A Few Important Notes: - This story takes place during the time of the sixth book around Christmas time. Harry and Hermione are best friends since he rescued her from the troll, yet they aren't friends with Ron because ... just because. He's best friends with Dean or someone. Also Sirius is alive, because Ginny and Ron were reasons why Harry went to the ministry, if neither were there then they wouldn't all have been convinced into it.
Another point - this is a pure ROMANCE fiction. So no War-Talk in this department, no, no, no. - Pure H/G
Tied Together By A Red Ribbon
Ginevra Weasley sat back in her seat and glanced around the Great Hall; her brain buzzing with all of the thoughts in her head. To those seated around her, her hooded eyes seemed bored, her pixie-esque features, haughty. Her auburn hair, which was curled out in messy ringlets had been pulled upwards into an elegant bun. Stray strands had fallen out of the complicated style and were curling around her slender neck.
Her lips closed around a goblet of pumpkin juice and her darkened eyes studied the hall, taking in the surrounding students across the other three tables.
Her back ached as she forced herself to sit up straight, uniform as her house dictated, but she smiled as she listened to Pansy talk about her latest N.E.W.T homework.
"-But Mcgonnagal's making us do this six foot essay. You're so lucky that you don't have this until next year,"
She took a drink of pumpkin juice and turned away from her friend as she continued to watch the other house tables.
Across the hall, Potter got up from his table. She looked at the Gryffindor table with interest as the raven-haired boy paused for a second and then left the Great Hall. For a moment Ginny could have sworn the boy's eyes had rested on her, but she dismissed the thought.
But while that thought left her mind, others arrived to take it's place.
Potter was...interesting. The Boy-Who-Lived seemed to keep bumping into her in the most odd ways. For example; When they ended up sharing a table in the crowded Hogshead. She had been there for the barman who looked the other way when she ordered Fire-Whiskey and he had been there to escape the 'Potter-Fans' that had been following him around for weeks.
They had said barely a word throughout the night but for the occasional sentence 'Do want me to get you anything?' 'Fire-Whiskey, thanks,'
Since that night the pair kept running into each other; in the library, the quidditch stands, the time she would never again mention in the Prefect's Bathroom, she had even ran into him on one of his midnight wanderings around the dungeons.
They had formed an unspoken truce when they had been forced into hiding together in Grimmauld Place – courtesy of 'The Order' of course – He had even spoken out in her defence when her brother's had insisted on her leaving the room when The Order spoke on account of her being a Slytherin.
She sighed. She had never been quite sure whether Potter had done it for her or whether he had done it to spite her brother. Potter and Ron never gotten on.
"I'll be back soon," She tucked her napkin under her plate and swung away from the table, waggling her fingers at the Zabini boy as she left the Slytherin Table.
Ginny entered the entrance hall, looking around the large room for any sign of Potter. The quiet echoes of shoes on stone caught her ear and she headed up the marble staircase.
"Potter?" She called, her heels clacking loudly through the silence of the upper floor corridors.
A quiet snicker met her ears.
"Potter, I swear, if you can hear me – answer,"
"Weasley," A figure stepped out of an empty classroom. "You called?" Potter smirked slightly as he stepped into the light.
Ginny leant back against the wall and watched as Potter mimicked her on the opposite one. She tucked a lock of hair behind her ear.
"Just wondering why Golden Boy's storming out of meals," She asked casually, noticing as Potter's fists clenched. "Feeling a bit angsty, are we?"
"You don't know anything!" Potter glared at her before looking away.
Ginny scoffed. "That sounds familiar. Have you been talking to my brothers?" She raised an eyebrow.
"They been giving you trouble, Weasley?"
She laughed. "Nothing I can't handle. You and Granger have enough to worry about without me – Pansy's been bending my ear about your exams. And they're next year!"
"I'm serious, you know," Potter moved over to the wall beside her.
"I know." Ginny sighed, digging her hands into her pockets. "But I don't need you to fight my battles,"
"So damn proud, Weasley," Potter smirked, "Sure you don't need a white knight to come save you?"
Ginny raised an eyebrow, fighting the smile on her mouth. "Are you sure that Granger won't be cross that you're offering to be my knight?"
Potter groaned, throwing his hands into his hair. "I told you, we're just friends,"
"And I told you, it's none of my business,"
"Yeah, well," Potter dug his hands into his pockets. "I know it's your brother behind the rumours that Hermione and I are sleeping together,"
"Ronald's an idiot," Ginny commented lightly. "If I listened to a word he says, I'd regress to a five-year old's intelligence,"
Potter chuckled. "You're something else, Weasley,"
"Coming from a Gryffindor, I'll take that as a fairly nice compliment," Ginny smirked.
"You should," Potter laughed again. "I don't think I've ever met a girl like you,"
Ginny brushed off the seriousness of his comment with a smirk. "And you, Potter, we all know you're sunshine and daises," She teased.
Potter grinned appreciatively.
Acting on a small impulse, Ginny reached out and grabbed Potter's hand with her own.
Potter froze for a second before relaxing into her grip. He turned and grinned impishly. "Imagine if your brother caught you holding hands with his 'enemy' "
"What am we going to do? Steal innocence with our fingers?" Ginny tapped her chin thoughtfully with her free hand. "Actually..."
"Don't," Potter grinned at her as she pouted playfully.
"Spoilsport," She snickered, leaning her head back against the wall.
They stood in silence for a few minutes before Potter spoke up again. "Christmas is coming soon," He commented, still not looking at her.
"Buying me a present, Potter?" She teased as he raised his eyebrows at her.
"I meant, it means we'll be at Grimmauld Place again,"
"Excuse me if I don't jump in joyous glee,"
"Really? I wouldn't mind that show,"
Ginny mock-gasped. "Is this Harry Potter having...a sense of humour? Oh, mon dieu,"
"Shurrup," Potter drawled, nudging her. "I guess this means we'll be house-mates this Christmas, then. You best get me something nice,"
"Hmmm; Me, lying on a bed. You, allowed to ravish me completely? How's that sound?" Ginny smirked.
