A/N: Took longer than it should have. What's new? I give up on predicting when the next chapter will be out. I fail at that game miserably. Can't say I don't learn from my mistakes.
Long one here, folks. Enjoy!
(With a Side of Puking on Fuzzies)
Because I said so.
"Bloody fuck. I just wanted the peanuts."
There was a carpet standing in front of me. An oriental one, rusty red, odd looking designs spreading across its surface in a sporadic sort of pattern. It was rolled up so that it was about the width of Hagrid's left thigh, and it was leaning a little to the left so that it seemed to give off a slight sense of weariness, as if it had just spent an entire day in the company of an unruly child just discovering the extent of their magical ability—which included, but was not limited to: unraveling fabrics, making pets pee indoors, and launching glasses of red wine through the air.
It also seemed to have just sworn at me, though I couldn't say for sure, as there were currently mass numbers of Muggles darting across my line of sight in frantic motion, and the rude statement concerning peanuts could have just as easily come from one of them. I took my eyes off the rug for a moment to watch as an elderly man sitting in some sort of humming, moving contraption beeped a horn and yelled, "Outta the way, laddie!" a second and a half before bowling over a sullen teenaged boy in front of an information kiosk. The boy toppled, yelling loudly, and crashed into a newsstand, which also toppled, newspapers flying outwards like bowtruckles from a wand-tree. One of them landed on top of the man's head, and another directly on top of the carpet. The old man responded by farting, cackling, and running over the boy's left hand as he continued on his way. I might have spent a little more time pondering the disturbing thought that if the man in the moving contraption had mated with the Wheatie Stealer the resulting offspring would be the antichrist, if only the rug hadn't responded to the newspaper by sighing and shifting a little to the right.
Both of these notions were of course quite impossible, being that it was a rug, which does not in fact contain the proper organs to sigh or shift to the right. So I decided to focus on what was actually possible. If not probable.
"Why's there a rug in a Muggle airport?" I asked, slightly elbowing Harry to get his attention. He was standing beside me, craning his neck and looking through the sea of Muggles hurrying about around us. He looked down with a frown at my touch.
"The rug," I repeated. "What's it doing here?"
Harry glanced to the weary looking rug before us and then went back to searching through the sea of faces, irritated. "No idea," he said. "Maybe a Muggle bought it on vacation. Help me look, would you? Merlin…"
I shot an annoyed glance towards Harry and kept looking at the rug. We'd been bickering ever since Mum had caught us having the elicit love affair involving salad tongs on Harry's living room floor and Dad had mentioned the Chastity Belt. Apparently my fainting was an overblown reaction, according to Harry, and I really didn't share his opinion. And thus we were officially having our First Fight.
It was annoying. I didn't like it. But I wasn't about to admit that to him.
The carpet remained looking pitifully weary. Then it twitched.
"It twitched," I informed, cocking my head to the side to examine the rug more closely. It twitched again. "There it went again."
"It didn't twitch, Ginny. Would you help here?"
I ignored Harry and narrowed my eyes at the rug. I leaned forward slightly to get a better look at it.
"I think it's possessed," I informed, taking note of the fact that it seemed to be breathing, despite the troubling lack of organs with which to do so. I scrunched my nose at the rug. I didn't like things that breathed when they hadn't any lungs. They rather gave me the heebie jeebies.
"It seems to be breathing. I don't like it."
"It isn't breathing. Help me look."
"But it is though. Also I think it just sneezed."
"I don't care, Ginny, help me look!"
"Don't order me around like I'm some sort of little girl, Harry. It's not my fault we're late. If you had been threatened with a chastity belt a little less than an hour ago, I doubt you'd have had that much of a different react—holy Merlin, it's waddling."
Harry snapped his head to glare at me, obviously itching for a fight, but stopped short when he saw the rug waddling towards us.
"Oh," he said, and looked mildly surprised. In any other circumstance I probably would have rejoiced at having been proven correct. However, as there was currently an inanimate object partaking in an activity that quite required it to be distinctly animate, I was too busy being distressed.
