SEERiously Part III
By the time Valentine's Day arrived, the entire castle at Hogwarts had been consumed by the flurry of activity and fun of the holiday. In the week leading up to the day, chocolate hearts had been eaten at a rate that would have rendered any dementor attack useless. The gossip mill rumored about that Madame Pinch had made a pass at Professor Snape one evening after hoisting a few too many cups of the strong honeyed mead Rosmerta traditionally sent to the staff for the holiday. Minerva confiscated the remaining bottles for safekeeping after Snape threatened to poison the lonely librarian. In other areas of the castle, Peeves kept himself busy terrorizing first year students by chasing them down the halls and stairs. Once he caught them, he used a sticking charm to hold them in place while he gleefully pelted them with spit balls. Leaving the miserable children to explain to Mr. Filch why the area around them was littered, Peeves could be heard cackling from above in the rafters,
"Ickle firsty-first years
They so cute and wittle,
Peevie shows his wuv by
Sharing nasty spittle!"
The headless horsemen were little better. They'd been given the duty of delivering legitimate gifts throughout the castle. But flopping heads did little to stoke romantic fires in the minds of squeamish witches and with the wizards, warnings and explanations given of the many causes of poxes dampened amorous enthusiasm.
In the midst of it all, Ginny reigned supreme. Voice apparitions had continued to appear from all corners of the castle to request a reading. She'd been so busy conjuring her inner eye that she'd barely had time to eat and study. Still, in spite of that, Ginny stayed focused on the one thing that kept her awake at night. What was going on between Malfoy and her best friend? She believed he'd changed reality; but for what reason? Was it because he wanted a second chance with Hermione? Had Draco really had a change of heart? Or did he have a more sinister purpose?
Ginny watched them closely. Draco had taken every opportunity to sit with Hermione during study periods; Ginny didn't doubt they were also meeting up in the evenings in the library; but she was concerned why no one else seemed to notice the new relationship. Was she the only one paying attention? Why didn't Harry and Ron see what was going on with their best friend? She'd brought it up to her boyfriend, but Harry had only given her a shrug and said, "They're both prefects; maybe they have matters to discuss."
Ginny finally exploded from the worry and apprehension. On the eve of the dance, she cornered Hermione while they were both in front of their long bathroom mirror preparing for bed.
"So…..you and Draco, huh?" she casually threw out while washing her face.
Hermione stopped flossing her teeth and gazed at Ginny's reflection. "Well….yeah. What about it?"
"Oh….nothing," Ginny hastily said when she saw her friend's wary look. "I was just wondering….you never told me how you two um...became a couple. I was just curious."
Hermione visibly relaxed. "Oh. Well, I don't know….it's just sorta happened."
Ginny huffed. "Mione….seriously? Hufflepuff losing the House Cup every year just sorta happens…...Ron belching after every meal just sorta happens, too….but you and Draco becoming a couple definitely does not just sorta happen."
"What do you mean?" asked Hermione, puzzlement and confusion showing on her face.
"I just felt...well, remember the voice apparition I got that was familiar to you? The one that called forth a new reality? I just suspicioned it might have come from Draco."
Now Hermione looked really confused. "I have no idea what you're talking about."
Ginny had to bite her tongue from saying more. She now saw there was no point in it. This new reality stuff sucked big time. Why was she the only one who remembered the original reality? Taking a different tack, she asked, "Has Draco said how he feels about you? When did he start liking you?"
Hermione blushed. "He said he noticed me from the first moment he saw me on the train when we were eleven. But he didn't start to have feelings for me until the Yule Ball."
Feelings other than homicidal ones, you mean, thought Ginny rather ungraciously. Out loud she said, "And you? How do you feel about this?"
Hermione gave her friend the tenderest smile Ginny had ever seen on her face. "I think….I think he's great, Gin. He makes me happy."
"Have you kissed yet?" Ginny was relentless.
Hermione frowned. "What's that got to do with anything?"
"Just tell me. Has he kissed you yet?"
Hermione shook her head. "No, he hasn't…..yet. But he has hugged me. Satisfied now, Miss Snoop?"
Ginny didn't answer. She didn't like this. Not one bit. It was too convenient that everyone's mind was practically obliviated from that calling forth spell.
What's his game in all this? Nothing good, she'd warrant.
Well, it was up to her, she guessed. Time to plan Operation Ambush on Draco Malfoy.
When Harry and Ginny entered the Great Hall on the night of the Valentine's ball, Ginny immediately started giggling.
"Who was put in charge of the decorations?" she asked Lavender. 'Lav-Lav' and 'Won-Won' had joined her and Harry in walking down to the hall.
"I don't know. I like pink…..but this…"
"Is revolting?" asked a familiar female voice. It was Luna, smiling benignly and sipping what appeared to be fruit punch. "It's alright if you say it. Many others have, too."
