It's true. I
sighed like a third year girl ogling a picture of the bass player from
the Weird Sisters, and I hated myself for it.
If I cared about
Ginny, why wouldn't I want to see her laughing with Neville? I
certainly didn't want to see her unhappy. It's just….
Right. I'm a prat.
course, Ginny heard me sigh. She stopped laughing for a moment and
looked at me with those beautiful eyes. That's what Ginny does – she
listens – she observes – and then, at just the right moment, she'll say
or do just the right thing. I know this is true because this summer,
she did that for me. Thanks to her, I have maintained my self-absorbed
prat status and have not fallen into self-absorbed git status.
I grimaced what I hoped was a smile at her, and she turned back to Neville.
of repeating the sigh, I turned to watch Ron's owl, Pigwidgeon, sail
through the Great Hall with a small box. Since the owl post usually
arrives at breakfast and not dinner, this attracted some attention.
Seamus read Luna Lovegood's name aloud and then asked Ron, "Who would
have sent it to her?"
"The jewelry shop," Ron answered,
irritably. "Luna doesn't have an owl, and she wanted to have these
earrings repaired." He held up the two bright red radish earrings Luna
was fond of wearing.
"I heard that radishes are part of a potion that is a powerful aphrodisiac," Seamus chortled.
Did I mention that Seamus is a prat too?
don't you deliver these to Luna and see if she'll whip you up a batch?"
Ron said. "I'm sure you could slip a love potion into Millicent
Bulstrode's tea while she fights Pansy Parkinson for the last platter
of chicken parts."
That is when I realized that we were all
prats. A regular prat brigade. And we didn't deserve nice girls to go
out with us. The problem was we didn't deserve Millicent Bulstrode or
Pansy Parkinson either.
Dean sidled over carrying a parchment.
few months ago, I would have said Dean deserved Pansy Parkinson – heck,
I would have said that Dean deserved the chicken parts. That's because
Ginny told Ron that she had chosen Dean to go out with. Apparently Dean
had not been informed of this news. If Dean had been informed – then he
made the wrong choice in not dating Ginny.
So now I could feel magnanimous toward Dean – he was a prat to be pitied, like the rest of us.
didn't seem to be wallowing in angst and regret, however. He was
excited about the upcoming Hogsmeade trip. "Dumbledore has arranged for
our Hogsmeade trip to be on Friday night, February fourteenth, instead
"Cool – that's Valentine's Day," Ron said.
Yes, Ron said 'cool' and 'Valentine's Day' in the same sentence. His fellow prats stared at him.
wanted to go someplace fancy for Valentine's Day," Ron said, his ears
turning red. "And a lot of the nice restaurants are only open at night."
I mention that Hermione, despite knowing Ron's membership in the prat
brigade, had somehow fallen in love with him? To his credit, Ron knew
he didn't deserve her, either.
"That's great!" Seamus said excitedly. "You deserve a reward for showing me that!"
"Why?" Dean asked.
"Because I know where we can get our hands on some Fire –" He stopped short at Ron's narrowed eyes.
"–wood," Seamus continued hastily. "For our outdoor bonfire – to celebrate Valentine's Day."
We were always forgetting we had a prefect in our prat brigade.
the thing," Dean said, picking up the story from Seamus. "We don't have
steady girlfriends to go to fancy restaurants. We'll have a little fire
in the woods – invite some girls and have an outdoor picnic."
"Who are you going to invite?" Seamus asked, eying the radishes as if though he might indeed have time to whip up a potion.
"The luscious Jeanne," Dean answered.
yes," Seamus said with the air of the connoisseur. Then Seamus went on
to explain, in great detail, what was so luscious about Jeanne's chest.
Why we listened to this is beyond me, since all of us had duly noted
Jeanne's striking summer metamorphosis within the first five seconds of
seeing her on the Hogwarts Express. Luckily, Ron's intervention saved
us from sinking to git status.
"You can't ask her!" Ron
protested. The rest of Gryffindor, including Ginny at the far end of
the table, turned to look at him. He ducked his head and lowered his
voice. "Neville likes her."
