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for a pessimist, i'm pretty optimistic

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Ginny lets out a sigh, looking at the worn old sofa in the sitting room. Christmas break at the Burrow is always bedlam, but this one is shaping up to be a banner year in barmy, all because of Fleur’s insistence on having an engagement party.

Seriously, is that even really a thing?

“But ze snow will be so beautiful!” Ginny mimics, flipping her hair back over her shoulder.

No one is there to appreciate the flawless impersonation, unfortunately.

Here she is after all, the first week of January at the Burrow, with all her brothers and Fleur’s entire family, not mention Harry and Hermione thrown in for good measure. It will be a relief to go back to Hogwarts next week.

What she really deserves is a nice, long sleep in the comfort of her own bloody bed. She glares down at the sofa one last time and then goes to collect sheets and pillows from the linen closet. Dumping them on a nearby chair, she gets to work on converting the sofa.

A creak in the hall behind her has Ginny turning to see if Hermione’s finally coming down to join her.

It’s not Hermione.

“Harry,” she says, quickly taking in his appearance. He’s barefoot, already dressed in pajamas, which, considering how late it is, makes sense.

“Oh,” he says, coming to a stop, clearly not expecting to see her here. He glances back at the stairs as if seriously considering fleeing.

Then again, what else is new these days?

Ginny feels a flash of annoyance, but forces herself to bite it back. “What are you doing down here?” she asks instead.

“Uh,” he says, gesturing behind him. “Ron and Hermione are…”

She sighs. “Let me guess. Having another row.”

They’ve been insufferable ever since Hermione got here. It was almost enough to make Ginny regret inviting her as her particular guest. She just thought it might give them a chance to put this bloody Lavender debacle behind them.

This is what she gets for trying to be altruistic.

“Actually, no,” Harry says. His cheeks are red as he rather studiously looks at anything but her.

She frowns. “Then what…”

“They’re…” He gestures vaguely with his hands. He blows out a breath, his hands dropping to his sides. “Not fighting anymore.”

“Oh!” Ginny says, and starts laughing, mostly at Harry’s clear discomfort. " Finally . Maybe now the rest of us can get some bloody peace.”

It will be a relief not having to watch Ron mope and Hermione stomp around. Truly a holiday miracle.

She eyes Harry. “Though I suppose that leaves you a bit out in the cold.” Literally, as it isn’t exactly warm down here. She glances at the frost-tinted windows.

“Yeah,” he says, rubbing at the back of his head. “I told them I was just going to kip out on the sofa.”

“Well,” Ginny says, tugging at the sofa to drag it out into a bed. “I’m afraid I’ve got dibs.”

“What’s wrong with your room?” he asks, stepping over to help her pull.

“Fleur snores.”

“What?”

“Like you wouldn’t believe.” She shakes her head in disgust. “Even little Gabrielle sounds like a gold-high Niffler.”

Not exactly what one would expect from the delicate-looking Veelas.

“Oh,” Harry says. They both look at the pullout bed. “Well, then. I guess I’ll take Percy’s room. It’s empty, right?”

“You could do that,” she says, flipping out the sheet so it floats down over the mattress. “But it’s been booby-trapped within an inch of its life.”

The loss of a room when the house is packed with people had not gone over well with their mum. But traitorous arsehole brothers deserve what they get, really.

Harry lets out a huff of amusement, clearly agreeing with the sentiment, grabbing the other side of the sheet and helping to stretch it over the mattress, tucking it neatly underneath. “Maybe not. I’ll crash on the twins’ floor then.”

Ginny spreads out a blanket next. “That cesspit? I’m pretty sure they don’t have a floor. Why do you think Bill and Charlie took a room at the Inn? No. If Ron’s room is off-limits, unless you want to wake up Mum and Dad and join them, your best bet is to just stay down here.”

“Here?” he asks.

She gestures at the bed.

He frowns. “But where would you sleep?”

“Uh, there,” she says, pointing to other side of the bed.

