|SIYE Time:20:43 on 22nd October 2017|
...and It's All Thanks to Anonymous
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Category: Boxing Day Challenge (2004-6)
Genres: Fluff, Humor, Drama
Story is Complete
Summary: "So, who invented the Boxing Day tradition, Harry?" Ginny asked her boyfriend. Harry squinted at the tiny text and pursed his lips. "It says right here, see? 'Anonymous'." Ginny leaned over him and flipped to another page. "What about treacle fudge?" Harry grinned and replied "The same thing here - Anonymous." Ginny smiled and pressed a kiss to his cheek. "Then it's Anonymous that we have to thank!"
Hitcount: Story Total: 6611
A/N: I'm dedicating this ficlet to RyokoTenchi, Lord Dreadnault and Jacquelyn, just because I feel like it. —insert silly grin— Oh, the chapter title refers to the fact that no one really knows who invented Boxing Day or treacle fudge. Don’t ask. :D
“Okay, let me get this straight.” Harry began, massaging his temples slowly as if he had a headache, which he did. “You saw Snape wearing a Santa Clause suit, carrying a bulging sack and ‘admiring himself in a mirror’? That isn’t possible. You must have seen a Snape look-alike or his twin brother or his clone or…just — just not Snape. Since first year, I have learned several things about what normally happens in Hogwarts. A), you don’t go haring after guys who smell like garlic and stutter until you are absolutely sure that they don’t have Voldemort sticking out of the back of their heads, b), you avoid the girls’ bathroom at all times just in case there’s a hidden chamber that houses mammoth human eating serpents, c), you don’t write in diaries that talk back…”
“Harry, that’s not the Hogwarts normality list, it’s the ‘ways on how not to get killed’ list.” Ginny interrupted.
“Whatever. Still, I’ve learned several things, and some of them are ‘Snape does not admire himself in mirrors’, ‘Snape hates Christmas’ and ‘Snape will don a Santa costume and hand out sweets and toys the day Voldemort becomes a Believer in the Light and decides to do the can-can in a Baywatch bikini and a frothy skirt for Fudge-the-Incompetent’.” Ron turned green and Ginny snorted.
“You’ve really given a lot of thought about this, have you? I mean, the ‘Voldemort doing a can-can in a Baywatch bikini and frothy skirt’ thing didn’t just come out of nowhere, did it?” Harry was oblivious to the heavy sarcasm lacing her tone.
“Of course it did. Where else would it come from?”
“That piece of junk metal rattling around in your skull you call a brain, but then again, if the thought came out of your mind in the first place, then I guess you could be right — it did come out of nowhere.”
“Ginny!” Hermione appeared suddenly at their side and dropped several thick tomes onto Ron’s head in her haste to reach her friend. “You won’t believe what I just heard from Katie —”
“Hello Hermione, how are you, oh, I’m fine thank you, and it’s okay that seven of your fifty-pound books fell onto my head — I accept your apology.” Ron grumped, nursing a large, bruised bump on the back of his head. Harry suppressed a smile but continued to argue with him all the same.
“Still, your brains were addled enough before that you got that, Ron. I mean, Snape in a Santa suit…”
“Drop that, won’t you, Harry?”
“Yes, drop it — I have an announcement to make.” Head-Girl Katie Bell spoke up behind them. Hermione flushed and Katie smiled. “It’s okay, Hermione, but I was hoping to do this myself.” Hermione nodded meekly and Katie shouted over the noisy rabble that was custom of the Gryffindor common room every evening. “Hermione and I have recently gone to Professor Dumbledore and, with their permission, I have decided after much deliberation that we Gryffindors will invoke an old tradition. I won’t go into the details, if you want to know, ask Hermione Granger.” Everyone swivelled around to look at Hermione, who flushed in pleasure and embarrassment. “To sum it up,” Katie continued, “it is a tradition where people who could afford it, namely the higher classes, would pack a box of appropriate gifts for the people who couldn’t, namely the lower classes.”
Hermione couldn’t resist. “That’s not all! They give boxes to people of the merchant classes as well as other trades people or even servants!” She beamed at this and most of the Gryffindors grimaced. Only Ron was brave enough to volunteer an indignant squeak at her expression, which pretty much screamed out the slogan on her shirt — E.L.F. The Elf Liberation Front.