Potter sighed. "And to think that I'm just getting you some chocolate and candles?"
"Those could help,"
"Impossible to refuse, many have said,"
"Many, huh?" Harry grinned at her.
"If you believe the rumours," Ginny smiled back, before exhaling loudly. "But, then again, Gryffindors are such prudes. Someone could strip and rub against you and you'd gallantly hand them your coat to cover them up,"
"Such lies, Weasley. Who told you such untruths?"
"Who said that it's not personal experience?"
"Please, any Gryffindor who would see your body would not be able to keep it quiet."
Ginny looked at him. "You sound like you speak from experience. Have you and my body become acquainted?"
"Very." Potter smirked. "Do I need remind you of the time in the prefects bathroom. You thought nobody was in there and then you bumped, quite literally, into m-"
"Yes, Yes," Ginny blushed softly before shaking her head back and looking Potter in the eye. "But surely that means I should get to see your body. Tit for Tat, that sort of thing?"
Potter smiled a smile so impish that it made Ginny join in. "Hmm, tempting..."
"Only tempting? I was expecting a strip-tease!"
"I only do one show a day."
"I missed it? Damn,"
"I know, so sad," Ginny laughed at the grin on Potter's face. "Anyway, back to my present."
"I thought we'd decided that." Laughing, Ginny's grip on Potter's hand tightened momentarily. "You, me, maximum contact and minimal clothes,"
"What about my present to you?"
"Just wrap a pretty red ribbon around your neck and nothing else,"
"I'm sure that would go down grand with your parents and brothers watching us."
"I think they'd want me to be happy."
"Only happy? Miss Weasley, I could make you Ecstatic, Passionate and Screaming Out In Ecstasy. I don't think happy covers it,"
"You sound pretty confident of yourself."
"How do you know I don't have reason to be?"
Ginny rolled her eyes. "Have you seen how fast the Hogwarts Grape-Vine is? Any girl who slept with you would paint the words 'I Nailed Harry Potter' across the great hall and provide photographic evidence,"
"Sure about that?"
"Hmmm. You spend a lot of time thinking about this? Who I have and haven't 'Nailed'?"
"Just as much curiosity as is necessary,"
"Good to know you think about me in the sack,"
"Oh, every night, Potter,"
"Sarcasm as a deflection tactic, Weasley, makes me wonder..."
"I'm sure you do wonder,"
"Oh, I do. You might not admit it but I do,"
"Hey, I wonder." Ginny exhaled, blowing hair from her eyes. She stared at the floor for a second, the happiness falling away as some of her more pessimistic thoughts made themselves known, as they so often seemed to these days. "Just not about the same things as you,"
Potter frowned at the sadness in her voice. "What's wrong, Weasley,"
Ginny sighed, releasing Potter's hand and sliding down the wall until she sat upon cold stone floor. "It's all to easy to joke with you, and forget about everything that's happening around us. Like the reason we are at Grimmauld Place for the holidays. Why my parents hate me for my best friends and why my brothers think I'm going to turn them all in to V-Voldemort!" She looked up at Potter, confused as to why she was baring all of this to him but not caring anyway. "And...I suppose, why you stormed out of dinner tonight?"
Potter watched her for a few loaded moments before sprawling to the floor beside her and capturing her hand again. "Just had another argument with Dean Thomas."
Ginny fidgeted uncomfortably – Dean had been a plaything of hers last year for a few weeks before she got bored of the constant 'I love you's' "What about?"
"Nothing important," Potter looked away.
"It was important enough for you to storm away," Ginny prodded.
"Not important, okay?" Potter turned round and raised his eyebrows, looking imploringly at her for a few seconds.
"Okay, Potter," Ginny conceded, leaning back to the wall. "But you have to tell me some time,"
"Harry? Harry, are you up here?" Another voice came ringing through the corridors, accompanied by a pair of clacking heels. "Harry, I'm sure Dean didn't- oh," Hermione Granger appeared around the corner, her cheeks flushed from the small exertion. Ginny released Potter's hand as though scalded.
"Hermione!" Potter looked up from Ginny's face to his best friend. "How come you're here?"
Granger leant against the corner of the corridor, staring at Ginny as she answered her friend. "Aren't I allowed to come searching for you when you get like this?"
"Alright, I'm sorry," Potter held up his hands in surrender and leapt to his feet, offering a hand to Ginny.
She looked at it, slid her eyes to Granger for a second, then hoisted herself up, sans Potter's hand. Potter looked at her oddly for a long moment before nodding at her silently.
"I guess I'll see you at Christmas?" Potter asked, holding out a hand for her to shake.
Ginny smirked slightly before taking hold of Potter's pro-offered hand and shaking it firmly. "Don't forget my red ribbon," She grinned and turned away.
Potter's laugh echoed off the walls as she made her way back to the dungeons.
"Grimmauld Place, eh? It looks just as festive as last year," Ginny remarked as the Weasley family entered the hallway of The Black's Family Home.
"Ginevra! Show some respect!" Molly Weasley snapped.
"Molly, it's okay," Sirius Black turned the corner to have a good look at the Weasleys, a doggish grin on his stubbly face. He slung an arm around Ginny's shoulder. "To be perfectly honest, I hate this hovel too,"
"Well..." Mrs Weasley flustered, her freckly face flushing with embarrassment. "Come on, Children. We don't have all day," She prompted in an attempt to regain order.
"Do you want to inform her we're here until Christmas, or shall I?" Ginny rolled her eyes at her mother and nudged Sirius in the ribs.
"Now, now, Ginny. Play nice," Sirius chuckled, leading Ginny through the dusty halls of Grimmauld Place.
"When am I ever anything else?" She smirked, following his lead.
Ginny liked Sirius. He was like the non-judgmental big brother she'd always wished to have had. The pair often sat up talking late into the night with irish-ed coffee until Remus Lupin dragged the two drunken fools into their beds before Mrs Weasley caught them. Sirius made her laugh, something she didn't often do, and he put away pre-conceived notions of Slytherins while he was talking to her, something her family never did.
