Title: The Relative Position of Celestial Bodies
Word Count: 3867
Summary: Lazy summer days prove to be great soil for learning new truths.
Author's Notes: This was written for the LiveJournal hg_seasonsfest fic exchange. We all put in our requests, and were given an assignment. My prompt was: concept of family, Weasleys, little to no inter-personal relationship strife between Harry and Ginny, younger/pre-marriage, lazy relaxed feeling, on holiday, flying, sun. What I delivered: I strove for a lazy, relaxed feeling, which I think turned out all right. I hope my interpretation suits the rest of your desires too. I really enjoyed writing this! And my recipient seemed to like it too.
The Relative Position of Celestial Bodies
In truth, it was the first really warm day after school let out. The sun, which had previously been rather puny in its efforts, had finally decided to do a decent job, and both Harry and Ginny had, independently, decided to take advantage of the bright day to spend some peaceful time out-of-doors. The Burrow was a very nice place-homey, warm, inviting. But it was also noisy, chaotic, and full. So the paddock felt like an oasis of calm.
The apple trees were starting to flower, and the air held just a slight touch of the scent that summertime would bring-warm grass, wafting aromas of wildflowers, and moist earth. Later in the year, the droning buzz of bees would overwhelm the softer sounds, but for right now, the quiet was only broken by occasional soft birdcalls. Well, that and the intermittent soft murmur of teenage voices.
Harry hadn't known whether to be annoyed or grateful that Ginny had found him. But then, he hadn't been sure of too much recently. The events in the Department of Mysteries had thrown him for quite a loop, and his emotions still felt rather raw. He had even broken down into tears at the dinner table the night before, necessitating a quick departure, and a rather mortified reappearance the next morning for breakfast.
But Ginny's presence hadn't been quite the irritant that he had expected. She hadn't voiced any platitudes, hadn't told him that everything would be okay, and hadn't forced him to talk about anything. In fact, she hadn't said anything for about half an hour after she'd lain down in the paddock, and Harry felt that that was probably the most thoughtful thing anyone had done for him in a long time.
The two teens lay in a single line, heads close together, but feet far apart, which, Harry thought, was probably a good thing. He couldn't see her out of the corner of his eyes, and that meant that he could, maybe, carry on with the illusion that he wasn't really opening his heart up to this slight, red-haired sister-of-his-best-friend.
The conversation had started quietly enough. . .
"I've always liked looking up into the sky from here," Ginny's voice broke the silence, but quietly, and her voice wasn't so much an interruption as a natural progression from the birdsong. "That tree over there-" she pointed off to the right. "When the sun rises right over that tree, it means we're at the very beginning of July."
Harry hmm'ed, and they listened to a rather enthusiastic blue-jay expound on the meaning of life.
A little while later, Harry spoke. "I couldn't see a lot from my bedroom window-sometimes this much open sky is a little, erm. . ."
"I used to be afraid to go out at night," Ginny reminisced. "Fred and George are to blame, from what Mum and Dad tell me."
Harry chuckled. "I can believe that."
"Yeah, apparently when I was about two, they hid behind the bench in the garden and jumped out at me when I was out with Mum."
"Are you still-"
"Scared? No, I've dealt with much worse things, and I trust our wards."
They both fell silent at this reminder.
Eventually, the voice of Molly Weasley called them back to the house, and they somewhat reluctantly exchanged the peace and quiet for chores, food, and two-a-side Quidditch.
Ginny had left the house first, this time. The weather had been somewhat damp recently, but the day had blossomed spectacularly, so she had hurried out as soon as she was done with morning chores.
The bees were starting to become more active now-she could tell from the sounds they made as they investigated the flowering trees and occasionally flew close to see whether her bright hair was worth pollinating.
Harry found her there, lying with her eyes closed.
"What are you doing?" he asked, as he lay down, head close to her, but body angled slightly closer to hers.
"Well, if you'd be quiet for a minute, you could hear too," she responded, but without ire.
