The Sugar Quill
Author: Weird Sisters (Professors' Bookshelf)  Story: Operation V-Day!  Chapter: Default
The distribution of this story is for personal use only. Any other form of distribution is prohibited without the consent of the author.

February 10th

 

February 10th. 1500 hours. Moaning Myrtle’s Bathroom.

 

“I think you'll agree with me,” she began, “that the success of an operation of this magnitude hinges first and foremost on knowing one's enemy.” The speaker looked at her companion for agreement, and upon receiving a slight nod, continued.  

“It's a dirty, filthy job, and I'll be the first to admit that there aren't many of us who can handle delving this deeply into their minds...” her words trailed off, and her eyes closed briefly as she realized just what they were about to undertake....   

 

 

February 7th. 1721 hours. The Library.

 

Hermione Granger looked up from her book and wearily rubbed her eyes. “Is there anything?” Ginny Weasley asked softly, her face anxious. 

“No,” replied Hermione. “Nothing,” She sighed softly and rested her hand on her head. “I don’t know what to do.” she said, her voice frustrated. “And I won’t let this happen. Never again.” Ginny reached across the table and took her friend’s hand.  

“It’ll be okay, Hermione,” she said quietly, so as not to anger Madame Pince. “We’ll find something. I know it.” She dropped her friend’s hand and looked back to her book. Minutes passed, each girl flipping rapidly through the thick books that lay on the table. 

“Wait a moment,” Ginny whispered excitedly. “Here! This is it, Hermione, this is it!” Hermione looked over Ginny’s shoulder and read the book’s title: Splinched, Severed, and Stunned: Ten Totally True (Maybe) Tales

“Ginny, how on earth is a book of urban legends going to help us?” she asked, exasperated.  

Ginny smiled slowly. “I think,” she said with a grin tickling the corners of her mouth, “I have a plan.”   

 

 

February 10th. 1507 hours. Moaning Myrtle’s Bathroom.

 

Hermione paced around the room, avoiding the puddles on the floor. “So, are all the operatives ready for their part?” she asked. Ginny began to answer, but a muffled voice from the U-bend of a toilet interrupted, “That’s just fine! Barge into my bathroom as if you own the place, and don’t even have the decency…” There was the sound of muted sobbing, as the voice muttered, “Didn’t want to be an ‘operative’ anyway. They’ll both be sorry…the things I could’ve told them about Draco Malfoy’s...” Ginny rolled her eyes and cut Myrtle off, “Hermione, can we stop the military talk, please? Besides,” Ginny continued, “My mother and brother are hardly operatives. And neither is Ali, for that matter.”  

Hermione stopped pacing. “Sorry, Ginny,” she said. “But I can't go through last year again. Honestly, what kind of boyfriend forgets Valentine's Day?” she asked, sounding slightly crazed. “'Do you know how much Parvati and Lavender teased me about that? It was torture!” 

Ginny tried to comfort her friend. “It'll be okay, Hermione,” she said soothingly. “He won't forget this year. We're making certain of that.” 

“'You don't know what it was like! Listening to Parvati and Lavender prattle on and on about wooonderful Dean and peeeerfect Seamus!” Hermione was verging on hysterical. “I am not getting a dirty, shriveled, blight-infested flower from the greenhouse at 11:59 PM this time,” she said dangerously. “I don't care if it was the day of that horrid Potions exam. Like he even was worried about that,” she seethed. “You'd better hope that Harry's better than Ron about these things, Ginny,” Hermione added darkly.  

Ginny pursed her lips. “He's not going to forget, if I can help it,” she muttered. “Especially not for our first Valentine's Day.” 

“So, back to the plan,” Hermione was back into her military commander role. “Your mother is clear on what we need her to do?” 

Ginny smiled. “She was more than willing to help. Especially since Dad did the same thing to her, their first Valentine's Day together.” She grinned. “He hasn't forgotten since.” 

“Really? Your dad forgot their first Valentine’s Day?” Hermione asked, interested. “I guess it really is ‘like father, like son,’ then.” 

“You had better hope not!” Ginny exclaimed, laughing. “Unless, of course, you're ready to start popping out the first of those seven kids?” 

Hermione looked horrified. “Ginny, you know we haven't-- we're not-- “ 

“I know, Hermione,” Ginny said in a calming voice. “It was a joke. You're wound a bit tight, aren't you?” 

Hermione sighed. “I'm sorry. I'm just-- It's not happening again.”  

Ginny nodded. “It'll be fine. Charlie's going to back us up as well, you know.” 

Hermione's eyebrows shot up. “How're you going to get that to happen?” she asked, impressed.  

“Well,” Ginny looked smug. “I happen to know a few things that Charlie doesn't want Mum to know. So he's cooperating. He just doesn’t know it yet.” 

Hermione smiled faintly “Ooo-kay. I want to hear more about that later. How much time do we have until we need to meet your mum?” 

Ginny glanced at her watch; the hand was pointing to Hurry up or you'll be late. “Umm, not much, actually,” she said, showing Hermione the time. “We'd better head back to the common room.” 

The girls hurried along the corridor, discussing their plans in low voices as they went.

“So Ali’s going to try and hold Harry and Ron after practice, so they’ll come back while we’re talking to your mother?” Hermione asked. “How is she going to do that?”

“Oh, she’s just going to come up with some hare-brained strategy that involves Ron and herself, and try to run it by Harry. I don’t expect she’ll be able to keep them too long, though-- Ali’s not a very convincing liar.” Ginny smiled to herself.

“How’d you get her to agree to this, anyway?” Hermione asked as they rounded the corner towards the last corridor on their way back to Gryffindor Tower.

“Sheer brilliance, if I do say so myself,” quipped Ginny. “I remembered that Butterbeer fetish she has, and begged Fred and George to ask Madame Rosmerta to send me a case. So, upon completion of the agreed task, Ali will receive twenty-four bottles of Butterbeer.”

Hermione frowned. “You don’t think she’ll drink it all at once, do you? I worry about Ali, sometimes...it can’t be healthy to drink so much of the stuff, however weak it is.”

Ginny shrugged. “Well, if she does, we’ll just have to enroll her in BDA....” The girls stopped in front of the portrait.  “Open up!” Ginny said, and they stood back as the Fat Lady swung back to reveal the common room.

“The Fat Lady’s getting a bit obvious in her passwords,” Hermione mused as she climbed in through the portrait hole. “Oh, there’s your mother,” she said to Ginny, gesturing to Mrs. Weasley’s face floating amongst the flames in the hearth. “Hello, Mrs. Weasley! The boys should be back any minute,” said Hermione, sitting down on the hearthrug to chat until it was time to put their plan into action.  

 

 

February 10th. 1529 hours. Gryffindor Common Room.

 

Harry and Ron entered the common room, deep in discussion.

“What did she mean by diversionary tactics?” Ron asked Harry, looking frustrated. “I don’t think she had a bloody idea what she was talking about! ‘Make them think we’re going left, and then go right....’” Ron sounded disgusted.

Harry shook his head in agreement. “She was just babbling on and on and on.... She’s a fantastic Chaser, but she couldn’t plan strategy if her life depended on it.” Harry glanced across the common room. Ginny and Hermione were talking to Mrs. Weasley in the fire, and if he strained his ears, he could just make out what was being said.

