Blushes and Pranks by drawjones

Summary: Have you ever wondered what might happen if Harry made it on to the Hogwarts Express for his second year? Would it force Ginny and he to address her crush on him in a more straightforward manner than Canon? Set back and watch what happens as during the first week back, as no matter how desperately Ginny may want to avoid Harry, she can't. Harry, Ginny, and Gryffindor Tower may never be the same.
Rating: PG starstarstarstarhalf-star
Categories: Pre-OotP, First Week Challenge (2008-2)
Characters: None
Genres: None
Warnings: None
Challenges: None
Series: None
Published: 2008.04.29
Updated: 2008.05.01


Chapter 1: Chapter 1: Crushes
Chapter 2: Chapter 2: Gits
Chapter 3: Chapter 3: Plans
Chapter 4: Chapter 4: Pranks

Chapter 1: Chapter 1: Crushes

Author's Notes: This is my first attempt at a Challenge story. Let me begin by saying thank you to my wonderful Beta, Ginny Guerra, whose input into this story has been phenomenal. She has the patience of an angel and her creative input was a great help. I hope everyone enjoys this story. I have intended it to be one of humor and have chosen to completely ignore the presence of the Tom Riddle's Diary from Canon. By the way I've developed this story, I do not feel Ginny will turn to it in loneliness. Were this story to be carried out to encompass all of Harry's second year, I would still feel that Ginny would be the one to open the Chamber and be possessed by the Diary, although the reasons would have to be a bit different. With that said, I hope everyone enjoys the story. Please read and review - whether you like, hate it or are somewhere inbetween, your comments are what I use to make myself a better writer.

Harry shifted uncomfortably in his seat. She was still staring at him. How can one person stare for so long! Doesn’t she have to even blink at some point? he cried out frustratedly in his mind as he shifted yet again in his seat. Her eyes were literally burning a hole into him. Harry could feel the beads of sweat on his forehead as he gave a weak smile, hoping to break her stare. Alas, that had just the opposite effect though, and her eyes widened in surprise for a moment before she giggled, blushed a bright red, and then returned to just staring at him.

Fixing his eyes on out the window and trying to focus on the passing countryside, Harry’s mind quickly drifted back to Ron. I’m going to petrify him and then hit him with a tickling charm for this! Harry swore to himself. Everything had been fine when Ron and Hermione were in the compartment with Harry and his staring companion. She had had Hermione to talk with and Harry had Ron.

Then Ron had to go and say something stupid. Geez, Harry thought to himself. I know blokes are thick, even me, but Ron just takes the cake! Of course, once Ron had rammed his foot so far down his throat that his knee was even with his chin, instead of being quiet or apologizing, he just continued to press on. Granted, arguing with Hermione was doomed for failure the moment she took offense to something that was said, Harry knew enough to realize that, but Ron had just continued to dig his grave.

What they had began fighting over, Harry could hardly remember. Actually, it did not really matter. All that mattered was about ten minutes ago, Hermione had cast aside whatever book she was reading — Harry thought she had said it was something about wizard and magical creature relations — and told Ron that if he was going to be an idiot, then she would just find somewhere else to sit for a while. That in and of itself was not so horrible, but then Ron had decided to chase after her and continue to prove his point.

The result left Harry in his current predicament. Here he sat, alone in a compartment with her. Of course, ‘her’, was Ron’s younger sister, Ginny. Even before they boarded the Hogwarts Express earlier that morning, Harry knew she had a painfully obvious crush on him. After all, the way she had reacted when he had come to stay with Ron at the Burrow earlier in the summer had clearly shown that. Being alone with her now, though, all Ginny could do was stare at him, gob smacked and unable to talk.

After the first few awkward moments after Ron and Hermione both stormed out, Harry had tried engaging Ginny in conversation, but between her giggling and blushing, he quickly felt himself getting a headache. Realizing that he did not understand the strange language that was girlie giggles, Harry had quickly abandoned that idea and set about doing his best to ignore her. Of course that was about as successful as ignoring Fluffy when he, or was it they, guarded the way to the Philosopher’s Stone the previous term.

Harry gave out a sigh as he realized that the countryside was far from interesting. Furthermore, if he looked out the window at just the right angle, he could still see Ginny just staring at him. Finally deciding that, Ron’s little sister or not, he had to do something to save his sanity. Taking another deep breath, he steeled his resolve and turned his eyes towards the small redhead across from him.

“Ginny,” he began as he watched her eyes light up once more. “You’ve got to stop staring at me!” His words came out much terser than he had intended and had an unnaturally high pitch to them — almost a screech, but not quite. It’s the stress of her staring. He told himself as he watched her eyes relay the surprise at the shortness of his words.

“Sorry,” Ginny muttered softly as she turned her eyes down towards the floor and began to find her feet very interesting.

Before she looked away, though, Harry had seen the hurt and disappointment in her eyes. Instantly, he regretted saying the words. “Ginny, I’m sorry,” he began softly, waiting until she looked up at him before continuing. “I didn’t mean to be short. It’s just…” Harry thought for a moment how to explain it to her without hurting her feelings.

It’s just that you’re driving me barmy staring at me. Don’t you ever have to blink? He at first thought, but quickly set that statement aside. Nope, best not imply she’s some kind of freak or anything, he thought to himself. She’s Ron’s sister after all. Besides that fact, though, Harry could remember the stories both Ron and the twins had told him about Ginny’s temper and her favorite hex — the Bat Bogey hex. It was something he did not want to risk learning about first hand if he could manage to avoid it.

“It’s just that I’m not used to people staring at me,” he finally began again. “It makes me feel like I’m weird or I stand out in some way.” He watched Ginny’s eyes widen in surprise for a moment.

Timidly she responded, “B-B-But you’re Harry Potter. You’re the Boy-Who-Lived. They tell bedtime stories about you…”

At that, Harry held his hand up. He could feel his discomfort growing as she was about to describe more and more the stories and legends that made him out to be more than he was. “No, Ginny…” he finally began, “I’m just Harry. I’m just like you. I didn’t do anything special, but it seems that everyone thinks I’m something I’m not.” Harry’s voice trailed off as he spoke.

He looked at Ginny to see a hint of surprise flash across her face. As their eyes met, a blush rose to her cheeks. Harry sighed. He knew her crush was going to make things very uncomfortable for him this term. Especially so, because he knew that in all likelihood she would wind up in Gryffindor. She’ll probably wind up president of the Harry Potter fan club! he thought sarcastically to himself before he noticed her watching him closely as his face was twitching in response to his thoughts.

“So you don’t want to be stared at,” Ginny finally stated once it was obvious Harry was once more paying attention to her.

“I just want to be Harry,” he responded. “I’m your brother’s best mate. I’m a kid. I’m not The-Boy-Who-Lived. I’m just me.”

Ginny looked at Harry for a few moments without saying anything. He could see her processing things in her mind. Now, behind her eyes, he could see her mind working, rather than her being star struck. He began to relax a bit as he waited for her to mull things over.

“Ok, then. You’re just Harry,” she finally said with a slight smile, and then a tremendous Weasley blush.

Fighting the urge to roll his eyes, Harry thought, Good enough for me.

“Exactly…” he said as he turned his attention once more towards the window, “…I’m just Harry.” This time he was happy to see that Ginny began to busy herself with something other than staring at him.


For Harry, to deal with a staring Ginny Weasley was one thing, but a sobbing Ginny Weasley was an entirely different situation. If he had felt their time alone in the compartment on the train was awkward, where he found himself now had to be a downright bizarre. Here they were, alone in the last carriage going up towards Hogwarts and the Welcoming Feast.

Never mind the fact that first years were supposed to take the boats with Hagrid. By some horrible stroke of misfortune, Ginny had gotten separated from the other first years and mixed into the crowd of older students and unable to get to Hagrid before they left. Harry for his part, had wound up separated from Ron and Hermione and been forced to take the last carriage to the castle as he had been unable to find any of his friends to sit with. Actually, Harry had never found Ron or Hermione because they had never come back to the compartment after leaving in such a huff.

Now here they were, together again, but this time Harry sat with a sobbing Ginny crying against his shoulder and occasionally mumbling about being expelled even before she got sorted. Having no clue on how to comfort a crying girl, Harry awkwardly patted her back as he thought of something to say.

“They won’t expel you,” he finally said softly. “If they expelled people for something like this, then Fred and George would have been sacked a long time ago.”

Ginny giggled softly, as she pulled away from Harry’s shoulder, sniffling loudly as she wiped at her eyes with the back of her hand. “Do you really think so?” she asked quietly.

Letting out a sigh of relief as the water works seemed to have stopped for the moment, Harry nodded his head, “Yeah, I think so.” Actually, Harry had no clue. It was entirely possible someone would get in trouble for missing the boats, but he did not see Dumbledore as the kind of wizard who would just kick a student out. “And just think, since you haven’t been sorted yet, you can’t lose house points.”

