A fan fiction by Pottergirl
All characters belong solely to J.K.Rowling. No copyright infringement is intended.
I'm working hard on this story so I hope you like it… a lot!
Also, in the story, the words in Italics are thoughts. You'll know whose even though all of the people's thoughts are in Italics.
Chapter 1: At The Burrow: Encounters With A Red-Head
The sun set over the horizon and the little village of Ottery St. Catchpole witnessed the arrival of night. The crickets and little grasshoppers began their usual chattering in the gardens of the various humble cottages lining the main street. The only large and rather unusual building in the skyline was 'The Burrow', a building that looked as if it had begun with one floor or two but more were added as per need. The path up to the front door was old and cobbled. A few hens that usually pecked around the front of the house were now snuggled up in their wire cages. A gnome scurried off across the path, and climbed up a large Eucalyptus tree, growing by the front. A few birds flew into the tree and all was peaceful except the constant chattering from the insects in the shrubbery. The only light in the street shone out from the cottage windows and the *several* floors of the 'The Burrow'.
This was how Harry Potter saw The Burrow for the first time since the holidays preceding his fourth year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
The car pulled up at the front gate of The Burrow. A balding man with flaming-red hair that had grayed in places, quickly got out. In the semi-darkness of dusk, he looked around him, twice, as if making sure no one was there around him.
'Got Hedwig? Ok… out we come now,' he said in an undertone. His voice betrayed concern and worry yet it had a desperate mixture of cheerfulness in it as if concealing a secret.
Another person, shorter and thinner stepped out of the car with a large cage.
'Shall I get the trunk from the back, Mr.-' he began, placing the cage on the ground but the man quickly cut in.
'No it's alright. You go into the house and I'll get your things now. Best not to risk it-' he said quickly. The other person looked around and then, picking up his cage, walked up the path to the house. He knocked loudly. The door opened a fraction and someone peered out. Suddenly, the door was flung open and the person stepped in amidst a squeal of,
'Harry! Come in quickly!'
Harry stepped inside and just had time to put the large cage down before Mrs. Weasley enveloped him in a tight hug. She stepped back after a moment and looked at him like his mother or aunt would. Well, maybe not the aunt in this particular boy's case.
'My, you've certainly grown…' she said, her eyes shining with tears.
'Mum! It's only been three weeks!' said a voice from behind them. Ron walked into view and hugged Harry.
'It's so good Dumbledore's finally allowed you to come over. It's been very boring here,' he said and stepped back. Harry smiled at both Weasleys.
'It's been worse at the Dursley's. Aunt Petunia definitely remembered the Ton Tongue Toffee. She forbid Dudley to eat any thing I offered…' he said, his eyes glinting mischievously.
'Did something happen?' asked Ron eagerly.
'Well, I did try to get him to eat some Every Flavor Beans… too bad he got the worst ones and went and got everything out at the basin!' said Harry, grinning. Mrs. Weasley chuckled.
'Too bad? It wasn't by chance now, was it?' said Ron.
'Enough of all the jokes. Harry, you go up and wash up. I'll get you something to eat right away.'
'Come on, I've got to show you my room too,' said Ron and started towards the stairs.
'Your room? I've already seen it lots of times. Is there something new?' asked Harry, raising an eyebrow. Ron grinned.
'Yeah, well, I've been saving up and it's finally paid off. You should have a look,' he said and both began the long climb up the zigzagging staircase.
The door of Ron's room was apparently the same as it had been the last year and the year before that, the same crooked, old sign reading "Ronald's Room", and the same creaky doorknob. But before Harry had the chance to comment, Ron opened the door of his room.
