AN: Just a quick thank you to: JKR, for being so generous with her characters, and letting me borrow them. My splendiferous beta, Mitch, for putting up with all my commas. Jimmy Buffet, for inspiring the title of this work. My fiancé, who puts up with all my insanity…and listens to Jimmy Buffet.
Harry had a standing dinner invitation at the Burrow, but he seldom went. He loved the Weasleys, but he still sometimes felt a little uncomfortable just showing up, especially if Ginny was there. Today, however, he needed a good old-fashioned Weasley dinner to lift his spirits. It was Thursday and he was having a rough week at work. It didn't help that Saturday was Valentine's Day, and though Harry had been out with several girls in the past couple months, he didn't have a date—again. All his colleagues were busy making plans, and tomorrow at work promised to be even worse. One of the girls had organized what amounted to a repeat of his second year—little dwarves dressed up as Cupids giving out Valentines. He only hoped that he didn't get any valentines that were as embarrassing as the one he had received that year. Since the twins—so far—hadn't heard about it, he hoped to make a clean getaway. Harry had decided as he was leaving work that he didn't really feel like going back to the flat and seeing Ron and Hermione together. He loved them, but seeing the two of them together sometimes made him wish that he had what they had. A visit to the rambunctious Burrow seemed to be just what the Healer ordered. Though most of the children had moved out, at any given time, at least two or three went back home for dinner, usually with their own children in tow. Ever since Mr. Weasley had been promoted to Minister he had been spending less and less time at home. The Weasley children had decided that Mrs. Weasley shouldn't be allowed to eat dinner alone. There was no set schedule of when the Weasley children would show up, but Thursdays there was usually a big crowd since most of the children tended to do stuff on their own on the weekend.
He Apparated into the Burrow with a soft pop. He wandered into the kitchen, expecting to see Molly preparing enough food to feed an army, but instead found Ginny, sobbing into her mother's shoulder. Molly saw Harry first and tried to shoo him away, but Ginny, feeling her mother move, looked up and saw Harry. "It's ok, Mum, he can come in," she said, sniffling. "It's not his fault. Besides, I know how much you like it when he comes to dinner. I'll just go get myself cleaned up, then come and help get supper on the table, since I distracted you from your preparations." Ginny and Mrs. Weasley stood, hugged one another, and then Ginny went off upstairs.
Molly smiled brightly. "I'm so glad you came to dinner, Harry. You're so good at cheering her up when she's in a bad mood. It's not that I don't love having you come over for dinner, but…you are here for dinner, aren't you? Nothing bad happened at work? Ron's not hurt is he?"
"Yes, I'm here for the food. And no, nothing is wrong. Ron's fine. What's…what's going on with Ginny?"
"Oh, Harry, you know how it is," Mrs. Weasley said, as she bustled around the kitchen.
Harry waited for her to say something else, and when she didn't, he tentatively put forth, "I know how what is?"
"Breaking up," came Ginny's voice from the doorway. She had washed her face, so it wasn't as red as it was when she exited the kitchen, but she was a little paler than usual.
Molly hurried over to her. "Oh, Ginny, I didn't realize you'd be back down so soon."
"I'm ok, Mum, really," Ginny said, waving Mrs. Weasley off. "And, Harry, what my mother meant was that you know how break ups are. My boyfriend broke up with me today."
"Two days before Valentine's? Is he an idiot?" He must be, to break up with Ginny at all. You can't do better than Ginny Weasley.
Ginny have him a thin smile. "I'd like to think so." She walked slowly to the table and sat down. "And to top it off, we were planning on going out on Saturday, and everyone I know is busy, so I'll be sitting at home, alone, thinking about it."
"Well, I don't have any plans, Ginny."
Ginny laughed. "You, the famous Harry Potter, without a date for Valetine's? You mean the women weren't falling all over themselves to go out with you?"
Harry slumped into a chair. "Oh, they were. But none of the ones I wanted to go out with wanted to go out with me." He looked over at Ginny. "So, what do you say? How would you like to spend Saturday night with me?" She looked a little unsure, so he continued. "It wouldn't be a date date, we could call it an Anti-Valentine's date. We could go out to a bar—a Muggle bar—where no one would know us, and console ourselves with liquid fortification."
Ginny laughed again. "All right, Mr. Potter, you have a deal—and a date."
