A/N: Ginny's fifth-year classes are based on the schedule outlined for Harry's fifth year in the OotP, as documented in the HP Lexicon. Thanks to Chreechree, for everything, and to Sherry, my PS beta.
Monday morning found Ginny daydreaming about Harry despite her stern resolution to get over him. She distantly heard Professor Binns explaining the utter pointlessness of the Manchester Witch Trials of 1713.
The "witches" had actually been a group of cross-dressing wizards plastered out of their skulls, caught performing Transfiguration charms on their robes when they had gone out to town for a bit of fun and merry-making. Once they had sobered up, the wizards had simply transformed their dresses back into respectable robes and had nonchalantly mingled with the confused and angry Muggle crowd who had been eagerly awaiting a witch-burning, thus making good their escape. They had even joined in the heckling for letting the "witches" get away.
Ginny let the sepulchral voice of Professor Binns wash over her and she soon drifted off, smiling as she recalled the different ways she and Hermione had come up with to implement her scheme, starting from
Number 1—Convince Yourself He's Just Another One of Your Brothers.
"I can't imagine Harry as a redhead, Ginny," Hermione said doubtfully. "Or having freckles, for that matter."
"Me either. I know he's already an honorary Weasley and Mum would adopt him in the blink of a hippogriff's eye, but I really wouldn't be able to imagine snogging him if he looked like one of my brothers," Ginny replied with a grimace. "Though I think that if he was a redhead, I would have some competition from you, eh?"
At Hermione's look of puzzlement, Ginny added with a grin, "I know you have a thing for redheaded men, right? Or at least one redheaded man in particular?"
After Hermione smacked her several times on the arm, Ginny and Hermione went back to their list, but had not got beyond
Number 2 - Imagine Him Wearing Really Manky Old Y-Fronts All the Time.
before dissolving into fits of frenzied giggles. This led to a furious whispered discussion between the two girls as to what the boys actually wore underneath their robes.
"Ron doesn't wear Y-fronts," Hermione said with certainty, her hands folded primly on her lap.
"I know he doesn't, but how do you know that he doesn't?" Ginny asked, her eyes dancing with amusement. "When have you had the pleasure of being intimately acquainted with my brother's pants? I would never have thought it of you, Hermione! I'm so proud! Wait until Fred and George hear about this!"
Her ears turning pink, Hermione gave Ginny an annoyed look. "I have not been in Ron's undergarments!" she hissed. "It's just that I overheard him telling Harry last summer that he has all the Cannons merchandise, including the pyjamas and the boxers! Don't you dare tell Fred and George anything, Ginny Weasley!"
"Okay, okay. Keep your hair on," Ginny said, laughing outright at Hermione's irate countenance.
After she managed to control her laughter, Ginny added, "Well, Harry doesn't wear Y-fronts either."
It was Hermione's turn to raise her eyebrows. "Oh, and how would you know that? Have you been in Harry's undergarments?"
Ginny grinned triumphantly. "As a matter of fact, I have. Sort of. Mum gave him boxers for Christmas last year. I helped her pick them out, and I was the one who sewed his initials on them. I figured that was the closest I was going to get to his bits, so I wasn't going to waste the opportunity."
She leaned back in her chair with a satisfied smirk, enjoying the scandalized expression on her friend's face. "Some of those boxers are quite charming, to say the least. There's even one that's mauve and covered with the most darling little dancing teddy bears."
Hermione let out a little shriek of laughter, causing Harry and Ron to shoot them concerned looks that clearly indicated that the boys thought they had gone on a train ride to Loonland and were not coming back home anytime soon.
Ginny's gaze drifted to Harry's lap, and her face became quite warm as she considered that Harry was at that moment, probably wearing a pair of boxers which she had personally handled. She caught Hermione's eye, and they collapsed into frenzied giggling once again.
"Have you two gone off your trolley?" When he did not receive any coherent answer from both girls except more silly laughter, Ron had taken their merriment as a personal insult and had stomped up the stairwell to the boys' dormitory muttering about "crazy adopted sisters and their mental friends", followed by an equally bemused Harry. He, however, still managed to say a pleasant goodnight to Ginny.