He blinks a couple of time. “I don’t understand.”

For a bright guy, sometimes he’s thick as a post. “It’s called sharing, Potter. Didn’t they teach you that in primary?”

His eyes widened, looking utterly horrified. He actually takes a step back away from both her and the bed. “Wait. You mean…”

“For Merlin’s sake, it’s just a bed.”

It’s one thing for him to avoid her, it’s another altogether for him to look like being near her is a fate worth than facing Voldemort. If she hadn’t spent the last three years getting over him completely and utterly, that may have stung.

Which it definitely doesn’t.

He grabs an extra blanket off the chair. “I’ll be fine on the floor.”

She looks at the hardwood surface in question. “Don’t be an idiot. We can’t even cast cushioning charms.” Being underage really sucks. “The bed is big enough.”

Which luckily it is—a roomy double-sized mattress, for all that it’s rickety and possibly on its last legs.

“It’s just one night,” she points out. “I promise I don’t even snore, unlike certain Veelas who shall remain nameless.”

He glances up the stairs. “But your parents…”

“Will never know,” she says. “And even if they did, it’s not as if it matters. I’m like your little sister, remember?”

Or at least that is what she overheard him saying to Demelza and Ritchie during one of their last practices at the end of term. With just the perfect amount of disgust is in his tone as well, but it’s possible she was projecting.

Harry’s mouth opens and closes a couple of times, like he was completely unaware that she overheard that particular conversation. “Right.”

“Well then, there’s no problem, is there?” she says, sitting on the edge of the bed. Gathering her hair up, she wraps an elastic band around the ponytail. It drives her nuts to have her hair tangled around her face at night.

“No, of course not,” Harry agrees.

He sets his glasses on a nearby table, spending another long moment shifting from foot to foot like a gaggle of Death Eaters may appear at any moment.

Flipping the blankets back, Ginny slips her feet under the covers, sliding down until she’s comfortable. “Get the lights, will you?”

He must comply, because a moment later, the room falls completely dark. She can feel the dip of the mattress under his weight.

It takes a while for her eyes to adjust to the moonlit room, and when she finally looks, she can see that Harry is stretched out on the furthest edge of the bed, his body completely straight, arms folded over his chest.

Rolling her eyes, she turns away from him and curls up on her side, bouncing the bed a little more than is strictly necessary. She assumes after a while he’ll probably relax, especially if she pretends to be asleep, but after another fifteen minutes of staring at the wall, the bed still hasn’t so much as moved.

She rolls over to look at him, and he is in the exact same spot.

“You’re going to pull something,” she says.

“I’m perfectly comfortable,” he says, which is impressive, considering his jaw looks so tight it should have been impossible to squeeze any words out at all.

She sighs. “If I bothered asking, is there any chance you would actually tell me what’s going on?”

He’s been even more broody and close-mouthed than usual.

“Nothing is going on, Ginny,” he says, voice heavy with long-suffering.

That’s what she thought.

They lie there in silence for another long while before Ginny loses her temper.

She curses. “Fine,” she says, flipping the covers back. “ I’ll go sleep on Mum and Dad’s floor.”

“What?” Harry says, sitting up.

“Then maybe you can actually unwind enough to get some sleep. And I won’t be kept awake by the sound of your ridiculousness.”

He reaches out for her arm. “Ginny, wait.”

Only the moment his hand touches her, the ancient bed lets out an ominous groan and starts to lose its battle with gravity.

“What the—” Harry says, as the middle of the bed droops towards the floor.

It doesn’t stop there though, the entire mattress seeming to fold in on itself in one swift movement.

Ginny lets out a squeak of alarm as she gets launched sideways, smacking straight into Harry. It’s a wild tangle of limbs and bodies, something hard connecting with her nose as the bed violently gives way.

“Fuck,” Ginny says, her eyes watering.

Harry ends up half-sprawled on top of her, the bed folded in a V-shape with them firmly stuck in the middle.

“Christ,” he says. “Are you okay?”

