It was too early, far too early to be awake. If there was anything Ginny hated, it was waking up too early. Today was the day of their first match, after a whole year of no Quidditch at all and it was against Hufflepuff. A piece of cake. Ginny was captain, which made it all much more exciting and was probably the reason why she woke up at this ungodly hour. Too bad the Great Hall wasn't open yet, she was starving. She got up quickly, reckoning that if she was awake, she might as well enjoy a long shower without anyone urging her to get out.
Twenty minutes later, dressed in her Quidditch robes, Ginny was ready for some food and action. Breakfast wasn't going to be served for at least an hour and she decided a long walk around the castle would be nice, there were places she still didn't get a chance to see after the reconstructions. And that was how she found herself standing near a very familiar-looking broom cupboard, in a very faraway corner of the castle, one she was sure only a very few people knew about. She couldn't help herself, she had to get inside and see if it was still the same. And it was just as she remembered. Someone, probably many years ago, had expanded the space of the cupboard just a bit, big enough for two to sit comfortably and small enough to be cozy. A few spiders hung from their webs on the ceiling and there was dust everywhere. She loved it.
She wasn't sure when the memories started to flood her…
"Don't tell anyone," Harry warned and Ginny smacked his shoulder playfully. She'd never tell, and he knew it.
He'd showed her his special map earlier today and they were now heading toward a secret passage to a place very few in the castle knew. Her fingers tingled with anticipation. They finally reached a deserted corridor and Harry stopped in front of a funny painting of a monk stomping grapes for wine, he said something that sounded like "Reveal your secret" or something similar and a broom cupboard's doors appeared on the wall.
As Harry performed a few privacy charms, Ginny lit her wand and noticed a spider web in the corner and lots and lots of dust. Harry didn't seem to mind spiders and dust, or broom cupboards for that matter and she was happy about it. No need to fuss over small things like a girly girl.
In no time they were snogging again.
Ginny sniffed, and noticed that the smell of sweat and grass and wood still lingered, or so she imagined.
The memory changed.
She drew a stack of cards from her robes and smiled.
"Strip poker?" Harry raised one eyebrow in question.
"You wish," she said with a smirk, "Loser has to tell a secret, but a real secret, one you never told anyone."
Harry lost first, of course. She leaned closer in anticipation.
He seemed pensive for a while, then looked up and smiled. "I hate Hagrid's rock cakes."
"Harry!" Ginny laughed, "Don't be a dolt, everyone hates his rock cakes, now tell me a real secret."
"I don't know what kind of a secret you want me to tell," he whispered soberly.
"Whatever you want, something silly, something important, something embarrassing…"
Harry looked lost.
" Let's do it differently," Ginny tossed the cards aside, "I'll start with a secret and you'll follow, all right? When I was seven years old I stole Bill's wand and tried to teach George a lesson, and I ended up with ugly warts all over my face. Luckily, Mum found me first and swore never to tell anyone. I got him at the end, I found a curse book and did a jelly leg hex on him. I was sure Mum would freak out, but she just smiled and fixed his legs."
Harry laughed and Ginny smiled back. It was so nice to see him relaxed and happy once in a while.
"When I was nine, Dudley and his gang tried to beat me up, as usual, so I hid inside my aunt and uncle's room only to find them in a very embarrassing position. They didn't see me and I never said anything, but I had nightmares for weeks after that."
"That's gross!" Ginny laughed, "I mean, your uncle and aunt are so…"
"Disgusting?" Harry offered and joined her in laughter.
"I hate my knuckles."
"I love your knuckles." His hand touched her knee and she shivered.
Her face nearly cracked from all the smiles, then her hand was in his and his mouth on her knuckles and she felt so… cared for.
"After the fiasco during my first year I had nightmares about Tom." She finally said when his mouth left her hands and he looked at her expectantly. "But I never told anyone because Mum was so worried anyway and Dad was upset." She wasn't sure why she said it, it changed the air around them immediately.
He seemed to understand though, because he held her hand again and told her a similar secret. "I still have nightmares about the night my parents died. I never told anyone, I hate it when people feel sorry for me, or fuss over me about it, like Hermione does."
It somehow cheered her up, "I love Hermione, really. But I hate it when she does that. Reminds me of Mum."
Tears streamed down her cheeks freely. It was a memory she'd always cherish, that day she knew they shared something special.
Another memory washed over her.
His mouth was on her neck and she breathed heavily. His hands roamed all over her while her hands were buried in his hair. He had managed to distract her from her thoughts for just a while, but when she drew back for a bit of air she remembered. He was keeping something from her, something big. She thought for a moment about confronting him but then decided against it. It seemed like he had enough on his plate already, the last thing he needed was nagging. Instead she let him touch her left breast. She had never let anyone reach this far before, but had an eerie feeling they wouldn't touch each other for a long time and wanted to make the most of it.