The bell rang to signal the end of the lesson, jerking Ginny and the rest of the class awake. Professor Binns assigned a twelve-inch essay (Witch Trials – How Muggles Completely Missed the Point, Again) before disappearing into the blackboard. Ginny made her way down to double Potions, which had become more interesting ever since Professor Slughorn had replaced Professor Snape, even though they still had to share the dungeon with the Slytherins. Ginny spent an entertaining hour watching the effects of a Confusing Concoction on Harper, a brown-haired Slytherin boy. She and the other Gryffindors sniggered as Harper kept trying to cut up his lovage with his shoe.
After meeting up with Harry, Ron and Hermione for lunch (where Ginny steadfastly refused to acknowledge the electric jolts that ran through her body when Harry's thigh occasionally brushed against hers under the table), Ginny trudged up the tower leading to Divination class. She climbed up the ladder to enter the dimly lit room filled with tasselled tapestries, poufy chairs and elaborate tarnished silver candelabra with tall purple and burgundy tapers slowly dripping hot wax onto their holders.
Although she did not loathe Divination as much as Hermione did, Ginny did not like the fact that it was right after lunch, which meant that her mind was sure to be in a torpid state after eating all the heavy Hogwarts food, making her feel muddle-headed and stupid. There was a large curved mirror with a strange greenish cast hanging directly behind Professor Trelawney's desk, in which one could see the slightly warped reflection of the rest of the room. It made for an unsettling sight — images seemed wobbly and indistinct, and Ginny often felt like she was floating in some kind of weird underwater milieu.
Divination was comparable to one of Madam Pomfrey's sleeping potions; the only subject that was even more sleep-inducing was History of Magic, which Ginny once remarked to Harry was the classroom equivalent of the Draught of Living Death. Harry had countered that if that was the case, then Professor Binns could be a lethal weapon in the fight against Voldemort.
Add the fact that Professor Trelawney was blithely rambling endlessly about tea leaves and other nonsense, and soon Ginny was in immediate danger of succumbing to the combined soporific effects of the crowded, airless room and the heady, cloying smell of sandalwood and jasmine incense burning on numerous brass and copper salvers scattered around the room.
She tried to make herself comfortable as she sat on a velvet ruby red pouf. A small round table with spindly legs and covered with a pink lace tablecloth separated her from her partner, Colin Creevey. Similar tables were spread throughout the room, and each table held a small teapot and two dainty teacups. The tea set on Ginny's table had an interesting delicate blue and white design of a witch watching over a herd of prancing Porlocks, but few of these details registered with Ginny as she felt immeasurably stifled in the overly hot room. She unlatched the window next to her and eased it open a tiny fraction, hoping the slight current of fresh air that hit her face would revive her.
Ginny could see the rounded structure that was Hagrid's hut near the edges of the Forbidden Forest even as a flock of birds suddenly erupted from the treetops as if they had been startled into flight. The flat green expanse of the Quidditch pitch was visible as well. She looked longingly at the golden hoops glinting in the afternoon sun, rising high above the grounds, wishing she was out flying instead of being stuck inside the sticky warmth of the oppressive room.
As she stared distractedly into the grounds, she noticed a pair of students walking leisurely towards Hagrid's cabin, which had a column of hazy white smoke issuing from the slanted chimney. Ginny recognized Ron from the head of unmistakable bright red-orange hair. That could only mean that the dark-haired boy loping gracefully at his side was Harry.
Sure enough, Harry turned to say something to Ron, causing the sunlight to reflect of his glasses. Even though she was too far away, Ginny imagined that she could see Harry's amazing green eyes as he and Ron laughed about something. For the thousandth time, she wished that she were out of the stuffy classroom and walking around the grounds like Harry and her brother. Or maybe taking a lovely stroll with just Harry. She watched as the enormous girth of Hagrid appeared in the doorway of his house, his meaty hand raised in greeting. Hagrid's boarhound Fang bounded out to knock the two boys to the ground and slobbered all over their robes.
"Now, my dears, you should drink your tea until only a small amount is left. Then hand your cup to the person sitting opposite you, please." Professor Trelawney's breathy voice drifted over the classroom, startling Ginny out of her reverie. She realized that the other students were now exchanging their cups with each other, and there was a crashing noise as one of the china plates fell to the floor and smashed into tiny pieces. The professor hurried over and berated the student for breaking one of her precious saucers.
