WELL THAT JUST HAPPENED
~ Harry ran back up the stairs, happy to escape the conversion with Charlie and Mrs Weasley. He never really talked about his life with the Dursleys. It wasn't exactly that he was ashamed of his treatment there, or at least that's what he told himself, it just wasn't necessary. Why make the people around him sad when he didn't need too. Harry slowed as he climbed the last two flights to Ron's room, aka the attic. He couldn't help but to reflect on Charlie's words. Sure, he'd never really been able to figure out why being gay was supposedly bad, but he always thought that was just because he was a freak too, and he was, wasn't he? But… if there were other people, good people, that agreed being gay was normal… and what about what Charlie had said, about being true to yourself and those around you? Was he being true to himself?
Harry missed a step and almost fell back down the stair. He had to hold onto the rail for a moment while he struggled to breathe. His chest felt painfully too tight, and why was he suddenly cold, but also sweaty?! What on earth was going on. It was almost like when he was little, and how his body reacted when his uncle would yell at him, right in his face… and that thought was not helping at all. With a tremendous effort he pushed it all back down and focused on just breathing. After a minute or two, he started to feel more or less normal again, so he trudged the rest of the way up, and then decided to just fall right on top of Ron.
Unsurprisingly Ron started awake-ish, and mumbled something about tuna casserole?
"Eww, Ron. Why are you dreaming about gross foods?" Harry laughed.
He laughed even harder at the bewildered look Ron gave him. For his part, Ron just grumbled about how real friends would let a guy sleep in peace, before he rolled over and stuck a pillow over his head. Not sure what else to do, Harry sat on top of the lanky boy and started tickling him. Ron immediately started to squirm, being very ticklish, and quickly managed to throw the smaller Harry off the bed. Both were laughing by the time Harry righted himself from off the floor.
Ron let out an enormous yawn and said, "Alright, let's go get breakfast."
While Ron dressed, Harry climbed back down the five flights to wake the girls. It was impossible to miss Ginny's bright blue door, with pastel flowers of pink, yellow, and blue. They were painted all down one side, and covered most of the bottom third. Ginny answered his knock right away, already dressed, apparently having been up for a while.
Ginny squeaked, "Hi, Harry!"
"Morning Ginny," Harry smiled, then looked over her shoulder to call out, "hey 'mione. Mrs Weasley says breakfast should be ready soon."
Noting how her crush was still trying to sneak a peek at her room from over her shoulder, Ginny hesitantly asked, "Er, d-did you want to come in?"
Harry blushed lightly, realizing he'd been caught. "Ah, well, I uh, was kinda curious what your room looked like," he admitted.
Ginny stepped back to allow him access into the small space. There wasn't much room, so her and Hermione both plopped back down on the bed as Harry looked around with a goofy grin. Her ceiling was a blueish green, dotted all over with tiny stars that were glowing even in the daylight, and the walls slowly faded from the darker blue green of the ceiling, through a small wavy purplish band, and into a light pink that deepened until it was almost red. The effect was akin to the entire room being tie-dyed. There were also a ton of posters all over. Many were of the Holly-head Harpies, but also the Weird Sisters, and even an old poster of Hogwarts. Over a small desk/vanity there was a mirror with something like dry erase marker doodles, and it was surrounded by pictures of friends and family.
"Wow Ginny, it's so… so pretty." He admitted, even though he had to fight not to blush again. "Who painted? It's really cool!"
Ginny had been watching Harry as he took everything in. His complimenting her space made her exceptionally happy, but also even more nervous than usual around him. To be fair though, this was the boy she'd been crushing on for years, and her personal savior just last year, she felt entitled to a few nerves. Even so, she smiled at the memory, "Charlie and Bill did it for me when Charlie moved out of here and, in with Bill. Since they were at Hogwarts most of the time, Charlie volunteered his room for me."
Harry noticed how his fellow Gryffindor perked up when she mentioned her older siblings, and thinking of Charlie's obvious love for the girl, he grinned mischievously, "Sooo, then would you say you miss your older brothers?"
"Some." She admitted, "We did just get to spend all summer with Bill, and Charlie spent most of it with us too, but yeah, some," Ginny answered, wondering why Harry asked in that weird tone.
"Huh, well, just a few minutes ago, when Charlie was thanking me for helping you out in the chamber last year, he-" he didn't even get to finish before Ginny had jumped up off the bed.
"Charlie's here! Right now?" And off she ran out the door.
Hermione was trying to suppress her giggling long enough to scold Harry for being a tease, but his sheepish laughter just set her off again. They hurried down after her, and both were amused to hear Ginny's squeal. They couldn't make out Charlie's greeting, as he was too busy catching his baby sister after she had launched herself into his arms.
"I didn't think I'd see you again until next year!" exclaimed the young red head.
As Ginny chatted away at her brother, Harry reflected that he hadn't ever seen the younger girl so… vibrant before. He decided he liked it. If she could maybe get over her shyness around him, then maybe she'd hangout with them more at Hogwarts. It could be a lot of fun having another girl in the group. He'd always gotten on better with the girls in grade school, at least until Dudley ran them all off. He'd have thought, now that Dudley could no longer scare the other kids away, that he would have made more friends by now. Yeah, he KNEW all of his year-mates, but he really only ever talked to Hermione and Ron, well, and occasionally Neville and his Quidditch teammates. Harry couldn't even blame it on his fellow students. Plenty of them had talked to him occasionally, but he hadn't really ever given much more than empty small talk replies… Was he really so scared to open up?
