Chapter 3: A Charming Valentine
Harry waited patiently as Charms class ended. He needed to speak with Professor Flitwick about a Charm. It was all in preparation for his Valentine's Day surprise for Ginny. He told Ron and Hermione to go ahead of him. Ron had grumbled about it, but Hermione pulled him out with her. Not that long ago, he would have been angry with Ron for questioning him. But ever since Harry and Ginny had started dating over Christmas, for some reason, he felt calmer. He was less likely to lose his temper and bite someone's head off. Harry smiled to himself as he thought of his elaborate plans for the day as he waited for the classroom to empty.
Valentine's Day was that coming Saturday, just two days away, and it was a Hogsmeade weekend. But that was not all he had planned thanks to a little chat with Sirius over the mirror Sirius had given him over Christmas. From there, Harry had put together what he thought was a great plan, with a little help from Dobby and Winky. It was all coming together if he could just get the Charm he needed.
"Can I help you, Mr. Potter," Professor Flitwick asked kindly in his squeaky voice.
"I hope so, sir," Harry answered as he approached the Charms professor's desk.
"What can I do for you?" Flitwick smiled.
"Sir, I was wondering how the candles in the Great Hall stay up? Surely, it's more then Wingardium Leviosa?" Harry asked.
"A little," the professor confirmed. "May I ask why you are suddenly interested in the candles?" he asked with raised eyebrows.
"It's…er…for a date night, sir," Harry blushed.
"Ah, I see," Flitwick chuckled. "And who might the lucky lady be?"
"Professor?" Harry asked confused.
Flitwick laughed with jolly sound. "You see, Mr. Potter, we teachers have a betting pool on certain students. You happen to be one of them."
"I…er…" Harry stammered.
"Please, Mr. Potter, I have twenty galleons on your pool," Flitwick grinned in a way that reminded Harry of a Goblin. Harry mumbled a name. "What was that? I didn't quite catch it."
Harry sighed. "Ginny Weasley," he said a little louder.
"Slytherin shorts," Flitwick complained. Harry looked taken aback. "Minerva and her inside information," he grumbled.
"Oh, yes…Sorry, Mr. Potter," Flitwick smiled again. "The Charm is, for a single night, Wingardium Leviosa Suspendat."
"Thank you, sir," Harry smiled. "And sorry to have cost you so much."
"Oh, not to worry, I have others to win it back," Flitwick chuckled. "Is there anything else?"
"Off you go then."
Harry left hurriedly, looking at his watch. He had just enough time to start on the decorations before dinner. He just had to come up with an excuse for Ron and Hermione.
Harry had to make several excuses to his two best friends over the course of the next two days. Anytime he had enough free time on his own, when he wouldn't be with Ginny, he was in the Room of Requirement setting up for their date. It was finally coming together, very nicely. On Friday afternoon, he did a mental checklist to make sure everything was ready. The candles were ready, the flowers were ready, the table was in place. He knew Dobby and Winky wouldn't let him down. The Room was ready. After a bit of research, Harry had found the time-delay activation charm, without having to ask Hermione or Professor Flitwick, again. Harry took a deep breath, casting both spells. "Wingardium Leviosa Suspendat! Mora Temporis!" Everything glowed a reddish purple, just like it was supposed to. Harry smiled, the room was ready.
The next morning Harry waited for Ginny in the Common Room, smiling to himself. Dobby and Winky had come by his dorm that morning for approval on their selections for later. The two House-elves did not disappoint! They had even gone above and beyond what he had asked for. Ginny was definitely in for a great night. A noise from the girl's stairs drew his attention.
Hermione and Ginny were coming down the stairs giggling. Harry's smile widened as he saw Ginny. Her tight red jeans were one of his favorites to see her in. She wore a form-fitting white knit sweater over a light red shirt. Muggle clothes always looked great on Ginny, in his opinion.
"Morning, love," Harry said before giving Ginny a hug. "Happy Valentine's."
"Morning, love," Ginny smiled. "Happy Valentine's," she said huskily, before wrapping her arms around him, kissing him very soundly.
"Oi! Do you have to do that here?" Ron complained.
"Would you like us to get a room, Ronald?" asked an unapologetic Ginny.
"Oh, come on!" he exclaimed in horror. "I haven't even eaten yet!" Ron grumbled and started for the portrait hole. Harry and Ginny laughed at his discomfort. Hermione rolled her eyes, but still looked miffed.
Just as they sat down in the Great Hall, the screech of the morning post was heard overhead. Harry glanced up seeing Hedwig coming with her special delivery. Ginny startled as Hedwig gently dropped the bundle of a dozen red roses in front of her.
"Oh, Harry," Ginny cooed as she kissed his cheek. "Thank you."
"There's more to come," Harry whispered cryptically to her.
"More?" Ginny asked, confused.
"You'll see," Harry smiled. Hermione shot them an approving smile over her goblet. Ron was too busy eating to even notice.
