The Most Convenient Definitions (4/4)

A/N: Last chapter! Thanks reviewers!

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Snape had yet to appear again and none of them seemed to care. Everyone drifted back toward each other, the boredom of waiting for the day long gone. They'd discovered something strange, though none of them knew quite what that something was. Now they were all sitting in a circle, trying to pass the time by asking each other questions.

Ginny, who was sitting across from Draco, her back to the legs of a chair, thought long and hard, her pink lips twisted in thought. She turned to Harry and a question sprang to her mind.

"What would you do for a million Galleons?" She asked him. He shrugged.

"As little as I had to, I guess."

"That's boring! It has to be something really outrageous!" She insisted as he blew out a breath.

"Well...you suggest something and I'll tell you if I would or not."

"Okay...would you...would you ever play Quidditch naked?" She reiterated with an impish grin. Everyone laughed and looked over at Harry, who looked stricken.

"Er...I don't know." He stammered. "Would I have to be in front of everyone?"

"Of course."

"Against Slytherin or Ravenclaw?"

"Slytherin, of course." Draco spoke up with an evil grin. "We couldn't resist making fun of that."

Harry ignored him. "Fall, winter or spring?"

"Winter." Ginny decided, tossing her hair over her shoulder.

Harry wrinkled his nose and thought for a moment. "Ummm..."

"Come on, don't chicken out!" Justin said, lying on his side, his head propped up on his hand. Harry glanced at him and then took a deep breath. There was no way he was going to back out if Justin thought he was a chicken.

"Fine then. Yeah. I'd do it."

"I'd do that too." Luna spoke up. Everyone looked over at her in surprise, but she calmly went on, "I'd do anything involving my body. I don't mind being naked. I don't need a million Galleons either."

"You're lying!" Ginny scoffed, mouth flying open. Harry's eyes were fit to bulge out of their sockets.

"No I'm not." Luna said seriously. "Except...I probably wouldn't play Quidditch. I'm horrible on a broom, you know."

"Yeah and think of all the splinters..." Malfoy laughed. Luna turned her attention on him and stared in her solemn, disquieting way. He stopped laughing and looked away, slightly creeped out.

"Nonsense!" Ginny declared waspishly.

Luna smiled and said in a singsong voice, "A little nonsense now and then is cherished by the wisest men!"

"Are you telling me that you'd run around naked in front of everyone? Do you do that a lot?" Ginny asked, completely disturbed.

"Not in the dorms...I don't think my fellow bedmates would enjoy it very much. But when I have sex--"

"What? You...you have…? With WHO?" Ginny demanded. Harry was also very interested and he stared at Luna, his mouth hanging open so wide that a niffler could have crawled inside and taken his fillings.

"A friend of my fathers." Luna said matter-of-factly. Ginny looked extremely ill.

"A friend of your FATHERS? That's so sick! Does your dad know?"

"I don't think he'd care." Luna blinked and glanced at Harry, whose mouth was still open.

"My father would!"

"Well, what about you? Have you ever had sex?" Luna asked Ginny, once again serious. Ginny took a deep breath and looked away.

"I don't know any of my father's friends well enough." She caught herself and turned crimson. "Not that I would if I did..."

"How about someone from Hogwarts? Any of your boyfriends? Have you ever had sex with one of them?" Luna insisted and Ginny's cheeks flushed. She glanced at Harry, but Harry was still staring at Luna.

"Haven't we already covered this?" Ginny asked, turning her attention on Draco, who was leaning toward her with interest.

"You never answered my question, Weasley."

Ginny lifted a hand to ward them all off and her eyes widened. "I'm not discussing this with any of you. This is my private life."

"Why are you so scared? We won't tell anyone, we swear." Luna said, but Draco opened his mouth to say different. Harry suddenly shook himself out his shocked silence and turned to Ginny.

"Well...Dean Thomas told me...that um..."

Ginny's eyes flashed. "That WHAT? What did he say? I'll KILL him!"

"Only that...that you and he...well..."

"Did you shag him?" Draco asked, partly in awe and partly indignant. Ginny looked at him and scowled.

"That's none of your business!" She snapped and turned back to Harry. "What did Dean say?"

"He said you...you were a tease."

"I am NOT!"

"So you have done it, eh?" Justin spoke up and she glared at him.

"I...no, you're putting words into my mouth. I'm not...I wouldn't use anyone like that..." She stammered. Luna smiled vaguely.

"So have you done it?" Draco insisted. Harry glanced at him.

"Yeah. Answer the question. Either you have or you haven't. I won't tell Ron!"

"Its a tiny question, Ginny! I told you about myself earlier! Its no big deal!" Justin piped in.

Ginny listened to the boys yelling at her for a few more seconds, becoming increasingly more and more flustered. Her head throbbed until finally she couldn't take it anymore.

"NO! I've never done it!" She shouted, silencing everyone. Draco smiled faintly in triumph. Luna sighed and looked up from behind the curtain of her dirty blonde hair.

"I've never done it either." She said, offering up this new piece of information. Ginny turned her attention on her, eyes blazing.

"WHAT? You...you just..."

"I'm an investigative reporter. We use any means necessary to get our story." Luna said matter-of-factly, blinking at Ginny calmly.

"You COW!" Ginny exploded.

"I would do it though. If you love someone...its okay." Luna said, glancing sidelong at Harry. Harry lowered his head, suddenly very intent on studying his fingernails.