“...so I told Margot, ‘What can you expect? He forgot Valentine's Day, dearie. Twice. It's enough to drive any witch over the edge.’ Mind you, I'm not saying she should have done that, but....” Harry nudged Ron. This sounded rather interesting. 

Mrs. Weasley's voice trailed off, and was replaced by Hermione's. “How's the trial going, Mrs. Weasley?” she asked. Ron looked over at Harry in confusion. What trial?, he mouthed. Harry shook his head. He hadn't heard of any big trials.... 

Ginny's voice joined the conversation. “It sounds strange, I know-- considering what she did-- but I sort of feel sorry for her, you know?”  

Hermione agreed. “Her boyfriend completely forgetting Valentine's Day for the second year in a row... It's not surprising that she killed him.” There was a pause. “Not that I'm condoning murder, or anything,” she added hastily. “It's just-- how insensitive can you get?” 

“Of course, dear, we understand perfectly,” Mrs. Weasley said in a sympathetic tone. “Still...they don't expect the trial to go well for her, especially since she...did what she did.” 

The girls both shuddered. “Yes, that,” they said in unison. 

Ron looked over at Harry. That? He mouthed. Harry shrugged, looking, if possible, even more bewildered than Ron. 

Mrs. Weasley’s voice continued. “Well, you know, dears, he really should have caught the signs. Margot told me that the girl apparently went around in nothing but pink for days before she did it... drawing little hearts all over her notebooks... referring to herself as Mrs. Whatever-his-name-was.... And I trust Margot-- she’s not just some idle gossip...her comic store is right next to the courthouse, you know. Really, the poor man should have figured it out.”  

Hermione jumped in eagerly “Yes! I read about the warning signals in 10 Current Magical Murder Trials to Chill Your Blood and Make Your Knees Knock. It has first-rate coverage of the crime and trial as it progresses-- it updates itself magically, of course. Written by the girlfriend's ex-best friend's cousin. The author practically saw it happen first hand!” Ron looked over at Harry. Poor guy, he mouthed. Harry nodded, and looked slightly ill. 

“It's too bad, really. They were both so young.” Mrs. Weasley sounded regretful. “Oh, well. What can you do? It's been lovely talking to you two. Ginny, tell you brother to behave himself, will you dear? And give Harry my love-- I've got to go see to the potatoes....” 

“Bye, Mrs. Weasley,” Hermione said cheerfully. “Thanks for your advice about that scouring charm.”  

“Bye, Mum,” Ginny said, just before the boys heard a slight pop!    

 

 

February 10th. 1600 hours. Sixth Year Boys’ Dormitory.

 

“There’s no need to be scared,” Harry told Ron, back inside the boys’ room, safely away from the girls. “There’s no need to be scared,” he repeated, as if he were trying to convince himself. 

“No need,” Ron whispered. 

“They were just talking about a famous trial,” Harry continued. “No connection with us.” 

“Of course not.” Ron didn’t sound at all convinced. 

“A famous trial, Ron, you know how Hermione is with these things. There is nothing to worry about.” 

“I know.” 

“Then why are you trembling?” Harry asked, throwing his hands in the air in a sign of frustration. 

“Because …because ...because....” Ron didn’t seem to be able to form coherent sentences. 

“Because?” Harry urged him 

“Because… did you hear what they said? That -- that witch went nutters because her boyfriend forgot about Valentines Day. He forgot and she went crazy.” Ron stopped talking and looked at him before saying it again. “He forgot and she went crazy....” 

“I was there, Ron; I heard that already,” Harry said as Ron stared at the ceiling looking lost. “What’s the bloody point?” 

“You don’t understand Harry, do you?” Ron was at Harry’s side in an instant. “He forgot and she went nutters and did who-knows-what to the poor man.”

“And?” Harry still didn’t see the connection. 

“And… I forgot about Valentines Day last year.” Ron had a look of utter terror on his face. “What if Hermione freaks out?” 

“It’s a little late to worry about that, Ron,” Harry said with a grin. 

“Be serious Harry, please. What if she freaks out?” Ron didn’t look as though he relished the idea of an insane Hermione. 

“She won’t freak out,” he replied matter-of-factly. 

“How do you know that? How can you be sure? For all I know she could be planning my death right now. And I bet Ginny is helping.” 

Harry suddenly went pale. 

“We have to do something,” Ron continued, barely noticing Harry, even though he was addressing him. “They’re girls.” 

Harry glared at him. “I know that, you prat. Would it hurt you to make sense?” 

“We’re not girls,” Ron continued. 

“It sure took you a long time to figure that out.” Harry was getting impatient. “I think I’ll take a nap or something until you regain your senses....” 

“No-- Harry, listen to me. Do you have any idea what to get a girl for Valentine’s Day?” Ron asked. 

“No,” recognition dawned slowly on Harry. “Who do you talk to when you need girl help with Hermione?” 

“Ginny,” Ron answered promptly. 

Harry shook his head. “That won’t work this time.” 

“I bloody well know that, Harry,” Ron snapped. 

“But... what are we going to do? You have to tell me. You’re the veteran, after all,” said Harry, his voice contorting in panic. 

“Veteran? I gave Hermione a flower last year, remember?” Ron said, hanging his head. 

“Right.” Harry shook his head. “Not flowers then....” 

“Not flowers,” Ron agreed. 

“We can always ask your mother,” Harry suggested. 

“Mum?” Ron shook his head “She’ll tell Ginny right way. And Ginny will tell Hermione. No way. We need someone else, someone with experience on this, someone we can trust.” 

Harry thought for a moment. How about-- “Charlie!”  

“What? Harry, in case you haven’t noticed, Charlie isn’t a girl.” 

“I know that, Ron, but he’s older and he has a girlfriend, right? He’s bound to have more experience. Besides, we can ask him if he’s heard about the trial…you know he always keeps up with the news.” 

“Well….” Ron looked doubtful. 

“You have a better idea? No? Then Charlie it is.”  

 

 

February 10th. 1635 hours. Hagrid’s Cabin

 

Charles Bilibus Weasley was NOT a happy man. His eyes made a frustrated sweep of the parchment he had received from his mother earlier that morning, and then chanced a quick glance at the determined young woman in front of him. 

He glared at her. No, Charlie Weasley was DEFINITELY not a happy man, and from the look of things, it would get much worse before it got better. 

“So, you've got everything straight, right?” Ginny asked, breaking him out of his reverie.  

Charlie signed and responded “Yeah, Gin, I've got it all...but you still haven't given me a reason to help you! I mean, you're my little sister, and of course I want you happy, but this...this is betrayal of my fellow men!”  

Ginny smiled a rather devious smile. Charlie squirmed in his seat. 

“Well?” he queried.  

Weeellll....” Ginny drew it out. “The thing is, brother dear,” she flashed him a quick grin and then went on, “I've been hearing some rather interesting stories concerning you and a certain female dragon trainer, that I don't think Mum has heard anything about.” 

Charlie scoffed. “THAT'S your blackmail material? Sorry, Ginnikins, but if that's all you've got, I'm going to have to respectfully decline.”

Ginny's smile grew wider. Charlie's face fell and he swallowed heavily.  

“Just one more little thing,” Ginny began. “Rumor has it that this other dragon tamer made a rather abrupt move to Hogsmeade just a few days after a certain brother of mine took a position as a professor at Hogwarts. What do you imagine Mum would think of that?” 

“Purely circumstantial!” Charlie exclaimed, “You haven't got anything there, and you know it!” 