"Oh." Dean was unperturbed. "Is that why he's been hanging around the fifth years?"
Maybe that was it! I had found new hope. Ginny was just being kind to Neville to help him with her friend, Jeanne.
Not pausing to think that perhaps Ginny was just being kind to me
all summer, I followed her out of the Great Hall. She was going down
the corridor toward McGonagall's classroom for some reason. Then I
remembered that she had her O.W.L. study group on Tuesday evenings
Did I mention that as part of my third-year-girl-in-love-with-a-bass-player persona, I had memorized Ginny's schedule?
I called. She stopped and waited for me to catch up. There was no one
in the corridor and I knew I had to ask her before I lost my nerve.
you go to Hogsmeade with me this Friday night?" I was able to ask this
in an appropriately-breathless third-year-girl voice since I had
sprinted down the corridor to reach her.
Her eyes grew wide and she paled.
Not the reaction I was hoping for.
got worse. Her face turned red – Weasley-red-to-the-ears red. "No," she
said tersely. "I can't. I'm going with Neville." Then she did a
complete about-face and said to the floor, "Sorry."
her speed down the corridor past her classroom and then turn the
corner. From a distance, I heard an angry thud – like she had thrown
That thud woke up my own anger. I kicked the heavy
oak classroom door that had survived hundreds of years of rejected
prats like me. I immediately regretted it since I broke my toe. It's a
very sensitive part of the anatomy, you know.
Pomfrey said my toe wasn't broken from kicking the door after Harry
asked me out. That was a small comfort since a broken toe could have
been fixed, but a bruised one would "heal itself" over time. Useless
Of course it was my own fault – all of it.
First I let Jeanne talk me into going along on her date with Neville.
She was too nervous to go on her own. Why she was so nervous I really
don't know. She and Neville have been friends for years – they grew up
I think it had to do with the fact that Jeanne's
chest grew over the summer and she was now a Chaser on the Gryffindor
team. Those two facts – sorry, bad pun – made the older boys start to
notice her and it made her nervous. And perhaps it was those two facts
that made Neville nervous around her all of a sudden, because he wanted
me to come along as well.
It was also my fault that I let my
temper get the better of me. Just when I think I have it under control,
something like Harry asking me out two hours too late, will send me
into a tailspin – and I turn into a silly little girl. But this was
worse – I was a silly little girl who was not kind to Harry. And he
didn't deserve that – not at all.
Harry deserves someone sweet and kind who loves him completely. I only fit the last part, I'm afraid.
Jeanne, Neville and I, along with Jeanne's chest, went to Hogsmeade on
Friday night. On the long walk through the mild February night, Jeanne
and Neville started talking like the old friends they were. I trailed
behind, knowing my moral support duties were over before they had
begun. I left them at the door of Madam Puddifoots and wandered over to
Dervish and Bangs. The first person I saw was Harry.
as miserable and lonely as I felt and I almost went to him except for
the fact that I am a silly little girl sometimes. I fled to Honeydukes
until he turned up there. I entered shop after shop only to exit the
minute I saw that adorably messy hair.
Finally I decided to
find the bonfire everyone had been whispering about all week. I didn't
fancy a party, but my toe hurt and I was tired of walking. I could at
least sit on a log and rest my foot. Besides, it might be interesting.
Even though Fred and George had organized those sorts of parties at
Hogwarts, I had never been to one.
Did I mention having six older brothers is a pain?
Ron was out with Hermione, I had no worries about being caught. I found
the bonfire with no problems, but it wasn't exactly the kind of party I
wanted to join.
I wandered around
Hogsmeade, a regular prat tragic hero, until I saw Neville. I wanted to
turn and walk out of Quality Quidditch Supplies but a bunch of
Hufflepuffs was blocking the exit. So I was forced to watch Neville on
his outing with… Jeanne? My mouth dropped open and my mind raced. What
about Ginny? Did he ditch her for the girl with the chest?
I was so angry for Ginny that I hardly noticed Neville's friendly greeting or Jeanne's shy smile.
"Where's Ginny?" I growled.