It was hard to breathe now, like the room was closing on her. She'd had the same feeling when she visited this spot on her sixth year. She came rarely, because she was afraid someone would follow her and reveal her secret hiding place. This cupboard was special and she wouldn't let the Carrows taint it with their hatred and cruelty. But when things became too much, she'd sneak around and only when she was sure she was alone and nobody was following her, she'd enter the cupboard and cry for a bit. It was all right to cry when no one was there to see you.
Today was different though, she was free and Voldemort was dead and school was opened and Quidditch was back. But Harry wasn't here and he wasn't Quidditch captain anymore and he wouldn't be here to see her on their first game. And although the team was ready and the day was going to be perfect and they were a sure win, she couldn't forget the fact that Harry wouldn't come to see her.
He wouldn't come.
Because she was stupid and said some stupid things and then she left for Hogwarts and he didn't come to say goodbye and she never got a single owl from him and because she was right back then and Harry hadn't touched her for a very long time now and…
He wouldn't come.
A little trip to the loo to charm the dust off her robes and the red blotches off her face and Ginny was ready for breakfast. The Gryffindor table was full but for an empty space near Hermione. Ginny flopped next to her friend and started loading her plate.
"Missed a spot," Hermione brushed a spider web from Ginny's hair.
Ginny focused on her bacon and eggs and tried not to blush. Trust Hermione to notice. Around the table her team was scattered, sitting among their friends and Ginny waved at them between mouthfuls. Demelza sat directly across from her and was chatting lightly with Hermione. At the other side of the table Coote and Peakes were obviously discussing beater's moves, their hands gesturing wildly. Ginny was very happy to keep them as beaters, they got better and better with each practice and now played with almost one mind. Dean, Ginny's second chaser, ate his meal quietly while Seamus tried to cheer him up. Ginny could tell he was nervous, how she managed to form a civil kind of friendship with Dean was a mystery; the war should probably be credited for that. Dennis Creevey, her seeker, ate with his friends as well and waved brightly when she spotted him. Shilla Regg, the keeper, sat alone with a book opened next to her plate. She looked small but she was fast and had no fear whatsoever. Ginny looked proudly around the long table, she had a great team and they were going to win. Too bad Harry wasn't here to see the team she built.
"He'll come around," Hermione said quietly so only Ginny and Demelza could hear.
Ginny hated when Hermione was trying to read her thoughts, hated it even more when she succeed, and so decided to ignore the remark. She could win without him there watching. All of her previous wins were without him anyway. She stood up promptly and the table fell silent. "Team, I'll see you at the changing room in ten minutes."
She felt the eyes of the whole hall on her and it made her nervous, she concentrated hard on not tripping over and didn't notice the figures entering the Great Hall until it was too late.
"Ron!" she smiled and jumped at her brother. It was a nice surprise to see her brother and it cheered her up immensely. Of course, it would have been ten times better had a certain black haired man...
She felt a tap on her shoulder and turned to face Neville. "Neville! I thought you were on a mission abroad!" All right, so he wasn't black haired, but she was still happy to see him.
"I was, just came back a couple of days ago and heard there's an interesting game I should see. I also need to see Professor Sprout," he scanned the crowd, "oh there she is, I'll see you after the game, Ginny."
She was left with Ron, who was watching her intently.
"He'll come around."
Again with that phrase! "I'm fine." She replied curtly.
"Sure you are," sarcasm dripped from every word, "well, you have a game to prepare for, yeah? Oh, and here's Hermione."
Ginny left feeling extremely frustrated. Everyone treated her like a china doll and it drove her crazy. She didn't need Harry. She wanted him, but that was something completely different. She definitely could win a game without him.
And they won, of course. Ginny flew over to the pile that was her team and joined them in a victory group hug.
"You were all fantastic!" she screamed at the top of her voice in an attempt to beat the noise around them.
"Party in the common room!" she heard Seamus scream and watched the team walk excitedly toward the changing room.
She lingered on the pitch as everyone dispersed slowly to their common rooms or other activities. During the game had seen Ron, Hermione and Neville on the stands and kept looking for the messy dark hair that never showed up. It was silly to expect him to come, she knew that but couldn't help herself.
So maybe it was her fault, maybe she'd told him they needed a little break when she went back to Hogwarts and he stayed behind. But only because she thought it would help them not miss each other so much and she didn't want to tie him to a faraway girlfriend he couldn't see and just a tiny bit of her wanted to do to him a little bit of what he did to her just a year ago, but just a bit.