"Sorry," he whispered, and then quiet reigned once again.
"So, Mr. Potter, what did you hear?" Ginny asked, after a suitable time had passed.
"Bees, birds, and your breathing," he said, softly.
She smiled slightly at the last bit, but didn't comment.
"Sometimes," she said, later. "Sometimes I fancy I can hear the flowers growing."
Harry turned slightly to look at her, but she was still out of his line of sight, so turned back and looked up into the bright blue sky. "Is this just another thing I don't know about the magical world?"
"No," she answered. "Or at least, I don't think so. I'm not sure that's really what I hear, but when you take out the bees and birds, there's still something left."
Harry pondered for awhile. "Wind? Maybe, in the trees?"
"Possibly. But even when everything is perfectly still, there's some sort of background hum that I haven't been able to define."
"Interesting," Harry said, and meant it.
They fell silent again, and Harry tried to listen harder, but kept getting distracted by the blades of grass tickling his neck, and the bees investigating the new shock of black hair that might need pollinating too, and the steady sound of Ginny's breathing.
"Sometimes, when I'm here, I forget to remember that Sirius died." The words whispered out of Harry's mouth, surprising him.
But Ginny didn't say anything, at least, not for awhile. Finally she responded, "That's okay, Harry-he wouldn't want you to remember his death to the exclusion of his life."
Harry tried to turn again, but stopped, realizing that he didn't really need to see her face. She probably still had her eyes closed, and that look of tranquility that he had noticed when he had found her earlier.
"Yeah," he sighed. "Probably."
If he had been able to watch her, he would have seen a small smile on her lips.
Silence descended again, and the bees, who had long since decided that there was nothing very tasty in either head of hair, had taken their business over to the rose bushes on the side of the paddock.
As the quiet slowly sank into Harry's mind, he found himself letting go of a little bit of the hurt that he had carried around for so long, and found himself very grateful for the presence of his small, red-haired friend.
"Lunchtime!" came the call from the house, and Harry sat up, slightly groggy. A shadow paused in front of him, and Harry looked up to see Ginny, hair haloed by the sun, extending her hand to help him up. He took it, and it felt warm, and small, and soft in his, and he smiled a small smile of his own.
Harry looked outside as he arose that morning. Not a cloud in the sky-well, at least not very many, just enough to make a nice contrast for the blue. He found himself thinking, not of Quidditch, or even just flying for fun, but of the warm grass of the paddock, and quiet, sporadic conversation.
After the gnomes had been tossed, and the laundry hung, and the brothers pacified, and the mother-of-best-friend satisfied, the two made their way out to what was becoming one of his favorite places. The walk was silent, as was the lying down.
This time, Harry could see Ginny's feet, if he tilted his head backwards, and strained his eyes a bit, as they were angled less-obtusely than ever before. But he didn't need to strain to feel the peace that came as he lay, in the sun, listening to the bees, and the birds, and the flowers.
"Sometimes I like to go nightflying, during the summer," Ginny commented, barely loud enough to be heard. "The summer. . . the summer after my first year, when I couldn't sleep, I'd come down and fly until I forgot about . . . about Tom."
Harry thought about that, for quite awhile. "Do you, um, still-" have nightmares, he wanted to ask, but instead, "-go nightflying?"
She understood, though. "Not as often. It's faded somewhat, and, well, I've discovered I can fight back. A little, at least."
The bees, now more accepting of the two of them, still, occasionally investigated them-perhaps thinking that, like all flowers, the time for a full blossoming might have come.
"Do you think. . ." and Harry paused long enough that Ginny thought he might have reconsidered his question. But then, ". . . maybe I could fly with you? Some night? If. . . um. . . you don't mind sharing?"
She smiled slightly, and nodded her head. He heard the rustle in the grass as she did so, but didn't know for sure what it meant, until she said, "Tonight. Let's go tonight."
He smiled at that-a real smile, and Ginny smiled too, knowing that he was pleased.
