Harry groaned, his head pounding. He shifted slightly, trying to get comfortable on the cold, hard, surface beneath him. He took a moment to breath, and then, with no small difficulty, forced his eyes open. Indistinct shapes and blobs of colour swam before his eyes: black, a sort of off-white, a fiery red colour reminiscent of someone's hair… Slowly, as though from a great distance, Harry became aware of a voice, urgently trying to get his attention: "Harry! Harry!" He groaned again.
"Harry! Are you okay?" Harry groaned a third time, and tried to focus. He knew that voice.
"Harry!" Harry shook his head and slowly his vision grew sharper. As he did, Ginny's face slowly came into being, a couple of feet above his. He didn't remember having seen her this close since his sixth year of Hogwarts. He placed his hands flat on the floor – which was even colder to his bare hands – and tried to push himself up. "Thank Merlin you're okay! Do you need any help? Is there anything I can do?"
Harry smiled, unconcerned, distracted by Ginny's beauty as she knelt in front of him, checking up on him. "How about a date?" It wasn't for another five seconds, by which time Ginny had stood up and left, that he registered the way her face had dropped at his request, or the way she seemed to shrink in on herself as she rushed away. He eventually stood slowly, unable to push that image out of his mind.
In his auror training that afternoon, Harry found himself unable to concentrate. Nothing seemed to sink in during his law and ethics training, and in his subsequent duelling session, he found himself beaten in seconds. He couldn't even bring himself to care as his instructor screamed at him. As soon as he could, he rushed over to Hermione's house and knocked on the door. Taking one look at the frantic expression on his face, she ushered him in.
"Now, tell me what the problem is," said Hermione, fixing him with a stare from her chair, positioned opposite his in the lounge.
Harry froze, then sighed. "I… think I asked Ginny on a date and she ran off." He found himself unable to look at Hermione, instead fidgeting and looking down at his lap, where he was playing with his hands. As such, he wasn't exactly surprised when Hermione queried this.
"Are you sure that that's all of it?"
Under her gaze, Harry wilted further, and reluctantly admitted "Well… I was kind of not fully conscious at the time."
And so the conversation continued, Hermione slowly piecing together an accurate impression of the event, until eventually she said, "I think you need to apologise to her. I don't know whether you want to date her or not, but either way, I think you need to clear the air." Harry knew she was right, and agreed as such. The rest of the evening passed in a more relaxed fashion, Harry taking advantage of the opportunity to be around one of his oldest friends.
Saturday saw him outside the Burrow, a bunch of flowers in held tightly in his left hand. Considering how often he visited the Burrow, he felt inexplicably nervous. Feeling it somehow important to be more formal than usual, he knocked on the door., and was received by Mrs Weasley.
"Harry!" she said warmly, throwing her arms around Harry. "What a nice surprise! You know you don't need to knock. How are you?"
Harry smiled and hugged her briefly, drawing comfort from her familiar affection, and then drew away. "I need to talk to Ginny. Can you call her please?"
Noticing a subtle reserve in his tone and a crease or two in his forehead, Mrs Weasley shot him a worried glance, then did as he asked, bustling over to the bottom of the stairs to summon her daughter.
When Ginny arrived at the bottom of the stairs, Harry let out a breath he barely knew he'd been holding, a small amount of tension released in the knowledge that now he would be able to sort this. She looked wonderful. Her attention drawn by this breath, Ginny looked for a moment as though she would flee back upstairs. After a moment, however, she sighed, and indicated that he should follow her to the lounge.
Once they were both seated, Harry wasted no time before starting to speak. "I owe you an apology."
Ginny smiled a small, sad smile. "No, you don't. I know you weren't thinking properly. If anything, I should apologise for running off before you were fully recovered."
Harry found himself unsure how to respond to this; a silence developed, and he began to feel uncomfortable, having no idea what Ginny was thinking or whether she was okay. Her gaze remained resolutely on the floor, and Harry, peering at her face for any clue as to what he should do next, wondered if he could see the beginnings of tears glistening at the ends of her eyelashes. With little else to do, he found himself admiring the contrast between her pale skin, smooth and alluring, and her bright red hair, flowing from her head, giving her a sense of life that drew him in towards her as it always had.
"Well, if that's all…" Ginny pushed herself up from her chair, clearly ready to return to her room. Harry was seized by a sudden panic, certain there was something he had forgotten to say.
"Wait!" She paused. "I, well, I'm not unconscious now." She stared, uncomprehending. "Do you think… I mean," he paused and took stock. Harry carefully constructed his next sentence, knowing he could not afford any mistake. "What would you say if I were to ask you on a date properly, now?"
Ginny froze. Harry waited anxiously, knowing he wanted this, and equally certain he had read the situation wrong and this was not what she wanted from him. Finally, she smiled, and Harry's heart soared in relief. "Yes!" Ginny almost shouted in reply. Later, he would be unable to say what precisely happened next, only that somehow he found Ginny's lips on his. He drank her in, oblivious to anything outside the two of them, filled with a sense of how right it was to be in Ginny's arms once again.
The flowers fell to the floor, forgotten.