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The Plan by Mynuet
1. Crabbe Learns Something by Mynuet
2. Losers by Mynuet
3. Hot Oil, Hair Dye, and the Sorta-Girlfriend by Mynuet
4. Shopping! by Mynuet
5. The Girls of Gryffindor and the Obligatory Quidditch by Mynuet
6. Poetry and Nakedness by Mynuet
7. Cooking with Snape and a New Career for Malfoy? by Mynuet
8. The Twilight Zone by Mynuet
9. Manhandled by a Drunken Chili Enthusiast by Mynuet
10. The First Snog by Mynuet
11. Ginny's Evil? by Mynuet
12. Girl Talk by Mynuet
13. Beaters Do It With a BIG Stick by Mynuet
14. I Love It When a Plan Comes Together by Mynuet
15. The Morning After and the Beginning by Mynuet
Crabbe Learns Something by Mynuet
(Ginny's Fourth Year)
The Weasleys were fighting.
Sure, there were only two of them at Hogwarts now, but two editions of the Weasley temper in opposition had all the fury and volume of a natural disaster. Volcano Ginny and Hurricane Ron were standing in the hallway, completely ignoring passersby, screaming at each other with considerable enthusiasm and volume.
"I told you, I did NOT kiss him, not that it's any of your business!"
"Not my business? I'm your bloody brother, of course it's my damned business when you're canoodling with some twit."
"Some twit? Some TWIT? Colin's my friend, you great pillock!"
"Friend, eh? You should be ashamed, Ginny Weasley! I know Mum didn't raise you to-"
"AAAAAAAAAH!" The last vestige of Ginny's patience was gone, an incoherent shriek marking its passing. Without looking, she grabbed a random passerby by their necktie and planted her lips on his. After several seconds, she pushed him away, then whirled and poked a finger at Ron's chest. "I will kiss who I want, when I want, and if you try to interfere, I will make sure that you never have children."
Stomping her feet, she turned and flounced down the hallway, students parting before her like the Red Sea. It was debatable who was most shell shocked. Ron, who was looking green as it sank in that he'd pushed her too far, and she meant every word she said. Draco Malfoy, who'd never before believed in the beauty of angry women, but now that he'd seen it, resolved to get her worked up about something at the earliest opportunity. Or possibly Vincent Crabbe, whose air supply had been half cut off by her grip on his tie, and who resolved to never, ever, as long as he lived, cross a redhead.
That was the start of the Great Weasel-Ferret War. Any time Draco and Ginny crossed paths, they crossed swords. For bystanders, it was a combination of street theater and thrill ride; It was entertaining, but people were known to dive into broom closets rather than face either combatant directly after one of their encounters. The one blessing was that, because they were a year apart, there were no skirmishes directly in class. The staff mostly ignored the hostilities, only intervening if it seemed the collateral damage would be too high.
Finally it was time for the Trio's last year at Hogwarts. Hermione had been made Head Girl, and was entitled to a room to herself, but she chose instead to share with Ginny, her only close female friend. Ginny would otherwise have had to share with the other Gryffindor prefect, a fifth year with kleptomaniacal tendencies and a vicious streak she kept carefully hidden from the staff. Ron and Harry joked about the room Hermione and Ginny shared being the library's annex for extra storage, since Ginny had picked up a lot of Hermione's study habits and love of reading, and so every available space in the room seemed to overflow with books. Hermione still spent quite a lot of her free time with Ron and Harry and sat with them at all meals, but Ginny also had her own friends and social circle, so she didn't particularly feel left out. All in all, both girls felt fairly content with things as they were.
Chapter One: Losers
Hermione looked up from her homework to watch the volatile redhead who was her roommate this year stomp into the room, cursing and slamming the door. "Stupid, arrogant, conceited, no-good, idiotic, narcissistic GIT!"
"Malfoy again?" Hermione went back to writing notes from the large book she’d been reading. An I-hate-Malfoy rant usually lasted a while, so she had time for a few more lines before she had to turn her full attention to it. "Mmm, right, disemboweling. Messy, though."
"Ugh! And do you know what the worst thing is? The thing that makes me want to poke his eyeballs out with a spoon and stuff them in his ears?" Ginny reached out and snatched the quill out of Hermione’s hand, then closed the book Hermione was reading with a snap.
"Hey! Now there’s a blot." Hermione took out some Enchanted Ink-Out and dabbed it carefully onto the parchment while the other girl seethed. "So, what is it that’s so horrible?"
Ginny hugged the huge book to her stomach and sat down on the bed. "The horrible part is that as he was blathering on, I realized he was right. Rude, obnoxious, and mean, but right."
This had the effect of making Hermione look up, frowning. "About what?"
Ginny’s tone was mournful as she said, "He said I’m a dateless loser who should turn to women, so that then I could hit on you, the other dateless loser in Gryffindor."
Hermione choked. "Um, Ginny? I, uh, well, I’m flattered, but... Um..."
A pillow flew across the room and cut off Hermione’s embarrassed sputtering. "Twit. I don’t swing that way, either. I meant that he’s right that we’re both dateless losers."
"Oh!" Relief poured through the older girl, to be replaced shortly by annoyance. "Ginny, he was just being his usual bratty self. Just ignore him."
"Okay, Miss Head Girl, when was the last time you had a date? And going to Hogsmeade in a group with Ron and Harry doesn’t count." The redhead sat up and gave her friend the ultimate no-bullshit-between-best-friends look.
"Well, uh, it was..." She bit her lip, trying to think. Surely... No, apparently not. "Okay, so maybe we ARE dateless, but we are in school, and—"
"And one of the purposes of school is for students to learn social interaction, no? Otherwise we could all be tutored in our homes, right?" Ginny walked over to the desk and slammed Hermione’s book back onto it. "Therefore, part of the purpose of school is for students to date."
"Come on, Gin, you know that there’s special circumstances..." Hermione pinkened and trailed off, not wanting to say out loud what those might be.
"Hermione. I’ve got two questions, and you need to answer them honestly." Ginny sat on the edge of the desk and looked seriously at her friend. "Question one: Are you in love with Harry? Because you should know by now that I’m not."
"Ginny! Of course not... Although since when aren’t you in love with Harry?"
"Christmas. I finally belted up and cornered him under the mistletoe and it was like kissing Percy." Ginny made a face and continued. "Do you love my brother?"
"Percy? Well, I’m fond of him, I suppose." Hermione caught the death glare being shot her way and sighed in resignation. "Yes, I do love Ron, have forever. I’d thought he felt the same, what with the thing with Viktor, but..."
"But the stupid wanker hasn’t bloody well done anything." Ginny nodded. "I’m still not altogether sure you’re sane for wanting my brother of all people. You deserve the best."
"Yes, but I want Ron." Both girls dissolved into giggles.
After a minute, Ginny sobered enough to say, "The way I see it, if he hasn’t woken up by now and done something, it’s not going to happen on its own. So, you have two options: you can pine for him forever, or you can do something different."
"Do what? Lock him in a broom closet and rip his clothes off before kissing every single freckle? Believe me, I’ve considered it." Hermione shook her head. "I just couldn’t do it."
"Good, because then you’d want to tell me about it, and just saying you’ve thought about it gives me the screaming heebie jeebies." Ginny shuddered theatrically, but went on. "No, I was thinking of less direct methods."
Picking her friend up by the shoulders, Ginny steered her to face a wall with a small mirror. A quick spell later and both girls were staring at their reflections. They were silent for a few moments as they stared. Hermione’s robes were in better condition, and they actually fit her, but had ink stains in random spots and weren’t cut in any kind of beneficial way. Her hair was still bushy and frizzy, somewhat restrained into a bun that had been speared by a quill. The small reading glasses perched on the end of her nose didn’t help any claims to beauty. Ginny’s robes had once belonged to Charlie and were slightly tight in the chest and hips, but baggy everywhere else, making her look like she had the shape of a potato sack. Her hair, which also had a tendency to frizz, had been relentlessly pulled into a tight braid. Both of them had scuffed shoes and slumped shoulders, although Hermione’s came from carrying too many books, while Ginny’s came from trying to minimize her height.
Finally, Hermione spoke. "We need help."
"And how." Morosely, Ginny shrunk the mirror back to its normal size and then flopped on her bed. "But it’s not like we can suddenly just go up to Lavender or Parvati or someone like that and say, ‘Hey! I may have sneered at you for being so obsessed with appearances, but can you teach me how to do all that stuff now?’."
"Heaven forbid." Hermione looked thoughtful. "But you know, neither of us is ugly, and there have to be books on the subject."
"Leave it to you to immediately think of research." A thrown pillow interrupted Ginny’s giggling. "But you’re right, there’s got to be things we can find out without going through the humiliation of asking people. How to dye hair, for one thing."
"Oh, Ginny, you can’t dye your hair! It’s such a lovely color, it just needs something to make it less frizzy." Hermione pulled out a quill to and wrote on a fresh piece of parchment ‘1. De-frizz hair – is there something easier than SleekEz Potion?’.
"Oh, it’s not for me. I just want a spell so I can make Malfoy’s hair red and gold. Or possibly electric blue." A devilish grin lit the redhead’s face. "Just because he’s right doesn’t mean I won’t get revenge."
"Don’t you have those old Teen Witch magazines from when Percy gave you a subscription?" Hermione started digging around through the stacks of books and periodicals, none of which she’d ever allowed to be thrown out. "Perfect!"
"Isn’t that one of Lockhart’s books? I never did bother reading them, even if they were from Harry." Not even the deepest crush had been able to counteract the soporific effects of all that bragging.
"Looking Good: A Guide for Witches Who Want to Look Their Very Best." Hermione’s eyes rolled as the photograph of Lockhart of the back cover made kissy faces and preened. "Still, he was good at compiling information, even if none of it was original."
Soon enough the mysteries of the makeover were being pored over avidly. "It says here that the foundation of sexiness is self confidence, and the foundation of self confidence is wearing the right underwear." Hermione wrote carefully on her parchment, "Step two, buy underwear that inspires confidence."
Ginny pulled out a catalog from Madame Malkin’s and flipped to the underwear section. "I don’t think I could be confident in this leather thing." She turned her head to one side, then the other. "I’m not at all sure I understand this leather thing."
"The way a woman carries herself says everything about her. Whether a waifish lovely or an amazonian beauty, a woman should stand like she commands the universe, allowing her inner goddess to shine through to the world." Hermione snorted. "There’s no way Lockhart wrote this himself."
"Still, it’s good advice. When you stand up straight, you look like a queen." Ginny made a face and picked up a random book and started flipping through it idly. "When I stand up straight, people ask me what the weather’s like up there."
"Oh, is that what Seamus was saying the other morning at breakfast? All I could see was the way that he was staring at your boobs and trying not to drool." Hermione wrote down step three, posture.
"He was?" Ginny blushed but then focused on the book in front of her.
"—muggle product... Ginny, are you listening?" Judging by the look on her friend’s face, Hermione guessed the answer was ‘no’.
"Holy Merlin and Vivien, why didn’t you tell me about this before?" Ginny was dancing a jig in the middle of the room, clutching the book as if it contained the answer to all the mysteries of the universe.
Hermione frowned. "Tell you what? What’s in that book that has you so happy?"
"Well, Miss Granger, why is transfiguration ultimately a limited art?" Ginny straightened into her best imitation of Professor McGonagall.
"In simple terms, because the transfigured object desires, on some level, to return to what it once was. The amount of power of the caster and the complexity of the spell determine how complete the transfiguration will be and arithmancy can be used to calculate the length of it." Hermione didn’t even have to think; the instinct to answer such questions had her speaking reflexively. "But what does that have to do with anything?"
"So we can’t transfigure our robes into decent shape, because it might wear out and that’d be embarrassing, right?" At Hermione’s nod, Ginny opened the book to the page she had been looking at before with the air of a conjurer pulling a rabbit out of a person’s ear. "Isn’t it perfect?"
"Gin. That’s a sewing machine. An antique one at that." Hermione frowned at the picture for a moment and then made a connection. "So old it doesn’t run on electricity! Ginny, you’re a genius."
"It’s got all diagrams and stuff, we can easily transfigure stuff to make the machinery, and then use it to fix up our clothes or make new ones. It can’t be that hard to make clothes, if muggles do it all the time." Ginny spun around in excitement. "Just think, Hermione, clothes made just for me!"
The other girl giggled. "You already have some of those... Although I must say the shade of pink your mother uses for your sweaters is, er..."
"Hideous. Awful. Sick making. Ugh, I don’t want to think about it any more, all these adjectives are reminding me of Malfoy." Ginny threw open her closet and started rummaging through it, looking for the box that held all of Ron’s I-don’t-know-how-to-buy-presents-for-girls presents.
"Anyway, what I’d been saying earlier is that Lockhart himself says that, as long as you don’t have to pay a premium, the best thing for hair is to just use muggle conditioner." Hermione pulled her hair for a moment while she thought, then nodded firmly and scribbled a note. "I’m going to go borrow Hedwig. If she starts now, she could visit my mum and bring back the results of a visit to the all-night chemist."
"Right, then. I’ll get started with the transfiguring for the machine." Ginny settled down with her wand and the box of unwanted novelty items.
Author's Note: Please note that I am not describing Ginny as the pixie that fanon portrays her as. For an idea of what Ginny looks like in this fic, and a sorta sneak peek at a scene from almost at the end, check out this picture of Kate Dillon
Hot Oil, Hair Dye, and the Sorta-Girlfriend by Mynuet
Chapter Two: Hot Oil, Hair Dye, and the Sorta-Girlfriend
The next morning saw two extremely bleary eyed girls walking into the great hall. This didn’t attract all that much attention, except when they were walking past the Slytherin table and both stumbled. Books and parchments flew everywhere, and the liquid one of the girls was carrying went flying.
"Bloody hell!" Malfoy was out of his seat and wiping his face off with a napkin. "Can’t you ruddy cows even manage to walk without causing disaster?"
Hermione busied herself with picking up her precious books, but Ginny just shoved back the hair that had come loose from her braid and glared. "If it weren’t for your big dumb ox sticking her stupid feet in our way, this never would’ve happened. Honestly, Ferret, can’t you make the time to enroll Parkinson in an obedience class?"
Pansy sputtered something along the lines of "How dare you" as Hermione grabbed the last of her things off the floor and hauled Ginny away. Dragging her backpack, Ginny called back, "I’d go wash that off, Malfoy, since there’s no house elves around to cast a cleaning charm for you."