The cause of my distress was quite obvious. Other than the fact that it is almost always distressing when a legless, brainless, animateless object waddles towards a person, I'd also decided that it was more than just a little possible that I might be having a Category C Lunorcy Lamentation.
I told as much to Harry.
I said, "I'm pretty sure I'm having a Category C Lunorcy Lamentation, Harry."
"What's that?" he wanted to know. I glanced at him. Considered explaining.
Then I decided it'd take too long. It's a rather complicated definition, you see. It goes something like this:
See, there are certain instances in every witch/wizardperson's life in which they seriously and comprehensively doubt their own sanity. The mental specialists in St. Mungo's Closed Ward like to refer to these instances as, not surprisingly, "Sanity-Questioning Occurrences," but I've taken to dubbing them something far superior in terms of creativeness. "Lunorsy Lamentations" I call them, since they personify, in a nutshell, what I imagine Luna and Dorsy see as their reality every day. And experiencing that, if you ask me, is worthy of lamentation in every way imaginable.
Are you following me, here? It's not that difficult once you are bequeathed the honor of encountering Luna and Dorsy together on one of their raving mad Quibbler excursions. Generally, with such an experience, one tends to come to the realization that the world according to Luna and Dorsy is really anything but normal. For instance, I once came upon, quite unexpectedly, Luna and Dorsy cavorting about outside Harry's flat. They were wearing goggles. Dorsy had a single sock hanging from the end of his wand. Luna did as well, only hers was a different color. It had little lemon drop designs sewed on the hem. It also smelled distinctly more awful than Dorsy's, and that was saying something.
Luna was carrying a bowling ball under her right arm and Dorsy was wearing a cap made of aluminum foil.
I said, "What the hell?"
Luna said, "We're looking for Albus Dumbledore."
Dorsy said, "He's hiding in Harry's subconscious. We're trying to lure him out with an unmatched pair of socks."
I examined the socks. "Dumbledore didn't care for mismatched socks? Or is it that he did care for mismatched socks? So much so that his soul is pining for a pair this instant?"
Luna and Dorsy stared at me. "What are you talking about?" they wanted to know. I stared between them and the socks. Then I gave up.
I said, "Right then. And what are the goggles for?"
Luna blinked at me owlishly from behind her rather large pair of goggles while Dorsy took the bowling ball from her and began peering inside the finger holes.
"What goggles? Ginny, I think you might should lie down…"
And that is a rather tame example of Luna and Dorsy's everyday reality. It's rather frightening, and totally incapable of being understood. Anyone who tries ends up insane, and even then they don't understand. It's a vicious cycle, let me tell you. I'm petitioning St. Mungo's to open a ward specifically for the purpose of treating victims of Lunorsy Lamentations, but so far they have failed to see the gravity of the situation here.
Also, they are concerned with the number of victims of Lunorsy Lamentations. Which amounts to one. Which is me. Which means that you should listen up as I explain the categories of Lunorsy Lamentations, as I am the best source you are going to find in terms of expertise in this particular field.
They are as follows:
1) Category A, the Breathe Ten category:
Lamentations allotted to this category instill only a mild sense of doubt into the
person in question's mind as to whether or not the 'ghoul is still in the attic,' as they say, or whether they've "lost their gobstones," "flown out of the phoenix' nest," or, my personal favorite, "fallen out the wrong fireplace." Generally, such an instance is met with a reaction in the individual not unlike a politician receiving the news that his illicit love affair with the next door neighbor's dog has been exposed by means of the Prophet's prolific reporters, several photographs that could only be deemed highly disturbing, and the eye-witness testimony of several innocent garden gnomes with excellent vocabularies and very low morals. That is to say, the individual will breathe deeply, count to ten, and then lie fervently, unceasingly, and increasingly more bizarrely until even they can't remember what the real truth is anymore, and the garden gnomes have all disappeared by unexplained and/or somewhat suspicious means.
