Harry's Redheads

How it happened

…"Hermione – Neville's right – you are a girl"

"Oh well spotted" she said acidly

"Well - you can come with one of us!"

"No I can't!" Hermione snapped … "because I'm already going with someone else!"

… "She's lying" Ron said, flatly, watching her go

"She's not" said Ginny quietly

"Who is it then?" said Ron sharply

"I'm not telling you, it's her business" said Ginny

"Right" said Ron, who looked extremely put out "this is getting stupid. Ginny you can go with Harry and I'll just -"

Goblet of Fire – page 400

1 A Different Yule Ball

Harry was totally caught off guard by the idea. He said the first thing that came to mind "Uhh…Ron Professor McGonagall said it was for Fourth Years and above"

"Actually, the notice says 'Anyone may invite a younger student – if they wish" said Ginny. She didn't look up from her book and her voice betrayed no emotion.

"Well, maybe Ginny's already going with someone" Harry said, looking at Ron.

This time, Ginny looked up, and she was rather annoyed "Maybe Ginny can answer that for herself" she said.

"A-ba-ur" stammered Harry. It occurred to him that they had been talking about Ginny as if she wasn't even there. He looked down at her and away from Ron "You're absolutely right. We're sorry. Ginny, do you have a date for the Ball?" he asked.

Ginny fought desperately against the blush she felt coming and said "I thought Neville was going to ask me after Hermione said no" Harry stuffed his hands in his pockets and started to look away. Dumb Ginny! Dumb Ginny! What did you say that for! She thought

"Did Neville ask you or not?" asked Harry.

Ginny shook her head and said "No, Harry, Neville didn't ask me. No one else did too…er…either"

"Ginny, will you go to the Ball with me?" asked Harry, suddenly nervous. He crossed his fingers in his robes.

Ron goggled at Harry.

Ginny blushed furiously "Yes, alright then" she replied

"Great! Thank you!" said Harry, happily. He wasn't sure why, but Ginny Weasley blushing for him again suddenly seemed like a good thing. Harry's pleasure was interrupted by Ron muttering to himself sullenly. Harry thought furiously for a solution. As luck would have it Parvati and Lavender came in through the portrait hole "Hold on a minute" he said, running after them.

"Hi Harry" Lavender said. Both girls giggled and whispered to each other.

Harry waited impatiently for them to stop, then he asked "Are you girls going to the Ball with anyone yet?"

"I'm going with Seamus" Lavender answered

Parvati blushed and said "I'm available, Harry, why are you asking?"

"Err…actually…I have a date, Ginny Weasley" Harry replied "But Ron doesn't. Do you think you would…?"

"What about Hermione Granger?" Parvati asked

Harry shook his head and said "She's going with someone else"

Parvati looked back at Ron and giggled. She waggled her fingers at him "I might, but he has to ask me" she said

"Ok" said Harry 'Why can't things be easy' he wondered "Ron, Parvati isn't going with anyone" he said, mentally begging Ron to take the hint.

Ginny poked Ron not-so-subtly in the kidneys and he jumped "Ummm…right…er" Ron stammered "Ahh Parvati will you go to the Ball with me?"

"I'd love to" said Parvati, giggling furiously. She ran a finger under Ron's chin then hightailed it for the Girls' Dormitory, with Lavender following close on her heels.

"What the bloody hell was that about?" Ron asked, looking up the stairs.

Ginny rolled her eyes and said "It means, oh thick one, that she is happy you asked her" she repeated the gesture on Harry and vanished as well.

During the week leading up to Christmas, Harry found himself playing matchmaker again. The heavy load of holiday homework had gotten to him and he was turning in early. In the Fourth Year dorms he found Neville grumbling to himself, miserably. "What's got you down, Nev?" asked Harry, concerned for his friend.

"Missed my chance to go to the Ball" Neville mumbled.

Harry felt very guilty "Ginny said you almost asked her. I'm sorry about that, mate" he said

"I'm not angry at you, Harry" Neville replied "It's my fault for not asking her right then" he slumped down and pointed his wand at the top of his bed. The curtains closed around him.

Harry made his way back to the Common Room "Hey, Parvati" he called out "I was wondering if you knew anyone who still doesn't have a date for the Ball"

"As a matter of fact, no one asked my sister" she replied.

Harry looked confused "I didn't know you had one" he said "I've never seen her here"

"My twin…Padma…she's in Ravenclaw" Parvati replied testily

Harry looked away from her glare "Ohh…sorry about that" he said, lamely

"Forget it. Who did you have in mind?" she asked.

