Calling the Cards
A big up to Zsenya for putting up with me and my shenanigans throughout this
episode! Enjoy J
Harry, yet again, had lost poker. Beaten by 3
nines, and he really thought he had it that time!
“I’m not sacrificing any more of my
Bertie Bott’s on a stupid Muggle game, I’m going to bed.” And with that, Harry
picked up his remaining two Bertie Bott’s Every
Flavor Beans (Butterbeer and choc-mint, saving the best for last) and climbed
slowly up the staircase to his bed. Ron, Hermione and Ginny were left in the
otherwise empty common room. All that remained was a few popped balloons and
excess Christmas wrapping paper.
It was Christmas night at Hogwarts,
and Hermione had given Ron a (non-exploding) pack of Muggle cards. Ron had
greeted this present with a quiet 'thanks...' and had thrown the cards on top
of a pile of wrapping paper.
“Well, I got you something a little
more, in case you didn’t like the cards,” Hermione said through gritted teeth.
She threw a bag of Bertie Bott’s Every Flavor Beans at Ron, hitting him in the
shoulder. She was aiming for his head; but then again, Hermione had never been
the best at sports.
“Watch it!” Ron said, playfully
chucking a pile of wrapping paper at her. Hermione giggled, and looked
expectantly at Ron.
“Oh yeah! Your present!” Ron said
lightheartedly. Purposefully avoiding Hermione’s gaze, he passed her a messy
parcel. As Hermione opened her present, her smile grew wider. Inside the
package was a pair of soft, woolen mittens in an attractive navy, with the
Gryfindor emblem splashed across in red and gold. The lion on the emblem let
out a soft growl and winked at Hermione.
Hermione shoved them on. She let out a
slight moan of frustration, as they seemed too big for her. However, as she
gazed at her hands, the gloves shrunk to fit the size of her hand perfectly.
“Oh Ron, they’re GORGEOUS!” she gushed,
throwing her arms around his freckled neck.
“No problem,” Ron said, blushing ever so
slightly under his light green jumper that his mum had knitted him – again.
“Oh, and, err… Thank you for the cards too…”
Hermione smiled at him sweetly. “Don’t worry, I’ll teach
you some games later, now let’s go down and get
Hermione pulled herself up from the pile of
wrapping paper she was sitting in, and walked out of the door, rubbing her
hands together in her new mittens. Ron followed, tossing Bertie Botts into his
“Ron!” Hermione said, looking shocked.
“Vwat?” Ron said, mouth full of Bertie Botts.
Hermione, giggling at Ron’s innocence just
muttered ‘oh, never mind…’ as she made her way out of the portrait to
That night, after a feast of stuffed
turkey with cranberry sauce, jacket potatoes and Christmas pudding with hot
brandy sauce, Harry, Ron, Hermione and Ginny retreated
to the common room. Harry, having only seen a pack of cards when his uncle was
having betting nights with his friends (“He has friends?!?!” Ron blurted in as
Harry was telling them) along with Ron, was being taught numerous games from
Hermione. They had learnt Solitaire, Go Fish, Black Jack, and Hermione had
attempted to teach them 500, in which neither of
them could understand the trump rule. Typically, the boys both liked Snap the
best ("Its great, same game, no scorched fingers!” Ron exclaimed
excitably) Hermione could have figured this – it was the game that required the
After the cards had been long
abandoned, Ginny, Harry and Ron sat around the fire, eating the Chocolate Frogs
that the twins had given them (they were quite sure that they weren’t tampered
with; Neville had already tried one, and he remained un-mutated). Hermione however, sat up at the table behind them,
drawing out lots of five cards, then grunting,
pulling out another five, then another, each time with a frown, putting them on
“What ARE you doing?” questioned
Harry, looking perplexed by Hermione’s strange doings.
“Poker…” she grumbled, barely audible
as she threw another lot of cards onto the ever-increasing pile.
“Joker? Is that like Old Maid?” Ginny
Finished with the pack of cards,
Hermione pushed her head up. “No, poker,” she said, “ I’m playing with myself,
not much fun though…”
“Oh, come on then, teach us!” Harry
said, taking a seat.
“You, you actually want to learn
something else?” said Hermione, slightly surprised.
why not?” said Harry, tearing opening the bag of Bertie Bott’s that had came
along with a hand knitted cage cover for Hedgwig that Hermione had given him.