“Ugh, I’m fine,” she says, detangling her arms enough to press a hand to her face. “My nose isn’t bleeding is it?”

He touches her face, turning her head to the side to inspect the damage. “No.”

“Oh, good. Just a concussion then,” she tries to joke, completely forgetting Harry’s inability to take a joke when he’s worried.

He frowns down at her. “Really?”

“No, not really,” she says, blinking the tears away from her eyes. “Go ahead, ask me anything.”

“Like what? What year is it?”

“Sure,” she says. “It’s fifty years past when this bloody death trap of a sofa should have been incinerated.”

“That is the correct answer,” he says, voice wry, and Ginny tries not to think how ridiculous it is that now he’s acting more like himself.

She attempts to take stock of their situation, wincing at the uncomfortable press of a spring against her back. Harry doesn’t seem have realized quite yet that his leg is wedged between hers, his stomach flush against her hip.

She may have noticed.

“Um, Harry?”

“Yeah?”

Her hand is resting on his bicep, her fingers squeezing slightly. How dare he, really. “No offense, but you’re not exactly light.”

“Oh, shite, sorry,” he says, immediately moving to get up.

He tries to push himself up and off her, but the bed shifts again and he loses his balance. In the scramble not to knock heads, he places his hand somewhere rather unexpected to both of them.

He lets out a strangled yelp that under any other circumstance she would mercilessly mock him for, and simultaneously snatches his hand back.

“God, I’m sorry!”

This is not at all how she ever imagined getting to second base with Harry Potter. Not that she has ever imagined it.

The bed lets out another groan as Harry tries to scramble away from her, shuddering ominously. It’s like the more he moves the tighter it gets, like bloody Devil’s Snare.

“Just stop,” Ginny says, feeling her face flush horridly and, Merlin, why is this her life?  

Harry freezes, hand immobile in mid-air, the other still trapped under her back.

“Bugger, bugger, bugger,” she says, like that may somehow help. She blows out a breath, shoving her hair back impatiently from her face. “We need to be smart about this.”

“Okay,” he says, voice tight.

Only thinking straight is kind of hard to do when she’s having a hard time breathing properly. “I’m lighter, right?” she says.

“Yes,” he draws out warily.  

“So,” she decides. “I should be on top.”

Harry makes a strangled sound that she chooses to take as his agreement.

She shifts to the side, but can’t move all that far from him considering how tightly wedged in they are. It’s really more of a roll in place, Ginny sliding out from underneath him inch by careful inch, hooking her leg over his hip when she can and pulling herself up until she’s flipped their positions.

“There,” she says, looking up at his face, and he has his hands pressed up against the mattress on either side of his head like he’s trying to hold it open. Or maybe just not touch her.

“Now all I need to do is…” She tries pushing herself up, knees on either side of Harry’s hips, her hands on his chest. Reaching up for the edge of the mattress above her head, she tries to push it down out of her way so she can climb out.

She’s completely unprepared for it to push back .

“What the—” she yelps as she gets batted back down, her elbow colliding rather violently with Harry’s ribs.

He lets out a startled oomph she can barely hear over the groan of the metal frame tightening around them, now forming more of a burrito than a taco.

Ginny freezes, cursing under her breath, but after a moment, the bed stops moving. Now there are only openings at their feet and their heads. She’s left with her face hovering right above Harry’s.

“Are you okay?” she asks, knowing she got him pretty good in the ribs.

He bites his lip. “I’ll live.”

Her eyes must light up at the opening because Harry groans and his fingers tighten on her waist. “No. No Boy Who Lived jokes. This is painful and humiliating enough as is.”

She scrunches up her nose. “Spoilsport.”

Turning her head to stare at the mattress just to the side of her face, she tries not to think about the way she’s lying on Harry and instead focuses on the problem.

“Here’s the thing,” she says after a while. “There is no way this is natural.”

“Picked up on that, did you?” he asks.