The light in the kitchen was such a contrast from the musty corridors that she was effectively blinded as she entered under Sirius's arm. But the voices she could make out under the rabble of her own family made her chuckle softly to herself.
"Joy to the world; Potter's here," She muttered under her breath, shaking her head. She had expected a few days to settle in, but then again, it wasn't as through Potter had anywhere else to go for Christmas.
Potter was standing at the far end of the kitchen, talking in earnest with a purple-haired witch and Granger. She doubted he had even noticed the Weasley Family's boisterous arrival.
Sirius looked down at her, eyebrow cocked and with a curious look on his face. "You know my god-son?"
"Oh, very well, I assure you," She shrugged as she took a seat between Sirius and Remus at the large wooden table.
"Sounds interesting. My god-son isn't very big on recounting his romantic escapades. He's too much like his mother for that," Sirius murmured, accepting two steaming mugs of hot chocolate and passing one to Ginny.
She cradled the mug in her hand and blew delicately along the surface of the liquid. "From what he tells me, and the lack of sufficient gossip in the rumour mill, he hasn't had many 'Romantic Escapades'. I think he dated the Chang girl once but according to Pansy, it went hideously; she cried all the way through"
Sirius barked loudly and Remus beside her smothered a smile. "So, do I need to show Harry the finer arts of wooing, flirtation and sealing the deal?" He wagged his eyes devilishly.
Ginny pretended to ponder for a second. "Well, I'm not sure about wooing or sealing the deal, but Potter has no problems with flirting. He can go at it with the best of them,"
"The best of them being you, Miss Weasley?" Remus smirked into his hot chocolate as she looked at him with wide eyes.
"He cracked a funny!" She pointed, pretending to faint against Sirius. "I never thought I'd see the day! Hallelujah, Lord be praised!" She laughed, enjoying the soft chuckles that Remus was emitting from behind his mug in an effort to look solemn. "Yes, Mr Lupin, I am the best of them. And you can call me Ginny," She winked, teasingly.
"Ginny it is then, but only if you call me Remus,"
"Then Remus it shall be!" Ginny proclaimed before frowning at her hot chocolate. "Have you spiked this? Put some fire whiskey in, Black?"
Sirius gasped, mock affronted. "Moi? Would I do such a thing?"
"Well it's either that or your Gryffindor ways are contagious. So please, admit to one or the other before I start singing 'Go Lions, Rah, Rah, Rah!'"
"Would that be such a bad thing for you?" A cold voice cut into Ginny's happy daze. She looked up from her conversation to see Ron standing on the other side of the table. "We'd have one thing to be proud of you for,"
The room was silent as Ginny looked at her brother. She wasn't surprised by the lack of protests; her family thought the same and everyone else was too embarrassed to speak up in a family argument.
"Yes, Ronald, and we all know how very proud any parents would be of your O.W.L results. Didn't you only get three O.W.L's?" Ginny smirked as Ron's cheeks went red and Granger's tsk tsk tsk could be heard throughout the kitchen "While I on the other hand am a O level student and am yet frowned upon for cheering a different team at quidditch,"
"Wow, you astound me with your wit,"
"Amazing how smart the Gryffindors are these days, don't you think?"
"Don't you be rude to your brother, Ginevra Weasley!" Molly Weasley stood forward, mother lion ready to defend her precious cubs from the vicious snake. "Apologize right now,"
"Fine!" Ginny narrowed her eyes. "I'm sorry that you can't scrape by a decent grade, Ronald. I'm sorry that you're such a pitiful human being that you can't see past the colour of my school scarf and I'm sorry that you can't tell the difference between Slytherin and Death-Eater!" Ginny stood up and faced her mother, her hands on her hips like some Celtic warrior from time past. The longer she stared at her mother's livid face, the more she felt the hot anger simmer into a cold, yet white hot wrath that she hid behind a cool mask as she spoke again. "Is that what you had in mind, mother?"
Before anyone could say a word, she collected up her bags and left the kitchen, leaving behind her mother's shouting protests echoing through the house.
She could hear footsteps pattering behind her as she dragged her suitcase up the final stairs and into the room she was sharing with Granger and, apparently, the purple-haired witch she had seen in the kitchen. The lightness of the footfalls proved her follower to be female and, as she guessed, Granger entered the room several seconds after her.
The Gryffindor brain-box stood in the door-way, watching her as she violently tipped her luggage over what she presumed to be her bed.
"What is it, Granger?" Ginny asked, sliding a photograph of her friends onto the bedside table.
The bushy-haired witch flustered for a second. "Well, I just wanted to make sure you were...well-"
"Okay?" Ginny interjected, yanking open an empty drawer and shoving her clothes into one tangled mess within it's confines before slamming it shut. "I'm fine, Granger, Just peachy! I mean, it's not as if I'm not accepted within my own family just for being different! Whatever happened to unconditional love, I wonder?" She sank back onto her bed, puffing strands of hair from her eyes and relaxing against the wall.
"I know what you mean," Granger muttered, sitting on her own bed across the room.
"Do you?" Ginny sneered.
"Yes, I do!" Granger glared at her for a second before shaking her head and smiling apologetically. "Do you know that ever since I was eleven, my father hasn't looked me in the eye? Do you know that my mother has never complimented me on a single grade I get, no matter how hard I try? Do you know that I feel like a stranger in my own house, just because I learn about charms and potions rather than literacy and numeracy?"
Ginny watched as Granger began to tremble. "They don't accept you?" Granger shook her head silently. "Because you're a witch?" Granger nodded, pulling her knees into her chest. "Well, damn! And here we Slytherins thought that you Gryffindors had perfect lives,"
Granger laughed weakly. "Not hardly,"
"Who would have thought it," Ginny chuckled. "A Slytherin and a Gryffindor, bonding over common ground. Someone should alert the prophet,"
Granger laughed again and they fell into silence for a few moments before she regained control of her voice. "Looks like we're roommates for Christmas then," She commented, steering away from tearful conversations.