He took the top one out (a crimson bean dotted with yellow) and placed it in
his mouth. He had chosen correctly; the taste of Strawberry Tart filled his
“Well, you’re going to have to use
something to bet with…” said Hermione, gazing at the packet of Bertie Bott’s
Every Flavour Beans grasped in each of her friends’ hands.
Ron gazed down greedily at his beans. Looking back up at
Hermione, he sighed, and sat down at the table, Bertie Bott’s in front of him.
“So, how do you play then?” he asked
as Harry and Ginny joined him at the table and tipped out their beans in front
of them. After the rules and betting limits had been stated, Hermione was
surprised to see just how good Ron was at poker. “Well, Dad brought home a pack
of misbehaving cards once from the Ministry. Once he had got the queens to stop
swapping suits, he taught me a few games…” Ron said, blushing. Ginny also had
been taught some games, but only knew the rules, and played by them. She had
little tact in the game itself.
Harry, on the other hand, was out of
his league. He had a small amount of sense when it came to betting on low pairs
and such. By the fourth hand, he was nearly out of beans.
Shortly after Harry had given up and
gone to bed, Ginny had started losing, quite quickly in fact. Most likely, due
to the fact that Harry was gone – she now had the worst hands. Before long, she
had half a dozen Bertie Bott’s clenched in her fists, and was walking up the stairs, just as Harry had before. Ron
and Hermione heard the door close upstairs, leaving them entirely to
“Another game?” Ron said, hopefully.
“Actually, I think that I might retire
before my reputation gets succeeded,” Hermione laughed, gathering her beans
(quite plentiful) into a new study bag that Ginny had given her for Christmas,
and making her way towards the stairs. “Wouldn’t want to leave Ginny alone
anyway, those dorms can be scary if you’re by yourself…”
Ron had no idea what she was talking about. She
was making excuses, and they both knew it. However, Ron wanted to keep playing,
he was having a lot of fun. And besides, he never got to be alone with
Hermione, and he thought he would like to be more often.
Hermione had to drag herself away from
Ron. She couldn’t possibly stand to make a fool out of herself over a stupid
game, she knew that they would start fighting, they always did. But Hermione
didn’t want to do that, she liked Ron, she really did, but she had to go.
Although she would prefer to stay and stare into his hazel eyes, watch him as
he chewed his lip in frustration, watch him run his hands through his fiery red
“What if I said that we up the wages?”
Ron yelled up at her.
Hermione snapped out of her daydream
“No, I want to save my Bertie Bott’s!” she said, tapping her bag. That wasn’t a
lie. She continued walking up the stairs.
“Strip Poker!” yelled Ron.
“What?!?!” exclaimed Hermione, missing
a step because she had snapped around so fast.
“What….” Ron said inaudibly, he
couldn’t believe that he had just said that; but he had. Sure it would
be fun, but she would never agree to such a thing; But… Ron looked up at her
confused face. She actually didn’t seem disgusted; but then again,
Hermione was good at disguising stuff like that. In fact, she almost seemed…
He’s reading my thoughts… Hermione did
not what to say; or what to think; so she decided to see what he would
“Strip Poker,” Ron said, more quietly
this time. His voice was shaking, he had already made an arse out of himself,
and he may as well follow himself up… “Instead of Bertie Bott’s, we wager…
clothes…”Ron said this last word in almost a whisper; in fact, to say that he
‘said’ it would be wrong, ‘squeaked’ it would be a more appropriate word. He
could feel himself going pink, Hermione was going to laugh any minute now, and
he was never going to hear the end of this.
Hermione’s mouth opened into a devilish grin.
“What?” Ron said, he too now smiling,
more nervously than happily.
“You think I don’t know how to play
Strip Poker?” she said, slowly walking back down the stairs, “What kind of
Muggle do you take me for?”
They both laughed at this. “Do you
need reminding of the rules then?” Ron said, relieved that he had broken the
“I may be smart, but I do have a
life!” Ron mocked a shocked face, Hermione giggled.
“Three items of…” Ron started. Was
three items too much? Or maybe she wanted to bet more, or perhaps-
“Clothes,” Hermione finished for him;
she could see that his discomfort was mounting, yet so was hers, “Loser has to
take of the amount of wagered clothes.” The seriousness of the situation was starting
to dawn on her; what if she ended up, well, losing?
The same thought was going through
Ron’s head. “To save us both some embarrassment let’s set clothing boundaries.
I’ll go down to my boxers, and err… well…”
“And I’ll go down to my knickers and my
singlet, okay?” Hermione could only imagine what Ron could have been thinking…
They both looked at each other, going very red. Nobody talked for quite awhile.
