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.
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