"Did we hear correctly, is our baby sister going on a date with the Boy-Who-Lived?" Twin grins appeared in the doorway announcing the arrival of Fred and George for dinner. "To a Muggle bar, on Valentine's day? Wait until the Daily Prophet gets a hold of this one."
Harry and Ginny groaned. "They won't know a thing about it, or else you'll both come down with an acute case of bat bogeys. And it's not that kind of date!"
Fred and George plunked themselves down at the table. "Oh, we wouldn't dream of doing such a thing," Fred said.
"Course not," George chimed in. "We respect your privacy, and all that." He reached over and helped himself to one of the fresh rolls Mrs. Weasley had just placed on the table. "Besides, it's much more fun to get you ourselves."
Fred nodded in agreement. "And it's not like we have any big plans for Saturday. We're completely free for your amusement."
Why do I have a bad feeling about this? Harry groaned inwardly. He decided it was time to change the subject. "So, Mrs. Weasley, do you and Mr. Weasley have any plans for Saturday?"
"Well, dear," Mrs. Weasley said, "I don't quite know. Arthur's been so busy lately that he's promised to make it up to me on Saturday, but he won't tell me what it is we're doing." She smiled as she set the mashed potatoes on the table. "I'm sending him one of those telegrams at work. Are you planning on sending any out, Harry?"
Though he knew Mrs. Weasley had no intention of starting anything, he saw the twins' eyes light up at the thought. Tomorrow's going to be a long day.
So far, work hadn't been too bad. And that's what worried him. He had received about half a dozen Valentines, but all of them of the quite harmless "Be mine" or "Roses are Red" varieties. He knew, he just knew that the twins had a surprise lurking out there for him. It was too good an opportunity to pass up, and they all knew it. He just could not understand why he hadn't heard anything from them, yet. There was only about half an hour left to the workday. He was nearly safe. Maybe they had forgotten. But then, he heard it…
"I've got a singing valentine for Harry Potter. Right, here goes:
His eyes are as green as fresh pickled toad,
His hair is as dark as a blackboard.
I wish he was mine, he's really divine,
The hero who conquered the Dark Lord."
By the looks of it, the twins had found the same dwarf from second year, and somehow conned him into putting on the exact same outfit. How do they do it? He wondered.
"Right then, are you Harry?" the dwarf asked. When Harry reluctantly nodded, the dwarf handed him an envelope. "Right then, have a nice day."
Harry looked up, and realized a crowd had gathered. "What are you all doing here?"
Ron was at the front of the crowd, laughing hysterically. "Well, mate, he's been wandering around, looking for you all afternoon. He wouldn't let anyone point him in the right direction, either. Just kept singing the stupid rhyme to any male he came upon, and then asking if he were Harry." Ron patted him on the back consolingly. "The twins have quite outdone themselves this time, haven't they?"
"Quite." Harry ripped open the note.
We hope our Valentine was as well received this time as it was the last time. We look forward to seeing you on Valentine's Day.
Hugs and Kisses,Gred and Forge
Harry groaned. He seemed to be doing a lot of that lately, especially where the twins were concerned. They wouldn't seem to leave him alone. He handed the note to Ron. "Thank goodness they don't know where I'm going on Saturday," he said with obvious relief.
"Yeah, right. So where exactly are you taking my little sister?" Ron asked. If Harry had been paying more attention, he would have noticed that Ron was trying to seem completely uninterested in the answer.
"We're going to this Muggle bar, in London. Called 'The Green Leafe Café'. I'm meeting Ginny there at 8:30."
"Excellent. I mean, that sounds like fun." Ron looked a little nervous. "Hermione and I have reservations for a nice dinner at the Three Broomsticks. Well, I should be going. Work and all that rot. See you later, back at the flat."
As Ron quickly backed away, Harry wondered if something were going on with Hermione and Ron. Ron rarely offered information about their activities unless something was bothering him.
"Lando Calrissian for Darth Vader."
"I don't know why you're insisting on using these ridiculous code names. I mean—"
"Do you have the information, or not?"
"Yes, I have it, but I feel—"
"Good. You have kept your part of the bargain."
"Yes, and you'll keep yours? You'll leave us alone, right? No interference on Saturday?"
"No, Calrissian. You will not be disturbed on Saturday. Darth Vader, out."
"What…wait…but…is it just me, or did it sound like I got the worst end of the deal?"
Harry and Ginny were having a wonderful time. They'd ordered some food, had a drink or two, and then Ginny had convinced Harry to try shooting tequila. She showed him how to do it, with first the salt, then the shot, and then the lime. They had made it into a game, by first stating some "earth shattering" truth, and then doing a shot.
