Ginny and Colin bond over a shared interest.
Professor Flitwick clambered back onto his pile of books at the head of a class of snickering first year Gryffindors. He rubbed his eyes.
"Mr. Creevey!" he squeaked. "While I appreciate your enthusiasm for the start of my lessons, I'm afraid I shall have to confiscate that camera if it's going to cause distraction."
"Sorry, Professor," said Colin sheepishly, and Professor Flitwick returned to the roll-call.
"I've never seen a camera like that before," whispered the skinny red-headed girl in the seat next to him.
"My dad bought it for me, after I got my letter, and I promised him that I'd take loads of pictures. This place is amazing, isn't it? I never knew there were real wizards before! And now I get to learn real magic! It's incredible!"
"So that's a Muggle camera? May I see it? I've never touched one before. My dad would flip. He loves Muggle things."
Colin handed it too her. "Is it true that the pictures'll move, if I develop them in the right potion? Like the portraits?"
"Why wouldn't they?"
"That's so cool! Mine don't move at all. See," he added, pulling a picture out of his wallet. It showed a smiling, mousey-haired man holding the hand of a very small, mousey-haired boy, both of whom looked strikingly like Colin. "That's my dad, and my little brother, Dennis. They couldn't believe I got in here!"
The girl poked one the figures in awe. "But they really don't move! How weird."
She pulled her own photo out of her book bag and slid it over in front of Colin. A family of redheads grinned and waved at him.
"Those are my brothers," she said, and proceeded to point them out and name them.
"Wow!" said Colin, his eyes widening as Fred Weasley made a rude gesture behind Percy Weasley's back.
"Weasley, Ginevra!" called Professor Flitwick.
"Here, sir!" said the girl. Then she added to Colin, "I'm called Ginny, by the way."
Colin grinned, and continued gazing enthusiastically at the picture.
"Who's that?" he asked, noticing a single dark-haired figure amid the sea of red.
"That's Harry Potter," mumbled Ginny, her whole face going a vivid shade of scarlet, so that she looked rather like a poster supporting Gryffindor pride.
"I think I've heard of him," said Colin.
Ginny gaped at him. "Of course you have! Everybody's heard of him. He defeated You-Know-Who, when he was only a baby! And he's really nice," she said, a dreamy expression creeping over her face. "He's my brother, Ron's, best friend. He was over at our house all summer," she added proudly.
"Wow," said Colin, clearly impressed. "I can't believe you actually know him! What's he like?"
"I told you, he's really nice," said Ginny vaguely, a bit flushed. "And he's really brave, too! Did you here what happened last year?"
But whatever had happened last year would have to wait, because at that moment, Flitwick started the lesson, and Colin's concentration was diverted by the willow-pattern tea set doing somersaults across the desk.
By the next Charms class, Colin had heard everything there was to know about Harry Potter's adventures the previous year, including a few things Harry himself would have been quite surprised to learn. A lot of it came from Ginny, who had apparently spent most of the summer wheedling the information out of her brothers.
Colin had developed his first set of proper wizard photographs, which he was very eager to show off before the start of their lesson.
"He keeps moving off to the side, but he's- hang on, there he is!" said Colin, pointing out a black-robed arm that was being vehemently tugged by a small photographic Professor Lockhart. "I think he's going to sign it for me, whenever I see him next."
Ginny looked impressed. "May I have a copy? I mean- if it's not-" Ginny blushed furiously again, and stopped.
"Of course you can," beamed Colin. "And I've got more, see, look!" They spent the remaining minutes before the bell pouring over images of Harry Potter's retreating back, Harry Potter's leg disappearing around a corner, Harry Potter's silhouette on a distant broomstick, Harry Potter's owl (Colin pulled up his sleeve to reveal several talon marks), and even one of Harry Potter's dirty socks.
November arrived, and the events of Halloween had sent dark murmurs rustling through the student body like wind through the autumn leaves. Even Colin, who hardly understood half of it, was perturbed.
He plopped down in his usually seat in Charms. Ginny didn't seem to notice; she was scribbling into a tattered diary with shaking hands, her mouth set in a grim line. She jumped visibly when Colin greeted her, and hastily shoved the book back into her bag. She turned to him with unnaturally wide eyes and ghostly pale skin. Even her numerous brown freckles looked faded.
"What do you think about the cat?" asked Colin at once. "You don't think Harry Potter had anything to do with it do you? I don't, but a boy in my dorm says that he's the Heir of Slytherin, whatever that is, and-"
"He is not!" said Ginny fiercely.
"I don't think so either." If Colin was taken aback by Ginny's outburst, he didn't show it. "I mean, he defeated You-Know-Who! He's a hero, isn't he? He wouldn't go around attacking innocent- well, he wouldn't go around attacking any cats, anyway."
Ginny said nothing, and stared down at her small, white hands, avoiding his eyes.
"And isn't his friend a Muggleborn?" Colin continued. "He's always nice to me, and I'm Muggleborn, so I don't think he'd hurt any of us."
Ginny clenched her hands, and finally looked at him. "But someone is. You will be careful, won't you, Colin?" she said quietly.
Colin's grin flickered. "Of course, I will. But, you don't really think Professor Dumbledore is going to let anything else like this happen again, do you? And even if it does... well..." He caught her eye again. "I'll be careful, Ginny."
She nodded, and was silent.
"So," said Colin at last, his happy smile returning, "are you going to the match on Saturday? I've been watching the practices and Harry looks really brilliant! I've never seen anyone fly like that, have you?" And although he couldn't provoke much more than a monosyllable from Ginny, he did notice some of the color returning to her cheeks.
A week later, Colin's usual seat was empty. The classroom was abnormally subdued, and for the first time all year the lecture wasn’t interrupted by the clicking of a Muggle camera.
Ginny Weasley sat solemnly at her desk and watched a miniature Harry Potter step out from behind a tree and offer her a shy wave. She closed her diary on him, with a snap.