Katie cleared her throat. “Right. However, instead of visiting the ‘merchant class’, ‘trade people’ and ‘servants’, we are going to be making boxes for teachers!” The whole of Gryffindor tower gaped at this pronouncement and Katie giggled nervously. “Okay, so that was a bad joke. We’re going to be making boxes for fellow Hogwarts residents. Yes, I meant what I said before, teachers count. However, homes of the families of classmates count also. There will be a period of perhaps a fortnight while we wait for everyone who wants to participate to sign up on the notice board up there. Oh, and only people who sign up get to receive the boxes. You’ll be doing this in pairs — making the boxes, that is. More details the Tuesday after next when the results are announced.”
Harry literally bounced down the Charms corridor, grinning so wide he thought his face might crack. Why, he didn’t know — really, what was so exciting about getting Ginny Weasley for his Boxing Day partner? Of course, excluding the fact he practically went cross-eyed with happiness every time he saw her, sang praises of her beauty, grace, bravery, intelligence, kindness and general wonderful-ness in the shower and…
Still, he shouldn’t have been so happy.
It didn’t change the fact that he was, though.
He hummed a ballad (upon reflection, he would have remembered it as something called ‘Embraceable You’) as he practically floated…that is, until —
“Get your effing hands off me, Malfoy!” Harry’s eyes widened and he drew his wand as he backtracked his way to the unused classroom next to Flitwick’s.
“Think you could do much better than me, Weaslette? I’m betting you get yourself paid well, what with —” Draco Malfoy practically purred. Harry gagged instinctively but controlled himself when he remembered Ginny.
“What an original insult, Malfoy, now just go away before I curse you into oblivion!” Harry burst in on them as Ginny added several other rather creative uses for Malfoy’s wand, broomstick and other sharp/pointy/straight/hard objects. Harry thought vaguely that he would never look at his eating utensils the same way ever again as the more enraged area of his mind decided what curses would be suitable.
Harry decided on a powerful shrinking spell directed at a certain part of his rival’s anatomy, a strategically botched attempt at Transfiguration and a teeth-growing spell.
Draco the ‘Small’ Mal-ferret who looked like a beaver sat wide-eyed in the middle of the classroom, twitching.
Harry winced as Hermione yelled her lungs out at him.
“…and as if it wasn’t bad enough that Malfoy is now a blonde mutant ferret with big beaver teeth and nonexistent bits; whatever made you add a black eye, two knocked out front teeth, a missing chuck of hair and a concussion to that? I’m not even going into the bruises, cuts and split lip!” She ranted. Harry tried very hard to roll his eyes. Really, he did.
Harry shot her a poisonous glare before ‘getting an idea’. Hermione hated swearing and violent tendencies, and he was going to use that to his advantage.
Hopefully, she’d forget he had cursed Malfoy into looking like/being a mutant ferret with big beaver teeth, nonexistent bits. Oh, and the fact that Harry’d punched him solidly in the eye, the mouth (his fist was still bleeding from that blow) and pulled out a large chunk of the Mal-ferret’s hair while swinging him like he’d read Miss Trunchbull had in ‘Matilda’ before releasing him headfirst into a heavy bookshelf that promptly fell over on top of the unfortunate mutant boy-rodent.
Still, it served him right for molesting Ginny!
“If you think what I said was bad (and I didn’t even say anything), then you —” Harry shot a wicked glance at the now-horrified looking Ginny. “You should have heard what she said earlier.” Ginny made a threatening gesture, but it went ignored by her dark-haired friend.
“What was that you said then, Gin? I think there was something about shoving the contents of the Hogwarts’ cutlery drawer up his arse — oof!”
Hermione’s nostrils flared, and Harry and Ginny felt a little scared. Ginny leaned over to whisper in Harry’s ear. “She’s got the McGonagall impression down to a tee, hasn’t she?”
The reaming that Hermione gave the two of them was, without a doubt, many times worse that what their Head of House could possibly have given them. Harry, sensing that the rant wasn’t going to be ending anytime soon, grabbed Ginny’s hand and just ran for it. He hauled her up to the boy’s dormitory and sealed the door with several enchantments before running over to his school trunk and rummaging around in it. Grabbing his Firebolt as the door began to shudder with the force of hexes being thrown repeatedly at it; Harry undid the latch, mounted the broom and looked expectantly at his redheaded friend. However, she was digging around further in his trunk and he gave a groan of mortification as a pair of black silk boxers with ‘bounce a quarter off me — I can take it, and take it well’ embroidered in silver on the seat of it flew past his left ear.