She ignores the sarcasm, knowing this is hardly fun for either of them. “The twins,” she growls as she comes to the only logical conclusion. “I’m going to destroy them.”

“I’ll gladly help you,” Harry offers. “But first we need to get out of here.”

A wand would be really bloody useful right about now.

“I’m going to…” She jerks her head back towards their feet. “You just try not to move.”

“Uh, are you sure?” Harry asks, sounding very alarmed.

“Well, our only other option is staying here.”

“True,” he agrees.

Very carefully, she starts shimmying side to side, trying to make her way down towards the foot of the bed, paying very close attention to whether or not the bed is tightening around them further.

Harry sucks in a sharp breath.

“What?” she asks, pushing up on her hands as much as she can to look at him.

He glances down at her and almost immediately away again, his face coloring. “Nothing,” he says, sounding like he’s in a great deal of pain. “I’m fine.”

It’s only when she starts moving again, glancing down at herself, that she realizes she probably just gave him a really great look down her shirt. Wonderful. Not that he should particularly care.

She doesn’t make it much further before Harry snaps, “Okay. Just stop.”

She freezes. “Is the bed tightening again?” she asks. She hasn’t noticed anything.

“Just…don’t move,” he grinds out.

Her head is just below his chin now, so she slowly lowers her face to rest against his chest. That’s when she realizes his heart is thundering rather loudly.

She glances up at him again, and he has his eyes tightly closed, his expression pinched like he’s thinking of something highly unpleasant.

“I’m going to keep going,” she says.

He curses, but nods his permission.

She stretches her leg out, straining for the edge of the bed. Her toe just manages to brush it when the bed gives another lurch and tightens

She snatches her foot out of the way just as the mattress closes up entirely, her knee colliding with Harry’s shin.

“Sorry!” she says.

His hand flaps in her direction, like this latest abuse is the least of his problems.

If it weren’t for the opening above their heads letting in a stream of moonlight, it would be completely dark. She has no doubt even trying to move in that direction will make it close up as well.

She lets out a very long, creative string of curses.

“I agree,” Harry says.

Resting her head back on his chest, she considers their options. Harry’s hands eventually lower to tentatively rest on her back.

For an insane moment she considers suggesting they just sleep like this.

Keep it together, Ginny.

“Okay, we need to think about this rationally. If this is the twins’ handiwork, they’d hardly want the bed to just squeeze people to death as amusing as that might be. There would have to be some out.”

“Right,” Harry says, sounding happy to be back to something that didn’t involve kicking him or squishing him. “Did you stay here with Hermione last night?”

“Yeah.”

“I take it one of you would have mentioned if you were nearly eaten by a mattress.”

She huffs under her breath. “Yes, Harry. I would have said something.”

“So what’s different?”

“Other than you not being Hermione?” Ginny’s eyes widen. “Or a charm not meant to affect two girls, but a boy and a girl…”

“You don’t think your mum…”

“Would curse the sofa to make sure there are no midnight shenanigans going on under her roof?”

“Uh,” he says, shifting slightly. “Yeah, that.”

“No, Harry, I don’t think she would take it quite this far. She’d want to create distance, not…this. Besides, she’s far subtler and much scarier than this. Trust me.”

“Well that’s…terrifying.”

“You have no idea.” Ginny nibbles her lip. “What I don’t get is, if this is because of you…we were in this bed for a long time before anything happened.”

“I touched you.”

“What?” she asks, lifting her head.

“Right before it went mental, I touched your arm.”

“Oh yeah.” She rather forgot all about their fight in the midst of this. Apparently problem-solving and imminent danger have a way of making people put aside their differences.

Wait…

“Oh, bloody hell,” Ginny says.

“What?” Harry says, hands pressing out against the mattress as if to stop it from squeezing them further.

“I know who this trap was meant for.” She looks up at him. “Ron and Hermione.”

“What—” Harry starts to say, only to stop abruptly. “Yes. That makes sense.”

They’ve been driving everyone barmy with their sniping and fighting when they weren’t giving each other the cold shoulder. Even Fleur seemed a minor annoyance in comparison.

