This idea came to me and demanded to be written. How could I possibly say no? Ideally it would have been out on Women's Day, but the idea wasn't even conceived until after the 8th of March.
The inspiration came from a song by Martina McBride of the same title. The lyrics can be found at the end of the fic!
A friend of mine broke up with her fiancée the other day, and the rest of us immediately rushed to her aid. We abandoned everything to be there for our friend when she needed it. A slumber party, gallons of vodka and tons of chocolate later, we all felt better!
Girl Power may have been a brief part of popular culture a few years ago, but the other day I realised just how much more than that, it is.
Every woman is different, unique; talented and special in her own way. Despite the period cramps and the mood swings, the bikini waxing and the constant dieting to stay in shape, I'm glad to be a woman!
One last note: This story was written in it's entirety from around 11pm to 7am on a weekday! It was meant to be a simple one shot and instead turned into the monster it now is. Please forgive any and all mistakes!
Disclaimer: This story, is based on the characters and situations created by the wonderful J.K. Rowling, and was created simply for entertainment purposes and out of love for the art of storytelling. No infringement of rights was ever intended and no money is made out of it.
This One's for the Girls
"I'm bored," complained Ginny as she let herself fall onto the covers of her bed.
"Have you done all your homework?" asked Hermione without taking her eyes away from the thick tome which lay open on her lap.
"Yes! Ages ago! How could I not 'Mione? You've been nagging me about it since we got here!"
Hermione finally let her eyes wander over to her younger friend. Ginny lay on the bed, flame-coloured hair fanning out around her, her eyes trained towards the ceiling in frustration.
"Well, find something else to do," she tried to rationalise.
"Like what? If I had something else to do, do you think I'd be here complaining?"
Hermione stayed quiet for a while. Then she sighed.
"I'm sorry Gin. I know what you mean," she said, finally closing her book, abandoning it and the comfortable armchair she had been lounging on.
She walked towards the bed and Ginny's side.
"None of us likes being cooped up here. It's getting on everyone's nerves, but there's nothing we can do about it."
She sat down defeatedly onto the covers next to Ginny.
Ginny's eyes flickered back to her best friend.
She hadn't expected that. She had expected Hermione to come up with some sort of reasonable argument defending Dumbledore's decision to have them stay there. After all, that's what Hermione had been doing the entire summer.
She had listened when Harry, Ron or Ginny had ranted and raved about wanting to fight. She had listened and let them blow off steam, before calmly repeating the same thing every time.
They weren't ready.
And they had to stay safe until they would be.
Ginny knew that Hermione, like herself, would have given anything to be out there fighting with the others. But people were counting on them to stay safe, and if that meant that they had to stay in this rickety, old house for the entire summer to do it, then that's what they'd have to do!
Hermione was so confident in her views, that she had convinced everyone else of it, too.
If anything, her forced inactivity had only made her study harder and push everyone else to study just as hard. It was clear that she felt that, to be the only way they had to prepare for a war they would undoubtedly all-too-soon be part of.
But other than that, for the entire summer, Hermione had been for everyone, the shelter in the storm.
Tempers and arguments had flared between the members of the Order of the Phoenix that summer, due to the stress, frustration and pent up energy they all suffered from. Only Hermione's calm presence had prevented them from killing each other at times.
She had even been there to act as a buffer between her friends and Draco Malfoy who, along with his mother, had arrived at the house at the beginning of the summer seeking refuge from Lucius. They had never learnt the reason behind this change of heart, and they probably never would.
To say that Draco's arrival at the house was ill accepted was an understatement. It was due to Hermione's efforts that the boys managed, if not to like, then to at least tolerate, each other. Ginny doubted Hermione had gotten thanks from anyone for this.
But as Ginny looked up at her friend, she saw that Hermione was beginning to be affected by their predicament. Her eyes betrayed that she felt just as angry, useless and scared as the rest of them. Ginny noted with surprise the sheer amount of mental fatigue that seemed to radiate off the, usually calm and reserved, girl in waves.
How could she have failed to see it? How could Hermione have kept it from them?
It seemed that Hermione had been there for everyone. She had been there for Harry all through his mourning of Sirius, she had been there to knock some sense into Ron when he needed it, to tell the twins off when everyone else had been too busy or too weary to do it... to maintain some semblance of normalcy.