A short time later, Harry and Ginny walked hand in hand through the streets of Hogsmeade. They passed by other couples walking around the little Wizarding village. As they approached Gladrags, Ginny looked at Harry confused.
"Why are we going to Gladrags?"
"Because you'll want something nice to change into for later," Harry grinned.
"Change into…for later?" asked a thoroughly befuddled Ginny. Harry just smiled as he held the door for her. "Harry, what have you got up your sleeve?"
"Prat!" Ginny swatted his arm playfully.
"I won't take 'no' for an answer," Harry warned. "So, go pick out a nice dress. Not ball nice, just…nice."
"Like a cocktail, or casual evening gown?" Ginny asked with a raised eyebrow.
"Yeah, like that," Harry nodded. Ginny sighed. "And don't let me see it. I'll settle the tab after it's wrapped up."
"Harry…" Ginny started.
"Gin, it's for something I have planned. Just…just do it for me, please," Harry gave her a pleading look.
"Fine," Ginny huffed lightly. "But it better be worth it!"
"It will be, trust me."
"Oh, alright," Ginny sighed again, placing a kiss on his cheek before moving off to look for a dress.
After Harry paid for the dress, ignoring the strange look the cashier gave him, he and Ginny went to lunch at the Three Broomsticks. They saw Ron and Hermione at another table with Luna and Neville. Ginny smiled and waved at Luna, who gave her a wide grin in return. Harry and Ginny chatted about unimportant things as they ate. Although, Harry did tell her about the teachers' betting pool on student couples. Ginny almost choked on her butterbeer when Harry told her Flitwick's reaction to being told they were together. They then had fun speculating on which teacher picked what couples, that ended in a fit of giggles. Soon after, they walked back to the castle slowly, arm around the other.
"Thank you for such a wonderful day, Harry," Ginny smiled sweetly at him.
"But it's not over yet," Harry grinned. "The dress, remember?"
"Well, you did say that was for tonight," Ginny answered. "There is a difference."
"Yes, there is," Harry said as he stopped, pulling Ginny into a hug. He inhaled deeply. "Mmm, I love the smell of your hair."
"Well, I would let you smell it more, but it's cold out here," Ginny smiled up at him.
"Here, let me warm you up a bit," Harry said as he leaned in, capturing her lips with his. Time seemed to stand still as they lost themselves in the other.
"Could you not wait for a broom cupboard?"
Harry and Ginny looked up as the twins were pulling even with them. Angelina swatted Fred's arm, and Alicia punched George's.
"Leave your sister and Harry alone, you two," Angelina complained.
"Unless you two don't want to do that for a month, starting tonight," Alicia warned.
"Just some teasing," Fred began.
"We would never get upset," George continued.
"With young Potter…"
"And our dear sister's…"
"Happy coupling," they said together.
"That's a good idea," Ginny smiled smugly at her brothers, reaching for her wand.
"Whoa," Fred said backing up.
"Hey," George followed his twin.
"We know better," Fred said in surrender.
"Unlike Ron," George squeaked. Angelina and Alicia were laughing so hard they had tears in their eyes.
"Would you like to join us, ladies?" Ginny offered. "I'm sure I can keep these two gits in line."
"Let's," the girls answered.
"You two can walk back there," Ginny said. "Or…" she left the threat open. Fred and George sagged and nodded.
Harry and Ginny parted, after they arrived back in the Common Room, to get ready for Harry's real surprise. Ginny was still confused about not going to dinner with everyone else, and why Harry had asked her to change into the dress she had picked out earlier. She trusted Harry, but the suspense was killing her. Harry, on the other hand, was a bundle of nerves. His hands shook slightly as he placed his gift for Ginny in his pocket. He took a breath and headed down to the Common Room.
The Common Room was deserted because everyone was at dinner. Harry leaned on the back of one the squishy armchairs, waiting for Ginny to come down. He didn't have to wait very long, within five minutes he heard someone moving on the girls' side of the dorms. Harry's breath caught in his throat as Ginny descended the stairs.
Ginny had chosen a navy-blue velvet V-neck cocktail dress that ended just above her knees. She put on just a hint of make-up to enhance her already beautiful features. Her gorgeous red hair was pulled back in a French twist. To Harry, he had never seen her look so beautiful before. He was speechless. He was sure he was about to drool, but he was entranced by the angel walking toward him with an alluring smile. Ginny's smile was both flattered and smug at the same time.
"Hello, to you, too, Mr. Potter," Ginny giggled, closing his mouth with a finger.
"You look… absolutely… stunning," Harry stammered.
"Thank you," Ginny smiled. Her eyes roved over Harry, taking in his appearance in black slacks and a blue button-down shirt. "You look quite handsome yourself."
"Thank you, milady," Harry said, finally recovering. He took her hand, bowed, lightly kissing the back. Ginny giggled. Harry offered his arm as he stood. "Shall we?"