Ginny, recognising the maneuver, obliged. "Nothing pleases me better than weeks in a houseful of Gryffindors," She teased, withdrawing her wand and giving it a casual flick to send her empty suitcase flying to the door.
Granger stared in disbelief at the nonchalant use of magic but shrugged it off. "Just curious..." She started, staring at the rather large pile of wrapped gifts that Ginny had shoved unceremoniously under the bed. "Why have you gotten your family gifts if that's the way they treat you?"
Ginny shrugged. "Family's family, no matter how hard I wish them not to be." She sighed. "Pansy suggested that I get emancipated, but I have no argument. Draco suggested running away, but I doubt Lucius and Narcissa would accept me there. And Astoria suggested that I move to Beauxbatons, but I don't know any French. So I'm basically screwed,"
Granger looked shocked at the casual mention of the Slytherins she spent most of her time avoiding but after a quick look at the moving photograph on the bedside that showed the aforementioned Slytherins set her mind at rest. They seemed human on that photo, all laughing at a joke she doubted she'd ever find out.
"But still, presents?"
"Do you get your parents presents?"
"The bare minimum,"
"Oh," Ginny laughed. "I never said I was spending galleons on them. They've got a bar of Honey-Dukes each and my parents are getting mugs. Nothing special,"
"But who are those large presents for?"
"The people I care about; Pansy's got a new demiguise scarf, Tori's got a bracelet, and Draco's getting a new book on defensive spells. My darling brothers caught us talking in the library and then followed him to lunch." Ginny raised an eyebrow. "Didn't you ever wonder why he spent a week in the hospital wing?"
"That was Ron?"
"Please, don't make me laugh. Ron couldn't hex his way out of a paper-bag. You kne that Fred and George have come back to re-take their N.E.W.T's because they couldn't get any money for their joke-shop dream? – Well, it was those two who did it,"
"That's cruel!" Granger looked scandalised.
"My, my," Ginny cackled. "Is this Hermione Granger feeling sorry for Draco Malfoy?"
Granger blushed slightly. "Shut it!"
"Oooh, feisty! Bet you're killer in the sac,"
"Ginny!" Granger's eyes were wide.
"What? Just commenting. But, judging by your reaction, I bet you already know you are. Who's the lucky guy?"
"None of your business,"
Ginny tipped her head back and laughed. "There is a guy? I was bluffing. C'mon, who is he?"
"Ah c'mon, Granger," Ginny pouted, sitting up straight in earnest. "Cross my heart and hope to die – I won't say a word! Is it Potter?"
"Hmmm... Terry Boot? He has the hots for you."
Granger buried her face in her hands. "It's not him,"
Ginny felt sick. "It's not my brother, is it?"
"That pig? No way in hell!"
"Oh thank God," Ginny breathed a sigh of relief. "I know he fancies the pants off you, but I'm glad you're smart enough to keep well away,"
"He fancies me?"
"Loads, but don't change the subject. Anthony Goldstein? Dean Thomas? Seamus Finnegan? At least tell me the house!"
Granger looked at the floor and mumbled something.
"Sorry, didn't catch that,"
"He doesn't go to Hogwarts."
A dawning realisation fell on Ginny. "Oh. My. God! You shagged Victor Krum!"
"Ginny!" Granger flew across the room and clamped a hand across her mouth. Her eyes were frantic and her cheeks tomato-coloured.
"When?" Ginny managed to work out through the obstacle that was Granger's Hand.
"Last summer," Granger admitted quietly, releasing Ginny. "We've been writing ever since the Triwizard, and he invited me over to Germany for the summer. So I told my parents I was staying with Harry and port-keyed over there."
"Oh, my God." Ginny shook her head. "I never pegged you as the type for pre-marital sex. Does Potter know?"
"No. No-one does,"
"Seriously? You slept with an international quidditch star and told no-one? I repeat no-one?"
"Why would I? Do you tell everyone about your sexual partners?"
"Now, I find that interesting," Ginny sat up and looked at Granger. "Why does everyone assume that because I'm from Slytherin, the house with no supposed morals, that I've nailed every guy I've ever been in a relationship with?"
"You're a virgin?"
"As innocent and pure as they day I was born," Ginny admitted before scrunching up her nose. "Well, that's not exactly true. I've done things just never gone all the way,"
"Hmmm, interesting." Granger looked thoughtful.
"Nothing, Ginny, just noticing that yet another rumour has been proved false,"
"Well you should know better than to believe rumours. The most circulated is that you and Potter and shagging like rabbits in every broom cupboard available." Ginny smirked.
"True enough," Granger shrugged, laying her head back against the wall. "I just can't believe you thought it was your brother," She shook her head, barely suppressing a shiver of repulsion. "If that happens, kindly shoot me,"
Ginny laughed. "As cliché as this might sound; This may just be the start of a beautiful friendship,"
Ginny was awakened when a great lump crashed onto the mattress she was lying on.
She swatted at the lump, but it had retreated a place far away from her practically ineffective arm. Moaning slightly, she tried to burrow under the duvets to get back to sleep but the lump along with some other lumps were being awfully loud in their lumpyness and bellowing "Wake Up! Presents!" and to her great dismay, rather than drifting back to sleep, she found himself becoming more aware and alert, and soon realised that sleep would not be coming again any time soon.
She wearily rolled onto her back and attempted to blink open her eyes. A shocking display of violet seemed to creep across her vision, joined by a mass of brown stuff and a long black and tangly mess.
"Get up, Ginny!" The lumps yelled again and a moment later a pillow connected with the side of her face.
Ginny sat back and glared at said lumps who were just coming into focus; Tonks (who Ginny got along with surprisingly well with for an ex-hufflepuff), Sirius and Granger.
Apparently the tentative friendship that she and Granger had struck up was not in effect on Christmas day so, deprived of her sleep, Ginny continued to glare at the three grinning fools in pajamas.
"Come on! You choose Christmas morning to sleep in?"
Stopping herself from hexing the three of them to New Year, she finally rolled off the bed and onto her feet, releasing a big yawn and stretching.
As she looked around the room, she noticed that someone – most likely Tonks – had already dug into their pile of presents.