"Relationships suck." That was from Ginny. She took her shot, giggled, and then said "Your turn." Ginny had begun giggling more and more with each consecutive shot.
"Men are scum." Harry stated this decisively, though he slurred it a bit. When Ginny started giggling, he said, "No, I mean it. As a member of the male species, I personally apologize for any hurt we may have inad—inadvert—for any pain that we caused you." Harry hiccupped. "A fine young woman such as yourself deserves better than any scummy man." He raised his glass toward her, and drank.
Ginny giggled some more. "You forgot the salt."
"Blimey, you're right. Shorry about that, Gin. Guess I'll just take another one." Harry reached for the saltshaker, but instead of closing his fingers around it, he knocked it off the table. "Hang on, be right back."
Harry disappeared under the table in search of the saltshaker. The world—that is, the bottom of the table—was spinning. "Now where could the salt have gone off to?" he muttered to himself. He decided to try sitting up for a better view of the floor, and banged his head hard.
"Harry, you all right down there?" Ginny asked, still giggling.
"Ginny, is that you? I can't find you. Where'd you go?"
Ginny slid down under the table. "I'm right here, Harry. Oh, it is quite lovely down here, isn't it?"
Harry was staring at Ginny. "Yesh. Lovely. Hey, Ginny?"
"Mind if I kiss you?" Then, before she could say no, he leaned over and pressed his lips to hers. He meant it to be a quick peck on the lips, but then she threw her arms around him and started kissing him back. His hands inched toward her. One of them landed on her, somewhere, and he held on. The other hand had a longer journey, one which was interrupted by the feel of something familiar.
He broke the kiss. "Ginny, I found it! I found the salt shaker!"
"Don't care," was all he heard before she threw herself on top of him and began kissing him senseless.
"I think it's time to move in, don't you, Darth?"
"I quite concur, Vader. This really can't continue."
"It's for their own good. Really."
"They do seem to be enjoying themselves, don't they? Maybe we should let them have a little bit more time before we move in."
Harry and Ginny had been making out under the table for nearly 20 minutes.
"I think," Harry broke in, gasping for breath, "that its time to go home."
Ginny practically purred. "I think that's a wonderful idea, Harry."
"No, I meant—"Harry was cut off as Ginny kissed him again before she popped back up to the top of the table. Harry followed quickly after her.
"As I recall, Mr. Potter. You owe me a shot. Since you distracted me for so long, I think you owe me the rest of the bottle."
Harry, who was beginning to sober up, tried to stall. "I'm not so sure that's such a good idea, Ginny. One of us needs to make sure we can get home."
Ginny laughed. "You just don't think you can finish it. Here, let me help you out." And before Harry could say anything else, she grabbed the bottle and took a long pull. "Whew. Your turn, Harry. Go on, now. Bottoms up."
Knowing he would probably regret it, but unable to refuse her, Harry drained the rest of the bottle. It didn't take long for him to feel the effects. "It's time to go home, now." He threw some Muggle money onto the table to cover the drinks.
Ginny latched onto him on the way out. They walked—or rather stumbled—the two blocks to the Leaky Cauldron. Just outside, Harry saw a sign:
Incapable of Apparating?
Portkeys not good for your stomach?
Knight Bus too impersonal?
Try our Broomstick Rides
Only 10 sickles for anywhere in England
London only: 5 sickles.
Thinking that his head, and Ginny's, were probably incapable of traveling by Portkey, or by Knight Bus, He decided to stop for a further look.
"You say you'll take us anywhere in England for 10 sickles?"
A wizened old wizard responded. "That's right, sir, and would you and the lovely lady be traveling together?"
Harry felt as though he should recognize the wizard. "Um, no, I actually live in London. Do I know you?"
"Oh, then it's only 5 sickles for you, sir." The old man grinned, and avoided Harry's question. "And another 10 sickles for the young lady."
"Harry," Ginny protested, "I thought I was going home with you!"
"Uhhh…" Harry was clearly not sure how to proceed. His head was still feeling a bit fuzzy, and Ginny was pressed up against him. And he knew he should know the old wizard. If only he could think clearly.
The old wizard seemed to sense his hesitation. "Best not to upset them in this state, sir. I'd suggest just taking her home, putting her to bed, and sorting it out in the morning."
Harry, not used to the effects of alcohol, decided to give in, and do the easy thing. "Yes, that might be best. Two for London then." Ginny smiled at him in a way that made him melt inside.
