A/N: I'm sorry.
That's really all I can say. Life got in the way, and...I'm sorry.
So here's the next chapter. It was supposed to be longer, but it was actually so long that it wouldn't fit in the box thing to upload, so I'm having to split it into two. The next one should be up in the next week or so. The one after that should be up in the next week or so after that, and then I actually think this thing might actually be done.
Here's to hoping...
How Mum Found Out About Harry and My Illicit Love Affair Involving Salad Tongs
(Sticking Tongs in Sockets, for short)
Because I made you wait.
Like a git.
Times a million.
For most of my life, or at least the part of my life in which I have been able to understand the concept, I have considered myself to be a sane, semi-normal human being. Sure I have the occasional irrational outburst or unusual reaction to a mostly normal event, but for the most part, I am your average twenty some-odd year old witch.
(Stop looking at me like that. The tuna incident was an accident. An accident.)
(Maybe it was a little on purpose...)
So, since I am a normal twenty some-odd year old witch, it is fairly odd to me when I end up in situations in which I seriously wonder whether or not I have not been hit by some stray brain-melting curse and therefore have the need to spend the rest of my days in St. Mungos. And it is especially odd to me when I end up in a situation in which I know I haven't been hit by a stray curse and therefore know I have no reason at all to be hearing a rug in a Muggle airport saying, "Bloody fuck. I just wanted the peanuts."
The addition of the phrase involving a small legume was of particular concern to me. That was most distinctly Not Average.
This is where I suppose I should explain how a rug in a Muggle airport happened upon the ability to speak, furthermore why it was speaking to me specifically, even furthermore why it was speaking to me specifically about peanuts, and the absolute furthermost how Mum discovered Harry and my illicit love affair involving salad tongs.
(Did I mention I was having an illicit love affair with Harry that involved salad tongs?)
(Because I was. In a sense. Partially. Mostly the salad tongs were an unfortunate accident.)
So this is how it started:
The clock beside Harry's sofa showed three o'clock, and I wished fervently I had noticed the time when Harry and I had finally left St. Mungo's. It had to have been five to seven hours. At least it had to have been five. Maybe only four and fifty-nine sixtieths in which case I only had another minute left in hell.
I watched Harry's right index finger tap the charred edge of his couch and counted.
"How long has it been?" I exclaimed when no sounds registered in my brain after sixty finger-to-fabrics. Harry's finger stopped and he moved his head slightly from its position wedged into the back of the worn-in sofa cushion.
"You asked me that five minutes ago," he said, looking at me through his eyelashes without amusement. "It was three hours then. Do the math." His head moved back to its original position and he resumed his staring at the ceiling whilst tapping his finger.
I glared at him, "Well excuse me for wanting my hearing back Mr. Broody-pants."
His chest thrust outwards shortly and I realized he'd snorted.
"Very witty, Gin," he moved nothing but his finger and lips. I reddened. I hadn't meant for him to actually comprehend that insult. I would have made up something more original if I'd known he was watching me.
"How'd you know that's what I said? You weren't looking at me."
Harry and I'd spent the last four and fifty-nine sixtieths hours perfecting the art of lip reading. When it becomes a necessity to do so, it isn't really all that difficult. In the first hour or so we had had a bit of a confrontation when the word "snog" was mistaken for "frog," and the resulting large empty space on the couch between us wasn't as surprising as one might originally believe. Not surprising at all, really, when in the end I'd finally exclaimed, "What kind of psychotic sexual favor are you asking me for, Harry!?"
Needless to say, we'd gotten slightly better since that particular incident. Though Harry seemed to have surpassed me in lip-reading skills.
"It's called peripheral vision," he said sarcastically (I could tell because he always rolled his eyes when he was being sarcastic), and then he blew the fringe from his face. I positioned myself squarely in his so-called peripheral vision and raised both my middle fingers. He raised a brow and turned to face me slowly.
"Unladylike," he proclaimed, "Rude. Uncouth."
I tossed my hair back and glared harder, keeping my fingers firmly in place.
He seemed to contemplate me for a moment.
