by Surplus Imagination
Disclaimer: Harry Potter and the other characters of the Harry Potter Universe belong to J.K. Rowling. This writing is for pleasure only. No profit is intended.
A/N This story is set in the summer after HBP. Thar be spoilers ahead!
I need to give serious thanks to Acacia59601 and Zayne for their beta efforts. They both have the most wonderful ideas! I also need to thank Twosluggos for putting up with my continual punctuation questions.
Hermione plodded down the well-worn stairs of the Burrow wearing her dressing gown. Her watch announced that it was half-past ten and she had better get some breakfast, before everything was gone. Still sleepy and not feeling in the best of moods, Hermione banged the watch-face deliberately against every post of the rickety handrail, until the nagging voice ceased. She had purchased the watch, thrilled with its promise of 'enchanted reminder' functions. The timepiece was similar to a wizard's mirror, in that it gave her bits of advice, along with loud announcements of appointments and deadlines. In short, it was a watch that nagged. After wearing the watch for nearly two agonizing weeks, Hermione was quite ready to chuck the timepiece into the nearest rubbish bin.
Life bustled on the ground floor of the Burrow. Bill and Fleur's wedding was scheduled for mid-afternoon, in the adjoining garden. Mrs. Weasley was dashing around the kitchen, putting finishing touches on platters of food and inspecting the linens. Hermione and the other three teens in the house, along with anyone hapless enough to be commandeered by the Mother-of-the-Groom, had spent the last two days preparing for the wedding under Mrs. Weasley's eagle-eyed direction.
At one end of the plain, wooden table, Ron and Harry were engaged in an intense, but quiet discussion over a spread parchment. Dirty breakfast dishes served as anchors for each parchment corner. At the other end of the table, Ginny was untying a small, brown paper-wrapped parcel from the leg of a delivery owl. Directly in front of her sat a steaming teapot and several empty mugs. Hermione headed purposely that way. Pouring a fragrant cup of tea, Hermione plopped down in the chair next to Ginny, bumping the table with her leg. Across the table, Harry and Ron looked up at the jarring and both gave her wide grins. Idiotically staring grins, that is.
"What's wrong with them?" Hermione asked Ginny, grumpily.
"They're idiots, don't you know," Ginny replied, absent-mindedly, struggling to untie the heavy packing string from around the small box.
"They've always been idiots," Hermione frowned, glaring at Ron. The object of her contempt gave a little wave and waggled his head at her, knowingly. "They've reached new lows today, mentally, that is." She took a long sip of hot tea. It felt very good sliding down her dry throat.
Ginny gave up trying to untie the string and took to chewing on the cord. From across the table, Harry silently cut the string with a wave of his wand. Unbound, the box dropped noisily to the table, leaving bits of string dangling from Ginny's mouth like furry dental floss. Ginny was not amused.
"He can't use magic outside of school! He won't be seventeen for weeks!" Hermione cried, looking out the window for the Ministry Owl bearing a warning.
"He's been doing that all morning," Ginny replied with grit in her voice. "According to Ron, Dumbledore told him the Ministry couldn't pick up underaged magic in a wizarding home." Ginny began to unwrap the paper covering the box. "I think he's taunting them. He's spoiling for a fight, you know."
"Yes, I know. I'm worried about him," Hermione replied. She was silently considering the question of Ministry monitoring practices. Her hand itched to try out some magic, just to see what would happen. Maybe a nice jinx would wipe that stupid grin off Ron's face.
"I think the Dynamic Duo over there, are grinning at your hair," Ginny muttered, while picking spell-o-tape off from the package. Finally, the box tumbled free of its wrapping.
Hermione set down her mug and used one hand to feel the crown of her head. Her fingertips were greeted with bushy hair sporting maximum vertical lift. Raising her other hand, she asked her watch, "Just how bad is my hair?"
"Your hair gives the term 'bed-head' new meaning," came the tinny reply. "It's nearly eleven o'clock. You might as well give up on breakfast and have lunch instead. Or dinner, after you brush your hair."
Hermione gave the watch a few bangs on the table. It quieted immediately. Ron and Harry had returned their attention to the spread parchment. If Hermione squinted hard, she could make out a detailed map drawn on the parchment. She started to point out the map to Ginny, when the writing on the box caught her attention.
Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes' Original
"What is that?" Hermione asked, intrigued. She moved to pick up the small box, but Ginny lightly smacked her hands.
"Revenge," came the singular reply. Ginny opened the box herself, and dumped out a small rag-doll and a folded piece of paper.