“What are you doing?” He yelled as a pair of fluffy ‘lion head’ slippers hit the drapes of his four poster. Ginny straightened triumphantly, an old piece of parchment bunched up in her hand.
“The Marauder’s Map,” she explained breathlessly, hurrying over to him. “I thought it best if Hermione couldn’t find us with thi—” The door gave an almighty shudder and was blown clean off its hinges. Harry didn’t stop to think. He grabbed Ginny around the waist, hefting her over his shoulder while balancing precariously on the broom and flew out the window.
“Too late!” He hollered back at Hermione as she looked at the broken door in horror. “You’d better fix that, Hermione, or McGonagall will have your badge!” Ginny let out a squeal of fear as she saw just how high up they were.
“Oh Merlin, Harry PUT ME DOWN!” She shrieked. Harry snorted and made his way to a particularly ugly gargoyle a considerable distance away from Gryffindor Tower and Hermione. Landing lightly, he dropped Ginny unceremoniously onto the large ledge before making himself comfortable. Ginny glared daggers at the grinning young man and appeared to be deciding which hex would be most effective. Harry winced inwardly but patted the stone gargoyle next to the one he’d been leaning against.
“Sit.” He invited. “Did you know we’re partners for the Boxing Day tradition whatsit?” Ginny shook her head, titian hair dancing in the cool wind.
“No,” she smiled widely, “but it could be interesting.” Harry smiled back.
“So, what have you got in mind for the boxes we’re preparing?” Ginny looked thoughtful.
“I’m not sure,” she admitted. “I mean, fruits, pastries and candies are easy, but they don’t really mean much.” Harry shrugged.
“Yeah — I was thinking about asking your brothers for some of their merchandise to put in it, but fruit, and biscuits I didn’t think about.” He laid back, his hands behind his head to cushion it from the harsh stone. Ginny hesitated a little before throwing caution to the winds and lay down as well, using his chest as a pillow. Harry stiffened momentarily before relaxing again and wrapping a strong arm around her. They stayed there like that for a long time.
As the door to Weasley’s Wizarding Wheezes opened and closed without anyone seeming to enter, Fred Weasley looked up from the account books and practically shoved them away from him in his relief of having a distraction. There was a ripple in the air in front of him, and then a tall, dark youth and a pretty, slender redhead stood in front of him. Fred hugged his sister and he and Harry exchanged manly slaps on the back as the older boy called for his twin.
“OY, FORGE!” Fred hollered. “WE’VE GOT COMPANY!” The stocky redhead grinned up at his friend and down at his sister as his twin came thundering down the stairs. Ginny smirked, pointing at the account books.
“Procrastinating, dear brother?” She asked, an eyebrow arched mock-seriously. George came forward to do the ‘hug-sister-thump-male-friend’s-back’ thing and laughed.
“Yeah — it’s my turn to experiment and blow things up today.” George explained. “Gred gets to do the numbers stuff.” The twins grinned at each other and rubbed their hands in unison.
“Weasley’s Wizarding Wheezes?” they chorused. Harry laughed — he never really got tired of them doing that.
“Well, we’ve come to ask a favour.” He started. Fred and George began to bounce on the balls of their feet happily.
“You don’t say?”
“What is it this time?”
“A prank on Malfoy?”
“A trick for Snape?”
“A Grimm for Trelawney?” Their voices overlapped and babbled. Ginny rolled her eyes and waved her wand threateningly at them. They subsided immediately.
“All very good ideas, sweet brothers, but we’re looking for some goodies, not too dangerous, but fun to play with, ya know? Do you have anything like this?” Fred and George exchanged glances. “Well?”
“We might,” Fred nodded as George ran to the storage room to get the necessary items. Harry grinned and nodded. “You can have them free — best benefactor and investor and all that rot.” The ‘best benefactor and investor’ began to protest but the twins stood firm. Five minutes later they were kicked out onto the streets of Hogsmeade. Harry threw the invisibility cloak over himself and his friend as they made their way to Honeydukes.
“It’s lucky they opened a Hogsmeade branch, isn’t it?” Harry could hear the smile in her voice and felt one spread across his face as well.
“Uh huh. How else would we get the necessary equipment to play a prank on Malfoy, trick Snape and make Trelawney See a Grimm?” They laughed and walked together in silence for the rest of the way to school.
“I LOVE FERRETS!”
“Ron, what —” Harry began, but was cut off by the crazed boy.
“BOUNCY, BOUNCY FERRETS!”