"But surprisingly sexy," he concluded, glancing over at me slyly from the corners of his eyes, and suddenly I was beneath him on the couch, his head in my neck and his breath fanning across my collarbone.
"Oh!" I said, eyes wide. And then, "Oh...well…carry on, then…"
The next hour and fifty-eight sixtieths was spent very wisely. It had taken far too long, but we had finally got that thorough snog session fit into our schedules. Not that either one of us had very busy schedules, of course. It was just that people rather liked to interrupt us whenever we were snogging.
Rather annoying habit people had, that. Though I suppose you could look at it from the other direction and say that Harry and I might be snogging a bit too much, but seeing as how at the moment I couldn't even contemplate ever thinking such a thing as that, that conclusion becomes moot.
I was further disheveling Harry's ridiculously messy hair and his hand was creeping ever closer to the edge of my sweater when I heard something. It sounded somewhat like a burp. My eyes flew open and my nose wrinkled. I nearly pulled back in total disgust at having been subjected to such a snogging faux pas (honestly, burping into my mouth? Talk about rude and uncouth…), when I realized something.
I'd heard the burp. Burps cannot be heard unless one's ears are functioning properly. Which, as we all know, mine were not since Luna gave me the earplugs from hell.
Therefore, the Hearing of the Burp could only mean One Thing:
My ears were functioning properly.
"MY EARS ARE FUNCTIONING PROPERLY!" I screamed at Harry, and then blinked suddenly at the volume of my voice. Apparently we'd been unknowingly screaming at the top of our lungs for the last five and seven-sixtieths (give or take a few) hours. I briefly wondered if the Ministry would show up soon to reprimand us on revealing the existence of magic to the Muggles living on either side of Harry's apartment. Also the ones living on Harry's entire street. And this end of London.
Then I winced as Harry blew my eardrums out.
"WHAT!?" he wanted to know. I reached up and put a hand on his mouth and then placed a finger over my lips.
"You just burped in the middle of our snog session and I am disgusted." I stated, scowling at him.
"I DID NOT!" Harry screamed, shaking my hand off. "THAT'S REVOLTING!"
I winced again and smacked my hand back over his mouth. Now I considered it, it had sounded less like a burp than I had originally thought. Maybe it sounded more like I'd just swam down to the bottom of the pond behind the Burrow and my ears had popped. Perhaps it had only been the earplugs finally wearing off.
Luckily I am a master at changing the subject and distracting a person from informing me of my mistakes. It's a rather convenient talent, if I do say so myself.
"Okay well, regardless, you're rivaling Dorsy on a holiday weekend," I informed.
Dorsy was always loudest on holiday weekends because Muggles always ate the most hot dogs on holiday weekends. The hot dog vendors did ridiculous business on holiday weekends, and therefore Dorsy spent the entire time attempting to blend in as a Muggle tourist and discover the vendors' (or at least the supposedly dead wizards controlling them) evil conspiracy to destroy the world.
So far, he had yet to succeed. Though he did come quite close one time when he overheard a Muggle mention that a certain vendor must be magic, because he'd never seen a hot dog made so fast in his life. Turned out the guy was just really good at making hot dogs. Dorsy was disappointed but undeterred. Even after the formal dissertation and inquiry he faced by the Ministry of Magic for the "unprovoked and insufficiently explained attack on a Muggle purveyor of nourishment."
According to Dorsy, hot dogs had no nutritional value whatsoever, and therefore the formal dissertation was a load of bollocks.
"Oh," Harry said in response to my comparison. Then, he looked insulted. And then he just looked confused, "Wait, you can hear me?"
I grinned and nodded up at him. He pouted.
"That isn't fair…" he mumbled, looking remarkably like Malfoy would if he was forced to wash his own underwear for a change. Though I'm not entirely certain that analogy works anymore since I don't know whether or not they wear underwear at Azkaban.
Either way, though, I doubted—if they did wear underwear there— that it was made of the finest Acromantula silk, and therefore I bet Malfoy was miserable. The thought made me smile.
Which, in turn, made Harry's frown deepen.
"What's so amusing?"
"I was thinking about Malfoy's underwear."
Harry looked absolutely revolted for about five seconds before his eyes widened and he jumped off of me as if I'd been a hag using polyjuice and it had worn off.
