Title: Of Carnations and Candy Hearts
Rating: PG
Summary: Ginny's Valentine's Day has an unexpected end.

Disclaimer: All people, place and things belong to J.K. Rowling. The candy hearts and their messages belong to Necco.

A/N: I was eating candy hearts the other day and musing about the worthlessness of Valentine's Day (except for the candy hearts, of course), and this popped into my head.

Ginny could not believe her eyes. Obviously she was still asleep, dreaming of her first year, when Lockhart brought Valentine's Day to Hogwarts and she sent that ridiculous valentine to Harry and the whole hallway heard it…

Oh, she was blushing just dreaming about it.

Except, of course, she wasn't dreaming – just experiencing strong déjà vu.

Ginny didn't know how she had forgotten that today was Valentine's Day. Every year she had to suffer through a day when lovesick couples walked hand and hand through the hallways, stopping to kiss every few steps; when cards and flowers were shyly presented and gratefully received; when chocolate and candy were everywhere; and when anonymous cards often arrived from a secret admirer. And every year Ginny was forced to endure these sickening sights while receiving nothing – nothing – even though last year she had a boyfriend.

Ever since Lockhart had come to Hogwarts, Valentine's Day had been much too prominent for Ginny's liking. But for the past three years she had at least been saved the horror of seeing the Great Hall looking like this.

She wondered if perhaps she wasn't standing in the doorway to the Great Hall, but the doorway to some other room. After all, the four tables that stretched across the room did not normally have pink tablecloths and, as far as Ginny could tell, pink and red food. Confetti scattered everywhere and the hearts hanging down from the ceiling certainly were not the usual decorations. And if that wasn't enough, there were cupids flying around the room and music coming from somewhere.

Pretending the whole thing wasn't too surreal for words, Ginny marched over to the Gryffindor table and sank down next to Hermione.

"Do we know ?"

"Do we want to?" Hermione replied irritably. Apparently Ginny wasn't the only with a dislike for this day.

Ron, seated on Hermione's other side, was staring at one of the cupids with ill-concealed astonishment.

"It's exactly like four years ago," he muttered, dragging his eyes away from the fluttering cupid. "Remember, Hermione, when Lockhart was here and you sent him -"

"I know, Ron," Hermione snapped, attacking her bright pink eggs savagely.

"You remember, right, Gin?" Ron continued, oblivious to the girls' faces. When Ginny said nothing, he persisted, "You know, when you sent Harry -."

"I know, Ron," Ginny retorted. Would her brother ever learn tact? Of all the things Ginny hated about Valentine's Day, remembering the fool she made of herself during her 1st year was her least favorite.

Sweeping heart-shaped confetti off the heart-shaped, red pancakes, Ginny wondered if she could eat something so strangely colored. Deciding she wasn't hungry after all, Ginny looked around desperately for some sign of sanity.

Instead she saw Dumbledore stand up and beam at the room, wearing neon pink robes decorated in red hearts.

"Ahem!" He announced, causing the entire room to cease their confused chatter to stare at their headmaster. "Happy Valentine's Day, all of you!" he cried. "Professor Lockhart made have been abysmal at the Dark Arts, but he did know how celebrate this wonderful holiday. In an effort to raise morale, I have decided we need a proper Valentine's Day celebration. So, please, feel free to admire the lovely decorations, or try some of the candy." He held up a small bowl. "Here I have the wonderful Muggle candy that is so popular on Valentine's Day. I have taken the liberty of charming these wonderful candies, so that they will speak their message to you! Give them to your sweetheart or eat them all yourself, but they will be all over the school today."

Nodding to one of the cupids, Dumbledore continued, "And these are real card-carrying cupids! Should you care to send carnations," he held up a bouquet, "or candy hearts to anyone today, the cupids will be glad to deliver! Please, everyone, enjoy!"

"He's lost it," Ron muttered, aghast. "He's finally lost it! This is worse than Lockhart!"

"What candy was he talking about?" Ginny wondered aloud.

"It's Muggle candy," Hermione explained. "They're little hearts that have messages on them, like 'I Love You' or 'Kiss Me.' Pretty ridiculous, really."

"Yeah," Ginny agreed, "I'm leaving. Even double Potions has to be better than this." She stood up and began make her way to the doorway, Hermione close behind her.

"Look at all those people sending valentines," Hermione muttered. "Do you think we ?"

"Absolutely not," Ginny replied resolutely. "Terrible idea."

"Right," Hermione agreed, gazing longingly at the flowers. "I wouldn't object if someone sent me some, though."

Ginny stopped, next to the display of red, pink and white carnations, where students were pushing each other aside so that they could write a card and hand it to a cupid. True, it would be nice if just one of those many people was thinking of her…

"Thinking about sending one, Weasley?" a voice demanded from behind her. Spinning around, Ginny saw Draco Malfoy smirking at her. "Going to write another poem? Perhaps Potter will appreciate it this time."

"Were you planning on sending one to yourself?" Ginny asked sweetly. "No one else will, you know."

