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."
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