Ginny smiled at him in appreciation. She continued to dry her eyes as the tears seemed to have completely stopped. She sniffled a couple more times as she began to realize just how close to Harry she actually was. Blushing a deep red, she quickly moved to the other side of the carriage.

They sat in companionable silence for a few minutes before Ginny softly spoke, “I must say, you’re not exactly what I was expecting, Harry.”

Tilting his head in amusement, Harry asked the most obvious question, “Really? Just how so?”

Giggling softly Ginny paused for a moment as she considered her answer. “Well, the stories my dad told me,” she finally began, strangely feeling that the truth was as good a place to start as any, “painted you out to be a hero.”

“Well, the stories he told at first,” she quickly amended. “But they were so fanciful, that I quickly realized they weren’t telling me about the real you.”

“I see,” Harry added, feeling his own cheeks flush a bit as a small amount of irritation rose up his back about the stories.

“They made you out to be this Knight in Shining Armor that would ride in on a white horse and carry the young girl away,” she added softly as her cheeks burned a deep crimson. She was no longer able to look Harry in the eye while talking to him.

“But I don’t even know how to ride a horse,” Harry added, a bit confused.

Ginny giggled softly, “Well, that’s good to know, but that’s the way these kinds of stories work, Harry. So you better learn.” Her voice was a bit stronger and full of humor as she looked up at Harry with a smirk.

“And then,” she pursued on, “Ron comes home, telling of all of your adventures. How you stopped Voldemort, AGAIN! Well, after that, reality seems so much better than fiction. It should be simple for you to see how a girl could wind up tongue tied with a crush on you.”

Harry looked at Ginny with a look of confusion for a moment. “I guess,” was the only response he could think to provide.

“Boys,” Ginny mumbled under her breath.

Suddenly finding himself appreciative of her candor, Harry began to feel the need to tell her what his impression of her had been. Annoying like a puppy that wants attention and demands to be played with? his mind offered, before a more intelligent, and female friendly part of his brain squashed that idea.

“Well, Ginny,” he finally began, “I’ll admit my first impression might have been a bit off as well.”

“Oh really?” she inquired, as the intrigue of her voice betrayed her blatant curiosity.

“Yeah,” Harry replied, “I mean for the entire time at the Burrow this summer, all I thought you could do was make funny noises. I actually asked Ron if you could even talk,” he continued as his voice dropped and he hung his head with his last statement.

Ginny huffed in indignation. “You wondered if I could talk?” she nearly cried out. “What on earth would make you think I couldn’t talk?”

With a slight grimace on his face that showed a more intelligent subconscious that was screaming for him to stop while he was ahead, he looked up to meet the small witch’s blazing eyes and answered, “The fact that all I’d heard to you say when I was around was an eek or a peep.”

Oh Bugger! Harry’s little voice thought as he saw Ginny’s response. I don’t think it was the best idea to say that, the little voice of his mind screamed. Yeah, well, obviously you should have piped up a bit soon then, an irritated Harry thought to the voice. Doesn’t matter now, you’re gonna get hexed just the same, the voice answered yet again.

Ginny sat silently for a moment, just staring at Harry. This time, however, it was not the stare of a crush, but instead that of a very irritated red headed witch. She opened her mouth to retort, but Harry was spared, for an instant before she spoke, Ginny gasped as the carriage rounded a corner and Hogwarts suddenly came into view.

“It’s beautiful,” she gushed, her attention focused on the magnificent castle before her and no longer on Harry’s stupidity.

“I know,” Harry responded as he felt himself relax a lot, glad that for now, he seemed to have escaped being hexed.


Harry sat alone at the Gryffindor table for breakfast the morning following the Welcoming Feast. It was less than a day into the term, and Ron and Hermione were already arguing. When he had awoken in the morning, he had dressed and waited for Ron to go down to breakfast, only to find out that Ron had no intention of going.

“I’m not going to breakfast,” Ron stated flatly as he folded his arms across his chest. “She might be there.”

The “She,” he referred to was all too obviously Hermione. Ron and Harry had argued for nearly ten minutes before Harry finally gave up and left on his own. Of course, when he had gotten to the common room, Hermione was not there, and after another ten minutes of waiting with no one else coming down, he had given up and went to breakfast alone.

Now Harry sat alone, the only occupant of the Gryffindor table, chewing idly on a piece of toast. For the first morning of the term, the Great Hall was relatively subdued. It was still a bit early and more students would be making their way down just a bit later. Although he missed his friends at the moment, Harry was also taking time to savor the relative peace and quiet that he was afforded.

Just as he took a drink of pumpkin juice, Harry looked up to see a familiar head of red hair come into the Great Hall. Ginny stood frozen, taking in the emptiness of the Great Hall. She tentatively looked towards the Gryffindor table and saw a familiar untidy black head of hair.

Their eyes met for a moment. A small sense of dread filled Harry as he saw a quick blush rise on Ginny’s cheeks. Setting his glass back down on the table, he watched her quickly making her way towards him. Thinking back on their discussion the previous night, Harry hoped that Ginny’s crush would not be a continuing problem over the course of the term, but he knew it would be asking a lot for her to give it up in a single night.

Picking up a crisp of bacon, he began to slowly chew it as Ginny came to a stop in front of him. Timidly, she nodded towards the seat in front of him. Fighting the urge to roll his eyes, Harry extended his hand and motioned for her to take the seat.

“Thanks,” Ginny mumbled softly as she kept her head down and began to fill her plate with food.

As Harry watched her, he could tell that she was still nervous. She kept her eyes down, only occasionally glancing up to look at him. Silently, Ginny ate as Harry watched her, having forgotten about his own half-eaten plate of food.

Bloody hell! Harry suddenly thought to himself. Now I’m staring at her! Shaking his head, Harry shifted in his seat as he focused his attention once more to his plate.

“Where’s Ron at?” Ginny finally asked, as she began to just push the remaining food around on her plate.

“Git was afraid he’d run into Hermione,” Harry replied as he began to mirror Ginny in playing with the food on his plate.

She giggled for a moment, but when Harry looked up; he realized that for once, she was giggling for a reason that did not pertain to him. “Hermione said the same thing,” she finally said as she looked up and met Harry’s eyes. “So I take it that arguing is nothing uncommon for those two.”

Harry snorted before answering, “Yeah, something like that.”

“What makes it even better…” Ginny continued, “…is that they’ll probably run into each other later when they come down to get their schedules.”

Harry laughed openly. In his mind’s eye he could see the annoyance on Hermione’s face and the irritation on Ron’s when they both showed up in front of McGonagall at the same time, wanting their schedules.

“Maybe they’ll at least sort out this out and start talking to each other again,” Harry offered.

“Maybe…” Ginny answered.

Both fell silent again, as they watched others begin to trickle into the Great Hall. In the distance Harry saw Draco Malfoy strut towards the Slytherin table, his nose held high in the air, flanked by both Crabbe and Goyle. With their attention focused on the Slytherin table, neither saw Professor McGonagall approaching them.

As the professor cleared her throat, Harry and Ginny both snapped their heads towards her quickly. Ginny immediately seemed to cower before the stern looking Head of House before her. Harry just waited as she quickly sorted through the stack of papers and handed Ginny and him their schedules. As she walked away, Harry noticed Ginny relax considerably.

“Don’t worry about her,” Harry offered as he saw Ginny watching Professor McGonagall walking away. “She’s firm, but she’s fair. Just do your best, and do what she tells you, and you’ll be fine.”

Almost as an afterthought, and much quieter than the rest, he added, “And don’t let her catch you when you’re up to mischief.”

Ginny giggled at Harry’s last statement and smiled briefly at him as she began to look over her schedule.

“So how’s your schedule look?” Harry asked, finding himself genuinely interested and quite at ease with her for the moment.

For the rest of breakfast, they sat in companionable conversation, with Ginny relaxed and Harry enjoying talking to her. Ron and Hermione never appeared in the Great Hall. Harry and Ginny both assumed they would get their schedules from McGonagall in her office just before classes started. As they left the Great Hall for class, Harry bid Ginny a good day — instead of blushing, she smiled, and Harry quickly returned it.

Back to index

Chapter 2: Chapter 2: Gits

Author's Notes: Here's Chapter 2. Hope you enjoy. Again, many thanks to Ginny Guerra. Without her, this would hardly be readable. Read and review. My only payment is your comments - well, my only pay for this is your comments, I do have a job after all. Please note: This chapter has been edited from the form in which it was originally submitted and accepted, after Kezzabear pointed out some post-beta issues that I failed to adequately address and correct. One time line issue was corrected as well. Many thanks to Kezzabear for her sharp eyes and polite review informing me of my mistakes.

Harry, Ron and Hermione sat together, working silently on their homework later that afternoon. As Harry and Ginny had expected, Ron and Hermione had run into one another when trying to get their schedules from Professor McGonagall. Needless to say, the air of hostility between the two had not slipped the stern professor’s attention, but she did not say anything until their Transfiguration class.