“He’s finally gone off his rocker.” Ginny remarked dryly.
“OH, CHRISTMAS TREE, OH CHRISTMAS TREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE…” Harry winced and turned to Ginny.
“Do you think we should put an end to this before he makes a fool of himself?” He asked.
“IT’S A SMAAAAAAAAAAAAALL WORLD AAAAAAAAAAAFER AAAAAAAAAAAAAAALL!” Ginny shuddered as the strains of off-key singing reached them and sighed.
“Anymore than he’s already done?” She asked rhetorically. Harry cracked a smile.
“CHEESE IS AAAAAAAAAAAAALWAYS GOOD!”
“Hey, Hermione.” Ginny greeted. Hermione looked scandalised as she peered up the boy’s dormitory stairs.
“Is that Ron?” She half-asked.
“What did he just say?”
“Cheese is always good.”
“No he didn’t!” Harry interjected. “It was more like ‘CHEESE IS AAAAAAAAAAAAALWAYS GOOD!’”
“Yeah, it was. Who are you assigned to, Hermione?” The bushy-haired girl shifted from one foot to another, still peering up the staircase, where Ron was proclaiming his love by reciting bad poetry to Harry’s table lamp.
“I have Natalie as a partner,” she said at last, “and the boxes are going to the Creeveys, the Abercrombies and Professor Dumbledore.” Harry and Ginny stared at each other and scrabbled to the list to see who they had to ‘serve’.
“YOU HAVE GOTTO BE KIDDING ME!”
“This is a nightmare!”
“You have got to calm down —”
“I can’t believe it!”
“Bursting a blood vessel isn’t going to help matters any —”
“Who drew these bloody lots!?”
“That’s it! Adsulto terricula!” Harry snapped out of his raving state long enough to sidestep the sickly olive-green beam of the Bat-Bogey Hex and glared at her.
“You can hardly blame me!” He grumped.
“Be reasonable. Now, what would we get a greasy-haired, Malfoy-favouring, grudge-holding uh, Potions Master?” Ginny sighed and flopped onto Harry’s bed.
‘Ooh, he smells good!’ She thought, burrowing further into his pillow and inhaling deeply. Harry didn’t notice her near-molestation of his pillowcase and bedsheets, as his back was turned to her.
“Gee, I don’t know,” he said sarcastically in return to her earlier question. “How about a nice bottle of ‘Shampoo for Greasy Gits’ for the grease, a love potion tuned specially to all Gryffindors for the favouritism thing and an attitude freshener for the grudge holding one? There has got to be — meep!” His diatribe ended in a very strangled and unmanly squeak as he turned around.
‘Pretty redhead on bed…Ginny! Ginny…pretty redhead…nice legs…BAD POTTER! Nice bits…DON’T EVEN GO THERE…Damn. She looks…uh, good…um? Shit, what the hell am I supposed to do with a beeyootiful girl who I just happen to fanc — er, be friends with, on my bed? Snog her? Ravish her? Never mind both; this is supposed to stay a PG-13 rating…damn.’
“Harry? Harry?” Ginny tried to get him to snap out of the daze he seemed to be in. She giggled, and Harry seemed to come back to his senses.
“Erm, yeah, magic should be able to invent some kind of attitude freshener thing…er…”
Ginny cocked her head prettily to the side and watched Harry’s Adam’s apple bob nervously. “What I mean to say is…aw damn…”
Just then, Neville Longbottom came bursting in. Harry would have hugged and kissed the round-faced and klutzy boy if he hadn’t been as straight as an arrow, unlike some others — cough, Draco Malfoy, cough — for saving him, Harry, from the most frightening creature to walk the earth.
The girl named Ginevra Molly Weasley.
“Harry? Ginny? Good, you’re both here — this owl came by just now and it says to be delivered to you.” Neville panted. He held out the package, appeared to get his first good look at it, and blanched. “Um…on second thoughts…” he stammered.
“On second thoughts what, Nev?” Ginny asked, finally pulling her nose out of Harry’s pillow with a dreamy expression on her face.
“I wouldn’t touch that box if I were you.” He managed. “It says that it’s from your brothers, Ginny — you know, the twins?”
Ginny rolled her eyes. “Yes, Neville, I know the twins — they are my brothers, after all.” She blinked. “Harry, maybe we should avoid this package?” she half-asked. “I mean, it is a very uncalled for box…” Harry shrugged nonchalantly.