Neville shrugged. "I think she was going to the bonfire after she looked 'round the shops."
The bonfire. Ginny had no business at one of Seamus's parties.
stopping to hex Neville for ditching Ginny, I ran down the High Street
and into the woods. I had visions of Ginny, heart-broken and
bewildered, being plied with Firewhisky so some drunken seventh year
I ran faster, holding my lit wand so I didn't trip
over any of the stones or logs scattered over the forest floor. I was
so intent on not tripping that I ran straight into Ginny.
thought my bruised toe hurt until I ran into Harry. By then it was my
injured ego I was concerned about. I didn't want him to know that
Jeanne and Neville had ditched me.
Surprisingly, he didn't harp on Neville or Jeanne. "Were you at the bonfire?"
Normally I resent being asked my whereabouts, but he looked so worried.
Did I mention how cute Harry is when he's worried?
"Yes, but I didn't want to stay."
His eyes narrowed. "How did you rip your robes?"
I really didn't want to tell him, but he looked ready to charge into the party and start hexing people.
put my hand on his arm. Ignoring that little thrill I always felt when
I touched him, I told him about my bruised toe. "So I sat on the log
and took off my shoe and sock. Dean came over and asked me what I was
Before I knew it, I was indignant all over again. "Do
you know what he said to me?" I think I was tugging on Harry's sleeve
at this point. "Dean said, 'I happen to think you have very cute toes.'"
let go of Harry's sleeve and crossed my arms in front of me. "He was so
drunk. You know – that quiet kind of drunk?" I glanced at Harry who was
I can't tell you how he was looking. Of all the expressions I've seen on Harry's face, that was a new one.
did your robes rip?" he asked in a quiet voice. If there was a quiet
kind of drunk, then I was witnessing a quiet kind of anger.
frowned at him. Why was he so upset? "I put my sock and shoe back on,
because I decided to leave. But Dean passed out and landed on my robes.
When I tugged them away, they ripped."
"Dean didn't say anything more?"
shrugged. "Something about luscious… But it didn't make much sense." I
was glad to be away from the yelling and the couples snogging and the
third years being sick behind the trees. Suddenly I realized that this
situation had potential. Harry and I were alone in the dark forest on
Any hopes I had
of a romantic Valentine's Day were gone. Ginny had been dumped by
Neville and then hit on by Dean who was so drunk he was mumbling about
her luscious…. Well, it was hard to say which part of Ginny Dean
thought was luscious since I thought all of her qualified for that
I looked up at the starry sky and resolved not to be a total prat.
resolved not to rant about Dean or Neville or question Ginny's poor
judgment. I resolved not to touch her in any way. I resolved to be the
sweet and kind sort of bloke all the girls seemed to like.
I lasted about five minutes.
was a little worried when Harry didn't say anything for the first five
minutes. He lead me out of the forest, turning back to check on me
every third step. I don't remember much about that part of it except
that the underbrush crackled under our feet and the air was chilly.
we were on the path, he fell into step beside me. I decided to break
the silence. "Do you know why Seamus was putting radishes in everyone's
drink?" I asked.
I was not expecting Harry to wheel around
with blazing eyes and start a tirade. "Because Seamus is a prat when
he's sober and a total git when he's drunk. He had some rubbish idea
that he could get into a girl's –"
He stopped himself and stalked off, his shoulders hunched.
I was not thrilled with this turn of events.
"Harry! Don't you walk away from me!" I hobbled after him, my toe throbbing.
He stopped dead in his tracks and looked up at the sky. In the dim light I could see the little cloud of white from his breath.
"You shouldn't have gone to the party alone, Ginny," he said in a quiet voice.
"I know." That was as far as I was going to admit – and I'm sure I sounded grudging at that.
"And you shouldn't have said yes to Neville."
I saw red.
couldn't believe that she tried to hex me. At the last possible second
I saw her raise her wand and mutter something that sounded like "bat"
in Latin. I ducked out of the way in time and grabbed my own wand,
hoping we weren't about to duel.