The entire ordeal came to a head when Ron and Hermione had been forced to sit by one another in Transfiguration because they were the last two to arrive to class because of having to go see McGonagall. When they had been forced to start working together, Ron got snappy, Hermione fumed, and Professor McGonagall forced the two Gryffindors to resolve their dispute. Of course, to Hermione’s mortification, that had also included a detention for both of them the following evening. At lunch in the Great Hall, Ron had finally apologized, and the trio was restored, albeit on a more precarious edge for the foreseeable future.

Now, all three sat focused on the work before them. Granted, it was only the first day, but still, thanks to Ron and Hermione putting McGonagall in a bad mood, they had wound up with Transfiguration homework to make up for the lost time. For Ron, the homework had been more horrible than the detention. Suddenly, the constant scratching of Hermione’s quill came to an abrupt halt. She looked thoughtful for a moment, before turning to her book and thumbing through it.

A moment later, she looked up and announced, “I’m going to the library.”

Both Harry and Ron looked at each other, before Harry decided to ask the question that was on both of their minds, “Why?”

“Simple,” she responded, “I need to look over the books on Transfiguration so I can make this the best it can be. After what we did today, I don’t want to make things worse but turning in an incomplete assignment.”

With that, Hermione began to pack her things and put them away. As she finished and rose to her feet, she looked at Harry and then Ron.

“Well?” she asked with a hint of annoyance in her voice.

“Hermione,” Ron replied, a soft whine evident in his voice, “It’s the first day. My Transfiguration book has everything I need to write, and I really don’t feel like getting yelled for being loud in the library.”

“Harry?” she questioned as she cast a withering glare over to Ron. “What about you?”

Having the good sense to at least look sheepish, Harry looked up to Hermione. When he did not immediately respond, she knew his answer. “Well, should either of you change your mind, you can find me there,” she said, turning and quickly making her way out the portrait hole.

Just as Hermione disappeared from view, Harry saw Ginny quickly reappear. Harry watched as she began to cross the room and look for a free place to sit. Seeing as how it was after classes but not yet time for dinner, everyone was either doing homework or talking and there were no seats to be found. As she noticed the relative lack of space, Harry saw Ginny look towards him and Ron. Knowing there was plenty of space at Ron and his table; he gave her a slight nod and looked towards the open seats.

Ginny nodded her head. Harry let out a sigh of relief as he noticed only a slight pinkish tinge to Ginny’s cheeks, and not the flaming red that would usually be there. As she neared the table, Harry watched as Ron suddenly developed a very keen sense of who was approaching. Turning his head around and seeing his sister drawing near, he quickly turned back around and began to sink into his chair, trying to hide his face.

“Quick, Harry…” he began in a loud whisper, “… here comes Ginny, get down so she doesn’t see you.”

Harry looked at his friend oddly for a moment, as Ginny stopped at the table.

“Hey, Harry,” Ginny said softly as she looked over to her brother. “Ron,” she added as she nodded.

Harry noticed Ron immediately bristle at Ginny addressing him. Ron cast a wary eye around the room to see if anyone was watching. “Ginny,” he whispered softly but menacingly, “don’t you have someone else you can annoy?”

“I’m not annoying you, Ron,” Ginny said as Harry noticed her tone suddenly losing some of its brightness. “I needed someplace to sit, and Harry was nice enough to point out the open chairs you have here.”

Ron’s eyes popped open in surprise, and his mouth fell open. By now Ginny was standing with her arms crossed in front of her chest, glaring at her brother.

“Harry!” Ron shouted, oblivious to the obvious anger of his sister in front of him. “What’d ya do that for?”

Turning his attention to Ginny, Ron’s discomfort seemed to become magnified. “Ginny, why don’t you go hang out with some of the other first years? Leave me and Harry alone. We’re second years. You shouldn’t be seen with us. Now get out of here and leave me alone.”

Harry immediately noticed the furor in Ginny’s eyes. The anger was tempered, though, as Harry also noticed a soft glisten begin to fill them as well. He watched Ginny let out a sigh of frustration, in part to calm her anger, but also to keep her emotions in check so that she would not start crying. After another deep breath, Harry watched Ginny’s eyes once more flare with anger as her jaw clinched.

With a rather loud thump, she sat herself down into the chair that had been vacated by Hermione. “I can sit whereever I want,” she announced in a rather vicious voice.

Ron’s eyes immediately darted up to his sister as he apparently noticed for the first time her anger. Their eyes locked for a moment before Ron began to shift uncomfortably in his seat. Finally, he looked away first. Glancing about the room, he turned to Harry.

“Mate,” he began while obviously avoiding looking at his still glaring sister. “I’ve got loads of work I need to do, and these books just aren’t enough. I think Hermione was right.” As he continued speaking, he began to pack up his books. “I’ll be in the library if you need me.”

As Harry raised a confused eyebrow as if asking whether Ron had lost his mind, he leaned down and whispered hoarsely into his ear, “What, do you think I’m crazy? I just don’t want to be seen with Ginny. At least Hermione’s in our year.”

Without another word, he finished packing and made a hasty exit out the portrait hole. As it finished closing, Harry distinctly thought he heard Ginny mumble something like, “Git,” under her breath. For a moment, he just stared at Ginny, not knowing what to say.

Finally, she broke the silence as she let out a long sigh, “I suppose you’d rather not be seen with me either.” Immediately, Harry noted the hurt in her voice as she looked away and began to stand.

Without thinking, Harry reached out and grabbed her by the wrist. “No,” he said quickly, as Ginny looked up with surprise in her eyes. Realizing what he had done, Harry quickly let her hand go as a blush crept across both Ginny’s and his faces at the same time. “You can stay if you want,” he mumbled softly.

“If I don’t at least have someone to study with, I’ll never get this done,” he added as he pointed at the nearly empty parchment lying before him.

Ginny smiled and nodded her head as she sat down and began to pull her books from her bag.

In silence, they sat for a while, working on their respective assignments. As they worked, Harry noticed that there were still times when Ginny’s stares would nearly burn a hole through him, but he was thankful that, at least, they seemed to be fewer and farther between. Sometimes, Harry could not help himself getting caught up in staring at the young witch before him.

To say that girls were a mystery to Harry would have been an understatement. His cousin Dudley had made certain that he never spent more than a few brief moments with any girl before she was quickly threatened away from him. Once he got into the wizarding world, even though there was no one like Dudley around, his fame made most girls simply giddy and giggly around him simply because he was The-Boy-Who-Lived. Hermione had been the only girl that he had really ever spent any time with, and he had to admit that she was a nice enough friend.

Now, as he looked at Ginny, Harry had to admit that she seemed nice enough as well. Beyond that though, she was obviously trying hard to work on her crush on him, and he felt that as long as she was willing to try, then he would do his best to remain calm when it still got the better of her.

They continued to work in silence until Harry felt as though his eyes were going to cross. It would soon be time to go to the Great Hall for dinner, and while he had had the peace and quiet he thought he would need to finish his essay, it had somehow only found a way to grow three inches longer than when Ginny had first sat down.

Finally, giving it up as a lost cause, at least until after dinner, Harry began to consider what had happened between Ginny and Ron earlier. He had never had a sister, or a brother for that matter, but it was hard for him to imagine not wanting to be seen with them. Granted, he loathed to be seen with any of the Dursleys as much as they with him, but that was in part because they were his family only in title.

Ron and Ginny came from a loving family, and from what Harry had seen, Ron got along with all of his brothers quite well — even if he did find himself the victim of the twins’ pranks more often than anyone else. As he considered his time at the Burrow though, Harry began to realize Ron had been rather cool with Ginny there as well. Curiosity getting the better of him, Harry cleared his throat softly, causing Ginny to pull her attention away from the book she was currently reading.

“Ginny,” he began, “about what happened earlier… I was wondering…” Harry’s voice trailed off as he stopped his question, waiting for to gauge the fiery redhead’s receptiveness to his potential query. Upon realizing that she was waiting for him to continue, and had not already refused to talk about it, he continued. “I was wondering if Ron’s always been like that with you.”

Ginny looked at Harry for a moment before letting out a sigh and shifting her gaze down to the table. “No,” she said softly, although a hint of irritation was evident in her voice. “He’s only been like that since he came to Hogwarts.”

Looking once more to Harry, she pressed on, “Before he came here, we were the only ones at home and played together all the time. My other brothers were at school or gone from home, Dad was at work and Mum was busy with the house, so we spent a lot of time playing games and such. When he came back after starting school though, he said he was too old to spend time playing with his little sister.” With each word, Harry could hear the disgust and hurt in her voice.

Harry furrowed his brow in confusion. Shaking his head he said, “Well, if I had a sister, I wouldn’t say something like that. I’m sure I would be a lot different to her than Ron is to you. We might grow up, but I think she’d always be fun to spend time with and hang out with.”

Ginny smiled at him, and soon Harry found himself smiling in return. After the moment had passed, Ginny shook her head and added, “Well, Ron’s a git.”

Harry chuckled softly. The way Ginny had said it left no room for argument. “Maybe so,” Harry responded, “But what can ya do?”