The patented Malfoy sneer came out and he said, "Maybe you’re too stupid or slobby to care about grooming, but some of us have an image to maintain."
Hermione slapped a hand over Ginny’s mouth and continued to drag her to the Gryffindor table. They sat down next to each other and started whispering to each other, completely ignoring the strange looks they got. Lavender leaned over and whispered, "Hermione, did Ron and Harry do something to make you mad?"
Any response to that was lost in the laughter that was rocking the hall. Ginny looked insufferably smug as she took a big sip of her pumpkin juice and counted down. Three... Two... One. "Weasel, what the hell did you put in my hair?"
Ginny shoved the loose strands of hair back behind her ear and batted her lashes in a grand show of innocence. "I? Put something in your hair? That would involve touching you voluntarily." An exaggerated shudder drew a certain amount of male attention away from her face momentarily, but Malfoy’s eyes barely flickered. "No, no, Malfoy, I’m certain that I didn’t place anything in your hair deliberately."
Malfoy’s teeth were grinding together and he leaned in to hiss, "Look, Weasley, I’m not going to ask again. Why is my hair blue?"
"Well, I’m not entirely sure. It might have to do with the muggle hair dye mixed into the potion that Hermione and I were working on." Ginny bit her lip as she pulled the Perfect-Little-Angel face that had led to the twins taking the fall for her more than once. "Oh, I do so wish that Pansy hadn’t tripped us. I really wanted to see how it turned out."
"I wouldn’t advise dyeing your hair, Weasel. You don’t have anywhere near enough style to carry it off." Turning on his heel, Malfoy strode back to the Slytherin table, savoir faire intact and making it seem almost like the wild streaks of bright metallic blue in his hair were placed there deliberately.
"Gin, that was great!" Ron laughed and pulled up a chair next to his sister. He had just snitched a piece of bacon from her plate and was about to put it in his mouth when he noticed twin glares directed at him. "What?"
"Push off, Ron. We’d like some privacy." Even Ginny turned to look at Hermione with unbelieving eyes at her outburst. "Come on, Ginny, we still need to visit the library." With that they left, although as a loving younger sister, Ginny was considerate enough to close Ron’s jaw for him.
Classes proceeded as they normally did, and Malfoy’s revenge didn’t appear during lunch or dinner, even if he and Ginny did have several more sparring sessions in the hallways. Finally they retreated to their lair to contemplate the unexplored riches that Hermione’s mother had sent. Apparently Mrs. Granger was quite enthused at her daughter finally being interested in such things, because poor Hedwig had had difficulty with the weight of the package. Conditioners, lotions, perfumes, fashion magazines... Anything that might be bought late at night in London was spilled across Hermione’s bed, and there was a promise of more to come.
After a great deal of giggling, they gathered the likeliest looking bottles and their bathrobes and headed off for the prefect’s bath, counting on the late hour to keep others away. This was not, as it turned out, a good idea.
"Practicing for a strip act, ladies? I don’t doubt Weasley could use the coins, but I have to say you’re both horrible at it." There was only one person on earth who could achieve that precise timbre of sneering in their voice.
"Malfoy, you... You..." While Hermione had shrieked and pulled her robe back on, Ginny turned purple and went on the attack. She started with simple, short Anglo-Saxon words in interesting combinations, then progressed to include Egyptian, Romanian, and French words for more esoteric curses, completely ignoring Hermione’s attempts to get her attention.
She was just getting around to spitting out a really complicated phrase involving Lucius Malfoy, a goat, nail clippers and a marital aid when the object of her ravings drawled, "You know, Weasley, you should really avoid pastels, and plain white. Jewel tones or earth colors would be fine, but that bra you’re wearing should be burned."
Ginny squeaked as it sunk in that she’d been screaming at him while wearing nothing but a bra and a half slip. She turned to scramble into the robe Hermione was holding only to hear the sound of water sluicing off of a moving body. I will not look, I will not look, I will not look, she chanted to herself, squeezing her eyes tightly shut.
Then she felt the hand at her waist. Her eyes popped open as she felt his breath on her neck, and the hair on the back of her neck stood on end as he whispered, "Nice tattoo."
Hermione snickered at Ginny’s expression as she watched Malfoy leave. As soon as the door was safely shut, it turned into a full-on chortle as she choked out, "He might be a ferret, but a ferret with nice buns, right Ginny?" This was, of course, the cue for something to be thrown at the illustrious Head Girl of Hogwarts.
One hot oil treatment and quite a few soaps, perfumes, and a fair amount of elderflower wine later, they’d come to some conclusions. The first was that they would keep their transformation under wraps until the masquerade being planned for after the Halloween feast, so as to have the greatest impact. The second was that they would go out shopping for underwear and dress material the next day, and plan their costumes accordingly. The third was that Malfoy did, indeed, have a great body, despite the personality inhabiting it.
Eventually they sloshed back to their room, trailing perfume and giggles. It should be noted that neither was particularly experienced at drinking, and they’d had rather a lot of the wine. This might explain slightly why the next morning started out so inauspiciously.
"Hey, slugabeds! Come on, Harry and I are all ready to head for Hogsmeade, we just need our best girls to go with us." Ron smiled cheerily and threw open the curtains before looking at the two lumps that consisted of his sister and sorta-girlfriend.
"B’grr off." The closest thing to a coherent statement came from somewhere around Hermione’s footboard. The other lump just groaned and shifted.
"Come on, love, daylight’s wasting. We’re going to meet Seamus and Dean at the Three Broomsticks and then go to check out the new brooms at Quality Quidditch Supplies." Despite the cajoling tone of someone offering a rare treat, Hermione was not enticed by Ron’s offer.
"Don’ wanna." The covers tightened and then relaxed long enough to spit out, "Go ‘way."
Ron started trying to drag the covers off the lump that was his beloved. "Come on, ‘Mione, up and at ‘em. You’ll miss breakfast if you don’t get up soon. They’ve got your favorite smoked kippers on."
This was the cue for the Ginny-lump to run for the half-bath en suite, gagging. The other lump produced a head, which produced a potent death glare. If she’d been able to open both eyes, it might’ve caused physical harm. "Ron. Sod. Off."
"What’s wrong, Hermione? You’re not yourself lately." Ron frowned and patted the blankets in what he hoped was a safe location. This might have been the end of it, if he hadn’t gone on to say the seven words of doom. "Is it that time of the month?"
One might have thought there was a levitation spell in effect if it hadn’t been for the lack of magic words or a wand. Instantly the lump on the bed resolved itself to reveal Miss Hermione Granger, pissed off witch. Despite being only five feet, four inches tall, she managed to loom threateningly over the six foot bulk of one clueless redheaded boy. Rumpled, half-off nightgown and slightly greasy flyaway hair notwithstanding, she made an impressive sight as she gathered her breath and then let fly with all of the pent up rage of several years of being a sorta-girlfriend.
"But! Hermione, listen!" Ron’s sputterings were punctuated by crashes as small, breakable objects were launched at his head. There were shrieks about kissing, Harry, quidditch, and flowers, but between the lack of coherence and his efforts to dodge, Ron didn’t catch how they all fit together.
Finally, chest heaving, Hermione stalked over to the cowering Ron and grabbed him by the shirtfront. The sudden silence led Ginny to peek around one door and Harry to peek around another, only to see Hermione kissing Ron as if determined to swallow him whole. Just when it seemed like they’d both die of oxygen deprivation, Hermione pushed Ron away. "You think about that when you’re trying to figure out the difference between dating and palling around with your mates." One quick shove and a slammed door led to a distinct lack of Ron in the vicinity.
After a moment, Ginny broke the silence with, "Have I ever mentioned that you’re my hero?"
"Come on, let’s go shopping. That boy’s going to swallow his tongue with lust before I’m through." Hermione pulled casual clothes on and grabbed her money pouch.
"Ew, didn’t need the mental image." Ginny trailed after her incandescent friend, still buttoning as they went.
Chapter Three: Shopping!
Hermione had achieved Hogsmeade nirvana. She was sitting in Libri’s Used and Rare Books with an old and massive book in front of her and a cup of tea at her elbow. She had spent over an hour browsing, found some excellent and intriguing books, and was now being allowed to dive into one in peace. No one was shouting, or telling her she shouldn’t be reading on a Saturday, and best of all, no one was blathering about the upcoming quidditch match between Slytherin and Gryffindor.
All good things must come to an end, though, and the end of Hermione’s literary idyll was marked by a distinctly flushed Ginny sneaking back into the store and coming to sit next to her friend. "Find anything good, ‘Mione?"
"Mmmm. Third book down in the pile." Hermione took a sip of her tea as she continued to read about domestic and industrial uses of hybrid muggle/magic items.
Ginny retrieved the book, entitled ‘Madame Malkin’s Guide to Style’. "Brilliant! I knew there was a reason you’re Hogwarts’s all time brightest student." Hermione rolled her eyes, but Ginny continued. "Anyway, we should go do the rest of the shopping and then you can show me the rest of the books you got."
After making arrangements for the books to be delivered to the school, they walked around, looking in store windows and chatting with other students who were roaming the streets. Eventually their meandering led to Madame Malkin’s dress shop, which had bought out Gladrags in a hostile takeover the year before. Taking a deep breath, Hermione steered the apprehensive Ginny into the store.
"May I help you?" The woman behind the counter was thin, with grey hair and eyes so dark they looked black. Her robes were of a floaty fabric in blue-green and made her look willowy and elegant. Ginny felt like an elephant. "Um, we, uh..." She trailed off, clutching the book in front of her and flushing an ugly maroon.
"Oh, my dear, let me see that book! This takes me back so much. I wrote that when I was just a little older than yourselves." Ginny let go of the book unprotestingly and watched dumbly as the woman, presumably Madame Malkin, flipped through the pages.
"Madame Malkin? We wanted to ask someone here for some help." Hermione looked a bit self-conscious, but determined. "We want to know where to buy cloth so we can sew our own robes and we want to buy underwear."
"But not like the leather thing." Ginny looked horrified at what her mouth had said without consulting her brain.
Madame Malkin just laughed, and Ginny again felt a stab of envy over how lovely it sounded. "My dears, leather has its place, but it is only in my lingerie offerings because I am a businesswoman. Now, so. You wish to make clothes, yes? And you wish for inimitable style, savoir faire, which is why you have my book." Both girls nodded dumbly. "Eh, bien, I will help you."
"You will?" Ginny’s voice was a squeak, but a delighted one. Hermione wasted no time in pulling out the parchment that had their steps so far written on them and a quill to take further notes.
In a flash, the parchment disappeared and reappeared in Madame Malkin’s graceful hands. Her lips twitched as she read the list, but all she said was, "It is a good start, but now you must place yourselves in my hands. Come." She led the way past a curtain to a small room in the back, then clapped her hands. "Clothilde! I will be busy with my new young friends, but you must take care to let me know when our special customer arrives."
Not waiting for an answer, she turned to Hermione and Ginny and said, "Now, before we can go on, we will need to assess where we are starting from, yes? So, take off your clothes and we will begin."
The girls obeyed apprehensively, Hermione looking like she was dying to reach her quill and parchment again. Sighing, she muttered a spell to have the quill simply transcribe what was said for her to go over later and make better notes. In no time, they were poked, prodded, measured in every possible way that the human body could be measured, and given light kimono-style robes to wear. Madame Malkin then ushered them into a small parlor and served tea before starting on a lecture worthy of any professor.
"Now, my dears, the first thing to remember is that style is not a matter of following the dictates of others. It is knowing that you are stunning, no matter what you wear or what others say about you. It is walking into a room and having every eye attracted to you and knowing it is your due." She paused for a moment and sipped her tea delicately.
"I don’t think I can do that. I hate it when everyone looks at me." Ginny’s face was red and her head was bowed, and if being crushed by the stares of multitudes.
"Honestly, Ginny, how many people look at you when you’re playing quidditch?" Hermione clucked her tongue and might have gone on if she wasn’t interrupted.
"Precisment! My dear, everyone will look at you anyway, for your height and for your hair. You rather would they pity a great big lump of a girl, or that they marvel at a goddess?" Madame clapped her hands. "Non, it is not to be thought of! From this moment forward, you stand proud. No apologies for who you are."
Hermione found herself unconsciously straightening her spine, and saw that Ginny was doing likewise. Clearing her throat, the older girl said, "So does that mean the underwear doesn’t matter?"
Madame Malkin’s dark eyes danced with laughter. "But of course it matters! Just as cleverness is enhanced by books, so is style enhanced by fashion." Setting her teacup down on its saucer, the elderly lady leaned in to emphasize her point. "But, as my friend Coco once said, style remains while fashion fades. This is why it is important to pick what suits you, not something that is a trend."
"Like the leather thing." Ginny’s face remained impassive until her eyes met Hermione’s, and then all three ladies indulged in laughter.
"Madame, madame, the young monsieur is here for his fitting." The girl from the front of the shop ran back, seeming slightly panicked.
"Clothilde! Calm yourself." Gracefully, Madame Malkin got to her feet and adjusted her sleeves. "Show my young friends to the dressing room, and bring them a selection of our best lingerie. For the pocket venus, pastels and lace, and for the titian haired one, jewel tones and satin."
"That’s what Malf—" Hermione was abruptly silenced by her arm being twisted behind her back.
"Shut up, Hermione. Don’t want to think about the Malfoy git while I’m in my underwear, Hermione." Steering her friend, Ginny followed after Clothilde and completely missed the expression on Madame Malkin’s face.
"Well, well." Thoughtfully, the dressmaker walked out to the front of the store. "Bonjour, Monsieur Malfoy."
"Bonjour, Helene. I hope you’re well." Draco Malfoy leaned down to kiss both cheeks of the woman who had been his mother’s friend and stylist since well before he was born.
"Tres bien, mon chou. I have two new young friends to take interest in. Both pretty girls, but the tall one... Ah, she could be stunning." Turning away so he wouldn’t notice her intense attention to his reaction, she said, "Masses of red, red hair, but I think I might advise her to cut it short, emphasize her lovely cheekbones."
Anyone who wasn’t watching carefully and hadn’t known him since he was in diapers would probably have missed the slight double take. "No, she should leave it long. Makes a man’s hands itch to run through it."