Ginny nodded. “I’ll concede to the fact that people do move all the time, and Mum might not be terribly interested that your girlfriend,” Charlie reddened at her words, “has a flat in Hogsmeade. BUT, I can guarantee that she would like to know how many nights the said girlfriend spends, or shall we say DOESN'T spend in her flat. Where do you think she goes all of those long, cold, lonely nights?”  

Ginny pretended to ponder this for a moment, then took a deep breath and exhaled nosily. “But if you don't want to help me, I can't force you,” she smiled brightly. “You and Elesse have a nice Valentine's Day... it will probably be your last. Cheers!” She started to walk off through the snow. 

“Wait!” She stopped and turned around.  

“Yes Charlie?”  

He glared at his younger sibling and said grudgingly, “I'll help.”  

Ginny threw her arms around Charlie. “Thank you! You’re the best older brother a girl could have!”  

He unwound her arms from around his neck. “I hope you know what you're doing, little sister,” he said, turning suddenly serious.  

“Don't worry, Hermione and I have everything planned out,” she assured him. “Nothing can go wrong.”  

“If you say so....” Charlie didn’t look convinced. 

“I do say so,” she answered.  

“Okay, but I'm warning you, I don't want to get involved with all of this girly romance stuff again. Before you know it, I'll have to begin polishing my nails... curling my hair... changing my drawers every day....”  

Ginny gave him a horrified look.  

“You don't?” she asked. 

“I don't what?” Charlie said back, oblivious.  

“Never mind.” Ginny shook her head. “Just...never mind. I'll see you at dinner, all right?”  

“Fine.” Charlie agreed. He looked back towards the castle. “Hey! Get out of sight!” he hissed at Ginny. “I think that's Ron and Harry I see coming across the lawn. What did you two say to them?”  

But Ginny had already vanished.  

 
 

February 10th 1646 hours. Hagrid’s Cabin. 

 

Charlie was attaching several letters to the leg of his owl, Archimedes, when Ron and Harry arrived, very much out of breath.

Ron greeted his brother, “Charlie…we’re glad we’ve caught you! Are you busy?”

“Not really.” His brother replied. “Just sending off these chain owls. Elesse and I have finally worked things out, and I don’t want anything to ruin our relationship.”

“Ugh, I hate those things. Got three in my morning mail just this past week.” Harry said, looking at the letters distastefully.

Charlie released the owl, and then turned to the boys, “So what can I help you with?”

Harry and Ron exchanged wary glances. Harry started, “If you don’t mind, just some information, and maybe a bit of advice?” 

“I don’t mind at all.” Charlie assured them “What’s wrong?” 

“Nothing is actually wrong…yet.” Ron admitted 

Harry added, “We wondered if you had heard anything about a big trial? Something about a guy being murdered by his crazy girlfriend a few years ago on Valentine’s Day?” 

Charlie paled. “Oh..” Charlie pulled a face “The girl who did that” He shuddered slightly. “There aren’t many of us wizards who don’t think of that come Valentine’s Day.” 

Ron and Harry’s eyes widened. “That bad?” asked Ron, in a whisper 

“Worse.” Confirmed Charlie. The boys leaned forward to listen eagerly to what Charlie had to tell them.  
 

 

February 10th. 1657 hours.

 

“Harry, mate,” Ron said as they left Charlie’s, “I think we're in a mess of trouble.”

“I'll second that,” said Harry, kicking a cloud of snow aside as they walked back to the castle. “Still, you don't really think any of that rot he told us is true, do you?”

Ron shrugged. “I dunno,” he said. “It's Charlie. But,” and here Ron seemed to be thinking very hard, “I don't understand what he'd have to gain by lying to us.”

“Right,” said Harry dismally. “Then I guess it's all true.”

“But we don't have anything to worry about, right?” Ron looked at Harry hopefully as they entered into the castle.

“'Course not. Hermione and Ginny are perfectly sane,” said Harry, his voice sounding none too certain.

“Of course,” echoed Ron, sounding depressed. The boys walked back in silence to the Tower. They were still lost deep in thought as they went in through the portrait. “Why the long faces, dearies?” called the Fat Lady as they stepped inside.

“Oh, nothing,” Ron called back over his shoulder. “It's nothing.”

“Ron,” whispered Harry, his voice horrified. “Look....”

Ron turned his head towards the stairs leading to the girls’ dormitory and gasped “Hermione!” He half walked, half stumbled over to where she was descending from her room, as his eyes swept from her head down to her toes. Her very pink head down to her very pink toes.

Hermione saw him and broke into a broad smile “Ron! Just who I've been looking for!”

“Hermione...what...what’s HAPPENED to you? Did Malfoy do this? That little ferret, if he did, I swear....” His girlfriend looked at him, puzzled.

“What are you talking about? Malfoy hasn't been near me all day...what's wrong with you?” She genuinely didn’t seem to understand why Ron was so upset.

“What's wrong with me!?!” Ron practically screamed. “I'M not the one wearing solid pink from head to toe! You look like someone dipped you into a vat of pink marzipan!”

“Well that's just lovely, Ron! Thank you so very much!” Hermione was near tears “I-- I thought you would like to see me in a different color. I usually wear mostly dark things, and....” She burst into tears. “I did this for you, you big prat! I want to look nice for you, especially since it's so close to....” she suddenly cut herself off, and continued more coolly. “Well, it's not like you’ll remember anyway....”

And with that she swept past Ron without a second glance. Harry's eyes met Ron's. It wasn't looking good.

It’s okay, Ron,” Harry said. “I know it sounds strange, but maybe she just wanted to wear pink. She is a girl after all....” Harry suddenly went silent and Ron could see Ginny and Hermione sitting in a corner of the room. Ginny, too, was wearing pink robes-- and from where he was standing he would swear her nails looked a pale pink too.

“No need to panic?” Ron asked “Are you sure, mate...because both of our girlfriends are wearing pink. And you know what Charlie said about that woman....”

But Harry didn't answer. He just stared at Ginny thoughtfully, as she pored over her History of Magic essay. The table was scattered with papers and books and-- Harry walked a little closer to look at something.

“What is it?” Ron looked at Harry-- his face had gone paper white.

But Harry didn’t answer, and instead turned heel and started climbing up the stairs towards the boys' dormitory. Ron gave one last glance at his sister and Hermione, now quietly engaged in a conversation over whether roses or lilies-of-the-valley were more appropriate for a wedding bouquet, and followed Harry to the dormitory.

 

 

February 10th 1705 hours 6th Year Boys’ Dormitory

 

Harry leaned against the door, his heart pounding wildly. What had he just seen? Ron sat down on his bed, his freckles standing out in high relief against his paler-than-usual face. 

“This is bad, isn’t it?” he asked. Harry nodded. Ron sighed, dangling his legs off the bed. “I think they’ve gone round the bend, mate. I mean, Hermione was....” Ron shuddered. It didn’t bear thinking about. “And I know I screwed up last year, but-- I didn’t think it upset her that badly, you know? She yelled at me, didn’t speak to me for a week, and then everything was better, like it usually is.”

Better, thought Harry, is the operative word. Ron had walked on eggshells around Hermione for at least two months after his infamous memory lapse. 

Having finally got his breath back, Harry walked over to his bed. “What was Ginny doing?” Ron asked as he sat down. 

Harry grimaced. “Well, she was-- er-- writing her name.” Ron looked confused. “I mean, a different name. Her name, but different.” 