"All right then, sir. Just give us the address, and we'll have you there before you wake up. I did mention we knock you out, right? Can't have you thrashing around on the brooms, so we just put a simple spell on you. Take it right off when we get you back to the apartment."
Harry wasn't so sure about this, something felt a little…wrong…but there was no use for it now. He handed over 10 Sickles, saw the wave of a wand, and had just enough time to think But I never told them my address before he was out cold.
Harry woke the next morning with a headache. He groaned, and tried to roll over, but there was something—someone—in his way. He cracked an eye open, and saw a jumble of bright red curls. Ginny. He thought. Did something happen last night? All I remember is leaving the bar…He lay there, unsure of what to do. Ginny was lying half on his chest, with one leg thrown over his two. She sighed softly, and then snuggled further into his chest.
"Harry?" she said sleepily. "Is it time to get up yet?"
"Um…Ginny…" Harry, clearly flustered, didn't know what to say to her.
"Snuggle back down, Harry…Harry….Harry! What am I doing here? Did I…That is…Did we?" Ginny sat bolt upright, looking down at her clothes. She was wearing one of Harry's old t-shirts and pair of shorts, and Harry was wearing only shorts. Harry, finally able to sit up, surveyed the room. The clothing they had been wearing the night before was strewn about the room, as if they had been taken off in a hurry. Gee, I wish I could remember if something happened. Ginny deserves to be remembered.
Ginny, having looked round as well, noticed the look on Harry's face. "Oh, um, that is, I'm sure it was great, that is, if we did anything. I just can't remember. I wish I could. I've wanted this…well, maybe not this exactly, but I've wanted this for so long. Oh, Harry, tell me I haven't messed it all up. Tell me I least still have a chance, that I haven't messed it up." She looked intently at him. "There's still a chance, right?"
"A chance for…us?" Harry liked the sound of that—us. He smiled down at her, hugged her close, and kissed the top of her head. "No, it didn't affect us at all. In fact, I think we're doing just fine." He grabbed her chin, and turned her face up to his. "Ginny Weasley, will you be my girlfriend?"
She nodded, and he leaned down to kiss her. He wrapped his arms around her, and she twined her arms around his neck.
"Harry! Hey, Harry, you home mate? I didn't hear you get in last night, and there's a package out here addressed to the both of us…" Ron's voice kept getting nearer and nearer, intruding on Harry's thoughts until he heard his door bang open. "Harry, c'mon, I want to see—HARRY JAMES POTTER! WHAT IN THE NAME OF EVERYTHING GOOD AND PURE ARE YOU DOING—IN THAT BED—WITH MY SISTER?!" Ron looked as if he was on the verge of an apoplexy.
"Ron…I…let me…this isn't how it looks…" Harry was at a loss for what to say.
"No, Harry, we don't need to explain ourselves." Ginny gave Harry one last kiss, got out of bed, and marched over to where her brother stood. "Harry and I are both adults, Ron, and really, it's none of your business. Unless, of course, you'd like to share what it is you and Hermione do in bed together." A little of the wind came out of Ron's sails. "That's what I thought. For your information, Harry and I are dating, and that is all you need to know about the subject." She stood on her tiptoes, and felt his forehead. "Now, if you don't cool down, you might come down with a serious case of Bat Bogey." Ron slumped, defeated, and Harry grinned. He was going to have to be on his toes with Ginny.
"Er, Ron, what was this you were saying about a package?" Harry chimed in when he felt Ron had suffered enough.
"Oh, er, right, well, there's a package out in the kitchen. Addressed to both of us." Ron smiled a little sheepishly. "I tried to open it already, but it won't open unless you're there, too."
"Well, let's go have a look, shall we mate?"
They all trooped out to the kitchen, where there was a package sitting on the kitchen table, addressed to: Lando Calrissian and Han Solo (Ron and Harry).
"Here, Harry, you open it, and read it." Ron handed him the letter.
"Ron, what did you do?" Harry asked when he saw the envelope.
"What do you mean, what did I do? How do you know I did anything?" Denial, a sure sign of guilt. Thought Harry. He sighed, opened the letter, and began reading.
Dear Lando and Han (and Princess Leia—that's you, Ginny—because we bet you're still there),
Ah, the code names. We thought them quite appropriate given the circumstances. Ickle Ronniekins just didn't seem to suit our purposes. By the way, Ron, if you need an explanation, Harry can fill you in later. He is, after all, the one who introduced us to the names.
