Title: Stilted Confessions
A/N: Written for the September Challenge at LiveJournal's chest_monsters community. The challenge was: The school year is starting off with a bang. Either literally or figuratively. I'll leave that up to you. Naturally, Harry and Ginny must be central to the story but it can take place any year between year 1 and year 7. The time frame must be within the first week of the year. The statement: "Of course, Ron. That's why they're _" must be included. Special thanks, as always, to sassyfrass_kerr and rosiekatriona, my wonderful betas.
There are certain things that are completely predictable, Harry thought. The sun will rise in the east. Uncle Vernon will always want a better car. And Seamus Finnegan will always try to get up the girls' stairs.
It never failed, at the beginning of every school term, Seamus would test his latest idea for defeating the charmed staircase.
This year Seamus had brought a pair of magical stilts-Dr. Luke's SkyWalkers. Harry figured that maybe Seamus had planned on using the stilts to gain enough height to be able to jump to the first landing.
Obviously, Seamus hadn't taken into account the height of the stilts vis-a-vis the height of the ceiling.
Harry looked over at Seamus, lying on the ground, rubbing his forehead and cursing. He seemed to be okay, although as soon as Parvati knelt down to check, he started bemoaning his horrible headache, until he had convinced her to rub his temples and croon softly to him.
Maybe Seamus had given up on trying to actually get into the girls' dorms, and now was just continuing a tradition that brought him attention.
"Hey, Harry," Ginny said as she sat down by him. "How far did he get this year?"
"Dunno. I wasn't really watching. Although I'd guess he didn't even make it up the first one. I think the stilts were too tall, and he hit his head on the ceiling."
Ginny laughed. "Do you think he'll ever learn?" she asked, rhetorically.
"I think he's learned all he needs to-how to get Parvati to notice him," Harry answered.
Ginny smiled. "That's probably spot-on," she said. She got a rather mischievous look in her eye. "What about you, Potter? Have you figured out how to get the attention of the girl you fancy?"
Harry sat up in shock. "How did you-I mean, um, I don't fancy anyone. What would make you say that?"
Ginny punched him softly. "Come on, Potter. It's rather obvious that you've been caught up in deep thoughts. We haven't started classes yet, so it can't be assignments. You aren't scowling, so it's probably not Voldemort. But there's one thing that really stands out."
Harry waited for her to elaborate, but she just sat there smiling enigmatically. Finally Harry gave in. "Okay, Ginny. What made you guess that I fancy someone?"
Ginny's smile grew even more evil, and Harry thought back to what he'd said. He blanched as he realized he had just admitted it and let out a heart-felt groan.
"Fine. Okay. Yes, I fancy someone."
Harry had a gift for bad situations. Unnoticed by Harry, Ron and Hermione had returned from their rounds in just enough time to hear Harry's confession.
Ron plopped down into an armchair. "Harry fancies someone? Who? I bet it's that one girl from Ravenclaw. What's her name. . . Hermione? You know who I'm talking about-the one with the stuff. . ."
Hermione, who had sat on the other side of Ginny, just rolled her eyes and tried to ignore Ron, but he wasn't to be put off that easily. "Come on, Hermione! You have to know who I'm talking about-we were just there!"
Hermione finally looked at Ron. "Honestly, Ronald. She's in our year-why can't you remember people's names?"
Ron huffed indignantly. "I can remember names. There's Crabbe, and Goyle, and-"
"What are their first names, Ron?" Hermione asked.
Ron just stared at Hermione. Who'd ever want to know the first names of the Goon Squad?
Hermione sat back, smirking, then continued, "Now, what were you two saying about the girl Harry fancies?"
"Well," Ginny answered, "I was just asking Harry his plans for the mystery girl-he hadn't had the opportunity to answer." She turned to Harry. "So, Harry, what's she like, hmmm?"
Harry closed his eyes briefly. This evening was not going anywhere close to what he had planned. He oof'ed as Ginny poked him in the ribs.