Hermione quickly picked up the paper and read, "Congratulations on your purchase of Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes' Original WooDoo Doll! Follow these three easy steps to enchant your doll to the magical signature of a person of your choice. Once enchanted, you can use the doll to Woo the Lover of Your Dreams by following the easy directions on page two, or punish an ex-lover, using the even easier directions of page three. Warnings: The WooDoo Doll has magical blocks on all erogenous zones and cannot be used to cause permanent or fatal injuries It is strongly suggested that you read all instructions and plan your WooDoo event, prior to invoking the doll." Hermione stopped reading to stare at Ginny. The younger girl was stroking the doll with a strange look on her face. "You have got to be kidding me. I thought you were fine with Harry's pulling away," she commented.
Ginny didn't look up. "That was last week. Today, things are different. I have officially reconsidered my original decision to let Harry hold himself nobly apart. I told him so, but he isn't listening. I hate when he doesn't listen to me." Ginny took a deep, cleansing breath. "Go on, keep reading. What does page three say?"
"This will never work, Ginny. I read that real Voodoo Witch Doctors-"
"Read the directions, HERMIONE!" Ginny interrupted through clenched teeth.
Hermione hesitated, Harry had no clue that Mount Ginny was about to erupt. Should she warn him or enjoy the show? The show, definitely. There was no way she was going to get between Ginny and what that redhead wanted. Her own hair would not be improved by bat-bogies. Taking a sip of her tea, she continued reading. "Step one: Use ordinary ink to draw your person's likeness on the doll. Step two: Attach a personal item to the doll. This item must have touched your person's skin; hair, nail pairings or other shed body parts are best. Step three: Check your watch. You have fifteen minutes after activation for the embedded Notice-Me-Not charm to cease functioning. After that time, the doll's effectiveness will also begin to diminish. We recommend securing a clear escape route at all times. Now enjoy!" Hermione took another sip of tea. "Fifteen minutes isn't very long," she said.
"It will be enough," Ginny muttered. She was drawing a face, complete with round-lens glasses and lightning bolt scar, on the head of the doll. "Read page three," she ordered.
Hermione noticed that Ginny was quite good with her drawing. She turned to page three and read, "Punishments imposed on the WooDoo Doll will echo the same effect on your person/ex-lover. For example: A pinprick on the foot will be felt by your person/ex-lover on his/her foot. Be creative! Remember that erogenous zones are magically blocked. No amputations, severe mutilations or fatal injuries will magically be permitted." Hermione set the paper down. "This won't keep Harry from hunting down Voldemort." Her stomach gave a massive growl of emptiness. Hermione looked around for an unwatched plate of food that hadn't been clearly claimed for the wedding. In the center of the table, lay a perfect basket of scones with an open pot of jam.
Ginny looked up with amusement. "I don't expect that it will. I plan on going with him on the hunt. I just need something to get his attention before I tell him what is what." Hermione's stomach gave another rumble, causing both girls to grin.
"He'll never agree to that and neither will your Mother. You know Harry, this distance is only temporary. You need to finish school," Hermione soothed, while helping herself to a scone with jam.
"Isn't this the pot calling the kettle black! I don't see you intending to finish school; or Harry, or Ron! Besides, I have no intention of telling my mother until I am at least a continent away. It's not up to Harry. He didn't succeed in stopping me from coming to the Department of Mysteries, and he won't stop me now. Careful, you've dripped jam all down your front." Ginny motioned at Hermione's dressing gown. "Harry has been completely ignoring me since we got on the train. I will not be ignored!"
Scrubbing at the jam with a towel, Hermione asked, "You still need a personal item. What do you have?"
"Good point, wait here." Ginny marched to the other side of the table, reached over, and pulled out several hairs from Harry's unsuspecting head.
"Ouch! What was that for?" Harry yelled, rubbing his head. Ron looked up from the parchment, puzzled by the commotion.
"Sorry, Harry. I thought I saw a billywig land in your hair. My mistake," Ginny simpered, hiding the hairs behind her back.
Harry stared at her for a moment, clearly undecided on what to say. Finally he whispered, "Thank you, Gin," and returned to discussing the parchment with Ron.
With a definite sashaying sway, Ginny strutted back to Hermione's end of the table, brandishing her prize.
"Billywigs are from Australia. Is that the best you could come up with?" Hermione asked with amusement, buttering a second scone.
"It worked, didn't it?" Ginny replied. Picking up her wand, she laid the black hairs against the doll head and whispered nexi nexum. The hair fused instantly, causing the doll to thrum softly. It didn't look like Ginny was concerned with her use of magic out of school, either. "Here goes," Ginny announced. Lifting her chin, she called out, "Harry, why don't share what you're looking at with the rest of the table?"
Harry looked up, annoyed. "We discussed this at the lake, Ginny."
Hermione watched, while Ginny took the pointed end of her quill and jabbed the bottom of the doll's feet. Across the table, Harry flinched noticeably.
"We didn't discuss you shutting me completely out of your life," Ginny continued. She stabbed the foot again.
