everyone crowding around her, she would only manage to be trampled.
"I'm going to be sick," she confessed when they were nearly to the ground floor of the castle.
"Mmm, I don't think you should," Angelina advised. "Vomit kisses aren't very, er, pleasant."
"What? Fred do that to you?"
Angelina blushed slightly. "Well, we were playing this, uh, game with the Every Flavored Beans . . . and you know . . ."
Ginny laughed nervously with everyone else, slightly satisfied that the other girl had shared a bit of embarrassing information.
They reached the entrance hall, with the Great Hall doors facing them. Ginny nearly retched as everyone else exchanged wicked grins and winks. Her palms were sweaty and her eyes were growing moist. I can't do this! Her mind screamed, but another part of her wanted to succeed in this challenge. She wanted to prove that she wasn't just Ron's silly little sister, but then again, she was being silly for playing the game.
I may never have another chance to kiss Harry, that wistful voice of her heart said. He likes that Cho girl, not me. I'd much rather have him kiss me because he wanted to, but at least I can kiss him just this once. Still, she didn't want a kiss with Harry to be on a dare, she wanted it to be pure and romantic, as she always dreamed it. Well, you're silly to think so. Just get it over with!
"You ready, Ginny?" Lavender asked. "We'll all but Angelina go in, all casual. Then you two can come in. Gin, I suggest you just go right up and do it, so you don't lose your lunch while thinking about it."
Ginny shot the girl a withering look. "I would do no such thing. Kiss Harry, no big deal. He's just my brother's friend. Just wait to see what your dare is, Lavender."
Eyebrows rose and the girls began to slip into the Great Hall. Ginny took deep, shaky breaths, waiting for the inevitable. She wiped her hands on her robes and chew on her bottom lip. Angelina tapped her shoulder and nodded towards the door. "You know . . . maybe this isn't such a good dare—"
"It's just fine," Ginny said, her voice tense. She wasn't about to back out of a dare. Her brothers would tease her relentlessly, and then . . . and then Harry would know she backed down. Either way, everyone would know about her dare. She might as well go through with it in flying colors and take the risk of Harry hating her, even if it was unbearable.
"Okay," Ginny said in a breathy tone.
Angelina swung the door open and they both stepped through. No one really noticed their entrance, as they were all very concerned with filling their stomachs. Ginny followed Angelina towards the Gryffindor table, ignoring the wide grins on everyone's faces. Apparently, no one had wasted time informing everyone else about the dare.
Anxiously she glanced ahead for Harry. He and Ron were obviously talking about boy things, ignoring the chatter around them, while Hermione was watching Ginny with wide eyes. As Ginny walked down the long table towards them, she tilted her head slightly and jutted her chin towards Harry, who was waving a hand and demonstrating a Quidditch move. Hermione shook her head, and Ginny was both relieved and frightened.
Harry didn't know what he had coming.
All too soon, she was before the three friends, her knees shaking. Hermione was staring at her, and the other two looked up.
"Hey, Gin, what's up?" Ron asked.
Harry looked up, his bright green eyes piercing into Ginny's heart. She forgot to breathe as she stared at him, completely forgetting her purpose. His expression was curious and friendly, the bottom strike of his scar barely showing under his mass of black hair. She couldn't think, couldn't breathe as his brows started to knit slightly with concern.
"Ginny? Something wrong?" he asked, joining Ron's ignored inquiries.
The world was spinning and Ginny was quite sure that she would faint if she didn't start breathing. Just do it! a voice in her head screamed.
"Gin?" now Ron sounded slightly frightened. "You look scared—"
"I'm fine," Ginny spoke, her voice coming out in a sudden rush of air. Her eyes hadn't left Harry's, who was starting to fidget with his fork and mash potatoes. Swallowing everything logical and steeling every last bit of her courage and strength, she leaned over the table, grabbed Harry's collar, and slid her lips over his.
A fiery numbness shot through her body, beginning from her lips and filling her toes consumed Ginny. Her lips were burning, all of her nerves were tingling and stinging, and yet she was completely oblivious and numb to everything.