"You are so weird, Luna! You're always going on and on about all this rubbish that no one understands and then you...you do things like this to people! Its...its..." Ginny stammered out in her anger, not able to articulate her fury.

Harry's head snapped up. "You're just angry because she got you to admit something you didn't want to! Don't take your embarrassment and your issues out on her!"

Ginny glowered at him and then rolled her eyes. "Fine. But it doesn't make up for HER issues."

"What issues? We've all got issues...some of us are just better at hiding them." Harry said, clenching his fists together.

"Right. What issues do you have, Harry?" Ginny said, snorting derisively.

Harry looked around, his stomach suddenly clenched. Luna looked up again. "He has a hero complex and he hates it."

Harry glanced at her and their eyes connected. He nodded slowly. "She's right. Do you...do you guys know what I did to get detention?"

Everyone stared, silence descending on them again. Harry went on.

"Last Friday I...we...the Gryffindor Quidditch team was practicing and I wasn't doing too well. I kept messing up on the Waterfall Flip and thinking about Snape and how he'd given me a failing grade on my Anti-Gravity potion that day. Well, after practice, I was walking back to the school by myself and...and this Hufflepuff kid...I don't know his name...he came running after me. He started talking...saying all these things like, his family was afraid I'd attack him. And how he wasn't supposed to talk to me and how he still thought I was brave and nice and about how he thought I'd end up defeating Voldemort..." He trailed off as everyone flinched at the sound of the name.

"What did you do, Harry?" Ginny asked quietly, seeing the strain on Harry's face.

"He just kept going on and on, like I was some sort of...hero or something. Like I could save him. And I kept thinking about everything that's going on, the war, Voldemort...Sirius...especially Sirius. I mean...I've been keeping in line this year. I haven't broken many rules...I've been studying to be an Auror so hard. And I thought about what Sirius told me last year and this thing I saw in Snape's Pensieve. I always got the feeling that Sirius wanted me to cut loose, break the rules a lot. He thought it was fun. He wanted me to be like my dad, you know? Except my dad was...he was a big prat at my age. He was a bully, you know?"

"What does that have to do with the kid?" Justin insisted, breaking through the fog in Harry's mind.

"He was just talking...going on...making me out to be this big hero when I'm not. I don't want to be--I have to be! I have to save everyone, you know. It's my destiny. I kept thinking about my father and Sirius and then...then I just did it. Anything to make him shut up, you know? Just to stop him from putting all that weight on my shoulders...I didn't want it. I'm nothing special. I know I'm not! He was just so..." Harry lowered his head. Luna touched his shoulder.

"Tell us what you did, Harry." She said in a whisper so that the others could barely hear her.

"I pulled out my wand. I didn't even know I was doing it. I cursed him. It was this...this spell I'd been having trouble with, but it was the first one I could think of and I just did it to him. It worked for the first time and the kid just...fell. He just fell like Cedric did."

"You DIDN'T?" Ginny exclaimed, eyes wide with horror. "Not...not..."

"No, it wasn't the killing curse, Gin. I can't...I'm not allowed to tell you what it did. Its part of my training." Harry said heavily, tears in his eyes.

"But...is he okay?"

"He's still in the infirmary with Madam Pomfrey...but he...he should be getting out of there soon. There wasn't any lasting damage." He said, looking up. "The thing is...I only got a detention. ONE detention for what I did to that poor kid. I would be kicked out of school if I weren't me. The Boy-Who-Lived. They don't realize what kind pressure I'm under..."

Justin looked up and took a deep breath. "Its like...its like with me and my marks. Its like, I look at myself and I don't like what I see..."

"Why don't you like yourself?" Ginny asked, drawing her knees to her chin.

"Its stupid. I...I'm failing Muggle Studies." He said simply. Malfoy lifted an eyebrow.

"But...you're a Mudbl--Muggle born. How could you fail that?"

"We had this big assignment. We had to make a working electric lamp. And we had half a term to make it. Easy, right? I mean, Muggles do it all the time...but...I mean, I did everything I was supposed to. Every wire was in place and I turned it in and the stupid thing didn't work. I failed the term. That's my...my whole future right there..."

"What do you mean? Its just Muggle Studies." Malfoy said in a sarcastic voice. Justin squared his shoulders and looked at him.

"I want to go into the Ministry of Magic when I'm through with Hogwarts. I want to apply to the Department of Muggle Relations. Without a pass in Muggle Studies, everything I've worked for will be useless." Justin said in a haunted, strained voice.

"Yeah, but its no big deal..."

"Maybe for you, Malfoy! You don't even need a job! Your family has millions!"

"No, my father has millions! Not me!" Draco exploded and it was obvious that the subject of Draco's family was still touchy.

"Then what are you going to do with your life? What can you do with your education?" Justin demanded with interest.

"I don't know." Draco said after a few tense moments.

"Fine. Then neither of you is better than the other...okay?" Ginny interjected, calming the air with a sigh.

Luna spoke up out of nowhere again. "I can walk on my hands." Everyone looked at her with raised eyebrows. "I can also run, shower and do back flips while on my hands."

"Really?"

"I can play the piano too." She said solemnly.

"I can fix a car engine! My dad showed me how!" Justin said brightly.

"What can you do, Harry?" Ginny asked with a smile.

"I can...umm...save all your lives." He said, laughing slightly at the silly turn of the conversation.