"Right, you're up, let's go!" Sirius grinned as Ginny glared blearily at him.
"I could dislike you, very very easily," She threatened as he barked a loud laugh.
"Come on, everyone's waiting!"
"We're opening presents together? As in 'All of us'?" Ginny asked, rearranging her pajamas and running a hand through her tangled hair in an attempt to un-knot it.
"Here you go," Tonks supplied, waving her wand about Ginny's head. Instantly Ginny felt the difference.
"Welcome, now let's Goooooo!"
Sirius eyed Ginny for a second and, in a movement too fast for her sleep-addled brain to follow, dipped and hoisted her into a fireman's lift.
"Hey, What? BLACK!" Ginny started beating on Sirius's back as he took her out of the room and down the stairs, Granger and Tonks following seconds behind. "PUT ME DOWN!"
She felt herself being carried into a room full of people and continued to pound against Sirius' flesh.
"Oh, I though it was your dulcet voice I heard, Weasley," An all too familiar voice came from somewhere to her left.
"Shut it, Potter!" She hissed, kicking her feet out in a final attempt to be released. Sirius, recognising this, dropped her in a heap in the middle of the floor. "You'll pay for this, Black!" She glared through her hair at the laughing ex-convict. "You're lucky I like you, or I'd be dragging your scruffy arse back to the ministry,"
"Ginevra! Apologize to Mister Black!" Ginny rolled her eyes at her mother who she had been studiously ignoring all holiday and got to her feet, brushing herself off.
"You can sit here, Ginny," Tonks called across from a spare two-seater sofa. Ginny immediately moved out of the way as Fred and George bounded in and dumped three sacks of presents into the middle of the floor.
"These were all we rounded up," Fred announced, returning his wand to his pocket.
"I think we accioed then all," George agreed as they sat by the large Christmas tree.
"So how do you want to do this?" Remus asked after a moment of silence. "One at a time? Or a free for all?"
"I think we should go one at a time," Granger immediately input.
"That will take forever," Sirius whinged.
"How about we all set aside one for the end and open that one in front of everyone. We can open the rest by ourselves before that" Remus offered as a compromise.
"Sounds fine," Ginny seconded, brandishing her wand which Tonks had brought along. "Accio presents for Ginny Weasley,"
Cries to the same nature sounded across the room as Ginny urned to examine her pile to pick out her present to set aside. She didn't want to open whatever Gryffindor-themed presents her family had sent her this year in front of everyone, nor was she too keen on opening the gifts from her friends in front of her family. Not a single comment from any of them would be anything other than 'Deatheater Gift' or 'That looks Dark'.
So that left Sirius', Remus', Tonks', Granger's or Potter's.
While she hadn't been surprised by the majority of gifts, she had been slightly startled to see gift-tags from Granger and Tonks. She had gotten them small things – Owl Ordered via Errol – but had been surprised to see the favour returned.
"Don't open mine in front of your parents," Tonks murmured. "It's not something Molly would enjoy seeing,"
That got rid of Tonks' gift.
Granger's...Granger's looked like books so she decided to open them herself.
Sirius and Remus had apparently clubbed together for a rather large gift in Ginny's opinion. It took up most of the room in the sofa and Tonks kept eying it up. Evidently she knew what it was.
"Do you think I should open this one?" She asked the violet-haired witch who was already covered in spellotape and ribbon.
"Sirius'? If you want your Mum to have a heart attack, sure!" Tonks chuckled, opening a record disk from Sirius. "Oh excellent!"
She sighed, setting aside Potter's gift and began her own assault on her presents.
She was right in his estimation for Granger's present. It was two books; How to pass your O.W.L's & Guide to not Failing Your NEWT's. "Thanks, Hermione." She waved the book at the bushy haired girl and resolved to show it to Pansy and Draco at some point after Christmas.
Opening her present from Astoria turned out beautiful pearl necklace in a large back box. She set it to one side with ultimate care; she had never gotten anything so lovely.
From Pansy she got a deep sea-green cardigan that she had been eying up in Gladrags. Ginny smiled and wrapped it around herself. Pansy knew her financial situation and often tried to buy Ginny nice clothes. Though Ginny did occasionally accept, she only did so without fuss at Christmas or her birthday.
Draco's was books, which surprised Ginny. Until she saw the titles; A Guide to Wizarding Law – Family Law and Emancipation, 1001 Things Every Great Chaser Should Know – Including how to win by any means necessary and The Subtle Art Of Potion-Making.
She smirked at the last title. Draco did love his potions.
She set aside her friends gifts and, with no little trepidation, picked up her family presents. They consisted of; A Gryffindor Scarf from Fred, Some Chocolate Frogs from Ron, A Gryffindor Hat from George and a book entitled So, What To Do With Your Failing Life from her parents. She no longer received presents from Bill and Charlie – she had been certain that they would be the last to turn their backs on her, but she had been sorely mistaken.
In fact the only present from her family she liked was from Percy. She received a set of green chaser gloves which she smiled at fondly. Her mother didn't know that she was still in contact with her estranged brother and that was a secret Ginny wanted to keep that way.
Setting Tonks' aside to open in her room, Ginny unwrapped Sirius' and Remus'.
"Oh Merlin!" She gasped as a black guitar fell out from the box. "You-"
Sirius and Remus were immediately bombarded with a ball of fiery hair. "You bloody brilliant bastards!" She sang, hugging them both ecstatically and ignoring her mother's reprimands.
"You like it?"
"Like it! I bloody love it!"
Sirius chuckled. "Well, Good old Tonksy here is going to teach you how to play. She's being stationed at Hogwarts and has asked Dumbles whether she can steal you for an hour each night which he has graciously allowed."
"I never thought you meant it," Ginny gushed, stroking the faded black vinyl breathlessly.
"You can't accept that, Ginny," Ron's voice cut in.
"I bloody well can!" Ginny scoffed, admiring her instrument. "Try and stop me,"
"It's too much!" Ron persisted, turning to his parents.