2) Category B, the Niffler in Wandlights category:
Lamentations allotted to this category instill a very real, but still questionable, doubt into the person in question's mind as to whether or not the "ghoul is etc. etc.," as they say, or etc. etc. my personal favorite and so forth. Generally, such an instance is met with a reaction in the individual not unlike a niffler who has suddenly found itself staring transfixed into the beam of a wandlight. That is to say, since nifflers are attracted to shiny things, and since the tip of a wand lit up is a very shiny thing indeed, these creatures tend to stare at it with intense awe for multiple minutes before doing one of two things: either they faint dead away and twitch in agony for multiple hours afterward, or they blink once, and then continue staring until either they go blind or the wandlight goes out, in which case they are struck with such a high amount of alarm that they become the victims of a massive coronary attack and spend the rest of their lives recovering in a (mental) hospital.
And the last category, which should cause a person the most alarm of any of the categories listed, is
3) Category C, the Halluciventilate category:
Lamentations allotted to this category instill no doubt into the person in question's mind as to whether or not the "ghoul etc." and blah de hah. This is because instances allotted to this category prove absolutely the unhealthy state of the person in question's mind and leave no room for any form of doubt whatsoever. Generally, this is because the person in question is obviously and indefatigably hallucinating, and therefore must hyperventilate about it in the hopes that the depleted amount of oxygen reaching their brain will cause them to go into a permanent vegetative state and release them from the agony of knowing that they will spend the rest of their days receiving child-like autographs from Gilderoy Lockhart that they cannot read due to the glaring nature of his teeth and their ability to blind them completely.
If an individual believes him or herself to be experiencing a Category C Lamentation, they should immediately do at least one of the following three things:
1) Apparate to Majorca.
2) Failing (1): Hyperventilate.
3) Failing permanent vegetative state as a result of (2): Climb something very high and throw him/herself off said something, head facing downwards.
4) Failing permanent vegetative state and/or death as a result of (3): Lament profusely.
So, let us remember the previous description of myself and Harry in the Muggle airport…
The cause of my distress was quite obvious. Other than the fact that it is almost always distressing when a legless, brainless, animateless object waddles towards a person, I'd also decided that is was more than just a little possible that I might be having a Category C Lunorcy Lamentation.
I told as much to Harry.
I said, "I'm pretty sure I'm having a Category C Lunorsy Lamentation, Harry."
"What's that?" he wanted to know. I glanced at him. Considered explaining.
And, due to reasons that you most undoubtedly now understand after reading my explanation of the exact nature of a Lunorsy Lamentation, I decided not to explain. I just said,
Harry glanced at me. "Hmm," he said. "How bad?"
"Well then I reckon you should take care of it."
"Not that simple."
"Because that involves apparating to Majorca, and we are in a Muggle airport."
"You could take a plane."
"No, I couldn't. I already checked the felytisions, and there are no planes to Majorca within the next three minutes."
Harry watched absently as the carpet bumped into several Muggle passerbies, all of whom either muttered an incoherent apology and continued on their way, or barked an explicative and also continued on their way. This caused me to fall deeper into my gloom of doom, as it only furthered my inclination to believe that I was, indeed, hallucinating. If Muggles don't see a waddling carpet, then I certainly should not be seeing a waddling carpet.
And I shouldn't be seeing a waddling, cursing carpet either. Because that was what I definitely saw when the carpet finally made it across the terminal to stand in front of Harry and me.
"Bugger," it said, plopping down in front of me and huffing. "It was one measly package of nuts!"
If there was ever any doubt as to if the carpet had originally issued the rude statement about small legumes, it was eradicated with this second statement. I stared at the carpet and blinked. Then I scowled and reached for my wand.
A hand on the small of my back stilled me.
"Muggles, Ginny," Harry's voice said in my ear. "As in non-magic people. Who can't tolerate people disappearing in the middle of an airport without having a hippogriff and causing the Ministry a couple thousand cases of extreme migraines."
I stopped reaching for my wand but kept my eyes on the carpet.
"I think you're wrong," I said, still eyeing the carpet. "Because none of them seem to have a problem with a talking rug -a cursing rug actually, which is twitching at me- and that's just a bit abnormal."
