|The Bargain: Side Effects
Author: MrIntel PM
A series of short stories set in the The Bargain universe. Read The Bargain first, or nothing will make sense.Rated: Fiction T - English - Romance/Humor - Harry P. & Ginny W. - Chapters: 3 - Words: 6,861 - Reviews: 81 - Favs: 109 - Follows: 70 - Updated: 06-14-05 - Published: 06-12-05 - id: 2435010
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
On Being Late
September 22, 1997
"Harry?" Ginny asked from the bathroom they shared off the Gryffindor common room.
Harry put down his copy of the Daily Prophet and looked at the closed door. "Yes, dear?"
A quick glance at the clock on the wall told him they had a good twenty minutes until their first class. "You've got plenty of time, Ginny."
"No, Harry," she said more forcefully. "I'm late."
The toast he was buttering slipped from his grasp as the meaning of her words sank in. "Y-you can't be late! I did my part of the Contraceptive Charm, and you took your potions. How can you be late?"
There was a pause and Harry walked over to the bathroom.
"Well, I'm late. It's been over six weeks since my last period, and the only time it's been that far off was when I first started having them. I'm as regular as your monthly detention with Snape."
Harry's head hit the door frame in exasperation. The loo flushed and Ginny started to hum as she washed her hands. When the door opened, Harry was vexed by her charming smile. "How can you be happy about this?"
"I know how the Contraceptive Charm works, Harry. You have to want to prevent the pregnancy." She sat down in Harry's chair by the window and began to eat his half-buttered toast. "It wasn't my fault this happened."
"You start thinking of names, and I'll write up a letter to Mum."
"I've always liked the name 'Rodney' or 'Grizelda'. Don't you think those are cute?"
Harry's jaw dropped and he was about to let loose with another scathingly simple 'but' when he remembered something. "You're pulling my leg aren't you?"
Ginny polished of his pumpkin juice and wiped her mouth with his napkin. "You're catching on, Mr. Potter. The look on your face was priceless, though." She winked at him and disappeared back into the bathroom.
It wasn't until she was in the shower before he decided on a course of action. Quietly opening the door, he tip-toed inside and closed it behind him. Then, pointing his wand at the shower-head, he muttered a freezing spell. It wasn't three seconds before she started to screech.
"HARRY POTTER, I'M GOING TO KILL YOU!"
The curtains parted and a very wet and naked Ginny Potter barreled onto the tile floor and slipped into his arms. The anger on her face was met with Harry's rolling laughter and even her half-hearted attempts to pummel him with her fists couldn't stop him. "You know, if this is what I have to do to get you in my arms wet and naked, I'll have to do it more often."
"You do," Ginny retorted, "and I'll be sure to make the toilet regurgitates the next time you use it."
Harry considered his options, looked at his partially-fogged watch and decided that he could be a little late for Transfiguration this morning. "Then I'll just have to take my shower with you."
"Hello, Mr. Potter. Would you care to join your classmates?" She pointed to the empty chair between Ron and Hermione, his usual place, and waited for him to enter. "I don't need to remind you that your special living arrangements don't excuse you from arriving on time?"
"Sorry...Professor," Harry said sheepishly before he shuffled to his chair. He could feel the eyes of everyone on him. Ron was looking askance at him and Hermione was tutting under her breath. His hair was still wet and his face was pink.
"Do I want to know what you and Ginny were doing?" Hermione asked under her breath.
Ron's face went ashen. "Blimey. Would you not make it so obvious? It's hard enough for a bloke to know that you're...involved with his sister, let alone to know it was happening while he was eating."
Hermione clucked her tongue again at Harry's growing smile. "Ginny said she was late..."
At this pronouncement, Ron promptly fell out of his chair, eliciting a scream from Hannah Abbot next to him. Hermione was staring a hole in Harry's face while McGonagall swooped in to discover the source of the commotion.
"Is there something wrong with your chair, Mr. Weasley?" she asked, clearly upset at the second interruption in her lesson.
Ron righted his chair and shakily sat back down. "N-no, Professor. Everything's just...fine."
McGonagall's characteristically-thin lips became even thinner. "Indeed. See that you don't interrupt my lecture again, or all three of you will be serving detention." She pointed to Ron, Harry and Hermione in succession. "Don't think I'm ignorant to your involvement, Mr. Potter."
She swept off to the front of the class and resumed lecturing. Ron leaned over to Harry's ear and whispered, "We'll finish with this later, Harry."
His smile even wider, Harry nodded and began to take notes on the subtleties of cross-gender switching spells.
"If you have studied at all during the last two months, you will have no trouble brewing the potion I am about to put on the board." Snape's veiled threats were particularly acidic today, as he swept around the room. He always seemed to find Harry's eyes at the end of every comment, especially when it was a subtle slam on Harry's 'summer activities' as he put it. But every time he would try to bait Harry into becoming angry, Harry would simply think back to a particularly nice moment with Ginny, and it would all melt away.
"However," Snape continued, "seeing as how some of us weren't as fortunate as to be allowed to canoodle on our holidays, perhaps there will be a distinct lack of quality in today's potion." The greasy-haired wizard had a sour look on his face, as if the mere thought of Harry and Ginny being allowed to marry while in school had caused a cup of lemon juice to appear in his mouth. "Therefore, all substandard work will be tested on Mr. Potter." He said it with a sneer, and waved his wand at the board, revealing the potion they were to be working on.
"Contraceptus Potion," Hermione muttered beside him. "He wouldn't!"
