A/N: Well, here it is! Can we all say finally? I'm so sorry it took so long. It was almost done for the longest time, but I finally completed it! Thanks again to Caitlyn for her fabulous beta-job! This chapter is dedicated to my sister, Katie! Read, review, and enjoy!
Disclaimer: Nothing in the Harry Potter world belongs to me.
Harry stood up from his seat on the ground, and exited the shelter provided by the four trees. He began to walk up to the castle, not overly aware of what he was doing, because he was quite dazed, and lost in thought.
As he ambled along, he kept thinking about Ginny and about all he had been through with her. Even now, when he had been away from her for two years, thinking of her gave him that same feeling of completion that he had experienced when she told him that she loved him. He still loved her with all of his heart.
He couldn't quite put his finger on what was so magnificent about her, but he knew it was there. She had Bill's individuality, Charlie's love for animals, Percy's intelligence, Fred and George's mischievous sense of humor, Ron's temper and loyalty, her mother's kind, compassionate spirit, and her father's intuitive nature. And yet…she was uniquely Ginny. Despite her large family, she was her own person, uninfluenced by others, and that, perhaps, was what Harry loved most about her.
As he made his way through the Entrance Hall, and entered the Great Hall, he began to think about her wild sense of humor. At times, she had rivaled even the twins' mischievousness. He well remembered the day he learned never to cross Ginny Weasley. Armed with her sock fetish and Transfiguration expertise, she could be downright evil.
"Harry, wake up. C'mon mate, or we're going to miss breakfast," said Ron as he attempted to shake Harry out of his sleep. Harry, urged on only by the growl in his stomach, sat up, rubbed his eyes, and put on his glasses. As his world came into focus, so did the black eye adorning the face of his best friend. He also became painfully aware of the large bruise on his own forearm.
As he silently pulled himself out of bed and began to dress himself, he ran his mind over the events of the previous evening. After dinner, he, Ginny, Ron, and Hermione were headed back to Gryffindor Tower when Malfoy caught up with them, and began his usual tirade. They continued to walk, as words like "Mudblood", "Weasel", and "Scarhead" reached their ears…but, in true Malfoy fashion, he just didn't know when to stop, and crossed the line.
"…oh, and Potter, how much are you paying your little tart to shag you? It's got to be an awful lot for her to actually go near you, nevertheless shag your sorry arse, but we all know she could use the money. And how about you, Weasley? How much is the little Mudblood Granger paying you? There can't be enough Galleons in Gringotts from someone to actually touch her," Malfoy snarled.
Before he had time to think, Malfoy was on the ground with two extremely angry 16-year-old wizards on top of him. Wands and magic forgotten, Ron and Harry had had every intention of tearing him limb from limb. They were well on their way to beating Malfoy within an inch of his life when Hermione and Ginny cut in.
"HARRY…RON!!! Get off of him, now! He's not worth it! Stop it!!!" The girls' yells echoed through the halls. Hermione and Ginny had jumped in, pulled their boyfriends off of Malfoy, tried to calm them down, and clean them off. Malfoy, nose and lip gushing blood, limped off towards the dungeons, swearing every step of the way.
"Honestly, you two. You should have learned not to let him get to you…he's been harassing us for 6 years. You are lowering yourselves to his level by taking his bait," lectured Hermione as she healed Ron's cut lip, and began to check over Harry.
"Hermione, I could care less what the git says about me, or even Harry for that matter. But what kind of boyfriend and brother would I be to stand around listening while he says that kind of stuff to you and Ginny?" Ron countered.
"Exactly, Hermione! You two do not deserve to be spoken to like that. Malfoy completely crossed the line there," emphasized Harry. No more was spoken on the subject as the four had continued up to Gryffindor Tower.
Harry was really starting to feel the consequences of the fight, but he was quite proud. His blood was still boiling over what Malfoy had said, and he knew very well that this battle was far from over. He was starting to get a few ideas, and knew Ron was plotting revenge as well.
"I cannot believe those two! We're going to miss breakfast altogether if they don't get themselves down here soon," complained Hermione. She and Ginny sat in a few armchairs as they waited for Harry and Ron to make their appearance. They were taking their dear, sweet time, and Hermione was getting fed up.
"Relax, Hermione. They can't possibly be too much longer. Besides, it gives us a very good chance to talk. I can't understand how you don't let those things that Malfoy said bother you! I'm still worked up about it. If Harry and Ron hadn't gotten there first…" Ginny trailed off, fuming. Hermione gave a deep sigh, and sat silent for a moment.
"Ginny, everything Malfoy says hurts me. I'm not going to lie to you and say that it doesn't, because it does. But I'm higher than that…I'm not going to stoop to his level and take his bait. I refuse to be lowered by him," Hermione explained.
