Ordinary Boy

By Audra Lachesis

Email: spazzula@yahoo.com

A/N: I first got the inspiration for this story on my way to work, listening to the radio. Vanessa Carlton's 'Ordinary Day' was playing, and the setup for this fic sprang almost fully formed in my mind - that's where I got the title, a line from the song. If you want to know where I come up with this stuff - go listen to that song, ^_^

The setup: it's the end of Harry's seventh year at Hogwarts, the night before graduation. Voldemort has been defeated, and Harry's reflecting on what he's supposed to do next.

Enter Ginny Weasley. ^_^

*****

Ginny scrambled through the portrait hole silently, her satchel hanging limply from one arm. Her last exam was over - astronomy, of course, the only exam that had to take place in the middle of the night. Provided she hadn't muffed her constellations, Ginny Weasley had officially completed her sixth year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

Ginny dropped her bag into one of the cushioned armchairs and fumbled with the clasp on her cloak. It was drafty in the astronomy tower - she couldn't imagine why it seemed to be such a popular trysting spot. She shed her cloak with a sigh and tossed it over the back of the chair, running numb fingers through her copper hair. She had hated her hair as a young girl - as far as she was concerned, red was NOT a natural color for hair, even if everyone in her family had it. And in combination with a smattering of freckles across her pale cheeks and boring brown eyes, Ginny had been quite convinced that she was plain.

A noise from the other side of the common room made her draw a sharp breath, and she lifted her head slightly to peer over the back of the armchair. A pair of brilliant green eyes stared back at her from across the room, and Ginny relaxed.

"Harry!" she chided. "You scared me. What are you - ?" Ginny trailed off as he smiled and shifted his gaze away from her. He was curled up in one of the study alcoves of the Gryffindor common room, the only one with a large window. It overlooked the Hogwarts grounds, and he was staring intently out over the school at which he had spent seven years of his life.

"Harry?" Ginny said uncertainly. It was a bit disconcerting, to come upon Harry sitting in the dark like that. He was still recovering from the nasty experience of facing down Lord Voldemort - his face was drawn and pale, and his green eyes still looked haunted. There was a shadow of loss that hung around him like a shroud, and was only beginning to dissipate. Ginny suddenly felt a strong urge to leave Harry to his thoughts, wrapped in the safe darkness of Gryffindor tower, and scurry back to her own bed.

She had turned toward the girls' dormitories when Harry finally spoke. His voice was so soft that she almost didn't hear him, and her head jerked back to catch his words.

"I'm going to miss it."

Ginny paused, staring back at Harry in confusion. He was still silhouetted against the window, and hadn't even turned his head to look at her as he spoke.

"What? Hogwarts?" Ginny asked softly.

Harry nodded, still gazing out the window. "It's the closest thing I've ever had to a home, you know. Someplace where I feel absolutely comfortable and safe. I get homesick for my four-poster bed every summer, at the Dursleys."

Ginny crossed over to the alcove hesitantly. She was half-afraid he would clam up and push her away again, like he had for the past few months. He had kept everyone at arm's length lately - it was strange to hear him speaking openly again, after months of guarding his words so carefully. Voldemort had frightened him badly, in that sense - he had been afraid to put his friends in danger simply by talking to them.

She leaned against the wall, searching for a glimpse of Harry's face, but it was still turned away. Outwards, looking over the grounds of Hogwarts - at the lake, the forest, the stars. "You're not going back to the Dursleys, are you?" Ginny asked softly. "Sirius was cleared, you can live with him now - or out on your own. You're legally of age now, you don't need the Dursleys anymore."

Harry shrugged. "I suppose. It's just hard to make a decision when I don't really belong anywhere else. I can do anything, go anywhere - but I'd rather just stay right here." He looked up at her then, and Ginny thought she saw something sparking in the depths of his eyes. Was he talking about Hogwarts? Or about here specifically, in this moment, talking to her in a dark alcove of the common room? Ginny flushed slightly, chiding herself for her train of thought. She'd gotten over her crush on Harry ages ago - they were friends now, that's all she needed, and she had almost convinced herself of that.

The events of the Tri-Wizard Tournament had weighed heavily on Harry, and he had started to push everyone away during his Fifth Year. Sirius thought he still felt responsible for the death of Cedric Diggory, and dreaded something else happening to Ron or Hermione or the Weasleys. It had been difficult - Ron and Hermione had been dancing around each other, and hadn't noticed Harry's withdrawal until it was almost complete. Ginny had called their attention to it, and it had taken the combined efforts of all the Weasleys, Hermione, Sirius, and Lupin to pull Harry out of his shell. Ginny had played her role admirably - she had buried her crush, put on a brave face, and struggled to make Harry smile. When all was said and done, she and Harry had become friends - and she had felt a small part of herself die the first time he had given her a brotherly hug.

Ginny bit her lip and forced herself to focus on Harry again. He was gazing out the window once more, and Ginny had an irrational desire to know exactly what he was staring at. She shook her head and sat down beside him, following his eyes out into the darkness.