As soon as he had said that, a very strange look filled Ginny’s eyes. Her mouth broke out into a smirk and her eyes began to dance a little with what Harry quickly realized was mischief.

“Oh, there’s a lot I could do,” Ginny said in almost a whisper. “And he’d deserve every bit of it.”

Harry could not help but look at the small red headed witch before him in surprise. He had heard from Ron and the twins about Ginny’s mischievous nature, but he had never seen it firsthand. Quickly realizing that she was a person he did not want to cross, Harry only tilted his head to the side and arched an eyebrow. He did not want to either agree or disagree with her on that point for the moment.

Ginny just laughed softly when she realized Harry was not going to comment further. She quietly marked her page and put away her books.

“It’s almost time for dinner,” she began as Harry’s stomach let out a loud growl. “Maybe we should head down to the Great Hall.”

Harry quickly agreed, as he packed his things away. He would finish his homework when they got back. After all, hopefully by then, Hermione would be back and he could ask her for help.


The following evening, Harry mumbled under his breath as he slowly made his way down into the dungeons towards the potions classroom. He had just finished dinner in the Great Hall with his friends, but now he was making his way, alone, towards his first of what was certain to be numerous detentions with Professor Snape.

The detention itself was not what annoyed Harry. It was the fact that it was only him serving the detention what truly bothered him. For once, Snape had justification for assigning a detention, but unfortunately for Harry, it was Ron’s mistake that he was paying for. Needless to say, before potions had started that morning, Ron and Hermione had once again found something to argue about. Ron’s thick headed pride had caused him to yet again deny the fact that Hermione was right, and in trying to be smug and prove her wrong, he had put twice as many Puffer Fish Eyes in the potion as the directions called for.

Of course, Ron had been too busy looking smugly at Hermione to notice the cauldron bubbling over and the potion causing the flames to roar out of control. For once, Harry had been grateful for Professor Snape, because his quick action had been all that kept the whole table from going up in flames. Once the fire was dealt with though, Snape had given Harry a detention for nearly destroying the classroom, although Harry was certain Snape had seen Ron cause the whole mess.

As Harry approached and rounded the final turn that lead to the potions classroom, he pushed his frustration with Ron to the back of his mind. He expected Snape to spend every moment of his time with Harry to goad him and try to make him say something that would warrant another detention. Harry could not afford to start the detention already upset about something that would almost guarantee him to lose his temper.

Walking up to the potions classroom, Harry found the door already open. Stepping into the room, Harry heard Snape’s voice already giving orders to another student. Quickly turning to see who the other victim of Snape’s unfairness was Harry found himself staring in shock at the back of none other than Ginny.

For a moment, Harry stood silently; listening to Snape’s cold, drawling voice as he explained in extreme detail what he would be expecting of her. Finally, Snape looked up to Harry.

“Well, well, well…” the greasy haired professor began, “If it isn’t fortunate of us that Potter has decided to grace us with his presence.”

Immediately, Harry felt his anger begin to rise, but he quickly pushed it down, knowing that was exactly what Snape was trying to do.

“Do tell me, Potter,” he continued, “Are you so important that you can stand at the back of the classroom and wait until is suits you to present yourself for your detention? I think someone needs to put you in your place and put your ego in check. Now, that I would enjoy.”

At Snape’s words, Harry’s jaw tightened as he fought to hold his tongue. Realizing that to answer would be merely inviting another remark from Snape, Harry remained silent and stepped forward, stopping as he came to stand beside Ginny. Harry’s eyes remained locked on Snape, and he paid no attention to the girl standing beside him.

Harry never looked away from Snape as the man began to inform Harry of just what his punishment was going to be for the evening. Once Snape had finished, Harry merely nodded his head in understanding before the man swept from the room, his cloak billowing behind him, leaving the two young Gryffindors with their assigned task of cleaning the potions classroom.

Harry cast a quick glance over to Ginny as she walked to a far corner of the room. She had not looked at him since he entered the room and Snape began talking. Curiosity began to replace his frustration as he wondered just what she had done to earn a detention. Shaking his head, Harry quickly walked over to the table and took the bucket of water in one hand and growled in frustration as he looked down at the brushes Snape had left for them to use.

Quickly snatching up the least frazzled looking toothbrush of the set, Harry turned and began to walk towards where Ginny was working. Making certain to move a few feet to her left, he plopped the bucket down, letting the water slosh over the edge. Ginny, who must have been daydreaming as she cleaned, startled, and looked up at Harry.

Seeing that he had scared her, Harry cast a lopsided grin and mouthed, “Sorry.” He then held up his weapon of choice in the battle against grime and rolled his eyes as he dropped down to his knees beside her. Ginny giggled softly as she held up the toothbrush she had chosen. Both laughed softly, before silence feel between them and they set about the scrubbing the floors.

For nearly an hour, the Potions classroom was silent except for the monotonous drone of the brushes against the stone floor. As the strain on his back finally became too much to continue, Harry rose and wiped the sweat from his brow with the back of his hand. Looking down at the area he had been cleaning, Harry quickly realized that at the rate he and Ginny were going, they would have the floor finished around Christmas.

Tossing the brush aside, Harry sat down and looked over to Ginny. He chuckled softly as he saw her tongue sticking out the side of her mouth as she continued scrubbing away. Finally, he saw her huff in frustration, blowing at a stray lock of hair that kept falling into her face. As she realized that Harry was busy watching her and not working anymore, a slight blush crept up her face as she too sat back and tossed the brush aside.

“So what are ya in for?” Harry asked Ginny stretched her arms above her head.

Again Ginny blushed furiously red before mumbling something under her breath that Harry did not quite catch.

“I didn’t quite get that, Ginny,” Harry said as Ginny continued to be noncommittal in her answer.

“Snape’s a git,” she finally said loud enough for him to understand.

Realizing he was not going to get anything more from her, Harry only nodded his head in agreement.

“Yeah, he is,” he began, “He’s been after me since I got here. He’s not much better to Ron or any other Gryffindor either.”

Ginny just nodded in agreement, before asking, “So how’d you wind up in here?”

Harry thought for a moment before answering, “Snape’s a git, and Ron’s a git.”

Ginny laughed softly, she did not press any further, but she was almost certain Ron and his bickering with Hermione was the likely reason Harry was there, “I see I’m slowly winning you to my side. So, wanna help me give Ron some payback?”

Immediately after that, Ginny gasped in surprise, holding her hand over her mouth and yet again blushing — shocked that she had just asked Harry Potter to help her prank her brother, who happened to be his best mate. Harry, for his part, could not help noticing just how cute Ginny was when she was surprised. As he stared at her, Harry began to realize that Ron had been rather annoying since school started, and in that moment, he decided that maybe it was time to humble his best mate a bit.

“Sure thing,” Harry answered with a lopsided grin, which only caused Ginny to look at him as though he had sprouted a second head.

“What?” he asked in mock surprise. “Ron, Hermione and I do things we’re technically not supposed to do all the time. So, what’s wrong with having a little fun for once? At least this time, I hopefully won’t wind up in the hospital wing.”

Ginny opened her mouth to respond, but was cut short as Snape swept back into the room.

“Enough,” the man bellowed. “You were assigned detention to clean the floors, not converse about who knows what. Now be quiet and get back to work or it will be another detention.”

Both students quickly nodded their understanding and grabbed their toothbrushes. Saying nothing else, they resumed their scrubbing as Snape once more left the room. With his brush still scrubbing furiously, Harry looked over to Ginny and for a moment, their eyes met. Both laughed softly as Harry mouthed, “Later,” to her and turned back to the floor before him.

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Chapter 3: Chapter 3: Plans

Author's Notes: Here's Chapter 3. Once more, were it not for Ginny Guerra, this story wouldn't be here. I'd also like to take a moment to thank all the other people that have helped me get to this point, namely Mrs. Gayheart, my 7-8th grade English teacher that wouldn't let me settle for doing enough to get by.

Harry and Ginny both sighed heavily as they stepped through the portrait hole, into the common room. Snape had made them scrub the floor until well after curfew, and then he had initially refused to give them a note so that if they were caught out, they would not be given another detention. As they entered the room, they found themselves the only ones up.

“Figures,” Harry said aloud as he walked towards his favorite chair. With classes getting into full swing, but no one really having a lot of homework yet, most students were taking advantage of the opportunity to have long nights of sleep. Ginny silently followed, wincing with each step as her knees were still screaming in protest of having been on the hard stone floor for so long. She settled into the chair opposite Harry and began to rub her knees as silence fell between them.

They remained like that for a few moments, as they stretched and rubbed whatever muscles and bones were aching from their detention, until finally Ginny let out a loud yawn.

“Tired?” Harry asked as he yawned as well.

“Yeah,” Ginny replied, smiling softly.

“Then you should go to bed,” Harry advised, “Things are certainly going to pick up in the homework department rather quickly.”

Ginny nodded, but did not move to stand, “The same could be applied to you,” she finally answered.

“True,” Harry admitted, “But right now, my body’s aching too much to get to sleep.”

“Same here.”