Before he could reply – or worse, Ron could come over – Ginny marched out of the hall and away from the Valentine lunacy.

Ginny hurried through the hall, dodging embracing couples and flying cupids as she went. For a few shorts hours she had experienced a release from the mayhem – Snape's dungeon was no heart-covered holiday. Snape himself had been in a foul mood – worse than usual – but for once Ginny had appreciated it. Now she was back. If she saw one more couple exchanging cards and a kiss, or one more cupid depositing flowers on some unsuspecting soul, or one more heart-shaped decoration, Ginny was going to hex somebody.

Surely Transfiguration will be alright, she thought to herself as she ducked inside the classroom. Immediately she saw Luna, seated at their normal seats, but wearing a red and pink robe with hearts bouncing around in her hair.

"What are you wearing?" Ginny hissed, sliding in beside her friend.

"It's Valentine's Day," Luna explained, as if Ginny didn't already know. "You need a more festive mood. Here, have some." She dumped a handful of candy hearts on Ginny's desk. Curious, Ginny picked a yellow one up.

"Cutie Pie!" It squealed, repeating the message written across it. "Cutie Pie!"

"Miss Weasley, please put those distractions away!" McGonagall bore down on Ginny, an annoyed glint in her eyes. "Five points from the next person to produce one."

Ginny stuffed the hearts into her pocket and focused her attention on McGonagall, not the hearts bouncing around in Luna's hair.

At long last the class ended, and Ginny hurriedly packed her things up, desperate to get away from Luna's hair. But in her rush to get out the door she walked straight into Colin.

"Oh, Colin, I'm so sorry, I didn't see -." She stopped when she saw the carnations in his hand. So this is what she got for wishing someone would send her flowers? As the sixth year Gryffindors began to trudge into the classroom she decided she'd better stop Colin before he embarrassed both of them. "Colin, uh, that's really sweet of you, but I -."

"Colin." Luna came to stand beside Ginny, a big smile on her face. Colin's eyes lit up when he saw her.

"Luna," he mumbled, blushing furiously. "I was – uh – I was hoping – well, here you go." He thrust the carnations at Luna.

Ginny watched, completely astounded, as Luna also blushed and giggled as she accepted the flowers. How could this day reduce even these two to giggling idiots?

"I'll just be going now," she said to no one in particular. Colin and Luna were too busy staring into each other's eyes to notice her. Sighing yet again, Ginny turned around.

And walked straight into Seamus Finnegan.

"Ginny!" Seamus grinned at her. "Surely a lovely lady like you has been given flowers?"

"No, Seamus," Ginny replied as she tried to move around him.

"But you've sent some, haven't you?" He winked at her flirtatiously. "Am I the lucky man?"

"Definitely not," Ginny replied, fighting back the desire to pull her wand out and hex anyone who dared get in her way.

"No, it's still Potter?' Seamus chuckled. "Tell me you didn't send him another poem?"

Ginny felt a blush spread across her face. Of course, at that very moment, Ron and Harry entered the classroom.

"What're you doing to my sister?" Ron demanded to Seamus. "If you sent her a valentine…"

"We were just discussing Valentine's Day four years ago," Seamus replied with a grin. "Remember, Harry? Expecting another one?"

"I'm going to Herbology now," Ginny announced, determined to make it out of the Transfiguration class. Avoiding Harry's eyes, she pushed Seamus aside, marching purposely out of the classroom.

Only to run right into Draco Malfoy.

My day cannot get any worse, Ginny thought, closing her eyes. In just a few minutes she had walked into three different people. She wasn't normally this clumsy.

"Falling all over me, now are we?" Malfoy smirked.

"Malfoy, don't touch my sister!" Ron yelled from the doorway where he, Harry and Seamus were still standing.

"You need to keep her off of me, Weasel," Malfoy retorted. Ginny tried to walk past him, but he moved, causing her to bump into him again. "It appears she just can't get enough."

"Keep dreaming," Ginny snapped before Ron could do anything rash. Head held high, Ginny marched off.

"If one more person mentions eyes as green as fresh pickled toads, I'll…" Ginny muttered ominously to herself. She wasn't sure what she'd do to the next person who thought it funny to remind her of one of the more stupid moments from her childhood, but she hadn't grown up with six older brothers without learning a few painful hexes.

What little was left of Ginny's patience was wearing very thin. She had endured the chatter and giggles about who-gave-who-what in both Herbology and History of Magic and seen countless cupids popping up everywhere with flowers or cards for practically everyone but her. The laughs over her valentine to Harry four years ago, often accompanied by quotes from the aforementioned valentine and queries as to whom she'd be sending poetry this year just added to her frustration. She didn't know why everyone even remembered that dreadful poem. Merlin knows she'd tried to forget it.

Sitting in Charms, Ginny wondered if she had ever had a more frustrating and depressing day.

"Such a joyful holiday!" Flitwick chortled from the front of the classroom. "I thought we could work on an appropriate charm today – shall we make more of these delightful little candies talk?"