“Make up your mind, will you?” Ron said, crossing his arms. 

Harry blushed slightly. “Er, she was writing ‘Mrs. Ginny Potter’ all over the page. The ‘i’s were dotted with hearts and everything....” 

Ron snorted. “Well, at least she thinks your intentions are honorable, even if she is a psychopath.” Harry grinned briefly, and then turned more serious. 

“Ron, you don’t think they’re really nutters, do you? I mean, it’s just like your mum and Charlie said.... You don’t think they’d do-- that, right?” Ron remained silent. “Ron?” Harry asked tentatively, “You don’t honestly think Hermione--“ 

“I don’t know what to think, Harry,” Ron answered frustrated, running his hands through his hair and making it stick up like Harry’s. “Normally, I’d say there’s no way Hermione would do something so irrational, but....” He looked at Harry. 

“But you don’t want to be strangled in your sleep, stabbed in the back, thrown off a cliff, and so on and so forth come Valentine’s Day?” Harry completed Ron’s thought. 

Ron nodded. “Exactly. Better safe than sorry, right?” 

“I guess. Your sister has one hell of a temper, you know that? I’m not sure I want to risk being on her bad side. Even if she isn’t a psychopath.” Harry laughed nervously. “Which she isn’t, of course. Of course,” Harry repeated, as though trying to convince himself. 

“I guess we have no choice, then,” said Ron grimly. Harry raised his eyebrow quizzically. “I’m not going to forget Valentine’s Day two years running. And you better not forget either, or Ginny will flay you alive. Or worse. So....” Ron’s voice trailed off. 

“We do the exact opposite,” Harry caught on. “We make sure it’s absolutely evident that we haven’t forgotten Valentine’s Day. Every blasted thing in the book.” 

“Exactly.” Ron began to pace, his hands behind his back. “We won’t give them an excuse to put us in thumbscrews or whatever that crazy lady did to that poor bloke.”  

Harry grinned.   

 

February 11th. 0900 hours. The Library. 

 

Ginny flopped down a chair opposite Hermione, giggling wildly. “Did you see them?” she asked, in between gasps. 

“I know,” whispered Hermione excitedly. “I think they bought it! You know what that means?” Hermione asked excitedly. 

“No more forgotten Valentine's Days!” the two girls chorused together, dissolving into smothered peals of laughter.  

“Girls!” came a sharp voice, “Please! This is a library, not a Quidditch match!” Madame Pince was not pleased. “And you, Miss Granger! I thought you knew better....” 

“Sorry, Madame Pince,” Ginny whispered, her face flushed, trying to cover for poor Hermione, who looked absolutely devastated at the reprimand from the librarian. “We'll be quieter, I promise.” Hermione nodded in agreement. 

“I should think so,” huffed the irate librarian as she walked away. 

“We'd better not talk, then, Ginny,” cautioned Hermione. “How about we just write notes instead?” Ginny nodded her agreement and pulled our some parchment and a quill. For a moment the only sound was that of the quill scratching noisily...a bit too noisily, apparently, from the death glares Ginny was receiving from the librarian. Ginny gulped and tried to write more quietly. 

She finished the last word with a flourish, and shoved the quill and paper in Hermione's direction. Hermione took up the parchment and began to read. It's like being back in grade school and passing notes! Ginny had written. Hermione smiled, and read on. I wanted to tell you, though, that Parvati told me that the boys seemed terribly nervous earlier...seems that we've got them right where we want them! Hermione looked up and grinned at Ginny. 

Ginny motioned for her to keep reading. 

Anyway, Parvati said that when we came around the corner on our way down to breakfast, Ron turned and went------ Hermione looked up.  

“Peeing up the stairwell?” she whispered, incredulously. 

Ginny looked at her, confused. “What?” she hissed. 

Hermione gestured to the note. “You said he went peeing up the stairwell!” she whispered, a little louder than necessary; she was beginning to giggle again. 

Ginny pursed her mouth in an attempt not to laugh out loud. “That's ‘fleeing up the stairwell,’ idiot. Smartest witch of our generation my foot.” Hermione swatted Ginny with the parchment.  

“Well, your handwriting's atrocious,” Hermione said primly. “I'd never have thought it said something like that unless it looked like it.” 

“Atrocious? Really Hermione... you must be losing it," Ginny said, trying very hard not to laugh. “It sounds to me like you and Ron must be very intimate if every conversation about you two turns that way.” Hermione turned a deep shade of red and glared at Ginny. 

“Ginny! You know I've never....” Hermione turned even redder. If anything, her answer, or lack thereof, made Ginny laugh even harder. Tears were rolling down her cheeks and a couple of the books were now on the floor. 

“Ginny,” Hermione whispered in a desperate attempt to calm her down as she spied Madame Pince heading toward them. “Please, Ginny,” she begged. But there was no going back. 

“Girls! How on earth are the two of you making such a racket?!? I swear by all that’s holy, I can hear you from my desk! I thought I had-- “  

Ginny interrupted her, her voice still shaking with laughter. “Yes, yes... we’re going now, I promise.” Ginny turned around to look at Hermione and in the next instant picked up her books and ran out of the library to avoid another reprimand for laughing. 

“You little...” Hermione whispered, as she tried to clean up the mess and apologize to Madam Pince at the same time. “You little witch.” 

Ginny's laughter reached her from the hallway. Hermione sighed. I should have known better. It’s practically a law of nature: never, she thought, try to talk to a Weasley in the library, unless you want to get in trouble.  

 

 February 13th. 2017 hours. Sixth Year Boys’ Dormitory.
 

 

“You understand this will be a delicate job? That if we fail at this, our very lives are at stake?” There was a nod of assent. “Good. Good. Because there can't be any botch-ups. If there are---” The voice trailed off, as though the consequences were too terrible to contemplate. 

“But Ron-- how on earth are we going to do all this?” Harry finally voiced the question that had been nagging at him for days. 

“There's no way we can possibly carry out everything, with just the two of us,” Harry sounded tired. Of course, that was to be expected. Ron's “tactical meetings” had a tendency to drag on and on and on. 

Ron looked at Harry sharply. “You're not backing out, are you?” he asked dangerously. 

“Of course not, Ron!” Harry was indignant. “You think I want to be hexed into next Tuesday? I just don't see how we can possibly pull all this off.”  

Ron grinned. It was the grin of someone who'd been staring at chessboards and Quidditch game plans for entirely too long: off-kilt, clever, and definitely up to something. He held up something that Harry recognized as the S.P.E.W. badge that Hermione had forced Ron to wear during their fourth year. “What,” Harry asked skeptically, “are you going to free the elves as part of your present to Hermione?” 

“Nope.” Ron shook his head. “The opposite: we're going to get them to help us do this.” 

Harry grinned. “Hermione would be devastated,” he paused. “Perfect.”  

 

 February 13th. 2103 hours. The Kitchen. 

 

“But sirs,” asked a tinny voice in the small crowd, “why is sirs wanting our help?” The other house elves nodded. “Dobby and the other elves is happy to help The Great Harry Potter and his Weezey, but what can we do?” 

A slightly manic grin lit up Harry's half-hidden face, his eyes obscured by the glare of the roaring kitchen fires on his glasses. He and Ron stepped forward, their shadows plunging the small creatures into partial darkness. Ron spoke. “We're glad you've asked us that, Dobby.”  