Madame Malkin had trouble containing her urge to smirk, and resolved that some of the girl's packages would be 'accidentally' misdirected. "Ah, so. Well, let us finish your fitting so that I can finish making my new young friends beautiful."
"She can’t be beautiful. She’s a Weasley."
Breakfast the next morning saw the usual owl post, but Hermione noticed that Ginny seemed inordinately nervous about it. True, she was expecting some special orders from Madame Malkin, but that didn’t account for the girl’s twitchiness... Or her fascination with something in the direction of the Slytherin table. Hermione followed her younger friend’s gaze to see Draco Malfoy open an envelope only to put a hand to his cheek and then look around in confusion. He folded the paper and opened it again, and again his hand went to his cheek.
Ginny was now finding the food on her plate a subject of infinite fascination, ignoring Hermione’s staring at her. "So, Ginny, how’s the work for Fred and George coming along? Weren’t you designing a way to send anonymous valentines?"
"Huh? Oh, yeah, I’ve about got it ready." Ginny blushed fiercely but tried to sound casual.
"You know, you were gone for a while when I was in the bookstore... An important errand, maybe?" Hermione looked over again to see Malfoy tuck the piece of paper into his breast pocket and then push away from the table.
"No, nothing important." Ginny toyed with her silverware, then said brightly, "I’m so glad that Madame Malkin was so helpful. I can’t wait to get our costumes finished."
Hermione nodded and said, with calculated absentness, "What’d it say?"
"Oh, just good luck in the match tomorr-- Hermione!" Ginny looked horrified.
"Just tell me what the cheek thing was and then I promise never to mention this again." Hermione smirked.
Ginny looked to both sides and then leaned in to hiss, "One of the special features for the valentines is being able to include a kiss, so I had to test it... And it’d keep him from guessing it was me, since I’d never kiss him."
Hermione nodded sagely and bit the inside of her lip to keep from snickering at her friend. "I’m sure it’ll be a big seller for Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes."
"And I get a percentage." Ginny looked insufferably smug at the thought. Hermione grinned in a way that looked downright evil, making Ginny look at her inquisitively. "What’s so funny?"
Hermione smirked. "Oh, just picturing the reaction of your brothers if they knew what you were buying with the money you earn from them."
Ginny looked very serious as she said, "Yeah, that clothes vanishing potion is what paid for all the stuff I bought yesterday." Both girls dissolved into giggles, drawing the eyes of quite a few people in the great hall. One set of eyes in particular narrowed and plotted revenge, even as his hand reached up and absently rubbed his cheek. He also had to figure out a way to get her the package that had come from Madame Malkin without terminally embarrassing himself.
The Girls of Gryffindor and the Obligatory Quidditch by Mynuet
Chapter Four: The Girls of Gryffindor
The buzzing had been going on all afternoon, but it wasn’t until dinner that anyone said anything directly.
"Ginny, what’s all this about a tattoo?"
"Gin-gin, why didn’t you tell me all about how you’ve got tribal markings all over your body?"
"Is it true that you went to America and joined a gang and they marked you with their colors?"
Hermione had retired to their room in order to compile the notes of everything that Madame Malkin had said, so Ginny had gone down to dinner alone. She’d run the gauntlet of comments with a red face and plopped down at the table, only to see Ron sitting next to her and laughing.
"Can you believe these idiots? Thinking you, of all people, would..." Ron looked at his little sister’s flaming cheeks and felt his stomach sink. "Bloody hell. What’ll mum say?"
"She knows about it, Ron. Who do you think authorized it?" Ginny lifted her fork and stiffened her spine, trying to ignore the feeling of being stared at disapprovingly by half the world. Bloody Malfoy. He had to be the one behind this. No one else knew about the damn thing.
Ron was still sputtering when Seamus Finnigan sat down next to Ginny. Very close to Ginny. "Hey, Ginny-luv, show us your ink."
"Er, it’s kinda somewhere awkward." Ginny blushed even harder and struggled against the urge to slump in her chair and attempt to disappear under the table.
Ron, however, was turning purple and giving Seamus a basilisk glare. "Ginny, I absolutely forbid you from showing anyone that... That... Thing. In fact, you should march right up to Madame Pomfrey right now and see if she has a way to remove it."
Ginny’s fork was slammed down onto the table. "Oh, really?"
"Hey, Ginny, can I talk to you about—" If all eyes hadn’t already been on her, they would have been after she stood abruptly, her chair falling to the ground behind her.
"Yes, Colin, let’s go talk." She gave Ron a dangerous look before tossing her head, her braid smacking across his face. "And bring your camera."
Draco Malfoy stared at the plain evidence that he was off his stride, revenge-wise. There, at his spot on the table, was a sheet of newspaper titled "Girls of Gryffindor". Front and center on the page was Ginny Weasley, or at least the back of her, wearing nothing but a low slung pair of trousers that seemed to be made of leather. Her hair was in a loose bun, gathered at the nape of her neck, and she was peeking over her shoulder with a look that could only be called flirtatious. So much for embarrassing her. Now the whole school knew about the phoenix rising from the base of her spine, even if they only saw it in black and white.
Of course, the whole school now also knew that Granger really did possess knockers, as displayed by the picture of her in a corset, and that Lavender Brown and Parvati Patil were on distinctly friendly terms, as judging by the picture of them wearing next to nothing and locked at the lip. Crabbe and Goyle were looking over his shoulders and drooling. "Hey, Draco, where’d you get that?"
"How should I know? It was here." A thought occurred and he switched his attention to the Gryffindor table, anticipating the entertainment that a full-on freakout by the elder Weasley would afford. Unfortunately, there was a distinct lack of male Weasley there, although it seemed like half the male population of Hogwarts was there and drooling over the female one. Where the hell was an overprotective older brother when you needed one? Trust the Weasley prat to shirk his guard dog duties just as the girl really needed someone to keep the slavering masses away. Didn’t he know what boys would be thinking about his sister? Draco caught himself grinding his teeth and resolved to plot a better revenge as soon as the quidditch match was done.
The reason for there being a distinct lack of older brotherness at the breakfast table was because Hermione and Harry had been recruited to keep him distracted and busy until after the match against Slytherin. This had required some fast talking from Harry on the subject of the need for practice. When Ron had absolutely refused to continue flying and demanded to be allowed to go eat, Hermione contributed a picnic basket and doe-eyed looks to the cause. They would’ve gotten away with it, too, if it hadn’t been for a meddling kid, who gave the game away while trying to hit on Hermione.
Ron roared his way through the crowds that had gathered at the pitch in time to see Draco Malfoy smack his sister on the bottom and say, "Good luck, Weasel. Try not to lose your shirt in the middle of the match." This was not good.
It didn’t help Ron’s blood pressure in the slightest that her response was to blow Malfoy a kiss and coo, "May the best man win... Which Harry always does."
Draco looked over her shoulder and out came the Malfoy smirk. "Why, it’s Weasel the elder. Here, have some reading material."
As he looked at the news-sheet he’d been tossed, Ron’s eyes went slightly wide, and his body went very still. "Says here that my sister’s single and available. As is Hermione." There was a quivering intensity about him that had those closest to him taking a step back. Hermione folded her arms and looked defiant, and Harry wondered if Ron was going to spontaneously combust.
"Ron? Are we going to play quidditch today or not? I can’t be the only beater on the team." Ginny’s voice sounded a great deal too casual as she mounted her broom.
Ron looked at her blankly, his knuckles tight around the handle of his club. "Right." He turned towards the pitch, then whirled, dropping club and broom. His hands were around Hermione’s upper arms and he gave her a shake before kissing her, hard. Seconds ticked by and Hermione’s eyes fluttered closed as the kiss continued. Eventually he disengaged, holding her at arms length and panting. "You are NOT single."
Hermione nodded dumbly, her hand coming up to her mouth as she stared at him dreamily. He looked at her fiercely and then nodded. "Right." Turning on his heel, he grabbed his club and his broom from Harry, who had picked them up. "Now to kill some Slytherins."
It was not a good day to be male and playing quidditch. Ron and Ginny had always made a good team as beaters, if not as attuned as the twins had been. This time, however, Ron seemed determined to use the bludgers to completely obliterate any player who looked at his sister. Ginny had had to intervene more than once to keep a bludger from going towards their own teammates, and she wondered if perhaps, just maybe, they’d pushed Ron a little too far towards homicidal rage.
The only other person on the pitch who came near to matching his intensity was Malfoy. Normally following traditional wait-and-see seeker strategies, this time he was all over the pitch, almost as if he was pacing while on a broom. He tried to push away all the distracting thoughts, but the more he tried not to think about all that was bothering him, the more he saw the face of that Irish git as he leaned over Ginny at the Gryffindor table. He couldn’t look at girl Weasel without seeing the underwear that had been delivered to him by mistake, and it was driving him insane. And then he heard her scream, "Watch out!"
He looked up to see a bludger coming at him with killing speed, and he barely had time to wrench himself out of its path. He was hanging upside down from his broom and this, of all times, was when he saw the snitch. Potter obviously saw it as well, as he started to dive, but this time, this time Malfoy wouldn’t let him win. With a grunt he pulled his broom downwards, gravity trying to tear him off as the broom’s charm only worked if you were properly mounted. He was closer, so close he could taste it, and he stretched a hand out, his legs clamped on the broom as he stretched and he couldn't reach, so he let go with his other hand and there! His hand closed around the snitch and he felt a rush of air as Potter flew past.
The announcer was screaming, the crowd was on its feet, and Draco Malfoy was still upside down, hanging onto his broomstick only with his legs. He felt someone pull up close to him as he was trying to figure out a way out of this that didn’t involve a 100 foot drop, and he heard, "Are you planning on hanging about here all day, Malfoy?"
"Only until tea time, Weasley." He gritted his teeth and started trying to pull himself up, swearing to himself he was going to double the number of sit-ups in his daily routine if he got out of this alive. Unfortunately, the action made his legs start to lose their grip on the broom. "Shit."
Suddenly he felt the robes bunching at the back of his neck and he was hauled upwards. He grabbed the neck of his broom and straightened out, shaking his head to get the hair out of his eyes. Ginny was hovering nearby, flying in lazy circles. "Don’t worry, Malfoy. I don’t think anyone saw that you got polluted by the touch of a Weasley."
"You can pollute me anytime, as long as you’re wearing that garnet colored set." Draco blinked and shook his head. Must’ve spent too long upside down, he thought. All the sense got drained out. Still, he had to smirk at the moment of shock on her face.
Then she smirked back and he knew he was in trouble. "Sorry, Malfoy. Today it’s the dark green. Silk." With a toss of her head, she flew off towards the Gryffindor locker room, leaving him to curse and try not to picture dark green silk on pale skin.
Poetry and Nakedness by Mynuet
Chapter 5: Poetry and Nakedness
"Gin! You’re a girl, aren’t you?" She stopped with her quidditch robes half-off at the sound of the familiar voice.
"Ronald Adolphus Weasley, you have about thirty seconds to come up with a better way to phrase that before I start getting mouthy." She folded her arms in front of her chest and glared at the git who was her youngest brother. She really did wonder sometimes why someone as bright as Hermione bothered with someone like him.
"No, look, sorry about that, but honestly. I need help, Ginny." Ron gave his sister the best puppy dog eyes he could muster.
"I am NOT doing your divination homework again, Ron. There’s only so much time I can spend thinking up your gruesome death." She paused and thought about it for a moment. "Well, unless you’ve ticked me off."
"Brat." He snapped a towel at her and then ruffled her hair. "No, seriously, I need help from a girl, and you’re the best girl I know."
"Okay, now I know there’s a problem if you’re resorting to flattery." Throwing off the outer robe, Ginny sat down next to her brother in the breeches and shirt standard for quidditch. "Okay, lay it on me."
"Well, it’s like this..." Ron blushed to the roots of his hair and cleared his throat. "I need to know how to be all romantic and stuff so Hermione’ll like me."
Ginny bit down to avoid the reflexive ‘but she already does’ that was trying to leave her lips. "Ron, for Hermione to like you, you should just... be yourself." There, that didn’t betray Hermione’s confidence and yet was a broad enough hint to penetrate the thickest of skulls.
Ron made a disgusted growling sound. "But I’ve BEEN myself, for seven years now. Hasn’t exactly induced in her wild urges to go snog in random corners now, has it?"
Never underestimate the thickness of your brother’s skull, Ginny thought. Right. After a moment of thought, she said, "Well, I’ll need some time to come up with a plan, but you could start with stuff like flowers, or chocolate, or poetry."
"Poetry?" You would’ve thought she’d suggested he indulge in indecent acts with a blast-ended skrewt from his horrified tone.
Ginny rolled her eyes. "Yeah, poetry. She quite likes Shakespeare’s sonnets, and Byron, but her favorite is "Sonnets from the Portugese"."
"Portugese sonnets, right. And she really likes that stuff?" Ron looked disbelieving.
"As much as you like the Chudley Cannons, if not more." It might be mentioned that one of Ginny’s character flaws was a streak of cruelty. "I practically had to wrestle her to the ground to get her to buy a new nightgown instead of another copy of Shelley. And it’s such a lovely thing, too, all light blue and lacy and short."
Ron continued to sit in place, his eyes glazed, as Ginny laughed and stood up, figuring she could change back into regular robes once she was in her room. A thought occurred and she stopped at the door. "Oh, Ron? You’re not allowed to touch Colin, or say anything to him, or to get someone else to do or say anything to him, or you’ll regret it."
"Why would I do anything to the Creevey kid?" Ron was still not completely done with thoughts of "lacy" and "short".
"Because he’ll be selling the "Girls of Gryffindor" thing until he runs out of copies. All of us are splitting the profits." Ginny slammed the door to cut off his enraged bellowing and scampered to the Gryffindor tower and the prospect of plotting. And it wasn’t really against Ron and Hermione. No, it was more FOR them, she thought virtuously.
The first thing they decided was that the ball was still too far away for them to wait to unveil their new clothes, and so the work on the costumes was paused long enough for them to sew new robes. Hermione checked in "Hogwarts: A History" what, exactly, the dress code required, and their new clothes fit perfectly within the minimum standard. Ginny’s robes were precisely tailored, while Hermione’s draped and floated over her figure. Both had skirts that ended above the knee.