Instead of the bright orange hue that greeted Harry every time he entered Ron's room, faded yellow and light green colors faced him. He stepped into the room cautiously, wondering if it was Ron's room at all. The Chudley Cannons, Ron's favorite Quidditch team's posters had been stripped from the walls, and all memorabilia and souvenirs bearing the logo "CC" had been, apparently, stuffed into the dustbin. The room even seemed to be cleaner. The empty fish tank was gone, and so were all the Wizard comic books Ron had an untidy library of. In fact, the room seemed entirely changed, no trace of the past arrangement and lifestyle visible.
Harry gave the room another sweeping glance, then turned to face Ron, whose face had the same expression when Harry had first visited the burrow and seen his room.
'Wow Ron, what did you do all of a sudden?' Harry asked putting down the cage. Ron grinned.
'Well… I had this bit of money collected and I wanted to change my room. And anyway the Chudley Cannons have been here for lots of years,' he said. Harry raised an eyebrow, unsure.
'You mean, you don't like the Chudley Cannons anymore?' he asked, an amused smile struggling at the corners of his mouth.
'Well, they weren't doing too well lately, I got a bit… well, doesn't matter. I decided to change my room. Painted it myself,' said Ron, ending in a satisfied and proud manner. Harry looked around.
'It does look good. It looked good before too, at least to me… but this's good too. You've done a very neat job on the paint. Wish I was there too. We could have had some fun,' said Harry wistfully.
'Yeah, like throwing paint at each other,' suggested Ron.
'Or mixing up the green and yellow,' added Harry.
'Or just smacking globs of each color on the orange wall. Red, orange and green. How does it sound?' asked Ron, grinning.
'Not a very good effect, I guess,' said Harry imagining Ron's room in polka dots of yellow and green that looked like they had been applied with a squirt gun on the previously, bright orange walls. Further, Ron would be standing in the middle, covered from head to toe in paint and grinning as usual.
'You should see Ginny's room. She changed it too. Now it's all pink and cream,' said Ron, interrupting Harry's rather colorful imagination.
'Ginny did up too? Oh well, I didn't see the older version of it,' said Harry thoughtfully and then Ron voiced his thoughts.
'Strange but you never saw Ginny's room and you've been coming to our house for four years. Wow, that's something!' he said. Harry grinned.
'Well, guess it happens,' he said but Ron suddenly gave him a devilish look and, grinning, he said,
'Actually, you should have seen it… after all, it was covered with posters of yours.'
Harry's grin faded quite a bit and strangely, he felt himself go red.
'What?' he was able to get out of his throat. Ron grinned satisfactorily. 'My posters?'
Ron laughed and clutched the side of his bed for support. Harry looked on, dumfounded and soon, Ron was able to look up again.
'Sorry Harry, I couldn't help it, the look on your face was worth it,' he said, still grinning. Harry smiled a little.
'It sounded like it was true,' he thought but realized he must have said it out aloud too because Ron was looking at him again, smiling.
'It was true, I mean she had these photographs of yours on the walls until she repainted her room,' he said. Harry looked at Ron, a bit awkwardly. Ron went on,
'But, I'm glad that's over with. I knew, though, that she'd get rid of that childish crush sooner or later.'
Harry, once again, felt himself sink into thought.
Ginny had gotten over her crush on him. Would that mean no more blushing while speaking to him, no more hiding from him and no more looking at him as if he was some great, big hero or something? Well, it did seem that way, at least the way Ron put it. Ginny could now be… be … that was strange, he never even knew how Ginny really was. He didn't even know the real Ginny. Ginny couldn't be just a blushing, little girl.
'Well,' Harry thought, 'She's gotten over me. That's a …… good thing.'
Harry did not know it, nor did he feel it but some part of his heart felt sorry for himself, that Ginny had finally taken her loving, admiring eyes off him and looked towards other ends.
'I said, have you heard from Snuffles?' came Ron's interruption just then as if someone had suddenly turned up the volume. Harry looked at him dumbly.
'Are you alright, Har-'
'No, really, I mean no, I didn't hear from him. Guess he's been busy,' said Harry, quickly recovering. 'Have you heard from Hermione?'