"I want to see what Ginny can do! Besides hexing us all with Bat-Bogey's." He said, tongue lolling out.

"I can't do anything...really..." Ginny said, waving them off.

"Everyone can do something!" Draco exclaimed as Ginny thought for a moment. Her cheeks flushed prettily.

"Wait...there is something I can do...but its terribly embarrassing..."

"Come on!" Everyone prodded and she relented with a sigh.

"Fine. But swear you won't laugh!" She said and everyone crossed their hearts and hoped to die. She reached for her purse and dug through it until she found the tube of Ever Shine Lip Gloss that Draco had been studying earlier. "I can't believe I'm going to do this..."

Everyone watched as Ginny took the lip-gloss out, twisted the stick to its full extent and then placed it down in her sweater, between her breasts. She then took a breath, dipped her face down and moved it back and forth. Everyone strained to see what she was doing, but her sweater was in the way. Seconds later she flipped her head up, red hair flying out in a wave around her head.

Everyone could clearly see that her mouth was perfectly covered in lipstick and not a trace of it was on her chin or cheeks. They all clapped wildly as Ginny smiled and plucked the lip-gloss tube out of her cleavage and placed it back in her bag.

The clapping died out, leaving only Draco to clap slowly and sarcastically.

"Where did you learn that?" Harry asked with interest.

"Summer before last. There was nothing to do and Hermione and I had to make our own fun." She said with a laugh, clearly remembering the boredom of living in Grimmauld Place for a summer.

Draco made a soft, annoyed sound. Ginny turned her attention on him and saw he was scowling at her.

"That's great, Weasley. My image of you as a good girl is completely gone now." He said sarcastically. Ginny's gaze darkened, eyes troubled and she quickly swiped at the lip-gloss, smearing it on her hands.

"You swore you wouldn't laugh, Draco!" Luna said angrily, glaring at Malfoy.

"Am I laughing?"

"You're such a wanker!" Harry said just as angrily as Luna, glaring at Malfoy, who glared back in a defiant way.

"What do you care what I think, Potter? You made it very clear earlier that I don't count. I could disappear and no one would care, remember? I don't even exist anymore, right?" Harry looked away from the raw pain and fury in Draco's eyes. He turned to Ginny. "You hate me anyway, Weasley."

"You know, you're not the only one with feelings, Malfoy! It hurts us common folk when you step all over us too!" Ginny cried, teeth clenched, tears glistening in her eyes.

"You're so pathetic." Draco sneered at her furiously. "Don't you ever compare yourself to me. Ever! I've got everything! You're nothing!"

"I'M nothing! Me?" Ginny exclaimed through her tears. "You're just as screwed up as the rest of us Draco! Don't you dare say that you're better than any of us? You and your stupid family pride--I thought you'd learned that it didn't matter! You're no better than I am!"

"I'm better!" Draco insisted and then he looked her up and down. "I like your tatty robes, Ginny. Did your poor father buy those for you?"

"Shut up!" Ginny screamed and kicked at him with her battered shoes, tears coursing down her cheeks.

"I bet that's all he could afford! Or did they belong to your mother when she was a girl? How many times have they been patched?"

"Shut your mouth!" Ginny's eyes flashed and then she spat out, "What about you? What about that stupid mark on your arm? Did your murdering father pass that down to you too?"

Draco's eyes went cold as ice. "Don't. Don't talk about that...I told you...I'm not a Death Eater!"

"Really? I thought your father was better than mine? If he was so much better he wouldn't be rotting Azkaban, would he?" Ginny said in a growl that made everyone jump slightly. "So don't you dare come at me, attack my family because you're jealous of what I have, you pathetic little boy!"

"Weasley..." Draco warned, his teeth gritted hard. Ginny sneered at him.

"Do you know what your father did to me my first year of school?" Draco looked slightly taken aback. "He tried to kill me. He gave me Tom Riddle--You-Know-Who's--diary knowing it would kill me. He didn't care. Your father is a murdering bastard and he would have had my blood on his hands if Harry hadn't saved me."

"You're lying." Draco said in a haunted voice. Harry was slightly surprised he had never heard this before.

"No she's not." He spoke up heavily. "I saw it."

"Now who is better?" Ginny asked in an anguished voice. Draco caught her eye and looked away. He looked ready to be sick as he fixed his gaze down at his feet, his face ashen and haunted.

Silence pervaded the Library.

"Are we all going to be horrible people when we grow up?" Justin asked in a quiet voice.

"Its inevitable. It just happens." Luna said, leaning her head on the chair she was using as an armrest.

"What happens?" Ginny asked, wiping tears away with her lipstick-smudged hand.

"When you grow up...your heart dies." Luna said in her misty, dreamy voice. Harry took of his glasses and rubbed at his eyes.

"Who cares?" Draco said sullenly, his head thrown back, staring at the ceiling.

"I do." Luna said in a tremulous voice, swallowing hard.

Silence came again and then Justin spoke up once more. "I was just wondering...and I know its a strange time to ask but...are we all friends now?"

Everyone looked at each other, especially Draco and Harry. They nodded.

"Yeah, guess so." Harry said with a sigh.

"So...so what happens on Monday? I mean, Slytherins and Gryffindors aren't friends. Are you two still friends?" Justin asked, looking back and forth between Harry and Draco. "For that matter, are the rest of us friends?"

