Strawberry Wine Part 2: Summer Romance

Harry Potter had been caught. It was rather late at night so he thought he was safe going over what he'd been sent to prepare for his new job at Hogwarts. The Burrow had been quiet when he'd woken up from yet another Voldermort nightmare, after all.

He hadn't expected Ginny Weasley to come in with her broom from a late night broom ride and discover him filling out a request for teacher's editions of various Defense Against the Dark Arts text books. He'd nearly fell out of his chair when she touched his shoulder and said, "So you're the Defense Professor this autumn?"

Harry thought he probably should deny it. After all it was tradition that you didn't find out who the new professors were until the Welcoming Feast, but the answer slipped out, "yes."

"Well it looks like you're going to have to break up with Cho by September," Ginny said.

"We've already broken up," Harry said. "She blames me for Edgecombe. No more romance for me."

"That's a shame," Ginny said. "Everyone should have at least one Summer Romance."

"I'm not everyone," Harry found himself saying. Something about the midnight conversation had loosened his tongue. His tone dropped into depreciation and gloom. "I'm the bloody Boy-Who-Lived. I can't do normal. I never really had a childhood, or even a year at Hogwarts without someone trying to kill me. Why should I have a normal Summer Romance?"

Harry found his chair spun around so he was facing directly into Ginny's eyes. The deep chocolate orbs bored into him with determination. Somehow he knew that this girl was determined to change things. "Harry, you deserve a Summer Romance. And I'm going to make sure you get it," Ginny growled.

Then she leaned in, and kissed him. When he'd kissed Cho, his best description was "wet." Ginny's kiss wasn't wet. Ginny's kiss was warm and all encompassing. As their lips touched it was as if he'd been enveloped by a fire, a fire that he never wanted to go out. He'd never really thought about Ginny as a possible girlfriend, though she was a friend, but after this kiss, he had no choice.

When she pulled away, she asked, "Unless you have an objection to a consequence free Summer Romance with me?"

Harry didn't have the breath left in his body to reply. Ginny's fiery kiss had pulled all the air out of him. He could only shake his head no, before Ginny smiled, and left up the stairs to her room.

As the last glimpse of Ginny's thin nightgown clad body disappeared up the stairs, reminding him briefly of a similar disappearance, the first time he'd arrived at the Burrow, Harry's right hand rose to touch his lips, feeling the warmth and remains of that kiss. He wasn't her professor until September, and really wanted that romance.

Ginny Weasley pulled away from Harry Potter. He'd gotten very good at kissing during their summer romance. He'd gotten really good at a lot of things, some of which she hoped her parents and mother never found out about. It was over now, though.

He put his bag on his shoulder, and before stepping into the Burrow's fireplace, with a off-center smile, said, "You were right Ginny, I would have missed a lot if you hadn't offered to be my summer romance. I'm sorry we won't be able to do this again ... at least until you've finished your NEWTs or I quit as Defense Professor."

"I know," Ginny said, wanting to pull Harry back into her arms. She knew she couldn't. The long kiss, the long kiss with tongue that had left her nearly breathless had been the fifth 'last kiss' and Harry was already running late.

"It was ..." Harry went silent for a moment, and Ginny could almost hear him reject word after word before he finally completed the sentence. "... unforgettable." Then he threw the powder into the grate, causing the flames to turn green. Stepping into them, he called out "Hogwarts Headmaster's Office!"

With a rush of smoke, Harry Potter disappeared from the Burrow, heading off to begin his teaching job. He left behind a melancholy soon to be fifth-year girl. Tears began to flow down Ginny's face. She knew Harry didn't really love her. She'd hoped he would, but it hadn't been real, really.

She'd approached him about his not having had a summer romance once he'd arrived at the Burrow to spend what turned out to be just three weeks of the summer. She'd known then that he was going to be a professor, and would thus be off limits, but it didn't stop her.

Harry missed so much. He'd lost his parents. He'd lived without a real family. He'd also had a rather bad experience with his first girlfriend, Cho the hosepipe. Ginny wanted to change that.

She tried to be realistic. She tried to keep things to Harry's remaining summer. She tried to pack all the experiences she could in those three short weeks.

They'd gone on picnics. They'd gone skinny-dipping at midnight. They'd flown above the Burrow together, sharing Harry's Firebolt. They'd even snuck off with a bottle of Mum's strawberry wine, and got a little bit drunk on it. That had been a night to remember.

But no matter how much Ginny wanted it, she knew it couldn't be. It was an experience Harry needed. It was something Ginny could do for him. It was something she wanted. It was something she didn't want to end. She knew that some of Harry's actions in the summer romance were just an act, but she pushed the thoughts aside ... until now.

If only she'd managed to start earlier. If only she'd found a way to keep going. If only Harry hadn't been hired as a professor . If only ...

She headed upstairs. Ginny couldn't live on if onlys. The summer had been a dream, but dreams must end. It was time to put away the dream, no matter how tempting it was to live in.

The temptation remained of course. The taste of what it was to be Harry's girl friend, remained on her lips. It always would. Someday, of course, it would be a fleeting taste, a tale to tell one's grandchildren. It had been just a taste.

It was a taste that came too late, an enjoyable one, of course, but it was over. He was Professor Harry Potter, now. She was still Ginny Weasley, fifth-year Gryfindor student, not even a prefect. It was over ...

... but that night she knew the dream would live on.