To say they caused a sensation would be an understatement. They had spent the entire weekend after the quidditch match holed up with the sewing machine, Colin having already been warned to beware the Weasleys. Monday morning thus saw a great deal of traffic problems in the hallways as the formerly dowdy duo of Hermione Granger and Ginny Weasley flitted through their classes.
Hermione had to giggle when she saw Ron. He had been frowning at a piece of parchment when he looked up to see her and started stuttering. Pretending she didn’t notice, she said, "Hullo, Ron." He dropped the parchment and she bent down to retrieve it. Reading what it said, she looked at him quizzically. "She walks in beauty? I didn’t know you liked poetry."
Ron blushed a maroon color to rival his annual Weasley jumper and stammered, "Well, you know, Gin said, and, well, I spent all weekend in the library and that one sounded just like you, so I thought... Erm." He trailed off, rubbing the back of his neck. "I’ll do better next time, honestly, I’m just not very good with this sort of thing."
"Oh, Ron." Unable to resist the temptation, she threw her arms around his neck and kissed him solidly.
After a minute of kissing and some serious wolf whistles from the students walking around them in the hallway, Ron grinned and said, "You know, there’s loads more poetry in the library. I’ll bet I could find more."
Whatever her response might have been was abruptly cut off by Professor McGonagall asking rather sharply whether they intended on attending class that day or not.
Ginny, meanwhile, was sharing potions class with Colin Creevey and practically dancing with impatience to ask him questions. The boy looked distinctly worse for the wear and she needed to know whether or not to start "Operation: Ron’s Life Is a Living Hell".
"Surely, Miss Weasley, you forgot something this morning." Snape’s voice was as silky and charming as it only ever was when he was about to absolutely crush a Gryffindor.
Ginny gave her best wide-eyed innocent stare. "I can’t think of what that might be, sir. I’ve got my dragon hide gloves, as ordered."
"Five points from Gryffindor for violation of the dress code, Miss Weasley, and I suggest from now on you remember to dress with proper decorum." The potions master sneered.
"Excuse me, sir, but I’m not in violation of the dress code, as you can see by the section outlined here." Ginny pulled out a sheaf of papers and handed them over, not really expecting anything but a pyrrhic victory.
Snape grunted and scanned the paper. "That will be ten points for disrupting my class, Miss Weasley, and detention. Report here after dinner."
"Yes, sir." She focused on the desk in front of her, willing herself to ignore the unfairness and simply be grateful it wasn’t worse.
After class, she caught up with Colin, who seemed oddly reluctant to be anywhere near her. "Hey, Colin, what happened? Did Ron give you that shiner? And how’re sales going?"
He looked on the verge of panic and was backing away from her as if she carried a gore covered battleaxe. "You should’ve told me you’ve got a jealous boyfriend, Gin! Not that I’ll tell anyone, no, not me. Just keep him away!"
Ginny stared after him as he fled. "Odd." Shaking her head, she decided to ignore it for now in favor of lunch. She and Hermione took their now customary seats, and were comparing reactions. Neither noticed when someone tipped a new liquid into Ginny’s goblet of pumpkin juice, they just kept talking.
"Elp-hay, elp-hay, een-bay ursed-cay!" Neville was panting as he ran into the great hall, and collapsed near where she and Hermione were sitting.
In a flash, Hermione had administered a countercurse and both girls were attempting to soothe the flustered boy. Ginny went so far as to take her goblet and hold it to his lips, saying kindly, "Here, Neville, take a drink. It’ll make you feel better."
The potion that had been slipped into Ginny’s drink took thirty seconds to kick in, and then Neville’s clothes seemed to disappear. Hermione was the first to notice, with a small squeak that led into a shriek from Neville when he looked down. He leapt up, then seemed to crouch a bit, trying to cover himself with his hands. Ginny grabbed a platter from the table and passed it to him, averting her eyes, and hissed, "Run, Neville, before Snape sees."
The boy needed no further urging and he ran, leaving behind him a trail of feminine comments along the lines of "Oh, my!", "Wow.", and "Who knew he was hiding THAT?". Ginny, meanwhile, looked darkly at the Slytherin table, where Malfoy was scowling like a thundercloud. Grabbing an apple from the table in front of her, she left the hall.
It was a few minutes later when Malfoy caught an apple that had been tossed at his head. "You might want to read the fine print on the pranks you buy, Malfoy. That potion’s specifically enchanted not to work on me, since the sellers of it are two of a horde of overprotective brothers."
It seemed like one moment he was yards away from where she sat in a window seat, and the next he was looming over her, the sheer force of his presence making her edge backwards. "Get this straight, Weasel. If I undress a woman, it’s a hands-on experience. It might be slow, with my kissing every inch of skin because we have all night and I intend to savor every moment, or it might be rushed, all eager hands and ripping cloth because I just can’t wait to get my hands on skin and we might get caught if we don’t hurry, but it is always extremely, deeply personal."
"Oh." Ginny couldn’t breathe. All the air had been burned out of the area by the heat of his body so close to hers, the intensity of his eyes as they bored into hers. She could feel his breath on her lips and she swallowed hard, trying not to think about what he said. All she could see was Draco, and her mind’s eye insisted on giving her pictures of what it would look like to have his hands on her, undressing her. "Oh."
His eyes raked over her from head to toe and she’d always thought that "smoldering" was a ridiculous adjective to apply to eyes but she couldn’t think of one that fit his current expression better. He leaned even closer and she bit her lip, holding her breath in anticipation, but his lips bypassed hers and stopped just shy of her ear. "Do try to be fully clothed next time you go out and about, Weasley. It might cut down on the number of idiots putting things in your food."
She blinked, torn between the feeling of his hot breath in her ear and indignation at his words. He was already walking away when she sputtered, "I’ll wear what I like, thank you very much!"
Malfoy just kept walking away, tossing over his shoulder, "Royal blue today." Ginny gasped and blushed as she realized what he meant. Maybe the skirt did need to be a bit longer if he--if everyone--could see what color panties she was wearing.
Cooking with Snape and a New Career for Malfoy? by Mynuet
Chapter 6: Cooking with Snape and a New Career for Malfoy?
She was late for detention, and she dreaded what Snape would do to her in vengeance. It’d just been so much fun watching Ron’s eyes bug out as Hermione kept touching him as they talked, as Lockhart advised. It’d been even more fun to flirt up a storm with Seamus Finnigan, of the cute-and-sexy accent, and Lyle Tarvit, a Hufflepuff in her year who had started out by asking for her to tutor him in charms. It wasn’t until the Great Hall was mostly empty that she realized she was due in Snape’s dungeon and that speed was most definitely of the essence.
She’d just barely reached the door when she knew something was wrong. She could smell... "Burning flour?"
"Miss Weasley, I trust you have a good reason for being out of your common area after hours." Snape’s voice was cold, even as he moved the pot he had been working on away from the flame.
"Er... I had detention, sir." Ginny looked curiously at the contents of the table Snape was working at. There were small jars that looked somewhat like potions ingredients, but there was also flour, a string of sausages, what looked like a plucked chicken, rice, and... Shrimp?
"Just... Scrub those cauldrons, Weasley. Without magic, since I’m not sure precisely what your friend Mister Longbottom managed to produce this time." Snape went back to frowning at the book he’d laid out on the table in front of him, and she carried the worst of the cauldrons to the sink to get started.
After a few minutes and another batch of burnt flour, Ginny cleared her throat and said, tentatively, "Sir?"
"What is it, Miss Weasley? Can’t you see I’m occupied?" Snape was looking as irritated as she had ever seen him look, and she half regretted opening her mouth. Still, she was going to be ill if she had to smell burning flour all evening.
"Um, you need for the grease to be really hot before you add the flour. Otherwise the roux won’t turn out." She scrubbed at the cauldron furiously, avoiding looking at the teacher who might very well be plotting her demise, or at least eternal detention. "It’d also help if you used a pan with a thicker bottom, so the heat spreads better."
"What would a Weasley know about Cajun cuisine?" One thing that could always be counted on, and that was that Snape would find a way to sneer no matter what.
"You know what they say about Weasleys... Red hair, freckles, and more children than they can afford? Well, all of the womenfolk keep in touch, and cousin Marie-Clare has a restaurant in New Orleans." Ginny shrugged and wiped at some stray hair before getting back to scrubbing. "If there’s one ladylike thing I can do, it’s cooking."
"Prove it." Snape crossed his arms over his chest and stepped back. Ginny looked from the cauldron she was scrubbing to the food spread out on the teacher’s table.
Nothing ventured, nothing gained. "Will I still have to scrub the cauldrons?"
"Only if you fail to make something palatable, so I expect the answer to be yes." Snape’s voice was dry and managed to completely set off the Weasley gene for never backing down from a challenge.
"Ginny! What happened?" Hermione looked over her friend with horror. There were streaks of something white on her face and hair and all over her robes and there was an indescribable smell of something spicy and... Fishy?
"Stupid git didn't even have the stupid things deveined. But I showed him! Hah!" Ginny started shedding layers as she stumbled towards the bed.
"Oh, no, you're not going to sleep smelling like that!" Hermione steered Ginny towards the door and shoved a bath caddy and her new bathrobe at her. "Try not to drown in the bath, but don't come back until you smell like a girl again."
The door slammed shut and Ginny shuffled down the hallway in a half-open school robe, muttering, "Stupid, mean thing. See how nasty brat likes being serenaded by Ron. Hah!"
"I can assure you, Weasley, that it ranks in my top ten list of least favorite things in the world, right under snogging one of the heroic Gryf trio and right above doing the lambada with McGonagall." Malfoy smirked as she jumped backwards. "Now, now, Weasel. You can't be jumping into my arms in the hallways. People will talk."
"Not y-- oh, I'm too tired for this." Ginny walked into the prefects' bathroom and threw off her school robe, revealing a black bodysuit. She paused as she seemed to remember he was there, then shrugged and walked into the bathtub, gesturing to the taps with her wand.
"Um, Weasel? Are you attempting to drown yourself because of Potter never being yours?" Ginny's head would have hit the tile rather hard if Draco's hand hadn't moved rather swiftly to cushion it. "Lovely cackle. Nice to see the traditions being kept up, I didn't think they taught those any more."
"Oh, shut it, or I'll feed you great-aunt Anise's toffee." Ginny batted his hands away and sank under the water, tilting her head so her hair got completely wet.
Draco reached in and hauled her to the surface before she drowned. "Oh, scary stuff, toffee. I'm shaking in my newly water damaged shoes."
She snickered. "You should be. Where do you think the twins got some of the recipes they started with? Only, well, Anise was kinda bitter about a bad breakup, so it didn't make things grow, just... shrivel and fall off. The twins were unhappy when I found that one. Heh."
"Charming as the evil side of your nature might be, you are aware that you're practically naked, yes? I mean, I suppose I can suffer through the viewing, but I really do draw the line at taking advantage of drunken women." And drunk was the only explanation for why Ginny Weasley would be cavorting in a bathtub, babbling to Draco Malfoy.
"Pfft. I've got bathing suits that show more skin than this." She waved a hand negligently, then tried to sink under the water again while tugging at her braid.
Draco pushed her fingers out of the way and started unplaiting her hair before she could rip it all out of her scalp. "I always knew that prat brother of yours was useless."
Ginny snickered. "I swear, all six brothers and Harry had kittens when they saw it. Mum and Hermione and I were laughing for days." She sighed and leaned her head towards him. "That feels nice."
"Virginia Weasley, you are a shameful wench." His imitation of her mother's scolding-the-twins tone, which the entire school had heard often over the years, was ruined completely by her bursting into laughter. "While I agree it's funny that a Malfoy would bother keeping a Weasley from drowning, I don't think it quite calls for that level of hysteria."
"Virginia, hah! I'd kill to be named Virginia." She reached for the bottle of shampoo and almost knocked him over.
"You realize I'm only washing your hair out of self defense." He snatched the bottle out of her hand and looked thoughtful as he worked up and lather and soaped her hair. "Guinevere? Genevieve?"
"Too pretty. You think I'd go by 'Ginny' if I could go by 'Genevieve'? Honestly." Ginny closed her eyes and rolled her head forward as he massaged her scalp. "You know, Malfoy, if your father ever pisses away all his money, you could make a living at this."
Seconds later she was sputtering as a gigantic bubble of water levitated and then burst over her head. "Sorry, the thought of a Malfoy in trade had to be punished somehow. Can't have the ancestors dropping by to seek revenge." She glared at him and he lifted the bottle of conditioner, grinning. "Shall we finish? Um, Jennifer? Janine? Gwenhyfar?"
She snickered again. "Now you're reaching. But I'm still not telling. You can just call me Weasel." Ginny looked confused, then corrected herself, "Weasley."
"I'm crushed." Another splash of water and then he held out a towel. "Come on, Weasel. Get your callipygous self out of the tub and into your room, where you will wake up hungover and remember none of this."
"What's kalli-whosis mean?" Ginny looked at him suspiciously as she pulled on her robe and rubbed the towel over her hair.
"Look it up." He checked that the coast was clear, then dropped the locking charm and steered the stumbling Ginny in the direction of her room before turning around and using the colder range of the showers. Good thing the girl had been so drunk, or she'd have serious blackmail material. The only thing that puzzled him was how she'd managed to cover up the smell of alcohol. It'd be damn useful for future reference.
(A/N: It means 'having well-shaped buttocks'.)
The Twilight Zone by Mynuet
Chapter 7: The Twilight Zone
The next day was one for the record books. It started with the marketing of something labeled "Ravishing Ravenclaws" by an extremely nervous looking Colin Creevey and a strangely intimidating looking fifth year girl. Copies were selling briskly, despite the need for keeping it from faculty attention.
A lot of attention ended up being on the Gryffindor table, where Hermione Granger, prim and proper Head Girl, all-around best student and teacher's pet to the nth degree, was eating strawberries and cream in a way that threatened to vault the first years into early puberty. There was nothing that could quite be pointed to as being deliberate about it, but she definitely had the full and complete attention of the vast majority of the males in the room. Just as the owl post was fluttering in, she dabbed at her lips with a napkin, leaned over to brush a kiss over Ron Weasley's lips, and left the room with a distinct wiggle in her walk. Never before had so many boys considered dyeing their hair red.
The next thing that was unexplainable by most of the school was the sudden sharp burst of laughter from the Prince of Slytherin. No one was sure why he laughed, but Colin Creevey, taking no chances, scurried from the hall to avoid gaining another shiner from the surprisingly adept Malfoy fists. Sure, he'd gotten paid generously for all the remaining copies of the Gryffindor Girls, but he didn't particularly care for the pain that accompanied the money.