"We're all friends anyway Justin..." Ginny started to say, but Justin huffed at her.

"No we're not. I mean...we know each other, we tolerate each other... But are we really friends? Do we all hang out, talk to each other? No. We don't. We're all divided, either by House or year or...or..."

"Or ignoring someone because you only see them as a little bratty kid sister..." Harry finished out, glancing at Ginny in apology. She smiled tight-lipped at him.

"So, what about it?" Justin insisted.

"You want the truth?" Ginny asked him, biting down on her lips. Justin nodded. "No. Probably not."

"With all of us, or just Draco?" Luna said, blinking at Ginny, who ducked her head.

"Probably all of you."

"That's really nice, Ginny!" Harry said, furrowing his brow at her and replacing his glasses with a snap of his wrist.

"Be honest Harry! You may get along with the Hufflepuffs and the Ravenclaws, but you still keep to the Gryffindors! Hell, you barely notice the other Gryffindors! No one can get through the friendship you, Ron and Hermione have! Believe me, I know! Monday...that won't change and you know it!"

"No way!" Harry protested, but only half-heartedly. He knew she was right...

"What if I wanted to be your friend, Ginny? Weird, Loony Lovegood..." Luna asked seriously and Ginny lowered her head, afraid to reply. "You'd laugh at me, wouldn't you?"

"I..."

"You can say it."

"Probably." She said, avoiding Luna's gaze.

"You are a bitch!" Draco burst out, seeing the look on Luna's face. Ginny turned her attention on him once more and glared.

"I'm a bitch because I'm telling the truth?"

"No, because you're sitting over there preaching about how no one is better than anyone else and then you say that you are! What's so wrong with Loony? What? Afraid your stupid friends won't like her?" Draco demanded, much to everyone's surprise.

"What about you? You're worse than all of us combined!" She cried. "You're always going on about how much you hate Mudbloods! Everyone knows you're prejudiced! What if Justin came up to you in the hallways? Would you be nice to him? Or would you treat him like you treat everyone else? What about Harry? What would Crabbe and Goyle think if you were suddenly nice to him? They'd think you were insane! And what about me? What would they think if we walked to the Great Hall together? They'd laugh their ugly heads off and you'd probably say you were doing it with me just so they'd stop!"

Draco glared at her, furious once more. "Don't you ever talk about my friends! You don't know any of them and you don't understand how they are! You don't know what its like to be a Slytherin! Stick to the things you know, Weasley. Second hand everything, Gryffindor courage, Quidditch, your stupid brothers and your poor parents!"

"SHUT UP!" Ginny screamed, kicking at him again.

"And as far as you being concerned about what Crabbe and Goyle would say if we were seen together, you can forget it! It'll never happen! I'd never stoop so low and you know it!"

"I hate you." Ginny said, looking hurt. Draco paled at his words and then tried to appear as if he didn't care.

"Good." He said shortly, running a hand through his hair and slicking it back once more. Ginny gave a little sob and buried her freckled face in her palms. Draco muttered something under his breath and pressed his lips together in a fine line.

Everyone was quiet until Justin once again spoke up, his voice oddly choked. "I guess Luna and I are better people than you? Us weirdoes from the Houses that never win, never do anything spectacular, right?" He turned to Luna. "Would you ignore me?"

"I don't have any friends..." She said, radishes swinging.

"But if you did?" Justin asked, smiling despite himself.

"If I did, I wouldn't have the kind of friends who'd care." She said simply, twirling a piece of hair around her finger.

Justin went sober. "Well...I don't care about any of that stuff. Houses, social circles...none of it. Not even Draco's...prejudice against Muggleborns. I wouldn't do that to any of you."

"Well...the Hufflepuffs look up to us Gryffindors." Ginny said and Justin laughed in her face.

"You think that, do you?" Justin said, shaking his head. "No...we don't. You guys may get all the glory, but we have pride in what we do. We're not second best. We had a great hero, you know. Our champion..."

"Cedric." Harry said shortly, his heart dropping. Justin fixed his gaze on Harry.

"Yeah." Justin nodded and then looked back at Ginny. "Your lot may do great things, but Hufflepuff House is just as good. Why don't you think we are?"

"I don't think that! I swear...just..."

"Just what, Ginny?"

"Its hard...being from Gryffindor. Being from my family! I have so much to live up to, you know? Its a lot of pressure..."

Justin looked skeptical and hurt. "You think I don't know pressure? You honestly think that? Well got to hell, Ginny! Go to hell!"

Justin hid his head in his arms and everyone watched his shoulders shake, not sure what to say. He lifted his face, tears glistening on his cheeks. "Do you know what I did to get detention? Do you?"

No one answered.

"I stole one of Snape's poisonous potions." He said in a short voice, his chest closing in on him. It felt good to get the words out. Everyone looked shocked.

"Why did you steal his poison?" Harry asked lightly. Justin's eyes were far away.

"The stupid light bulb had to go on...and it didn't go on!" He said vaguely.

"What was the poison for?" Harry insisted, but Justin sniffed hard and closed his eyes.

"Forget it."

"You brought it up, mate..."