"Err… Neville Longbottom" he replied hesitantly "You see…he almost asked Ginny and-"

Parvati cut him off "Say no more" she said "Longbottom's got some potential"

"Potential what?" asked Harry.

Parvati rolled her eyes at him "You're hopeless" she said "Boyfriend potential, of course. Here's a tip, Ginny Weasley is thinking the same thing about you. I'll go talk to Padma"

Harry was left with this new thought to ponder. He didn't ask Ginny about it during the next few days. He thought about asking Ron, but dismissed it. Hermione wasn't very helpful, as she just told him to talk to Ginny. So, he sent a letter to Sirius. But, unfortunately, by Christmas he hadn't replied. Harry was left with a new reason to hate the fact that Sirius was on the run. Professor McGonagall had actually been the most helpful in telling him that he needed to get Ginny a corsage for the Ball. He had ordered that for delivery on Christmas Eve. Ginny had been so delighted with it that she kissed his cheek. She hadn't blushed, this time Harry did.

At five o'clock every Common Room in Hogwarts became a boys only zone as the girls vanished to their rooms to get ready.

"How could it possibly take you three hours?" asked Ron. He wasn't alone in asking "And you still haven't told me who you're going with!" He yelled to Hermione. Unfortunately for Ron's curiosity, she disappeared with a wave.

Harry, his mind still in turmoil over Parvati's comment about Ginny, waited nervously in the Common Room with his dormmates. After the twentieth time, he gave up trying to flatten his hair. But he had redone his bowtie a dozen times and had brushed his brand new robes at least that many.

"What're you worried about, mate, it's only Ron's little sister" said Dean.

Harry growled at him "Bugger yourself, Dean!" he cursed

"Touchy, touchy" Dean teased "Don't think that's possible, even with magic. Besides I'm more interested in how Ron landed one of the two best- looking girls in our year"

"Just lucky I guess" Ron replied, not sounding at all happy. His robes were a disaster and he still didn't know who Hermione's date was. Parvati came down and a look of disappointment flashed across her face. Ron didn't miss it. "Err…sorry about this" he apologized.

"It'll be alright" said Parvati, more to convince herself.

They walked over to Harry "You didn't happen to see Hermione, did you?" Ron was asking her.

"Yes" replied Parvati "She left almost an hour ago"

Ron was dumbfounded "Do you know who her date is?" he asked.

"Yes she did" Parvati answered, testily "And don't bother asking me! She told me not to" Parvati took to sulking. Harry gave her an apologetic look and she shrugged.

Dean whistled appreciatively "Whheeeeww! I wonder whose girl this is. Awesome legs!"

"That's my sister you smarmy git!" Ron snarled.

Harry looked up, he pushed at his hair again and swallowed hard. He took her hand and wrapped their arms together "That would be me" he said with a smirk "Excuse us boys"

"What was that about?" Ginny asked, curiously.

"Can it wait until after I tell you how pretty you look?" Harry replied.

Even Ginny's ears turned red "Th-th-thank y-y-ou" she stammered "Y-y-you lo-lo-look han-handsome, too"

As they reached the Great Hall, Harry asked "Not that I'm like Ron, but where is Hermione?"

"Over there" Ginny pointed

Harry turned from looking at the beautifully decorated Hall, to see where Ginny was pointing. He saw the Durmstrang students with Professor Karkaroff, but no Hermione. The girl who was Viktor Krum's date, waved at him. He smiled slightly and waved back. Ginny covered her mouth and giggled. He was about to ask why, when Professor McGonagall asked for the Champions to stand by her. While everyone else filed in, she explained that the Champions were to enter after the students were seated.

He introduced Ginny to Roger Davies and Fleur. Roger ignored them in favor of staring at Fleur.

"Oh, what a sweet leeetle girl!" Fleur said. She patted Ginny on the head, then she turned back to Roger.

Ginny gave her a death glare, but Harry turned her to greet Cedric and Cho.

'Odd seeing them together doesn't bother me' he thought. He turned to Viktor and his date "Viktor, this is Ginny Weasley. Ginny, Viktor Krum" said Harry.

"A pleasure" said Viktor as he kissed Ginny's hand "I belef you already know my date"

"Hey Ginny" she said "Hi Harry, you look very nice"

That was when it hit him. "Wow, Hermione!" he exclaimed "You look great!"

"Thanks" she said shyly.

