Harry was sweating hard even against the cold, Aubrey's new game was fast paced and they had been playing for almost an hour.
Aubrey said it was based off of a muggle game called "twenty-one" where the object is for one person to be the first one to score twenty one points. The quidditch version consisted of a wild game where everyone was trying to get the quaffle and score while simultaneously keeping everyone else from scoring. Back and forth over the make shift pitch they soared, Harry and Aubrey in particular going blow for blow at one another. Luna too often surprised them with an impressive move and score, though she was also just as likely to come to a complete stop to gaze at something or another.
They decided to call it a tie as they were all exhausted. Aubrey and Luna plopped down in the grass while Harry made his way to the kitchen door, aiming to refresh himself in the loo. It was while climbing the staircase that a sniffle from Ginny's room brought him to a halt outside of her door. It sounded as though Ginny were inside crying.
Harry wasn't sure what to do. While the decent thing to do would be to see what was wrong, he had a strong inkling he was the last person she would want to talk to. Deciding the right thing would be to at least give her the option, he creaked open her door.
"Ginny?" he peered in to find her sitting cross legged on the end of her bed whipping her eyes with what looked to be an old tee shirt.
Ginny sniffed loudly, "Hi, Harry."
"It's nothing." She took a deep breath and waved her wand, sending the tee shirt flying into a bin across the room.
"Ginny look, I know I didn't do right by you and I'm sorry." Harry felt his stomach churn.
"Harry, I know you didn't do it on purpose." Ginny actually reached out and grabbed his hand, "Can I be honest with you?"
"Of course Gin." His use of her nickname drew a weak smile across her face.
"I knew there was something different about you when you came back. Both times actually. I think, somewhere deep in my heart, I knew that we wouldn't make it as a couple. But you know us Weasley's and how stubborn we are." Ginny chuckled, "I still don't think mum has given up hope, but I think we know better."
"Ginny, if I'm really honest I felt the same way. I wasn't entirely sure being with you was what I wanted or what would last. I felt like I owed it to you and to your brother to try."
Ginny smiled sadly as some fresh tears escaped her eyes. "You know, I wanted so badly for everything to work out. Mum would get her perfect family, I would get my dream guy, hell I could even get Hermione as a sister. Merlin I sound like my mother, but it would have been so nice." She let her hand slip from Harry's, "But I think what I'm starting to discover is that maybe what's expected of you isn't always what's best for you. I mean look at Ron. Everyone here thought he'd end up with Hermione and be an Auror with you. Now he's with Aubrey and thinking about working with George and I have never seen him so happy."
"Yeah, I think I've been learning the same thing." Harry took a seat on her floor, not wishing to dirty anything with his sweaty clothing.
"Oh, Harry." Ginny slid down next to him, "As much as I want to throw a pity party for myself, I can't even begin to imagine your life. You've had things thrust upon you since before you could walk or talk."
"Ginny I've never seen this side of you before."
"Yeah, well in a house full of brothers you don't get brownie points for being a softie." Ginny laughed, "I'm glad you came to talk to me Harry."
Harry simply placed his hand on hers and gave it a gentle squeezed it. He wasn't exactly sure how long they sat like that before Ginny cleared her throat.
"Can I ask you something Harry?"
Just then they were interrupted by Ginny's door opening again.
"Oh….I didn't mean to interrupt." Hermione was standing in the doorway.
"No, we were through. We were just having a little chat is all." Ginny and Harry both stood, Harry giving Ginny a questioning look that she ignored.
"Glad you made it." Harry turned and shared a smile with Hermione.
Ginny shook her head and laughed. "Go get a shower Potter, you stink."
"Noted." Harry laughed and made his way out into the hallway, sliding past another young man who was standing behind Hermione in the hallway. "Oh, hi Luke. I didn't know you were coming this early."
"My parents decided to go visit some relatives in Ireland and they allowed me to stay." Luke smiled brightly.
Harry shook his hand before again making his way up the stairs toward Ron's room. He felt better than he had in at least a week, his conversation with Ginny having done much to alleviate the knot he had felt in his chest. Maybe now that they had aired out a few things they could be friends again.
He wasn't all that excited about Luke being here, but at least he'd be a good player for some holiday quidditch if the weather held up.
A delicious smell came wafting in even through the steam of his hot shower. As long as he lived, the strongest magic the Burrow would have to offer was the smell of Mrs. Weasley's cooking.