"Ginny," Colin whispered from across the little table in between them. "Give me your cup before Trelawney catches you daydreaming your head off in her class again. She's already caught you about a million times already."
"Huh? What's that?" Ginny swivelled around to Colin, nearly knocking her tea cup over. She managed to catch it before it toppled off the little table.
"Give me the cup, give me the cup," Colin insisted, holding out his own tea cup for Ginny to take. "Drink the tea then hand it to me. We're supposed to be reading tea leaves already."
"Oh, right. Hang on." Ginny hastily gulped her lukewarm tea, almost swallowing the loose leaves in the process. She choked a little then grimaced at the bitter aftertaste.
"How come we don't get to put sugar in these things? They taste bloody awful. And why are we studying tea leaves again?" She was about to switch cups with Colin when Professor Trelawney materialized in front of them like some gigantic jewelled stick insect. Her already large eyes were even more magnified by the tortoiseshell glasses that she wore.
"Tasseomancy—" Trelawney breathed dramatically into Ginny's face. Ginny wrinkled her nose in distaste as she caught a whiff of what smelled like cooking sherry or some other sweet liqueur. Now that the Seer was up close, she positively reeked of alcoholic fumes. No wonder Trelawney always seemed out of it. Ginny discreetly held her breath as the Professor continued speaking.
"—that is what the art of reading tea leaves is formally called. Its history can be traced back hundreds and hundreds of years back to the Gypsies. It is a most useful way of divining the future. When interpreted correctly, the tea leaves are indeed invaluable help and may assist us in guiding our actions accordingly to ensure the success of our fate." The Professor waved her hands expansively, bumping the tiny table in the process, causing the china to rattle alarmingly and the tea to slosh around the teapot, spilling a few drops onto the lace tablecloth.
"If I had to drink tea and read tea leaves every time I had to make a decision in my life, I would never make it out of the bleeding loo," Ginny said to Colin out of the corner of her mouth, as she hastily moved to prevent the teapot from tipping over. The blond boy clapped his hand over his mouth to cover a fit of giggles, earning him an irritated glare from the Divination professor, whose apparent spirituality and mysticism did not preclude her from hearing snide remarks said in an undertone by an impertinent fifth-year student.
"It is said that only those witches or wizards with natural artistic skills are able to perform Tasseomancy properly." Ginny squirmed uncomfortably under Professor Trelawney's suddenly beady stare.
"Though we have touched upon this subject in your third year, my Inner Eye has told me that Tasseomancy will form the bulk of your O.W.L.s this year," she announced to the class. "So, to prepare you for this, I will now give a demonstration on the correct way of preparing the leaves for reading. Miss Weasley, if you would hand me your cup? I do hope that you were thinking and concentrating on a question whilst you were consuming your tea, hmmm?"
Ginny wanted to retort that she was too busy trying not to gag while consuming the tepid brew to think of a question but thought it better not to rile up the old bat. She smiled sweetly and nodded as she gave Trelawney her china cup.
Professor Trelawney turned the cup upside down on a saucer, letting the remaining liquid drain away. She picked it up with her left hand, after which she swirled it around three times in a clockwise direction. She covered it with her right hand and swirled it some more. Professor Trelawney then peered into the patterns formed by the tea leaves along the sides and bottom of the cup.
"I see — I see — a — harp and — also — a — forked line," Trelawney said in a solemn tone, slowly tracing patterns with her long bejewelled fingers, an intense look in her eyes as she stared into the teacup. Her numerous bracelets jangled and clinked softly against her wrist as her arm moved over Ginny's cup. "Now, Mr. Creevey, would you like to tell the rest of the class what those symbols mean? Quickly, my dear boy, quickly! Before we lose any of the lovely aura surrounding us."
"Um, okay, well…" Colin hurriedly flipped open his rather stained copy of Unfogging the Future to the chapter on Tasseomancy and ran a stubby finger down the list of symbols and their supposed meanings. Ginny squinted at the cup, trying to see what Professor Trelawney was pointing out. All she could make out were sodden tea leaves.
"Ah, here we are!" Colin piped up eagerly. "Well, it says here that the harp means romance, and a forked line means that a decision has to be made." Colin was now leaning forward, and his eyes were shining with excitement as he read from the book. "Ooh, Professor, you know what, if you close your eyes half-way and tilt your head slightly to the right, this blob over here by the rim of the cup kind of looks like an owl!"