"Malfoy's underwear makes you smile!?" Harry yelled hysterically, pointing at me. "You've seen Malfoy's underwear? Why? When? Where?"
I opened my mouth to speak but didn't get the chance.
"No," Harry said, turning away. "Don't tell me. I don't want to know. I do not want to know. If you tell me I'll kill myself. Then you'll be responsible for my untimely death and Romilda Vane will have a field day in the tabloids and Myrtle will probably give you a swirley and then haunt you until you die," he stopped and seemed to contemplate for a moment. "Which will be when Dobby suffocates you in your sleep with a sock. That has large numbers of weasels sewn on it."
My eyes widened a bit at his creativity.
"Wow," I said, staring at his back. "If I'd known mentioning Malfoy would get you in this much of a tizzy, I'd've done it a lot sooner."
Harry snorted. "Huh," he said. "Well I doubt you'll have the chance anymore because if you've seen Malfoy in his…" he seemed unable to finish his sentence, his face twisting into a multitude of different expressions, all of which displayed his enormous disagreeableness with the idea of his girlfriend being in any sort of situation in which she saw his arch rival in his underwear. "In his…his…"
"Frilly knickers?" I suggested.
Harry shuddered. "Right…those. If you've seen Ferretface in his…hold on a minute, frilly?"
He seemed unable to decide whether he should still be completely revolted that I knew enough about Malfoy's underwear to describe them, and completely delighted that they were frilly and therefore qualified as yet another thing to add to the running list of Malfoy's humiliations he and Ron had composed. It served to cheer them on a bad day.
I rolled my eyes at him.
"Harry, I have no id-"
"No, stop. I don't want to know. Even if he does wear lacy women's undergarments, I don't want to know if you've seen them."
"But Harry, I haven-"
"No, stop, no more, stop talking, I don't want t— …wait a tick, did you just burp?"
Harry whipped around to face me and I raised an expectant eyebrow. He pointed at me.
"I heard you burp," he stated.
"You heard the earplugs wearing off. It sounds like a burp. I am too ladylike to burp."
Which was entirely untrue, but Harry was too preoccupied to argue.
"Oh," he said. "So that means…I can hear…"
"Hmm. Logically, I'd say yes, that is true."
"But then…that means…but…oh," he said. I raised a brow.
"Problem?" I asked him. He seemed confused for a moment. Then his eyes flashed behind his glasses and he pointed a finger at me accusingly.
"Yes!" he exclaimed, backing away again. "You've seen Malfoy in his frilly knickers and I won't stand for it! I won't stand for it, Ginny!"
I blinked. The remark reminded me so very much of Ron that for a moment I expected his hair to turn red and freckles to sprout up on his face.
"You won't…stand for it?" I repeated, utterly turned inside out at the image in my head of my brother superimposed over my boyfriend.
"Not even for a minute!" Harry said furiously, still pointing.
I burst into laughter.
"Oh gods, Harry, you are too much sometimes," I said, wiping the tears from my eyes and then moving over to him. I slid my hands beneath his obstinately folded arms and pressed myself up close against him. He ignored me and turned his sulking face away, refusing to look down.
"Harry, come on, look at me."
There was no response.
"Please? I have something important to tell you."
Still no response. I sighed.
"Harry, if you don't look at me I will be forced to write to Romilda and give her your exact address and the times of day in which you can be found at home. I will also inform her that you are a boxers bloke, not a briefs one, and that you are looking for hot-blooded male to become life partners with."
Harry glared down at me begrudgingly. I nodded in satisfaction.
"There, see? Not so hard," I grinned at his deadpan expression. Then I gave him a serious face.
"Harry, I have never, nor will I ever, nor do I have the smallest desire to ever, nor can I even contemplate ever, seeing Malfoy in his undergarments. I was amused because I was thinking that he might be having to wash his own at Azkaban."
Harry stared down at me warily before giving a tentative smile.
"Really?" he asked.
"Really," I nodded. Then I gave him a mock glare. "And I am insulted that you have such a low opinion of me as to think I'd like seeing such a scarily pale atrocity. It might blind me."