"I don't care how low it may make me seem…he's going to pay," she stated as Harry and Ron finally made their way down to the Common Room.
The four friends trudged through their day, and through dinner, though not a one of them could concentrate. It wasn't as thought Malfoy had never insulted them, but this just seemed to be a hit below the belt, and they all knew it. Hermione tried to remain calm, and keep the others calm, but Harry and Ron were planning revenge. What they didn't know was that whatever it was they had in mind failed horribly in comparison to the scheme that was about to take form in the mind of one Virginia Weasley….
"I'm not sure how I made it through Potions today, Ron. With Snape bearing down on me, and Malfoy giving me that stupid little smile of his, I about lost it. It's a good thing we were only brewing the beginning stages of a Fire Starting Potion, or I would have been very tempted to ‘accidentally' spill some on Malfoy," Harry mused as he, Ron, Hermione, and Ginny sat around, trying (and failing) to do their homework.
Ginny closed her Arithmancy book with a snap, and sighed heavily. She put her sock-clad feet up onto Harry's chair, and began to think about anything she could use as revenge. She was thinking too hard, and missing a simple, obvious solution that was on the chair next to her. It was her dear brother that brought her attention to it.
"Gin, are those my Chudley Cannon socks? I've been looking all over for those! You know that those are my favorites! How long have you had them?" Ron whined.
It's amazing how simple a simple statement can make a light bulb go off in your head. And the one in Ginny's head was glowing brightly enough to light the Great Hall. She jumped up, and flung herself on Ron. He looked quite bewildered as the wind was knocked out of him. Ginny held onto him tightly, and Ron began to lose the ability to breathe.
"Umm…Gin? You're kind of squishing me…could you possibly GET OFF?!" Ron yelled, pushing his sister off of him. "What was that all about, anyway? What did I say?"
"You are brilliant, Ron!!! Thank you so much!" she exclaimed, kissed him on both cheeks, and ran up the stairs to the girls' dormitories. Harry, Ron, and Hermione just stared after her, each completely baffled by what had just happened. Hermione was the first to say anything.
"Well, I suppose I should go see what that was all about," said Hermione, as she rose and headed for the dorm. As she door shut behind her, Harry and Ron simply looked at each other, each with a lost look on his face.
"Barking mad," they muttered simultaneously.
The next morning, Harry and Ron were no closer to figuring out what Ginny's sudden outburst had been about than they had been when they went to bed. They got themselves ready for the day, and drug themselves downstairs. They knew that this was going to be a long day.
As they reached the Common Room, they saw Hermione and Ginny sitting in a corner, poring over a large tome. As they neared, Ginny saw them, and quickly shut the book. She tried to cover the title, but Harry and Ron still got a glimpse of it; "Horribly Advanced Transfiguration for the Unnaturally Smart and Interested", and Harry was once again puzzled at Ginny's strange behavior. He had about a million questions to ask her, but she looked up, and grinned at him, and all was forgotten.
"Hey, Hermione, what are you two looking at there?" inquired Ron.
"Well, I suppose we should get to breakfast, now shouldn't we? We wouldn't want to be late like we were yesterday," Hermione informed the boys, oddly deaf to the question Ron had asked her. Ginny nodded quickly, a slight smile playing on her lips as she and Hermione rushed out the portrait hole. Ron and Harry followed, each even more confused than they had been the night before.
The Great Hall was, as always, swarming with students as they ate before the day's lesson. As the four walked in, they were met by glares from every Slytherin sixth year. Quite apparent from the looks that were given them, Malfoy had issued a death warrant for all four of them. They all four turned and stared directly ahead, because if looks could kill, none of them would have survived.
They took their usual seats, and began to fill their plates. Hermione and Ginny kept exchanging secretive looks while they ate. Harry was just about to ask them what was going on when Hermione nodded, and Ginny pulled out her wand. She took careful aim, and muttered a spell that neither Harry nor Ron had heard before. She quickly re-pocketed her wand, and continued eating as if nothing out of the ordinary had happened.
The uproar from the Slytherin table told otherwise. Indignant shouts were heard, and as they called attention to the commotion, laughter began to fill the Great Hall. Almost every Ravenclaw, Hufflepuff, and Gryffindor were rolling on the ground in tears. Harry craned his head to see why, and soon joined the rest of the school.
Draco Malfoy was clad in one strategically placed, hot pink sock.
Harry laughed at the memory, shaking his head. Malfoy had been absolutely murderous towards the four of them until the trio's seventh year. Even afterwards, things hadn't looked up that much.
He had admired Ginny for her skill, and her intelligence in coming up with such a prank. Had Fred and George still been at school, Harry was sure they would've made their little sister a partner in crime.
With one last look around the Great Hall, Harry continued his tour of Hogwarts.