Harry inspected the carpet. "Maybe," he concluded. "But perhaps they've come to a reasonable conclusion about the carpet. Maybe they've accepted the abnormality of the carpet and we should accept it as well."
"I'm not accepting the carpet," I said. "You shouldn't accept the carpet. We are both having Lunorsy Lamentations, and therefore I don't like the carpet."
I was having issues with the carpet. I couldn't see where it kept its brain, and yet it was communicating with me. This, in my experience, amounted to a Very Bad Thing. Last time I'd responded to an object speaking to me without the aid of a brain, I'd nearly resurrected a mostly dead evil warlord. And also had a very traumatizing ordeal that involved a massive snake and a large amount of ink in my hair.
Which is the devil to get out, by the way, ink.
So the carpet was really not to my liking. I was considering setting it on fire.
"I'm considering setting it on fire," I informed Harry.
Harry shook his head. "Bad idea," he said.
"Because then the Muggles would see you. And also you'd burn down their airport."
"Exactly. The destruction of their airport would overshadow the mere performing of a small fire charm. No one would remember."
"Still, though, you probably shouldn't set it on fire," he maintained.
I scowled at him. "Well then I'm about out of options. I've already done both number one and number two on my list of things to do when having a Category C Lunorsy Lamentation, and number three isn't an option under the circumstances."
Harry frowned. "Why not?"
"Because that involves throwing myself off something very high, and we are currently nowhere near anything high enough to guarantee my imminent death and/or permanent vegetative state should I try."
Harry looked at me.
"And why does taking care of a Category C Whatsajigger involve killing oneself by means of terminal velocity and a hard, unmoving surface?"
My face was grim.
"Because the alternative involves being blinded by Gilderoy Lockhart's teeth."
Harry's eyes widened and he tipped his chin up in understanding. "Ah," he said. "Well then, that explains everything."
I nodded and reached again for my wand. "So then you understand why I have to set it on fire."
I was thwarted once again as Harry grabbed my wrist. "No Gin. You shouldn't do any fire-setting."
He wasn't making a very sound argument, I thought.
"You're not making a very sound argument, I think."
"Well, I can if you really want."
I took my eyes off the carpet briefly to slant him a glance.
"I really want."
"The carpet is your br—"
"Ronald Weasley, just where do you think you get off behaving like that on an airplane!?"
A large totem pole made entirely of overstuffed luggage waddled towards us in such a way as to make the act of waddling seem quite fierce, as if it were in fact prowling towards us, and not doing a rather good impression of a woman pregnant with octuplets. It finished its intimidating waddle and plopped down next to the carpet (which was now doing as good an impression of an indignant huff that a carpet can do), and turned towards it, shaking in outrage.
"I just wanted the peanuts!" the carpet repeated for the third time. The totem pole vibrated in rage.
"And I just wanted a peaceful trip on a normal airplane without any incidents, but you don't see me cursing about it."
I stared from one abnormal talking object to the other, realized that the luggage totem pole had addressed the talking carpet by my brother's name and was also doing a very good imitation of a Hermione-esque humf, and then turned to face the large fellytision screen on the opposite wall in order to see if any flights to Majorca had been added in the past five minutes.
They hadn't. A blank mask of annoyance fell across my face. I decided that when the St. Mungo's people came, I wouldn't go down without at least causing a massive scene involving flying projectiles of airport food and also an impressive performance by yours truly of her Extensive Repartee of Lousy Language. The small children anywhere in a thirty foot radius of me would be scarred for life.
The carpet stood a little more stiffly in indignation as the totem pole continued to berate it, and arms sprouted from its woven sides to wave about indiscriminately. The intense whiteness of Gilderoy Lockhart's teeth infiltrated my mind and began to instill in me a feeling of unavoidable doom.
"It isn't as if I could have known the Muggles would go mad," the carpet said, and pointed accusingly at the luggage totem pole. "You're the one who withheld food from me for hours!"
Copious amounts of hair sprouted from the top of the totem pole. I felt my blood-oxygen level depleting.