Harry grinned and slid his arms around me.
"Well then, I'll just have to make up for it, won't I?" I giggled as we tumbled back onto the couch. Seeing as how I can't describe the events that occurred for the next while in any sort of appropriate fashion, I'll skip ahead a bit…Here is what happened next:
I leapt off from on top of Harry (the BAM! I mentioned earlier was the resulting sound after Harry and I tried to roll over and misjudged the width of the couch) and pointed an accusing finger at him.
"That was not an earplug sound!" I accused. "You just burped!"
Harry stared at me. "Yes, well, that can sometimes happen…"
"We were snogging," I elaborated. Harry grinned.
"Yes, well, that can sometimes happen as well. Oftentimes, actually. Five times in the past two days, in fact. Perhaps we should make it six, don't you think?"
I swatted Harry's hands away from my hips as he reached up to pull me back towards him, and extricated myself fully from his sprawled form.
"You just-" I tugged my foot out from beneath his leg, "burped while we were snogging."
"Not true," Harry said, grabbing hold of my receding foot. "We weren't snogging at the time of my burp."
I shook my foot. He didn't let it go.
"Only because we'd just fallen off the couch."
I changed tactics, turning around to grab the edge of the bookshelf and trying and pull my foot away. This turned out to be a bad idea, considering Harry had a sizeable strength advantage to the bookshelf, I had a death grip on the second shelf from the bottom, and the entire thing was filled with so much junk that it was dangerously unstable to begin with. What happened next should not come as a particular surprise.
"Shit," Harry and I said in unison as the bookshelf wobbled forward precariously, balanced on its front edge for half a second, and then toppled over, crashing into the coffee table and sending my miniature couch careening off the edge. The coffee table shot forward violently from the impact, smashing Harry in the side of the face, and then the bookshelf finished its chaotic fall with a thunk as it collapsed the rest of the way from the low-lying table and rested face down on Harry's living room floor.
I stood frozen, attempting to figure out how I had managed to escape the chaos unscathed. Apparently I had been standing in the exact right spot when the bookshelf toppled to have it fall at such an angle as to have my body fit through the top shelf like a quaffle through a hoop. Maybe I shouldn't admit this, but the first thing that I felt upon this realization was pride that this event could occur without the aid of Hermione's corset.
"Wow," I said, staring down at the piles of miscellaneous objects now strewn about the room. "Was there even a book on that bookshelf, or was it just completely filled with junk?" I examined a cracked Sneakoscope and a small replica of a Muggle Ford Anglia lying at my feet as I said this.
"Unnngghh," Harry replied.
I yelped as I remembered his near-fatal collision with the coffee table.
"Harry!" I said, nearly tripping as I tried to maneuver my way through the jumble. "Are you alright?"
Harry sat up woozily, and I kneeled down to help him.
"Mah faish," he said, the statement nearly incomprehensible due to the swollen nature of his left cheek. "Hurtsh."
I tutted and clucked and firmly neglected the idea that I was acting like my mother in doing this as I pulled out my wand and muttered incantations over Harry's face. His cheek began to go down, and the bruise stopped spreading.
"There are perks," Harry said, reaching up to touch gingerly the place where I was healing him, "to dating a Healer in training."
"Hmmm," I said, gingerly picking a knitted sock off his chest. "Well don't get more than minor injuries, because what I just did is about as far as I go unless you have female parts. What is this?" I raised an eyebrow at him and held the sock up beside my head.
He glanced at it. "A sock. How do you know I don't have female parts?"
"You had better not have female parts, Harry Potter, because that would be a very large act of deception on your part and I would be supremely angry. Why does this sock have demented versions of my face sewn all over it?"
"Dobby made it. But how do you know I'm not deceiving you? You've never checked." He grinned at me cheekily and his hands crept up past my thighs and over my waist.
I felt my body heating as the places his hands touched underneath the fabric of my sweater seemed to catch fire. I thought it appropriate that even with the massive amount of junk Harry and I were kneeling in, not one piece of it happened to be a wand or a fire extinguisher. Harry's hands finally reached their goal and I gasped, my eyes closing and my head tilting back of its own accord.