Somewhere, her mind was methodically counting off the seconds, but she ignored it, swimming in the heady rush of the soft contact of Harry's lips. There was a loud roar in her ears, and it took her several moments to realize that she was in the Great Hall with the entire Hogwarts school shouting.
Ginny jumped back, releasing Harry and feeling everything spin into a nasty focus. Harry was staring, his mouth open, brilliant eyes wide with shock. The incredible sensation rushed out of her toes, leaving her with the horror that now consumed her.
"G-G-Ginny!" Ron cried, his voice cracking.
Hermione was completely awed as a smile tugged at her lips.
Harry looked as if he'd been Petrified.
Ginny's eyes swept dizzily over Gryffindor table, which was roaring with stomps, claps, and catcalls. Professor McGonagall was stomping towards Ginny, her strict face tight with disapproval. Her eyes darted back to Harry, but his face blurred as her eyes began to sting.
Ginny sucked in a soft sob and raced from the Great Hall.
* * * *
It took some time before everyone returned to their lunch, but Harry Potter merely sat numbly in his seat, his meal forgotten. Ron was muttering things like "silly girl, what does she think she's doing?" and "she's crazier than Fred and George, that one!". Hermione was smiling secretively to herself and casting Harry short glances before turning away and smiling again.
Gingerly, he reached up and touched his lips with his fingertips, not realizing that this repeated action was giving him very odd and suspicious looks from Ron. It seemed incredible that they still tingled with the sensation of Ginny Weasley's lips.
Over and over, Harry saw Ginny in his mind. Her hair had been pulled back, away from her eyes, but fiery red strands had teased her face. Those wide, soft brown eyes, very much like Ron's but completely different, had been deep with emotion when she'd been staring at him. Her cheeks had been flushed, while her skin very pale. He had immediately suspected something had happened to her, something related to Voldemort.
Oh, no, just when he was getting ready to jump out of his chair, grab his wand, and demand what happened while dragging her out of the Great Hall, Ginny had grabbed him. He had only had a moment to be surprised by her determined strength before being completely thrown into shock.
Harry had never kissed a girl, and he didn't consider Hermione's kiss on the cheek at King's Cross a real kiss. She had just been getting all emotional after, well, the events of last year. He might not be an expert about kissing or girls, but he was quite sure Ginny's behavior was not sprung from worry.
Once the initial shock had faded, Harry had been quite aware of the soft feel of Ginny's lips. Energy had coursed through him, both exciting and frightening, and, after some consideration, quite pleasant.
He wasn't sure how long she'd held onto him, but just as his lips had begun to react to hers and his eyes close with the sensation of sweetly drowning, she'd stopped. Shock and disappointment had replaced the incredible ripples and waves of sensation. It had left him feeling empty, as if he'd been a starving man in the desert reaching a well full of crystal clear water, and then having a sandstorm bury the well.
Harry Potter found himself wanting to dig through the endless sand and find his well again.
"Hey, Harry," Ron nudged him. "Snap out of it, man. What's wrong with you?"
"I can't believe she did that," raved Ron. "Must have been that silly game those girls were playing. I apologize for her, Harry."
"Oh, Ron! Would you shut up?" Hermione sighed, rolling her eyes. "Why don't you stop bothering Harry and let him think?"
"What's there to think about?"
"You're hopeless, Ronald Weasley!" Hermione stood up from the table, muttering something about boys being complete dopes, and left.
Ron stared after her, bewildered, which was a common look he gave Hermione these days. Then he blinked and shrugged. "Girls are crazy, aren't they, Harry?"
"Mmhm." Harry was staring towards the entrance to the Great Hall, but he wasn't thinking about Hermione at all. He knew his friends had feelings for each other, but it wasn't his concern at the moment. Slowly, he started to gather some food together on the one empty plate across from him.
"What're you doing?" Ron asked.