Yes, Hermione had been nothing short of wonderful throughout the months they had spent at the dark and dreary manor. Their rock. But it had come to a great expense, Ginny realised. Hermione was exhausted. She had leant everyone her support, her strength of character, until she had nothing left for herself.
Hermione's strength was abandoning her.
Ginny drowned a feeling of panic that rose within her and threatened to smother her. She knew it was selfish, but Hermione had to stay strong! She had to. For all of them.
"Hermione? Are you alright?"
Hermione's eyes shifted to look down at her red-headed friend. She hadn't paid any attention to Ginny's scrutinising gaze. She had been lost in her own thoughts.
"Yes, of course, Ginny. Just tired," she said with a small smile.
And with that she let herself sink fully onto the bed. She laid her head next to Ginny's. Red and cinnamon locks mingled on the bed covers.
The two girls stayed quiet for a while. And then...
"I think I know what we can do!" said Ginny excitedly, sitting up on the bed.
"What?" asked Hermione unenthusiastically, not bothering to move. In fact her eyes had never left the ceiling.
Ginny frowned. This was worst than she had thought.
"We need a girls' night!" she announced.
Hermione finally deigned to turn and look at her friend.
Ginny waited for her reaction.
"No, really!" continued Ginny. "My mum's always said that there's nothing like girl talk to raise a girl's spirits!"
Hermione forced a small smile.
"I'm sorry Gin. I'm just not much of a girly-girl."
"Aw, come on Hermione... It'll be fun! A slumber party! There'll be ice cream, chocolate, music, face masks..."
Her smile widened at her friend's enthusiasm, but it never reached her eyes.
"If you're trying to convince me, Gin, it's not exactly working…Besides; you, Luna and I already share a room, every night's a slumber party."
Ginny had to agree to that. Hermione was right, and it dimmed her enthusiasm. Them already sharing a room... It wouldn't be a proper slumber party; it would just be the three of them eating chocolate and ice cream in their room. Where was the fun in that?
"What if we invited everybody else too?"
Hermione grinned cheekily, discarding a little of the exhaustion that seemed to plague her.
"I can't exactly see Ron or Harry in face masks. Can you?"
"Actually, now that you mention it..." she said mischievously before giving a small chuckle. "What about Neville? Or- or," Ginny barely managed, "Malfoy!"
The two girls shared a look and burst into uncontrollable laughter.
"A bright green face mask! With cucumber slices over his eyes!" contributed Hermione warming up to the idea.
"And curlers in his hair!" added Ginny between giggles.
Hermione let out another peal of laughter at the vivid imagery her mind conjured up with those words.
It took a fair amount of time for both girls to stifle the last of their giggles.
Ginny noticed that a small sparkle remained in her friend's eyes. It made her all the more determined to continue on with her plan. Hermione needed this. They all did.
"That's not what I meant!" Ginny finally said chastising.
"What, no face masks?" Hermione asked jokingly.
Ginny struggled to keep a straight face.
"Yes face masks, no boys. I meant a slumber party for all the girls currently staying at Number 12 Grimmauld Place!"
That brought up Hermione short.
"What do you mean by all the girls?"
"Well, not just me, you and Luna..."
"Luna, you and I," corrected Hermione automatically.
"Luna, you and I," continued Ginny grudgingly, "but all the girls. Tonks for one. And my mother I suppose. Mrs Malfoy too, if she wants to come!"
Hermione looked at her incredulously.
"You want to invite Mrs Malfoy to a slumber party? With your mother?!"
"Well, why not?" she challenged. "We all need it. Every one of us! And it might even be a chance to learn a little more about each other."
Hermione considered Ginny's proposal for a while.
"Well..." she said wavering, "it'll be interesting if nothing else."
Ginny gave her one of her infamous radiant smiles. It worked every time!
"I must be mad, but ok," she finally said.
"Great! Lets get started!"
Ginny jumped up dramatically off the bed and dragged her less willing friend behind her out of the room.
Where are we going?"
"We've got arrangements to make for tonight!"
On the top of the staircase, their way was blocked by the friendly faces of Harry, Ron and Neville.
"Out of our way boys, we've got work to do!" Ginny announced pushing them aside.