"Why would Dobby…sew my face…on…your socks?" I wanted to know, nearly whimpering as Harry's lips grazed my neck.
"Because he's insane," Harry said simply, his breath fanning over my neck and sending my heart into spasms. "And he calls you my Miss Wheezy. Now stop talking."
I obeyed him, and Harry and I occupied ourselves quite successfully over the next ten minutes. I'm sure things would have gone uninterrupted for much longer but for one thing…
"Harry?" I moaned as Harry's lips immediately returned to my neck when I pulled away and tried to speak to him.
"No talking," he mumbled against my neck. I found it difficult not to obey once again.
"Okay," I managed. "But there's…something…pulling…my hair."
My mind cleared just slightly as Harry's head came up and he frowned at my hair.
"Huh," he said, reaching up to tug at whatever was pulling at my hair. "How'd that get there."
I yelped as he tried to untangle the object and slapped his hand away.
"Sorry," he said, but he was too preoccupied to notice my glare. "How in Merlin's name did these get here?"
I rubbed my head where he'd pulled and peered at the object in his hand.
"Salad tongs?" I asked, baffled.
"It appears so."
"Do you even know how to use salad tongs?"
Harry put on a mock insulted face. "Excuse me? I do believe I've told you about my cooking abilities. With these comes exceptional skill with kitchen utensils—including, but by no means limited to, this pair of salad tongs."
I remained skeptical. I expressed this via a raised eyebrow.
Harry drew himself up proudly and snapped the tongs together briskly.
"The lady requires a demonstration!" he declared. I giggled at his knightly attitude. And then I squealed.
"Harry! What are you doing?"
"Demonstrating," Harry declared simply as he pinned me to the ground and slid the salad tongs beneath my jumper, pulling upwards slowly. "Not many people know the proper use of the salad tong," he said seriously. "Luckily, you are in the presence of an expert."
I struggled to keep my face impassive. "Oh really? And just how much practice did getting to this level of expertise require?"
I never got to hear Harry's response to this query (which actually I'm rather peeved about. I would have liked to know just how many speculated girlfriends Harry has made unspeculated via his salad tong skill), however, as at that exact moment, the fireplace let out a bloodcurdling shriek.
And then it screamed my name.
"GINEVRA MOLLY WEASLEY!!"
Harry and I scrambled off of each other, clutching our ears in pain. It was the most certain I'd ever been in my life that the world was ending, and that includes the infamous Last Battle in which the Most Evil Wizard of All Time exploded completely, turned into a swirling black vortex of doom, and took with him all the other Secondary Evil Wizards of All Time and also Half a Random Hilltop and a Cow (poor thing, it was just an innocent bystander. I made them add it to the list of casualties at the end of the War. Luna was the only one who didn't find the action quite silly, but she was convinced the cow was a reincarnation of Nearly Headless Nick's long lost cousin, so it wasn't much in the way of proving my sanity). It even includes the time Fred and George partook in a one hundred percent genuine gesture of kindness towards me and bought me six bouquets of roses. Granted, it was because I'd nearly died during one of their epic Experiments and was lying in St. Mungo's with my left arm newly re-attached, but that's beside the point.
The point is that I was ninety-nine-point-nine-nine percent sure that the world was ending because the best snog session I'd ever had in my life had just been extinguished by a flaming head sitting atop a log in Harry's fireplace, and it looked absolutely identical to my mother's. Apparently Fate's chosen form of Doom for Harry and I were flaming, fulminating, female heads with attitude problems and unusually shrill voices. I thought it all rather fitting, what with my ridiculous karma and all. And also the fact that the irony was just too good to pass up. Screeching Mum Head shows up just after Sodding Five-to-Seven-Hour Earplugs wear off. Priceless.
"What are you doing, young lady?"
She was hissing now. Quietly. Which I knew from experience meant Very Immediate Danger for me. Last time she hissed quietly at me was when I'd tried to sedate her and escape to join the Heroic Trio of Idiots in their quest to Eradicate the World of Evil. Too bad Professor Snape was so lousy at teaching potions to Gryffindors else I would have known that frog's eyes and toad's eyes were separate things entirely and produced quite the opposite result from one another. Mum ended up so awake that she had the energy to lecture me for eight hours straight on why I should never try and slip sleeping potions to my elders. And then she forced me to help cook dinner with her. For the twenty-five injured people we had staying at our house.