Ron was away for the day, which meant that no excuses had to be thought up. Molly, as always, assigned them chores, but they were done quickly, and the two, unconsciously, timed their leaving perfectly and walked together to the paddock.
Harry lay down first and was slightly surprised, but warmed, by Ginny lying down, head close to his as usual, but body at a ninety-degree angle. He didn't have to strain to see her feet, or her knees, or. . . what were those? He blushed and decided to look at his own feet.
They were silent for a longer-than-usual stretch. The bees were rather more active than they'd ever noticed before, though, and finally Harry couldn't wait any longer.
"Why are there so many bees today?"
Ginny opened her eyes and looked towards the trees on her left. "Oh. They're swarming."
Harry made to sit up in alarm, but Ginny reached out a hand, blindly grasping his sleeve. "Don't worry. It's normal. Sometimes a hive gets too big, so they grow another queen and split off. It just means we'll have two places to get honey from. Dad'll be pleased."
Harry pondered for awhile. "Kind of like Bill and Charlie," he finally said.
Ginny giggled. Harry's heart thumped an extra beat, but he didn't know why, and Ginny's voice distracted him from the event. "Yeah, although neither of them is forming a hive, yet. Of course, Bill keeps mentioning Fleur Delacour."
Harry looked quickly over at her, then blushed again, and looked back down at his feet. "Really? Is there anything there?"
Ginny nodded. "Yeah, apparently he's been owling her every so often."
Harry thought some more about Fleur, and the Tri-Wizard Tournament, and . . . and whispered, "I saw Cedric die."
Ginny reached over and placed her hand on his sun-warmed arm. She didn't say anything, though, and Harry, once again amazed at her seeming ability to read his moods, reached his free hand over and put it on hers in silent appreciation. And they lay there, listening to the flowers grow, and the birds call, and the bees make a new life for their new family.
The day was cloudy. Harry was irritated. It felt like a paddock day, but . . . but could he do a paddock day without the sun?
Moping about the house, unable to concentrate, he was finally taken firmly by the hand and dragged out to the paddock, where Ginny pushed him gently to his normal place, and lay down, her body at about a forty-five degree angle from his.
Harry didn't know if he was allowed to speak, so he didn't. Until his curiosity overcame him. "Do you think it'll rain?" was the only thing he could think to ask.
Ginny turned slightly and looked at him. He looked back at her, thinking that lying like this made it much easier to see her happy brown eyes. "Does it matter?" she finally asked.
Harry looked back up at the sky, noticing the swirls and bows and billows of white, and thought about his answer. "No," he finally decided. "We'll get wet," he added, then chuckled. "Maybe we should have worn our swimming costumes."
Ginny turned pink at that and looked quickly the other way, but Harry was too busy admiring his off hand to notice.
Excess blood finally banished from faces, they turned back towards each other.
"Dean asked me to write him this summer," Ginny said. Her voice was uncharacteristically hesitant.
Harry frowned a bit. "Have you?" he asked, slowly, pulling up bits of grass and tossing them at a passing bee.
"A little." Ginny paused, then went on. "I thought I might be interested in him, but it seems . . . maybe . . . a little less important . . . than it used to."
Harry stopped throwing grass. "Do you . . . maybe . . . want to go nightflying? Tonight?" he asked.
Ginny grinned, and this time Harry saw it and smiled back.
Quiet descended once more. Even the bees were flying with less verve than normal. The birds were staying close to their nests, and the flowers were taking a break from growing. When the first light drops sprinkled themselves over the now-tanned faces of the two, soft laughter became audible. Even when the light drizzle turned into a downpour, the two bodies remained there, laughing until tears fell, mingling with the rain. And as the laughter came, and the tears and the rain fell, the combined forces washed away pains, and sorrows, and worries.
Molly scolded them both soundly when they made their way back to the Burrow, but it was with a smile constantly trying to escape, and neither Harry nor Ginny felt properly chastened, although they both had to help with the laundry the next day.
