Harry Potter was late for work. In the two years he had been employed as a Ministry Auror he had never once been late for work. However, this morning a sore throat, an annoying headache and an overall tiredness, caused him to oversleep, making him late.
An hour into his work day his head continued to pound, his throat continued to burn, and his body started to feel a bit achy. Dismissing the achiness as just a matter of sleeping wrong, Harry continued to plough through his day. He still had case reports to review and evidence to document. Sometimes he really hated the administrative part of his job.
But there were always other things to look forward to on a Friday.
"Knock, knock. Hiya Harry, I just thought I'd come by to see my favorite Auror."
Harry knew who it was before he even looked up toward the door. The invigorating flowery scent of his friend, Ginny Weasley preceded her into his office making his heart race. He always looked forward to Fridays. Every Friday Ginny would come see him before meeting her father for lunch.
Harry looked up in time to see Ginny greet him with that beautiful smile of hers. The smile that always makes his stomach swoop. She had a bit of a tan, most likely due to all her time on the Quidditch pitch. Ginny looked absolutely breathtaking in a simple jean skirt, and a pale yellow long sleeve shirt that clung to her athletic frame.
"Hey, Ginny. How's my favorite Chaser?" Harry greeted, giving her what he hoped was a smile and not a grimace. He didn't want her to think he didn't look forward to their visits, or give away the fact that he wasn't feeling well.
"I'm great, but are you okay?" Ginny asked, walking closer to him and not stopping until she had her hand on his forehead. He didn't even have time to get up from his chair.
Her hand was cool and soft, and felt nice on his heated forehead he couldn't help but lean into her touch. Even though his nose was starting to get stuffy, Ginny's signature flowery scent was a welcome invasion of his senses.
"Yeah, I'm fine, just tired."
Harry hated lying to her, but it really was nothing to worry about. It was just a headache and a sore throat. Harry had been through worse colds when he was younger and had managed to survive them despite his aunt's poor caretaking skills.
"Harry you're really warm. You should go see the Matron, or go home."
"I can't go, I have to fin…" Harry sneezed before he could finish his sentence.
Ginny conjured him a tissue and quickly handed it to him.
"Thanks." He blew his nose and decided to change the subject. "What brings you by so early? You usually don't come by until half past eleven."
Harry cringed inside not meaning to voice that he had memorized every time Ginny had come to visit him. He looked up just in time to see a small smile and two pink spots on Ginny cheeks before she turned away from his desk.
"I have a meeting with Pitney and Gwenog on Level 7 at 10 and then Dad and I are going to lunch. You're welcome to join us." Ginny said, seating herself in one of the chairs in front of his desk.
"I'd love to, but as you can see," Harry gestured to the mess on his desk. "I'm going to be here for a while. Maybe next week?
"Why do you have a meeting with the Director of Magical Games and Sports and the Captain of your team?"
"Oh it's no big deal, just…contract stuff." Ginny answered nonchalantly, twirling a piece of her hair around her finger. He knew she only did that if she was nervous about something or lying. Harry chose not to call her on it, best save that detail for later.
"Right," Harry said incredulously, not believing for a second the meeting was no big deal. But if Ginny didn't want to talk about it, he wasn't going to push her for answers.
After all, that was how Ginny had approached everything with him. Especially during his sixth year after Dumbledore had died and up until after the war, her friendship was the best thing that had ever happened to him. She was extremely patient, never pressing him for answers or explanations. She was just Ginny and he loved that about her.
He just wished he had approached things differently when it had come to their relationship. If only he had acted on impulse that wonderful day in his sixth year when she ran toward him after Gryffindor had won the Quidditch Cup. If only he had listened to the monster in his chest and kissed her. Things might have turned out differently between them had he just taken the chance. Instead he had allowed himself to believe that they made better friends than lovers.
Shortly after the war had ended, Harry and Ginny had come close to crossing the bridge from friendship into a relationship. But making that kind of a decision after a major life change, such as the aftermath of a war, seemed foolish and a bit rash. Both of them had agreed that their friendship was more important.
However, now two years later, as they had grown closer and life had settled down, Harry was ready to make those changes in their friendship. But at the rate Harry was going he had better act fast, or Ginny was never going to be his.
Looking at her watch, Ginny got up from her chair. "I've got to go Harry, or I'll be late. It was great seeing you."
Ginny walked over to his desk just as Harry rose from his chair. He must have gotten up too fast as he was now seeing Ginny surrounded by stars. She met him just in time to steady him under both his arms.
"Harry, you need to go home," Ginny urged, her brow furrowed with concern. She gently put her hand on his cheek and then kissed the other. "Call me if you need anything."
"I'll be fine. Good luck with your meeting. I hear Pitney's a spitfire."
"I think I can take her." Ginny smirked. "Goodbye, Harry."
And Harry watched as the bright spot of his Friday walked out of his office and into the lift.
