On most occasions this probably wouldn't have been a problem. On this occasion, however, it meant that she was standing on tip-toes, hands resting on Dean's shoulders, and lips touching Dean's in a not-very-platonic manner.
Dean had frozen, too, she noticed. And when she finally opened her eyes and stared, mortified, into Dean's she saw the same acute embarrassment looking back at her.
Again, she heard a slight clearing of the throat.
Oh, God. She had just been sprung snogging. By the Headmaster.
It had seemed like a good idea, at the time: an early breakfast with Dean to avoid her brother and her best friend and her other friend. An early start to a day that was - had been - shaping up pretty nicely - a day in Hogsmeade, with her boyfriend, away from her brother (and best friend and other friend), buying sweets, drinking Butterbeer and, yeah, that's right, snogging.
Leaving breakfast, they took the long route back to the tower; the deserted route, the route where no one would stumble across them holding hands. Kissing. Yes, all right, snogging.
The route that led them past the entrance to Dumbledore's office.
'Good morning, Miss Weasley, Mr Thomas.'
For Merlin's sake, he was laughing at them.
They parted, far too slowly she felt, but her brain couldn't get her body to move any faster. Oh no, she thought, he knows my mother. Please don't tell my mother.
'Um er good morning, Professor Dumbledore,' she muttered to her shoes.
'Uh, good morning, Professor,' Dean echoed. He sounded very faint. Faint - that sounded like a plan. Then she could avoid further humiliation. Trouble was, the blood was rushing to her head, not away from it.
'Might I offer my congratulations, Miss Weasley, on a very fine performance,' said the Headmaster.
What? She heard Dean choke next to her. Was he talking about he just caught he couldn't mean ?
'Um ' Oh, she was so eloquent. Apparently her tongue was tied - well yes, that was the problem - up until this moment her tongue had been tied with Dean's.
That was it. She was never, ever, ever going to kiss anyone in the hallways ever again. Never. From this moment on, she was going to make sure she and whoever were completely alone, protected by fifty billion privacy, silencing, imperturbable, locking and whatever other bloody charms she could think of so she would never get sprung again. Ever. Dumbledore was pretty bad, mortifyingly bad in fact - but imagine if it had been
'Yes, I was quite delighted to catch sight of the Gryffindor Quidditch tryouts from my office window last month while the Council of Heads was discussing the delicate matter of admitting a portrait of Dame Edna Everage to the Hogwarts gallery. Your Chaser skills are quite extraordinary, Miss Weasley. I seem to remember you're a most accomplished Seeker as well - a very valuable asset to the team. And your talents, Mr Thomas, are certainly not without merit. A shame there's not room on the team for both of you, hmm?'
This was so embarrassing. This would have to have been the most mortifying moment of Ginny's fairly embarrassment-filled life. This was a hundred thousand times worse than the singing Valentine fiasco. That was merely humiliating. This, this was beyond mortifying.
Mortifying. It was her new word of the week. Here stood the most accomplished wizard in the world, teasing her about her love life. And what the hell? Was he really talking about Quidditch with that 'not room on the team for both of you' speech?
'Oh ah yes thank you,' she squeaked.
She shuffled on the spot and felt certain that her face might just explode with the amount of blood continuing to flood into it. A right pretty sight that would be!
'I do hope the two of you will take advantage of the Hogsmeade visit today.'
Take advantage! For goodness sake, she could feel his eyes twinkling at her, even though she was incapable of raising her head to actually see them.
'I do believe,' he continued, 'it does students a world of good to enjoy a day of fun and frivolity outside of the school environment. Though I hear it will be quite fresh today - do be prepared for that, won't you.'
FRESH! He was worse than the twins! There was no way this could end too soon.
'Miss Weasley, I wonder if I might ask you to run a small errand before you go on your way.'
She and Dean both flinched as he pulled out his wand. With a twirl, a scroll of parchment appeared between them, which Dumbledore plucked out of the air and handed to her.
'Would you be so kind as to deliver this to Harry Potter at your earliest convenience?'
Great. There went her plans for a completely Harry-free day. 'Yes yes, of course, Professor er straight away.'
'Very good!' He sounded quite delighted, though why he might have doubted her acquiescence she couldn't quite fathom. He did, after all, have her at a considerable disadvantage.
'What a shame it is,' Dumbledore spoke to no one in particular as he started off down the corridor, leaving Ginny and Dean in their mortification, 'that Dame Edna has not yet arrived. I have heard her remark on more than one occasion, "If you plan to make a spectacle of yourselves, my possums, do invite me along to enjoy the show."' He began humming to himself as he turned the corner.
When he was out of sight the pair of them slumped side-by-side against the wall and slowly exhaled. She glanced sideways at Dean and was surprised by how obviously flushed he looked, considering his skin was a fair bit darker than hers. Imagine what she must look like!
Their eyes met and they burst into hysterical giggles. Then Ginny covered her face in her hands and moaned, 'Oh, God. That was so '
' mortifying!' Dean finished for her, his voice barely a whisper.
'Meet you back in the common room?' she asked, holding up the scroll that she had to deliver.
'Yeah, all right.'
As she headed for the Great Hall Ginny took several slow, deep breaths, held her head high and willed her blood to resume its normal circulatory pattern. He's Head of the Order, for crying out loud, he must be good at keeping secrets, mustn't he?
A/Ns: This missing moment is brought to you by p.227-8 of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (UK edition).
Dame Edna Everage belongs to Barry Humphries. I didn't know she was a witch until Dumbledore mentioned her! Or is she a wizard? Hmm, not sure!! (If you enjoyed her appearance here, go and read 'Harry Potter and the Great Slanging Match' by Tarkas and friends, here at PhoenixSong.)
Thank you, Tante and Gypsy, you have both been so very helpful!