It was a very awkward silence.
“Look this was probably a stupid idea
to begin with and –“ Ron started.
Hermione said firmly. “I haven’t had any fun in ages, and I want to let my hair
down a bit,” she said, moving towards the couches near the fireplace.
idea…” Ron said, following her to the fireplace. If they were going to do this
in the corner, they would freeze. Ron sat across from Hermione on the couch.
Hermione sat herself down in a large backed chair. He swept an empty box of
Chocolate Frogs onto the floor. Hermione chose to ignore it.
“Deal ‘em,” she said defiantly.
Ron dealt five cards each. After Ron
had put down and picked up two, and Hermione had put down three and picked up
another three, the betting started.
“Raise you one,”
“See and raise one,” Ron said,
“Call, “Hermione said; she too was
They both lay down their cards.
“Bugger!” Hermione said in disbelief.
Ron had beaten her two kings with three nines.
“This coming from a girl who never
swears, wow, you really are letting your hair down…”
“Oh, shut up Ron!” Hermione said
playfully, throwing her mittens at him. Ron laughed, and placed the mittens
beside him on the couch. They stared up and him and growled loudly.
Two more logs on the fire and an hour later,
they were both getting close to their agreed boundary lines. In an odd turn
around from the first game, Hermione could afford to lose two more items (a
sock and her skirt) and Ron only had his pants to lose. There would only be one
“Last hand right?” said Ron through gritted
teeth. IT was the middle of winter and he was only wearing his pants, which
wasn’t really a good combination.
“Well you don’t really have anything more to
lose, do you?” smirked Hermione. After the first three games, where she lost
the bulk of her clothes, Ron had got cocky and started using bluff hands, which
Hermione saw through and he quite quickly started losing.
“Goodo then…” Ron said absentmindly, dealing
the last hand.
Hermione picked up her cards, he could see her eyes growing wider. As he
swapped three cards in his deck, he gestured for Hermione to swap. But she
“Stay,” she said firmly.
Ron started panicking; she wasn’t
swapping! He chanced a look at her. She looked confident, and was staring
straight at him, with smiling eyes. Ron only had two eights. He was sure that
he was beaten. But he would try. The betting began.
“Putting in one,” he said with all the
confidence he could muster. He knew that passing would seem meek, and he didn’t
want to appear that to Hermione.
“Raise one,” Hermione said, her smile
now nearly reaching the sides of her dimpled face.
Ron sighed; he was beaten. “Meet and
Ron threw his eights into the middle.
Hermione was flipping over her cards when her brown haired head took a sharp
glance at the girls’ dormitory staircase. Ron didn’t notice what the
interruption was for at first. Then he heard the unmistakable sound of Ginny’s
voice drifting through the upstairs corridor. He couldn’t quite make out what
it was saying though. He opened his mouth to speak but Hermione shushed him
with her hand as she put her cards facedown on the table and got up out of her
“Who’s there?” Ron heard Ginny say
quietly. He also thought he heard Hermione swear very softly underneath her
“Okay, when I say too, grab the
clothes and run as quickly as you can back up to your dormitory,” Hermione
whispered nearly inaudibly.
“What about your clothes?” Ron
whispered back excitedly. This was all very amusing for him. He knew that she
didn’t have a spare tunic and whatnot, which would mean that she would have to
come and get them from him at some point. He looked forward to that moment.
“I’ll work that out later, JUST GO!”
Hermione said, that last in a particularly loud whisper.
“But how will you get up? Ginny is
“GO!” Hermione said, giving him a
push. Ron noted how warm her hands felt on his bare back. Ron scooped up the
clothes off the couch and shuffled his way through the darkness towards the
steps. He risked a glance at Hermione, who was looking particularly nervous,
but beautiful at the same time with the light of the fire reflecting onto her
face. Ron suddenly was reminded that he halfway up the stairs when he stepped
on the edge of his shirt (or was it Hermione’s?), causing him to trip over. He
heard Ginny gasp and start running down the staircase. Ron continued running,
and didn’t stop until he reached the landing. As he glanced over his shoulder,
he was positive that he could see a flicker of bushy brown hair fleeting up the
girls’ dormitory staircase. He smiled and walked into his dorm.