"That's because you'd already eaten half of their supply!" screamed the totem pole.
"Only because they were giving it to me for FREE!"
"Complementary is not the same thing as free, Ronald!"
"How in the hell not!?"
"Complementary implies a certain amount of etiquette, in which one does not gorge oneself on all that is offered!"
"I wasn't gorging. I was relieving the airline of some of their guilt for wasting food that could be saving small children in Africa."
At this, the totem pole seemed to become so agitated that it was in danger of spontaneous combustion. The entire thing glowed red for a moment before the glow converged into one ball and shot towards the carpet.
"Shit!" the carpet yelped. "Circe's cave, Hermione, what the hell!?"
"Don't even bring starving children from Africa into this! You know very well I'm trying to start an organization to make magical peoples more aware of Muggle problems they can help solve!"
If the carpet had possessed eyebrows, they would have lifted.
"For such a smart witch, you sure do miss the point of most of my arguments."
While the totem pole seethed and the carpet sulked, I turned to Harry.
"Are you hearing this?" I demanded of him.
"Yep," Harry said, leaning back on his heels and grinning amusedly at the two distinctly abnormal figures in front of him.
"And you aren't…concerned in any way?"
Harry looked down at me. "Should I be?"
I gaped. "Should you…Harry there is a carpet and a column of luggage arguing with each other in front of us. There is a problem with that!"
Harry rolled his eyes. "For Agrippa's sake, Ginny, it's Ron and Hermione."
A distinctly disgruntled Ron stepped out from behind the carpet as Harry said this, and an obviously peeved Hermione shot out from behind the luggage to join him.
"Oh," I said, slowly allowing myself to stop hyperventilating as I watched Hermione smack Ron on the back of his head. "You could have told me that earlier."
Harry shot me an annoyed glance. "Do you really want to start this, Gin? We're beginning to sound like them." He inclined his head towards the still bickering Ron and Hermione, who were now dragging their separate cargos towards us.
My eyes widened.
"Oh God," I said. "We are. Let's stop."
Harry nodded his head in agreement as the disgruntled couple reached us. "Hello Mr. and Mrs. Weasley," Harry grinned at them.
"Hi," Hermione huffed, dropping her bags rather forcefully upon Ron's right foot.
"Ow! Shit Hermione!"
"Don't curse, Ronald. How have you been Harry?"
Harry gave Ron a sympathetic look before turning to Hermione to answer her. I patted Ron on the head and then picked up the other side of the carpet Hermione had apparently made him buy in China and we headed towards the exit of the airport. I raised a questioning eyebrow at Ron and he explained unwillingly that Hermione was pissed at him because he'd attempted to levitate some extra food plates from the flight attendant's cart, and some Muggle woman had fainted. As a result someone had screamed for a doctor, an old woman had flipped out, and a man who had been sleeping woke up and thought there was a bomb on the plane. It had apparently taken several hours to convince everyone otherwise, especially considering the man had leapt from his seat and attacked a small asian man playing some sort of Muggle technology device, screaming, "I got him! I got him! Someone take his remote detonator!" I nearly collapsed in laughter. Ron only sulked and mentioned something about lawsuits.
From the exit to the parking garage to the car Harry had rented to pick up Ron and Hermione and take them to their small new house outside London, Hermione told us all about the trip her parents had given her and Ron for a wedding gift.
"…and we would have been able to rent a broom and fly from one end of the Great Wall to the other, but Ron traumatized a poor Muggle man trying to sell bobble heads of Qin Shi Huang and nearly got arrested so we couldn't. Qin Shi Huang was the emperor of China from 220 to 200 BC, you know, and it turns out he was a wizard, which is why the wall was built so well but of course the Muggles don't know that…"
"I didn't traumatize him," Ron muttered, sulking in the backseat beside me. "He was ogling Hermione's bum. I was protecting her honor."
I looked at him blandly. "That's how you explained it to her, isn't it?"
Ron didn't say anything.
"You're such an idiot."