Harry saw several girls, with their dates, walk by giving Hermione nasty looks. What surprised him was when Ron did, too, only he looked away before Hermione saw him. Entering the Hall, Harry felt like a First Year. Everyone was clapping. Except, Harry noticed as they passed, Ron who was eyeing Hermione narrowly. Parvati also had an unhappy expression, though she was directing it at Ron.

"Sit by me, Harry" said Percy as they reached the main table, indicating a chair.

Harry waved a hand, politely declining "Oh no" he said "Ginny should sit next to you. After all you're her brother"

"Ginevra" Percy said "I did not know you were going to be here"

Ginny sat down and gave Percy a cold look "Hello Percival" she said "Maybe you would've if you visited Mum and Dad occasionally."

"I got promoted" Percy said, proudly, ignoring his sister.

"Maybe he meant to promote Weatherby" said Ginny sarcastically.

Harry snorted in amusement, then covered it with a cough. He didn't want to get in the middle of that "Excuse me" he said "Err…congratulations…Percy. That's good"

"Yes, I'm now Mr. Crouch's executive assistant…" said Percy importantly.

Percy kept talking, but Harry tuned him out in favor of food. Ron had complained loudly over the cruelty of delaying a meal for two extra hours. Harry had gone for days without eating at the Dursleys, but that didn't mean his stomach wasn't feeling a little empty. He looked at the menu. His choice magically appeared and he started in. Ginny, he noticed, was matching him bite for bite.

"Getting dressed is hard work" she joked when she realized what he was looking at.

Harry laughed. He found himself enjoying Ginny's company more and more. "Well you look beautiful" he said.

"Wow, two complements in one day, I'm honored" she replied.

"I'm not joking, Gin" said Harry.

Ginny dropped her fork and gaped at him "Thank you, Harry" she said, then she sighed contentedly and leaned her head on his shoulder.

When the Weird Sisters appeared, the Hall erupted in applause. Harry jumped at the sudden noise, disturbing Ginny, who frowned at him. "Err…sorry" he said, distractedly "Never seen even a Muggle band…they even look cool"

"I believe we have a dance coming" Ginny said uncertainly "Ahhmm…Harry can you dance?"

Harry scratched his chin "Why, can't you?" he asked.

"I've been taking lessons since I was four" Ginny replied, slightly annoyed.

Harry stood and held out a hand "I might surprise you" he said with a wink. Ginny took it and they joined the other Champions on the dance floor. He performed every move exactly right.

"Where did that come from?!" asked Ginny, completely stunned.

Another song began, this time a slow one "I'll tell you if you dance this with me" Harry replied.

"Ok" said Ginny. She slipped her arms around his neck and felt his hands on her waist. They swayed in place, turning slowly for a minute, before Ginny said "Well, you promised"

Harry looked down slightly at her upturned face 'Flushed cheeks are really interesting' he thought. "Well, right after I asked you, the twins had one of their back and forth chats with me"

"I'll kill them, slowly" Ginny growled

"You should thank them" Harry countered "You see, they told me you were a really good dancer. So I took Professor McGonagall up on the offer she made to help anyone who wanted to learn"

"But I heard she cancelled it…lack of interest" said Ginny "Besides you had detention most of those two weeks"

Harry laughed "Even McGonagall doesn't give two weeks detention for falling asleep in class"

"You learned how to dance in two weeks?" Ginny asked, her voice a mix of awe and disbelief.

"Not exactly" he admitted "I learned this one dance because she told me it would be the first song. By doing the steps over and over again. I just didn't want to step all over your feet"

"Well that's still pretty amazing" Ginny said, still impressed "And you did that for me" she snuggled closer.

Harry was grateful she wasn't looking at his face just then as he was sure it was bright red "Yeah, well-" he started.

"Couldn't do any better than Weaselette, Potter?" Draco sneered

Harry sighed "Why don't you go pester someone else, Malfoy"

"Oh, I get it" Draco answered maliciously "Bet she comes real cheap, eh Potter"

Harry turned on him, hair flicking with excess magic "Say that again, Malfoy" he growled

"Oooh, not very friendly" said Draco as he retreated a couple of steps

Ginny stepped in front of Harry "Harry doesn't need to pay anyone for their company, unlike you" she sneered "I hope you're not paying for that cow Pansy by the pound"

"Still letting your girlfriend fight your battles, I see" Draco said, not even looking at her. He strolled off with a smirk on his face.

Harry wanted to go after him, but Ginny blocked him "Forget about him, Harry" she said "I'd rather go back to dancing"

"Sure, Gin" Harry replied, half-heartedly. And as the song ended, he said "Do you think we could sit out a couple?"

