Dear Gred and Forge,
You gotta help me! I need an emergency supply of Puking Pastilles! If I have to keep watching Ginny snog all over the castle, I’ll end up a shadow of my former self! It’s enough to make a man vomit! Seriously! It’s just not right, a brother having to see this. But does Ginny listen to me? Oh nooooooo! He’s not much better. Smarmy git.
I need a good supply of the anti-vomiting Puking Pastille if I’m going to survive this!
Or maybe send both parts, I can give the vomiting bit to them and maybe they will be too vomity to snog! Either way — you gotta help me! PLEASE!
George laughed out loud as he read the letter which arrived early one Sunday morning in May.
“What’re you laughing at?” Fred asked grumpily, batting Pigwidegeon away from his head. The tiny owl had awakened them by crashing madly into their kitchen window and causing a ruckus among the dirty dishes left in the sink from a rather rambunctious Saturday night.
“Young Ronald seeks our assistance in dealing with Ginny’s amorous activities!” George chortled again and Fred looked at him, pained.
“Seems like he’s had about enough of Ginny snogging in front of him,” George said, waving the letter in Fred’s general direction. “Wants anti-vomit pastilles. I say we give him memory potions. Much more amusing!”
“What’s he sooking about her snogging now for?” Fred said, angling his head to read the letter in George’s hand. “Hasn’t she been going out with that plonker all year?”
“That’s what my sources told me,” George said with a shrug, reaching for the crazy owl which had managed to tangle itself in the low-hanging kitchen lightshade. “One Dean Thomas, sixth year, smarmy git.”
“And who are your sources anyway?” Fred asked, taking the letter and throwing it carelessly on the table. It landed innocuously among the crumbs and other detritus there.
“Angelina knows all,” George said sagely.
“She’s not even at Hogwarts,” Fred said with a shrug. He propped his feet up on a spare chair and waved his wand in the direction of the sideboard. A clean bowl and spoon came sailing onto the table in front of him.
"Yeah, but she was last year — and they’ve been going out since last year,” George rolled his eyes at Fred as if he was a particularly slow student who was struggling to keep up.
“How do you know it’s still him though?” Fred persisted, dodging the cornflakes he inexpertly summoned from the pantry. “We should ask Katie. She’s back at Hogwarts now, isn’t she? She’ll have the up-to-the-minute news about the lives and loves at the castle.”
“Why would it be anyone but Dean?” George asked, grabbing the milk before it slammed onto the table. “Ginny told us after the Yule Ball that Neville would never be … her thing. Who else is there?”
“Colin Creevey? Or that Alistair kid in fourth year? Arthur … Archibald … Ah, I can’t keep track of the children,” Fred said, shaking his head. He poured cornflakes and then milk into his bowl and began spooning it into his mouth, chewing speculatively. “Maybe it’s not a Gryffindor.”
“If Ron is seeing them this much, then it’s a Gryffindor,” George said. “I just don’t see her with Seamus.” He wrinkled his nose as he reached into the sideboard for a mug.
“I’m telling you; we need to ask Katie,” Fred insisted, brandishing his spoon at George.
“It’s obviously just Dean,” George argued. “Are we even gonna send Ron any Puking Pastilles?” George laughed.
“Nah,” Fred said, picking the letter up and examining it as if he could work out who was snogging his sister by staring at it long enough. “He can buy ‘em like everyone else.”
Life is great here on the outside. The shop’s going well and it’s much more satisfying developing products without trying to hide the evidence from Filch and Snape. The Alley isn’t doing too good, mind, but we manage to overcome that. All’s well at WWW.
Hope the NEWTS aren’t treating you too bad. How goes it at Hogwarts anyway? I know it’s not a patch on what it used to be since we’ve left, but no doubt there’s still a few things of value to report. Notably and first and foremost a who’s who of romantical entanglements.
Imagine the targeted marketing we could do with this information, Forge!
Oi! Katie doesn’t care about that, Gred! — And get out of my letter!
So what is the latest anyway? Any new Gryffindors keeping company? Drop us a line! Let us know!
Katie Bell groaned as she shrugged her cloak off and threw it on top of her trunk along with her book bag. Her textbooks and various pieces of parchment threatened to spill out along with several quills and an inkpot. She toed her shoes off without undoing the laces and kicked them under her four-poster. NEWTS were going to be the death of her, she was sure of it. A little while ago, everyone thought a stupid opal necklace would be the death of her but that she had managed to overcome. A combination of Potions Essays and Arithmancy diagrams had the potential to be much more lethal. Everyone had been great since she’d returned to Hogwarts. She’d had work brought to her at St Mungos when she was well enough and the professors had given her extra help, modifying her academic requirements. Harry had been a bit intense about Quidditch but since both she and Ron had been unable to play and he’d had to put up with McClaggen and Ginny Weasley’s ex, she didn’t really blame him. It had paid off though. They’d won the House Cup this afternoon. Pity she still had to study after tea.