“One thing is for certain,” Harry continued as he realized he was beginning to be comfortable enough around Ginny to tease her a bit. He only hoped she would take it the right way and not get angry or upset.

“Oh,” Ginny remarked, not certain what Harry was about to say, “And what’s that?”

“You’re the first I’ve ever done that with,” Harry replied as he watched Ginny beginning to blush.

“What?” she asked as she felt the heat begin to rise in her face.

“Scrubbing a classroom floor with a toothbrush, of course,” Harry answered.

Ginny just laughed softly as she swatted playfully at Harry, realizing he was having her on. Again silence fell between the pair. Harry stared into the dying fire, watching as occasional embers popped and flew glowing into the air. Soon, no more actual flames could be seen from the fire, but instead intensely glowing logs. Running his fingers through his hair, Harry looked up to Ginny.

“So, about getting Ron,” he began hesitantly, watching Ginny’s eyes as they lit up as the new topic. “Just what do you have in mind?”

Ginny smirked for a moment before moving to the edge of the chair. Glancing around to make certain no one had snuck into the common room; she began to speak softly but excitedly. As they spoke, Harry could not help but burst out laughing at times, while Ginny did the same at others. For nearly an hour they continued to set in the common room and plot about what they would do to Ron. Finally, as sleep began to overtake them, they stood and headed to their dormitories. As Harry disappeared up the staircase, Ginny paused, watching him disappear.

Making her way up towards the first year girls’ dormitories, a voice brought her to an abrupt halt just before she pushed the door open.

“So, what were you and Harry so interested in down in the common room just now?”

Turning around, Ginny found herself staring face to face with her inquisitor.

“Nothing important,” she answered, although it was obvious she was not being believed.

“Ginny, you were just talking to Harry, and laughing. That’s a pretty stark contrast to what Ron’s told me about your previous behavior around him. What’s going on?”

“Look, Hermione,” Ginny huffed, “Nothing is going on. Harry and I both happened to have detention tonight with Snape, and we both just happen agree that he’s a greasy haired git.”

As Hermione opened her mouth to persist, Ginny turned her back and opened the door to her dormitory. She disappeared into the darkness before Hermione could ask anything else. For a few moments, the bushy haired girl stood in the staircase, thinking about what she had seen and heard. She knew they were up to something, she just did not know what - yet.

The next morning, with a tenuous truce once more declared, Harry sat in the Great Hall at the Gryffindor table with Hermione and Ron. They were talking freely about how classes had been going thus far, and both Ron and Harry were rolling their eyes as Hermione began to insist they start preparing for exams at the end of the year.

Realizing that she was talking to a brick wall, Hermione decided to change the topic of conversation.

“So Harry…” she began, “…just what were you and Ginny talking about so late last night in the common room?”

Harry, who had been taking a drink of pumpkin juice at the time, choked, coughed and sputtered as he quickly sat the glass. Looking up, he saw that Ron’s eyes were glaring at him and that he had taken a very keen interest in the new topic of discussion.

“Nothing,” Harry blurted out a little too quickly as he noticed Ron’s brow furrow as he looked at him.

Realizing he had to come up with something quickly, Harry began again, “Errr… well, we both had a detention with Snape last night, and by the time we got back to the common room we just wanted to relax a bit before trying to sleep.”

At the mention of his detention with Snape, Harry saw Ron look away and the glare in his eyes disappear. Hermione though, continued to stare at him. As he met her eyes, Harry realized she knew he was not telling her something. Hermione opened her mouth as to protest, but then quickly closed it. Harry was grateful that she let it drop for the moment, but by the look in her eyes, he knew it would be brought up again, and sooner rather than later.

As the three stood up to head to class a bit early, they ran into Ginny and a blonde haired girl Harry recognized as a first year from Ravenclaw coming into the Great Hall. Ron just grunted in greeting as he continued on, and Hermione waved while offering a quick greeting. For her part, Ginny only blushed slightly as she passed Harry, and he managed a polite nod as they passed.

Watching the trio leave, Ginny and her companion stood at the entrance for just a moment more, talking quietly. Her companion had obviously noticed the interaction between Harry and Ginny and began to comment on it.

“Well, that’s certainly better than what I would expect after what you told me earlier,” she said as she glanced idly around the Great Hall.

Ginny nodded for a moment, as her blush faded. “Well, Luna,” she finally began, “It seems that for whatever reason these past couple of days, I’m winding up in more and more situations where it’s just Harry and me. “

Luna nodded in agreement as she finally focused her eyes back on Ginny. “Yes, I would imagine it’s hard to see Harry as a mythical hero when you have to see him on a regular basis.”

Ginny just looked at her blonde haired friend quizzically for a moment. “How would you know that?” she asked.

“Well, Ginny,” Luna replied, “It was pretty obvious the other night, before the Sorting Ceremony, that you had a huge crush on Harry Potter. But now, it seems as though you’re starting to see him as just Harry. I think that means you can be friends with him and get past a Hero worship type of crush.”

Ginny stood flabbergasted as her friend. “Luna, for someone whom people have already started calling Loony, you are remarkably insightful,” Ginny offered.

Luna just stared back at her friend but said nothing. She continued glance around the room, before starting to speak once more, “Well, I’ve never really cared what other people thought of me. I know the truth, and in the end that’s all that’s important.”

Ginny smiled in response. It was obvious to her that the trust she had began to place in the slightly odd blonde haired girl was not misplaced. She made more sense than a lot of people older than her, and even if she did seem to mark to the beat of a metal triangle rather than a drum, then it was no big deal.

“So just how have you gotten to where you only mildly blush when Harry’s within sight?” Luna finally asked as she turned her gaze once more towards Ginny.

Ginny laughed softly as she watched Luna’s eyes become intently focused on her, waiting for a response. Luna may be a bit odd, but she’s still a girl after all, Ginny thought to herself before answering.

“Well, it seems like Harry and I have something in common to work towards,” Ginny answered as Luna narrowed her eyebrows in confusion.

Leaning in closer to Luna, and motioning with her hand for the blonde haired girl to do the same, Ginny whispered, “Ron’s in serious need of payback for being a right prat these past few days.”

Both girls laughed softly as Ginny then began to detail to Luna what Harry and she had planned for Ron. No one else in the Great Hall paid the laughing girls’ quiet conversation any attention, except for two identical expert sets of eyes. Both knew all too well that a quiet Ginny Weasley, or a quietly laughing Ginny Weasley spelled trouble, and with capital letters. As the twins watched, they could only hope their sister’s devious nature was turned and focused on someone else, at least until they had the chance to corner her and figure out what was going on.

Later that evening, Harry, Ron and Hermione sat in the library studying quietly. It was only Thursday, but Harry was already beginning to feel the pressures of the mounting homework. Ron and he both agreed that the professors seemed to feel that they had forgotten everything from first year and therefore felt as though they would have to teach it all over again, in addition to the whole of second year. Feeling as though his brain would explode, Harry closed the book before him and stood up.

Taking a moment to stretch, Harry slowly walked away from the table and towards the shelves of books. As he slowly made his way around the library, trying to get his mind off of the Transfiguration assignment that he was failing to understand, Harry noticed Neville setting at a table by himself. Still feeling a bit uneasy about where he stood with Neville, given all that had happened at the end of the last year, Harry tentatively made his way toward the fellow Gryffindor.

As he approached, Harry saw Neville glance up and smile briefly before going back to his book. Deciding that there was no better opportunity than the present, Harry continued walking towards Neville and stopped just in front of him. Neville paused from his reading to once more glance up.

“Hey Neville,” Harry began. “Got a minute?”

“Sure, Harry,” he answered as he set his book to the side and motioned for Harry to sit across from him.

Harry felt himself relax a bit as he sat down. Neville did not seem to be holding any lingering feelings about what had happened the year before. Harry could not have blamed him though, if he had still been a bit angry about the body binding curse when he had stood up to them the year before — even if it had wound up winning Gryffindor the House Cup.

Both boys sat in silence for a minute before Harry finally spoke up. “So how’s the year starting out for ya?” he asked, not really know how or what else he could say.

“Ah, better than last year I would say,” Neville answered. “It would be even better if we didn’t have so much homework already,” he continued as he motioned to the numerous pieces of parchment and open books he had in front of him.

“Yeah,” Harry answered as he laughed softly. “I’m afraid it can only get worse from here, though. Although there are some of us that seem to be grateful for homework.” At that, Harry turned and glanced quickly back towards the table he had came from where Hermione was still working furiously on some unknown assignment.

As he turned back around, Neville began to laugh softly. “Yeah, but she’s the smartest witch in our class for a reason,” Neville replied.

Both boys then quickly fell into light conversation. Although neither broached the subject of what had happened the year before, it was obvious to Harry there were no lingering hard feelings. Just as he was about to stand and walk away though, Neville asked him something that made Harry freeze in his seat.

“So, Harry,” Neville began, “I know it’s none of my business, but what was Hermione so curious about this morning at breakfast?”

