Disclaimer: I own nothing. Not even chocolate chip cookies, at the moment.
The cheerful greeting made Harry look up from his half-finished essay, startled. In front of him stood Ginny Weasley, a plate of cookies in her hands and a bright, albeit nervous, smile on her face.
"Hello," he said uncertainly. "Were you looking for Ron?"
Her smile faltered for an instant. "No, I was looking for you," she told him and sat down, holding out the plate of cookies to him. "Want some?"
Harry stared at her, perplexed, but he had never quite been able to resist chocolate chip cookies, so he grabbed one and bit into it.
The taste of hot chocolate filled his mouth. Through the cookie, Harry grinned at Ginny. "These are amazing! Where did you get these?"
"The kitchens," Ginny answered, smiling back and biting into her own cookie. "Fred and George showed me how," she added in response to Harry's questioning look.
"Well, thanks," Harry said sincerely, taking another, smaller bite. "I needed that."
"I'm sure you did," Ginny said brightly with no hint of the worried caution others used around him. Harry had to admit it was very refreshing to talk to someone who didn't try to watch what they said.
He grinned at her again, and she blushed, but her own smile stayed. "Whose essay?" she asked conversationally, gesturing to the parchment in front of him.
"Hm?" Harry swallowed his bite of chocolate. "Oh, that's Snape's. Who else would assign us homework at the very end of the year?" He made a face, startling a giggle out of her.
"I've got one from him, too," she told him cheerfully. "I've also got one from McGonagall, but that was as punishment."
Harry raised an eyebrow at her. "Punishment? What for?"
Ginny grinned. "We had to transfigure a teapot into a tortoise. Mine might have been a little too…toothy."
"Toothy?" Harry repeated, trying not to burst into laughter. It would have attracted undue attention.
Ginny nodded, stifling her own giggles. "Yes, toothy. We share the class with Slytherins and I had been practicing this spell so I knew how to do it. So, when the time came, I transfigured my teapot, and then added fangs and told it to go bite the Slytherins. I have to do an essay on why giving Transfigured objects anything harmful to use is a bad idea. Though I don't see what the big deal is, I specifically made them smaller than average fangs."
Harry had to chuckle. "Did Fred and George help you with that?"
Ginny's smile vanished for an instant. "No," she said quietly. "I thought of it by myself."
Awkward silence grew as Harry's laughter tapered off. She seemed upset at something and for the life of him, he couldn't figure out why. He was wondering if offering an apology would work when she suddenly brightened.
"Well, I should go," she said, "but you can keep the cookies. Bye!"
"Wait!" Harry called impulsively before she could dart up the stairs. "Is there something wrong?"
Ginny hesitated. "No, nothing," she assured him. "I'm fine, I promise."
Harry frowned. "You don't seem like it. Was it something I said?"
Ginny bit her lip and shook her head. "No," she said. "It's nothing, Harry."
Harry stared at her, going through their conversation in his mind. Ginny fidgeted, looking like she'd like nothing better than to disappear into the girls' dorms.
"When I asked you if Fred and George had helped you?" Harry hazarded.
Ginny's blush had returned full force. "It's nothing," she repeated. "I'm fine."
Harry opened his mouth to speak, snapped it shut, and whipped his head around to glare at anyone trying to listen in. Abashed, the eavesdroppers returned to whatever they were doing before.
"I'm sorry." Harry wasn't quite sure what he was apologizing for, but it couldn't hurt, could it? "For…well, whatever I did."
Ginny blinked, and then smiled at him. It was a small smile, but enough to relieve him. "I told you," she insisted. "I'm fine." Her smile brightened. "Thanks, though."
"Um, you're welcome," Harry said, slightly bewildered but smiling nonetheless. "Thanks for the cookies."
"No problem," Ginny said, her old good humor having returned. "You can always get more from the kitchens, if you like. See you later!" With that, she dashed up into the girls' dorms.
Harry glanced down at the last remaining cookie on the plate and realized that, for the first time since the Third Task had started, he had been thinking of someone other than himself, had been concerned for someone else, and had laughed at something other than Ron and twins' jokes.
He grinned, picked up the cookie, and bit into it. "Girls are weird," he said out loud, receiving a chorus of agreement from the males in the room.
Author's Notes: Oh, look, a Ginny who doesn't have to rant and scream to get her point across! I felt like writing a Ginny pre-personality transplant, so here's the sweet and shy Ginny of books 1-4. I think this Ginny would have been a much better fit for Harry. If you agree, disagree, or just liked the fic, please drop a review and tell me so! Thanks!
Edited AN: Okay, I've been getting a lot of reviews mentioning this, so I just thought I'd clarify: I didn't mean that book-Ginny screams and slaps. I was talking about the fanfic version of book-Ginny that took the fiery, tomboy personality JKR gave her in OotP/HBP too far and made her into, as some have put it, a shrieking harridan. I was tired of reading fics that portrayed her as such, so I wrote this. Canon Ginny is fine with me; it's the fanfics I was talking about.