I wondered how long Floo powder actually lasted. Certainly it stopped working before eight hours passed. It had to have a limit, didn't it?
"Ginevra," she hissed again, and I gulped and crawled a bit more away from Harry, who was by this time staring at the fireplace and looking quite as if Romilda Vane were coming at him with a box of love-potion-laced chocolates in one hand and a set of fuzzy pink handcuffs in the other. I think he was contemplating which he would rather face: my Mum's blazing (I'm being very literal here) temper, or Romilda Vane's sadistic fantasies come to life.
It looked like he was having a hard time deciding.
"I was just—" I started, but Mum exploded a log and I experienced such an overwhelming sense of déjà vu that dragged with it a feeling of impending doom that I gulped and scooted backwards a bit, re-evaluating my decision to remain in London rather than flee to Majorca.
"Oh I know what you were doing, Ginny Weasley, because this morning's tabloid told me all about it!"
"But Mum, I—"
"Don't you 'but Mum' me, young lady. I will not be hearing any 'but Mum's today!" the massive amounts of red hair atop her head positively exploded in flames as she continued. "To think I popped over here to have a good laugh about it with Harry dear and find out that it is all quite true!" She gathered herself into her patented "angry Mum lecture" stance, which was really rather incredible considering she managed to do it with only her facial muscles as the rest of her was kneeling in the Burrow's kitchen fireplace.
The she began Listing. Mum always Lists. It's her favorite thing to do when she's pissed.
"Underhanded seduction and illegal potion-making! Eliciting the help of a vertically challenged person!" began the list. I thought fast.
There was only one defense to the List. I'd perfected it over the years. I call it Purposeful-Pigheadedness. Double P for short.
"Oh honestly," I Double P'd. "He wasn't vertically challenged, he was an actual dwarf!"
"Putting spells on Muggle artifacts!"
"—And besides, I didn't even elicit help from a dwarf because—"
"—Decorating an apartment in a ridiculously tacky fashion—"
"—that dwarf doesn't even exist, and anyways I wouldn't need the help of a dwarf to seduce Harry. I can do it all on my own. And besides—"
"—Kissing in public places—"
"—it isn't even your business whether or not I elicit the help of a dwarf for an underhanded seduction since I am twenty-one years old and therefore—"
"All in our family! Oh, the shame! The shame! My very own daughter behaving like a…like a—"
"—old enough to take care of myself and decorate properly, which you'll see I've done as there are no harem-themed pieces in this apartment like the tabloid says. Furthermore—"
"—like a SCARLET WOMAN!"
I gasped and widened my eyes, effectively cutting my tirade off before I started in on how hurt I was that my very own mother thought I could be a sadistic psychopath who grew her own Majorcan love leaves to feed to the man she'd been obsessed with since she was five. Did she really think I was that pathetic? I hadn't yet invested in the love leaves. And I was working on the obsession bit. Though perhaps my method of snogging him until we both passed out was rather defective.
But at least I was trying.
"Excuse me?" I hissed, adopting the same tone she'd originally used. I'm pretty sure my eyes caught fire just like her hair because Harry glanced at me, glanced at Mum's flaming head, glanced at the couch, and then slowly began to crawl around behind it.
Mum and I ignored him.
"You heard me," Mum hissed, glaring at me now with eyes housing their very own Muggle circus dagger throwers. "My daughter is a scarlet woman."
I gasped again, throwing a hand over my heart for good measure.
"She's a scarlet woman and she's dragged a perfectly nice boy who might as well be my son into being a…a…a scarlet man! You two are being scarlet…scarlet…scarlet people together!"
Harry's flat rang with silence while I stared at her. I was in shock. Not only had my Mum basically just listed Harry, her "might as well be son," over me, her "actual genetically related daughter," but she'd just called me the very thing I was following all the rules not to be. I was paying for groceries, for Circe's sake. I'd appreciate it if she'd recognize that fact!