“I, erm, enlisted the help of Mrs Weas — your mother to bake some pies and pastries.” He muttered, carefully avoiding eye contact. “I hope you don’t mind? She seemed pretty happy to help me at the time.” Harry looked like he’d swallowed a lemon, and mumbled something that Ginny couldn’t hear. Ginny laughed.
“Come again?” She asked. Harry mumbled it a little louder.
“Ihopeyouaren’tmadatme?” Ginny blinked and laughed again.
“No, Harry, I’m not mad at you. I’m a little miffed that I didn’t think of it myself, though.” She opened the package and found a note.
“Dear Harry, and Ginny, I suppose,” she began, “That’s nice,” Ginny scoffed. “You deserve a ‘dear’, and I deserve an ‘I suppose’.” She continued to read the letter out loud as Neville beat a hasty retreat.
“Harry, I’m so pleased you’ve come to me for my help! I hope that the fudges, mince pies, chocolate and other treats were enough. The foodstuffs for your boxes are in the large green tin with the ‘W’ on it. The faded red one is for you two. Ron will probably want something to eat, too. Weasley men always appreciate food, and that applies to Ron even more so. The purple tin is for him and Hermione. Don’t let him hog all of it.
“I’ve done a few scarves and shawls, so you can dispense the ones you don’t need any way you want — keep them yourselves, Harry, I don’t think you’ve enough warm clothes anyway. Harry, it’s fine — the knitting helped me take my mind off what’s happening with You-Know-Who, anyway. It was a pleasant distraction, in any case. Your jumpers are still only half-done; they’ll be with you on Christmas next week.
“I’m glad I could help you.” Ginny finished. “She just signed it ‘Mum’.” Harry looked mortified.
“I can’t believe I made her use up all that time just to help us!” He mourned, prodding the large package dolefully. Ginny rolled her eyes again and whacked him over the head with his own pillow before clapping it back over her head and inhaling deeply again. Harry sighed and retrieved his glasses and began to clean them, glaring balefully at his friend all the while.
After a lengthy silence in which the only sound that was heard was a pin dropping, Ginny flung the pillow off her head and it hit Harry’s instead. Paying no heed to Harry, who was now sporting a Basilisk-Glare and trying to clean the smudges off his glasses again, she ripped gleefully into the package. Harry sighed and plopped down next to her as far away as he could get without falling off the bed and still being able to see the packages in detail.
Ginny pulled out the faded red tin and managed to get the lid off with minimal difficulty. The inside was obviously enlarged, for she was able to stick her entire arm into the can, and there was much rustling as she finally found what she’d been looking for.
Ginny snorted at the expression on his face. It was very confused. Confused in a very gorgeous way, of course.
“Not the silly ass who calls himself minister, Harry.” She giggled. Harry understood as she held out the can of chocolate treacle. She dug in her pockets for her wand, but Harry beat her to it.
“Creo spoon,” he incanted, and the air appeared to stiffen, harden, and coalesced into the eating tool in question. Harry shuddered; remembering what Ginny threatened to do to Draco Malfoy…something about digging out his spleen and testicles with a wooden spoon. With a wave of his wand, he hastily turned it into a metal one instead.
It didn’t do much for the image still bouncing maliciously in his head.
“Here you are, Gin.” He said too brightly, all his teeth showing in a molar-baring smile. Ginny accepted it and dipped the spoon into the soft treacle before lifting it to her mouth. Harry shifted uncomfortably as he felt the uncomfortable results of blood…movement.
His eyes widened and he grabbed the nearest pillow and shoved it forcefully in his lap in a very unsubtle manner. Ginny didn’t appear to notice, but he spotted what could be a tiny smirk playing about her lips…her very treacle covered lips. He licked his own lips subconsciously and swallowed the load of drool that had somehow managed to accumulate in the corner of his mouth.
Ginny felt emboldened as she held up the sticky toffee-encrusted spoon and waggled it about Harry’s face, but his eyes never left her lips. “Would you like some?” She singsonged gaily. Harry shifted his gaze to her eyes and nodded slowly. She giggled again and shook her head, guiding the spoon to his partially-open mouth. He closed his lips around it, licking it slowly, his eyes still looking into hers. She swallowed painfully and drew the spoon slowly out of his mouth. He took it from her and put is shakily on the bedside table.
“You’ve got some fudge that you missed,” he whispered breathlessly, and before he could stop himself, he screwed up the remnants of his flickering courage and licked the treacle off the corner of her mouth. Ginny’s eyes widened, and she gasped, but recovered quickly. Harry had drawn back at her sharp inhalation, and was looking very apprehensive. She surveyed his face carefully.