“Fred and George said something about just shoving their faces together and being done with it,” Harry admits.

“For Merlin’s sake. Only they would be so bloody literal.”

“Hopefully not too literal,” Harry says.

“What do you mean?”

“Well, if this was about shoving their faces together, it goes to reason it wouldn’t let them go until…”

Ginny groans, dropping her face back to his chest. “I am definitely going to kill them.”

She vaguely registers that Harry’s heartbeat is back to normal as they both sit there and try to ignore what this all means.

After a long while, Harry sighs. “It seems to me we have three options.”

“Yeah?”

“One, we keep trying to escape and it squeezes us to death.”

“Pass,” Ginny says.

“Two, we stay very still until morning and get rescued by the first person awake in the morning.”

“Which will more than likely be my mum.”

Harry winces. “Not ideal.”

Ginny lets out a soft snort. She has a sneaking suspicion that after a round of yelling, her mum might be secretly very, very pleased, the bloody hypocrite.

“Or number three,” he says.

Ginny props her chin up on her fist so she can actually see Harry’s face. “We kiss.”

His eyes dart down to look at her. “Yeah.” He clears his throat, looking away from her.

She bites back a remark that he could at least try to look a little less miserable about the idea.

“Let me try something,” she says.

“What?” Harry asks, letting out an alarmed squeak as she very carefully starts shimmying her way back up his body, just enough so she’s within reach of Harry’s face again.

His eyes are wide. “What are you—?”

She darts forward, pressing her lips to his cheek. She immediately pulls back, looking around at the walls of mattress. They stay firmly in place.

“Hell,” she says. “It was worth a try.”

“Um, yeah,” Harry says, sounding like he’s swallowed something.

She sighs. “Look, I get it, Harry. I’m like your little sister. You’d rather kiss a troll or Umbridge or Voldemort.”

“That’s not—” he starts to say, only to close his mouth abruptly.

“That’s not what?” she presses.

“You have a boyfriend!” he blurts.

“What?” Ginny says. “That’s a bit beside the point, but for the record, I don’t.”

Harry’s eyebrows lift. “But you and Dean…”

She shakes her head. “That ended weeks ago.”

“It did?”

“Let’s just say that I am not the Gryffindor Dean is really interested in.”

Harry’s expression immediately transforms from surprise to anger. “He what ?”

She waves it away. “It’s fine, really. He wasn’t the Gryffindor I was really interested in either.”

And why the hell did she say that? Merlin, she’s as self-deluded as Dean, and this is the absolute worst moment to realize it.

“Besides,” Ginny presses on, “even if we were still dating, I doubt Dean would mind if it meant escaping this death trap.”

“I’d mind,” Harry says.

She looks up at him, surprised by the vehemence in his voice. “Would you?”

His eyes travel over her face. “Yes.”

She considers him. “One measly kiss is worse than spending six hours plastered together like this?” she asks, deliberately wiggling.

“Okay,” he says, hands grabbing her waist. “You’ve proved your case.”

She grins at him. “Good. Because possessiveness is cute only up to a point.”

He frowns. “What is that supposed to—”

She doesn’t let him finish, deciding the element of surprise is all she has going for her. She presses her lips to his. He makes a muffled sound of surprise, but doesn’t pull away.

It’s just closed lips pressed against closed lips, quick and simple, but Ginny still feels the bed shift around them, the pressure on her legs lessening slightly.

She pulls back with a cry of delight, only to groan a moment later when the mattress squeezes back into place, slightly tighter as if in punishment.

“Bugger,” she says. “Maybe it could tell we didn’t mean it.”

“Or…” Harry says.

“Or what?”

“Well,” he says, looking embarrassed but resolute. “I’m hardly an expert, but that wasn’t really a kiss.”

“No,” Ginny agrees. “I think I’ve had better from the Giant Squid.”

If there is one thing she knows about Harry Potter, it’s that he can’t step back from a challenge.