I heard Harry shift from behind the couch and saw the table from the hallway float towards him. Apparently he was barricading himself in.
"We," I said, taking a deep breath lest I explode my own mother's head. "Are not scarlet people."
"You are so."
"We are not! I am paying for groceries! I have not used his toothbrush, towel, or razor! I am following all the Rules!"
"Oh, you are, are you? Well then would you please explain to me the use of that pair of salad tongs in your hand?"
I glanced down at the salad tongs that I hadn't realized I'd been waving about indiscriminately in my rage. I had no idea how I'd ended up with them, especially since last I remembered Harry had been using them in a very effective, if somewhat unconventional, way, and I'd been enjoying it immensely.
"Oh," I said, staring from the tongs to my mother. Then I, once again, fabricated.
"I was sorting through Harry's junk with them," I fabricated, snatching up an empty bottle of nose spray (what the hell was that doing there?) with the tongs and waving it in my mother's face. "Like a responsible witch who is organizing."
"Oh, Merlin's flannel boxer shorts…" I heard Harry mutter exasperatedly from behind the couch. I mentally gave him the bird.
My mother recoiled from the nose spray bottle, which had just flown from the tongs and into the fire, and was now undoubtedly skidding across the Burrow's kitchen floor.
"Don't you lie to me, young lady," she said sternly, glaring out at me. "I'm going to get your father."
My eyes widened. The very last thing I wanted to do right now, the very last thing, was talk to my father about Harry and my inappropriate use of salad tongs.
"Mum, don't!" I called frantically, leaning towards the fire pointlessly, instinctually trying to stop her leaving. But she'd disappeared before I could so much as feel the heat from the burning logs, and I was left staring at the bemused face of my father, his glasses crooked and his eyes baffled.
"Hello, Ginny dear," he said, reaching a hand through the Floo to straighten his glasses. "Mum said you wanted to speak with me?"
I gaped at him like a fish.
Through the Floo I heard Mum's voice.
"Arthur, berate your daughter!" she ordered. "She and Harry were using salad tongs in an inappropriate manner!"
My father's eyes widened. And then his head bounced exitedly.
"Tongs?" he asked. "Are they the ones like the Muggles use to rip out each other's tonsils in purgery?"
"Arthur!" I heard from my mum.
"No, Dad, and it's surgery."
"Yes, surgerly, that's right," he said. "Well are you sure, Ginny dear? They look quite the same as a normal pair of tongs, very easy to confuse…"
"I'm sure, Dad. They showed me a surgical pair of tonsil rippers in Healer school. Also why would Harry have Muggle surgical equipment in his apartment? That doesn't make any sense."
"Well he is aunt and uncle are non-magic, you know. Though they weren't a very nice sort. But perhaps that would make them more likely to use such things as tonsil ripper tongs…"
He had a point, I thought, and I was about to tell him this when my mum's voice once again drifted through the fireplace.
"Arthur now is not the time to obsess over Muggles! Ginevra is engaging in premarital relations with Harry!"
I heard a squeak come from behind the couch, and the vase that had been sitting atop the table Harry had levitated over for shelter crashed to the ground.
My father choked on a cinder. Then he turned as red as the burning logs surrounding him.
"Well, I don't know…I don't think I'm quite qualified…this isn't really my sort of conversation…" he began rambling, and then he winced as Mum apparently smacked him.
"Tell her she's not allowed, Arthur," came Mum's order. Dad looked distinctly more uncomfortable.
"Well, Molly, she is of age and able to make her own decisions," he said, glancing as far back towards the Burrow as he could. He winced again. "But I suppose I never really discussed…things…with you."
He was addressing me again. I closed my eyes in mortification.
"Good Godric…" I heard Harry mutter.
"Ginevra," my father began, and I groaned and lifted my hands to my face in humiliation. "When a man and a woman love each other—"
"And are married!" came my mother's voice.
"And traditionally are sometimes married," my father consented, a wary look on his face. I could tell he wasn't looking forward to facing her wrath when he was out of the Floo. "They decide to have…well…relations."
I buried my face deeper in my hands and whimpered.
My father's voice became strained.