She regretted it immediately when his eyes glistened for a moment and she could see the hurt, and then he closed up. Oh, she hated when he did that and he did it often now. It seemed like he didn't want to share any secrets with her at all. So she may have shouted a healthy "Fine!", and he may have stomped away. It was all blurry now.
"AAARRRGGGGHHH" she yelled at the empty stands, took her broom and ball case and walked slowly toward the changing room. A party sounded like the worst place to be now, like she needed to see all the couples snogging and a drunken Seamus. No, she'd have a long shower and try to relax.
"Relax my arse." She muttered as she dried her hair with a towel. The shower left her even more frustrated, sexually frustrated. A frustrated Ginny was never good. She pushed her clothes into her locker and closed it forcefully, it bounced back from the force of her shove and she cursed under her breath.
"One would think you'd be happy after your win."
Ginny turned around with her wand ready to hex, a remnant of last year, and was surprised to see the black top she'd been hoping to see the whole day. Oddly enough, it didn't make her feel better. In fact, it only frustrated her more. She could see his invisibility cloak spread on the ground.
"Why would you care if I'm happy or not?" The moment she said it she regretted it. It wasn't true, of course he cared, and he looked as miserable as she felt.
He said nothing, just moved his fingers through his messy hair.
She waited a bit but when he remained quiet she became restless. "How do you know we won?" she finally asked.
"I was there, watched the whole game under the cloak. You were spectacular."
He was trying to tell her something without saying it, but she had no intention of making it easy for him. She turned back to the locker, closed it firmly and stayed there for a moment.
Ginny winced at his tone. "What are you sorry for?" she attacked and he recoiled.
"I…" he stammered and she could read confusion in his eyes this time. He struggled and then seemed to just give up, "Ron thought it'd be good if I apologize."
"Oh," she couldn't help the smile that crept slowly to her face, he looked so cute with the clueless look plastered on his face. "What did you really want to say?"
"That I miss you."
"See? That's why you should never listen to Ron. Your idea was much better." She could see his features relax just a tiny bit.
"I also wanted to tell you that you hurt me that day at the Burrow."
She sighed, "I know and I'm sorry." And she was sorry, it wasn't empty words, "I miss you too. But…" she sat down on the bench next to him, one leg on each side of the bench, facing him.
"But I'm hurt too. You stopped talking to me, really talking. Snogging is fun, but we've been through terrible things and it looks like you have no intention of sharing any of them with me, so what's the point of being together?" She actually felt relieved after saying what had been on her mind for months.
"I wasn't trying to hide anything from you," Harry replied after a bit of thinking, "I just… I… there are things I'm not proud of, all right? I don't want you to think less of me."
Ginny was taken aback. She hadn't even thought of this option, of Harry feeling bad for the things he did during the war, but she should have, because this is Harry and this is what he did, he felt sorry for himself. She should have known.
"I can't believe you did that!" Ginny exclaimed, her hand hit the wall of the cupboard, she moved it too fast. "I didn't want to know that, really. I wish to know not. Really, some things you shouldn't tell me."
"I was only joking that day at the cupboard, Harry. I thought you understood the joke, you can tell me everything." She took his hand in hers and looked hard into his eyes, willing him to understand, "you can tell me everything."
He looked hesitant for just a second, "I thought of you just before I died."
She could feel the lump in her throat swelling and swelling. She was going to cry, oh sweet Merlin! "I felt my heart tear when I saw you dead." She choked. She hated thinking of that moment, the terrible feeling of utter desolation.
She didn't know how it happened but their heads grew closer until their noses touched.
"I watched you on the map every night," he whispered, his lips lightly brushing hers.
"I tried to steal Gryffindor's sword for you," she whispered back and then pressed her lips to his. And they were kissing and groping and moaning and she couldn't believe she'd survived so long without his touch.
When they surfaced for a bit of air Harry looked into her eyes again. "Are we all right?"
"Only if you keep telling me secrets." She smiled.
"Gwenog Jones was in the stands. I was sitting right behind her and she seemed excited about you."
Ginny's hand flew to her mouth. "Really?"
"I didn't even notice her, I was looking for you."
"Do you mind if we keep this a secret too?" Harry looked at her sheepishly. "Only that Ron is going to take the mickey…"
"Too late for that," a voice called from the door.
Ginny laughed and wrapped her hands around Harry's neck and they resumed their kissing.
"Oi! I wish to see not!"
"Then move along." Harry murmured into her neck and they continued into blissful oblivion.