Katie smiled inwardly as she thought about the game — and the aftermath. She’d seen it coming a mile off. There’s no way that even Harry, with his poor eyesight, should have taken so many bludgers during practice unless he was incredibly distracted. Katie shook her head as she searched for her slippers, wondering again how Harry was even such a fabulous Seeker. He’d also taken long enough to notice Ginny, and Katie had contemplated forcing the issue more than once in recent days. Luckily, she’d not had to resort to such tactics and Harry had taken care of it himself in his own inimitable style. He and Ginny were simply perfect for each other really and Katie hoped Ginny would be willing to share a bit — maybe give the seventh years a break from all the NEWTS intensity.
Katie grinned and then flung her cloak to the floor, opening her trunk and rummaging about inside for some of the treats she’d brought back to school with her. Once she’d loaded her bed up with tins of biscuits, home made cake and a vast selection of sweets, she slipped out of her dorm and down to the fifth-year dorm, knocking softly before poking her head around the door. Vicky Frobisher and Demelza Robbins looked up from their books at the intrusion.
“Hey,” Demelza said casually, giving Katie a half wave. “Everything all right?”
“Yeah, just looking for Ginny,” Katie explained, opening the door a little wider. Vicky giggled but Demelza just rolled her eyes.
“Probably still wrapped around Harry Potter in that alcove near the tapestry of Phineas the Pigkeeper on the sixth floor.”
“Hiding from Ron,” giggled Vicky. Katie grinned.
“That’s what I wanted to ask her about.”
“Ron?” Demelza wrinkled her nose, looking perplexed.
“No! Harry!” Katie said with a wink. Vicky giggled again but Demelza shrugged. A sudden clatter on the stairs made Katie withdraw her head from the dorm and peer out into the corridor. Hermione Granger and Sophie Roper were making their way to the sixth-year dormitory, so Katie waved them over.
“Have you seen Ginny?” she asked. “I was hoping we could all hang out for a bit. I’ve missed everyone and … you know — well there’s a fair bit to catch up on.”
“It’s not us you want to catch up with,” Sophie said with a smirk. Demelza made kissing noises and fell about laughing. Hermione sighed.
“Honestly, I’m sure there’s not that much to tell.” Just then there was a loud thump and an outbreak of giggling from the bottom of the stairwell.
“Sounds like Ginny now,” said Sophie peering back down the staircase. “Finally peeled herself off The Boy Who Lived, has she?” Hermione frowned. Katie pushed past her and leaned into the stairwell.
“Ginny? Is that you?” she called down. A muffled noise in the affirmative floated upwards. “Come meet us up in the seventh-year dorm! I’ve got treats!” Katie scampered out of the fifth-year dorm and back to her own, the other girls trailing in her wake.
By the time Ginny arrived, eyes alight as she bounced into the room, both Lavender Brown and Pavarti Patil had also made their way up to the seventh-year dorm and settled themselves on Kimberley Enfield’s bed near the window. Tavia Ashley, the seventh -year prefect, had arrived fresh from her shower and was casting warming charms on mugs of hot chocolate near their stove.
“Okay girl, start talking,” Sophie said without preamble as Ginny sat rather demurely on the end of Katie’s bed and selected a chocolate frog from the pile of sweets there.
“Oh, it’s another Celestina Warbeck,” Ginny said airily, holding up the chocolate frog card she had just unwrapped. “What I actually need is a Cassandra Vablatsky.”
“Don’t be coy, Ginny,” said Katie impatiently. “It doesn’t become you at all!” Ginny grinned and bit the head off her frog, eyes sparkling as she chewed and swallowed.
“I kissed Harry Potter,” she said, “a lot!” Hermione groaned.
“You know this is like hearing about your brother, don’t you?” Ginny just laughed as she stuffed the rest of the chocolate frog in her mouth. Katie glared at Hermione impatiently.
“Not to me!” she said. “I wanna hear all the details!” The rest of the girls in the room nodded vigorously.
“C’mon, spill!” insisted Tavia, handing Ginny a hot chocolate.
“We spent all afternoon together,” Ginny said with a sigh, “and this evening. He’s been looking at me funny for ages now. Probably thinks I didn’t notice but —“
“I noticed,” said Katie, “and I’ve been away for six months!”
“Are you actually his girlfriend now?” asked Vicky. “I mean, did he ask you out?”
“No,” Ginny shook her head and Hermione turned to stare at her.
“What do you mean?” Hermione demanded. Ginny smiled and took a sip of her hot chocolate before replying.