‘Damn. No fudge there…’ She smiled tremulously and dipped her finger in the can and smeared the sweet right across his lips. “You have some you missed, too.” She said breathlessly as she closed the gap between them. Harry met her halfway, and they shared their first kiss, which was sticky and sweet and the second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth and all the others that came after the first were initiated by Molly Weasley’s best treacle fudge.
Harry watched Ginny sleep from his too far away position on Ron’s bed, which was the closest to his. She’d been wild in their impromptu snog session. He touched his still-swollen lips dreamily. Damn, but he never thought she’d still be interested in him. The denial he’d been forcing on himself for so long was pretty, well, bad, considering what he could’ve gotten if he’d openly acknowledged the…the whatever he felt towards her. She’d proclaimed herself tired despite the fact that it was only about three hours past noon, snuggled further into him, and promptly fell asleep in his arms. He’d savoured the wonderful feeling he’d experienced when holding her before gently disentangling himself from her and moving over to his (male) best friend’s bed.
He didn’t want Ron to see him cuddling his little sister when the overprotective Weasley Brother genes kicked in, so he cleaned up the fudge on her, vowing to somehow immortalise the still three-quarters full tin can as a tribute to his realisation of his feelings…
Harry blinked. What were his feelings?
Too much thinking. He’d try again in perhaps an hour or two, when he had to wake Ginny up for dinner. Of course, Ron could come in from his detention with Filch early, but considering the fact that he was to mop up all the corridors in the huge school without magic, Harry was doubtful of it.
Still, countless death threats and general life-risking situations had convinced he, Harry, to be careful of anything that could hex, bite or be harmful in any way to one’s being, which was why he didn’t want to wake Ginny. His life may be mostly crap, but he didn’t have a death wish, which would be what Ginny would probably make him beg for by the time she was done with him.
For now, he contented himself with happily contemplating the possibilities of several very spacious broom cupboards on the Transfiguration corridor and near the Arithmancy department. Of course, there was always the Room of Requirement…
Ginny was woken pleasantly by a series of playful nips to her lower jaw and collarbone. She sighed happily and fisted her hands in Harry’s hair before tilting his head up so that she could kiss him properly.
She could still taste the fudge.
Not that he was unhappy with the erm, feral look on her face and, uh, hungry gaze.
Not at all.
“How about skipping dinner?” He asked, pasting his most winning smile onto his face lopsidedly. Ginny pulled him to her.
“Why, Mr. Potter — are you propositioning me?” ‘Mr. Potter’ had the tiniest, nagging thought that perhaps he’d bitten off more than he could chew. Instead of voicing this, however, he reached over her and grabbed the innocent-looking tin of treacle fudge off his bedside table.
Ginny licked her lips and swallowed dryly. “This is one tradition I would like to start.” She murmured.
“If I have my way, it’ll be a tradition alright.” Was the only reply she received before his lips were on hers and traditions and dinner were forgotten until they were interrupted by the sounds of Gryffindor Tower coming alive again as their housemates returned from dinner.
“It’s obvious Luna probably made that box.”
“It’s obvious you’ve got less brains and more mouth than a Jarvey!” Ginny retorted in defence of her friend. “Only the Gryffindors are participating in this tradition thing, remember?” Ron mumbled something that sounded remarkably like ‘yousoundlike’ermyknee’, but Ginny decided to ignore it in favour of watching Harry doing the mouth-wateringly sexy act of walking sleepily down the boys’ staircase, yawning and running a hand through his dark locks, messing them up further.
“Morning, Harry,” She greeted, all too aware of her brother’s presence at her side as he continued to stared incredulously at a gaudily wrapped box with socks and what appeared to be lemon drops dancing around the edges. Harry returned her smile and immediately plopped down onto the area of rug directly next to her, looking much more awake than he had been before seeing her.
Ginny flashed the delicate mithril silver bracelet he’d given her as a birthday present in response to his pout. It was worked into the shape of a rose vine, the thorns painstakingly carved into the stem and the rose pendant itself a tiny but intricate creation of several small chips of rubies. Crushed emeralds coated the bracelet, more so on the vine leaves. Needless to say, it would not be coming off of her wrist for a long time, and not only because it was the best piece of jewellery she owned.