Draco Malfoy looked at the parchment in his hand again, but managed to stick to a smirk instead of laughing out loud. It was unsigned, and said, "Eugenie Therese. Tell anyone and your future career prospects get blabbed, and then I start plotting my real revenge. And there's a difference between drunk and exhausted, imbecile. Lack of alcohol fumes, for one."
"Draco? Are you all right?" Pansy Parkinson frowned and leaned over to touch his hand. "You're not... yourself."
Draco smirked before kissing Pansy on the cheek and whispering, "Always make them wonder, Pansy. It keeps them off balance." She giggled and he squeezed her shoulder affectionately before setting off to finish his transfiguration homework.
His good mood evaporated like water on a dragon's snout when he entered the library and saw that Tarvit prat drooling directly onto Ginny's exposed cleavage. Damnation, didn't the girl own any decent clothing? At least the robes she used to wear didn't leave her half naked. And where the hell was her brother, or even Potter? Okay, maybe not Potter. "Tarvit. Weasley. Are you under the impression that first section is something that only applies to other people?"
Ginny looked up with a blink, Lyle with a glare that somehow failed to make much of an impression. The returned glare was considerably more impressive, and the sixth year boy decided that a certain amount of discretion was called for and so gathered his notes before scuttling off. "Wait, Lyle, you left... What on earth got into him?"
Draco snatched the book out of her hand. "Leave it with Pince. She's in charge of lost and found."
Ginny looked at him quizzically, then shouldered her backpack. "Well, a certain greased ferret mentioned something about first section, so I'd better get to class. I think today I'm using sheep entrails to predict death by smothering. Ron's been absolutely unbearable lately."
Not anywhere near unbearable enough, apparently. "Consumption's more likely. Honestly, can't you afford enough fabric to cover all of you at once?"
Ginny's eyes narrowed and she stomped on Draco's foot, quite hard. "One more fat joke from you, Malfoy, and I swear that you will sing soprano for weeks." She stalked off, muttering, while Draco shook his head and wondered where the hell that had come from.
He'd just slid into his chair for Potions when he decided that there was, indeed, a rational explanation, and that was that he was locked into the oddest dream he had ever had. Or possibly it was one of those alternate timeline things that Trelawney loon would rave about from time to time. The only thing he was certain of was that no universe he knew of would contain Ron Weasley coming up to him and saying, "Thank you."
Before he could come up with an insult, any insult, even a substandard one, Weasley had continued, "Ginny locked me up pretty tight against hurting that Creevey bastard, so I appreciate your taking care of it. You're still a prat, but maybe you're not all bad."
"Mr. Weasley, I do believe you are supposed to be in your seat when the teacher arrives for class." Snape's voice was icy and Ron scuttled away, costing Draco still another opportunity to trot out an insult. Just as well, for his brain was still processing that Ron Weasley, of all people, had said that Draco Malfoy was not. all. bad. If that wasn't one of the signs of the end of the world, he didn't know what-- Wait, Weasley'd done something minor wrong in Snape's class and no points had been taken from Gryffindor? What was next, Lucius Malfoy converting the manor into a home for displaced muggle orphans from South America? Voldemort downing something with rum and coconut and a little umbrella while partying in Bermuda?
"Longbottom, in all of Hogwarts history there has never been an incident of a teacher murdering a student. I am giving you five seconds to be gone from my sight or today we will break that illustrious record." Perhaps there was hope for the world to continue turning correctly on its axis after all.
The results of years of expensive dental charms were being ground into powder as the Finnigan idiot divided his attention between the Weasley girl's bosom and his dinner, with the occasional break for chatting with Granger. The elder Weasley was looking distinctly peeved, but every time he opened his mouth, one or the other bint would shove something in it. Pathetic.
Oh and now for the crowning touch of indigestion, Postively Perfect Potter was laughing at something the blarney peddler said and leaning much too closely to the youngest Weasel to be up to any good. Draco pushed away from the table, deciding to go do something more entertaining, like stapling his eyelids to the Whomping Willow. He'd cleared the Great Hall and was moving randomly away when he heard a voice behind him shouting, "Malfoy, wait up."
"What do you want, Weasley?" He crossed his arms and gave his best bored stare to the freckled face in front of him.
"I want my sister to start wearing clothes again, and Hermione, too. Even Harry bleedin' Potter just says they 'look great'. Look great, I ask you. What's wrong with looking great in a modest fashion that doesn't have some manky Irish git staring down your bosoms, I said, and Gin..." Ron paused to swallow hard. "Well, let's just say she said something unladylike."
"And this concerns me how, precisely?" Draco smirked as he thought of some of the unladylike things she probably said. He'd had to look up some of the words she'd used that night in the prefects' bath.
"Don't be thick, Malfoy. You're the only blighter in the school that isn't drooling over my sister or my girlfriend." Ron cut off whatever the other boy might've said with a wave. "Yeah, you're a nasty little ferret, but you're my only ally, you see? We've got to figure out a way to change them back."
Malfoy stood for a moment, looking at the boy he'd most enjoyed insulting for pretty much his entire school career. Could he just give that kind of entertainment up? "I don't have to like you, do I?"
"I'd prefer you didn't, actually." Ron's face was a picture of revulsion. "Once whatever's possessed them disappears we can go back to hating each other and my world will be sane again."
"Come on, then." Draco turned on his heel and strode purposefully down the hallway.
"Where're we going?" Ron followed, somewhat warily. "What's your plan?"
"To get pissed."
"Right. Sounds like a good plan to me."
Their eagerness for the embrace of Ogden's Old Peculiar might have been somewhat less if they had realized that the instant Ron's back cleared the doors of the great hall, Seamus Finnigan sat up straight and toned down his accent remarkably. Harry looked at him in confusion and said, "What happened to you?"
The much maligned Irishman snorted. "What kind of blind git do you take me for? I flirt when Ron's around, the worst I get is some bruises when he loses it and starts coming after me with his beater’s club. I flirt when he's not around and these two lovely and charming ladies'll string my goolies from the Astronomy Tower."
Hermione nodded sagely. "Plus we'd eat his liver."
"But only with ketchup." Ginny calmly ate another spoonful of trifle and smiled adoringly at Seamus, who grinned and kissed her cheek.
Harry shook his head in disbelief. "I will never, ever, understand girls."
Manhandled by a Drunken Chili Enthusiast by Mynuet
Chapter 8: Manhandled by a Drunken Chili Enthusiast
"I think we might have overdone it." Hermione sounded nervous as she paced the room, not even a book to keep her company.
"Yes, well, I've got hallway duty, so I can't get all that worked up about my prat brother. He'll be fine." Ginny finished lacing up her robe and then took a firm grip of her wand. Seeing her words had had no effect, she grabbed her friend by the shoulders and shook. "Hermione. Calm down."
Hermione growled in frustration and tossed herself onto her bed. "I don't see how you can be so... So... Calm! He's your brother, and he's been missing since dinnertime!"
Ginny rolled her eyes. "Honestly! Send in the Unspeakables, Ronniekins is off in a sulk!" The red haired girl went to a pile of books and picked one out at random. "Here. Reading about the development of the textile industry should keep you occupied for a while. And I promise to keep an eye out for my darling brother while I roam the deserted and frigid hallways, all right?"
Hermione muttered something obscene and Ginny laughed. "Best not let my mum hear, she'll know who corrupted you and I'll be washing soap taste out of my mouth for days."
"Oh, like you won’t find a way to turn it against whatever brother’s convenient." Hermione threw a pillow that landed against the door seconds after it closed behind Ginny. The illustrious Head Girl then sighed and turned back to the pile of iridescent fabric on her lap.
She’d turned out to have no aptitude whatsoever for using the sewing machine, but she’d found a spell that embroidered beautifully, and she set it to work. She still wasn’t sure she’d have the nerve to pull off that costume, but they’d decided to switch styles for the Halloween masquerade ball, which was being held after the feast. Ginny’s costume had been simple and was already done, but Hermione wanted to research something for a piece de resistance, and now that she had the room to herself she could… As long as the dratted embroidery got done and she at least practiced the dancing just enough to be able to say she had.
Ginny, meanwhile, was cursing whatever gene in the Weasley makeup predisposed them to turn out prefects. Thousands upon thousands of others managed to go through their entire educational careers without once seeking to distinguish themselves, but not Weasleys. No, just like they had to use the good china when Mum had someone over for tea, or write thank you notes for the grottiest of presents, they had to work hard and do really well in school. The twins had only escaped because Filch had threatened to go on strike if they were selected. It was enough to make you want to dye your hair black and join the crowd smoking in the empty classroom behind Myrtle’s bathroom.
She’d already hauled two trembling first years back to their dormitories, interrupted a couple doing something extremely complex looking in a broom closet, although lack of space probably accounted for a lot of how they were folded up, and scolded Harry and Dean for sneaking to the kitchens until they gave up some of the goods. She’d been pondering whether or not to go have a cuppa with Filch, who’d been on friendly terms with her ever since she developed a charm to rebound kicks to Mrs. Norris on the would-be kicker, when she heard the most god-awful noise known to man or beast.
She might have a détente with the man, but he was still pure hell for the last of the male Weasleys. "Ron! Shut it, Ron, Filch is NOT deaf!" Ginny was hissing as loudly as she dared as she ran through the corridor. The thought that someone else could make that kind of noise that attempted to resemble singing was too horrifying to be possible. She was muttering prayers as she skidded around a corner, if something as incoherent as "ohgodohgodohgoddon’tletFilchcomeoutnow" could be counted as such.
Her prayers were answered, affirming her long standing belief that even the almighty had a sadistic streak. It wasn’t Filch she crashed into as she rounded the last bend. It was Snape.
She was still on the ground, rubbing her forehead, when Ron chortled and then caroled out, "Giiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiinger-peaches, diddums knock a teacher down? Bad form, bad form, Gin-ginny-gin-gin."
"Ronald Weasley, you're sotted!" Ginny scrambled to her feet and rubbed her sore backside, ignoring the hair that had fallen in her face and completely forgetting the other occupants of the hallway in her preoccupation.
He cackled. "Yeah, innit great? Ohhhhhhhhhhhhh, with a snail if you slow to a crawl, but--"
"That's got to be the most interesting and educational song I've heard in ages, Weasley, but perhaps now is not the time." Ginny paused in her rubbing as Malfoy's drawl brought her attention back to current realities. Unfortunately Malfoy was leaning against the wall, his hair tousled, and the dishevelment was short circuiting her brain. Plausible excuses were well beyond her current mental capacity.
"I suppose this charming scene is going to be explained as some form of prefect's meeting?" If sneering was an Olympic sport, Severus Snape would definitely be in serious contention for the gold.
Ginny's overworked mind seized on this like a dieter with a forbidden Twinkie. "Yes! Only the meeting was cancelled, but they didn't know, so I had to come tell them, but I got distracted, what with Cousin Lulu from Texas sending an owl because she just won a cookoff and the peach cobbler recipe sounded really good, and--"
"Am I to understand you are roaming the hallways due to a dessert recipe?" The potions master sounded neutral, and Ginny wished she could ignore Malfoy producing a noise that sounded suspiciously like a giggle.
"Um, well, she did also send her latest chili recipe." Yup, definitely a giggle. If they got out of this alive, she was never letting Malfoy live it down.
"Brilliant! You'll make some for us, right? Pleeeeeeeeease, Ginger-snap? Ginnikins? Ginger-ale?" Ron frowned at the last one, but still wobbled over to his sister. "With the special cornbread?"
Snape was less than amused. "Mister Weasley, I do not believe that this is the time for you to be discussing culinary matters with your sister."
"But it's absolutely brutal chili! Kicks you in the nadgers and makes you want to go back for more." Ginny looked on in horror as her brother grabbed onto Snape's robe-front to convince him of the glories of real Texas chili.
"Ron! I think Hermione needs some help, why don't you go see her? We'll talk about making chili tomorrow." Ginny dragged him away from Snape, trying not to concentrate on the desire to kill a certain laughing Malfoy. Once she had disengaged her brother and given him a push in the right direction, she cleared her throat and peeked up at Snape to gauge just how bad the situation was.
Very bad. "Miss Weasley... Words fail me."
Taking a deep breath, Ginny tried out her very best oh-I-am-so-cute-you-can't-stay-mad look. "Perhaps I can make up for my, er, irresponsibility in taking charge by serving detention? My gumbo is superb." She smiled hopefully.
Snape grunted. "Detention. Once a week, every week, until you leave Hogwarts or until I can manage to erase the memory of being manhandled by a chili enthusiast." He looked Ginny over and said, "I believe Sunday evenings should suffice for this arrangement."
"She should study Sundays. Friday or Saturday night would be better." Draco showed his impeccable sense of timing, speaking up when Ginny would least want him to.
She whirled on him, hissing, "What if I wanted to have dates on Friday and Saturday nights, like normal people? Stop being a total Slytherin prat, would you?"
"I fail to see why your social life should take precedence over serving your detentions, Miss Weasley. I do believe that Saturday evenings would be more convenient for me, after all." The head of Slytherin house smirked and Ginny cursed her impulsive tongue. With a flutter of black robes, Snape turned and walked away, his voice floating back. "Do take care of Mister Malfoy, Miss Weasley, as I will hold you responsible if he should come to any harm due to your negligence. And I believe that this Saturday, I would like the main course to be coq au vin."
(AN: The song Ron is singing so enthusiastically is "The Hedgehog Can Never Be Buggered At All", which is shamelessly swiped from Terry Pratchett.)
Chapter 9: The First Snog
Ginny growled and marched over to where Draco was still leaning insouciantly against the wall. With one sharp movement, she kicked his shin and would have stomped away if this hadn't caused him to slide down to the ground. "Oh, stop faking and get up. I didn't kick you all that hard."
"Not that hard? I think you broke it, you bloody vicious harpy." Draco glared at her, then leaned his head back against the wall and closed his eyes. Ginny sighed and knelt over him, running her hands over the leg she had kicked. His eyes popped open and he blurted out, "Gosh, you're pretty."
"I did not know it was humanly possibly to be as sloshed as you are right now." Ginny shook her head and looked at him, almost in awe. "How do you manage to talk normally? I drink anywhere near that much and I'm practically paralytic."
