Disclaimer: I don't own anything even remotely related to Harry Potter, except a little bit of merchandise. The characters, world, ideas, etc. belong to that wonderful J.K. Rowling and the WB movie people.

Notes: Well, it's been a long time (again). Oops! However, in my defense, grad school keeps an author busy! ^_^ Aaaaand, I may have had writer's block (compounded by the busyness of grad school). This chapter was originally slated to be rather long and I don't really have the time or creativity to put it out in its originally intended format. So, in the hopes that I will be a little more motivated to post a little more often, I'm going to do this one in bits, which is why it's really short. In actuality, this is the intro to chapter ten. However, I'm fairly fond of it, for all its little-bittyness. I hope you enjoy it.

Chapter Ten: Dragons, Dangers and Dormice (Part 1)

The morning after her brothers moved back into the Burrow dawned bright and clear for Ginny.

She knew because she was up early enough to watch it do so.

Normally this early rising would be something she protested. She got up early enough as it was, thanks to Bill, and she generally did so with ill grace, grumbling curses at her (usually absent) eldest brother from the moment she shut the bedroom door between her grumpy self and the still sleeping Hermione until the moment she finished her morning workout and stepped under the warm spray of the shower.

But this morning was different. This morning was special. This morning she woke up at an unheard of 5:03 AM and liked it.

This morning Charlie was taking her to the dragon reserve. Ginny was so excited she hadn't even complained when Charlie had informed her they'd have to leave the house at 5:30 in order to catch the first morning portkey to Romania at 6:15. She was so excited that she, a notorious night owl, had gone to bed early. She was so excited that she literally leapt from the bed as soon as her alarm woke her.

Unfortunately, enthusiasm wasn't enough to combat her usual morning grogginess, nor the clumsy bumbling that went with it. Also, it was still very dark. That, in addition to her growing excitement, caused her to overestimate her early morning coordination. Regardless of what she might think, she really wasn't up to leaping yet; the attempt did not go well.

She tripped over her sheets jumping out of bed.

And hit her elbow on the windowsill.

And stumbled into the corner of her dresser.

And fell to the floor with a rather heavy thud.

There may also have been some cursing thrown in.

Hermione was not happy to be awake at 5:04 in the morning.

She demanded silence. Or coffee. Or both. After several minutes of Ginny stumbling around and making more noise (in the form of thuds and curses) as she struggled to get her things together in the dark, Hermione gave up on the first request and threw the light switch with an impressive snarl and (revealed by the almost blinding light suddenly illuminating the room) a rather intimidating scowl to match.

"Why did you not do this before you went to bed last night?"

Ginny blinked. Huh. Why hadn't she thought of that? "Ummm…"

Hermione heaved a put-upon sigh. "I am going downstairs to make some coffee. Lots of coffee. I cannot function this early without caffeine. You," she glared irritably at her friend, "had better be out of the shower by the time I come back up. You only have twenty minutes left before you're supposed to leave. If you're lucky I'll remember to bring you some toast or something."

Ginny watched the older girl leave the room, straight-backed and stomping…silently. Ginny was impressed. Whenever she stomped like that, it always made tremendous noise. Then she glanced at the clock and leapt into motion. She was running out of time if she wanted to both shower and eat…and Ginny had a hard time getting through a morning without both of those things. Grabbing her clothes for the day, Ginny practically raced for the bathroom.

It was the fastest shower of her life. She was in and out in under five minutes (an impressive feat when you had as much hair to wash and condition as she did) and was fully dressed and back in her bedroom by the time Hermione returned from the kitchen. The older girl was carting a tray along with her, which she promptly sat in Ginny's lap.

"Gimme that," she muttered, snatching away the brush Ginny was currently trying to work through the heavy mass of hair at her back. She sat down on the bed behind the redhead and began wielding the brush with efficient strokes. "Eat," she commanded. "I ran into Charlie downstairs and he said they serve breakfast at the reserve's staff compound, but it'll be awhile. You'll want to have something substantial before then. Don't touch that," she added, reaching over Ginny's shoulder to nab the coffee mug she'd been about to drink out of. "That's mine." She took a greedy sip.

Ginny snickered. "I would have given it to you anyway," she told the girl. "You obviously need it more than I do."

"And whose fault is that?" Hermione groused, separating the hair at the top of Ginny's head into three still-wet strands and beginning to twist them together.

"I'm gonna go with Charlie on that one," Ginny responded innocently, inhaling her second piece of toast and gulping down some of her pumpkin juice.

"Hn," was Hermione's response, slender fingers deftly plaiting the thick red hair into a neat french braid. "Hair tie?" she demanded curtly when she had neared the end of Ginny's hair. Still chewing on her third (and final) piece of toast, the younger girl slid the black elastic off her wrist and handed it back over her shoulder. Hermione took it from her and wrapped it around the end of the braid. "Done," she proclaimed, dropping the secured hair to Ginny's back and scooting away to steal a danish off the corner of Ginny's tray.

"Thanks, 'Mione," Ginny mumbled around a bite of apple. She set the tray in her friends lap and began to stuff a few belongs into her backpack with the hand not occupied by the quickly disappearing fruit. Hermione huffed her annoyance but set the tray aside to help the redhead.

"You really should have done this last night," she scolded in true Hermione fashion.

"Normal people get less organized and more distracted when they are anticipating something, Hermione," she informed the other girl. "I was too excited to plan ahead."

"Too excited to plan ahead," Hermione muttered, disbelief written across her face. She stuffed a jacket and several apples into the top of Ginny's bag and yanked the zippers closed. "As if that's an excuse."

"What's that supposed to mean?"

Ginny placidly complied when Hermione shoved a sweatshirt into the redhead's arms and herded her towards the door. "This is normal for you, Gin. You always do things last minute. Except schoolwork," she added with thoughtful approval. "You usually do that well in advance."

Now it was Ginny's turn to huff. "I don't always do things last minute!" she protested. "I can plan ahead…if it's worth my while," she added with a wicked grin. "Take today for example. If it weren't for my careful planning, today would not be happening. I've been trying to come up with a way to get onto the reserve like this for years."

Hermione paused with her hand on the door and eyed her friend warily. "Sometimes you are so much like Fred and George it's frightening."

Ginny snickered and let the scowling Hermione shoo her out into the hall. "Go, go before you're late," the girl was saying.

Ginny adjusted the bag on her back, freeing a hand to snag the danish her friend was holding out to her. "Thanks," she said, passing through the doorway. "I mean it." Then she paused, looked back over her shoulder. "You know, I've been thinking. Our trip to Diagon Alley was a lot of fun. We should have another Girls' Day. Soon." She tossed the brunette another wicked, plotting grin and skipped off down the stairs, leaving the horrified prefect standing frozen in the doorway to their shared bedroom.

"Way too much like the twins," she heard the girl mutter, followed by a muffled, "I'm going back to bed," as the door shut firmly behind her.


I know, I know. I'm really sorry it's so short. I'll try really hard to post again soon, but…just a warning, it may be Christmas/New Year's before the next part comes out, because I'm heading into finals season already, and I will have even less time and even more writer's block. However, if that turns out to be the case, I will continue to be thinking, outlining, and piece-writing ideas as best I can, so that as soon as vacation hits, I can polish up the next few pieces and get them up. I really will try to put the next part up before then, but I can't make any promises.