It was the first present he’d ever given her, and although she’d been horrified at what it must have cost, he’d brushed aside her protests with a simple “I’ve five years to make up for,”. Her more recent acquirements, matching dainty rosebud earrings dangling down from a crushed emerald-coated silver vine, were also being worn happily, and the rubies glinted darkly in the firelight.
He reached over and risked a quick peck on the cheek for her, lingering longer than was ‘platonically necessary’, a term Ron had somehow come up with in his spare time. Sure enough, Ron’s blue eyes snapped to where Harry was shyly whispering endearments into her ear. Ron couldn’t hear what his best friend was saying to his sister, but he was looking…suspicious.
“Oy, Harry! That’s platonically unnecessary!” Harry rolled his eyes. ‘How original of you to say so, mate.’ He thought sarcastically. Sometimes he wondered if Ron was just happy to have ‘invented’ such a phrase and was planning to drive everyone batty by using it as often as was humanely possible.
Harry heard Ginny sigh and grab his hand as Ron turned a fetching shade of magenta but continued gamely on. “Erm, anything you can say to Ginny, you can say to me, I’m sure.” Harry tried not to laugh, and felt Ginny shaking with laughter next to him.
“Sure, mate, sure.” Harry’s eyes glazed over and he struck a dramatic pose. “Shall I compare thee to a midsummer’s day? Thou art more lovely and more temperate.” Ginny snorted in a very unladylike way as Harry kissed her hand with exaggerated smacking sounds, making Ron’s shade of puce turn a sickly green.
“I’m not sure you got that right, but I haven’t read Shakespeare since I was twelve, so I can’t fault you.” She said off-handedly. She eyed him, still bent over her slender hand. “You’ve got it all wrong, too.” Ginny sighed. “For such a brilliant seeker, you certainly missed the snitch.” Harry looked nervous, shooting glances at a pale Ron. Ginny gave no quarter, asked for none, and proceeded to scar her brother for life before dragging a happily catatonic Harry out of the common room with three of their boxing day boxes in tow.
“Are you sure that’s the right box?” Harry asked rhetorically, eyeing the box wrapped with what appeared to be snakeskin. “That looks more like it’d be suited to Voldemort.” Ginny rolled her eyes.
“It suits Professor Snape, though.” She protested. “Besides, I couldn’t fit this spitting cobra snakeskin shedding into the box with all the basilisk fangs you harvested from the Chamber to give to him, not to mention the venom vials.” Harry sighed.
“This way he’ll yell at us for ruining perfectly good snakeskin shedding for using it as wrapping paper and take twenty points from Gryffindor for stupidity, or something.” He sighed morosely. Ginny sighed right back.
“I don’t care, we’re taking this to him first, so we can get it out of the way.” She glared. “After that, we can give the Creeveys the new photo developing formulae and the tricks from Gred and Forge’s joke shop. After that would be Professor Sprout, I guess.” Harry blushed a little and mumbled something she couldn’t quite make out. “What?”
“I said,” he enunciated clearly, “that I need to give Madame Pomfrey something too.” Ginny smiled and shoved her boyfriend playfully.
“Why so worried, then?” He looked around at the empty corridors and pulled out a vial of clear crystal with a pearly transparent liquid swilling sluggishly around inside. Ginny’s eyes widened. Harry nodded soberly.
“Phoenix tears. I’ve been saving them — Fawkes gave them to me when I asked. He seemed to understand. It’s just that she’s been great about healing me up when I get into scuffles and stuff…”
“I wouldn’t call falling from fifty feet from a broomstick a scuffle, Harry. Still, I understand. We’ll go to Madame Pomfrey after we’re finished with Professor Sprout, then.”
He blinked again.
He shook his head and turned to Ginny. “Well, he seemed happy to see us.” He said lightly, trying to get the horrible mistake that was Snape out of his head. Ginny seemed equally bemused.
“Uh huh. I mean, I never thought I’d see him…” She shuddered convulsively — it was just so wrong!
“Nice? Yeah, I didn’t think so either. It’ll be the Creeveys next then, will it?” Ginny nodded, seemingly traumatised by the very idea of a kind Snape. It just wasn’t right. Voldemort was evil, Fudge was incompetent, and Harry was noble, kind, good, handsome…just like Snape was a greasy bastard. Speaking of greasy…
“I still can’t believe he actually washed his hair!”