Harry's birthday was the normal Weasley family party. Harry enjoyed it, not having been able to celebrate very many birthdays meant that he treasured every one. The cake was shaped like a Snitch, the presents, although not expensive, were given, and received, with love, and the day off from chores was welcome too. When the hullabaloo from the party died down, Harry slipped away and found his . . . their . . . normal spot in the paddock, where he lay down and gazed up at the stars.
Ginny found him there a short time later, and lay down next to him. Her head was right next to his, but her body angled out slightly, so that they could both rest their arms on the ground comfortably.
"Was it a good birthday, Harry?" she asked quietly.
Harry thought about it, and smiled, remembering Ron taking fifth servings of the cake, and the twins' fireworks, and the proud and happy faces of Molly and Arthur as they presented him with a hand for the family clock. "Yeah, it was. One of my favorites, I think."
"Good," Ginny responded. "My family really does love you, you know."
Harry pondered the idea of a whole family who actually cared for him-carefully excluding Percy from the definition of family, and sighed. "I don't know why. I'm nothing special." When Ginny drew breath to retort, Harry lifted a hand in supplication. "Ginny, it's true. I'm not anything special, and that's what makes it so wonderful, you know? Anybody would have taken The-Boy-Who-Lived in to their homes, and treated him like a . . . a rock star, or some big celebrity. But you Weasleys . . . you took me in as Harry, and your mum assigns me chores, and I have to wait for the loo, and there's never enough hot water, and it's just . . . perfect!"
Ginny smiled at the joy evident in Harry's voice. "Well, Mr. Potter, you may not think you're anything special, but you are to us. We love the shy, black-haired boy that doesn't eat cabbage, and who likes chocolate. The boy that actually feels sorry for garden gnomes, even as he's trying to throw them farther than Ron. The boy who always manages to get into, and out of, more trouble than the twins ever dreamed of. You deserve so much more than I . . . than we can ever give you. I'm just glad that you don't mind being here."
Harry reached over and lightly rested his hand on hers. "Gin, I couldn't ask for anything better than having your family as my own-"
A slightly strangled gasp escaped Ginny, but Harry must not have heard it.
"-and I think that here is the best place in the world."
Thankful to be able to think of something else, Ginny latched onto the last thing he said. "Here? As in, the paddock? Or here, as in the Burrow? After all, Harry, this is the best paddock in the world. We've won awards."
Harry snorted, scaring a passing moth. "Well, I had originally meant the Burrow, but I've got some rather good thoughts about the paddock, too." He paused, then continued, "Why haven't we done this at night before? Your stars are incredibly beautiful."
"Of course! They're my stars, after all; how could they be anything but beautiful?" Ginny responded, then giggled.
Harry chuckled too, and they drifted into silence. The bees had gone to sleep already, as had the birds. But the night breeze brought to them the neek-breek of thousands of crickets. Occasionally a lightning bug would flash its little luminescence, and Harry stared up into the brilliantly-lit night sky, feeling a kinship with nature that was, not different than what he felt in the daytime, but rather, another aspect of the same relationship.
Ginny's voice finally broke into Harry's reverie. It was uncharacteristically hesitant. "Harry? Did you . . . did you like the gift I gave you?"
Harry almost sat up in surprise that she even needed to ask the question. "Of course, Gin! It's absolutely beautiful! And the fact that you drew it yourself, that's just . . . like icing on the cake!"
She was silent for a bit. "I wanted to get you something that really meant something, you know? Not like a Broom-Polishing Kit, or a . . . I don't know, another book on defense."
Harry chuckled at the reminders of past gifts he'd been given. "No, Gin, this was perfect. You know how much I love lying out here. Did you take a picture, or something? I mean, I think I'd remember you sitting there long enough to draw me lying here."
Ginny smiled. "You caught me. Yeah, I borrowed Dad's camera one of the times when you were out here first. I'm just glad you didn't notice."