'Yeah,' said Ron, looking hard at the print on his bed sheet. 'She owled yesterday. She's coming tomorrow evening.'
'That's good. Um… did she go to Bulgaria?' asked Harry. Ron looked up, and Harry could notice the tiniest of smiles at the corner of his mouth.
'Actually, no,' said Ron. 'She told me in the letter. She said she and Krum were friends so going to Bulgaria didn't matter.'
Harry fought hard but the grin he had been resisting, finally surfaced. Why couldn't he admit he liked Hermione now?
'You're not making sense. Going to Bulgaria didn't matter as they were friends? She didn't go to Bulgaria since they were not-' he tried but Ron looked up again, his ears and face completely flushed.
'No, I mean, she didn't go to Bulgaria because… because…' Ron stumbled on his words terribly and Harry came to the rescue or rather, to devastate Ron. What he said turned Ron's ears further red.
'Because she didn't like Krum that way. Don't worry Ron. She did NOT like Krum that way. And anyway, when you-'
Ron looked up suddenly and clamped his hand tightly over Harry's mouth. Harry chuckled despite it and Ron had difficulty keeping his best friend's mouth tightly shut.
'Don't you dare say anything!' he growled, though Harry could still see that Ron's ears were scarlet and so was his face. He, slowly let go of Harry.
'Why?' asked Harry amusedly, straightening his shirt.
'Because,' began Ron in hushed and rushed speech. 'Because, if Fred and George happen to hear it, they'll practically kill me. As if they haven't been doing enough already!'
Harry chuckled and leaned against the wall of Ron's bedroom.
'Don't worry. Your secrets are safe with me. So, what have Fred and George been doing?' he asked, smiling. Ron looked quite pink but then he gave a little sigh and closed the door of his room.
'Well, you remember the Yule Ball?' he finally began. Harry nodded.
'What about it?'
'The row Hermione and I had, you idiot,' Ron growled.
'How was I supposed to know what you were talking about?'
'Forget it. Well, Fred and George, they kind of tease me about it. They even… they even sent Hermione a love letter signed with my name. I had to owl her quickly to tell her it was a fake,' said Ron and turned very, very red.
Harry chuckled. 'Did Hermione say anything?'
'No,' said Ron, sounding almost disappointed. 'Nothing.'
'Don't worry, Ron. She'll send you a genuine love letter some day!' said Harry and bounded towards the door. He flung it open and ran down the corridor, past the stairs.
Ron stood as if bolted, to where he was, as the meaning of Harry's words sank in. He let out a cry of exasperation and turned to get Harry before he got out of reach. But there was no sign of Harry anywhere in the corridor. Therefore, Ron quickly ran down the stairs.
Harry had run past the stairs. He looked back quickly to see if Ron wasn't tailing him. He wasn't, at least yet. So, he turned back quickly to search for a quick hiding place. The corridor was long, wooden and creaky. The only other door in sight and in reach was a small one, a few feet away. A broom cupboard of some sort. Harry grinned, ran to the cupboard, flung it open and hurried into it's darkness, quickly closing the door behind him.
But before he had time to do anything else, his foot caught in a bucket handle and he felt himself falling backwards, amidst the muffled clatter of the bucket. A good amount of coats and other thick garments, smelling as if they hadn't been used in some time, broke his fall. But he did manage to fall back on the floor of the cupboard, or rather 'walk-in-closet'.
As he landed on the soft bed of cloaks and coats, he heard a cry of surprise from somewhere near him.
'Who- Who's there?' came a frantic voice but groggy as if the person had been sleeping. Ginny's. Harry froze. Ginny? In a closet?
Then, he felt Ginny's hands, cautiously feeling for whatever could be there. Harry felt tongue tied and his heart almost stopped beating as Ginny's hands found his shirt's collar. Then, they moved back as Ginny let out a sigh.