"Earth to Harry?" Hermione brought him out of his head with a gentle nudge.
Harry looked up, only now noticing how everyone was looking at him. He unconsciously rocked back, and automatically leaned closer to Hermione.
"Sorry, uh, what umm…"
"I was just asking how you wanted your eggs dear," smiled Mrs Wesley.
"Oh, uh, over medium I guess, please?" Answered Harry.
"What had you so brain-tied, Harry?" Asked Charlie.
"Oh, umm, just school...stuff?" Harry finished lamely. Thankfully no one called him out on it, instead Charlie suggested they all have a pick-up Quidditch game after breakfast, as he was rather interested in seeing the supposedly unbeatable seeker, that the twins and Oliver Wood keep telling him about, in action. Harry was equally interested in seeing Charlie fly since he was supposed to be the best player Hogwarts had seen recently.
They all sat around talking for an hour or so after breakfast had finished, Mrs Weasley had given Harry so much extra food he'd had to sneak almost half of it to Ron. The conversations primarily centered on France and Egypt, with Harry only very occasionally asking for more details about this or that. Mostly though, Harry just took it all in. He'd never been anywhere exciting before, apart from Hogwarts itself, and while he was a little jealous, mostly he was curious about all of their experiences.
Once they all had agreed that it was time, Harry told them not to wait on him, as he still had to go get his broom from his trunk. When Hermione had started to follow Harry up, he'd needed to actually shoo her off so as not to ruin her upcoming trunk surprise. Since she didn't really care about Quidditch, more than supporting her house, and had absolutely zero interest in flying, ever again, Hermione elected to spend the time pouring over her newest textbooks. They broke off on the second floor, and Harry climbed the five more flights to Ron's room. It was a very good thing he'd gotten so used to running, otherwise that many stairs would be completely unbearable.
Harry unlocked the third compartment of his trunk and climbed down the ladder. It was very awkward to transition from the floor of Ron's room, over the lip of the trunk, and onto the ladder, but he figured he'd get the hang of it eventually. Once he'd reached the bottom, he had to step over several bags to reach his broom, which was currently leaning up against the wall. When he went back next summer to have this room furnished, he really should ask for a couple broom hooks to keep it safe. Looking back at all the random bags piled around, he figured maybe a bunch of trunks along one of the walls to organize the bigger items would be a great idea too. Harry stopped, green eyes trained on the silver bag with the jewelry store logo. He chewed on his lower lip for a moment in indecision, Charlie's words, be true to yourself, echoing in his head. Everyone else was gone… it wouldn't take but just a minute to check… and really, he was getting tired of how often his mind continued to flit back to the stupid snitch necklace, and the earrings.
Harry quietly crept back up the ladder and gently closed the lid, only to have to open it back up when it was suddenly too dark to see. He hurried over to light one of the runic lamps, using the same activation technique as the shrinking rune and featherlight rune. Seriously, this runic magic stuff was cool. He was really starting to wish he'd chosen that over one of his other electives. He practically ran back to the lid and closed it as silently as possible, before snatching up the bag and going through both sets of pocket doors, before sitting down at the vanity. He turned on the lights around the mirror, feeling more and more nervous as he went. His hand was practically shaking as he fished out the necklace, and went through the earrings until he had found the snitches.
"Argh, why am I so anxious!" Harry whispered to the empty room/trunk.
Slowly, shakily, he clasped the delicate chain around his slim neck so that the little golden ball rested in the hollow of his throat between his collar bones. He could barely take his eyes off his reflection long enough to reach for the earrings, only to change his mind at the last second and grab a pair of the quaffle earrings instead. Fumbling, unsure exactly how he was supposed to do it, he attached the earrings, and fell back into the chair. Somehow, the dangly earrings completely transformed her face. A slow, soft smile appeared on the girl in the mirror. Harry wasn't sure how long they sat there, just soaking in the rightness, but eventually he remembered that he was supposed to be collecting his broom and going to play. He started to stand, but that made the earrings shift, and she fell in love with the way that it felt. She reached up and flicked an earring back and forth a few times. She wished her hair was longer.
Okay wow, she -NO HE- he had to go. The others would notice his absence soon. But she really didn't want to… somehow sh- he found the will to remove the necklace. After another long moment, staring into her reflection, he reached to unclasped the earrings… wait, why wasn't… How… What was the trick to undo the… Oh no, PANIC! Very much panic! How do you take magically attached earrings off!?
Whew, those last couple paragraphs were really fun to write. I'd been wondering when the egg crack moment would finally appear, and this felt right. I really hope my lovely readers enjoy it, and I hope I did it justice. That's always a REALLY big moment in a trans person's life. My first article of feminine accoutrements was lipstick, from my grandmother's bathroom. I'd dream of basically being a trapped princess waiting for my shining Knight to rescue me.
As always, thank you for reading, and comments make me happy.