Harry was asleep in his four-poster bed, dreaming about Quidditch, when a great girlish scream echoed throughout the dorm. He immediately shot awake, throwing his covers to the end of his mattress and pulling open the curtains around his bed. Dim sunlight streamed through the windows of the room, clearly indicating that it was far too early for anyone to be awake.
"Getitoffgetitioffgetitoff!" screamed a clearly distressed Ron. Harry leapt out of his bed and blearily hobbled over to Ron's, opening the scarlet hangings with a hefty tug.
Ron was scrunched in the corner of his bed, pulling at his bedclothes and kicking at an unseen adversary. "It's right there, Harry! Get it!" he said, with the last syllable registering as on the highest end of the scale.
Seamus and Dean were now on the other side of the bed, giving Ron strange looks. Neville came up last and said drowsily, "Whatsamatter?"
Still kicking his covers and screaming in high-pitched notes, Ron was bordering on becoming hysterical. Finally, not able to think of anything better, Harry simply sat in the general vicinity of his friend's frantic waving. The effect was immediate. Ron stopped thrashing and let out a breath in relief, but still kept shooting his eyes towards the end of his bed. The other boys continued to look at their redheaded dorm mate as if he'd grown three heads overnight.
"Wha' in tha devil?" muttered Seamus, rubbing his temples.
Dean simply shook his head from side to side as he wandered back to his bed, falling onto the covers in a tired heap. Neville continued to linger at the foot of Ron's bead, obviously in a sleep-induced stupor, glancing from the where Harry sat to Ron.
Ron was breathing slowly now, so Harry ventured a question. "Care to let us in on the problem?"
"Spi-spi-spiders," supplied Ron, obviously still not fully recovered.
"Strange that no one else saw anything..." remarked Harry, sitting up to inspect the end of Ron's bed. Finding nothing, he walked back over to his dresser to change.
After visiting the loo, Harry returned to the dorm feeling refreshed and ready for the day. Ron still hadn't moved from the corner of his bed and Harry had to shake his head in amusement. "I'm heading down to breakfast, Ron," he called. "Catch up with me later?"
Nodding his head in answer, Ron continued to scan the bed for more of the imaginary eight-legged invaders.
Arriving in the Great Hall, Harry walked up to his usual spot at the Gryffindor table and sat in front of a large selection of pastries. Just before he bit into a raspberry-filled one, he caught eyes with Susan Bones at the Hufflepuff table. She immediately blushed a bright red and ducked her head behind a book, knocking over her goblet of juice. Realizing that she wasn't the only one staring, Harry glanced down the table and noticed Hannah Abbot also gazing fondly at him. She wasn't facing him but had twisted around to catch a glimpse of him. When she realized she was caught, she quickly twisted back, but failed to notice the platter of biscuits that was being handed to her neighbor. Her hand caught the plate and sent it soaring down the table, spilling its contents onto the heads of several of her classmates.
Now highly amused at the antics of the girls, he swept his eyes over the Slytherin table to see if there were any accidents in the making there. At first he was unsuccessful, only catching a sneer from Malfoy, but soon Pansy Parkinson entered the hall and when she locked eyes with Harry, he decided to have a little fun. Smiling broadly he winked at her, and her eyes went wide in shock as he proceeded to blow a kiss at her. So engrossed in their exchange, she walked straight into Goyle as he rotated his body to leave the table. Pansy tripped and fell face first into a large pudding, spraying the nearby students with gobs of purple filling.
Harry's smile grew large as he continued to cause havoc in the Great Hall, all because he realized that he could. Ginny's revelation last night about the fan club had sent his mind whirring. Since he couldn't stop them, he thought he would have a little fun with the situation.
Ginny arrived just then, sitting down with a flourish of her hair, sending the most intoxicating smell his way. "Good morning, Harry," she sang as she gave him a kiss on the cheek. Harry looked around the hall again and noticed that the girls who had been watching him were now fuming at the couple. "So are you ready to help me take care of your fan club?" she asked after swallowing a rasher of bacon.