"Nothing." Harry could feel his neck turn red, but he tried to ignore that fact. His hand shook slightly as he scooped some pie onto the plate. He paused over the whip cream dish, suddenly remembering that Ginny always had it on her pie. Ron's eyes were fastened on Harry's face, but Harry refused to meet his friend's gaze. He wasn't altogether sure he knew what he was doing.
"Er, I'll be back," Harry mumbled to Ron.
"Go talk to Hermione," said Harry as he poured some milk into a glass. He paused, sighing at Ron's very lost look. "Take a lesson from your sister!" Before his best friend could stop him, or he took a moment to really think about it, Harry took the pie and left the buzzing Great Hall.
* * * *
Ginny was miserable. The Saturday afternoon in September was all very nice and beautiful with clear skies, a slightly cool breeze, and the warm sun, but she kept herself huddled against a stone stair leading from the boathouse down to the lake. She'd begun coming here last year to think, since she'd been deprived of her diary and didn't trust another one. Tom Riddle's afflictions on her and the rest of the school was still very fresh in her mind. She knew that Harry had defended her before Dumbledore and her parents, including saving her life, but it was still a very fresh wound.
Now, she simply wanted to disappear from the rest of the world. Students had begun to spill out of the castle, the Hufflepuffs heading from the Quidditch pitch to practice, while others were simply enjoying the warm day.
Ginny stared down into the silvery lake, replaying the kiss over and over in her mind. The taste of Harry's lips, his scent, that electrifying rush flowing between them . . . her heart was already aching and burning for more. She should have passed on the silly dare and told Snape that she was infatuated with him. At least then everyone would know it wasn't true and she wouldn't be yearning for Harry more.
She tucked her knees up to her chin, wrapping her arms around her legs, resting her chin on her knees. The breeze played with her hair, and for once, she didn't even bother to try and tame it.
"I'm such a silly girl," Ginny sighed. After a few moments, she sighed again. Then a shadow passed over her . . . an unmistakable shadow.
"Hey," said Harry.
Ginny swallowed hard, remembered to breath, and replied intelligibly. "Hey."
Harry shuffled on the step. "Can I sit?"
Ginny could only manage a shrug. She scooted over slightly to make room for him, all the while trying very hard not to slip into a cardiac arrest as Harry Potter sat down beside her. He was carrying a plate with a still-warm slice of apple pie on it, topped off with a lump of whip cream.
"Thought you might be hungry," Harry said gruffly, handing over the plate without looking directly at her.
"A bit. Thanks." Ginny accepted the plate, careful not to let her fingers brush his. She didn't want to know what would happen. Neither of them spoke while she fidgeted with her pie, unable to take a bite in fear of losing it. Ginny found herself studying his sneaker, which was very worn and muddy from the last Quidditch practice.
Then Harry sneezed. Three very loud sneezes.
Ginny couldn't help it, she started laughing at the slightly dizzy expression on his face. "D-did you get any on you?" she giggled, nearly upsetting the plate on her lap.
"Did you get any on you?"
"Er—" Harry looked over himself, flaming red, then shook his head. "No."
Harry stared at her for a moment, then spoke slowly. "How can you do that?"
Ginny sobered very quickly. "Do what?"
Harry blushed and looked away, fidgeting with the hem of his shirt. "Joke, after, er, you know . . ."
Seeing him in a very nervous state gave Ginny some of her confidence back. "I'm used to humiliating myself in front of you, Harry Potter."
"Oh . . . right."
Ginny felt her insides melt and mix. Sighing silently, she played with her pie and managed to take a bite. She chewed thoughtfully, feeling most of her nerves disappear, or at least temporarily behave. Her heart warmed. Harry had sought her out, even bringing her favorite pie. It had to be a good sign, right?
"How'd you find me?" she suddenly asked. "No one knows I go here."
"Sure I—er, we—do," said Harry.
Harry looked a bit uncomfortable and refused to meet her imploring gaze. "Well, after, um, the Chamber—"
"My brothers are extremely overprotective and meddlesome," Ginny finished, stabbing her pie with annoyance.