Harry began to whisper their plan to the elves.  

“We're very glad you've asked....” Ron said, with a half-smile.  

 

 

February 14th: V-Day. 0607 hours. Fifth Year Girls’ Dormitory. 

 

Ginny Weasley opened one eye, then closed it again. She rolled back and covered her head with a pillow, trying to hold onto the last precious moments of sleep. But something told her she should open her eyes.  

One brown eye surveyed the room and decided everything was normal, so Ginny settled on her pillow again, ready to go back to sleep. But it was not to be.  

 

”It's Valentine’s Day!” one of her roommates giggled. Ginny groaned into her pillow. Valentine’s Day. Well, she'd better get up. She had worked hard to make this day perfect... and for her perfect day to start she needed to get out of bed. 

She rolled out of bed without really opening her eyes, groped around for her towel, and when she finally found it she threw it on her shoulder, ignored the giggles from her roommates and headed for the bathroom, her eyes still closed. 

It was not until she stared at the mirror that she noticed something was wrong.  

Her hair was still red. 

Her freckles hadn't disappeared overnight.  

The nightgown she was wearing was still the same as yesterday.  

But something was definitely wrong. 

She looked around and surveyed everything on the bathroom, trying to decipher what was going on. It was not until her eyes rested on the towel rack for the first time that she finally understood. 

Each and every one of the towels was now bright red and in gold letters the message “I Love Ginny!” was emblazoned. 

She gasped and turned around. This was all a dream. Harry wouldn't do a thing like this. Not today. Not when she still had to go to classes and face everyone. He just wouldn't.... 

But when she turned around again to check, the message was still there and it seemed to her like it was shinning so brightly that it hurt her eyes. She closed them and leaned against the bathroom wall. What had she done?  

 

 

February 14th: V-Day. 0607 hours. Sixth Year Girls’ Dormitory. 

 

“I love you, Hermione...I reckon I've always loved you.”  

Hermione smiled lovingly at her boyfriend and replied, “Oh, Ron...for such a dunderhead, you can be incredibly sweet sometimes!” 

“Do you think, I mean, would you mind if I...kissed you?” Ron asked tentatively. Hermione nodded that yes, a kiss would be most welcome, and leaned towards Ron as he...began to giggle loudly?  

Ron, giggling? 

Since when did Ron giggle? 

Come to think of it-- that sounded more like a girl than Ron.... 

Hermione turned, trying to drown out the unwelcome noise. “Stop it,” she murmured. “Ron...come back....” The giggling increased tenfold. Hermione blinked open her eyes, trying to figure out what, exactly, was making that extremely annoying sound.  

Gah!” Hermione sat up suddenly-- two faces were staring at her, from a very close range. 

“'Ron...come back....'” Lavender mimicked. “Good dream, Hermione?” 

Hermione turned beet red. “I-- er-- “ she tried to think of a suitable explanation. “Wait,” she said, her head clearing slightly, “why were you two standing over me?” 

“Oh, no reason,” said Parvati smugly. “We just thought that maybe you'd like to see your Valentine's Day present.” 

Hermione's heart soared. Ron hadn't forgotten! But wait... Lavender and Parvati were dragging her out of bed eagerly, and she didn't like the looks on their faces. 

Parvati took Hermione's right arm, Lavender grabbed her left, and the two of them marched her directly into-- the bathroom? “Wha...?” began Hermione, before she saw...Ron's present.    

 

Emblazoned on every towel, standing out golden against the crimson cloth, were the words “I Love Hermione!”  

Hermione gaped. 

“He...he...he didn't.”  

Lavender and Parvati looked like they were choking back giggles. “I'm afraid, Hermione,” said Lavender, gasping for breath, “that he did.” 

Parvati doubled over, not bothering to conceal her mirth. “In a way,” she managed to choke out, “it's kinda sweet. If you don't mind the fact that people will be drying themselves off with your love letter....” 

Hermione sank wordlessly to the floor. “Well,” she said weakly, “he didn't forget....”  

 

 February 14th: V-Day. 0834 hours. The Great Hall. 

 

Valentine's Days was not turning out to be what the girls planned. They had thought the whole towels incident was behind them by the time they headed to the Great Hall for breakfast, but they were sadly mistaken. 


It seemed that everyone in Hogwarts knew about it. Fellow Gryffindors giggled and pointed and them and the boys, who were quietly sitting in their usual spots. The Slytherins were pretending to write little messages in their napkins and even the Ravenclaws and Hufflepuffs were having a laugh at their expense. 

Hermione shook her head and marveled at how fast news traveled. By the time she and Ginny had seen each other for the first time in the Common Room the whole Gryffindor House knew about it. She suspected it had something to do with Parvati and Lavender, both of whom had left the room minutes after showing her Ron's “present.” But all of Hogwarts? How did that happen? Even Parvati and Lavender couldn't... or could they?  

Beside Hermione, Ginny still looked shocked. She continued to stare at Harry, as if he had a third eye, but Harry had said nothing more than a very polite, “Good morning,” and he seemed to be enjoying his breakfast very much. 

Ron looked a little bit nervous, but not as much as Ginny thought he would. In fact, nothing this morning had turned out as Ginny thought. Not even one thing.   
So, as soon as the thought that the boys were planning something else occurred to her, she dismissed it. It couldn't be. The towels were more than enough. It was their fault, for trying to set up the boys after all, now she would just have to smile and get through the day. 

Ron suddenly looked up and Hermione saw a huge smile appear on his face. She looked at Ginny with a mixture of fear and curiosity. Finally, the curiosity won and the two girls turned around just in time to see a thousand owls enter the Great Hall. 

Ginny smiled. Now this was part of a normal Valentine's Day. 

The owls made their usual way around the Great Hall, dropping off brightly colored letters and packages and, of course, countless bouquets of flowers. Ginny watched and waited eagerly. Since Harry obviously hadn't forgotten Valentine's Day, maybe she'd get some flowers....? 

But all too soon, the owls finished their deliveries and swirled back out of the Hall in a feathery cloud. All except five sleek, chestnut owls, all without packages or letters. The five owls soared silently over to the Gryffindor table and hopped down the length of it, gracefully avoiding the pitchers of pumpkin juice and platters of sausage.  

“What on earth...?” Hermione leaned over to get a better view. She needn't have bothered; the five owls stopped right in front of Ginny and herself. The five owls bowed in unison, and-- to the girls' great surprise-- donned black sunglasses. 

The largest owl separated himself from the others, opened his beak, made a few throat clearing noises, and began to...sing? 

“I've got sunshine on a cloudy day,” began the bird in a warm, full tenor. “When it's cold outside, I've got the month of May,” the owl crooned, swaying and strutting up and down the table. 

Hermione looked at Ginny. If she were any redder, she’d match her hair.  

The birds continued. “I------- guesssssss------- yoooooooooouuuuuuu'd------ saaaaaaaaaaay---,” the four back-up owls harmonized and twirled. “What could make me feel this way?” The Gryffindor table was in an uproar. All the Muggle-born students were joining in, and everyone was craning their necks to get a better view of the owls. “My giiiiiiiiiiiiiiiirrrrrrlllllll,” the owls did a complicated sort of soft-shoe routine and added in individual parts to the chord. “Talkin' 'bout-- my girl!” 

Hermione slouched down in her seat. Why, oh, why had she ever come up with this scheme? She stole a glance over at Ron, who looked quite proud of himself. 