"An owl?" Ginny asked, peering intently at the cup. "That's a very waterlogged owl, if it is one," she mumbled to herself.
"Yes, an owl," was Colin's response. Either he had not heard what Ginny had said or had chosen to ignore it. "And it's supposed to be a sign of luck – either good luck or bad luck ahead."
"Hmmm… Yes, yes, it seems that you are correct on all points, Mr. Creevey," Professor Trelawney sighed mystically, but the gaze she levelled on Ginny was quite keen. "My dear, it seems that you have been having some problems in the field of romance? Perhaps a major dilemma in the mysterious matters of the heart? It seems that it will be resolved in a short amount of time, although I am sorry to say that even my own normally infallible Inner Eye cannot penetrate the dark fog that has enveloped your aura."
The professor's hands fluttered dramatically over Ginny. "May I suggest a cleansing ritual by the lake? You will need a pint of lavender water, some sprigs of mistletoe — make sure to hex the Nargles off first — and a good amount of bubotuber pus. The best time to do it would be during the new moon. Oh, and you need to be naked, my dear."
Ginny stared at the Divination teacher in shock. Was she actually on to something? Beside her, Colin gave a strangled laugh. She opened her mouth to answer, but Professor Trelawney had already patted her hand in what she probably thought was a consoling manner. "We can only hope everything works out for you, my dear, although I highly doubt it."
Giving her a last tragic glance behind her enormous spectacles, Professor Trelawney floated on to the next table to predict another morbid future for one more hapless student.
"Colin, can you really see all of those ridiculous things you and Trelawney have been babbling about?" Ginny demanded, grabbing the cup that their teacher had returned to the table. "You're not having me on, are you? Because if you are, I'd like you to remember who taught you that nasty Itching Curse a few days ago. Remember that one? Up until yesterday, that pompous plonker Harper and his idiot mates couldn't sit still for more than a few seconds without having to scratch their arses." She glared at the small blond boy.
Colin looked a bit put-out and more than a little alarmed. He evidently remembered the potency of Ginny's hexes, having been witness, and occasionally a victim, to many of them. "Of course I can see them, Ginny. Why would I rag you? Look, here's the harp over here by the bottom of the cup, it even has the strings and everything. And connected to it is the forked line that the Professor pointed out. And here we have the owl that I mentioned. See the little wings and the tiny feet? And the beak?" He gestured to what Ginny could only describe as a big splotch of sopping tea leaves. There was a vague shape that remotely resembled a forked line, but that was about all she could make out.
"Nope, sorry. Can't see it. It looks like a big splotch of sopping tea leaves to me," Ginny confessed to a disappointed Colin, who took the cup back and held it up so closely to his face that his nose was practically touching the rim. He ignored the fact that the remaining liquid in the tea cup was dripping onto his lap as he turned the cup round and round in his hands.
Ginny leaned back into her chair, absently chewing on the end of her ponytail. Her stomach quivered uneasily, and she tried to ignore the goose bumps that had erupted on her skin when she heard what Professor Trelawney had said about her having a problem in the field of romance. Was the old fraud actually correct for once?
"Hey, Ginny!" Colin suddenly piped up. "Take a look at this! I found another pattern! See? See? Come on, even you can't deny what this looks like!"
Ginny took the cup from Colin, who was smiling rather smugly at her, the end of his nose smudged with the dregs of the tea leaves, giving the impression that it had a rather bad encounter with Wartcap powder. "This is too perfect. Come on, look at the cup," he said, and eagerly leaned forward to watch Ginny's reaction.
"Colin, you have got something quite disgusting on your nose," she told him. "You had best get rid of it before Orla Quirke sees you like that and decides not to go with you to Hogsmeade next week. It's a very unattractive look for you."
Emitting a high-pitched squeak, Colin swiped at his nose with the sleeve of his robes, succeeding in spreading the mess to the rest of his face. As he continued to furiously scrub his cheeks, Ginny turned her attention to the cup and almost dropped it when she saw what he had been pointing at.
There, beginning from the rim and cutting right through to the bottom of the cup, was a clearly defined lightning bolt.