"Um….do you know who decorated the room, Luna?" asked Ginny.
"Yes, I do." She calmly took another taste of her punch and continued to gaze idly around the room.
Lavender gave Ginny a look before she said, "Well…..aren't you going to tell us?"
Luna looked up from her cup. "Hmmm? Oh, is that what you wanted to know? Gryffindors have such indirect ways of asking questions."
Ginny felt like she was already getting a headache. "Just say it already, Luna."
The odd Ravenclaw smiled and said, "Of course. It was the special events committee who came up with the idea of 'think pink'. We decided to spell everything in every shade of pink imaginable. Evelyn Hathaby thought the chiffon would do well hanging from the columns. And it was Millicent Bulstrode who came up with the idea of the statues. They add a very classical element, don't you think?"
Just then, Harry came back with a cup of punch for Ginny who immediately took a drink. Luna moved in time for Ginny to see one of the statues she'd been talking about. She instantly sprayed Ron with the gulp she'd taken.
"Luna!" she gasped while Lavender hastily cleaned her date from the red droplets now covering his robe. Ginny couldn't believe her eyes. Standing before them was a life-size statue of Cupid and Psyche in an unmistakably erotic embrace.
"My father always said nudes were best in capturing the human condition, but I don't think this statue of Cupid is very realistic," Luna said as she tilted her head to the side to get a different perspective. "He looks like he was hexed with an engorgement charm. Harry, Ron…..what do you think?"
Ron and Harry's faces were now as pink as the other decorations in the room. "Uh….we're going to go get some more punch," said Ron as they both quickly went off in another direction, one that took them nowhere in the vicinity of the punchbowl.
Lavender laughed at their retreating backs and said, "Some people just don't appreciate art, Luna. But I've got to say….that's a very passionate pose."
"Yes, Millicent thought this statue would be best for capturing the mood of the evening."
Ginny snorted. "The mood maybe….but not the actuality. I have to agree with you, Luna. The artist who did this wasn't very good with scale."
Luna was unperturbed. "Yes...I suppose so. But perhaps the sculptor was compensating for something?"
The girls hooted in laughter. Just then the Headmaster and Professor McGonagall came up to the group of girls standing around the statue.
"Ah….it's so delightful to hear young people enjoying themselves, isn't it Minerva?"
"Yes, Albus….but ladies….where are your dates? Why are you standing around? You should be dancing! You should….." Minerva trailed off when her eye caught the subject of the witches' fancy. Her eyes went slowly down then back up, staring at the statues. She swallowed loudly. "Can someone tell me what this is doing here?"
"Entertaining the young witches, if I could hazard a guess," answered Dumbledore with a twinkle in his eye. "However, I'm afraid we must, as the muggles say, 'bring down the curtain' to this delight." With a flick of his wand, he levitated the chiffon hanging from a nearby column to cover Cupid and his lady with a vivid fuchsia shade.
"Well…..it was nice while it lasted," said Luna.
Leaving Luna to mourn the now draped statues, Ginny looked around for Hermione and Malfoy. She'd left with him a full twenty minutes before she and Harry had come down. She finally saw Harry and went over to him.
"Have you seen 'Mione?" she asked.
"No," he said. "Haven't looked for her, to be honest. Been too busy looking for my own date."
"Well, I'm here now. Let's dance. Maybe she'll show up soon." The song was a slow one and before she knew it, Ginny was lost in the rhythm of the song. She sighed as she laid her head down on Harry's shoulder and sighed in satisfaction.
"There she is," he murmured in her ear.
"Hmmm?" Ginny raised her head to look at her boyfriend.
He motioned with his head. "Hermione. She and Draco are over there."
Ginny twisted around to see. Sure enough, Malfoy and Hermione were slow dancing in a darkened corner. She watched as Draco pulled Hermione more closely to himself, his hands pressing intimately against her lower back. In response, Hermione gave him a tender kiss on the cheek. All of a sudden, Draco dropped his hold on Hermione to cradle her face in his hands. Then he lowered his head and began to deeply kiss her.
"Galloping gargoyles!" exclaimed Ginny. To her confused boyfriend, she said, "I've got to go…..I've got to help 'Mione!"
"Hold on, Spitfire," Harry said. He watched as Draco and Hermione snogged each other like their lives depended on it. But unlike his girlfriend, a slow grin started spreading over his face. "Look at that….he finally did it. Ron and I were wondering how long it would take him."
Ginny felt defeated. She was so tired of carrying the weight of the knowledge of their former life by herself. "Just do me one favor, Harry, and I won't ask for anything else tonight. Let's swap for a dance with Draco and Hermione."
"What? I'm not going over there to bother them. You see what's going on. They don't want to be interrupted."
"Well, I just want to put a little bug in his ear. Just to make sure he treats 'Mione right."