'Thank goodness, it was you, Ron! I thought it was Fred there for a moment!' There was an enormous amount of relief contained in that little speech and Harry had the feeling Ginny was hiding from Fred. But suddenly, Harry lost all feeling. At least, it seemed so. Or perhaps, he acquired a lot of feeling, his nerve endings becoming suddenly activated as he felt Ginny's arms around his neck.
He felt her come closer, in the darkness, and hug him tightly. He could smell the perfume of her shampoo, a light, flowery scent. She seemed so delicate and light.
'I was scared. Fred's been after me with his new Eye-Popping toffee. I was supposed to test it. So I had to come running here. He's been after me since morning. It's good though, he never searches in this closet! And…we're the only ones who hide here. I don't know though how I fell asleep. I don't know the time though it must be quite late. Wonder how long I've been sleeping here. Anyway, what are you doing here?'
Ginny said all of this in almost one breath, one very relieved breath. It was the longest statement she had ever made to Harry or rather, she had made to who she thought was Ron but was in fact, Harry. She was still lying right next to him.
Harry could still feel his breath coming rather roughly. He felt strange. Ginny, Ron's sister, right beside him. The Ginny who hadn't said anything so long ever before to him yet. The Ginny who only blushed at the sight of him. The Ginny who peeked at him from behind doors. The Ginny whom… whom he knew nothing more about… The Ginny who was 'over' him. Now where did that thing about being 'over' him come from? Harry squinted into the darkness but could not see Ginny at all. Perhaps it was his imagi-
'How are you here?' came Ginny's voice again. Harry realized, Ginny, the Ginny next to him, was reality. He took in a deep breath and opened his mouth to speak when-
The door flung open and a tall figure's outline could be seen against the light of the lanterns lighting the corridor behind him. It looked really tall. Like Fred or George. That was what Ginny thought so too. She shrieked and buried her head in Harry's chest, or rather, his shirt. Harry tensed, feeling himself go rock-hard.
'Ron, help! Don't let him get me!' Ginny shrieked.
'Ron help?' came the amused and surprised voice of Ron. 'Ginny, are you in there?'
There was a strange silence, then, Harry felt Ginny jump back from him. He could hear her scramble to her feet quickly and then, she ran to Ron, clinging to him. Harry decided he might as well get up when Ginny said in a frightened voice,
'There's someone in there, Ron!'
'What? Who?' came Ron's surprised voice. Harry quickly got up. 'Who's ther-' added Ron when Harry stepped into the light shining through the door.
'Harry!' exclaimed Ginny first. Ron grinned on seeing Harry.
'You had me frightened there for a second, Harry!' he said. 'I didn't think it was you in there.'
Harry smiled a little at Ron, then, cautiously looked at Ginny. Her eyes were wide with surprise and shock. But when Harry looked at her, she lowered her gaze, and Harry was sure she was blushing though he couldn't see it as it was dark. Well, so much for not blushing when she sees me!
There was silence. Ginny looked up again. She realized all that had happened. She blushed profusely when she remembered all her doings in the closet, the hug… everything… She met Harry's eyes and looked back down again. She knew she wasn't supposed to blush. It didn't matter . He didn't matter. But why was she blushing so much? Harry broke through her reverie.
'Um, sorry there, Ginny. I didn't know-'
'What do you mean sorry?' asked Ron suddenly. It was Harry's turn to turn pink and he was sure both Ginny and Ron could see him blush as he was standing in the light. This only made him more uncomfortable.
'Um, I didn't know Ginny was in there. She thought I was you, not me and I thought-' he began but Ron said,
'Harry, you're not making sense!' It was a rather amused tone, though. Ginny quickly came to Harry's rescue.
'It's nothing Ron. I was in there. I just got scared it was someone else when Harry came in,' she said quickly.
Harry added a little more to make things clearer for Ginny.
'I was running from Ron,' he said, looking at Ron, grinning now. Ginny dared to look at him.
'Why were you running from him?' she asked.