Harry leapt to his feet and bowed deeply. "I'm at your command, my Lady." He finished the display by taking her hand and kissing it lightly. Hearing a growling noise, he looked up to see Lavender and Parvati walk into the hall. He noticed with great amusement that as they looked at him bowing before Ginny their faces screwed into an angry snarl and they began to shoot daggers at the lovely redhead in front of him.
Not noticing the jealous girls, Ginny giggled and pulled her hand away just long enough to smack him lightly on the shoulder. "Sit down, you great prat. I'm not royalty."
Plopping down in his seat, he wrapped an arm around her shoulders and whispered into her ear, "You are to me, Ginny."
She giggled again and Harry could feel the death glares increase in ferocity. Ginny turned serious as she loaded up her plate with eggs and toast. "I've got an old roll from the last meeting I attended. That'll be a good start."
Furrowing his brow in concentration, he asked, "Do you intend to hex them all individually?"
"Well... yeah," she answered as she finished buttering her toast.
"Why don't you just take care of the lot of them at one time?" Harry asked, as if it was the most obvious thing in the world. "That way, you don't have to figure out who the members are and we can get them off my back sooner," he said, glancing at several of the girls in question.
Ginny smiled as she swallowed her bite of toast. "Been having problems, Harry?"
He loved the way she said his name and it sent shivers up his spine. "Ever since you told me about the club, I've spotted a few of them giving me looks."
"Looks?" she said in earnest question. Then her eyes narrowed and her voice lowered. "What kind of looks?"
"Well, you know..." Harry said, trying to find the right words. "Kind of how Ron looks at a bag full of chocolate frogs."
Ginny's face fell and she put her forehead in her hands. "This is bad, Harry. I know that look all too well. It means they're about to do something...." Ginny gulped audibly. "Something drastic." She suddenly looked up, a wicked gleam in her eye. "We'll just have to strike first, that's all. I'm sorry, Harry," she said, touching his arm with the tips of her fingers. "I'm afraid we're still going to have to get them one at a time, but maybe... maybe we can do both."
A fluttering of wings was heard overhead as hundreds of owls glided down to the tables, laden with packages and letters. A large barn owl descended over their section of the Gryffindor table, deposited a heavy parcel in front of Ginny and swooped off for the openings in the ceiling.
Ginny's gleam intensified as she looked at the brown paper-covered box before her. "Well, I guess I won't have to hex Fred and George after all." Then she started as if she remembered something and turned to Harry. "Did anything happen with Ron last night?"
Suddenly suspicious, Harry asked, "Why? Do you know something?"
Flashing an innocent smile, she said, "Maybe.... Are you going to tell me?" With a flutter of her eyelashes, Harry could feel his defenses crumbling and couldn't figure out why he was resisting her in the first place.
"He really freaked out this morning. Said something about spiders in his bed, but when I looked I couldn't find anything," said Harry.
"Hmm," she said with an air of indifference and returned to her eggs.
Harry stared at her for a while and when it was clear that she wasn't going to say more, nudged her side. "You gonna tell me what that was all about?"
"Terror-tots," she said after she finished chewing her bacon. "A new prototype the twins gave me before term started. I was saving it for Malfoy, but I needed to know if they worked right away." She opened the box and took out a bag of what looked like ordinary tater-tots. "Taste just like the real thing... Delayed reaction to ensure that the creatures or persons your victim fears most won't appear until they're fast asleep.... Use of more than one could be harmful to the victim's nervous system," she read from the label.
Harry let out a low whistle. "What else have you got in there?"
But Ginny apparently wasn't letting him in on all her secrets as she pushed the terror-tots into the box and sealed it back with her wand. "If I told you everything, it would spoil the surprise." Her eyes wrinkled at the corners as she smiled; something Harry found endearing.
"Alright," he said with a sigh. "But it'll be hard to help you prank my fan club if I don't know how we're doing it..." he trailed off with a smirk, looking at the ceiling in mock boredom.
"Fine," she said with a laugh. "I'll tell you, but we can't get started until after classes are over." Ginny glanced at her watch and made a squeaking sound. "I'm late for Potions! See you at lunch, Harry!" She grabbed her backpack and parcel, and then pecked Harry's cheek before rushing out of the Great Hall, with several pairs of eyes following her progress.