Sure enough, his eyes narrow. “Well, putting aside for the moment your questionable history in the Black Lake, I think we can do better.”

She bites back a laugh, nodding. “It did start to move.”

“So we’re really doing this,” he says.

She nods. “I think so.”

His hands tighten on her waist, urging her to move up a bit higher to better align their faces. “Okay.”

His hand lifts to touch her face, his fingers pressing gently just to the side of her jaw.

“Ready?” he asks.

She licks her lips, her hand closing around his arm. She nods.

This time when their lips touch, everything is softer, more gentle, but still little more than a press of mouths against one another.

Ginny shifts, getting slightly better leverage before parting her lips, and Harry follows her lead, the kiss deepening—warm and intense and much much better than it has any right to be. It doesn’t take long for Harry to lose any last hesitance, apparently as quick of a study in this as in everything.

She can’t help but make a small sound at the back of her throat, pressing closer, and his hand slides up into her hair.

They pull back to look at each other.

“Better?” he asks, his voice rough.

She nods. “Definitely.”

The bed hasn’t shifted, but neither of them seem to care. She doesn’t know who moves first, but they are kissing again, gentleness giving way to something much more exciting, and kissing Dean was never anything like this, she thinks vaguely at the back of her mind before she stops thinking altogether.

Which is why she is completely unprepared for the bed to suddenly flatten with nearly as much violence as it trapped them with in the first place. They’re ripped away from each other, both ending up lying flat on their backs on opposite sides of the bed.

Ginny lies there a moment, trying to catch her breath and calm her racing heart, not sure if she’s more startled by the end of the curse or that kiss.

Just when she begins to recover herself a little there’s a loud bang, a giant sparkling red heart appearing above the bed. A garish cupid figure flies around it, a huge smile on his face. Lifting his bow, he shoots an arrow at the heart and it explodes.

Ginny shrieks, covering her face, but Harry is already there, plastering his body across hers as if to shield her. Meaning he gets the bulk of the impact of the eruption of red glitter. It hits him with a loud thump, and in the following silence, glitter floats quietly around them, covering absolutely everything in sight.

“Subtle,” Harry says, spitting out a bit of glitter.

Ginny looks around in awe. “We won’t have to punish the twins,” she decides. “Mum is going to kill them for this.”

Harry snickers, and then Ginny is laughing, and they are both lost in mirth, clinging to each other as they laugh and swipe glitter out of their faces.

“Merlin,” Ginny says when she has enough breath to speak. “This has been the strangest night.”

He smiles down at her, his fingers gently brushing across her forehead. “Definitely.”

She looks up at him, very aware that there is zero reason he should still be crouched over her. “Harry,” she says.

“Uh,” he says, wincing. “Sorry.” He starts to pull away.

She holds tight, not letting him move, because she refuses to just pretend this didn’t happen. No kiss that good could be just for show. Could it?

“Are you?” she asks. “Sorry this happened?”

He glances away. “I…uh,” he stutters, already disappearing back behind the same barmy behavior he’s been clinging to for months.

“Harry,” she says.

He regards her, and she forces herself to hold his gaze.

“Not really,” he eventually admits.

She blows out a breath. “Yeah?”

He opens and closes his mouth a few times, like he’s trying to find the right thing to say. Eventually he reaches out, brushing a strand of hair back from her face. “I wanted to kiss you long before a sofa forced me into it.”

She can only hope she doesn’t look as relieved as she feels, her fingers tightening on his back. “Did you really?”

“Yes.”

“Good,” she says.

“Yeah?” he says, looking hopeful.

She knows she could try to explain how important having him as a friend is to her. How she did her absolute best to move on and be happy with what she has. How she even managed to delude herself for a short while.

But most times words are far less useful than actions.

So instead she reaches up for his face and kisses him very thoroughly. Harry in no way seems to mind, gathering her close and pressing back with an enthusiasm that makes Ginny more than a little breathless and tingly.