"What will you do, then?" she asked. "Where will you go?"

Harry shrugged again. "I'll probably stay with Sirius until I get my bearings. I'd like to travel, I think - maybe I'll spend the next year wandering around the world." Ginny saw him grin wryly. "I'll send you a few postcards, if you like."

"You'd better," Ginny teased. "Something sunny and warm. It gets dreadfully rainy around here in the winter, I could use a nice postcard from Bermuda."

They sat in comfortable silence for a few more minutes, just staring out the window, lost in their own thoughts. Harry broke the silence, his voice unsteadly. "I'm going to miss the people, too," he whispered. "Ron, Hermione - it won't be the same after tomorrow. We won't see each other every day." His eyes lowered slightly, gazing off toward the Forbidden Forest, and Hagrid's empty hut. A shadow passed over his features. "And there are so many others I'll never see again," he choked. Hagrid's death during his Sixth Year had effected him deeply; he had been Harry's first connection to the wizarding world, and his death had been a blow to them all. Ginny suppressed her own involuntary sob, and brushed a hand over Harry's arm.

Harry looked up at Ginny fiercely, an unspoken challenge in his eyes. "Promise me I'll see you again, at least?"

Ginny flushed, surprised. "Me? Of course you will. I've got another year of school left, so I'm not going anywhere." She laughed softly. "And Mum'll want you at the Burrow for Christmas, see if she won't. You'll not get rid of us Weasleys that easily, Harry Potter, I can promise you that."

Harry smiled and leaned his head back against the bare stone of the wall. He relaxed a bit, the tension melting from his face slowly. Ginny's hand was still on his arm, and he reached out to take it in his own. Ignoring the pounding in her ears, Ginny squeezed his hand reassuringly, hoping to help calm his demons.

"I'll miss you, too, Ginny," Harry said softly.

"I'm right here, Harry," Ginny answered. "For the next year, I'm just an owl away. I'm sure Hedwig knows how to get to Hogwarts by now."

To her surprise, Harry pulled her into a tight hug. Ginny choked back a sob and buried her face in his shoulder. It hurt, being so close to him. He wasn't just another of her brothers, no matter how much he acted like it. Sometimes she even thought she saw something deeper in his eyes, but it always vanished without a trace, to be replaced with fraternal affection. Ginny didn't WANT another brother - she wanted Harry. And he was graduating from Hogwarts tomorrow - for the first time, Ginny began to truly reconcile herself to the fact that Harry would never see her the way she saw him. Her heart broke, and she clung to him fiercely.

"I love you, Harry."

It took Ginny three full heartbeats to realize she had spoken aloud. Her blood froze, and she stiffened, terrified to raise her head and meet Harry's eyes. After six years of burying her feelings, she ruined it by blurting them out at the worst possible time - the night before he left Hogwarts. Ginny wanted to kick herself.

The silence hung heavily in the air, and for one wild moment, Ginny thought that maybe, just maybe, Harry hadn't heard her.

Then she felt his chest vibrate beneath her cheek as he chuckled, and his arms tighten around her, and his lips on her forehead.

"I love you, too, Gin."

*****

Fighting her way into wakefulness, Ginny opened her eyes and stared blankly at the curtains around her four-poster bed. She hadn't shut them completely, and sunlight peeked in from around the velvet hangings. She felt numb all over - HAD it actually happened? Was it only a dream? It had seemed so vivid; she could still feel Harry's kiss on her forehead, his hands on her hair, her fingers laced with his.

The early morning noises of her roommates forced her mind back to reality. Ginny sighed. It probably was just a dream - a wonderful, beautiful, impossible dream. She pulled back the curtains, swung her legs out of bed, and started to dress.

When Ginny finally made her way down to the Gryffindor common room, she found everything in chaos. Everyone was going home today, and true to form, no one was ready. First Years scrambled around, hunting for misplaced quills and last minute belongings. Fifth Years resolutely shoved O.W.L. revision books into the deepest recesses of their trunks, loudly proclaiming their relief to be done with them. A group of Ginny's fellow Sixth Years clustered around the fireplace, tightly surrounding a few of the Seventh Years - including Harry, Ron, and Hermione.

Hermione positively glowed; she was graduating with top honors, highest in her year, and the praise she had received from Professor McGonagall had been extravagant. Ron hovered proudly beside her, beaming at his girlfriend and basking in her reflected glory. Harry sat back and watched the two of them, laughter sparkling in his emerald eyes as Ron leaned over and planted a loud kiss on a protesting Hermione's cheek. Hermione turned bright red and shooed Ron back, stammering furiously.

Biting his lip with suppressed laughter, Harry raised his eyes and caught sight of Ginny from across the room. Ginny tried to look away quickly, but found that his gaze held hers. She grinned slightly and rolled her eyes, indicating her opinion of her brother and Hermione's antics.

Harry's smile broadened, and he winked at her. His eyes sparkled as he watched her - and for the first time, Ginny felt absolutely beautiful.

~END~