But Ginny was too angry to
duel. "You don't know anything! I only went with Neville and Jeanne
because Neville was afraid of Jeanne's chest and Jeanne was afraid that
Neville only liked her for her chest!" She was so close I could smell
her perfume. This was an unfair distraction – even more unfair than
hexing me when I was unarmed.
The part of my brain that wasn't captivated by her perfume registered the fact that Ginny had said "Neville and Jeanne."
"Wait a minute," I said looking down at her.
Have I mentioned the fact that Ginny's eyes are bright and brown?
"You turned me down to go on a date with Neville and Jeanne?"
"I told you that!" she hissed.
"No, you didn't." I was never so relieved in my life.
was never so relieved in my life. The reason he had been avoiding me
all week was he thought I had agreed to a date with Neville. Somehow, I
had left out the part about Jeanne. Probably because I was so
disappointed not to be going to Hogsmeade with him. If I hadn't been so
silly, Harry could have come along too. We had wasted the whole night.
I tucked my wand back into my robes, feeling foolish. Harry did the same.
Neither one of us moved.
"Do you hate Valentine's Day as much as I do?" Harry finally asked. I could hear the smile in his voice.
I could say this in all honesty. First that horrible singing Valentine
and then Quidditch practice last year while Michael sulked. Yes, I
hated Valentine's Day.
"Well, it's over," Harry said, looking at his watch.
"It's over?" Did this mean he was going back to school alone?
"It's just past midnight. It's February fifteenth," he said, sounding strange.
took a step back in order to see his face. I trod on a stick or a
stone. Whatever it was, I lost my balance and I started to tumble
I grabbed her by the
upper arms. Since it was no longer Valentine's Day, I felt a curse had
been lifted, so instead of letting her go, I pulled her close.
Every luscious curve of her body was pressed next to mine.
Did I mention I was in love with this girl?
Then there was a February fifteenth miracle. She put her arms around me and lifted her face.
I did not faint like a third year girl seeing the bass player for the
Weird Sisters in the flesh. Instead, I kissed her sweet mouth. That was
luscious, too. Also luscious were her hair and the curve from her hip
to her waist and the spot –
You can't put that in a letter to your thirteen-year-old daughter!"
Ginny said this a little breathlessly, since her husband was tracing
with his hand the parts of her body as he described them to the Quick
Quotes Quill. "She just wanted to know why we celebrate February
fifteenth instead of Valentine's Day!"
They were laying on the settee together in front a roaring fire, the only light in the darkened room.
"I could tell her that the flowers and chocolates are always half price," Harry said.
Ginny giggled and rolled on top of him. "You don't have to tell her anything."
laughed and settled his arms around her. "She doesn't know who the
Weird Sisters are anyway." He sighed. "I think it's best to be an
enigma. It's the only power I have left."
"We could try, 'You'll understand when you're older.'" Ginny shook her head. "That's only two years from now."
shut his eyes. "There's a whole new prat brigade at Hogwarts." He
opened his eyes in appeal. "Isn't there a magical all-girls school
somewhere in the mountains?"
"You can't stop her from growing
up," Ginny soothed. She ran her hand through his hair – still so thick
and black. They weren't that old, she thought. Talking about their days
at Hogwarts when they first discovered each other brought all those
feelings rushing back.
The firelight was flickering over them both. "Were you really in love with me when you kissed me for the first time?" she asked.
"Yes," he said, slowly sliding his hand down her back. "How could I not be?"
"I was in love with you, too," Ginny said.
"I didn't know – I was ready to try the radishes next."
"I liked your side of the story, but why didn't you mention my luscious chest?" she asked, rubbing up against him.
"Why didn't you mention mine?" he countered.
giggled and started to nibble at that special spot just below his ear.
"Because yours is a magnificent chest – not luscious."
"And we're married," Ginny continued, "we don't have to talk…."
"Let's not talk about our magnificent chests in bed," he suggested.
As they left the room, Harry took out his wand and flicked the story of February fifteenth into the fire.
"So what are you going to tell her?" Ginny asked.
chocolates," he said as they walked to their bedroom. Then he slid his
arm around her waist. "And that her mother has cute toes."