"Well, it was just perfect. I can't think of anything else you could have given me that would have meant as much." It was only a little white lie, but he wasn't really brave enough to say anything about what he'd just recently started desiring.
Ginny looked at him quickly, then looked away. Gathering her courage, she looked back at him and said, "There's actually one more part of the gift, Harry. But I didn't want to give it to you in front of the family."
Harry smiled a little, and started to say, "You don't need to-" but was interrupted by Ginny leaning down and kissing him, softly, on the cheek.
"Happy Birthday, Harry," she whispered softly, then got to her feet and slowly walked inside.
Harry had a pretty good idea where he would find Ginny. Once again, the birthday party had been a huge success. Ginny's cake had looked like a Quaffle, although the red frosting tasted exactly like chocolate. The presents had been given and received, and the warm evening encouraged everyone to sit out back until long after the fireworks had faded.
Harry didn't want to make it too obvious, but he had noticed exactly when Ginny had slipped off. Giving her a nice head-start, he managed to slip off towards the house, as if visiting the loo, then circle around towards their spot in the paddock.
"Thought I'd find you here," he softly said, as he lay down, next to her, close enough to. . . well, whatever.
"It's just such a beautiful evening. I wasn't ready for it to end, you know?"
Harry knew exactly what she meant, and knew that she was aware of that fact too, and so he didn't say anything.
The neek-breeking crickets were slightly louder tonight, reflecting the increased heat of the day, and the lightning bugs were even more exuberant in their displays. But Harry felt the same calmness, and peace steal over him as he lay there next to . . . well, next to his very good friend. It felt as if the crickets, and lightning bugs, and even the stars and the moon were conspiring to show him how life could really be.
"Yeah," Ginny interjected. "I loved it, Harry. I don't think I've ever seen anything so beautiful."
It was doubtful that she heard his whispered I have, as she continued. "Where did you find it?"
"There's a little shop in Diagon Alley-well, it's not really in Diagon Alley. There's a little street called Romantic Alley that opens up just past the Apothecary's, and there's a little store there called Seraphina's Sweetly Spun Sugar. It specializes in these glass ornaments. I thought about getting you a green toad," he gently teased.
She swatted his arm, which surprised her in its closeness, and he chuckled in response.
"No kidding, they really do have a green toad. Or maybe a frog-I'm not sure. Anyway, I saw that rose there, just floating in its display case, and knew it was for you. At least, I hoped it was for you. I mean, I know you like gardenias, and passionflowers, but this was the prettiest."
"Oh, Harry. You chose perfectly." Ginny rolled slightly to look at him, then backed up as she felt herself rolling onto Harry's arm. "I've always loved roses the best. In fact," she motioned to the side of the paddock, "Dad always told me that he planted those roses for me-you know, to celebrate finally having a daughter."
"I imagine they were getting rather tired of boys by the time you came along."
"You're probably right. But I'm grateful they didn't stop after Ron."
"Me too," Harry whispered. "Me too."
Ginny heard that and sat up a bit. "Harry?" she questioned, wondering at the . . . the intensity of his gaze.
"Ginny," he finally said, after staring into her moonlit eyes for what seemed like forever. "There's a second part to your gift. But I didn't want to give it to you in front of your family."
Ginny's mouth went dry. She swallowed, then swallowed again. "What . . . what is it?" she asked, barely daring to breathe.
"This," Harry said, and leaned forward, and kissed her.
The stars wheeled above them as the moon traveled slowly across the night sky. The crickets continued neek-breeking to their hearts' content, and the lightning bugs flew and danced. All of this went unnoticed by the two teens, who had, somehow, moved even closer together, and lain back down, arms around each other, and lips gently caressing the other's.
The kiss finally ended, and Harry lay flat, arm around Ginny, who had fitted herself under his arm, head on his shoulder. Neither felt the need to break the relative silence by anything so mundane as talking, but both knew, beyond any doubt, that they had finally found the position that suited them best.