"I guess so" Ginny replied, silently cursing Draco "Why don't you look for Ron or Hermione and I'll get us some butterbeer"

Harry squeezed her hand in thanks. He found Ron sitting and sulking "Something wrong, mate?" he asked. Ron just thrust out his chin. Harry turned to see Hermione and Viktor dancing. As the song ended, she got close to him, then after a minute she pointed at where Harry and Ron were.

"This Ball is amazing!" Hermione exclaimed as she sat, slightly winded.

"Having fun with Vicky, are you?" asked Ron nastily

Hermione looked like he'd struck her "What is wrong with you?" she asked.

"Your precious Vicky is competing against Harry! He just wants you to tell him Harry's plans!" Ron replied.

"Last time I checked, Ronald, you were the one with the Viktor poster and the Viktor doll!" she shot back harshly.

"He's the enemy, Hermione!" Ron screamed, practically in her face.

Now Hermione's face was red from anger "Now you're just being stupid!" she screamed, matching his volume.

"Are you even gonna dance with me once?" an angry Parvati asked at that moment.

Ron ignored Parvati and said "You agree with me, don't you Harry?" Parvati stomped away.

"To be honest Ron, I don't see anything wrong." Harry replied "I mean. Fleur came with Roger Davies and he goes here."

"And you asked Fleur!" Hermione exclaimed triumphantly "So, you've got no right to talk!"

"Fine then" Ron snapped "Go and find Vicky then!"

Hermione threw up her hands in disgust "You ruined everything!" she yelled "And don't call him that!" she stomped off and was quickly lost in the crowd.

Moments later Viktor and Ginny appeared, both carrying butterbeers "What happened?" she asked easily picking up her brother's anger.

"Ron and Hermione had a tiff" Harry replied.

Viktor directed an angry look at Ron "Vhich vay did she go?" he asked

"Not a clue, mate" Ron shot back, nothing at all friendly in his tone.

Viktor looked like he was about to hit Ron, but Harry pointed, saying "She went that way. Probably the girls' lavatory"

"That wasn't very nice, Ron" Ginny scolded as she handed Harry his butterbeer.

Harry took a swig "Thanks Gin" he said "Look, you know what happens when they get into it"

"So what was it about?" she asked.

Ron just glared at her, so Harry answered "He thinks Hermione shouldn't've come to the Ball with Viktor"

"Well you had plenty of opportunity to ask her" Ginny pointed out. Ron gave her a dirty look "Don't even-" Ginny began, dangerously

The last thing Harry wanted was another fight, he put his butterbeer down and said "Ahh…Ginny how about we go and dance again."

"Alright" she replied. They shared a couple of slow dances. Then Harry tried to skive off a fast one but Ginny pulled him back "Come on Harry!" she yelled over the loud music "You learned one!" Harry let himself be pulled back and half an hour later, they were breathing hard and sweaty.

"You kids are a great audience!" the Weird Sisters' singer yelled "We're just taking a little break! We'll be back in ten!" Hogwarts shook under the force of the applause.

"Can we grab a couple of butterbeers and take a walk?" asked Harry

Ginny nodded "That sounds nice, Harry" she said

In the courtyard, they wandered aimlessly for a while "I-" they both began at the same time

"Go ahead, Harry" she said.

"I've been having a lot of fun with you tonight, Ginny" he said "I'm really glad to be here with you. I-I…that is…can we do it again?"

Ginny's heart skipped a beat, or three, "A-a-are you as-asking me out?" she stammered. Her butterbeer crashed on the marble of the courtyard.

"Yeah" said Harry in an uncertain tone.

"Out, out?" Ginny asked "As in boyfriend/girlfriend out?"

"Is there another kind?" he asked, beginning to get impatient.

Ginny shrugged, there was a smile tugging at her lips "Not that I've heard of" she said "Big step that…walking to class holding hands and all"

"Yeah, too bad we don't have any classes together" Harry replied. His pulse doubled when she put her hand in his. "Kissing seems important, too" he said 'Must be the butterbeer' "Wonder how you keep from banging your noses together"

Ginny giggled, feeling the blood flow into her cheeks "What I can't figure is how you kiss and breathe at the same time"

"Maybe its like Wood says" said Harry, letting his her hand run up Ginny's arm.

Her face went all bug-eyed "Trust a boy to think of Quidditch at a time like this" she grumbled

"I was thinking of his three favorite words" Harry said (he lifted her chin with a finger) "Practice" (he stroked her cheek) "Practice" (he leaned in until they were an inch apart) "Practice" (and their lips connected).