"And," he faltered. "And this generally means that the man must…and the woman has to…and…well, it's all very natural, of course and…it's…it's…it's like plugs!" he finally exclaimed.
I took my face out of my hands to stare at him. The room was silent but for the crackling of the logs in the fireplace. Even my mother couldn't find anything to say to that.
Dad turned even redder and spluttered a bit. He looked a bit like a Mandrake out of its pot.
"And sockets!" he finally said. "Plugs and sockets!"
I think I died a little bit inside.
"Because, you see, the plug must…go in to the socket, and then…there's eckeltricity, and…well, it's all rather shocking…"
My mouth might have been wide enough to fit the cow Voldemort had taken out on his way to hell in it. And possibly the Random Hilltop as well.
"And sometimes," Dad continued. He was continuing. Yes, I definitely died a little.
"And sometimes—this is why people are generally married when they…relate…with one another—things get so…ekeltric…that a short circuit is…born. And then the plug and the socket must rearrange their entire lives and it isn't an easy job, so they shouldn't make eckeltricity before they are ready to have a short circuit."
Dead. I died. A lot.
Dad finished in a rush, reaching a hand back through the Floo to adjust his glasses nervously. He smiled hesitantly.
"And that's it!" he exclaimed in a would-be cheery tone had he not been so nervous. Also had he not just explained the intricacies of sex by way of plugs and sockets. "Now you can make your own decisions with good information. I think I'll just go see if your mother needs any help in the kitchen…"
Dad's head disappeared with a pop.
I barely had time to utter a "Sweet Merlin's frizzy beard," and Harry barely had time to let out a breath and peep his head around the corner before I was staring at my Mum's head again.
"We are not finished here, Ginevra," she said, glaring out at me. "You will remove your things from Harry's apartment and bring them over here at once."
The she disappeared again. My heart sank. No way could I live at my parents' house now. All I'd ever do was knit sweaters and back mince meat pies with Mum. Because there was no way in Merlin's secret loveshack that I was every going to help my dad work on plugs again after that conversation.
"Ginny…" Harry started, crawling slowly out from behind the couch. "Ginny, what just happened?"
I stared at the flames that had so recently set the scene for the most scarring experience of my life, and that included the time Millicent Bulstrode puked on me after getting hit by the Gut-Retching jinx I'd thrown at her in the final battle.
"I died a little," I answered him. "And--"
I didn't get the chance to finish because Mum's head popped up once again in the flames.
"But first," she said. "Hermione and Ron have just arrived back at the airport from China. Your father wants to go pick them up, but seeing as how that would result in the entire Muggle world finding out about Wizardkind, I think it's a better idea if you go. It's gate C12."
And she, once again, disappeared from the fire.
And I, once again, died an untimely death.
Because, behind Mum's voice making the damning order to go pick up the bride-chicken from hell who I was not entirely convinced had forgiven me for destroying her wedding yet, I heard my father say something that I will never forget.
"Oh now really, Molly," he said. "Must we contact Bill? I had the plugs and sockets talk with her, is it really necessary to make him dig up that Chastity Belt jinx? It's such an old-fashioned Egyptian ritual, no one uses it these days. They still haven't figured out how to make the belts with anything but metal…"
And Ginny Weasley knew no more.
A/N: I know. I have not yet answered the question about why there was a rug in a muggle airport cursing at Ginny. That was in this chapter, but like I said, I had to split it into two. And so now it's next chapter. Also I sort of thought I'd give y'all a bit of a filler chapter, which would be this one, to help sort of get back into the swing of things. Maybe it failed miserably, but...well, I tried.
It's not easy having a life and writing a fanfiction. Especially when the fiction is a lot funnier than your life is being at the moment...I'm trying, y'all, I really am.
Once again, I'm sorry. And you can expect the next chapter in the next week or so. It will have the airport scene, the chastity belt scene, and possibly part of Luna's wedding.
Review? Maybe? I know I don't deserve it...
Oh, and also...I wish I could take full credit for the plugs and sockets idea, but alas...my friend was telling me the other day that her cousin's parents had explained the birds and the bees to him in that way. I thought it rather fitting of Arthur Weasley, and so here you go...