They eventually pull back, Harry resting his forehead against hers.

Ginny touches her lips. “I feel the need to point out that if that is the way you think one kisses one’s little sister…”

He groans, rolling onto his back, a small puff of glitter scattering as he goes. “I can’t believe you heard that.”

“After that kiss, I can’t believe you said it.”

“I only did because they caught me…” He breaks off, giving her a guilty look.

“Caught you what?” she asks.

Harry coughs, his face tingeing red. “Possibly…watching you?”

Her eyebrows lift with astonishment. Considering they were all in the Quidditch locker room at the time… “While I was changing?”

He sits up. “No! Of course not.” He glances sideways at her. “But maybe while you were…stretching?”

“What a perv,” she says, laughing.

He seems to relax when he realizes she isn’t angry as much as amused. “It’s hardly my fault. Have you seen you?” he asks, gesturing at her.

“Clearly you have,” she says, pushing herself up to sit next to him.

“Not nearly as much as I’d like,” he shoots back.

Her mouth opens, staring at him in shock. “Oh my god. So this is what has been hiding under all that weirdness. And to think I assumed you suddenly decided you hated being around me.”

“No,” he says, looking horrified. “I decided I liked being around you far too much.”

She winds her fingers through his. “You have a funny way of showing it.”

He winces. “I didn’t mean to be weird.”

“It just comes naturally to you, I suppose,” she says, bumping his knee with hers.  

He rolls his eyes. “I didn’t want to mess anything up. With you or with Ron.”

Of course, she thinks. Of course Harry bloody honorable Potter would worry about what Ron would think. Or of ruining their friendship.

“For the record, I don’t think Ron would care. But even on the off chance he did, he’s going to be busy enough with Hermione for the next little while to even notice, let alone object.”

He pulls a face, no doubt at the thought of whatever his best mates might be getting up to right now. “Don’t remind me.”

She laughs. “Now that is the proper response to imagining a little sister having a snog.”

He drags a hand over his face. “You’re never going to let me live that down, are you?”

“Nope,” she says.

“I don’t care,” Harry declares suddenly, posture straightening.

“If I tease you?”

He turns to look at her. “If Ron wants to kill me. If all your brothers do.”

“You don’t?” she asks, feeling a little thrill at the way he’s looking at her.

He nods. “He’s my best mate. And you really do have too many scary brothers. But you’re…”

“I’m what?”

He touches her face. “Let’s just say I’d really rather never have to watch you date another bloke again, if it’s all the same to you.”

She regards him for a long moment before shifting up off the bed, lifting her leg over his so she’s sitting across his lap. “Are you offering yourself up for the job?”

His hands settle on her waist. “You know I love a ridiculously dangerous challenge.”

She pokes her tongue out at him, wrapping her arms around his neck. “Well, I don’t know. What do you have on your résumé?”

He tilts his head to one side. “I defeated the Dark Lord once.”

“Meh,” she says, unimpressed.

He considers her. “I was the youngest Seeker in a century?”

She taps her chin with a finger. “Better.” Leaning closer to him, she says, “But I think maybe a demonstration of skill is in order.”

Harry doesn’t need to be told twice, pulling her mouth down to his.

Things have barely begun to get interesting when there is a loud sound behind them as something crashes to the ground.

Ginny swivels around to find Fred and George watching them with astonishment, what looks like a camera smashed on the ground between them.

“You two?” George says with disbelief.

The way Ginny is sitting on Harry would be damning enough, she supposes, even if they weren’t covered liberally in glitter.

Fred gives Ginny a stern look. “That curse was not meant for you, Ginny Weasley!”

“And you,” George says, wagging a finger at Harry, “should take your hands off our sister.”

Ginny growls low in her throat, climbing off Harry to stalk towards them. “You two!” she shouts.

They are smart enough to look scared, both of them taking a step back.

“Now wait a minute, Ginny,” Fred starts to say.