Again, Ron said nothing. I decided to commend Hermione on her training techniques with my brother. Apparently he had learned to be silent when we women were correct, and not to dig his hole any deeper. It was an accomplishment worthy of many years of cake privileges.
The rest of the trip to Ron and Hermione's new house was completely uneventful. Hermione babbled on about China, Harry drove the car and nodded his head absently every few minutes when it seemed Hermione expected a reaction, Ron sulked and looked distinctly put out at having been shoved into the corner of his seat by the rolled up rug, and I sat staring out the window, remembering that I was soon to be enslaved via chastity belt.
I slowly sunk deeper into depression. By the time we reached Ron and Hermione's house, I was contemplating the effects of ingesting the contents of the car's fuel tank. I wasn't completely aware of the intricacies of the Muggle substance called petrol, but I was pretty sure that anything that smelled that badly had to be toxic.
I wondered if it was toxic enough to kill me.
I was still wondering when we finally arrived back at Harry's flat. And I had decided that my cause was grievous enough to try it, even if it wasn't toxic enough to kill me, because I was left with no other option, and I'd decided that even if it didn't kill me it might incapacitate me to a level that would generate enough sympathy in my family that they might not force the chastity belt upon me.
Though probably not.
I never got the chance to find out, however, because just as Harry turned the key to his flat, the door flew open, banged against the wall behind it, and a huge, gurgling wall of green slime flew out the doorway and hit him head on. A second and a half later, a very dirty and confused Harry was standing in the middle of a swamp that had taken up residence in the center of his hallway.
I stared wide-eyed. Then I said, "Harry!" Then I took in exactly what I was looking at, and I narrowed my eyes. "FRED AND GEORGE WEASLEY I WILL CASTRATE YOU!" I exploded.
Two heads popped out of Harry's door to look at me in consternation.
"Oh now really, Gin-gin," said one.
"Do you honestly think we would do something like this?"
The look on my face must have answered them, because they both looked at each other before staring at me sadly.
"Our own sister…" said Gred.
"No trust in us, whatsoever…" said Forge.
I growled. They perked up.
"Seeing as how we don't much fancy bats coming out our noses, it may be wise for us to explain."
"Yes. Very wise, Gred."
Simultaneous proud grins spread across their faces.
"Bill did it," they said with glee, and at that moment my eldest brother shot out of the doorway looking murderous.
"Incarcerous!" he exclaimed, stabbing his wand at Harry. Harry barely had time to widen his eyes before the ropes had him trussed up and hanging from one of the mossy trees in the portable swamp.
"YOU STOLE MY BABY SISTER'S INNOCENCE!" he roared. The old lady living across the hall peeped out her doorway, emitted a squeak of surprise, and slammed her door shut again. Harry shook his head frantically at Bill, attempting to speak around the large amount of moss wedged into his mouth and failing miserably. Fred and George scrambled out of the doorway in order to find a better viewing angle to watch the action transpire.
I gaped. Then I began to shake in rage.
"Bill Weasley!" I screamed, stomping my foot. "I am not a baby!"
Harry stared at me. He looked expectant. I rolled my eyes at him.
"And Harry didn't steal my innocence," Harry looked at Bill in an I-told-you-so sort of way. Bill only looked slightly abashed. Mostly he just looked a bit suspicious.
Probably for good reason.
Since, you know, I wasn't exactly guarding my innocence like Kreacher guards his Black family treasures, but…
Well, that's just beside the point, isn't it?
Fred and George snickered and stared between all three of us. They opened their mouths to speak, but I decided Harry deserved payback for claiming my fainting spell was an overreaction. Even though we'd already sort of resolved that issue.
I tend to hold grudges.
For long periods of time.
I blame it on the lack of Majorca in my life, but no one seems to accept that excuse.
"I gave it to him," I finished, and I only had time to see Bill stiffen and snap his head to me, Fred and George gape and fall to the ground before bursting into laughter, and Harry's mouth fall to the swampy floor and fill with slime before he simply went limp hanging from the tree. Then I flounced inside and slammed the door behind me.
Ten seconds later, three males were stumbling in the door after me, one having spasms of anger, and two having spasms of hilarity.