Ginny was slowly banging her head against the table. The song went on...and on....and on. Would it never end? Oh, she knew now how Harry had felt when she sent him that ridiculous singing Valentine in first year.  

“...my girl!” The owls finished with a flourish, and the Hall erupted into cheers. The two girls gazed around the room in horror before fixing their gazes on the owls who were sipping pumpkin juice from several students' goblets. The lead owl winked and blew the girls a kiss. 

Hermione and Ginny exchanged shocked glances. As she raced past the staff tables, Ginny could hear Charlie’s taunting voice call out, “Enjoying your Valentine’s Day, Gin?” before he collapsed into fits of laughter. 

The boys looked at each other. "Think we did something wrong?" asked Harry worriedly.  

Ron shrugged. "Who knows?"  

 

 February 14th: V-Day. 0930 hours. Snape’s Dungeon. 

 

For a brief moment after breakfast, Ginny Weasley was sure that the day couldn't get worse. Then she glanced at her schedule and grimaced. Double Potions. And to make things even worse, they had a practical test. 

And her partner was Colin Creevey

It seemed that things could indeed get worse.

She managed to slip into class without drawing attention to herself, hoping, praying that Snape wouldn't have a thing to say about the embarrassing events of the morning. But it was too much to ask. 

She wasn't even halfway done with her roots when Snape started his tirade. "Today, we'll try a very simple potion: the Nequaquam Abconditus elixir. I had intended to use this today as an opportunity to teach you a love potion, but since Miss Weasley has already perfected that, I thought we should move onto something else." 

Ginny took a deep breath and counted to ten, and when that didn't work she started counting to a hundred and went straight on to a thousand. Her roots were now so small you could barely see them, but she kept slicing them with a passion, paying no attention to what Snape was lecturing about. 

“Stupid,” she threw in the owl's eyes. “Slimy,” she poured in a container of carrot juice. “Greasy,” she began stirring the contents of the cauldron violently. “Git!” she finished with satisfaction. “Has to take it out on the students,” she muttered darkly. “Not OUR fault that no one wants his surly arse for Valentine's Day. I'll bet he even....”  

She was cut off by a low and dangerous voice. “I'll bet he even what, Miss Weasley?”  

Ginny's head snapped up, and her eyes widened innocently. “Umm...nothing, Professor.”  

Snape scowled. “Ten points off of Gryffindor for lying! Now if you would be so kind as to join the rest of the class?” 

Snape stalked up to the front of the dungeon and addressed the room at large. “As you all have, I'm sure, studied diligently for this practical examination,” his voice oozed sarcasm towards the silent fifth year Gryffindors and Hufflepuffs, “you will undoubtedly know that the anti-concealment potion Nequaquam Abconditus is a relatively weak elixir used mainly to see past very simply concealed items.” He drawled on, “There are, of course, many similar, more complex concoctions that we will soon be studying, and will be part of your O.W.Ls.” 

“Now! If one person of each pair will please take their chosen object off of the desk and enchant it,” he waited a impatiently for a moment while the students did this, “the other person can take a small dose of the potion, and we will see who correctly mixed their ingredients, and who has failed.” Snape looked directly at Ginny. “Created correctly, this potion should have no ill side effects,” he gave her a nasty smile. “Miss Weasley, if you would?” 

Ginny glanced down at the murky brown liquid Colin was holding out to her and grimaced. She quickly grabbed the flask and downed the contents. Ugh, she thought to herself, why do potions always have to taste like old socks? She turned her gaze to the small clock Colin was holding, trying to discern whether it actually WAS a clock, and she was seeing through the illusion Colin had placed on it, or if the potion was ineffective.  

Er, Colin?” she asked. 

“Yeah, Gin?”  

“Well...is it a clock?” she said, hopefully. 

Colin looked dismayed. “Erm, no, actually...that's the illusion. Did it not work then?” Ginny shrugged and started to reply that she had added in all of the ingredients correctly, and she had no idea what could have...gone...wrong... 

WRONG! This was so so wrong! “Oh my wand!” she exclaimed, a bit too loudly. 

“What? Gin, what's happened?” Colin looked worriedly at Ginny, who had screwed her eyes up tight. 

“Nothing! Nothing's wrong Colin!" She eased one eye open, and with a squeak, quickly shut it again. What did I do? she thought furiously. I must've added too many owls’ eyes or something! I'm supposed to see through charms and illusions, not through clothing! She considered. Although...who would have thought that little Colin Creevy goes commando? 

“Mr. Creevy! Miss Weasley! Is there a problem?” Not Snape, pleeeease not Snape. 

“Miss Weasley! Open your eyes this instant and answer me!” Ginny shook her head back and forth violently. “No? Well then, I suppose it will have to be.... fifty points from Gryffindor, and a week's worth of detentions for disobeying a professor!” Snape looked very happy with himself. “And if you don't open your eyes and tell me what is going on this instant, it will be one hundred points and two week's worth of detentions!” 

Ginny wondered if she might be better off just gouging her eyes out from the start, as opposed to seeing her greasy professor in his unmentionables. The unmentionables eventually won by a hair, and Ginny reluctantly opened her eyes. Almost uncontrollably, her eyes flickered downward for the briefest of moments. It was enough. 

Dear God, she thought. Well, at least he wears underwear, she mused. 

“Miss Weasley! Please look me in the eye when I’m talking to you!”  

Ginny guiltily raised her eyes. “I’m sorry, Professor,” she said, turning redder by the second. "Miss Weasley! Is there a problem?" 

“There's not a problem. It's just,” Ginny forced herself to stare over Snape's shoulder and focus on a spot on the dungeon wall, “the potion didn't quite work.” 

“Didn't work at all, or didn't work the way it was supposed to, Miss Weasley?” Snape raised his eyebrow, obviously thinking that Ginny was acting oddly. Ye gods, thought Ginny. There is no way I'm letting Snape know that I can see-- well.  

“It didn't work at all, sir,” Ginny lied, trying not to notice the sort of undergarments her classmates were wearing. Apparently, most of the fifth year girls liked to dress up for Valentine's Day... and most of the boys were wearing festive boxers as well. Of course Snape would wear tightie-whities, Ginny thought, slightly amused, uncomfortable, restrictive things are probably right up his alley. 

“...lucky your partner didn't kill you, Weasley.” Snape's voice interrupted Ginny's reverie. “I'll expect all of you to have an analysis on the dangerous side effects of the Nequaquam Abconditus potion. I'll expect it in by tomorrow.” The class groaned. “Three scrolls' length, if you please,” he called, as the class escaped from the dungeon at the sound of the bell. Ginny breathed a sigh of relief, and ran quickly out the door. 

Luckily, the halls were near empty as Ginny raced through the dungeons. Her eyes were automatically half-shut, in order to prevent further visual trauma. She was nearly out of the dungeons when she heard a voice behind her call, “Ginny! Hey Gin, wait up!” Just GO AWAY, whoever you are! Ginny hoped that the person would get her mental message, and leave her alone. 

She suddenly stopped short, as the voice registered. Harry! She brightened visibly, and began to turn around. I’ve always wondered…a slow smile spread across her face.  