She launches herself at them, wrapping her arms around their necks and dragging them down towards her. They struggle in vain, Ginny effectively trapping them. But rather than hurting them, she gives them both big smacking kisses on the cheek before releasing them.

They stand stunned, wiping at their cheeks half in disgust and half in confusion.

“You aren’t mad?”

“Oh,” Ginny says, giving them a smile. “I’ll leave you two to Mum.”

She looks them both straight in the eye as she pulls her hair free of its holder and shakes it in imitation of Fleur, a cloud of glitter trailing down over the floor and wafting towards the kitchen. “I assume this glitter is meant to last?”

They both pale.

“At least twenty-four hours,” Fred confirms, voice hollow.

“Cleaning-charm resistant,” George says.

“Well,” Ginny says, hands on her hips as she glances at a clock. “The Engagement Party is in ten hours. But Mum should be up in four. Five, if you are really lucky.”

The twins turn towards each other. “We’re doomed,” they say in unison.

Harry pads up next to them, leaving a nice swirl of glitter in his wake. “There’s always the good old fashioned Muggle way.” He glances around. “Might be tight getting it done in time…”

Very slowly and deliberately, Harry runs his hand down his arm. The twins seem to wince each time another puff of glitter floats towards the floor.

Ginny feels the sudden urge to snog the lights out of him--the sassy, ridiculously wonderful git.

“Ginny?” he asks.

“Yes, Harry?” she says.

“I don’t know about you, but I’m hungry.” He pats his stomach. “Worked up a real appetite, nearly being squeezed to death by a sofa. How about a snack?”

He takes a few steps towards the kitchen.

“Oh, yes,” Ginny readily agrees, reaching out to take his hand.

Fred and George actually let out whimpers.

“Please,” George says, voice nearly hoarse. “Not the kitchen.”

Ginny leans slightly around the jamb so she can make out the glistening, white perfection of Mum’s homemade engagement cake sitting on the table. The one she spent three days on.

“We’ll do anything,” Fred pleads.

Harry turns to Ginny, clearly letting her decide.

“I am pretty tired,” Ginny says, taking pity on her brothers.

Both Fred and George look like they are going to cry with relief.

She turns to them with narrowed eyes. “But I’m calling in that favor some day. Like you wouldn’t believe .”

They both nod enthusiastically. “Whatever you say.”

“And I don’t want to hear a word about what Harry and I choose to get up to. Not from any of you, Bill and the others included.”

They scowl at each other, looking over at Harry.

He just regards them with his arms crossed over his chest, looking impressively intimidating despite the telling flush of embarrassment on his face.

“Fine,” George bursts out. “Deal.”

“Just don’t ever make us see that again, okay?” Fred says.

“No promises,” Ginny says in a singsong voice, grabbing Harry’s hand and pulling him towards the stairs.

Fred looks over at George. “Did we really just hook up our little sister—”

“—with Harry bloody Potter?” George finishes.

“What have we done?” they say together.

Harry glances back over his shoulder at them. “Night!” he says brightly.

Ginny laughs, the two of them bursting out onto the first-floor landing. “You were brilliant,” she says, keeping her voice low so as not the wake up the Delacours.

“Does this mean I got the job?” he asks, pulling her around.

She wraps her arms around his neck. “If your skill demonstration hadn’t already sealed the deal, that back there with the twins definitely would have.”

“Good to know,” he says, leaning in and kissing her.

She hums against his lips, but is careful not to get derailed. “Come on,” she says.

“What are we doing?”

“Isn’t it obvious?”

“Um, not particularly?” he says.

“Well, Fred and George’s room is currently unoccupied. I plan to jump on their beds and get as much glitter on their belongings as possible.”

“You know,” he says, “you’re a little scary.”

“Yeah?” she says, looking back at him. “Fortunately you like a dangerous challenge, right?”

“Yes,” he says. “Yes, I do.”

She smiles at him. “Good.”

He backs her up against the wall, his lips insistent on hers.

Maybe revenge can wait, she thinks.

She has much more important things to focus on.

.fin.