"I assure you, Miss Granger," Snape confirmed, "that the Contraceptus Potion is N.E.W.T. level, and an approved potion for classroom instruction." He paused and cast a leering smile at Harry. "Mister Potter is the ideal candidate for testing as he is, after all, the only one in the class with someone to...test it with."
Snape turned around and stalked to his desk, but Harry had a sudden idea.
"Professor?" Harry asked, his hand dutifully raised in the air. "I'm sure your test plans are well intended, but did you really want to risk having more Potters in your class so soon?"
The sallow-skinned potions master seemed to pale in the dim light of the classroom. He narrowed his eyes and said, "Begin."
Harry shared a secret smile with Ron, who was just as pale as Snape, and began to brew the potion. For once, Harry thought he might actually have a practical use for his potions lesson.
When they arrived in her office, Professor McGonagall was seated with Professor Snape, and there were two empty chairs opposite them. He and Ginny sat down without being asked. Ginny shifted nervously beside him.
"I assume you know why you are here?" their Head of House asked imperiously.
Neither of the teens spoke, but Harry could feel the tension in the room increase. Surely this was not all for a little comment in class?
"Professor Snape has informed me that there might be a serious development between the two of you that needs to be cleared up. I assured him that neither of you would be so irresponsible, especially considering that – although we have made an exception to matriculate the two of you – despite your married status, pregnant students simply cannot be enrolled." She cast her eyes on Ginny, whose face was hidden by her hair.
Harry goggled at her. "I thought you were joking! You really are pregnant?"
"So it's true, then?" Snape accused. "You've gone and done it now, Potter."
McGonagall silenced Snape with a look and turned back to Ginny. "What do you have to say for yourself, Mrs. Potter?"
Ginny finally looked up and clutched at her side with uproarious laughter. "NO!" she shouted between giggles. "I'm not pregnant!"
Snape's face fell, as if he'd just lost a bet with Dumbledore on who would win the House Cup that year.
"I can assure you this is no laughing matter, Miss – Mrs. Potter."
Ginny finally contained her mirth and said, "Oh, yes it is. Professor Snape had no business listening in on my private conversation with Rebecca." Rebecca DeMilles was the only Gryffindor female in her year.
"I had a duty to ensure that you weren't plotting something against the school," Snape retorted with a flash in his eyes.
"And you heard half the story and slunk along to tattle, didn't you?" Ginny accused, defiantly jutting her chin in his direction.
"How dare you..." Snape began before being cut off.
"Enough," McGonagall commanded. "Why don't you tell us the whole story, then?"
Ginny looked to Harry, who nodded, still a little slow on the uptake, but vastly curious as to what Snape heard his wife telling Rebecca.
"This morning, I played a prank on Harry, here," she said, jabbing a thumb in his direction. "I told him I was late, not exactly telling him what it was that I was late for, and he assumed I was late for Potions. When I told him it was my period that was late, and that I was probably pregnant, he almost lost his breakfast. After I let him off the hook, though, he thought it would be funny to get me back and charmed my shower to freeze." Ginny paused in her tale for a moment and a faint bit of pink appeared on her cheeks. "We...uh, were a little late to class after that."
Harry could tell that McGonagall was trying very hard not to smile, as a small tremor in her thin lips could be detected every other second. "Indeed," she managed to say without a break in her composure.
Ginny continued, "Then when I was telling Rebecca about it, after class had been dismissed, Professor Snape eavesdropped behind us until he heard the word 'pregnant' and retreated to his dungeon."
Snape crossed his arms and was pulling at the folds of his robes in an apparent attempt to keep calm. "How was I supposed to know what devilry you were up to? When I discovered that you might be impregnated with Potter's brood, I was duty-bound to bring this to your Head of House."
McGonagall sniffed and then blew her nose. Harry thought he might have heard a bit of a giggle, but her face was hidden, so he couldn't be sure. "Yes, yes," she said. "That will be all, I think, Severus."
Snape fairly flew from her office and when the door clicked shut, Harry had a sudden realization. "So, that's why he chose the Contraceptus Potion for our class."
"He what?" Ginny and McGonagall asked simultaneously.
Harry shook his head at the memory. "He had us brew Contraceptus Totalis. He was going on and on about testing the defective ones on me, and I told him he shouldn't be so keen on having more Potters to teach. The look on his face...no wonder!"
Ginny fell against his side and began to giggle all over again. McGonagall's eyes were a little wet on the corners, but her face never cracked. "Indeed," she said at length. "That is quite...unusual, even for Severus."
When the laughter died, Ginny wiped her eyes and asked, "So are we in trouble, then?"
"No, no," McGonagall replied, pushing her chair back and standing. "I think we've had enough of a scare for one evening. You may go."
Harry and Ginny turned to leave, but stopped at the sound of their professor's voice.
"Oh, Harry? Ginny?"
They turned to look at McGonagall once more.
"I trust there will be no lapse in your preventative measures?"
Harry felt Ginny giggle silently next to him and had to restrain his own smile. "No, Professor," they chorused and hurried out of her office before succumbing to their laughter once more.
A/N: The scene with McGonagall is somewhat in homage to Imogen's Alpha and Omega scene of a similar nature. One of the fandom mainstay's, IMO. This also completes the circle of pranking that began when the Weasley brothers threw Harry into the pond. They were, in turn pranked by Harry and Ginny, and then Ginny was pranked by Harry, they both pranked Hermione (who had immediate revenge) and now Ginny is getting her sweet revenge.