Harry jogged over to where she was standing He looks good like that, Ginny mused, all out of breath and mussed and.. “Hey Gin,” Harry began, smiling, “I know this morning was too much, but Ron and I, we both blah blah blah blah…” his voice seemed distant and muffled as she stared rather unabashedly at his boxers. His tartan boxers. Ginny made what she hoped were noises of assurance as he went on, and sighed. Could he know that I have such a…a weakness for all things tartan? “And so you see, Gin, we blah blah” Harry droned on, completely unaware of the effect he was having on his girlfriend. 

I wonder if dragging him into that corner and kissing him senseless would shut him up? She thought dazedly. Harry was still speaking, “I’m awfully glad we’ve had this talk, love. I’ll see you later on!” 

Ginny’s eyes trailed him as he began to walk back towards the potion’s dungeon. “Calipygous!” she breathed “and in tartan....” she shivered slightly. “Sorry, did you say something?” Harry asked, as he turned back to face her.  

“No! I’m going to be late to my next class, and Snape’ll have your hide if you’re late. Bye!” she disappeared up the stairs before Harry could say another word. 

 

***

 

Ginny Weasley took a few hesitant steps, all the while staring at the floor. She had already seen Harry AND Snape in their underclothes, not to mention almost all of her classmates. She shuddered to think of what would happen if she ran into Dumbledore next. No, better to keep staring at the floor. 

But staring at the floor had its disadvantages, which she discovered moments later as she ran into a hard body. She looked up before she could help it and stood face to face with Draco Malfoy. 

“My, my... fancy meeting you here, Mrs. Potter,” he drawled as he studied her, sneering at her closed-off face. “What's the matter? Potter not treating you right?” Ginny didn't answer. She forced herself to stare at Draco's face instead of looking down at ....that--  

It had to be a mistake, she told herself. She was imagining things now. 

Take a peek Ginny, a little voice told her.  

NO, I won't take a peek, she told herself sternly. I refuse to take a peek

You know you’re curious, the voice insisted.   

I am not! she argued angrily with the inner voice. And I will not take a peek! 

But it was too late. Her eyes had betrayed her, and she giggled as she contemplated the sight before her. It seemed that Draco wasn't as naturally endowed as he liked people to presume. He needed a little – er – help, it seemed.... She burst out laughing as she realized exactly what the help was. A pair of socks. And that wasn't all.  

Ginny leaned against the wall and tried to control her laughter as she spied a little inscription on the socks. I love my Mummy it read in red stitching.   

”You love your mummy?” Ginny asked in between giggles.  

Wha...?” Draco's statement was priceless. His mouth was hanging open and seeing him made Ginny think about a fish out of the water. Ginny’s stomach began to hurt from laughing so hard. 

“They’re not -- I mean, what are you talking about, Weasley?” Malfoy sneered, his pale face faintly flushed. 

Ginny smirked, and glanced down meaningfully. “Oh, nothing. Just those lovely socks of yours... the ones with the ‘I love my Mummy’ inscription. You know, Malfoy-- the ones that are...er...how to put it delicately? Well, the ones augmenting your masculine image....” She waggled her eyebrows suggestively. “Wonder if anyone one else knows about those?” 

Draco glared at her. “Hush it, Weasley. Besides,” he said with gritted teeth, “they’re not mine. IstolethemfromCrabbe'sdrawer.” 

“You what?” Ginny was now laughing so hard that she couldn't even talk properly. “Stolen socks,” she managed to say, “from Crabbe's drawer....” She patted Malfoy on the arm. 

“Thank you very much, Draco...you’ve just made my day.”  

 

February 14th: V-Day. 1147 hours. Gryffindor Common Room. 

 

Ginny ran along the corridors, heading back to the common room before lunch.  

Draco Malfoy and stolen socks. Who knew? She giggled a little at the thought as she reached the Fat Lady. Thankfully, she couldn't see through her clothes.... As she stepped inside the common room, she heard a noise behind her.  

“Ginny!” a voice cried out, “hold the door for me, please?” Ginny looked back to see Hermione, hidden behind a tall stack of books.  

“What're those?” she asked, helping her through the portrait hole. 

“Oh, nothing. I just wanted to know how the boys managed to enchant the owls at breakfast, so I ran down to the library to do a little research,” Hermione said, stumbling across the room. 

“Hey!” Ginny looked at her friend amazedly. “I can’t see your underwear!” 

“What?!?” asked Hermione, a scandalized look on her face. 

Ginny shook her head. “Never mind. Accident in Potions, but it must’ve worn off.” Just then, Ginny felt something hit her head and bounce off. “Ow!” she cried, rubbing her head. "What was that?" 

Hermione put her books down with a thud, and leaned over to pick up a-- “Chocolate Frog?” 

She looked around for the boys and when she did not find them she took a deep breath and forced herself to calm down. It was just a Chocolate Frog. She'd had dozens like it during her life. What was so peculiar about this one? 

Maybe that it fell from the sky, a little voice told her but Hermione paid no attention to it. She was not going to look up just to have singing chocolate frogs or something. She just wasn't. 

Ginny though, was another matter. Just as Hermione bent to pick up the chocolate frog she looked up at the ceiling and gasped. It was ..it was .. 

The ceiling was covered with all kind of flowers, roses, daisies, lady slippers and even orchids, creating a beautiful effect that made Ginny smile brightly. She tapped Hermione on the shoulder as she signaled to the ceiling and Hermione shook her head before reluctantly looking up.  

It was beautiful, she decided after just a few seconds of staring at it. The flowers were arranged to make out letters and she stood on her tiptoes, trying to read the message. “I think it says…” she whispered just before being hit by countless chocolate frogs. 

“What the h ...?” Ginny yelled, but it was too late. The flowers started falling rapidly, hitting the girls in the face and making them take refuge in a corner of the room.  

“Ginny,” Hermione whispered franticly, “What's going on?” 

Ginny shook her head. “I have no idea,” she whispered back as she ducked to avoid a rain of chocolate frogs that seemed directed at her. “I think -- I think Harry and Ron went nutters-- just like that witch in the story we made up....” 

“It's possible,” Hermione responded. “But I refuse to let them get away with it …I've been in Hogwarts for six years...I’m sure I can stop this.” She stood up and pulled out her wand. 

Fi ...” she started saying, but she never finished. The chocolate frogs seemed to have eyes and they flew towards her with a force that made her fall her to the floor. 

“Hermione?” Ginny asked with concern as she tried to maneuver around the flowers that had now reached her waist. “Are you okay?” A mop of brown hair covered with flowers stared back at her.  

“I. Am. Fine.” Hermione stood up and started to take the flowers out of her hair. “But I-- ouch!” She closed her eyes and opened them again.  

“Did it hit you hard?” Ginny seemed to be having better luck than Hermione at avoiding the chocolate frogs, but she was as covered in flowers as Hermione was. “I think that'll leave a ..” 

“Don't you dare say it, Ginny Weasley,” Hermione warned her. “Don't you dare say it.” 

“Okay.” Ginny nodded and looked around. “Do you think this will ever stop?” 

Hermione shrugged her shoulders. “I don’t know, but maybe we’d best get out of here!” 

Ginny could only nod. 

 

 

February 14th: V-Day. 1930 hours. Great Hall. 

 

Hermione and Ginny stumbled into the Great Hall. Ginny glanced over her shoulder, as though she were afraid that a giant cupid would swoop down and attack her. Hermione held the ice pack up against her eye and wondered, for the seventy gazillionth time, why she had every conceived that ridiculous plan. 