One minute and fourteen seconds later, Ginny knew because she counted, THE KISS ended "Definitely… need to… work on that… breathing thing" she said, huskily.

"More practice?" Harry suggested with a glint in his eyes. He heard harsh whispers but ignored them in favor of more practice.

"Not even enough sense to hide your indiscretions, Potter" Snape snarled "Ten points from Gryffindor! And Weasley, I thought you were smarter than to associate yourself with our resident hero. Ten points from you as well! Back to the Hall or I'll have you both in detention…on different days!"

"Yes Professor" Harry said, contentedly. Then, after Snape sent to pursue "FAWCETT!" and "STEBBINS!" Harry commented "Best ten points I ever lost."

Ginny snorted in amusement "Yeah! I'm real broke up about the whole thing. Shall we, Mr. Hero!" she offered her arm.

"Sure" replied Harry "Lead the way" A few minutes later, Harry was waiting near the girls' lavatory for Ginny when someone crashed into him.

A disheveled Susan Bones tried to scramble away but something in their robes had gotten tangled "Snape's after me!" she whispered frantically.

"Just follow my lead" Harry replied.

Susan nodded and about ten seconds later Ginny came out and Snape appeared simultaneously. "I'll have you in detention for a month for running like that, Bones" Snape snarled.

"Susan wasn't running, Professor" Harry said, innocently "We were talking while I was waiting for Ginny when someone crashed into us and ran into the Hall"

As Snape eyed them his upper lip curled "Who might that have been, Potter?" he asked suspiciously.

"It all happened so fast, I'm not sure, sir" Harry replied "it might've been Millicent Bulstrode"

"And what do you have to say, Miss Bones?" asked Snape

Susan gulped nervously "Sorry…er…Professor, I wasn't looking…ahh…when it happened"

"I see" he replied, he turned and headed back to the courtyard.

"Excuse me Professor!" Harry called "But Millicent went that way!" Snape ignored him.

Susan heaved a big sigh "Thank you so much, Harry" she said "I can't believe that worked."

"No big deal. He already caught us earlier" replied Harry.

Susan giggled "I see" She tried to leave, but their robes were still tangled. Susan giggled even more as they freed themselves "Gotta go find Justin, thanks again Harry" she said, waving as she departed.

"Who was that?" asked Ginny with a hint of jealousy.

"Susan Bones" Harry answered "she's in Hufflepuff. She made the mistake of sitting next to Ron in First Year Potions. Snape gets her for almost as many points as me"

After the Ball ended, Cedric called out "Harry! Wait up!" He ran over leaving a put-out looking Cho at the end of the hallway.

"Yeah Cedric" he replied

"Listen, I didn't really thank you for the tip about the dragons" the Hufflepuff boy said.

Harry shrugged "No big deal"

"But it was…er listen…someone gave me a tip, too. Umm…does your egg wail?" Cedric asked.

Ginny giggled "Oh yeah! Broke some windows in the common room"

"Right" Cedric acknowledged, distractedly "Well…take a bath, okay?"

Both Harry and Ginny just stared at him

"Tell you what" Cedric said "use the prefects; bathroom. Fourth door to the left of the statue of Boris the Bewildered on the fifth floor. Password's pine fresh. Gotta go - want to say good night"

Goblet of Fire – page 431

"Are all Hufflepuffs weird?" asked Ginny.

Harry shrugged and said "Well Susan was trying to keep out of trouble. As for Diggory, maybe he doesn't like the fact that I asked Cho"

"Are you gonna do what he said?" asked Ginny.

Shrugging again, Harry replied "Eh…dunno…I'll think about it tomorrow. Right now-I'd kinda like to-ahhh-practice some more"

"It'd be safer if we went back to the Common Room" said Ginny, her eyes slightly downcast and a blush coloring her cheeks.

"Lets go, then" Harry replied, excitedly.

Unfortunately for their plans, the Gryffindor Common Room was the scene of a screaming match between Ron and Hermione "-didn't like it, then you know what you should have done, don't you!?" she screamed

"NO!" Ron yelled back "But I'm sure you'll tell me!"

"Next time there's a ball, ask me before someone else does, and not as a last resort!"

Goblet of Fire – page 432

"Bloody nutter" Ron complained "Oi! Harry, you ready for bed?"

Harry hesitated "Ahh…I guess…I'll…ummm…be up. I just want to say goodnight to Ginny." he said

"Alright" said Ron, begrudgingly, going up to the boys' dormitory.