He looked at her with injured feelings shining from his eyes. "I'm not all that drunk. Just slightly good to go."
"Malfoy. You just called me, a Weasley, the fat girl with all the freckles and the ugly hair, pretty." Ginny sat back on her heels and pinned him with a glare.
"So? Just because you're not skin and bones doesn't mean you're not pretty." Warming up to his subject and ignoring the little voice inside that said Malfoys shouldn't babble, he continued. "Honestly, women are stupid. They keep starving themselves because of what they think men want when it's other women who're the only ones impressed. It doesn't take being drunk to realize that, Weasel."
Ginny looked at him in disbelief as he ranted, then said simply, "You used the word 'gosh'."
"Did I?" Draco thought about it a moment and realized she was right. "All right, you have a point. I must be pickled to the gills."
"You certainly smell like a distillery. What were you about, going out for a booze-up with my brother of all people?" Ginny hauled him to his feet and grunted as his arm went around her shoulder and his weight rested on her. "What've you been eating, rocks?"
He just leaned into her harder, his face hovering near enough to hers to give new meaning to the term 'dragon breath'. "Now, now, Weasel. You have to be nice to me or I'll tell Snape that you were irresponsible in your duties."
Ginny snorted. "I thought you'd given up being a stinking tattletale after all that business with the war and your psychotic father."
"Can I help it if whiskey makes me nostalgic? Next thing you know I'll be turning down the opportunity to snog in favor of quidditch." He snickered and almost steered them into a wall.
"Malfoy, if you don't stop messing about and just tell me where your room is, I'll personally see to it that you never snog again." Ginny tugged her hair out from where his arm had it trapped and glared at him.
"Weasel, Weasel, Weasel. If you'd wanted a snog you should have just said so." With surprising grace for someone who had been staggering and falling all over her, he moved so that her back was against a blank section of wall, his hands on her shoulders holding her in place. His lips were on hers and she couldn't think all of a sudden, just close her eyes and try to reconcile how good it felt with the impossibility of it being Draco Malfoy who deliberately set out to kiss her. Wasn't there supposed to be a law against jerks being great kissers?
She heard him mutter 'Eugenie', the right way, 'you-jeh-knee', instead of 'you-jean-ee', and wondered if that was his idea of romantic, calling her by her full name. Then the portrait on the wall next to her slid open and he was pulling her through, kissing her neck and otherwise making it hard to think.
"Wait!" Sense started to creep back in when she felt his hands start to move south of the equator. "You're drunk."
He moved her hair out of the way and nibbled at the skin just below her ear. "We'd established that, now can we get back to more interesting things?"
Seventeen years of dealing with larger siblings, added to a considerable muscle tone from hours and hours of quidditch practice, meant that Ginny Weasley could be fairly emphatic when she wanted to be. The shove she gave not only knocked Malfoy down, he skidded backwards several feet. He glared up at her past the hair that had fallen into his eyes. "What the hell was that for?"
"Because you're drunk and randy and I don't feel like being the next anonymous notch on your bedpost." She stomped her foot in a way even she realized was incredibly childish, then whirled and left the room, slamming the portrait shut behind her. She could hear him cursing and she ran for her room with everything that was in her.
"Ginny?" Hermione looked up from the book she had been reading. "What happened? I couldn't get much out of Ron before he passed out."
"I've got detention once a week until I leave Hogwarts, I dumped Malfoy in his room, and I may very well kill my brother once he's sober enough to suffer." Ginny scowled and crossed her arms. "What happened to him, anyway?"
"He said something about helping, then something about Snape and chili which I'm not sure I want to know more about, then he passed out." Hermione pointed to the blanket covered lump on the floor and winced when Ginny kicked at it on her way back from brushing her teeth. Something about the redhead's previous speech struck her and she said, "Wait, did you say you took Malfoy to his room? Why?"
"Because apparently he and my brother are now drinking mates. I'm buggered if I know what they talked about." Ginny plopped into bed and pulled up the covers before imitating her brother's voice, saying, "So, Malfoy, you're an evil Slytherin prat. Have a pint, on me."
Hermione nibbled on her quill before placing it inside the book and going towards her own bed. "Well, we'll ask him in the morning."
That plan was thwarted by Ron disappearing before either girl woke up, and avoiding breakfast. Things were relatively quiet, although Ginny looked a bit odd after receiving an owl that Hermione recognized as coming from the twins. She promptly went back to flirting with Lyle Tarvit, but there was something forced about it that had Hermione resolving to corner her about it later.
She ended up being forgetting all about it, though, because she saw Ginny stiffen up and blush furiously before making an excuse and scurrying away. A quick look around the hall and Hermione had diagnosed the likely cause for this event to be a scowling Draco Malfoy. His entire attention was riveted to Ginny until the doors closed behind her, and then he had still glared after her so fiercely it was a wonder the huge double doors hadn't been singed. "Very interesting."
"What's interesting?" Harry looked quizzically at Hermione, who seemed to have been staring off into space for some time.
"Oh! Um, I was just thinking about whether Professor McGonagall might consider incorporating Transfiguration with Muggle Studies for certain projects." It was weak, and Hermione knew it.
Harry apparently had no interest on taking a chance on her elaborating, however. "Sounds great, Hermione, but I have, uh, quidditch practice. See you later!"
The next week was quiet, relatively speaking. Ginny had spent several days intently poring through a small stack of battered books drawn out of the depths of her trunk. Hermione had continued with her embroidery, researching the spell for Ginny's costume, and the ever amusing floor show of Ginny and Malfoy. It was gratifying to watch Ron turn bright colors and mumble, but watching his sister do it was bringing Hermione an almost unholy amount of glee. That Malfoy was continually looking Byronic and smoldering just made it all the harder to contain the giggles.
This is why it took as long as it did for Hermione to realize she was being followed.
Chapter 10: Ginny's Evil?
She was on her way to the library after staying late in Transfiguration chatting with Professor McGonagall about the sewing machine when she heard footsteps behind her. They were the only other noise in the hallway, and when she stopped, they stopped. She walked a bit faster and they sped up to match her pace. Her heart started beating a bit faster and she slowed, prepared to turn and brandish her wand, but her follower also slowed down. She turned sharply down a random corridor, then whispered a silencing charm on her feet as she ran forward and turned again. What she saw when she peeked around the corner confused her until she remembered that Ron and Malfoy had been drinking together. Her natural cleverness, enhanced by several years of exposure to the Weasley mind, slotted two and two neatly into place in front of an equal sign and a four.
Ten minutes later, Ron Weasley found himself caught by the collar and dragged into a secluded spot. He barely managed to identify his assailant and stammer out her name before she said, "Ronald Weasley, you explain to me right now why Vincent Crabbe is following me around, and it better be good."
Plausible explanations and excuses flashed through his mind in a torrent and were rejected as probably ending in grievous bodily harm performed on his person. Finally he decided he might as well be hanged for the truth as an excuse, and it might just move the judge/executioner to have mercy on his pathetic soul. "It seemed like a good idea at the time?"
"I do not even want to contemplate the stupidity of that statement." Hermione let go of her grip on his collar and he sagged, reveling in the feeling of being able to intake oxygen once more and praying the situation would continue. "Honestly, lately it seems all the Weasleys are running mad. You, off getting drunk with Malfoy and having me followed, of all things, and Ginny reading a cookbook and cackling in a distinctly evil way. Is it the..."
She stopped talking when she noticed he had gone chalk white and was gripping her arm rather tightly. "Did... Did you say she was cackling over a cookbook?"
Hermione looked nonplussed. Her mental train of righteous fury was being derailed by the unmistakable signs of his sheer terror. "Yes, what of it? I thought it was a bit strange, but she just said it was some old family--"
"Bloody hell." Ron wobbled and looked like he was going to faint. Hermione reached out to him and he clasped her arm as if she were the only branch overhanging a patch of quicksand. "Bloody buggering hell."
"Ron? Ron, we've got to get you to Madame Pomfrey." She would yell at him later. Right now he looked distinctly green and on the verge of complete collapse.
She had managed to wedge her shoulder under his arms and pull them both upright when his eyes went wide and he stood on his own. "Holy... Forget Pomfrey, we've got to warn Malfoy!"
"Since when are you such chums with Draco Malfoy?" Hermione was panting as she ran to keep up with Ron's long strides.
"This isn't about friendship, this is bloody well humanitarian aid! Why the twins didn't burn that damn book..." Ron picked up speed, tugging her along as he charged through groups of students as if they were ninepins.
"All this fuss over a cookbook?" Hermione had given up on apologizing for running people over and was now concentrating on oxygen and keeping up, and not necessarily in that order.
Ron shuddered. "That's not just a cookbook. That's great-aunt Anise's cookbook. Out of print now because nine tenths of the recipes were deemed to be too cruel to allow the general public to see."
They rounded a corner and Hermione slammed into Ron's back as he stopped. From under his arm, she could see that they were in some sort of storage room, and Malfoy was talking to Greg Goyle. Tuning out Ron's gasping for breath, she heard Malfoy say, "What d'you mean, you're scared?"
"She... That Tarvit... She's evil." The hulking young man was sputtering and out of breath as he looked pleadingly at Draco. "Don't make me go after her again. I daren't."
Malfoy looked up to see Ron in the doorway, but whether he saw Hermione or not, she couldn't tell. With a dismissive nod for the red haired boy, Malfoy turned his attention back to his lackey. "That Tarvit prat is precisely why you are supposed to be watching her. He's completely untrustworthy."
Goyle swallowed hard. "I don't think he's going to be causing her any problems. Ever again."
Ron managed to croak out, "She didn't feed him anything, did she?"
"What's that got to do--" Malfoy looked supremely irritated, but Goyle was shuddering like blancmange during an earthquake.
"It's, it's, it's inhuman what she did." Hermione was dying of curiosity by this point, but resisted the urge to order him to spill the beans. No one seemed to notice she was there, and she didn't want to draw attention to herself and make them stop talking. Goyle continued, "All week she's been all flirty and laughing at his stupid jokes and all, leaning over him and--"
"Get on with it." Malfoy sounded distinctly irritated, and Hermione had to bite her tongue quite hard to suppress the urge to snicker.
Goyle swallowed hard, but pressed on. "Well, today she corners him in the library, and she says..." Words seemed to fail him for a moment, and when he continued, it was in a whisper. "She says, 'Careful, you're already looking at a month of abstaining before your sight comes back, and two months for your palms to be normal. Keep going and it'll fall off.'"
No amount of pain could have prevented the bark of laughter that escaped Hermione at the white faces of the three males in front of her. Goyle jumped and seemed like he would widdle himself in terror if it happened again, Ron shuddered, and Malfoy went very still. This made Hermione start laughing again, and she choked out, "No wonder she was asking me about muggle superstitions about... About... Wanking!" She went off in fresh peals of laughter, tears coming to her eyes as she doubled over and held her arms over her stomach.
"Weasley, your girlfriend seems to be demented." Malfoy turned back to Goyle, who had been trying to edge away from Hermione but towards the door, which essentially translated to rocking from side to side in one place. "Did she say anything else?"
"Just that if he told anyone, the effects would be permanent." He shuddered and then said, "And that it was for Longbottom that she did it."
"Holy mother of muggles." Ron sounded awed, and Hermione was trying to get oxygen into her starved lungs. "Blimey, the twins are going to build her a shrine for this one. The revenge prank to end all revenge pranks."
Draco's lips twitched. "So it was Tarvit who put that clothes vanishing potion in her drink."
"You should see him! His palms are all covered in hair and he was walking into walls and apologizing to them all yesterday." Goyle managed to get a clear shot at the door, since Hermione's laughing fit had made her collapse onto the ground.
He shrieked like a girl at the sight that awaited him. "Hermione, are you all right? I just came by to get Goyle before I headed down to see Snape for tonight's detention. I hadn't meant to lose him when I stopped by the kitchens." Ginny smiled brightly at the assemblage and directed herself to the quivering mass that had once been an impressive lackey. "I thought it'd be easier to follow me if I stopped pretending not to see you, and that way you can be my taste tester. Tonight we're having sauerkraut and bratwurst."
Goyle's eyes rolled back in terror and he scurried backwards to stand behind Malfoy. Ginny just continued to smile in the sunniest way imaginable. "No? Well, maybe next time. How about you, Hermione?" The other girl nodded and pushed herself to a standing position, still sighing with the aftereffects of laughter. The two girls had started to walk away when Ginny stopped and said, "Oh, Ronniekins? Do remind me that we need to discuss the matter of detention before I need to look up too many more recipes, will you?"
Draco had his arms crossed in front of him forbiddingly as they watched the two girls saunter off. Ron was looking bilious as he moaned, "She really is evil."
"I may have to marry that woman." Malfoy shook his head, the admiration on his face unmistakable.
"I wouldn't wish her on my worst enemy." Ron paused, seeming to think over what he'd said. "On second thought, you're welcome to her."
Chapter 11: Girl Talk
Hermione was up late, but for once it was not related to either studying or their self improvement project. No, this evening she was waiting for German dining night in Snape's dungeon to be finished so that she could snare Ginny into confessing all. Hopefully the girl would be nice and tired, since that always made it easier to extort information from her, but Hermione hadn't spent all those years of close friendship without getting to know a few levers that would get her to open up anyway. All she had to do was wait.
Just when she thought she'd go out of her mind if she waited any longer, Ginny came in, rubbing her eyes and pulling clothes off. There was a slight smell of beer and sauerkraut, but Hermione just ignored it as she pounced. "So. You said we'd talk later about Tarvit and your sudden complete lack of blushing and hiding from Malfoy. And now, it's later."
Ginny groaned. "Can't I get some sleep first?"
"No, and stop whining." Hermione looked stern, but picked up the robes Ginny had dropped and murmured a cleaning spell.
"Fine." Ginny threw herself onto her bed, but just sat up and pulled her knees to her chest and wrapped her arms around her legs.
Hermione looked at her friend’s defensive posture and sighed. "How about I start? Something happened that night when he and Ron got drunk."
"He kissed me." Ginny’s voice was a muffled whisper, but Hermione was a careful listener.
"And you didn’t like it? Did he try to, er, do something?" She could have sworn that what was between Ginny and Malfoy wasn’t like that, but maybe she was wrong.
Or maybe not. "No, well, not exactly. Sort of. Ohhh, I don’t know!" Ginny’s face made an appearance, as apparently wailing into her knees was not terribly satisfactory.