Hermione shrugged helplessly at them before she was yanked down the stairs by an impatient Ginny.
"Ginny slow down! Where are we going?"
"Kitchen," she answered.
Hermione noted with amusement the determination in Ginny's eyes and she didn't dare argue as they made their way towards the kitchen.
"Over here Ginny!" called Mrs Weasley who was, as suspected, in the kitchen clearing after lunch.
She took one look at her daughter's mischievous smile and frowned.
"What are you girls up to?"
"Not me Mrs Weasley," refuted Hermione in haste, anxious to remove herself from any future blame, but still retaining a small smile.
Mrs Weasley's eyes softened as they fell on the brunette with the sparkling eyes.
"Ginny has an idea," Hermione continued, pushing her friend forward.
Mrs Weasley's stare focused on her daughter. Ginny smiled.
"Mum..." she started sweetly, "what is it that you always tell me when I'm upset about something?"
Mrs Weasly hadn't expected this.
"There's nothing like girl talk to raise a girl's spirits?" she answered warily. "Is there something you want to tell me Ginny?"
"Did you have any plans for tonight, mum?"
If anything Mrs Weasley seemed even more confused.
"I was just planning to cook dinner like every other night..." She narrowed her eyes suspiciously. "Virginia Weasley, what did you have in mind?"
Her daughter looked back.
"A girls' night in, mum. And you're invited! Every woman in this house is invited. I figured we need some time to ourselves. Everyone's been under so much pressure lately... we need to forget about everything for a while. Talk, laugh, get to know each other better... you know... a proper girls-only, slumber party! We could have it in our room. We'll transfigure a few sleeping bags, arrange some music... it'll be fun!"
Molly Weasley's face brightened up.
"Gin, that's an excellent idea!"
"I knew you'd be up for it!" she said triumphantly.
Ginny's enthusiasm was catchy and Hermione laughed out loud with pleasure seeing an identical expression mirrored on Molly Weasley's older features. Hermione was finally getting excited at Ginny's outrageous idea and Ginny noticed.
"I'll take care of the sleeping bags and the music," Hermione offered.
"And mum, do you think you could arrange the food?" asked Ginny batting her eyes innocently at her mother. "Nothing fancy, just ice cream, about a ton of chocolate and chocolate chip cookies, if you can make them...?"
Her mother's face fell slightly.
"I'd love to Ginny, but I have to make dinner..." she said gently.
Ginny looked at Hermione with an unspoken challenge in her eyes. Hermione was never one to back down from a challenge...
"Mrs Weasley, forget dinner!" she said. "If the men want to eat dinner tonight, they have to make it themselves! We are spending the rest of the afternoon getting ready for tonight, and that's that! See you at seven o'clock in our room."
Mrs Weasley's eyebrows rose in surprise. Hermione the Rebel, was someone she had given up hope on ever seeing. Her grin widened.
"See you at seven, girls!" she said before turning her back to them.
"Now where did I put the flour..." they heard her muttering as they left the kitchen.
He threw himself at her.
She raised her right arm to block his blow and twisted, as sudden as lightning, to punch him viciously in the kidneys. He only just managed to dodge what would have probably been a very painful blow.
But he was quick to retaliate.
She ducked to the right to avoid a murderous punch then grabbed his extended arm in an iron grip. She used her attacker's momentum to propel both of them to the side and to throw him, head first, onto the wall on her left.
He twisted out of her grasp at the last possible moment to avoid the head-on collision.
She twisted raising her right leg in a high kick in the process. The man she was facing, only just avoided her by stumbling backwards. Leaving him no room for rest, she twirled to bring up her other leg on a second high kick. This time however, he grabbed her raised leg in the air and held it there. Amusement coloured his features, a spark of anger coloured hers.
She was for all purposes standing on one leg, and that made for bad balance, something she didn't have much aptitude for to begin with.
Retaining his grip on her leg, he twisted to sweep her other leg from under her. She jumped to avoid him, but she was just a fraction too late. She ended up landing painfully on the floor even as he was straightening himself up.
A bare-chested Bill Weasley offered a gentlemanly hand to raise Nymphadora Tonks back on her feet. She took it with an unladylike groan.
They were both wearing only the minimal amount of clothing for their little workout, and sweat glistened off their bodies as they suddenly found themselves standing a little too close for comfort. They panted heavily from exertion as their eyes locked.