'Herm-' began Harry but Ron shook off Ginny and launched himself on to Harry before he could go further.
'mione!' completed Ginny and dissolved into fits of laughter. Ron let go of Harry as Harry too, started laughing. Ron stared at both of them helplessly when-
'What's all the laughing about? Hey! Harry! Great to see you again!' It was Fred, and with him, George, as usual. Ron groaned inwardly. The twins hugged Harry and just when Ron was about to heave a sigh of relief, George said,
'Now what were you laughing about?'
Ron let out a strangled squeak. This was going to be really tough…
Mrs. Weasley, Fred, George, Ron, Harry and Ginny sat around the dining table for dinner. Mr. Weasley had been called to the office, so he was absent. There had been quite some joking by the twins to lighten the atmosphere outside which was reflected in Mrs. Weasley's gestures and expressions. Ginny was still giggling slightly when Fred lifted his spoon, and said,
'So mum, guess our brother's crush's coming over tomorrow.'
Mrs. Weasley gave Fred a red-eyed glare.
'Fred! Didn't I tell you not to trouble your brother?' she snapped at him.
'The trouble's going to start tomorrow,' said George, giving Ron his famous, devilish smile. Ron looked at the twins, paling a little. In his entire life, so far, he could not remember being troubled by his twin brothers so much, except of course the time when it turned out he was scared of spiders, and his teddy bear was turned into one.
'Yeah,' said Fred, in an undertone. 'Real trouble.'
Ron went pink. Harry looked up and saw a confused expression on his face, the one he usually got when he didn't understand something… or of course, when he was utterly embarrassed. Therefore, to Harry, it was not startling when Ron quickly got up and left the table.
Mrs. Weasley turned her angriest, most outraged glare at the twins.
'Didn't I tell you-'
'Mum!' protested Fred. 'We were just having some fun!'
'Fred!' Mrs. Weasley practically screamed and lifted a ladle. Both twins got the signal that it was best they leave. Scrambling to their feet, they ran out of the room while Mrs. Weasley sat, fuming.
'Why do they always cause so much trouble?' she muttered. Harry looked into his plate, feeling awkward. The only ones on the table were himself, Ginny and Mrs. Weasley.
'Just when I was going to assign them the dishes too. They'll always get in my way, always!' she went on.
Harry looked up, cautiously.
'Um, Mrs. Weasley, I'll do the dishes if-'
'No, Harry dear. I really appreciate it but honestly-'
'No, really. I can do them okay. I did a lot of dishwashing at the Dursley's. It's no problem,' Harry insisted. Mrs. Weasley gave it a moment's thought.
'Well,' she said finally. 'Okay but Ginny, you help him with the drying up. Okay?'
'Yeah,' said Ginny, in a funny, squeaky voice. 'Sure, mum.'
And with that Mrs. Weasley left the table, still muttering to herself about getting hold of her twin sons.
There was silence. Harry looked up to see Ginny staring at her plate. He looked at her. She does have a brilliant shade of red hair, it suits her. And her eyes are so bright, sparkling. She looks a little like Ron with her freckles but I wonder if she's really like him? Funny and unexpected? Strange, know anything about her… I just hope she doesn't mind all that happened today, I didn't meant it of course… but I guess I owe her a proper apology…
Ginny looked into her plate, moving a few pieces of potato around. I still can't believe I touched him… hugged him… why, I was right beside him, *lying* beside him. I was *talking* to him! I can't imagine why I'm blushing. I am, I know that. But why? It's no use thinking of all this… it was a mistake I committed, not what he intended! This is stupid. I was supposed to stop thinking if him like that. But… his eyes… they never do let me think properly… no, I should forget it. It's no use, no use at all, going after him… he's probably got other, better girls, catching his eye. Who'd like little Ginny, with her freckles and stupid, red hair? Ron's little sister… not him, he's not going to like me… ever… I must forget all possibilities… and no more blushing…
'Um, Ginny,' said Harry just then, jerking her out of her thoughts. She looked up at him quickly. His food was abandoned as well and he was looking at her. What is he about to say? Something special? Oh no, how can I think of that? So dumb of me…
'Yeah?' asked Ginny, slowly. Harry looked really serious, in fact, too serious.