A smile was trying to creep onto Hermione’s face, but she ruthlessly tamped it down. "Okay, one step at a time, then. Did you like kissing Draco Malfoy?"
"Yes. Ugh, I still can’t believe that I’m saying that." Ginny threw herself backwards and pulled a pillow over her face. "Which brother do you think will strangle me first?"
The smile was putting up a fight, leaving Hermione’s sense of tact fighting a desperate rearguard action. "I would have said Ron, if it weren’t for this strange Twilight Zone bonding with Malfoy he’s been doing." The smile completely defeated all resistance, resembling a smirk as it emerged victorious. "His first thought when he figured out you were dabbling in dangerous cookery was to warn Malfoy."
"That’s… Really disturbing." Ginny tried once again to Draco hanging out with her brother. Her eyes watered from the strain. "Really, really, tremendously disturbing."
"In any case, this is all beside the point. You liked kissing him. Did he try something?" Hermione toyed with a quill, heroically resisting the instinct to take notes.
The bright red color that Ginny turned was an answer in and of itself. "Sort of. We were, uh, in his room, and—"
"Ginny, I love you like a sister, but I do not want details." Hermione shuddered.
"It wasn’t… We didn’t… All clothes were on, honestly!" Ginny was going for a world record in brightness of blushing. "He kissed me, we were in his room, his hands went to my bum and I, uh, hit him so hard he fell down. But he was drunk, so maybe I didn’t hit him that hard."
"Hmm. Did he say anything? Why did you hit him?" Hermione had started writing out of reflex, and looked down at the page in horror.
"Oh, go ahead, you’ll break your hand if you keep trying to stop taking notes. Just burn it when we’re done." Ginny tossed her pillow at Hermione, then lay back with one arm covering her eyes. "We didn’t do much talking, and I hit him because, well, it seemed like a good idea at the time."
"So you felt threatened? Because you know you can report him if you did." Hermione was scribbling furiously, and it was helping her immensely to organize her thoughts.
"No! Well, not exactly." Ginny sighed mournfully. "I’m just so confused."
Hermione read over what she’d written and made a humming noise. "Ginny, you realize that you don’t hate Malfoy, right? Not even close."
"Yeah. But he could break my heart so easily." Ginny’s voice wobbled a bit, but she managed to keep herself mostly under control. "I wanted… But he… Ugh. I hate this."
"So what changed that you stopped blushing and hiding? And, uh, I’d like to put in a request that Ron be spared the Tarvit treatment or anything similar. I have certain… Plans." Hermione coughed and tried to avoid looking at the sister of the object of her plans.
"I’m going to pretend I didn’t hear that, while still reassuring you that Ron’s anatomy is in no current danger from me." Ginny managed a sly grin. "Should you ever need us, though, I and great-aunt Anise will be at your service."
Hermione rolled her eyes. "I'll keep that in mind, oh mistress of evil."
"I'm not evil!" Ginny didn't have anything to throw, so she made do with a glare. "I'm just vengeful. Once I've gotten my own back, I forgive and forget."
"Hmm. Butter wouldn't melt in your mouth, I'm sure." Hermione conveniently had a pillow that had been thrown at her earlier, and she launched it at the redhead who was trying to maintain her pious expression. "So, what are you going to do about Malfoy?"
"I don't know, really. I mean, he knows me almost as well as you do, and I know him better than anyone at this school except maybe Pansy." Ginny sighed. "There's things both of us don't say in front of other people because we know it'd be going too far, like his mom, or Charlie's accident."
Ginny trailed off and Hermione said quietly, "It sounds like you're friends."
"In a sick, twisted, adversarial way, I guess we are." The gloominess of her voice and dejectedness of her posture looked completely pitiable. "But, you know, what does that mean, when you get down to it? And just because I'm so stupid that I started liking the prat a lot more than I should means nothing."
Hermione moved to sit next to her friend and give her a hug. "You know, that sounds a lot like something I said, once upon a time, about a certain clueless git."
Ginny snorted and swiped at her eyes. "That's different. Anyone with eyes can see that the idiot is completely top over teakettle bonkers for you."
"Oh, yeah, completely different, I'm sure." Hermione was not quite at Malfoy's, or even Ginny's, level in terms of sarcasm, but that didn't mean she couldn't indulge on occasion.
"Even the ferret's noticed, 'Mione. When you're not around, he always asks Ron where Mrs. Weasley is." Ginny tweaked one of Hermione's curls as she sat up. "And before you ask yet again, my plan is to go to the masquerade and dance with every boy who asks me and consider seeing if I can find one whose kisses I like. What's your plan?"
Hermione blushed scarlet and bit her lip. "Well... Do you think perhaps I could get the room to myself on Halloween?"
"Why, Hermione Granger, you wanton hussy. You're planning on seducing my brother, aren't you?" Ginny's scandalized tone didn't quite match the twinkle in her eyes, but Hermione still buried her face under the pillows. "About damn time. I'll kip with Lavender and her lot, or sneak down and see the twins. Speaking of which, can I go to sleep now? We can make plans for my brother's deflowering in the morning."
"Ginny!" Hermione smacked the other girl on the shoulder, but retreated in the face of some decidedly offensive sniggering.
Beaters Do It With a BIG Stick by Mynuet
Chapter 12: Beaters do it with a BIG stick!
"Malfoy." Steel against a scabbard, a bullet being pumped into a rifle's firing chamber, a gauntlet crashing to the ground.
"Mudblood." The word was offensive, but the tone was bland, more polite interest than an urge to infuriate.
Hermione smirked. "I dare you to call me that in front of Ginny."
Draco arched an eyebrow. "What, and suffer the fate of Tarvit the tosser? I think not."
"Hmm." She looked him over, trying to decide what approach to use. He wouldn't respect bluntness, but she wasn't in his league for subtlety. After the seconds stretched out with nothing to fill them, she said, seemingly at random, "You did very well in the last match against Gryffindor. It seems luck was on your side."
If she had been asked beforehand, she would have put good money on a bet against the remotest possibility of a Malfoy blushing. It was faint, but it was there. Before he could open his mouth, Hermione went for another attack of the seeming non sequiturs. "You know, it's amazing sometimes how clever Ginny is. She dropped a fortune at Madame Malkin's, but the new anonymous valentines she invented should more than make up the money she spent. It took her forever to work out how to include a kiss."
"So the little Weasley is an inventor, is she?" His façade remained mostly impassive, as befitted a Malfoy. Hermione had been watching very closely, though, and she saw the tiny reactions that gave him away.
She nodded and casually flipped her hair back, adjusting her hold on her ever present textbooks. "Yes, she's fantastic, isn't she?" And now it was time to go in for the kill. "A bit impulsive sometimes, though. She's upset because she doesn't think the boy she likes wants her for anything except the physical, so she's planning to kiss every boy she can at the masquerade."
Draco had stiffened, but the only other sign of emotion was the fact that his fists were bunched at his sides, the knuckles almost white. "I've always thought that Gryffindors come up with the stupidest possible plans."
"Perhaps. Still, with her being dressed as Persephone, she should be able to get enough kisses to find someone to make her forget the git she's in love with." Hermione smiled brightly. "Anyway, I'm sure you've got better things to do than stand around talking to a mudblood about a Weasley. I just wanted to remind you about the prefect meeting tonight, and that, despite any impressions you or Ron might have gotten, they don't normally involve whiskey."
Hermione had already walked several yards away when he said, "Not a mudblood, Granger, the mudblood. And I'll be sure to bring the vodka."
He walked away and Hermione grinned. The ball was quite firmly in his court now. If she didn't overestimate him, Ginny's kisses on Halloween night would be monopolized quite firmly.
Ginny was determined to miss the prefect's meeting and avoid Malfoy just a little bit longer. Unfortunately, she misjudged the amount of Fake'mOut fever inducing potion she'd taken in order to fool Hermione into believing she was actually sick. Three days later, a very shaky Ginny finally crawled out from under a nest of blankets to write out a careful note on the dosage and effects and owl it to the twins. She snarled at Hermione's smug I-told-you-so look and splashed herself with cold water before sitting down to tackle the accumulated homework.
"Ginny! Ginny, we've got practice." Harry's voice interrupted her in the middle of an explanation of the properties of asphodel when ground, chopped, minced, or bruised. "Come on, no rest for the wicked. Next week is the match with Hufflepuff."
"Go away, Harry. I'm still feeling a bit weak, and this essay isn't going to finish itself." Ginny scowled fiercely and considered tracking down Madame Pomfrey and begging for a potion to do something about the soreness in her muscles and joints from three days of lying in bed.
Harry reached over and closed the book. "There is no weakness in quidditch. We need to beat Hufflepuff by a good margin to make up for losing to Slytherin."
Ginny looked at him assessingly. "When did you turn into Oliver Wood?"
"Right about when the rest of the team refused to believe that I didn't want to be captain." Harry made a face and Ginny giggled. "Come on, then. Here, I'll get--" Harry had opened a drawer, presumably to get her some clothes, when he came up with a handful of satin. Dropping the underwear as if it would turn into a cobra and bite him, he turned bright red and shuffled towards the door. "On second thought, why don't I let you get your own clothes? I'll just, ah, go get the rest of the team."
Ginny laughed as the door shut behind him and decided that maybe some time on a broom would help her more than a potion. She stretched and reached into her closet, pulling on some ancient sweatpants and the first t-shirt that came to hand. She pulled her hair into a ponytail and grabbed her broom and club, not bothering to look into the mirror since she was just going to the pitch and back. Why bother to dress up if no one was going to see her?
Thinking something like that is akin to waving a red flag in front of a bull, a bottle in front of an alcoholic, a pair of killer shoes in front of a confirmed fashionista. It is a gilded, engraved invitation to the universe to have a good laugh. She was almost to the pitch when an all too familiar voice said, "Fascinating shirt, Weasel. Where would tryouts be held for this league?"
Ginny jumped and lifted a hand to her chest. "Malfoy, if you're going to stalk me, wear a bell so that I know you're coming. And what league?"
"Read your shirt, Weasel. And it doesn't count as stalking if I was here first. My pitch time just ended." Draco pulled one of Ginny's curls and started to walk away, leaving her to look down at her shirt. It was two sizes too big and emblazoned with the phrase, "Beaters do it with a BIG stick!" on the front and "Coed Naked Quidditch League: Rough, Tough, and In the Buff" on the back. Ginny closed her eyes and swore never to accept hand-me-downs from Fred again, or to get dressed without triple checking what she was putting on.
She had the shirt halfway off, with the intention of turning it inside out, when she felt his hand on her bare waist. "Do you always strip without checking if anyone's watching?"
"Weren't you going back to the castle?" Ginny's skin prickled, but she continued what she was doing. She wasn't showing off anything particularly exciting, or that Draco hadn't seen, but if Harry or Dean or any of the other team members made a joke about her shirt, Ron might just burst a blood vessel.
"No, I find the view here vastly entertaining, and there was one more thing I needed to discuss with you." One of his fingers was tracing a circle near the base of her spine and she slapped his hand away as she finished pulling the shirt back on.
Ginny wanted to howl. Hair that hadn't been washed in three days, itchy with dried sweat. Baggy, faded pants with a hole in one knee. The dreaded t-shirt. Scuffed trainers that had seen much better days several years before. A complexion that had to show the effects of three days of miserable illness. So much for impressing Draco the next time she saw him. She should've just belted up and gone to the damn prefects' meeting. Irritated beyond belief by being seen at her worst, she said, "If I say in advance that I look terrible, will it shorten the amount of time you spend being supercilious and mean? Because I've got practice to get to sometime within the next century, so despite temptation, you'll have to restrain yourself to just a few bon mots on the subject of my appearance."
His eyes roamed over her entire body, taking in every flaw. "You do look like hell, Weasel." He took a step forward and she lost her breath again. What was it about Draco Malfoy that made her lungs unable to process oxygen properly? He was whispering in her ear, again, damn it, and that needed to be made illegal for the way it went straight down her spine. His actual words took a moment to register. "And if what I was interested in with you was purely physical, it might even matter."
"Huh, you, wha--" Ginny's best attempt at coherency was beyond pathetic, even to her own ears. It didn't help that he had pushed aside some random strands of hair to kiss her cheek.
"You've got practice to get to." He swatted her backside and her eyes widened. "Work on your backspin, Ginger-snap. Your wrist is too limp and it throws off your aim."
She stared after his retreating back, all kinds of thoughts tumbling in her brain. In the confusion, two foolish thoughts kept fighting for dominance. One was that he looked damn good in his quidditch robes. The other was that a world in which Draco Malfoy whistled jauntily, if off key, was a very odd world indeed.
(A/N: Yes, I realize that the skiving snackboxes do about what the Fake'mOut potion does, but this was written before OotP came out, and I didn't want to mess with it too much. Y'all will forgive me, right?)
I Love It When a Plan Comes Together by Mynuet
Chapter 13: I Love It When a Plan Comes Together
"Ron! You look fabulous." The orange of the Chudley Cannons uniform, which should have clashed abominably with his hair, was subdued enough by the keeper gear to just give an overall impression of vitality. Ginny looked over her brother fondly, remembering how he used to stuff both of them into Cannons robes to play pretend. He might have his moments of being a prat, but he was her brother and lifelong playmate.
He smiled back before gathering her into a bear hug. Dropping a kiss on her temple, he said, "You're beautiful, Gin, even if sometimes it's hard to remember you're grown."
"Does that mean you're going to stop being overprotective?" Ginny looked up from the circle of his arms with one eyebrow arched skeptically.
"Never. But I'm glad you're actually clothed tonight." He grinned even as she punched him playfully in the stomach. "D'you think we should go get Hermione? I think the three of us are all that's left in Gryffindor Tower, everyone else is already at the ball, except the wee ones that are in bed."
"Wee ones? Honestly, Ron." Ginny shook her head sadly over her brother, even as her eyes twinkled. "Anyway, you go on up, since she's your date. I'm going to go down before all the dateless boys are taken."
"Gin..." Ron was less than pleased over her laughing exit, but then shrugged. At least she was wearing something that covered her breasts and knees this time. Shrugging, he moved up the stairs to the room that Hermione and Ginny shared.