Harry was the first one out of Charms and politely ignored Ron's inquiries as to where he was going. He pushed his way through the crowded corridor, turning right instead of heading straight for the dungeon and another dreaded encounter with Snape. Taking this detour, he knew he risked being late and therefore a detention, but didn't care. There were more important things in life than pleasing the school's Potions Master.
Darting around a gaggle of first years filing out of Transfiguration, Harry made for the school's main entrance and the Herbology greenhouses. Just before he reached the door, five girls came out of the shadows and surrounded him.
"Harry," intoned Susan Bones, who was standing in front of him, in a seductive voice. "Going somewhere?"
Hannah Abbot's hand touched his shoulder and he flinched. "Why don't we spend some time together?" she asked. "There's a really cozy closet on the fourth floor...."
Harry backed away, but bumped into Lavender Brown. "Or we could walk around the lake," she cooed into his ear.
Parvati and Pansy Parkinson were fighting each other for position and Harry used their distraction to slip out of the ever-closing circle. A little flustered, he managed to stammer out, "N - No thanks, girls, I'm just heading to Herbology...."
"But Harry," said Parvati, batting her eyelashes demurely. "We have Potions next."
The girls advanced on him and Harry backed away until he hit the corner of the entrance hall. "Well... I know, but...."
Harry was saved from having to answer, when the front door opened to reveal the fifth years emerging from Professor Sprout's class. He searched through the crowd quickly, looking for a familiar shock of red, as Pansy's hands reached for his hair.
"Stupefy!" Ginny Weasley was bearing down on the group of girls with fire in her eyes. Pansy fell to the ground in a heap and the rest of them scattered as quickly as if they had been electrocuted.
"Thank Merlin," Harry said with relief. "I was almost done for."
Ginny raised her eyebrows. "The Boy-Who-Lived almost done in by a group of sixth-year girls?" she said with feigned shock.
Harry let out a strained laugh. "Well, I didn't want to curse them," he said with a glance at Pansy's limp form. "But I suppose it wouldn't hurt that one too much."
Eyes sparkling merrily in the light, Ginny hooked his arm and led them back down the now emptying corridor. "It looks like we're going to have to act sooner than we planned," she whispered conspiratorially, sending shivers down his spine as her breath licked at his ear.
Unable to focus on anything but the girl beside him, he replied thickly, "Yeah,"
She didn't seem to notice however, as her face was screwed up in thought. "You know," she said tapping her chin with a slender finger. "I think I've just the thing to do." She pushed Harry into an empty classroom and up against one of the walls, waiting for the door to click shut before she continued. "I heard from Hermione that the fan club is meeting tonight at seven in one of the rooms off the Transfiguration corridor. It's the perfect opportunity to get the whole group."
"What about the terror-tots?" asked Harry, who was trying desperately to not take advantage of their situation in the dark, unoccupied classroom.
"I think I can modify them to work while they're awake. I may need to skip Charms to do it though."
"Ginny Weasley," said Harry with a hint of reproach. "Skipping class to plan a prank on your fellow students?"
She grinned wickedly and said, "You're more important to me than a ruddy Charms class." Then she crushed his lips with hers and all worry about skiving classes, fan clubs, and everything else flew out of his mind.
Still reeling from his time with Ginny in the empty classroom, Harry vaguely wandered through the rest of classes until dinnertime. However, his daydreaming was interrupted when several screams erupted throughout the Great Hall. At least two girls from each house leapt up from their seats and were running up and down the aisles, trying to escape from whatever they feared most. Beside him, Ginny smiled innocently and grabbed his thigh with her hand.
The effects of the modified prank didn't seem to last very long, however and soon the girls were being shakily escorted to their seats. Harry was about to ask Ginny if that was all that was going to happen, when she squeezed his leg and said, "Just wait, Harry. Just wait."
After the last vestiges of dinner were being cleared from the tables, Harry and Ginny were walking down the Transfiguration corridor under Harry's invisibility cloak. Ginny had a bag in one hand and her wand in the other. He had to fight the urge to pull her into one of the other empty classrooms to have his way with her, instead, settled with putting one arm around her as they stooped under the cloak.