For a moment, Harry considered telling Neville it was none of his business, but then he realized that Neville was not like Hermione, and certainly would not react the way Hermione would. Quickly deciding that he could trust Neville, Harry told him about his and Ginny’s plans. Soon, both Harry and Neville were laughing softly until Madam Pince came over and shushed them both quite aggressively and threatened to throw them out.

Soon, Harry and Neville said their goodbyes and Harry once more rejoined Hermione and Ron to finish his homework. It was much later that night, just before curfew, when the trio emerged into the Gryffindor Common Room.

“Look,” Ron proclaimed loudly as they looked around at the nearly abandoned room, “I told you. There was no need to stay in the library studying that late.” His gaze fixed directly on Hermione as he pointed his finger vaguely at the room behind him. “We could have been in here relaxing and not dealing with all that homework. It’s not even all due tomorrow.”

Hermione just huffed and ignored Ron. Even Harry had to admit she had been adamant that they got their homework done that evening and not leave any for the next day. Although Ron made a point Harry silently agreed with, it would remain that, a silent agreement. While Harry may have enjoyed the time off, he had to admit too though, now there were pretty much done in all their classes and would likely wind up with an excess of free time when the weekend came.

Listening to Ron continue to huff and puff as he made his way towards the boys’ dormitories, Harry quietly took a seat near the fireplace. Hermione looked at him oddly for a moment.

“So, you’re not going to bed like Ron?” she finally asked as she stood over him looking down.

Harry sighed. He knew where the conversation was about to lead and he had no intention of answering any question that she may ask about what Ginny and he were up to.

“Not right now,” he replied smoothly, doing his best to keep the irritation out of his voice. “I’m still awake, so I think I’ll do a bit of Defense reading and then head up.” As he spoke, he began digging in his bag, and a moment later, produced his aforementioned Defense book and began to open it.

Hermione looked at him curiously for a moment. By the feel of her eyes on his neck, Harry could tell that she did not entirely believe him, but he hoped that because Defense was his favorite class, she might be at least willing to entertain his statement had some grain of truth to it. Finally, after he had actually read over the first two pages of the chapter he was looking at, Hermione sighed softly.

“Alright, Harry, I’m tired and I’ll going to bed. Don’t stay up too late.”

With that she turned and walked towards the girls dormitories, disappearing up the stairway a moment later.

Harry remained alone in the common room for another few minutes as he continued to read the chapter. Soon, he had finished the chapter, and although it had not been his intent, had actually learned a few useful items. Turning glance around the room, Harry saw that he was still alone. Letting out a soft breath through his open mouth, Harry turned his attention back to his book and began the next chapter.

Just as he finished reading the introduction, Harry heard movement behind him. Turning, he looked up just in time to see Ginny making her way over towards him.

“Bloody took you all long enough,” she snapped as she sat down across from him. “I never thought you all would get back, and then Hermione comes in to check on how all the first year girls are doing on their assignments.”

Harry laughed softly as he thought of his friend. He knew most likely she would have them study schedules drawn up before the end of the week.

“Don’t laugh, Potter,” Ginny said menacingly, “You weren’t the one getting lectured about going to bed before an assigned essay is finished for the past thirty minutes.”

Harry only nodded before responding, “Yeah, but you weren’t the one who was in the library with her for hours before that, being physically made to complete the essays before you left.”

Ginny remained silent for a moment, as Harry seemed to have made a very valid point in her mind.

“Alright,” she finally began, “I’ll give you that one, but enough about class and homework. We’ve got a prank to plan.” As she finished that statement, her eyes began to glint mischievously and a grin broke out across her face.

Harry could not help but smile at the enjoyment he saw on her face. Ginny loved a good prank and the fact that she was going to get even with her prat of a brother only made it that much better. They began to talk quietly as they worked out the who’s, what’s and how’s of just what in the world they wanted to do.

Soon enough, they had a general concept of what they wanted to do to Ron in place; the only problem came to be the actual logistics of it. Fortunately for Ginny, she had procured, through less than honest means; an invention of the twins that she was certain would be perfect for humbling Ron in front of the Great Hall at breakfast. The only remaining issue, though, was figuring out just how in the name of Merlin to get it in his food, without anyone being any the wiser.

After thinking it over for a few minutes, both had to admit they were completely and utterly stumped as to how to succeed. Harry was running his fingers through his hair in frustration while Ginny chewed on her lower lip in concentration as neither noticed two identical red heads slip quietly into the room. As Harry and Ginny continued to brainstorm, the twins made their way silently over towards the fireplace.

Having aroused no suspicion, they both leapt across the sofa at the same time, landing softly onto the cushions, but startling both Harry and Ginny to the point that Harry jumped into the air and Ginny let out a yelp.

“Well, what do we have here, Fred,” George asked with a huge grin on his face as a blush immediately appeared on Ginny.

“It appears to me that ickle Ginnikins and ickle Harrikins are alone in the common room,” replied Fred.

The grins on their faces and insinuation in the tones of their voices made it all too apparent what they were implying. Feeling a blush beginning to rise in his own cheeks, Harry decided to cut them off before they had both Ginny and him blushing beet red and so tongue tied that they might agree to something that was not true at all.

“It’s nothing like that,” he finally blurted out as he quickly looked between the twins. Looking over to Ginny, he silently asked her permission to fill them in. After a noncommittal shrug of her shoulders, he continued, “You see, two people typically want to be alone when they are busy plotting and planning revenge on a prat that’s been begging for a good prank.”

For the briefest of moments, the grins were wiped clean off the twins’ faces. Instead, their mouths hung open and they stared back and forth between Harry and Ginny, before turning to look at one another. As they turned back to Harry and Ginny, even larger grins were plastered on their faces and Harry felt himself beginning to grow uneasy.

Wiping an imaginary tear from the corner of his eye, Fred began, “Ginny, we’re so proud…”

“Not even a week into school and you’re starting to follow in our footsteps,” George continued so smoothly, that Harry almost forgot to move his eyes to the new speaker.

“Why, it was almost a month into our first year before George and I plucked up the courage to start with the pranks,” Fred added.

Suddenly, both twins quickly reached out and pulled Ginny and Harry into hugs as they made sniffling sounds. “You make us so proud,” they mock cried in unison as Harry and Ginny both struggled to pull away.

“GrrOff!” Ginny shouted as she struggled to free herself from Fred’s grasp. His response was only to clutch her more tightly and begin fake sobs of joy against her. “And why would I do that?” he asked as she continued to fight and struggle against him.

“You will if you want to be a part of this,” she huffed as she continued to struggle in his arms.

At her words, the twins immediately released Harry and Ginny. Their fake tears were immediately dried and their grins were now replaced with looks of the utmost seriousness. For Fred and George both, there were times to joke and times to be serious. The discussion and planning of a prank was one of the latter.

As the twins stood waiting to hear more, Ginny reached out and smacked Fred hard on the arm.

“Ow!” Fred cried out as he rubbed his arm. “Why did you do that to me?”

“Because you didn’t let go of me the first time I asked,” Ginny snapped back before a grin broke out across her face and was quickly matched by Fred, before he simply nodded his head and once more assumed the serious look he had moments before.

Looking over to Harry, Ginny giggled as she realized they now had the full and undivided attention of the twins. Nodding his head, Harry indicated for Ginny to take the lead and fill the twins in on what was going on. It only took a few minutes for her to have them quickly up to speed on what Harry and she had decided to do.

Harry could only laugh at how she made it a point to outright ignore the look of shock and the immediate questions about how she had gotten their prototype creation when she explained what their prank actually entailed. As she began to explain to them the hang up Harry and she had encountered in the actual execution of the prank, though, the grins once more returned to the twins’ faces as they looked excitedly back and forth between one another.

“So you see, we’ve got everything lined up, except for how to get the agents into the food without arising suspicion,” Ginny concluded as the twins seemed ready to explode with giddiness.

“Quite ingenious,” Fred began.

“Quite devious,” George answered.

“Rather mean,” Fred continued.

“But we like it,” George completed.

“I’m glad you two approve,” Harry remarked, “But that does little to solve our problem.”

With an overly exaggerated wink, George whispered loudly, “That’s not a problem at all. We know just the way to do it.”

This time, it was Harry and Ginny’s turn to turn and look at one another before breaking out into wide grins. As they fell silent, the twins quickly filled them in on just how they could get the prank to go off without a hitch and without anyone knowing who was at fault. Deciding that breakfast on Saturday would be the best time to pull the prank, the foursome quickly bid one another a good night and headed up to their respective dormitories to get some rest for the next day, or more importantly, for the next evenings pranking activities.

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Chapter 4: Chapter 4: Pranks

Author's Notes: Ah, here is the final chapter. Yada yada... thanks to Ginny Guerra. Actually she really leaves her stamp on this chapter as she had a tremendous effect on the actual prank itself.

For both Harry and Ginny, the next day seemed to take forever to pass. On one occasion, Harry had nearly blown the whole blasted prank, by not paying attention in Transfiguration and getting in trouble for it. Had it not been for a well placed fib about having a headache, and finding it difficult to concentrate, Harry would have likely wound up in detention.