"Ron is right, Ginevra," Molly added and Ginny felt her blood run cold. "We can't accept this,"
"You can't, but I most certainly can." Ginny slid onto the floor at Sirius and Remus' feet and continued to stroke her guitar.
"Jesus, Weasley. You stroking that thing or feeling it up?" Potter asked from Sirius' other side.
"Wouldn't you like to know," She raised an eyebrow and he burst out laughing.
"Ginevra! I am trying to have a conversation with you,"
"No you're not. You're trying to make me give up my guitar just because Ickle Ronniekins is jealous,"
"Molly," Sirius cut in, hoping to prevent an argument, "I want to give Ginny my guitar. I didn't spend any money on it, it was my old one. And I don't have a use for it any more, do I?"
"You can even see how old it is," Sirius turned over the instrument. "Me, James and Remus carved all sorts of things into this things."
Ginny had a look. Sure enough James, Sirius, Remus were written along the top with large scratch marks through a final name Ginny couldn't make out. A bold J + L was embellished near the left hand side with a comment of In his dreams scrawled beside it. Another scratching of the word Marauders filled most of the middle section and three engraved paw-prints stood out, yet another scribbled away.
"Wow," She whispered, running a hand along the indents. "Thankyou so much. Both of you,"
"Welcome," They nodded in sychronicity as Molly Weasley headed back to her seat.
"Present time!" Tonks sang as Ginny reacquainted herself with the sofa. "Youngest first, Ginny,"
Ginny picked out Potter's gift and held it out for everyone to see before she tore off the paper. She lifted the lid of the box to see a set of candles, some chocolate and a single red ribbon. She pulled out the ribbon and saw a danging piece of card hanging from it.
Sorry I wasn't brave enough. Maybe later though...
She giggled loudly, collapsing against Tonks. "I think I'll hold you to that, Potter," She said, winking mischievously at him.
"Is that a promise, Weasley?"
"Could be a threat. Think you can take me?"
A sly grin settled on Potter's face. "Right here on the carpet, but that's hardly the point," He raised his eyebrows and she smirked at him.
"I know. I can see the point," She snickered, shooting a pointed glance at his striped pajama bottoms.
"You know it," She winked and Sirius burst out laughing.
"I never thought I'd see the day; my godson propositioning a woman on Christmas morning," He barked. "And in front of her parents, too. You sly dog,"
Potter's cheeks flushed an interesting colour of burgundy that Ginny had never seen on the usually cool and confident Gryffindor. "Shut up, Sirius!"
"Flustered, Potter?" Ginny cocked an eyebrow.
Potter, still embarrassed from his godfather's cracks, simply stared at his bare feet and muttered. "Aren't we supposed to be opening presents here, people?"
"Right you are, Harry!" Granger said, slightly over-enthusiastic, and waved Ron to open his gift – the youngest Weasley son being the second youngest.
Ginny noted the presents as everyone opened them;
Ron – Chudley Cannons memorabilia from their parents.
Potter – Leather Jacket from Sirius.
Hermione – Necklace from her parents.
Fred – A pack of sugar-quills from George
George – A pack of chocolate frogs from Fred
Tonks – A turquoise dressing-gown from Remus.
Remus – A worn paper-back from Sirius.
Her Mum – A Scarf from Arthur
Her Dad – A Plug from Charlie.
All in all, Ginny reflected, the war was taking it's toll on everyone's pockets.
But this was the very very shallow part of her talking.
"Fail-Safe Ways To Seduce The Wizard Of Your Choice," Ginny muttered incredulously, staring at the battered book Tonks had handed to her in the safety of their room. "Are you trying to tell me something here, Tonksy?" She raised an eyebrow.
Tonks looked at her for a few seconds and then very pointedly made her magenta hair fade through to black and her eyes flare brightest green. "Sorry," She shrugged. "I can't do the scar for you," She chuckled at Ginny's expression.
"What- what do you-" Ginny spluttered to Tonks' amusement.
"Deny it all you wish, Ginny," Tonks got up and sashayed to the door in an odd dance. "But I could sense that sexual tension down there. It's a gift, what can I say?" She brushed imaginary lint off of her shoulders and leant against the door.
Ginny opened her mouth to protest when a light knock sounded on the door.
Tonks sighed and opened the door a smidge, sticking her head out the gap to stare at the unseen knocker. "Hello Harry!" She spoke loudly and very pointedly, sticking a thumb up at Ginny behind the door.
Ginny rolled her eyes.
"So, Harry, what brings you to our boudoir?" Tonks asked, through the door, still blocking Ginny's view of Potter.
"Um... is Ginny in there?" Potter's voice made it's way through 'The Wall Of Tonks'.
Ginny snapped her eyes quickly to the door. Potter had never once called her by her first name. Potter and Weasley; that's how it'd always been.
"Let me just check," Tonks clicked the door shut and turned back to Ginny, grinning inanely at her.
"Oh, piss off, Tonks," Ginny threw her pillow at her which Tonks neatly ducked.
Tonks tutted loudly at her and re-opened the door. "Miss Weasley will see you now." She snickered as a loud 'Bugger Off, Tonks' yelled through from the Miss Weasley in question. "Now, have you seen a cute and shabby werewolf on your travels? Or a mad ex-convict?" She asked, slipping out of the door.
"Can't say I have," Potter's voice chuckled through the door and he entered the room. "Hey Weasley,"
Back to Weasley again? "Come to make good on your promise, Potter?" She sat back comfortably against her bed.
Potter smirked before shaking his head. "Can you ever talk to me without making me want to rip your clothes off?" He questioned, a secret smile dancing in his eyes.
"That sounds like your problem," Ginny smiled, fighting down her blush. "Not mine,"
"True enough," He conceded, sitting on the edge of her bed.
"Making yourself at home, Potter?" She raised an eyebrow, something she did a lot around him.
"My Godfather's house!" He protested as her foot made it's way to his leg to push her off.
She prodded him for a few more seconds before withdrawing her foot and tucking her legs beneath her. "Did you want anything?" She asked, curious now as to why he had sought her out.
"Do I need a reason?"