"HiyaHarry!Whatchadoin’ ohareyougivinguspresents!?!" Colin and Dennis bounced around Ginny and Harry, babbling happily. Harry smiled in spit of himself and handed the brothers their box. Colin hugged Harry hard around the waist as he saw the new developing solution and Dennis did the same to Ginny as he found the Wheezes. Despite Colin being fifteen, Ginny’s age, he still acted like the awestruck and enthusiastic eleven-year-old that Harry had first known.
Eventually they calmed down and Harry and Ginny continued on their way. Professor Sprout was delighted with the Muggle collection of carnivorous plants they presented her with. Harry pointed them all out to her.
“That there’s a Sundew, yeah, the one with the blobs of clear gluey stuff, the jug thing is a Pitcher Plant, and the one that looks like a mini-mantrap’s a Venus Fly Trap.” The Herbology Professor beamed and gave them each a hug.
“I’ve heard of these before,” she exclaimed, “I’ve plenty of the vicious man-eating ones, too, but these should be easier to care for — thank you,” she added. Harry and Ginny left her with a sealed Ziploc full of gnats and flies they’d stunned and captured with instructions on how to care for the plant. Harry managed to voice something.
“If we’re actively getting stuff for people, that wouldn’t count as Boxing Day’s cleaning out the old stuff to give to other people, would it?”
“Well…Fred and George threw away those Wheezes, wasting them on us,” Ginny said helpfully, “and we don’t need them because we pretty much have a tifelime tarangee —”
“I said, a tifelime…”
“Oh!” Harry said, the muddled up words finally dawning on him. “You mean a ‘lifetime guarantee’!” Ginny shrugged and he suppressed a smile, pressing a kiss to her fragrant ginger locks. “Yeah — what about the cobra skin and basilisk parts?” Ginny grinned, obviously made happier by the dissection of the snake which had aided the young Voldemort than she was by aforementioned snake trying to eat her boyfriend.
“Well, the basilisk was just there…” Harry rolled his eyes and laughed.
“Yeah — why didn’t you tell me that they don’t decompose? I thought I’d have a heart attack when we opened the chamber and that bloody supposed-to-be-dead-and-is-dead snake was staring right at us with —”
“Harry, it had its eyes gouged out. Blind Basilisks Do Not Stare Or See People When They Are Blind.” Ginny wasn’t sure if she’d made sense or not, but listened to Harry’s reply with no small amount of amusement and a little of what might be fond annoyance.
“Fine, it ‘stared unseeingly’ at us then!” Harry exclaimed, throwing his arms into the air quite dramatically. It appeared that the Slayer of the Serpent was quite determined not to let this Serpent die.
Ginny just rolled her eyes and changed the subject to something that had been bothering her for some time.
“What are those…those boxers about? Bounce what off me?” She watched with growing amusement as Harry’s face turned an unnaturally bright hue of pink as he mumbled something. “Speak up, loverboy, I can’t hear you.” Harry blushed further.
“I, uh, it’s kinda…” He sighed, wondering about how to explain this very coarse muggle concept to his relatively innocent, Wizard-born girlfriend. “Well, some places, they, uh, flip a coin at someone’s arse to, erm, see how…” He seemed unable to get past this stumbling block. “To see how…” He fumbled and finally spat it out in a stream of near-incomprehensible words. “Toseehowhardtheirassis.” He finished. Ginny schooled her facial features into a diplomatic look of detached interest.
“I see,” she said slowly, “and how, may I ask, did a pair of boxers blazoned loudly with ‘Bounce a quarter off my ass — I can take it, and take it well!’ come to be in your trunk, hmmm?” Harry looked like he was willing the stone of the castle corridors to swallow him whole.
“The thing is…the thing is…the thing is that Tonkstookmeshoppingandboughtthemforme!” He babbled. Ginny merely smiled contentedly in response and wondered where she would be able to obtain a ‘quarter’.
A/N: Hey all! Thanks to my BotG and SHESS readers for bearing with me — my update schedule is horribly out of whack, and I am most ashamed of myself. Still, it was fun writing this little one-shot — maybe I’ll have a sequel somewhere. I’ve never written a one-shot before. A few drabbles are about all my novel-length muse can take before it starts to spout new ideas. —prods muse— Heh. Anyway, I hope you guys had as much fun reading it as I had writing it. Please give me feedback and maybe, just maybe, my muse(s, actually) will be pacified enough for me to write another short story. —surveys the length of her ‘short’ story mournfully- Or not. This was over six thousand words long, after all. :D
An accomplished-feeling Nimbirosa (Serpentspawn to Checkmated and SIYE readers)
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