'I, uh, I'm really sorry for what happened back there… I really didn't meant it… I didn't know you were in there and I was about to say it was me when Ron came in and-' Harry said, looking quite nervous but Ginny interrupted him before he went on. She hadn't thought he'd say that of all things.
'Oh no Harry, you don't apologize. I made a mistake. I couldn't judge if it was my brother or you, though I didn't even know you were here,' she said quickly. Oh my gosh! I'm blushing again! He didn't need to apologize though. It was quite… good after all. I didn't mind it…
Harry decided to change the topic.
'Um… I came about an hour ago,' he said. Ginny looked at him. She smiled, strangely, not looking at him. Then she spoke as if Harry was not there at all, as if she was talking to herself.
'They forgot to tell me… again… they always leave me out of things like these… they knew… I knew you would be coming soon but they probably decided not to tell when…I'm not a child but I'm always considered as one…'
Harry was taken aback for a moment. He had never heard Ginny talk like that, of her being the youngest.
'Oh, I'm sure they would have but they……' he tried to help.
'…forgot, as usual,' Ginny ended for him. Then, as if snapping back to reality, she looked up at him for a second, blankly. Then she shook her head.
'I'm sorry. I shouldn't have said that,' she said.
'It's alright,' said Harry and grinned. Ginny felt herself smile and blush again. She knew she was fighting a losing battle… the battle against the Weasley blushes. Harry turned back to his dinner. She's quite different from Ron. For one, Ron would never complain about being the youngest… because he isn't. Now… that's a stupid deduction, really stupid but, Ginny's quite an interesting person, it must be good to get to know her well…
Ginny quickly finished her dinner and stood up at just about the same time Harry did. He smiled at her and was about to say something when-
'DON'T YOU DARE GIVE ME EXCUSES! NOW STAY IN THERE TILL MORNING. I DO NOT WANT TO SEE YOU OUT HERE!'
Mrs. Weasley's eventual tirade floated into the dining hall from four floors above.
'That went well,' Harry commented.
'It was worst last time,' said Ginny, her eyes sparkling. 'You probably don't know what Fred and George dared to do this summer but-'
'I know,' cut in Harry. 'Regarding Hermione?' Ginny gave him a strange look as she collected the dishes.
'Ron told you that?' Harry nodded. Ginny smiled wickedly.
'Guess both of you have been having heart-to-heart talks!' she said, without blushing, strangely. Harry chuckled. Ginny seemed so 'open' just then.
'He did not say it. I know, though. Guess I teased him a little hard… he was running after me when I came to the closet you were in…' said Harry. Ginny's cheeks tinted, a little.
And he came running to where I was and then he must have come in… he was on the floor beside me, hiding perhaps and then, I awoke… I hugged him… I felt his shirt… better not think of it. It's only making me blush!
Harry climbed the stairs with Ginny. Both of them were laughing. After a half an hour washing dishes and listening to Ginny tell tales of Fred and George, Harry felt completely different; he felt he had been in the Weasley household for days, weeks, months… and believe it or not, he'd begun knowing Ginny Weasley quite well, from the first day of his arrival.
Ginny had very mixed up thoughts when she got into bed that night.
I can't believe it. I talked to him… he talked to me… we talked for so long. It was fun though. I never thought I could ever talk to him as easily as I could today. He's really alright… but does he like me *that* way? I don't think so… it's been years since he saw me and he has never before… there is no reason why he should like me now… but I shouldn't even be thinking of him this way… he's never going to like me… he's just Ron's friend whom I happen to know… I'm only a little girl for him, probably…