"Ah," She grinned. "The pleasure of my company? Well I can see why, I am bloody brilliant," She finished in a self-important voice, smirking.
Potter laughed, pushing his glasses higher up his nose. Ginny saw his something in his eyes flash and he reached forward to pick up an item Ginny had set aside on the floor. A very embarrassing and very recently opened item...
"Fail-Safe Ways To Seduce The Wizard Of Your Choice," He asked, grinning impishly.
"Tonks," She muttered lazily, by way of explaining, hiding her blush impeccably well.
"Sure, sure," He said, flicking through the pages. "Make him yours forever; the art of using your tongue," He quoted from a page, chuckling slightly.
"Fuck off," She muttered, staring determinedly at the ceiling.
When she looked back he was much closer.
As soon as his name left her lips, his smile changed and his eyes, already dark in the dim light of the room, clouded over. His warm hand slid beneath her hair and against her neck. He leaned closer.
So much closer.
"You've been avoiding me," The quiet voice behind her made Ginny jump.
The dust off the book she had been holding made it's way to the back of her throat as she gasped, making her choke and cough rather loudly. Through the tears in her eyes, she slid the book back on the shelf shakily.
"What?" She asked as she fought for breath. "I haven't...been avoiding you." She turned her back on Potter and made her way through to the next aisle.
"Then why won't you look at me?" He asked, following her. He leant against the bookshelf and stared at her, his piercing emerald gaze never relenting from her face.
With these words she realised that she'd been looking slightly to the left of him, watching the leather books instead of his face.
She moved her eyes to meet his and saw a flash of something unintelligible within the green. And she couldn't look away.
"Why?" Potter asked again, stepping closer to her.
"Well, why did you kiss me?" She yelled, keeping her gaze locked with his.
He stopped for a second, looking at her oddly. "You kissed me back," He reminded her. "You wanted that just as much as me,"
"Yes, I kissed you back," She agreed, nodding slowly. "But why did you kiss me?"
"Did I need a reason?"
"Yes," She said, resolute. "I know exactly what is going on in this war. I know that sooner or later this is all going to kick off and you will be a wanted man," She felt the sting of tears and blinked them back to stare at him. "I need a reason...Harry,"
She left the library, not looking back to see the expression on his face.
"She's right, you know," Hermione said, looking at the sixteen-year-old boy sitting at the edge of her bed with his face in his hands. "You should give her a reason,"
"I know!" Harry stressed, taking of his glasses and rubbing the bridge of his nose. "I know she needs a bloody reason! But she said it; I'll be a wanted man! I can't submit anyone to that,"
"You're allowing me,"
"I've known you for almost six years-"
"And as your friend for almost six years, I'm telling you that you should allow more than one person in,"
"And that person should be Ginny?" He frowned to himself. "She's best friends with Malfoy,"
Hermione glared. "Don't be an idiot, Harry. Ginny is no more a Death-Eater than I am," She sighed loudly. "Ginny is strong. Strong enough to deal with all the bullshit Voldemort's gonna throw at you."
Harry disregarded the out-of-character swearing his best friend had apparently started using and spoke again. "I barely know her,"
"Do you care? If you do, then that's not the Harry Potter I know," Hermione reached out and held onto his shoulder. "You can get to know her. Find out if she's strong enough."
"No buts Harry," Hermione stopped him. "Go find her and make it right. You need someone like her,"
"You barely know her either." He reasoned.
"I've been talking to her this Christmas," Hermione told him, making his eyebrows rise. "She's different to anyone else I've met. She's had a lot of difficulty in her life, what with her family, yet she's managed to keep going through it all. She's made her life happy how she wants it to be, not how her parents want it to be. She. Is. Strong, Harry. Let her in,"
Harry sighed again and replaced his glasses.
"C'mon, Harry, we're back at Hogwarts tomorrow. Do it today or tomorrow, or else it won't matter what you do. She'll be gone,"
Ginny frowned as she pushed her way through the barrier, Tonks just seconds behind her.
Because there was really no need. It wasn't as if it was she who was at risk here. She'd tried explaining this to Tonks last night when she was hiding from Har-Potter in her room. The witch, who had been sporting black curly hair that night, had simply winked and said 'Life tends to be stupid, Gin, at least you'll be safe,'
She found herself standing in Platform 9 ¾, the scarlet engine that was flooding the station with steam was waiting on the tracks with an air of regality.
"Can I go now?" She asked Tonks, hitching her carry-on bag higher over her shoulder as she glanced around the platform. "My friends'll already have boarded,"
"You're not going to say goodbye to your mum?" Tonks asked, smiling sadly.
"Why should I?" Ginny raised an eyebrow and pulled her suitcase behind her.
"I guess you're right," Tonks conceded, resting a hand on her shoulder. "I'll tell Sirius you said goodbye, shall I?"
"Please," Ginny grinned. "But I'll see you at Hogwarts. Take good care of my guitar until I next see you,"
"Okay. Have fun at school, Gin,"
"You, too," She smiled and leapt over the gap into through the door. As she waved again to Tonks and Remus, she caught an emerald stare watching her intently. She sighed and walked away, moving to find her friends.
She missed Harry swearing quietly under his breath and Hermione step meaningfully on his foot.
"Ginny!" She smiled as she saw a curly head of hair making it's way down the corridor towards her.
"Tori," She greeted Astoria as she arrived in a flurry of robes and gave her a gentle hug.
"Come on, Pansy and Draco have saved us a compartment," Astoria grinned and pulled Ginny through the swarms of adolescents.
"So, how was your Christmas?" Astoria asked as she slid open a compartment door and slipped inside.
"Fine, family was same old, same old," Ginny smiled half-heartedly and sat beside Draco while Astoria threw herself down beside Pansy.
"They give you any trouble?" Draco asked, folding down a corner on his book and closing it to look at her.
"Yeah, well. They didn't like the gift that ..." She choked as her throat closed up around Sirius' name. "Sorry, Fidelius charm," She shrugged and settled further back into her seat. "Anyway, some-one got me a ... wait for it ... a guitar!" She grinned at the small smile settling across Draco's lips.