"I can't fail in Muggle Studies. I can't. I know I can't. My parents can't. My...my mother...she...she's always going on about my schoolwork and how, how she doesn't want me here. My name was down for Eton. She'd been planning my life for, for ages...she wanted me to go into the Muggle Ministry...it was her dream. But...I convinced her to let me go here. And I could still get into the Ministry of Magic, you know...so I thought that would make her happy. She just...she's always on me. I didn't get enough O.W.L.'s...I wasn't made a prefect...I wasn't put into Ravenclaw... I'm not good enough for her. I'm not smart enough." He rambled on, seemingly unaware that they were all sitting there, listening intently. "I failed her. She'll want to pull me out of Hogwarts, I know it..."

"Oh, Justin..."

Justin hit the chair next to him, toppling it over in his anger. He wiped at his eyes. "I was just...weighing my options, you know..."

"Killing yourself isn't an option." Ginny said fiercely, her lip trembling.

"Well I didn't do it!"

"What happened?"

"I...I put in my bag...the vial burst and burned right through my bag. I was walking down the hallway and...it was dripping after me...looked like I'd wet myself..."

"Really?" Harry couldn't help but laugh. Justin scowled.

"Its not funny..." Everyone laughed again, imagining Justin walking down the hallways with a leaky bag. Justin smiled despite himself. "Yeah...it is, I guess. That stupid lamp was burned right through too. The bulb burst..."

Everyone laughed again and he smiled widely, throwing off his tears. Luna laughed the hardest and then gasped out, "Do you know what I did to get detention?"

Harry was immediately interested. He sat up and asked, "No, what?"

Luna smiled. "Nothing. I walked in and there you all were and I decided I had nothing better to do." Harry's mouth flew open and everyone started laughing harder. Luna laughed again, long and loud, clutching her sides.

All Harry could do was stare in wonder.

****

"Ninety-nine...one hundred! Ready or not, here I come!" Ginny called, lifting her head from off the bookshelf. She looked around, peering into the dusty, dark recesses of the Library for the rest of the group.

She glanced at Madam Pince's counter, which had been designated as "home base". Ginny had never played Hide-N-Go-Seek, as it was a Muggle game, but Justin and Harry had explained the rules quite simply and everyone had agreed to play just to pass the time.

It was definitely a mark of his boredom that Draco hadn't even commented on it. Or maybe it was something more...

Ginny tiptoed across the Library, trying not to make the wooden floorboards creak underfoot. She jumped against the nearest bookshelf and peered between the large, dusty books. A pair of big green eyes greeted her and she could tell who it was from the lightning bolt scar on his forehead. Ginny smiled and went to lunge around the bookshelf.

Harry tore past her and she only caught his wind. She took off after him, leaping chairs and a table, but he'd already reached Madam Pince's counter, a smile on his face.

"Grrr." Ginny said and took off again with three other people to find.

She darted to the left suddenly, reaching for a large tapestry that looked suspiciously bulgy in the center. Just as she touched it, Luna leapt out, ducked her arm and ran off in the direction of Harry. Ginny followed right on her heels, fingers outstretched.

"Come on Luna! She's right behind you!" Harry yelled, holding out his hand. Luna reached him and he pushed her in toward the counter at his side. They both laughed and Ginny cursed under breath.

Two more to go.

With careful looking, she found Justin under her and Harry's table, curled up in a ball and trying to appear as small as possible. Her eyes narrowed and she dived under the table after him. She almost caught a hold of his pant cuffs, but he wriggled out the side of the table and tore off toward Madam Pince's counter.

He touched it before Ginny could right herself.

"No fair!" She called with a smile.

"One more to go, or you're it again!" Justin said with a triumphant smile as he sat down on Madam Pince's counter in a way the Librarian would have killed him for.

Ginny scowled good-naturedly and tiptoed back across the Library, intent on find Malfoy. She looked everywhere too, under the tables, in between the bookshelves and behind all the tapestries. She stopped at the gate to the restricted section and bit her lip. Students weren't allowed in there, strictly speaking, but she'd already broken a million rules today...what was one more?

She pulled out her wand and lifted it to unlock the door with magic.

"Naughty little Weasley..." Draco breathed right in her ear. She wheeled around, intending to tag him, but he danced away from her outstretched fingers. "So close!"

She lunged for him again, but he danced away. She did again and again, getting more and more frustrated as they moved out into the open. Everyone cheered her on and then switched sides and cheered Draco on too.

"Just hold still!" Ginny said, stopping in her tracks, her hands on her hips in a way that reminded Harry of Mrs. Weasley.

"That's not the way you play the game! You're supposed to chase after me, remember. I thought you were a Chaser?" Draco taunted her with a grin. She narrowed her eyes, took the bait and rushed at him before he could move.

They collided and she brought them down to the ground, Draco beneath her. Draco gave a strangled gasp as they hit the ground with a thud. Ginny smiled, sitting on his chest, her hair swinging around her face. Draco looked shocked.

"Hey!"

"All's fair in l..." But she stopped before she could finish the phrase, blushing deeply.

"You're it, Draco." Justin said, but Luna suddenly gave a gasp.

"We've only got an hour of detention left! Snape...he could come in at any time!" She said, biting down on her lip. Harry glanced at his wristwatch and sighed.

"She's right. If Snape comes in here and finds out you snuck out of that broom closet..."

"He'll what? Give me another detention and take more points from Slytherin?" Draco said sarcastically, tilting his head back, Ginny still sitting atop him.

"He might kick you out."

"He might do that anyway. After I tell Dumbledore what my father sent me..." Draco's gaze darkened and he glanced back up at Ginny, who suddenly seemed to realize she was still straddling him. She slid off and they both stood.