"I do hope we're not interrupting anything!" echoed a very amused voice in the large ballroom the two had been using as a training hall.
Bill and Tonks jumped back in surprise before they turned to face the source of that voice.
"Hey Gin, Hermione," Bill said.
He was smiling, but his ears were still slightly red.
"Hey guys," offered Tonks before reaching for a couple of towels that had been carelessly abandoned on the floor. She threw one towel to Bill, who caught it deftly, before using the other one to wipe her face.
"Hey Tonks," started Ginny, amusement still written all over her face, "we have a proposition for you."
"More of an invitation really," added Hermione, on whose face mischief seemed strangely misplaced.
Tonks raised an eyebrow in curiosity.
"Got anything planned for tonight?" asked Ginny.
"Because if you do," continued Hermione, "cancel it! You have a slumber party to attend!"
"A slumber party?" interjected Bill. "Ooh, can I come?" he asked obviously eyeing Tonks up.
"No. It's girls-only," offered Ginny, cutting off her brother abruptly.
"What do you say, Tonks?" asked Hermione. "It'll be fun!"
"Our room? Seven o'clock?" continued Hermione.
"We've got sleeping bags and chocolate!" announced Ginny happily.
"And I'll bring the drinks!" announced Tonks, a little too quickly.
Hermione eyed her dubiously.
"Err... Tonks, Mrs Weasley and Mrs Malfoy will be there too."
Tonk's eyes sparkled evilly.
"Even better! I'd love to see Narcissa drunk!"
Hemione looked positively scandalised, while Bill roared with laughter.
Ginny simply grinned before pulling a shocked Hermione away.
Hermione knocked on the door before entering.
"Come in," sounded Dumbledore's voice from behind the heavy door.
Ginny hesitated only slightly before pushing the door open.
Four heads rose from the multitude of maps they had been busy studying. Ginny swallowed nervously as she took in the faces of Professor Dumbledore, Professor Snape and Remus Lupin along with the beautiful face of Narcissa Malfoy.
"Miss Granger, Miss Weasley, how can we help you?" asked the headmaster.
"Professor," spoke Hermione, "we were wondering... if we're not interrupting anything, may we have a word with Mrs Malfoy, please?"
Narcissa's eyes met those of Professor Snape before she picked up her skirts and walked calmly towards the two girls.
Dumbledore's eyes twinkled.
Ginny seemed speechless for once, before the elegance and grace the older woman radiated. The invitation seemed to fall on Hermione's shoulders to make.
"Mrs Malfoy," she started, "Ginny and I were talking earlier and we-we had an idea. Everyone under this roof seems to have been under a lot of pressure lately, so we thought it'd be nice for us to err... relax a little, to have some err... fun, so we thought we'd have a girls-only slumber party tonight. We'd like you to come..."
Hermione waited for a while and was relieved to see that the woman in front of her hadn't in fact exploded with laughter at the absurdity of this suggestion. She could hardly believe her eyes when she saw a small smile form on Narcissa's lips.
"It's just a little get together for us girls," continued Hermione with fresh courage. "Nothing fancy. We thought we'd do things like err..." here she faltered.
"Talk, listen to music?" supplied Narcissa with amusement.
"Err... yes," admitted Hermione.
"Perhaps some beauty treatments, painting our nails, doing our hair...?" she continued.
Hermione nodded mutely. Was the formidable Mrs Malfoy going to make fun of her after all?
"We've got ice cream and chocolate..." volunteered Ginny, "and mum's making chocolate chip cookies."
Narcissa's smile widened.
"I've never been to a slumber party before, but it sounds fun! It's a wonderful idea, girls. Thank you for inviting me. I'd love to come."
Hermione and Ginny smiled at each other in relief.
"Do I need to bring anything?"
"Just your pyjamas!" grinned Ginny.
"It's in our room. Starts at seven o'clock tonight," said Hermione, before the two of them vanished from the entrance of the room.
Narcissa Malfoy remained there for a while, a slight smile softening her frigid beauty.
"Narcissa?" asked the concerned voice of Severus Snape behind her. "What was all that about?"
Narcissa closed the door gently before turning to face the others.
"It seems I have just been invited to a slumber party," she said crisply, moving towards them once again.