Now, as to what exactly happened, we'll tell you—absolutely nothing. Unless, of course, something happened this morning that we didn't know about (in which case, both: "Go Harry" and "We'll tear you limb from limb next time we see you, mate."). You see, being the delightful fun we are, we decided to follow you to the bar. Good old Lando was kind enough to inform us of where and when you were going, and from there, it was a piece of cake. You, Han and Leia (Harry and Ginny if you haven't been paying proper attention), got yourselves plenty drunk enough for our plan to take action. You see, the broomstick company, if you hadn't guessed, was a complete setup (thanks for the donation of 10 sickles to Weasleys' Wizarding Wheezes). That was our associate, Mundungus, setup as the proprietor. It was simple enough to stun you from behind, and cart you back here.
Now, normally, we wouldn't do anything more than rough you up a little, but we felt that Lando (that is, Ron) deserved a little payback. You really shouldn't be able to sell out your best mate and get away with it. So we decided to make it look as though more had occurred than actually did occur (to our knowledge). We put little Han and Leia in their pj's—though Leia didn't have any, so she had to borrow some of Han's. And you know us, terribly messy and all that. Sorry we didn't fold up the clothes or anything. Did poor little Ron get to appreciate our handiwork? We did leave him and Hermione alone…and on Saturday—the day being, now, Sunday.
Anyway, we hope you kids don't mind too much, and even if you did, too bad, because what's done is done. Just remember, there's much worse we could have done, and no pictures were taken to send to the Prophet (Says you!). We hope you enjoyed a very Weasley Valentine's Day, Harry! Ginny, we were just trying to help you get over your git of an ex-boyfriend. And Ron, well, serves you right if you had a heart attack, and if you didn't, then we can only lament at life's unfairness.
Enjoy the rest of Sunday and perhaps (if you're not going to kill us, that is), give us a Floo later on, and let us know how the trick came off.
Darth Vader (that is, Fred and George, if you hadn't figured it out yet)
PS~ Along with the sobering charms we performed on Harry and Ginny, we have enclosed another Valentine's gift for the two of them.
"So, Ron, or should we call you Lando?" Harry began, "What exactly is it that you did. Not that I can't figure it out myself, but I'd rather hear it from you."
"Er, well, you see, they promised to leave me and Hermione alone if I'd tell them where you were going. It seemed harmless. I know they'd never actually hurt you, or do something truly bad, and it seemed the perfect way to finally have a peaceful date with Hermione. They never leave us alone, if they can help it." Ron's chin came out stubbornly. "Just wait until they start dating someone. See how they like it, when I torture them."
"Harry, would you mind telling us about the nicknames?" Ginny asked.
"Oh, right. Well, one time, when the twins were bored, they asked me to tell them about something Muggle, so I told them about Star Wars. It's this series of American movies. Aunt Petunia had to special order them for Dudley one time, and he only watched them once, but I loved them. But, to make a long story short, Darth Vader is the villain, Han and Leia are two of the heroes, and they wind up falling in love. Lando is one of Han's friends, and when we first see him, instead of helping Han, he helps Darth Vader, because Vader got there first. Lando eventually helps Han and Leia escape." That's not quite exactly how it works…but close enough.
Ginny smiled. "I see. Lando. That sounds about right." She glared at Ron. "So, what are you going to do to redeem yourself?"
Ron sort of looked around, trying to find some thing that would distract Harry and Ginny. "So…umm….Hey, what's in the box? Didn't they say they left you something?"
Harry smiled, glad to let Ron get away—for now. "Right, good thinking, Ron." Ron sighed in obvious relief as Harry looked into the box, and began laughing.
"What is it, mate? What's in the box?" Ron asked, trying to look. Instead of handing the box to Ron, Harry gave it to Ginny, who took one look inside, and started giggling.
Still laughing, Harry handed Ron the box. Inside was a shaker of salt.
"I don't get it," Ron stated.
"That's all right, Ron, I don't think you're supposed to," Ginny assured him. She smiled at Harry, grabbed the saltshaker, and threw it under the kitchen table. "Oh, oops, I seem to have dropped it. Harry, I'm going to go after it." She smiled at him, and disappeared under the table
Harry grinned. "I think I should go help her. Look for it, I mean." He disappeared under the table, too.
Ron sighed, and walked away. "I still don't get it. Maybe I should go Floo Hermione."