"You're going to tell him?" Harry asked in surprise.

"Yeah." Draco said shortly, shrugging his shoulders. "Might get kicked out. Might not. I want to come clean though."

"That's...good." Harry said and then he dropped the subject. He hoped Malfoy didn't get kicked out and he was fairly shocked at this new feeling. "Look, you should go anyway...Snape'll really kill you if he finds out you snuck out. And the rest of us..."

"Yeah. Wouldn't want you all to get in trouble too. I'll go." Draco said, glancing at Ginny and dusting off his robes. He looked around the Library and then looked at each of them in turn. "See you later."

Everyone nodded and then watched as he slipped out the door as quietly as he could. Ginny drifted over to the rest of them, sitting up on the counter with Justin. Luna sat next to her and Harry followed suit on Luna's other side. They all went quiet, thinking of the past few hours.

Ginny looked at the table she'd sat at with Harry and saw her quill and empty scrolls on the table. She bit her lip and then thought of something. She glanced at Justin.

"Justin?"

"Yeah?" He asked, looking her way.

"Are you going to write your essay?" She asked curiously.

"Yes. Why?" He asked, eyebrow furrowed.

"Well, I was just thinking...it's a waste for everyone to write their papers, right?"

"But Snape..." Justin protested.

"I mean, what's the point?" Ginny cut him off. "We're all going to say the same thing, am I right?"

Justin looked at her knowingly. "You just don't want to write your essay."

"True. But...you've got a great big brain, right?" Ginny said in a charming voice, batting her eyelashes at him. Justin swelled with pride.

"Well...I wouldn't say that..."

"Well, we trust, right?" Ginny said, glancing at Luna and Harry, who were watching them with interest. They both nodded their heads in agreement. Justin thought about it a moment and then shrugged.

"Okay, I'll do it."

"Cool." Ginny said happily and they all watched as Justin hopped down from the counter and marched over to his table to get to work. Ginny smiled and then turned her head toward Luna, sitting at her elbow.

Luna slowly turned her way, meeting her interested gaze. She didn't blink, as was her custom. Ginny kept staring too.

"What?" Luna demanded and Ginny plucked at her sleeve.

"Come on."

"Where are we going?" Luna asked as Ginny hopped down from the counter. Luna followed curiously.

"Just follow me." Ginny said with a grin and then led her off across the Library, leaving Harry to watch them go, his legs dangling from the counter, heels banging against the wooden front.

Ginny sat Luna down in a corner of the Library, her purse in her hands. Luna watched her, pale eyebrows drawn up in concern as Ginny pulled makeup out of her bag.

"What are you doing?"

"Have you ever worn makeup?" Ginny asked her curiously, but Luna shrugged.

"Never seemed very important before. And my mother died before she could teach me." She said simply as Ginny bit down on her lip and shook a bottle of mascara that magically never clumps on the lashes.

"Well, you're about to learn. Every girl should know how to put makeup on. And your eyes would look so pretty with a little mascara and some eye shadow." Ginny said, looking her over and trying to decide what to do first. "And your hair...your face shape would stand out more if it were shorter...maybe around the chin?"

Ginny pulled out her wand. Luna stared. "What are you going to do?"

"Do you trust me?"

"I don't know..." Luna said in a doubting voice, but Ginny smiled. "Why are you being so nice?"

"Because. We're friends." Ginny said and Luna smiled back, glanced at Ginny's wand and then nodded her head.

"Do your worst..." She said, her wide eyes glistening. Ginny grinned, waved her wand and then muttered a spell she'd learned last year. Luna's long, scraggly hair immediately spun out in long fingers that whipped around. Ginny waved her wand again and the strands fell away from Luna's head.

The hair lay still again, floating in wispy strands around the Ravenclaw's face. It was a marked improvement and it framed Luna's face quite well.

"Now for makeup..." She said, admiring her handiwork as Luna fingered the ends of her severed hair. Ginny set to work, applying a generous coat of mascara, a light blue eye shadow to make Luna's silvery eyes shine and then a nice coat of pink lip gloss and some blush. It was all very subtle, but Ginny couldn't help but smile.

The dotty Luna Lovegood was a very pretty girl underneath all the hair and the strange behavior. She'd just never paid any attention to herself.

"There." Ginny said, sitting back on her heels and holding up a mirror so Luna could see what she'd done.

Luna's mouth opened a little and her wide eyes blinked in surprise. "Wow."

"You like?"

"I...thank you Ginny." Luna said in a very flattered voice. "I look like one of the Painted Arpenicks from the South American deserts..."

Ginny's smile froze for a moment. Then she shrugged and decided to go along with it. "That's what I was aiming for." She said, completely amused that, even beneath a layer of makeup and a new haircut, Luna Lovegood was still her strange, wonderful self. Ginny's smile turned calculating. "And I heard that Harry loves Painted Arpenicks..."

Luna's mouth snapped shut. "What?"

"Nothing...I just noticed how he was looking at you, is all."

"He wasn't..." Luna blushed beneath the makeup and glanced around the Library. Ginny's smiled widened, seeing that she'd nailed her earlier suspicions.

"He was!" She declared and leaned in close. "Why don't you go talk to him?"

Luna was uncharacteristically flustered. She looked down at her feet and then looked back up at Ginny. "You should go talk to Draco...before he can get away..."