The girls sat down together at the long table, Harry and Ron taking the spots opposite them. ”I'm really sorry about that Chocolate Frog, Hermione,” Ron said meekly. “I just thought that chocolate was supposed to be a big thing on Valentine's Day.” Hermione sighed. It really wasn't Ron's fault; she and Ginny were the ones who drove the boys to such extreme measures. 

Harry looked across the table at Ginny. “Um, Ginny, I've got another surprise for you.” Ginny winced and looked around warily. No flocks of owls, no hailstorm of candy, no emblazoned towels...what could it be? 

Harry raised his eyes slightly, and Ginny took the hint and looked up, preparing herself for yet another disaster. Hermione looked up as well.  

Ohhhhhhh,” was all she could manage. 

“Well, do you like it?” Ron looked like he was about to dive under the table if she said no. 

Ginny looked at Harry, her eyes unnaturally bright. ”I'm sorry, Ginny,” he said quickly, “it's to much, isn't it? I should have just gotten you flowers and some candy...normal candy,” Harry looked like he was going to start banging his head against the table. 

“No-- Harry--“ Ginny gave a watery smile. “It's wonderful. It really is.” 

She looked back up to the ceiling of the Great Hall. The bewitched night sky was clear and glittering with stars, and, glowing softly, silver words wound their way across the velvety black backdrop:  

 

I love you without knowing how, or when, or from whence.  

 I love you straightforwardly, without complexities or pride;  

 So I love you because I know no other way

than this: where I does not exist, nor you,

so close that your hand on my chest is my hand,  

so close that your eyes close as I fall asleep.”

Hermione-- cool, calm, collected Hermione-- was sobbing. “Er-- Hermione? Are you okay?” Ron looked as though he weren't sure if he should stay or find a safe place to wait out the storm. 

Hermione sniffed and smiled at her boyfriend. “Ron, I’m much more that okay.” She walked around to the other side of the table and threw her arms around him. “You’re wonderful, you know that?” 

Harry looked over at his friends, and then back across the table at Ginny. “So we didn’t ruin your day completely?” he asked, hoping that he wasn’t about to be struck down by lightning. 

“Oh Harry!” she whispered, looking at him with watery eyes, “You’ve been wonderful today. Hermione and I shouldn’t have tried to control your actions, and…” she broke off and asked, “Forgive me?” Harry gave her a puzzled look. “I’d forgive you just about anything, Ginny, but I’m confused. What is it you’re supposed to be sorry for?”

Ginny glanced at Hermione, who was nodding and whispering something in Ron’s ear. She sighed, “This is a fairly long story.” Harry smiled, “Fine with me. I was planning on spending the rest of the day with you anyway.” Ginny smiled back, and launched into an explanation of the entire complicated mess.

 

 

February 14th: V-Day. 2300 hours. Astronomy Tower. 

 

This was what Valentine's Day was all about, Ginny Weasley thought as she made her way to the Astronomy Tower, her hand holding Harry's warm one. Yes...this was all she needed. 

She smiled as she thought of Ron and Hermione, who were probably making up right about now. She giggled softly to herself. Their plan hadn't worked out so badly after all. Yes, it had been an embarrassing day, but she had Harry-- and he was behaving normally again. Life was perfect. 

Harry pulled her hand to get her attention and they stopped just before entering the Tower. He smiled and kissed her softly, and she almost melted at his touch. But his next words made her blood run cold. 

“Ginny, I've got a present for you”

Her eyes opened wide and she started to shake her head, but Harry took her hand and guided her towards the entrance. She closed her eyes and whispered to herself, ”Not again...”  

“Come on Ginny, open your eyes,” Harry urged, exasperated. Ginny considered his words for a moment. She was a Gryffindor after all; she might as well do it. So she opened them. 

“Um, Harry?”   Ginny wasn’t quite sure what to make of the sight in front of her-- on the floor of the Astronomy Tower was a hearthrug from the common room.  “It’ s a really nice hearthrug, but....”

”But what?” Harry asked, a hurt look on his face.  Ginny tried to salvage the moment.  The poor boy was trying so hard.

 “But—won’ t they miss it?” she said quickly.  ”I mean, since I’ m not going to return it, or anything—“

Harry laughed.  “ It’ s okay, Gin.  The hearthrug isn’t the present, I promise.”  Ginny looked relieved.  Then she grinned.

“So what is my present, then?” she asked slyly.  Harry smiled mysteriously and gestured to the rug.

“Have a seat and I’ll show you,” he said quietly.  Ginny shivered slightly and sat down on the hearthrug, and Harry sat down next to her.  Harry flicked his wand quickly towards the ceiling, and muttered something Ginny couldn’t make out.

Harry reached over and took her hand before looking at her earnestly.  ”I tried, but I couldn’t find anything that would let me rearrange these stars for you.  So they‘ll have to do as they are.”   Ginny looked up to see that the tower’s roof had somehow retracted, leaving them blanketed in the soft glow of star and moonlight.   “I thought that maybe we could just watch the stars go out,” Harry said softly, pulling her into a hug.

Ginny’s eyes stung and she swallowed heavily before speaking.  ”Harry,” she whispered, “you’re wonderful, you know?”  And she gently pressed her lips to his.  Ginny looked up into his brilliant green eyes and-- 

“POTTER!” a came shout up the stairwell. Harry blanched. “You better not be doing anything with my sister up there! I saw you take that hearthrug, and I know what you’re—“Ron’s tirade was cut off by a softer, more feminine voice. 

“Ron,” Hermione’s voice wheedled, “How about we go find our own hearthrug?” There was a silence, and then Harry and Ginny could hear Ron’s voice answer back, breaking slightly. 

“Yes, dear,” he said. Then they heard nothing but noises that sounded like someone being kissed senseless. 

“Well,” whispered Ginny, smiling up at Harry,” I reckon it’s been a pretty good Valentine’s Day after all.”

 

 

The End

 

Liz’s A/N: *waves* Hello …this is Liz. *glares* What??? Just in case they wanted to know …anyway, I don't think I've ever enjoyed writing anything as much as I enjoyed writing this. It began as a crazy idea and it turned out into an epic story. A thousand thanks to: The Queens, for the challenge and the items; Ali and Ami the missing members of OBHGF ..Just for being who they are. (Joyce’s addition to Liz’s A/N: Liz told me to put in something about GT Chat, because Elle and I both did, and she didn’t want to look bad. :P So thanks, GT Chatters, from Liz.) And finally, to Joyce and Elle …you girls ROX! We siriusly need to try this again sometime …SOON!

Joyce’s A/N: Whoa. This thing's longer than my killer term paper from last semester. And that's saying something. But this was ever so much more fun to write. I mean, when else do you get to write pages about the alternate uses for socks? Or the joys of MoTown singing owls? That's right. Nowhere. So, thanks to the Queens (for not blasting us with their tiaras), everyone in GT Chat (for putting up with our insane rants), and to my wonderful cyber sisters. Ami, Ali-- you guys rock my world. And that's all there is to say. Liz, Elle-- what a long, strange fic it's been.... Let's do it again for April Fool's day!!!

Danielle’s A/N: *Danielle collapses under weight of fic* Er...can someone help me out, please? Many, many thanks to everyone at GT Chat (again, the insane ranting), The Queens, for starting up this wonderful world we call Gryffindor Tower. As always, Ami and Ali, for being the greatest little sisters anyone could hope for. And most especially, to Liz and Joyce, my days are brighter and infinitely more interesting with you two in them. 

 

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