He knocked on the door tentatively. Things had been going fairly well with Hermione, but she'd been giving him odd looks lately and he was a bit on edge at the thought of once again facing her surprisingly effective wrath. He heard a muffled voice telling him to come in, so he slowly opened the door and stepped inside a room that looked completely unfamiliar.
Instead of the double occupancy dorm room that Hogwarts provided for the prefects, he seemed to have stepped into a seraglio. The walls were draped with soft fabrics in jewel tones, which shimmered in the candlelight and enhanced the overall impression of being inside some sort of nomad's harem. All the furniture seemed to have disappeared, except for a massive four poster bed resting on a pedestal, the curtains pulled back to reveal silky sheets and a mountain of pillows. There was perfume in the air, something between floral and musk that he couldn't identify, but which sent messages straight to his libido.
His mouth went dry and his voice cracked as he managed to squeak out, "Hermione?"
"Sit down, I'll be right out." Her voice floated from behind a carved screen and he obeyed dumbly, sitting gingerly on the edge of the bed. He heard some music start, something slow and foreign sounding, with a heavy beat. Then she stepped out from behind the screen and all his breath left his lungs.
"Oh, fuck me." His mouth had not consulted his brain before it had expressed the sentiment that he was definitely in serious trouble. Hermione was wearing what was either a very fancy bra or the tiniest waistcoat he'd ever seen. Her skirt seemed to consist of a fancy belt with scarves dangling from it. Both the belt and the bra were a deep plum satin with gold embroidery, which made her skin seem flawless and alabaster. His eyes darted to her cleavage, and her bare midriff, and the way her legs were exposed and hidden as she moved sinuously with the music. The crowning touch was a small veil, a scrap of diaphanous cloth that obscured the lower half of her face and drew attention to her magnificent eyes.
Then she smiled, slowly, the hungry, triumphant smile of a cat that had just found itself in a dairy. "All right, I will."
Ginny stood a few feet away from the entrance to the Great Hall, out of the flow of traffic but counting on the SEP charm to keep from being noticed. She took her wand out of the special pocket she had sewn for it and muttered the spells that Hermione had researched. A quick look at her reflection in the breastplate of the suit of armor she'd ducked behind and she was more than reassured that the charms were perfectly in place. Once the entry was clear and there wasn't anyone approaching, she dropped the SEP charm and put her wand away.
Taking a deep breath, she stood up straight and threw her head back regally before opening the door. For the first time in her life, she felt completely beautiful, confident that she deserved to be stared at in admiration. It felt marvelous.
There seemed to be a ripple of silence in the room as people further away from the door turned to see what their neighbors were staring at. Ginny Weasley in stylish clothes walking in the halls had been one thing. This... This was something else.
Her costume was simpler than most, but deceptively so. A column of some kind of dull silk like material was draped around her figure, skimming over every curve enough to tantalize without flaunting. A simple braided gold cord was tied loosely around her waist, the ends trailing into the folds of the skirt. Her hair was loose, the fiery color of it enhanced by the crown of small white flowers she wore, and the petals that seemed to be scattered throughout the length of her curls. The way that her hair tumbled over her shoulders and the color of her dress made it hard to tell where the cloth stopped and her skin began, and more than one person in the crowd had to look twice to dispel the initial suggestion of nudity. Her feet were bare, and already stained from walking on the grass and wildflowers that appeared where she stepped. The air in the room seemed to fill with the scent of spring as all eyes locked on Ginny and couldn't seem to look away.
Then Ginny spotted Professor McGonagall, who had entered into the spirit of the evening by dressing as her namesake goddess of wisdom. With an impish smile, Ginny moved to join her, her hands outstretched. Conversations that had started again slowed into silence as Ginny took the older woman's hands and led her to the dance floor. McGonagall blushed a bit, but she was smiling as she and Ginny began to move in the simple dance that was traditionally performed on holidays by witches from old-fashioned families. The band recognized the steps and swung into a traditional melody, and soon the two dancing were joined by another witch, and another, the muggle-borns picking up the steps as they watched and their friends explained, and soon every witch in the Hall had joined in the circle of laughing, dancing women.
The dance ended to thunderous applause and excited chatter, the general themes being how much fun it had been and how beautiful each girl had looked as her date watched her dance. A crowd of unattached boys flocked to where Ginny stood, and a few of the more gallant ones asked Professor McGonagall for a dance. She had successfully turned away most, but Seamus Finnigan laughed and wouldn't take no for an answer. Despite her protests, the flustered teacher found herself swept into a graceful, if enthusiastic, waltz.
Ginny smiled to see Professor McGonagall trying to look as if she wasn't somewhat pleased, then turned to accept the offer of a dance from a nervous looking fourth year Gryffindor. When the dance ended, she kissed him lightly on the cheek and he turned a brighter red than even Ron could manage before stammering and backing away. Next she was pulled onto the floor by a dark-haired Ravenclaw, then by Harry, and then she started to lose track as she passed from one partner to the next in a blur of color and music and laughter.
She stopped abruptly as the movement of the dance swept her towards a figure that was so still, the air around him seemed deadened. His eyes were dark as he looked at her, the color of storm clouds heavy with lightning. His chest was mostly bare, covered only by the tail of the toga wrapped around his slim hips before it fell to almost brush the ground. His hair was crowned with poplar leaves and his skin seemed to gleam against the black velvet.
Ginny had just started to feel like she might be able to breathe again when his lips quirked, just the slightest upward curling of one corner of his mouth, and his hand stretched out to offer her something. She stared at the pomegranate in his hand, remembering that it was Persephone's choice to eat the fruit offered to her by Hades that bound her forever to the King of Hell. Slowly, as if the world around them did not exist and there was all the time in the world, she reached out to take the pomegranate from his fingers.
"You do realize that when she took his offering, it was forever." He looked thoroughly forbidding and her hand paused over his.
"Are you implying that you want forever? With a Weasley?" She looked into his eyes, half afraid of what he might say.
"Weasel, I'm wearing a bloody toga in public. What more proof of complete, moronic devotion do you need?" His sneer was back in full force and it dissolved the tension that had knotted her stomach. She couldn't help smiling as he crossed his arms over his chest in a move that seemed as familiar to her as her own breathing.
Ginny moved closer to him, resting her hands on his chest for balance as she stood on tiptoe to whisper in his ear, "You don't fool me. You like making all the girls drool."
His brow arched. "Are you drooling, Miss Weasley?"
"Only as much as you are, Mister Malfoy." Ginny winked and would have backed away if he hadn't moved to grab her around the waist. She felt like her breath was not fully entering her lungs as she stared into his eyes and saw a mixture of emotions ranging from mischief to passion.
"In that case..." His lips moved to hers and she let her eyes flutter closed as she melted into the sensation.
(Author's Note: Yes, the continuation of both scenes is written. No, it's not archived in the same file, since I want to keep the PG-13 and NC-17 stuff separate. They'll be uploaded soon, but I don't want to inflict smut on those who don't wish to see it.
In other notes, the SEP charm is stolen from Douglas Adams (he called it a field). SEP stands for "Someone Else's Problem" and it's a powerful camouflage. The chapter title, of course, comes from The A-Team, and the story of Persephone and Hades comes from Greek mythology.
The Morning After and the Beginning by Mynuet
Epilogue: The Morning After and the Beginning
"If I were entirely sure I wanted the answer, I'd ask where you slept last night."
"If I were entirely sure I wanted the answer, I'd ask how things went with my brother."
The two girls continued to avoid eye contact as they straightened out everything that had been rearranged or transfigured to transform their room into the "harem of seduction", as Ginny had dubbed it. Eventually, though, their eyes met as they stole peeks at each other and they dissolved into giggles.
"That good, eh?" Ginny leered playfully at Hermione while waving her wand to bring a bookshelf back to its proper size.
"OH, yes." Hermione looked both dreamy and smug. "Suffice it to say, he got me to agree to learn quidditch."
"You? On a broom? No, I don't believe it." Ginny didn't have to feign the shock on her face. It was no secret that Hermione hated to fly and considered quidditch a waste of time.
Hermione's blush rivaled the Weasley hair. "If I say that he was doing something very nice and I would have agreed to tap dance naked on Snape's desk during Potions class if he had asked, can I be excused from giving further detail?"
"Yes." Ginny's face twisted a bit, but she recovered enough to look slyly at her friend. "Well, at least he's done the family proud."
"Oh God, yes." Hermione's face got that distant, goofy smile again and Ginny laughed uproariously... Until Hermione snapped back into focus and said, "Nice of you to send that owl warning you were coming back. Funny, I thought the only person in school with an eagle owl was Malfoy."
Ginny hummed non-committally, but couldn't prevent the tell-tale blush from creeping up. It threatened to go nova when Hermione continued, "Yes, and the robes you came back wearing instead of your costume weren't any of the ones we made."
"Yes, well, let's just say there was a certain amount of enthusiasm in its removal that rendered my costume unfit for wandering the hallways." Ginny coughed discreetly.
"You know, I would've wagered on Malfoy being a cold fish. I suppose not, hm?" Hermione swished and flicked and the last of the books slotted themselves neatly into place.
"Definitely no coldness or fishiness, not a bit." Ginny sighed and melted onto her now normal-sized bed. "Oh, Hermione, he... All that intensity he puts into being a prat or beating your marks or getting the snitch? Well, it can be put to good use, too. VERY good use."
Hermione laughed and threw a pillow at the daydreaming redhead. "So, still going to disembowel him?"
Ginny pretended to give this some thought before declaring, "Not for the moment, although I reserve the option, given that he's brought up the concept of some kind of forever." She snickered. "I've got a promise pomegranate."
"The mu-- Granger."
"That's none of your business," snapped Ron.
Draco continued to lean nonchalantly against the wall next to the door to the room Ginny and Hermione shared. "Neither is what your sister and I do any of /your/ business."
Ron's fists clenched and he took a deep breath. "D'you mind not talking about doing things? I'd like to keep my breakfast down."
"You're the one who started talking, Weasel King." Draco closed his eyes and leaned his head back, looking as if he intended to fall asleep while standing there. In a bored tone, he said, "Is this the part where you threaten me with death and severe pain if I harm a hair on her precious freckled head?"
Of all the reactions he could have gotten, the last one he expected was a laugh. "Come off it, Malfoy, you'd cut your own hand off before you hurt Ginny."
"What makes you so sure?" Draco was trying to look sinister, but only achieved looking sulky.
Ron rolled his eyes. "Malfoy, blind people could see that. In the dark. At a hundred paces." He paused for a moment. "Although it might take Harry a while. I love him like a brother, but the boy is as thick as two short planks when it comes to this kind of thing."
There was silence for a moment, and then Ron squirmed as Draco inspected him with the kind of attentiveness usually reserved for madmen and lab specimens. Finally, Draco said, "You know, W- Ron, you might turn out to be worth knowing."
"Same to you. But can you do me one favor?" Draco nodded cautiously and Ron continued, "Call me Weasley. 'Ron' just sounds wrong coming from you."
The door opened and Ginny popped out, wearing a creamy-yellow sundress completely unsuitable for November in Scotland, and carrying a truly enormous hat. Draco raised an eyebrow. "I know I told you to dress for warmer weather, Weasley, but it's really not necessary to bring along a marquee tent."
Ginny sneered. "It's for you to wear, so as not to damage your maidenly complexion. And the ribbons will look darling with your flowing tresses."
Before Draco could respond, Ron shook his head and said, "Mental, the pair of you. Completely beyond hope."
Ginny swatted his arm and said, "Hermione's in there, reading 'one last page'. Try not to break the bed again when you distract her."
With a blush to rival the rosiest apple, Ron muttered something and ducked into the room. After the door had closed, Draco held his arm out and Ginny tucked her hand into his elbow. As they strolled, Ginny sighed. "Just think, by the time it's warm enough for me to wear this dress without freezing, it'll be the end of the year and you'll be gone."
"Did they really break the bed?" Draco winced as Ginny's fist connected strongly with his stomach. "Well, if you're going to natter on about something stupid, how am I supposed to answer?"
"So it's stupid to think I might miss you?" Ginny's face darkened and she pulled her arm out of his, prepared to stomp off.
He grabbed her arm and dragged her behind him as he opened a door and shoved her through. She opened her mouth to protest, but then she saw their surroundings and gasped. "Malfoy, it's gorgeous!"
"I know." His face was smug as he tucked her arm back into his and led her along one of the paths of what seemed to be an English country garden in springtime. Ginny forgot her snit as she basked in the reprieve from winter, joyfully inhaling the scent of roses and lavender. Finally, they came to a table which had been laid with a blindingly white linen tablecloth, heavy silver, and bone china.
"Why are there three place settings, Malfoy?" asked Ginny suspiciously.
"I wanted to meet you, my dear, and Draco graciously agreed." Ginny jumped what felt like a foot into the air at the voice, then turned to face Narcissa Malfoy, who looked beautifully cool and ethereal in celestial blue. The only flaw in her angelic demeanor was the wickedly amused smile on her face.
"Jesus, Malfoy, remind me to have all six brothers and Harry greet you with sticks if you come over to the Burrow." Ginny clapped a hand over her mouth and winced. That had not been the first impression she would have chosen to give, to say the least.
Narcissa laughed. "Oh, I /do/ like her." She took Ginny's hand in hers and led her to the table. "Come, dear, let me tell you all about Drakie." Draco groaned and slumped in his chair as his mother launched into a story about four year old Draco's insistence on running naked through the halls of the manor while shouting out that fearsome and powerful dark wizards didn't need clothes.
By the time the fearsome and powerful naked toddler had smeared jam on the walls and been spanked by a house elf, Draco was ready to slit his wrists with a butter knife and Ginny was crying with laughter. Narcissa smiled demurely into her tea and thought that she thoroughly approved of her son's choice. They might be young, but Malfoys loved once in a lifetime, and this girl seemed to adore Draco in return. Why he'd had a puzzle box in the shape of a pomegranate made to put the family engagement ring into eluded her, but she was sure, with time, she'd understand.
(Author's Note: *sniff* I can't believe it's over. *sob* My most popular story ever, and definitely one of the most fun to write. It's hard to believe it started life as a standard 'hey, it'd be neat if Draco and Ginny went to a dance' bunny, since it kinda mutated on me. Thank you all for sticking with my through this story, and I hope you've enjoyed yourself. Drop me a line sometime if you want to chat or whatever. :)
Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters and settings are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. No money is being made from this work. No copyright infringement is intended.