Harry grinned. "She doesn't seem to be complaining at the moment."
"Please Harry? Just for my peace of mind. Then I'll be yours for the rest of the evening."
Harry grinned even more. "All mine, eh? I'll be sure to let Zabini know that. He's been eyeing you all night."
"Oh, shut it. He has not."
"Yes, he has, but we won't argue about that. Well, it looks like you'll get your wish. Draco and Hermione have finally surfaced for air. If you want to have a dance with him, now is your chance."
Ginny made sure she and Harry caught the couple before they could start round two of their snogging session. As Draco took her waist she gave her hand a little flicker and said, "Quietus."
Draco gave her an odd look and said, "What was that for?"
"I didn't think you would want anyone else to hear about the calling forth spell you performed."
Draco's smile immediately vanished. "What is this about?"
Ginny unleashed the worry she'd been carrying around. "What's your game, Malfoy? Why are you after my friend? What are you planning?"
Draco blanched. "Now look…..you don't understand…"
Ginny narrowed her eyes. If there was one thing she hated, it was to be told she didn't understand something. "I understand that everyone else is under the spell of this new reality. They don't remember how things were…..but I do. Seers can bridge all dimensions, so your little scheme didn't work with me." She glared at Draco's pale face. "You better get to talking lover boy, unless you want to add skunk to the list of animals you've been transformed into."
Draco swallowed. Then he looked into Ginny's eyes. She saw something in those silvery depths she hadn't expected to see.
"This isn't some ploy. I'm not playing a game. I know Hermione's my other half. My salvation."
"How long have you known that?"
The look he gave Ginny then was tortuous. "Since this past summer when I saw my future. And what would happen if we didn't get together."
"You're gonna have to give me more than that."
"Come with me," Draco said as he led her down a side hall that was a shortcut to the courtyard. Once outside, he turned around and said, "I'll keep this short. I don't want Hermione to wonder where I am. But as I said, it started this past summer. I started having dreams. Predictive dreams," he said slowly while watching Ginny's reaction.
Her breath came in a gasp. "You're….you're a seer, too?"
His smirk at her answer reminded her of the way he used to sneer at others when he was younger. "Did you think you were the only seer at the school? Think again."
Ginny did just that. Her mind racing a mile a minute, she asked, "So….what did these dreams show you?"
Draco's smirk faltered. "Don't…..please don't ask that."
Just then a shift, a rumble sounded in the space/time continuum. At the same moment, three shooting stars tumbled from the night sky. Ginny instinctively knew only she and Draco were aware of it.
"It...it was bad...wasn't it?"
Draco just nodded.
"And Hermione….in this future...was she..okay?"
Draco's face twisted. "No. She wasn't. No one was."
Ginny knew then. "Voldemort won."
Once again, Draco just nodded.
"But you must have had other dreams. Dreams that showed you a way out?"
"Yes. But the dreams showed me escape was not possible in that dimension, in that time. A new reality had to be created for a different future to come to pass."
"So...does that mean….." Ginny was having a hard time putting her question into words. "Did everything change? Are we different, too?"
Draco grinned. "Do I seem to be the same person to you, Red?"
That the old Draco Malfoy called forth a new reality for a new Draco Malfoy to receive was mind-boggling.
Ginny gasped. The words of her last prophecy suddenly made sense.
"The fruit he seeks, he yields for another."
Ginny felt like she suddenly needed a stiff drink. "Does this new Draco want to go with me to get our dates so we can celebrate our freedom from that reality? Or does that type of thing not happen in this new world you've created?"
Draco laughed. "And where are you going to find anything like that here at Hogwarts, Little Red?"
Ginny grinned. "That wasn't punch Luna was drinking earlier. She told me she'd found where McGonagall had stashed Rosmerta's mead."
Draco held out his arm. "Well, what are we waiting for?"
Two hours later as the foursome tottered around on the school grounds in an attempt to let some fresh air blow through their inebriated brains, Ginny said, "You know Dway…Dwayne..Duranco…..this could be the start of a bee-you-tee-full fwiendchip. We could start a business, you and I. We're both prawpets. uh…profsayers."
Draco turned a groggy eye at the redhead. "Huh? You'd do that….wif me?"
"Shure! I'm compeetly shurius. Sariiuus….."
Harry giggled at his girlfriend. "You sound silly."
Hermione hiccupped. "She's trying to shay she's sinseer."
Draco swayed, feeling rather dizzy while trying to concentrate on one of the two Ginny's he was seeing. "You…doun meanit…do you?"
Ginny laughed. "Yup. Seer-iously! "
AN: Lame ending, I know. Those of you who study such things know my alternate realities/dimensions won't hold up to any scrutiny, but hey….this is for fun, right?
Happy Valentine's to one and all!