"Really?" The male aristocrat asked, looking quietly intrigued. "And I suppose your mother took that about as well as a Deatheater in her home?"
Ginny chuckled. "Oh, better," She smiled. "Thankyou for all your presents, though,"
"No problem," Pansy flicked another page in her Witch Weekly magazine, looking up and smiled back at her.
"Any chance that Potter and Granger fell afoul of some sort of ... poison in their Christmas pudding?" Draco asked, looking hopeful.
"Hush, Draco," Astoria murmured, picking up a book she had obviously discarded earlier.
"It's strange." Ginny mused, crossing her legs and leaning her head back against the head-rest. "But Granger's not all that bad,"
Both Pansy and Draco spluttered incoherently.
"The know-it-all?" Pansy asked through coughs.
"She's alright," Ginny insisted, but let the matter slide, knowing that both Draco and Pansy wouldn't listen to reason.
"C'mon, Pans, we've got Prefect Duties." Draco stood and stretched as the train hissed and left the station.
"Oh, fine," Pansy groaned and made her way to the door. "I'll say hello to your darling brother for you," She waggled her fingers and left the compartment, a smirking Draco right behind her.
Ginny and Astoria spent an hour or so chatting about their holidays, Ginny not really able to contribute much about her own Christmas because of the Fidelius. Astoria had been visiting her aunt and uncle in Italy and told her all about a wizard her mother had been trying to set her up with.
"But he was a complete snob. I mean, he was so much worse than Draco," Astoria complained, wringing her hands, making Ginny laugh.
Ginny told her minimal details about her holiday, and about Ron and her brothers being prats. She was close to explaining about what had very-nearly-almost happened between her and Potter, but she decided to keep that bit of information to her self. For now anyway.
After a time, when the scenery changed from neat fields to twisted forests, Draco and Pansy emerged from their prefect duties bickering happily as always.
"It's your own fault, Draco,"
"Weasley attacked me. All I did was may have mention he maybe needed a wash sometime this week. He punched me!"
"You called him the scum of the Wizarding world that no shower would wash away," Pansy reasoned. "You're perfectly right, of course, but don't act like you didn't initiate it," She sat down and raised an eyebrow.
"Ron punched you?" Ginny asked.
"Oh, barely! It was more like stroke!"
Ginny laughed as the door slid open.
"Can I talk to you?" A hesitant voice asked.
"Beat it, Potter," Draco fired at him, pulling his wand out.
"I just want to talk to Ginny," Potter asked, leaning against the doorway.
Ginny nodded, standing. "Sure,"
Protests met her ears.
She waved them off. "I'll be back in a bit," She assured them, and followed Potter out the door and closed off their confused faces.
"What do you want, Potter?" She asked when they'd found a surprisingly empty compartment and she'd settled herself inside.
Potter, however, seemed unable to sit as he paced the compartment.
It was a good thirty seconds before he paused and looked at her. "You're right,"
"Of course I am." Ginny shrugged. "I always am. But what about this time?
Potter sighed and sat opposite her, hanging his head in his hands. "You do need a reason,"
She sat up straighter. "What do you-"
"You need a reason!" He continued, more forcefully. "I like you, Ginny, a lot," He nodded. "You're fun, confident, strong. You're ... amazing,"
"Well, if you're just here to compliment me, carry on," Ginny smiled, trying to keep down the nervous anticipation fluttering in her stomach.
Potter chuckled. "Of course," He told her, smiling indulgently. "But, that's the point. I want you to be around for me to compliment. To joke with and have fun with. To just spend time with." He sighed again. "I know I'm going to be a wanted man sooner rather than later, and I also know that anyone who I spend time with is a target,"
"And I also know that you're friends with Malfoy, Parkinson and Greengrass. I don't want to pull you away from that,"
"But I also know that I want to be with you-"
"Harry!" She stood up in front of him, stopping him mid-ramble.
He looked at her incredulously. "You called me Harry," His eyes were wide.
"Yes," She smiled, reaching out and running a hand through his hair. "I guess I did," She kept her eyes on his as she saw the genuine apology in his eyes.
"But you never call me Harry," He pointed out as her hand moved to his cheek.
"And I've never been about to kiss you, have I?" She dipped forward.
"I suppose you-" Her lips silenced his.
Because, really, it was enough for him to try to give her reasons.
Ginny laughed as Harry looped an arm around her waist and led her back through the corridor of the train. They caught sight of Hermione buried in a book a few compartments away from her own and Harry knocked on the window, startling her. Her eyes widened and she smiled, waving at Ginny so enthusiastically that Ginny thought the girl's hand might fall off.
They moved down a few more compartments, stopping outside the door her friends were waiting behind.
"I'll see you at Hogwarts," Ginny told him, moving out of his grip.
"Sure," Harry smiled and pressed his lips to hers again. "Have fun explaining me to your friends," He grinned impishly.
"Hmm, maybe I should just kick you off the train now if you're going to be antagonizing my friends," She smirked at him.
"You wouldn't, you'd miss me too much," He smirked back and kissed her forehead. "I'll see you at school,"
"If they haven't killed me first and disposed of the body," Ginny pointed out. "I want a nice funeral, by the way; lilies, mourners, the whole she-bang,"
"Of course," Potter grinned at her.
"And I want you wearing your red ribbon,"
"At your funeral? Morbid."
"You love it," She smiled and reached for the door-handle. "Actually..." She changed the course of her hand to reach into her pocket and, with an impish grin, slowly pull out her Christmas present of a Red Ribbon. Ignoring Harry's chuckles, she wrapped it twice around his wrist and knotted it tight. "That's me," She told him. "Then, if they kill me, you have something to remember me by,"
"Oh, I doubt I could forget you,"
"Good. I'd hate to think I was forgettable,"
Harry grinned. "See you at school, Weasley,"
"You too, Potter," Ginny smiled and backed into her compartment.
"What the hell did Potter want?" Draco demanded.
"Oh," She waved him off. "Not much. He just wanted his ribbon back,"
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