Had Ginny and Hermione stayed a little longer they would have been graced with the devastatingly shocked faces of Severus Snape and Remus Lupin. The men's jaws seemed to have suddenly come undone, and their mouths hung wide open. Dumbledore's eyes twinkled more than they had for a very long time.
"Gentlemen, shall we continue?" echoed Narcissa's smooth, velvety voice.
"Three down, one to go," commented Ginny.
"Luna shouldn't be too hard to convince."
"There she is! Luna!"
The blonde turned dreamily towards them. She smiled.
"Hello Ginny, Hermione."
"Hey!" said Ginny when they had reached her.
"Wow!" commented Hermione when she saw what Luna had been doing when they found her. "Did you do this?"
Hermione and Ginny saw Luna flush for the first time.
"It's nothing," she said closing her sketchpad. "I'm not that good..."
"No, Luna..." Hemione's eyes sparkled. She kneeled down next to the seated girl until they were on equal eye level, before looking at her solemnly.
"May I?" she asked almost reverently, pointing with her eyes at the closed sketch pad.
Hermione took the sketch pad from Luna's unresisting grasp. Slowly she flipped the cover over.
Instantaneously Hermione's and Ginny's lips formed a silent 'o' of appreciation.
Before them lay a detailed and beautiful sketch of Hogwarts and its grounds. It was obvious to the two girls that the artist was very talented.
Hermione flipped over the next page.
A pencil sketch of Dumbledore in all his bearded glory greeted them. His eyes twinkled at them in amusement.
A picture of Harry and Ron playing chess. The painful concentration on Harry's face was evident. Ron grinned in triumph. In the picture, he already knew he had won the game.
The elegant form of Mrs Malfoy smiling up at the always solemn Severus Snape. Their eyes betrayed nothing, yet the observer would note that there was the hint of something unspoken in both of them. Some inner strength, perhaps, that the artist had captured with her light strokes.
Hermione herself, feet dangling comfortably from the puffy armchair, biting her lip, in concentration and her customary fashion, as her eyes followed the minute text on the gigantic tome that lay on her lap. The fire cast a warm glow on her face. Calm, peaceful, eternal...
Draco. Arogant and cold and graceful. Scowling. Yet in his eyes seemed to be something deeper that held the viewer captive; that made the observer wonder, and want to know more about the pale boy in the picture.
Ginny. Eyes glowing with a roaring fire in their depths, hair standing on end... Breathtaking in her anger as she faced the shame-faced twins.
The real Ginny blushed.
The next picture was of Molly Weasley presiding over a table which seemed to be filled to the brim with Weasleys, as well as other Order members. The sketch showed Molly in all her matriarchic glory. Motherly concern and pride was evident in her very stance, as she looked on fondly.
She could have drawn the tragic hero the world saw. Or the orphan who had lost his parents and godfather before he even knew them. Instead, she seemed to have drawn something else entirely. The young man in the sketch seemed uncertain and determined at the same time. Guarded and vulnerable. Brave and courageous without meaning to, yet so much more than the reluctant hero many would have been tempted to portray. She had captured perfectly the transformation of the younger boy he had been, into the man he would become. The paradox that was Harry Potter.
Hermione flipped over the last page to see the sketch that Luna had been lovingly working on when the two of them had interrupted her.
It was unfinished as yet, but still breathtaking in its simplicity.
Ron was grinning his trademark lopsided grin, sheepishly. His hair tousled, his cheeks flushed, his ears red. In his eyes shone fierce loyalty, honesty and a touch of pure mischief that was unmistakably Ron.
"Oh Luna!" said Hermione again.
The artist had known her subjects better than any of them had thought. She seemed to have such a deep understanding of all of them... Everybody always underestimated Loony Luna!
"I never even knew you could draw!" breathed Ginny in awe, looking at the portrait of her brother.
Luna shrugged half-heartedly still looking down. She hadn't dared look at the two girls as they had examined at her work.
"Luna," said Hermione lifting her blonde friend's face upwards so she would look her in the eyes, "you are a wonderful artist! These sketches..." despite her extensive vocabulary, Hermione Granger was at a loss for words. "They are beautiful," she finally said.
"You've captured more than just what we look like. You've captured who we are. Luna... whatever you decide to do in life... don't ever give up drawing!"