"But, of course," Ginny giggled as she took the proffered arm. "Do I get to know where we're going now?"
"No," Harry smiled. "You'll see." Ginny frowned slightly as she rolled her eyes.
They left Gryffindor Tower making their way to the stairs leading up. Ginny gave him a confused look as they started ascending. Harry only gave her a mischievous grin in return. They walked the corridors arm in arm. Ginny started to realize where he was taking her and had to grin. She knew if Harry had gone to all of the trouble, he would do just about anything for her. Just that thought made her smile.
Ginny didn't question him as Harry let go of her arm to Open the Room of Requirement for them. Harry held the door open for her as they entered. Ginny gasped as she looked around. Floating in the air were many candles lighting the Room in a soft glow. Scattered throughout the candles were dozens of red roses and white lilies. The Room had taken the appearance of a balcony overlooking the sea at sunset. A small table set for two sat in the center, with a good view of both the sea and the sunset.
"Harry…how…when…?" Ginny asked breathlessly. "It's gorgeous! That's got to be more than just Wingardium Leviosa?"
"A bit," Harry admitted.
"You did all of this for me?" Ginny smiled softly.
Harry nodded. "You really like it?" he smiled.
"I love it," Ginny hugged him tightly. She pulled back just enough to kiss him, quite soundly. They were both panting hard when they finally broke the embrace.
"Shall we eat?" Harry smiled. He led Ginny over to the table, pulling her chair out before sitting at the other place setting.
Ginny was surprised to see Dobby appear with small menus for them. After they had ordered their meals, they sat talking about their favorite parts of the day. Dobby served their food within ten minutes. He bowed to both of them, wish them to enjoy their meal before disappearing again. Harry and Ginny chatted lightly as they ate slowly, in no real rush for anything to end their great day yet. Finally, as they finished dessert, Harry knew it was the perfect time for his real gift.
Harry nervously reached into his pocket pulling his gift out. He placed it on the table in front of Ginny as their plates vanished. She looked at the rectangular black box, then at Harry.
"What's this, Harry?" she asked
"That is your real gift," Harry smiled. "Everything else today has been to lead up to this."
"Harry," Ginny said slowly, a blush creeping up her cheeks. He motioned for her to open it. "But I couldn't…" Harry placed a finger on her lips.
"I don't need a gift from you," Harry stated. "Just you being with me is enough."
"You're my very own prince charming," she said. Harry smiled and nodded at the box again. Ginny opened it, gasping as she lifted the lid. "Oh, Harry! It's beautiful." Ginny smiled softly as she ran her finger over the stylized "G" on the top of the heart-shaped locket. She gently opened it, seeing an image of Harry on the left, and an image of them both on the right. "Thank you. Help me put it on?"
"Of course," Harry smiled. He stood, taking the locket from her. Harry gently slid it around her neck, clasping the catch. As soon as his hands were off the necklace, Ginny spun around kissing him again. Again, they were panting for air when the broke. Harry snapped his fingers. Soft, slow music started to play from somewhere. "May I have this dance, my lovely Miss Weasley?"
"Yes, you may," Ginny smiled.
Harry and Ginny danced slowly and close for the rest of their evening. Occasionally, they would look at each other, smile, and end up kissing for long periods of time. A beeping sound called for attention. Harry told Ginny he had set an alarm so they could be back just at curfew. Ginny smiled and nodded. They left the Room of Requirement heading back to Gryffindor Tower.
They made it back and in just as curfew hit. Harry smiled at his timing. He escorted Ginny over to the girls' stairs amid silent stares from several people in the Common Room. They ignored all of them as they said "goodnight" at the foot. Harry and Ginny kissed quite passionately before parting. Ginny smiled and waved to Harry as she started up. Harry watched until Ginny disappeared with a smile plastered on his face. He walked up to his own dorm without even a word to stunned Ron and grinning Hermione.
"Where have they been?" asked Ron.
"None of your business, Ron," Hermione answered with a deep frown, knowing what he was going say about where the couple had been.
"What's that supposed to mean?" Ron frowned. Hermione huffed as he frowned. "She is my sister."
"And Harry is supposed to be your best friend!" Hermione angrily half-shouted. "And they happen to be their own people and dating!"
"What are you on about, Hermione?" Ron asked rather cluelessly.
"Oh, grow up, Ron!" Hermione huffed as she stood. She started for the stairs, but stopped. "So, which is it, Ron? Are you after Harry? Because I know does not go for blokes. Are do you see yourself as Ginny's keeper? Or are you one of those sick and twist people in love with your own sibling? Because I can tell you right now, Ginny is spoken for!"
Hermione didn't wait for Ron to reply, she turned on her heel, marching up the stairs. Ron sat with his mouth open in the silent Common Room.
Harry kept smiling as he changed for bed and crawled in. And that was the end of the most remarkable day he had ever had.