Instead, though, it had cost him a trip to see Madam Pomfrey. He had missed the first part of lunch, since the school nurse made him wait thirty minutes after taking a headache potion before letting him leave, but he arrived with enough time to give both Ginny and the twins a reassuring glance that nothing was amiss and the evening’s plans could proceed.

For the rest of the day, Harry made certain to pay attention in class. As his attention had quickly returned after a trip to see the school healer, neither Ron nor Hermione seemed to doubt Harry’s excuse. Eventually, the day came to an end, and after another late night studying in the library with Hermione and Ron, Harry found himself alone, waiting patiently in the common room, with his invisibility cloak tucked under his robes.

After he had been sitting there for a few minutes, he heard a noise behind him and turned just in time to see Ginny appear. Upon seeing him, she immediately smiled, and for once, Harry was grateful to see, she did not break out into even the slightest of blushes. She made her way over to him, and they began to talk softly until the twins finally arrived.

A while later, the twins appeared, looking down at an old piece of parchment.

“What’s that?” Harry and Ginny both asked as they watched the twins staring at it intently.

Fred and George looked up at the same instant. Fred, using his left hand and George, using his right, quickly folded the parchment and put it away as though their hands were being controlled by a single mind from the same body.

“Oh, nothing…” Fred began.

“…to worry about,” George finished.

“But something it does tell us,” Fred began again, “Is that Filch and Snape are patrolling the corridors we need in order to get to the kitchens. So this is going to take a bit of scheming to achieve our goal.”

This time it was Harry’s turn to smirk, as the three Weasleys around him just stared in confusion.

“I think I have the perfect solution,” he answered their unspoken question. With a big flourish, and exaggerated display, Harry produced his invisibility cloak and held it up for them all to see.

“Blimey,” Fred gasped.

“Too right,” George whispered.

“Is that what I think it is?” Ginny questioned as she reached a slightly shaking hand toward the cloak.

“It sure is,” Harry answered smoothly as he quickly tossed it around Ginny’s shoulders and instantly her body disappeared.

Her eyes immediately grew wide as she looked down at where her body had been, but she now could not see. Fred and George both stood with their mouths gaping open before huge grins broke out on their faces.

“Brilliant,” they both mumbled softly as they reached out and placed an arm on each of Ginny’s shoulders.

With the problem of getting around Snape and Filch solved without having to resort to loads of dung bombs, Harry, Ginny and Fred set out toward the kitchens. George had been forced to stay behind because all four of them could not fit under the cloak without their feet showing. Fred had gotten to be the one to go, because he was the one who wound up holding the old piece of parchment that both twins agreed was an important tool in navigating then corridors to the kitchens and back.

Soon, Harry, Ginny and Fred found themselves crouched outside what Fred quietly whispered was the entrance to the kitchens. With a last glance at the parchment, he threw off the cloak and gently tickled the pear in the large painting. A moment later, a passage opened and they all entered.

“I didn’t know that’s the way into the kitchens,” Ginny whispered softly as they emerged into a bright room where house elves were still busily working.

“Well, we have to keep a few secrets,” Fred replied as he motioned for Harry and Ginny to stay back as he approached an elderly looking house elf.

After a few moments of conversation and a rather boisterous round of laughter from the old house elf, Harry and Ginny saw Fred hand him the transformation powder as they had decided to call it. As Fred filled the house elf in on exactly what they needed him to do, Harry began to look around. The house elves in the kitchens were obviously much better taken care of than Dobby, the house elf he had met earlier in the summer.

Whether Dobby was finished interfering with Harry, he could not say, but the fact that he had made it to Hogwarts and had not heard from Dobby in months was a good sign for Harry. Before he could get too deep in thought though, Fred returned and they all quickly got back under the cloak and made their way back to Gryffindor Tower.

As they emerged through the portrait hole, Fred gave a big thumbs up, as George broke into a huge smile. Harry and Ginny could not help but grin as well. Their plan was almost complete. Now, it only required one small act of trickery in the morning, and the whole Great Hall would have quite a show for breakfast — at Ron’s expense.


The next morning, Harry and Ginny were up earlier than nearly anyone else in Gryffindor tower. They met in the Common Room, and sat talking quietly as they waited for other students to start coming down. Of course, being a Saturday, most everyone else, including Ron, decided that a lie in would be best. After waiting rather impatiently for almost an hour, Ginny looked up to see Fred and George appear at the staircase from the boys’ dormitories.

They were talking quietly as they walked over and joined Harry and Ginny. Soon all four were lost in conversation as they waited patiently for the guest of honor to finally awaken. Finally, after another half hour of waiting, Fred took it upon himself to persuade Ron to get out of bed. He knew two things would work to convince Ron to leave the warm sanctuary of his four poster bed — food and Quidditch.

Proclaiming loudly that such a beautiful day as the one that was slowly developing could not be wasted laying in bed, but should be invested on a broomstick, he made his way up to the second years’ dormitory to rouse Ron. A few minutes later, and amid much loud grumbling, Ron and Fred reappeared. At the same time, Hermione returned to the Common Room, much to everyone’s surprise — from a quick early morning trip to the library for a little extra reading material.

After pausing for a moment to chastise Fred, George, Ginny, Harry and Ron for wanting to play Quidditch on a day they could use for studying, everyone readily agreed it was time to go eat. The fact that Ron’s stomach was grumbling louder than he was only served to reinforce the point. Quickly, Hermione put her new books away, as everyone else waited for her.

As the large group of Weasleys, plus Harry and Hermione entered the Great Hall, they began to disperse about the Gryffindor table. Fred and George sat down next to Angelina, just far enough away to be separate, but close enough to have full view of what was about to happen. For their part, Harry sat down beside Ron, while Ginny subtly arranged it so that Hermione and herself were sitting across from the boys.

Even before he sat down, Ron began piling his plate high with food. Unobtrusively, Ginny watched him, making certain that he put the required item on his plate. For a moment, her heart stopped as it appeared that he would not be getting any of it that day. Harry noticed the alarm in her eyes, but he ever so slightly nodded his head for her to relax.

Almost as quickly as her alarm had arisen, Ginny watched Ron carve out a notch in the food on his plate to which he quickly added a huge spoonful of scrambled eggs. Both Ginny and Harry fought hard to suppress the laughter that was building inside of them realizing that it was now only a matter of time before Ron would get his comeuppance. The twins, though, not sitting near the foursome, had no such need to remain restrained, and as Ron took his first bite of eggs, they burst out into raucous laughter.

As he forked another mouthful of eggs down, Ron turned to look at Fred and George as Ginny began softly, “If Fred and George are this happy early in the morning on a weekend, it can only mean one thing…”

Everyone chuckled softly as they all turned to look at the twins, who by this time had gotten their laughter under control and were once more seemingly lost in conversation with Angelina. As their attention was turned, Ginny casually reached her hand towards her glass of pumpkin juice. An instant later, the glass was toppled on the table, and juice was racing across the table towards Ron.

“Oy!” he cried out as he jumped back and snatched up his plate of food so that the juice would not interfere with his meal.

Harry, for his part did the same thing, although he left his plate and only picked up his glass of pumpkin juice. Turning his back to Ron, Hermione and Ginny as he stepped away from the table, Harry quickly dropped into his juice a powder that he had been holding in the sleeves of his robes. As Hermione cast a quick cleaning charm, Harry and Ron once more retook their seats.

“Whoa there, Ginny,” Ron said as he began once more feed his face. “You’d have thought there was a butter dish around with a stunt like that.”

Ginny blushed slightly before sticking her tongue out at Ron. Even one week earlier, Ginny would have been so embarrassed for Ron to mention her less than stellar moment that she would have run off. The first week of school, though, and all the time she had spent with Harry had gone a long way in helping her overcome her crush to a large extent, and even be at ease around him. Add to it the fact that she knew it was only a matter of time before Ron doomed himself, and there was no way anyone was going to get Ginny to leave.

Fumbling a moment with his plate, Harry pushed his pumpkin juice to the side and behind Ron’s. Lifting his plate and looking underneath as though inspecting for lingering pumpkin juice from the spill, Harry carefully eyed Ron, ascertaining that the redhead suspected nothing. Letting out a sigh, and pausing for a moment to wipe away some apparently remaining juice, Harry then sat his plate back down.

Then, in one smooth motion, as though he were oblivious to what he was doing, Harry reached out and took hold of Ron’s glass of pumpkin juice in his hand, rather than his own.

“Hey, Mate!” Ron cried out as Harry took his first drink of the juice. “That’s my glass.”

Harry took another drink before quickly setting the glass down. “Sorry, Ron, I thought it was mine,” Harry lied smoothly.

Ron shook his head, clearly upset at his lost juice, “Nah, mate. It was mine. Yours was just behind it.”

Harry nodded as he surveyed the table and saw that Ron was right. “I guess you’re right. I just wasn’t paying attention. I had to clean my plate off because of the mess Ginny made.”