Throughout the rest of the morning, Harry was unable to shake the headache and the sneezing. Usually when he would get a headache it meant he was dehydrated, but no amount of water could keep his head from throbbing. It was now a full blown migraine causing double vision making it difficult to finish the reports he allowed to pile up over the week.
It was time for a pain potion.
Harry never liked taking anything that would impair his mind, but he was getting desperate as the pain in his head seemed to radiate throughout his body. He rummaged in his desk and found the pain potion the Ministry Matron had given him when he had injured his back a few months ago. An hour passed after the first dose and it didn't seem to do anything except make his stomach hurt. He took more of the potion, finishing off the small bottle.
By noon, the throbbing in his head subsided at bit, but his eyes were now sensitive to the light and protesting to stay closed with every blink.
If I could just take a break for ten minutes, I'll feel better, he thought.
"Nox," Harry whispered, pointing his wand to the desk lamp.
Harry laid his exhausted head on his desk and fell asleep.
The squeaky sound of his office door opening startled Harry awake. He opened his eyes to find Ginny Weasley shutting the door behind her.
"I thought I told you to go home, Harry?" Ginny whispered, crossing the room before taking a seat on his desk. She pulled his chair closer to her, brushed his fringe away from his forehead placing her lips there in a slow kiss.
"I-I can't. I have to finish up this paperwork." Harry stammered feeling his face heat even more.
Harry looked at this desk and it was unburdened of the mess that was there earlier that morning. All that was on his desk was a large bowl of water with a flannel next to it.
"How did you do that?"
"Do what, Harry?" Ginny said impishly, placing another kiss on his cheek. "Sit back and relax, Harry."
Harry sat up in his chair watching as Ginny placed the flannel in the water filled bowl and wrung out the excess water. She gently began dabbing the cold flannel on his forehead, cheeks and neck, alternating her task with chaste kisses.
The coolness of the flannel and the warmness of Ginny's lips started to make Harry drowsy again. He struggled to keep his eyes opened and focused on Ginny.
"Close your eyes, Harry."
"I don't want to, because then you'll leave."
"Just tell me what you want, Harry. And I'll take you home."
"Take me home, Ginny."
Ginny's face broke into a wide smile. She leaned forward towards him, their lips only centimeters apart. Finally he was going to be able to kiss her, and feel her soft lips on his.
Someone was calling his name, but it wasn't Ginny. The voice sounded distant and faraway.
Ginny was no longer sitting on his desk, instead she was at the door. Before he could stop her, she was already gone.
"Please don't leave, Ginny. Take me home."
Someone was still calling his name, sounding as if they were speaking to him through a long tunnel. He ignored it, as he wasn't ready to wake up.
"Harry. Harry, wake up! Ron, get in here. Now!"
The shrillness of the voice and the heavy footfalls entering his office made the pounding in his head return. It didn't help that this person was now vigorously shaking him, trying to wake him up.
A cold, shaky hand was now on his forehead.
"Harry, you're burning up."
It was Hermione. She sounded frantic, but Harry couldn't figure out why? He'd only been asleep for ten minutes.
"Shhh, Er-my-nee," Harry yawned, keeping his eyes closed and his head still on the desk. "Itsh only ban tan minatesh."
"Harry, its two o'clock, you missed lunch. You were supposed to meet us down in the Canteen, remember? Have you eaten at all today?" Hermione inquired.
Harry thought about the question for a moment. All that he had to eat was a bowl of cereal this morning and he hadn't even finished it.
"Wasn't hungry. Why is it so cold in here?" Harry questioned, shivering a bit in his Auror robes.
"Harry, you need to go home. I think you may have a fever."
Harry slowly lifted his head and opened his eyes, oblivious to the piece of parchment sticking to his cheek. The brightness of this office stung his eyes.
"I'm fine. Besides, I can't go home. I have to finish this report."
"You mean the report that's stuck to your face?" Ron pointed out, separating the document from Harry's cheek and handing it to him. "Harry, you're not going to get anything done in the state you're in. Go home, mate. I'll finish this for you."
"I'm fine, really," Harry tiredly assured. As Harry got up from his desk, the pressure in his head caused him to sway to the side a bit forcing Ron to steady him by gripping him at the elbow.
"I'm taking you home, now,"
There was such finality in Ron's voice Harry didn't feel like arguing. He didn't feel like doing much of anything, but sleep and hopefully dream of Ginny again. Harry turned to get his messenger bag, but Hermione already had it in her hands offering it to him.
"Hermione, tell Kingsley I took Harry home."
"Okay," Hermione answered and kissed Ron goodbye. "See you at home."
Harry averted his eyes to the public display of affection in his office. It was still weird to see his two best friends kissing and it just reminded him of what he was missing. More of who he was missing, Ginny Weasley.
"Feel better, Harry. Call if you need anything." Hermione kissed him on the forehead.
Harry was too tired to remember how he got from his office to his flat. He was just thankful to be home. Ron walked him to his bedroom and Harry collapsed into his bed and fell asleep.
A/N: Thanks to Jenn (jennyelf) for being an awesome beta :D