"You gave it to him!?" Bill yelled, tripping over Harry's coat rack but not seeming to notice. Even though Harry's winter cap was now securely wrapped about his left shoe.
"You gave…Ginny! How could you do that!? How could you—"
"Oh, you shut your mouth Bill Weasley or else we can talk about how you gave your innocence to Sylvia Thomas in a broom cupboard in your seventh year."
Bill's mouth dropped to the floor and the rest of him followed as he stepped on one of the tassels of Harry's hat and face planted on the model Ford Anglia that had fallen from the bookshelf earlier in the day.
Fred and George practically screamed with mirth.
"Well done Gin!" one of them exclaimed.
"You lost your virginity to the Man-Who-Conquered!"
"We can give you a few of our specially made fireworks if you want to have a party about it…"
Bill scrambled from the floor to glare at them.
"Stop encouraging her!" he yelled at them.
"Encouraging her to do what exactly?" Fred wanted to know. George raised a brow.
"Lose her virginity? Cause it seems she's already done that and it's sort of hard to do twice…"
"You shouldn't be so put out about it, Bill. She could've done worse. Harry did kill the most evil wizard of all time, if you'll remember."
"Yeah. Probably he got loads of girls after that. Bet he knows what he's doing. Bet he wasn't clumsy about it at all. You should take lessons."
Bill was beginning to look a bit queasy, and I didn't know how I felt about contemplating the massive numbers of girls Harry probably got after he killed Moldy Warts, so I stomped my foot. My brothers all looked at me.
"Stop talking about my virginity," I ordered.
"Your nonexistent virginity," Fred corrected. Bill turned a shade deeper green.
I rolled my eyes.
"Not that it's any of your business at all," I said, glaring at Bill as I spoke. "But Harry hasn't 'stolen my innocence' as you so aptly put it."
"But you said—"
"I know what I said, George, I was lying."
Bill began taking great heaving gulps of air in relief. Fred and George looked disappointed.
"Alright," he said, breathing deeply. "Alright…okay…so we're not too late…"
"Too late for what?" my eyes narrowed suspiciously.
Fred and George grinned and huddled closer together, staring at Bill and me with absolute glee reflecting in their eyes. They looked like two flesh-eating bicorns that had been presented with Grawp's entire left side. And maybe his right too.
"Now Ginny, I need you to try and be reasonable here, okay?" Bill began, reaching inside his cloak as he did so. I whipped my wand out to point at him so fast his eyes went crossways.
"Don't. Move." I ordered.
"Bat-Bogey, Gin!" yelled Fred and George. They conjured popcorn and began munching on it exitedly.
Bill gulped. "Ginny," he said, "Before you do anything…" his eyes flickered from my face to my wand to his own nose, "rash…please let me just get this out from my cloak."
I narrowed my eyes still further.
"And what do you need to remove from your cloak? I swear on Merlin's sacred left testicle, Bill Weasley, if you've brought that Chast—"
Bill had his wand pointed through a hole in his cloak and had disarmed me before I could finish. He caught my wand with his free hand and removed a very large, very heavy, very metallic pair of underwear from beneath his cloak. I screamed in rage. If Voldemort hadn't been rotting in the afterlife with only Bessie the Cow and half an exploded hilltop to keep him company, I think he might have been impressed.
Bill, however, was not.
"This isn't negotiable, Ginny," he said. "You obviously haven't been handling being on your own in a responsible manner, and therefore—"
Just then there emitted from the doorway an earth-shaking crash, an exceedingly squelchy splunch, and a long, drawn-out moan. Fred and George swiveled their head towards the commotion. They spoke.
"Hi Harry," one said.
"Nice of you to crash in."
"Wipe your feet on the mat so you don't track mud everywhere."
Harry lifted his slime-covered face from the floor—which was now the exact opposite of clean—wiped the sludge from his glasses as best he could, and peered up at me.
"Why?" he wanted to know.
I pointed to the giant metallic underwear in Bill's hand. Harry stared at them.