Ginny's head hit her desk as the rest of the class cheered. Flitwick began passing out silent candy hearts to everyone.

"Now, don't eat them," he cautioned, as he began to teach them the spell. It wasn't a hard one; in no time at all, hearts all over the classroom were shouting out their messages.

"Kiss Me!" Ginny's shrieked. "Kiss me!"

"Look at this!" Colin, seated next to her, shoved a purple heart under her nose.

"Charm me!" It cried.

"Do you think Luna'd like it?" He asked dreamily. Ginny thought it was the type of thing Luna would love, but she didn't have a chance to respond. With a twinkle of music, a cupid appeared, hovering over the desks.

"Miss Jemima Muddlebury!" the cupid announced. The Hufflepuff giggled and blushed as she accepted her flowers. Her friends crowded around her, shrieking as they read the card. Ginny sent death glares their way.

"Kiss me!" the heart lying on her desk screeched. Furious, Ginny shoved it in her mouth, silencing the rude object.

As luck would have it, Ginny had prefect duty that night. This consisted of cleaning up the cards and confetti left lying around on the floor and chasing quite a few couples out of empty classrooms and closets. It was late by the time Ginny had cleaned up most of the mess and had her fill of terrorizing lovesick students. Finally, she made her way to an alcove on the third floor to wait.

Ginny was half asleep when she felt someone breathing down her neck. An invisible hand muffled her scream.

"Stop that!" she hissed at thin air. "I hate it when you do that."

"Sorry," a voice snickered, sounding anything but. An invisibility cloak slithered to the floor, revealing Draco Malfoy. "Have a good day?"

"Oh yes, splendid," Ginny snapped. "Everything was pink and red and covered in hearts. Cupids kept popping into all my classes and everyone seemed to have flowers and candy and cards and no one would shut up about it all. And then I ended up having to clean the mess up. What an amazing holiday," she finished sarcastically.

"You should have seen Snape's face when a cupid delivered him flowers." Her boyfriend chuckled. "Love to know who it was."

Ginny smiled slightly at the thought and relaxed, her head coming to rest on his shoulder.

"No one sent me anything," Draco continued plaintively. "Not even this girl I've been dating for the past four months. Even Potter got one."

"Yeah, I know," Ginny said absently, wondering rather belatedly if she should have sent Draco something. She'd thought for sure he'd find the whole idea ridiculous too.

"What?" Draco exploded, forcing Ginny to sit up. "You sent him a valentine?"

"Jealous?" Ginny teased. When he only scowled at her she relented. "No, it was Hermione. She finally told him that likes him. Except he doesn't know who the card's from, so now he'll just sit around wondering what to do about it and she'll have to continue sitting around dreaming about him."

"Well, he's never been very good at receiving valentines," Draco pointed out.

Ginny stared at him, her good mood gone as abruptly as it had arrived.

"You're only the millionth person to mention that today," she snapped.

"What?" Draco's face was the picture of innocence. "I have no idea what you're talking about. Oh wait, I think I remember something four years ago…"

"Stop!" Ginny cried. "Ugh, I was so mortified when that dwarf read it in the middle of the hall and you laughed at me. I've never forgiven you for that."

"Ah, so that's why I didn't receive a poem today," Draco mused. "Potter's better than me?"

"You don't deserve one," Ginny replied

"But I'd have liked one," Draco murmured in her ear.

"I don't think Potter liked your valentine much."

Draco's words from four years ago flashed across Ginny's mind. She shuddered at the memory. To think that now, four years later, it wasn't Harry she wanted anymore.

"That was the first time I think I really saw you," Draco continued. "Not that it was a great first impression. I definitely prefer thinking about you giving me a Bat-Bogey Hex – now that was an impressive impression, albeit a painful one."

"It's not like I received anything today either," Ginny said in an attempt to steer the conversation in another direction.

"Oh no?" With a dramatic flourish, Draco produced a bouquet of red roses.

"Roses!" Ginny exclaimed in astonishment. "But -."

"Malfoys don't buy carnations," Draco said arrogantly. "Only roses."

Touched, Ginny opened the attached card, a smile and a blush both spreading across her face as she read.

Her eyes are as brown as chocolate
Her hair is as red a cherry tart
I wish she was mine, she's really divine
The hero who conquered my heart.

Ginny felt like laughing and crying simultaneously at such an unexpectedly sweet gesture. She didn't know what surprised her more – that he could remember the poem or that he'd written another one for her.

"I didn't get you anything," she murmured, her eyes meeting his. At the emotion she saw there, Ginny fidgeted nervously, absently fingering the candy hearts left in her pocket. Without really thinking about it she pulled one out.

Draco caught her hand and opened it.

"Be Mine!" it croaked wearily.

His eyes never leaving her face, Draco lowered his mouth to eat the candy. His lips brushing against her palm gave Ginny shivers.

"I think you have," he murmured, before pressing his lips to her.

Ginny's last coherent thought was that perhaps Valentine's Day wasn't so bad after all.