“I asked him,” she said simply. “After I told him about the game —“
“You what?” Lavender interrupted. “That’s what you went out to do? Talk about the game?”
“Yes,” Ginny said, staring at Lavender. “Some of us actually talk to our boyfriends.” Lavender blushed and looked away, suddenly extremely interested in choosing the perfect Pumpkin Pasty from the basket on Kimberley’s bed.
“So, Harry is your boyfriend?” Sophie asked. Ginny nodded and then bounced a little on the end of Katie’s bed, making the pile of sweets rustle and threaten to jump onto the floor.
“He’s so cute,” Vicky said with a sigh. Ginny smiled dreamily. Hermione rolled her eyes.
“Be happy for me,” Ginny said without venom, nudging Hermione with her foot.
“I am,” said Hermione, “but you’re not the one who had to spend all afternoon and all evening listening to Ron!” Ginny and Katie burst out laughing. Hermione just looked disgruntled.
“I don’t care about Ron Weasley,” Vicky said impatiently. “How did you ask Harry out?”
“I just did.” Ginny shrugged. “Will you be my boyfriend?”
“You did not,” said Tavia. “That’s not even romantic!”
“Were you expecting poetry?”
“Well … just something a bit more than will you be my boyfriend!” Tavia insisted. The debate went on for some time, each girl having her own idea about romance, but all ultimately agreeing that spontaneously kissing someone in the middle of a House celebration was pretty romantic.
“But you, Ginny, clearly need some work in the romance department!”
“Clearly, she does not if she’s spent all afternoon and all evening with her new boyfriend,” said Demelza.
“Is he a good kisser?” asked Kimberley who had returned to her dorm in the middle of the debate about romance. She broke off a piece of Cauldron Cake and, stuffing it in her mouth, looked at Ginny expectantly.
“Definitely better than Michael,” Ginny said. “Not as wet.” Hermione made a face.
“I kissed Zacharias Smith once,” Sophie said. “Now he’s a sloppy kisser.”
“Eeeew, really?” Parvati looked rather ill. Katie didn’t blame her.
“Let’s not dwell on Zacharias!” Kimberley exclaimed. “I want to hear about Harry! Did he run his fingers through your hair? Cup your cheek? Has he touched your butt?”
“Was there tongue?” Tavia demanded, leaning forward. Ginny blushed a little at that point and Katie wondered if they’d pushed her too far. Ginny was a little younger than them after all.
“Yes,” Ginny said, stuffing her mouth full of cake, probably so she wouldn’t have to elaborate. However, Tavia was skilled at getting people to open up, and the girls soon knew not only how good Harry was at kissing but also the snogging skills of several Ravenclaw fifth-years, one of Hufflepuffs seventh years and Ron Weasley. Hermione looked as though she wanted to slap Lavender but possibly only Katie noticed this because the rest of them were too busy exclaiming over the fact that Demelza had attempted to kiss Colbert Bradley during Herbology and ended up with a nasty case of hives from falling backwards into an unidentified plant in Greenhouse Three when Colbert tried to spin them around and press her against a potting bench.
“You’re so lucky Ginny,” Vicky sighed once the laughter had died down. “Harry is about the cutest boy at Hogwarts.”
“I’m not going out with him because he’s cute though,” Ginny said, tugging on the end of the plait she’d twisted her hair into as they’d been talking. “I really care about him. I always have.” She trailed off and Katie wondered if she was feeling self-conscious. Ginny’s crush on Harry when was younger hadn’t exactly been a secret. Katie crossed the room from where she had been perched on the windowsill, to sit next to Ginny on her bed.
“We know,” Katie said, pulling Ginny into a one-armed hug. “He’s a pretty special guy and you are perfect for him.” Hermione nodded and Ginny blushed again.
“I’m pretty sure my brothers are going to be insufferable though,” Ginny said, suddenly morose. “They would always tease me something fierce about Harry when I was little. This will probably give them extra ammunition!”
“Not Ron,” Hermione said, smirking a little. “He won’t want to dwell on it at all!”
“He did look a little stunned,” offered Parvati.
“Like he was gonna vomit!” added Vicky cheerfully.
“Didya see Dean?” Demelza giggled. “He clearly thought he was in with another chance until Harry Potter swooped in!” She and Vicky made kissing noises until Ginny blushed even harder and threw a pillow at Demelza’s head.
The girls stayed up a little too late that night, going to bed only when the hot chocolate was gone and only a few Pumpkin Pasties remained of the feast Katie had pulled out of her trunk earlier that evening. It was worth it though, Katie thought as she snuggled under her bedcovers a little after midnight. Her recovery had been long and at times a little lonely, but things felt more normal than they had been in a while, and everybody needed normal and a bit of snogging in their lives.
What happens at Hogwarts, stays at Hogwarts.