"What do you mean?" Ginny demanded, her stomach flip-flopping. Luna smiled to see the tables turned.

"You know what I mean. Just...go talk to him." Luna said knowingly and Ginny licked her lips.

"I don't know..."

"I do."

Both girls looked at each other, daring each other until finally Ginny gave, looking away from Luna's looming eyes. "Fine." Luna smiled. "But you have to go talk to Harry too."

Luna's smile faded and she smoothed a hand over her newly shorn hair. She nodded and then waved Ginny to go. Ginny waved and took off across the Library, leaving her behind. Luna stood and watched her walk past Justin, who had started to write. She turned her attention on Harry, still sitting on the counter, deep in thought.

She steeled herself and walked toward him.

****

There was no one in the hallway. Ginny strolled across to the broom cupboard next to the teacher's lounge, hoping like hell that Snape wasn't going to come sweeping out to meet her. But, like he had done all afternoon, he didn't show. Perhaps he didn't care what they did now that he'd punished Draco so thoroughly.

Whatever the reason though, Ginny had no problem getting to the broom cupboard door with no one spotting her. She hovered outside of it, knowing that Draco was on the other side. Her heart pounded in her chest.

This was Draco Malfoy! He was an arrogant prig who thought he was better than everyone, including herself...

But...maybe...

Ginny smiled and pulled the door open, then stepped inside. She blinked in the darkness and Draco's shining mercury eyes slowly came into focus.

"You lost, Weasley?" He asked lightly from his sprawl against a tower of boxes. Ginny smiled in the dark and locked the door with a tap of her wand.

****

Justin wrote something, stopped and then lost himself in thought. He chewed on his lip and then glanced up at the clock to see how much time he had left before Snape came in to relieve them all. As he did, he caught sight of a girl he'd never seen before.

At least that's what he thought for a moment before he looked closely. Luna Lovegood was walking toward him, her wand behind her ear again. Her hair was short though, framing her chin in a flattering way. Without her hair in the way, he could see the swells of her breasts and her delicate shoulders and neck. Her eyes, before so jarring, were now lined in dark blue eyeliner and mascara that complimented her so well.

Justin smiled at her and she stopped dead in her tracks, radishes still swinging against the column of her neck. She looked at him, slightly put off by his open mouthed shock. He caught himself and nodded his head.

"Cool." He said, ducking his head a little.

"Thank you." She said in a whisper. Justin glanced over his shoulder slyly and saw Harry sitting on the counter, his mouth open. Luna pulled in a breath and Justin quickly looked down at the scroll before him. This was none of his business.

Harry watched as Luna walked toward him, hair bouncing against her cheeks, luminous eyes glued to his. She bit down on her pink lips and Harry's gut gave a lurch.

He was suddenly finding it very hard to breathe.

****

Draco's lips were soft against Ginny's as she kissed him gently, her hand on his chest. She pulled back a second later, heart pounding so loud in her chest she thought he could surely hear it. He looked at her in awe and took in a trembling breath.

"Why did you do that?" He asked, reaching up a hand to push a strand of hair behind her ear.

"I knew you wouldn't." She said simply, biting down on her suddenly swollen lips. Draco's eyes fixed on them and he looked like he wanted to kiss her again.

"I suppose this complicates things..." He started to say, almost mournfully. "I mean...we're not exactly..."

"I'm a bad girl, remember?" Ginny smiled, cutting him off. "I can do whatever I want. Whoever..."

Draco lifted an eyebrow at the implications of her words and then smiled his lopsided smile. "You don't get much badder than me, I guess."

Ginny laughed softly and then looked him square in the face. "Where you really disgusted about what I did with that lip gloss?"

Draco laughed, his eyes twinkling. "Honestly?"

"Honestly." Ginny insisted firmly and then glared when Draco nodded his head yes. He saw her expression and laughed again.

"No. No, I wasn't." He said mischievously and then he turned sober. "Did my father really try to kill you?"

"Yes." She said simply, meeting his gaze.

"I'm sorry." He said with genuine concern and regret. She smiled.

"Its okay. It was a long time ago."

"Still…if I'd known…"

"You wouldn't have cared! Don't pretend you would have. You were an arrogant little prig and you know it."

Draco scowled and then shrugged. "You're right. Still am, actually. But I'm kind of attached to you…it's the bad girl attitude…"

"Yeah right!" She smacked him on the arm and he grabbed her by the wrist and pulled her into another long, slow kiss.

Ginny closed her eyes and sank against him, knowing that she'd have to get back the Library soon, but not much caring at the moment. Draco weaved his fingers in her hair and she sighed softly against his mouth.

She was definitely being bad.

****

In the Library, Justin looked down at his finished essay, smiling in a pleased way. He lifted the scroll to his face and kissed it, very much proud of himself. He glanced at Harry and Luna a few feet away and then looked back at his paper.

Harry stared at Luna as if he'd never seen her a day in his life. He couldn't quite wrap his mind around the girl before him.

"What...what happened to you?" He asked in awe. Luna tugged at her hair and pulled her wand out from behind her ear.

"Why? Ginny...she did it! She...she..." Luna trailed off as Harry swallowed hard. "What's wrong?"

"Nothing!" Harry said quickly as she started to turn away. He grabbed her wrist in his fingers and pulled her around. "I...you just look...different. Not a bad different...just...its nice. Your eyes...I never noticed..."