Harry chuckled, a nervous pitch in his tone, then he said very seriously. "You're lucky, Gin, that your family cares that much for you. I'd give anything to have nosy siblings that loved me."
Ginny didn't reply. Harry was staring at his feet, a deep pain etched into his young face. She knew how much her family met to Harry, and how the Dursleys treated him. She was suddenly very grateful to have a loud, noisy family with nosy parents and brothers.
A silence hung between them as Ginny ate another bite of the pie. She'd never spoke alone with Harry for so long, and she was feeling more and more at ease with him. "The pie's good."
Harry nodded, glancing at her before gazing out at the lake.
She studied him curiously. "How'd you know it was my favorite, or did you just guess?"
Harry blushed noticeably. "Uh, I guess I just didn't notice that there were certain things that I did notice."
Ginny felt a smile tug at her lips. Harry turned his head, finally looking her in the eye. Her heart skipped several alarming beats at the deep emotion in that emerald gaze. Her breathing was becoming shallow and quick as he leaned forward slightly, his entire being very intense.
"Why did you kiss me, Ginny?"
"I . . . I was dared to . . . Harry . . ."
A slight frown tugged at his mouth, and Ginny was overwhelmed with the urge to taste his lips again. "Was it just because of a dare?" His voice was very quiet, very tight.
"No," she said, softly, dropping her gaze away from him. She wasn't thinking clearly and her skin was growing hot. "My brothers have always made it blatantly obvious, if I have not, that I've had feelings for you for a very long time. Only a complete idiot wouldn't have realized that!"
Tears stung her eyes, but Ginny blinked them back furiously. She was angry with herself, her brothers, and even Harry. Crying in front of Harry after she'd confessed to him was the ultimate torture, and she wasn't about to let him see her in such a state.
Ginny choked back a sob and found her voice, unable to look at the silent Harry. "I'd better go. Thanks for the pie—"
"No, it's okay, Harry," Ginny assured him, brushing off pie crumbs. She got to her feet, but Harry scrambled up just as quickly and grabbed her hand. She whirled and stared up at him, feeling her knees begin to shake.
Harry opened his mouth to speak, then closed it. He seemed to be arguing with himself, then gave a slight nod. Still grasping her hand, he stepped down onto her step, nearly brushing against Ginny. He was so close, gazing down at her with an expression she'd never seen in his eyes before, and she was quite sure she would collapse at any moment.
"Ginny," he spoke in a very soft, shaking voice. "I . . . can I . . .?"
She was quite sure that if he hadn't already been holding her hand that she might have collapsed right there. Ginny nodded weakly. Harry's lips tugged upwards. Then he lifted a shaking hand and cupped her cheek. Hot tingles spread across her face from where his skin touched hers, and Ginny closed her eyes, leaning blissfully into his touch. There was a pause before a soft, trembling warmth brushed against her lips.
Ginny almost whimpered at the brief kiss. She started to open her eyes, but Harry quickly kissed her again, this time his mouth much firmer and more certain. Ginny's heart was pounding and singing, and she could sense Harry's own racing heart.
Reluctantly, they pulled away, slowly opening their eyes and breathless. Ginny stared up at Harry, feeling her entire body warm. His thumb brushed her cheekbone as he slowly lowered his hand from her face, their other hands still laced together. Harry's eyes were bright with wonderment, his cheeks flushed, his hair tossing in the wind.
He squeezed her hand gently. "Wow."
"I agree," she smiled, still feeling as if she was floating.
"I can't believe it," said Harry, his voice soft and deep.
"Ron's going to kill you. Fred and George will torture you first."
Harry, to her surprise, looked unconcerned about Ron. "Oh, no, he's got troubles of his own."
Ginny grinned. Her hand was still enveloped in his, her entire arm radiating with hot tingles. A corner of Harry's mouth turned up, his eyes still very bright. To her amazement, he lowered his head kissed her again, as if reassuring himself. As Ginny laced her hands behind his neck and felt his arms wrap around her waist, she reminded herself to thank Katie for the excellent dare.