The door was slightly cracked when they arrived and one girl was visible just on the other side, as if she was sent to watch for intruders. A faint hum of voices could be heard through the doorway and Ginny motioned for them to stop.
Reaching through the folds of the cloak, she prodded the door with her wand and it opened a crack further, just enough for her to poke her arm through to touch the girl in the entryway. Ginny muttered something that Harry didn't catch and the sentry girl immediately let out a shriek of surprise. Ginny pulled Harry up against the wall just as the door burst open and a third-year Hufflepuff came tearing out of the room and down towards one of the bathrooms.
"Bladder buster charm," said Ginny. "Fred hexed me with it when I was four and Mum almost skinned him alive when I went through all my clothes in an hour."
Harry suppressed a laugh and they returned to the now wide open door. Slipping inside unnoticed, they followed the wall until they were on the other side of the room, carefully avoiding a group of second years that didn't seem to know what was going on. Pansy Parkinson was talking to the group and Harry could hear her clearly.
"That Weasel-girl has gotten her claws into him already and we haven't even gotten the hair yet," she said with a threatening glance at the twenty or so girls in the room. "We need to take decisive action if we're going to get a look at Potter's goods."
"What if they're small?" piped in someone from behind a large Slytherin that could have been Crabbe's sister. "We need some reassurance that it'll be worth it if we're going to risk a month of detentions."
Pansy rolled her eyes and to Harry's surprise, so did Ginny who was now aiming her wand through a slit in the cloak. "They're not small, you idiot. This is the Boy-Who-Lived, we're talking about here! Anyone who could kill the Dark Lord has got to have a huge - "
But she never got to identify the object as Pansy's voice failed her for a moment followed by a large belch. The girls in the room guffawed and giggled at her. Ginny used the distraction and pulled some items out of the bag, placing them on the ground in front of them. Then she levitated one at a time, floating them close to the ground until they were underneath each of the girls.
"Finite Incantatem," she whispered and the objects crackled out purple smoke until the room was filled, cutting off all vision.
"What the - " said one girl on their right.
"Hey!" shouted another towards the door.
"Someone cast a clearing charm!" said someone whose voice changed pitch halfway through the sentence.
Before anyone could react properly, the smoke dissipated and each of the girls in the room except Ginny were now left looking like a strange version of Harry.
Twenty pairs of green eyes blinked at each other through round spectacles. They were each wearing a small white toga and sash that proclaimed, "Member of the Harry Potter fan club!" with a small caption underneath that read, "He's got large bits!"
One adventurous girl glanced underneath her toga and fainted dead away. The others stood there for a moment, dumbfounded, when they all burst out screaming and ran through the doors and down the hall in different directions. The Harry Potter look-alike where Pansy used to be belched loudly several times before following the rest of the group out the door.
Ginny was bent double at this point, and Harry was holding a stitch in his side as laugher shook his frame. "That was..." he started but couldn't finish as he remembered the look on their Harry-like faces before they ran off.
Ginny was shaking her head, eyes scrunched tight. "I - I know!" was all she managed to get out between her fit of giggles.
They were on their knees now, clutching at each other in an attempt to keep from rolling around on the floor. Finally letting the laughter subside, Ginny's face resumed its evil grin and Harry felt a little thrill knowing that she was the one for him and that she loved him just as much as he did her.
"Tell me one thing, Mr. Potter," she said, pointing over to the still unconscious 'Harry' on the floor. "Exactly how big are your bits?"
He choked at the serious look on her face, but a grin curved in the corners of her mouth and he smiled. "You'll have to wait to find out the answer to that question, Miss Weasley."
Her eyebrows rose in challenge. "Oh, really?" she said, putting her arms around his neck and pulling his face closer to hers. "And what if I said I could offer something comparable as payment?" She tilted her head and licked her lips.
Harry felt heat pooling in his stomach and again had to fight the urge to take advantage of her in their now private setting. "Let me think about it?" he said and caught her lips in a searing kiss.