Luna finally looked up.
A small smile lit her face.
"You really think they're good?" she asked, almost afraid to believe it.
"Beautiful," said Ginny, placing a hand on her friend's shoulder.
The blonde girl's face lit up even more and flushed with pleasure all at once.
Hermione got up. Her knees were killing her. She had been kneeling for too long, but it had been worth it.
"Hey Luna, we had this idea..."
"I had this idea," corrected Ginny.
Hermione rolled her eyes.
"Ginny had this idea..." she continued then stopped with a grin. "Just how good are you at organising slumber parties, Luna?"
Luna got up, a puzzled look on her face, her sketch book clutched tightly to her chest.
Ginny draped an arm around her friend's shoulders.
"We were thinking..."
Three ravenous boys waked into the kitchen following their noses.
Molly Weasley was humming contently.
"Mum? Are those chocolate chip cookies? What's the occasion?" asked Ron as he reached for one of his mother's fragrant, freshly-made, culinary wonders.
Molly slapped his hand away just in time and he was forced to withdraw his hand cookieless.
"They're not for you Ron," she said crisply, before using her wand to take another fresh batch of chocolate chip cookies out of the oven.
"Who are they for, Mrs Weasley?" asked Neville who was watching the cookies hungrily.
"The girls," she answered before continuing with her humming.
"The girls??" asked Ron offended, "Why can't we have any?"
"They're for the slumber party."
"What slumber party?" asked Harry.
"Tonight's slumber party," answered Molly airily, as she took a full plate of cookies from under the boys' noses to the kitchen table.
"Girls only," she added with a mischievous smile that Ron had never seen his mother wear. All of a sudden, he couldn't help wondering were the twins did get their... uniqueness... from, anyway.
"Hermione, Ginny, Luna, Tonks, myself... I dare say even Narcissa's going!" she announced triumphantly.
"Narcissa Malfoy at a slumber party?" asked Harry, his eyes widening to the size of diner plates.
"Uh-huh," confirmed Mrs Weasley.
His growling stomach, forced Ron to focus on more urgent matters.
"What's for dinner mum?"
"How should I know Ronald?" asked Molly completely unfazed. "I haven't cooked today."
"You what?" asked a shocked Ron, "But... but... we're hungry! What are we going to eat?"
"Why don't you ask Professor Dumbledore, darling. He offered to cook tonight."
"Dumbledore offered to cook?" asked Neville in disbelief.
Harry blanched as he wondered if Dumbledore had ever cooked before.
Ron was appalled. More than that. He was flabbergasted!
"Hey mum, are you ready?" asked Ginny from the door.
"Everything's ready!" said Molly more cheerful than anyone had ever heard her in a long time. "I just need some help getting the food upstairs."
"We'll help you Mrs W," announced Tonks. Her fuchsia hair matched perfectly with the bubblegum in her mouth.
As if to demonstrate this fact, she blew a pink bubble on her way to the cookie trays. On her way back - while her hands were occupied with two large tubs of ice cream, chocolate syrup and more packets of chocolate than the boys ever thought she could carry - she passed Hermione who was only just entering the kitchen to hep. Hermione grinned and, in complete un-Hermione-like fashion, popped Tonk's bubble.
"Hey!" Tonks yelled in mock indignation, going cross-eyed to look at her bubblegum-covered nose.
And Hermione... she actually giggled! All watching eyes blinked.
As Hermione turned to exit the kitchen, a cookie tray in each hand, she found her path blocked by a very familiar, blond ferret.
"I heard all about... your plans for this evening. I must confess Granger, I honestly thought you of all people had more sense than that!" drawled Draco Malfoy.
Instead of using her extensive vocabulary and caustic wit in retaliation, Hermione merely stuck her tongue out at him. Narcissa Malfoy, who had been watching the exchange from the living room laughed out loud at her son's shocked expression.
Ginny Weasley, who had been enjoying a privileged view of everyone and everything from her position on the staircase, allowed herself a congratulatory smile for a job well done.
A/N: The second and concluding part of this fic featuring the actual slumber party will be posted on Monday. It's already written and just needs a few final touches before it's completely ready. Might I suggest that you download Martina McBride's wonderful song This One's for the Girls until then?