Harry remained stubbornly silent, but Ginny poked him again, then another time. Harry's lack of reaction spurred her to greater activity, and she started tickling him. She knew exactly where his ticklish spots were, and Harry was loath to fight back. But then she turned and lifted one leg over him, so that she was sitting on his lap, the better to attack him.
Harry squirmed violently, trying to escape her nimble fingers, but nothing he did helped. Finally, though, it got to be too much, and Harry started to fight back. Ginny's legs were very ticklish, and Harry took full advantage.
Shrieks of laughter garnered the attention of everyone in the common room, except Seamus and Parvati-it looked as if Parvati were scanning Seamus' head for injuries from inside his mouth.
Hermione watched two of her best friends flirt, for surely that was what they were doing now, even though Harry, at least, probably didn't recognize it for what it was. It was no secret to her that Harry had started to think of Ginny in a more-than-friends manner. But even if this episode came to nothing, it was still wonderful to watch Harry laugh and tease; there had been frightfully few times when he'd felt relaxed enough to do that.
Ron, on the other hand, was a little less comfortable with the situation. Ginny was wearing a skirt, after all, and she was sitting on Harry's lap! And his hands were on her legs, and it all looked rather scandalous. If they didn't stop soon, he was just going to have to- His mental discussion was halted as he looked at Hermione. She was glaring at him, and once she had his attention, she shook her head vehemently, and mouthed Leave them alone! Or maybe it was bleed fen a bone. Regardless, Ron didn't want to be glared at like that, so he just sat back and looked away. There'd be time later to break some bones if Harry tried anything too. . . personal . . . with his sister.
The rest of the room went back to their business, although keeping a more-frequent eye on the Gryffindor Trio-Plus-One, just in case something happened.
Finally the tickle fight wound down, as both Harry and Ginny were exhausted. In fact, they found themselves cuddled up closely to each other, as Ginny had slumped against Harry's chest.
After Ginny had caught her breath, she realized where she had ended up. Her face flushed instantly, and she pushed against Harry to move off him. But somehow his left hand was now on her back, keeping her in place, and his right hand had moved up to brush her hair out of her eyes. Feeling altogether short of breath, for a couple of reasons, Ginny looked down into Harry's eyes, and saw something. . . something soft, and warm, and inviting . . .
. . . and moving closer.
The first kiss was a tentative brush of lips. When Ginny didn't pull away, Harry put a little more of his heart into the second kiss. And by the third kiss Ginny had once again regained her position cuddled into his arms.
Ron turned around as he realized that his friend and his sister had gotten very quiet. The sight that met his eyes was something he had feared, yet desired, for quite some time. He felt a sudden surge of sympathy for Seamus-Ron felt like he'd hit his head rather hard too.
Ron's creed was when in doubt, ask Hermione. So he did. "Hermione? Why are they kissing? What about that girl that Harry fancies?"
"I swear, Ronald Weasley, sometimes you are the thickest brick ever!"
Ron thought hard, not an easy task coming off of such nice long holidays, but he eventually got there. "You mean Ginny was the girl Harry fancied?"
"Of course, Ron. That's why they're kissing."
"And what's up with that? Don't they need to breathe?"
"Oh, Ron. If you don't know about breathing through your nose, then there's not much I can help you with."
Ron tried breathing through his nose, imagining himself kissing a girl, who bore a striking resemblance to Hermione. He got rather carried away with, and completely forgot to work out the breathing part. He only came back to himself when Harry and Ginny separated. Although separated didn't really describe them, as they were still very close. But at least now they could talk.
"So, Ron," ventured Harry. "I hope you don't mind, but I'm dating your sister." Ginny nodded fervently, but Ron could see the threat visible in her eyes.
Ron shook his head quickly. "No, mate, that's fine."
"Good!" said Harry and Ginny together, then chuckled at the synchronicity.
Ginny slid to Harry's side, making sure his arm stayed around her. Whispering to her new boyfriend, she said, "Parvati's liked Seamus ever since the end of last year. I'm glad his stupid stunt worked."
Harry looked down at her, smiling. "Yeah, but now I'll never know how to come wake you up."
Ginny just grinned. "That's okay, Harry. I can get up your stairs just fine."