"Oh," he said. "Okay. I'm sorry."
"It's quite alright. I'm sorry too."
We smiled. Then Bill began to speak.
"Well if we've all stopped having conniptions of puppy love, it'd be great if I could get everyone's attention."
Harry calmly reached into his robes and extracted his slime covered wand.
"Bill, I like you," he said, waving his wand a bit. "But I think that underwear is completely unnecessary."
Bill glared. "You would, wouldn't you?"
Harry rolled his eyes.
"I will have to hex you if you attempt to put them on her," he said. I nearly swooned so as I could completely personify a damsel in distress. I'd just barely managed to stop myself from clasping my hands together, placing them against one cheek, and sighing dreamily at him.
Harry maneuvered himself into an upright position while keeping his wand trained on Bill.
"And it's not because I want…better access, or something," he said, turning slightly red. "It's because she is old enough to take care of herself, which I think you know even if you won't admit it, and because I also have to live with her if she's pissed and those underwear will make her very pissed. Like Hungarian Horntail pissed. Only worse."
My little bubble of fuzzy feelings towards Harry in his hero mode popped. Little shimmery pieces of confetti burst from it and turned to dust before they could dazzle anyone. The puppy in my heart coughed, made a burping noise, and puked over the remains of the fuzzies.
I gave Harry a disgusted look.
Selfish bastard. He could have at least pretended like he was being my knight in shining honor. That wouldn't have been too much to ask, would it?
Only probably it would have. Harry is to semi-romantic situations as Voldemort is to tea parties. They both know how to ruin them completely.
Bill glared harder at Harry.
"I vanquished the most evil wizard of all time," Harry proclaimed, and inclined his head towards his wand. "And I'm in a desperate situation. Have you seen Ginny when she doesn't get what she wants?"
More puke on the fuzzies.
Bill sighed and lowered the chastity belt.
"Fine," he said grudgingly. "But what am I supposed to tell Mum?"
...three hours, one drain-clogging shower, and two shots of nerve-calming Firewhiskey later...
"I can't believe I'm not locked in a closet somewhere bound and gagged," I said for the twentieth time in as many minutes. Harry and I were leaving the Burrow after two hours of discussion with my parents, and I was stepping over a chicken as I said this.
"I can't believe you're not strapped to the kitchen table with Charlie and Bill looming over you holding kitchen shears and a hot poker."
Harry slanted a glance my way.
"It's scary that you can think of things like that."
I ignored him and stepped over another chicken.
"I can't believe Dad only asked if the flat had ekeltric cooking stoves."
"You've mentioned," Harry said dryly.
"I can't believe Mum finally decided I might be old enough to take care of myself."
"Even if the only terms were that Bill curse our rooms so neither of us can be in them at the same time."
Harry went to step over a chicken and missed, causing a few seconds of high chaos and a lot of loose feathers. He tripped to a standing position and straightened his glasses as the chicken clucked angrily away.
I stared after it.
"What are we going to do about that ,by the way?" I asked him. "The 'no-being-in-the-same-bedroom thing?"
Harry finished glaring at the chicken, grinned at me, took my hand, and apparated us to the edge of the swamp in the middle of his hallway. He put his hand to his doorknob.
"They forgot about the couch," he said mischievously, and I squealed as he scooped me up and slammed the door behind us. The fuzzies began to accumulate again.
That is, until:
"Oh. I have chicken shit on my trousers. Ew…are you good at scourgify? Wait no, I just wiped it on the couch..."
Maybe this is the kind of thing that happens to you if you steal a lollipop from a baby in a past life.
Or maybe I'd just fallen in love with a man completely mentally incapacitated in the romanticism and fuzzies department.
Strangely, either way, I wasn't even considering filing a complaint with karma.
Which, I'm sure you'd agree, is the final proof I need that I'm living in a perpetual Lunorsy Lamentation. And I think I'm enjoying it.
Sorry for the wait y'all! Stressful summer.
Next chapter: Luna and Dorsy's wedding, and the next appearance of those perpetually re-emerging cheese wheels! Also, a tiki man.