At his words, Ginny stuck her tongue out at Harry, all the while knowing he meant nothing by the jab. Silence fell on the table for an instant, before Harry quickly motioned towards the full glass of pumpkin juice that had been his.

“Well, Ron,” he began as he took another drink from Ron’s glass. “Take mine. I hadn’t drank out of it yet, and since I’ve already drank out of this one,” Harry indicated as he held up the now quarter-full glass, “I’ll finish it off.”

Ron considered Harry’s offer for a minute. It seemed like a perfectly fair trade. Plus there was no reason to let a perfectly good full glass of pumpkin juice go to waste. Without a second thought, Ron quickly grabbed the glass and took a swig. After a series of loud gulps, he set the glass of juice down on the table and returned to his food.

Harry chanced a quick glance at Ginny, to find her face the epitome of relaxation and betraying no hint of the mirth he saw screaming forth from her eyes. For his part, he simply gave the briefest of grins as they began to set back and wait for the fun to begin.

They did not have to wait very long. Not more than a minute later, just as Ron was lifting another fork full of eggs to his mouth, there was a loud pop, and the fork dropped loudly against his nearly empty plate.

“Ron!” Hermione shouted in concern and surprise as she looked up and found him gone.

Quickly standing, Hermione and Ginny both looked across the table to where Ron had just been sitting but did not find Ron. In his place, there was pink Dalmatian puppy, with heart-shaped magenta spots. The look on the puppy’s face was one of shock and confusion.

“Ron?” Hermione questioned as the dog whined softly before bounding up onto the table and taking a couple of uneasy steps towards her.

Whereas before Ron had jumped on the table, only those nearest him could see what had happened, when he leapt onto the table, he put himself in direct view of the entire Gryffindor table. Immediately, a roar of laughter echoed across the Great Hall as more and more students stood to get a good look at what had happened.

Even Hermione was forced to crack a smile, as Harry, Ginny and the twins were nearly rolling in the floor with laughter. Soon, Dean, Seamus and other Gryffindors were coming up to Ron and patting his head and back before warning Hermione that she should have him fixed, to make sure she did not wind up with any unwanted surprises as he grew older.

Breakfast was quickly forgotten as the plight of Ron, the puppy, was soon the topic of conversation. Hermione, for her part, had taken Ron and was holding him in her lap, petting him behind the ears softly as she thought to herself. She looked at Harry and Ginny intently, but said nothing.

A few moments later, Professor McGonagall approached the foursome, or rather the threesome and their new dog. She, nor any of the other professors for that matter, had seen what had happened. She simply knew there was a disturbance at the Gryffindor table and was intent on putting a stop to it.

“Miss Granger,” she began in her most proper voice, “I’m certain you are aware, that only Owls, Frogs or Cats are allowed for students to have while here at Hogwarts. Dogs just cannot be allowed in the castle.”

At her words, Fred and George broke out into boisterous laughter before they were silenced under the intense gaze of their Head of House.

“Oh yes, Professor,” Hermione replied, “But this isn’t my dog.”

“Ah, I see,” she replied skeptically. “And just whose would it happen to be?”

As she finished her question, she was quickly joined by Dumbledore. He looked to Hermione for a moment, and then to the puppy, before his eyes began to twinkle merrily.

Hermione struggled to find a way to explain to her Head of House just exactly what had happened, but she could not find a way to say it properly. As she continued to think on how to answer, Dumbledore stepped in and saved her the trouble.

“Minerva, I think I can be of some assistance in this matter,” he spoke softly. At his words, McGonagall’s eyebrow raised as she waited expectantly for his help.

Turning his attention first towards Hermione, Dumbledore addressed her, “Miss Granger, please allow me to compliment you on the remarkable puppy you have there in your lap.”

At his words, Harry and Ginny began to snicker and laugh before once more being quelled, by a near petrifying stare from Professor McGonagall.

“Professor,” she remarked rather sharply, showing her patience with the Headmaster’s musings was beginning to wear thin.

“Ah, quite right,” Dumbledore replied as he bowed his head slightly. “You see, this puppy may best be described as being Mr. Weasley’s — Ron Weasley that is.”

Not catching on to the Headmaster’s hint, she quickly asked, “Well, if this is his puppy, then just where is he at?”

Dumbledore smiled softly before answering. “Well, therein lays the key. I believe that the puppy IS Ron Weasley.”

Professor McGonagall’s mouth fell open for only an instant before her face was once more solemn. Looking to the students before her she asked, “And would anyone happen to know just what happened to make him turn into this animal?”

Everyone at the Gryffindor table shook their heads and shrugged their shoulders. Only Harry, Ginny, Fred and George knew, and they certainly were not about to admit it. She continued to look back and forth among the students, but quickly realized that most had no idea what had caused it, and whoever had done it, was not going to admit it.

She had her main suspects, but in the lack of any kind of proof, there was little she could do about it. Just as she was about to admonish the entire Gryffindor table for childish behavior, Hermione began to speak.

“The only think I know,” she started off, “Is that it happened right after Ron drank Harry’s pumpkin juice.”

Harry and Ginny both quickly looked to Hermione. Harry could see the wheels turning in her mind, but knew she did not have enough to make all of the connections. Even with that reassurance, Harry felt his heart begin to beat a bit faster as McGonagall’s eye turned towards him.

“And what would you happen to know about this, Mr. Potter?” she asked in an accusing voice.

“Nothing professor,” he answered softly as he felt the gaze of the whole table upon him. “I drank Ron’s juice by mistake and he took mine. I didn’t do anything to the juice.”

McGonagall studied Harry for a moment. There was something about his story that just did not add up to her. Beside her, Dumbledore’s eyes were twinkling merrily as his mind had already made all of the connections, and he knew very well who the intended target had been and most likely who all had been involved.

Everyone continued to stare at Harry as he felt himself getting annoyed. It was obvious that neither Professor McGonagall nor Hermione fully believed his story. For his part, Harry felt himself becoming irritated that he was being focused out at the moment.

Realizing that all eyes were still on him, Harry grumbled, “Fine,” before grabbing the partially drunk cup of juice. “If you don’t believe me, then I’ll drink the juice.”

With that, he quickly downed the remaining glass of juice and sat the empty glass on the table. Everyone held their breath for a moment, as they waited to see whether Harry too would become a puppy or not. After a couple of minutes, when nothing had happened, most of the Gryffindor table began to lose interest and returned to their own conversations. Professor McGonagall, seemingly placated by Harry’s lack of a transformation, returned her gaze to prime suspects number one and two — namely Fred and George. Dumbledore, for his part, just winked at Ginny, causing her to blush slightly, and returned to the staff table.

“Well, as long as Mr. Weasley is a puppy…” McGonagall began, but never got to finish because, as she spoke, another loud pop echoed in the Great Hall.

Where a puppy had once been in Hermione’s lap, with her softly rubbing behind its ears, Ron suddenly reappeared, with a look of forlorned bliss on his face. An instant later, both Hermione and he realized the unflattering position they were in and both tried at the same time to move. What resulted, though, was they both wound up moving in the same direction and, instead of extricating themselves from the situation, they only became entangled and ultimately fell in a heap to the floor.

Quickly scrambling to their feet, Ron’s ears a brilliant red, while Hermione’s cheeks matched, they both stood, looking down to the ground rather than at each other or anyone else for that matter. Ron muttered a quick, “Sorry,” under his breath as he waited for McGonagall to speak.

Letting out a sigh, she pursed her lips for a moment before questioning, “Mr. Weasley, I trust you are alright?”

“Yes,” he answered softly.

“Then I hope you enjoy the rest of your Saturday. Please try not to make a habit of becoming such an unusual puppy during meals,” she said before turning her attention to the rest of the Gryffindor table. “And the rest of you would be served to take notice such pranks will not be tolerated in the future. They may result in the loss of house points if they disrupt class or harm a student.”

She then turned and marched off, back to the staff table, leaving a still blushing and embarrassed Ron and Hermione behind her. As they sat back down, George called out from down the table, “Hey guys, you ready to go play Quidditch?”

Ron, who was still blushing furiously, obviously quite embarrassed, hesitated. Turning to Harry, he spoke softly, “Hey mate, you go play for now. I’ll catch up in a bit.”

Not saying a word, Harry simply nodded and put a reassuring hand on Ron’s shoulder. Harry knew he had been thoroughly embarrassed, although he was not for sure which had been worse — being the puppy itself, or the position Hermione and he had wound up in. With a final squeeze, Harry said, “Tough luck, Mate,” before he turned and began to leave the Great Hall.

Pausing at the entrance, he was quickly joined by Ginny and the twins where they paused for a minute, looking back to Ron, before walking out towards the main entrance to the castle and the pitch beyond. Once they were out the door, all four broke out into fits of laughter once more.

The first week of school had certainly not been what either Harry or Ginny had expected. For Harry, it had been better. For Ginny, it had been so much more than she could have hoped for, especially with Ron acting like a git. This was certainly going to be an interesting year.

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