Hermione hardly slept that night. She
had just jumped into her bed – still cladly dressed- before Ginny came in,
looking for her. Hermione thought she did quite a good job of pretending she
was asleep. She couldn’t believe how close she had come to being found out. If
she had, she would no doubt lose her role as prefect. She could imagine the
Ron, unlike Hermione, and slept
soundly that night, dreaming of The Queen and King of Spades chasing him into
the fire, where there was a lion with Hermione’s head…. He woke up that morning
feeling very calm and relaxed. The opposite of what Hermione was feeling. He
found himself lying in bed early the next morning, after the Queen had slapped
him with a giant tie… he could not go back to sleep, so he decide to go
common room looked exactly as it had the night before. ; Ruffled cushions, the
remains of a hot fire, Hermione’s very full book bag, and the untouched up
turned cards. That’s when Ron remembered; he didn’t know what Hermione had in
her final hand. Although he knew that he had no hope, curiosity got the best of
him. He sat down in Hermione’s seat, for a second hoping that it would still be
warm. He grasped her perfectly fanned cards (typical he thought, even when they
where risked being caught, she still had enough time to be perfect) and flipped
No. Something was wrong. He flipped
the cards back over. That must have been his hand. No, but… My
cards are over there. Ron checked again, to make sure that he wasn’t wrong. He flipped
them over, staring at them. Nothing. Absolutely Nothing! The bloody girl had
bluffed! But she called, and you had those two eights…. So you had won… wait.
YOU WON! Hah! He knew that he would make sure that Hermione would NEVER here
the end of this!
“What are you doing Ron?” Ginny
had come downstairs, still in her pajamas, rubbing her eyes; she didn’t look
like she had much sleep.
It wasn’t until that point that Ron
realized that he had not bothered getting changed, and was still in his pants
from the night before, and still shirtless. He started going a soft red. He was
positive that Ginny must of heard his brain clicking trying to think of a
possible reason that he could be downstairs so early, shirtless and grasping a
handful of cards.
“Erm… I was… I mean I FELL asleep by
the fire last night after.” Ron’s eyes where darting around the room, quickly
flittering from the couch, to the table, to Ginny’s crossed arms, to the cards…
the cards…. “…. After I was playing solitaire with myself…?”
“You were playing solitaire shirtless
because….” Ginny had a hard stare at Ron, he could not break it, he felt as if
she was reading his thoughts.
“I was shirtless because… because I
was sitting by the fire and I was getting hot…” Ginny continued staring. “Erm….
Really hot.” Ron finished grinning awkwardly; he hoped that that would satisfy
Ginny simply rolled her eyes and
yawned. It was too early to argue with him. She walked round to the couch,
where a large pile of clothes sat the night before and plopped herself down,
her head on the armrest. “Did you hear anything last night? I thought I heard
someone down here, they might have woken you up…”
Ron searched her voice for any hint of
sarcasm. He couldn’t sense any… “Well, no, I was pretty tired after eating all
of that Christmas pudd,” Ron lied confidently.
“Sure?” Ginny said, hoisting herself
up until she was sitting. She was still leaning against the pillow. The pillow
was yellow, but it also seemed to have a blue Hogwarts symbol on it… he was
sure he had never noticed THAT before…
“Yeah, pretty sure…” he said, still
staring blankly at the pillow.
“What?” Ginny said, looking at the
pillow. Then, to Ron’s great disgust, Ginny tugged at the Hogwarts symbol, and
took hold of Hermione’s tie.
Ron gaped at the tie that Ginny was
holding… it certainly was not his…. He could never tie a knot that neatly… his
brain clicked over as Ginny gave him a confused stare.
“Ohh…. There it is… I’ve been
looking for my tie EVERYWHERE.” Ron didn’t think he sounded to convincing, obviously
Ginny didn’t either.
“But…. I thought you just woke up….”
Ginny said looking around. “And where are the rest of your clothes
Ron was all out of ideas; he lunged
across the table, reaching out for the tie. A shocked Ginny looked at a number of
things in quick succession. First a shirtless Ron, then the cards on the table,
then the tie that she was still grasping, to Hermione’s bag in the corner, then
Ron, then the cards, then the tie, the bag, then Ron…. Then the staircase… A
wide smile crept across Ginny’s face.
“Positive you didn’t hear anything
last night?” she said, eyes suddenly wide open
and staring at a now very red Ron.
Ron just looked fixedly at Ginny’s
“Well, all I can say Ronniekins …” she
said, getting up of the couch, “Is that you sure can call them!”
Ginny laughed as she threw the tie at
a purely horrified Ron as she walked up the staircase, heading straight for
Hermione’s room. Ginny just simply had to hear this story!