"Is that a good thing?" Luna asked, taking a deep breath, Harry's hands hot on her wrist.

"Its very good. Its...its really, really good." Harry said with a nervous laugh. He couldn't stop staring at her. His blood rushed through his head and he struggled to breathe properly.

Luna smiled and Harry felt like he was floating. No, it wasn't a bad thing at all.

****

The last hour of detention melted by much quicker than anyone of them wanted it to. Ginny slipped back into the Library before Snape could come and relieve them all, her pulse racing, lips swollen. She looked in Harry's direction, expecting him to come raging at her for leaving, but she quickly saw that he was much too preoccupied to care where she'd gone.

Ginny smiled as she watched Harry and Luna talking at a table in the back. They didn't take their eyes off each other for a second.

Soon, the door opened and Snape came thundering in.

"Get out." Was all he said and then they were suddenly free. No speech, no barely concealed threats, nothing. As everyone stood, Justin glanced down at his scroll. Snape ignored him though and swept out of the doors. Everyone followed. Harry and Luna walked together and Ginny saw Harry take her hand in his.

Ginny smiled and then stepped out into the hall. Snape was standing before them. He lifted his wand and tapped on the door of the broom closet; it creaked open to reveal Draco sitting there was a fairly dreamy expression on his face.

Snape gestured him out and Draco climbed lazily to his feet, as if he'd been there all day. Snape glared at him for a moment. "See you tomorrow, Mr. Malfoy. My dungeons this time."

Malfoy nodded his head and took his wand back as Snape handed it to him. His eyes were already on Ginny. Snape sneered at them all and turned on his heel. He thundered back through the Library.

Justin bit his lip. "We should all probably run, before Snape comes back." He said weightily and everyone took the hint.

They all moved off down the hallway in a group. As they trooped down the last staircase, they saw the doors open and students swell inside, cheeks pink from a whole day spend in Hogsmeade. Everyone looked at each other and smiled. They didn't envy everyone else in the slightest.

"Well." Justin said, unsure of what to do. Harry and Draco exchanged glanced and nodded their heads. "What do we do now?"

"I'm going to go do something very stupid. See you all later if I don't get kicked out." Draco said bitterly. Everyone clapped him on the back, but didn't stop him. Draco needed to do this. He nodded and then walked off in the direction of Dumbledore's office.

Ginny looked at everyone, especially Harry. Harry glanced at her and nodded his head ever so slightly--he wasn't going to tell Ron. Ginny took off after Draco, stopping him a few feet away. He turned around and looked into her eyes.

"See you brat." He said and then kissed her full on the lips. Ginny closed her eyes and felt him slide away. When she opened them, he was long gone. She looked back at the others, who were watching. She ducked her head and walked away, leaving them all alone.

Justin looked back at Harry and Luna, then in the direction of the Library. He sighed as he spotted Hannah Abbot and Ernie MacMillan come through the front doors. "Bye."

Luna and Harry waved goodbye to him and then turned to each other. Harry bit down on his lip and pushed his glasses back up on his nose. He didn't know what to say or do.

Luna took the matter completely out of his hands. She stood up on tiptoe and kissed him full on the lips. His limbs felt weird, but he managed to lift a hand and twist it in the back of Luna's hair and pull her closer. The world rushed by him like a speeding train.

Luna pulled away a moment later, her eyes closed. She opened them and Harry felt like he was drowning in her misty orbs.

"I..." He stammered, but she smiled and pulled away from him.

"Bye, Harry." She whispered and then took a step backward. Harry didn't want her to go. She kept going though, walking backward down the hallway in the direction of Ravenclaw Tower. She disappeared around the corner and Harry finally took a breath, realizing he hadn't since she let go of him.

"Was that...Loony Lovegood?" Ron's voice suddenly asked in amazement and horror. Harry swiveled around and met the gazes of his two best friends, pink cheeked and holding hands. They were also carrying bulging sacks of candy from Honeydukes.

"Yeah." Harry said, going scarlet. Hermione smiled and hit Ron before he could say anything else.

"Looks like you had an interesting day." She said in a measuring tone. Harry smiled vaguely at her.

"You have no idea. Come on; let's go back to the common room. You can tell me what you did in Hogsmeade." He said, clapping his hands on Ron and Hermione's shoulders. Ron shook his head, but Harry resolutely promised himself he wouldn't tell either of them anything about what had happened in the Library.

It was just between himself, Luna, Ginny, Justin and Draco. Whatever else was going to happen after today was unclear. Whatever the outcome of their time in detention, they all knew something special had happened. Nothing would ever change that, not being divided into Houses, not prejudices, nothing.

And Harry couldn't help but smile.

****

Professor Severus Snape stood in the Library of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, a scroll in his sallow fingers. As he read the short essay, his scowl got deeper and deeper until he crumpled it in his fist.

He tossed it on the ground and spun on his heel, his mind full of thoughts he didn't want to think, his perceptions blown apart by one short essay.

And he didn't like it. Not at all.

****

Dear Professor Snape,

We accept the fact that we had to sacrifice a whole Hogsmeade visit for whatever it was we did wrong. But we think you're mad to make us write an essay telling you who we think we are. You see us, as you want to see us...in the simplest terms, in the most convenient definitions. But what we found out is that each one of us is a brain, a hero, a loon, a brat and a troublemaker.

Does that answer your question?

Sincerely Yours,

The Breakfast Club



(end story)

****