This time, Harry reached down and removed his shoe. Hermione smothered a grin, while Harry shook the shoe, attempting to remove whatever was stinging his foot.
Ginny wasn't done yet. "We may not be involved as a couple, but I will be involved in your plans." She punctuated the word 'plans' with a jab to the other foot.
Harry gave a little cry of dismay and toed off the other shoe. Finding nothing in that one either, he quickly removed both socks and inspected them, inside out. "I won't have you involved, it's too dangerous," Harry replied, waving his socks in emphasis.
"That is not your choice," Ginny said evenly, staring Harry down. The two locked eyes for a full minute, before Harry turned back to the parchment. Oblivious, Ron hadn't noticed any of the exchange.
"I hate being ignored," Ginny muttered under her breath. Hermione noticed the telltale sign of Weasley anger on Ginny's red-tipped ears. Ginny turned the doll over and viciously stabbed its bottom. Harry leapt up with a yelp, rubbing his backside. Ginny stabbed again. Harry spun in circles, looking for the cause of the stinging, knocking his shoes and socks to the floor. His last spin ended facing Ginny.
"You're doing this," Harry accused her. "It won't work. You are not going anywhere near Voldemort!"
"Me?" Ginny asked innocently. "It's probably that billywig. It's crawled down your clothes and is stinging you."
"Billywigs?" Ron finally caught wind of the conversation. "Those are serious, Harry. You'd better get your clothes off and get them out. Their sting can make you sick, you know."
"I am not taking off my clothes! Your sister is doing this. Even I know that billywigs live in Australia!" Harry roared, pointing a finger at Ginny.
"Yeah, but Fred and George breed them, up in their old room. They've gotten out before. Nasty sting!" Ron explained. Harry looked uncertain.
Ginny flashed Hermione a triumphant smirk and stuck the doll's back a dozen more times. This time, Harry started shucking his clothes as fast as he could. Once down to his knickers, Ginny concentrated her jabs on his backside. The doll's rear end was peppered with tiny, black marks. Harry rubbed his bum frantically, but didn't remove his last piece of clothing.
"Hold still," Ron ordered. "Let me look for welts."
Hermione and Ginny could see Harry's skin crawling from the assault. Ron slowly looked over every inch of Harry's body. "No sting marks," he proclaimed, looking confused.
Ginny inked the quill again and wrote carefully on the doll's arm, I will not be ignored! Setting the quill down, she gave the doll's hand a good thump with her fingers. Harry yelped again and looked at his hand . . . and at the writing on his arm.
"Ginny!" he growled. Hermione had rarely seen Harry so furious. She thought he looked really funny, standing there in his knickers, slowly going red.
Ginny stood and brandished the WooDoo Doll. "I won't be told what to do. Not by you or anyone else!" She threw the doll at Hermione and ran out into the garden.
Harry started to follow, but was stopped by Ron's voice. "You can't go out there in your knickers, Mum's outside!" Sliding to a halt, Harry snatched up his pants and ran out the door.
"Blimey! What was that all about?" Ron asked, while searching Harry's shirt for billywigs. Hermione tossed the doll at him.
"Ah, a WooDoo Doll. Excellent choice," Ron brightened, tossing the shirt to the ground. Hermione gave him a measured frown. Ron noticed and blushed bright red. "I've just heard of them," he stammered. "It's not like I've used one or anything."
Hermione gave Ron a suspicious look. She opened her mouth to reply, when Mrs. Weasley rushed into the kitchen, a panicked look on her face.
"Ron, get outside and stop Harry and Ginny!" she shrieked. "They are shooting hexes at each other around the big oak tree. They are going to hit the buffet tables, I just know it."
"But Mum," Ron grinned, "they'll stop faster for you than for me."
Mrs. Weasley closed her eyes in exasperation and counted slowly to ten. Opening her eyes, she bore down on Ron. "Harry is standing, in the middle of the garden, by all the wedding tables, practically NAKED! Now, get yourself up and get him to put some clothes on! While you are at it, get Harry and Ginny to stop cursing each other or I'll PUT ALL THREE OF YOU OVER MY KNEE!" The force of Mrs. Weasley's words practically blew Ron right off his chair.
"Yes, Mum," came the meek reply.
"That's better." Mrs. Weasley intoned quietly, while smoothing her apron. "Hermione, dear, could you please go upstairs and get ready for the wedding? I believe your hair will require some extra attention." Giving Ron one last meaningful glare, she left the room.
"Whew, that was close," Ron exhaled. "Come on then, let's go stop the WooDoo before He-Do something to She-Do!" Ron gave Hermione a cheeky grin.
"I suppose you think you are very funny. Ha. Ha. I think you need to worry more about He-Do, I mean, Harry. Ginny is going to mop the floor with him," Hermione groused, arms crossed over her chest.
"I know I'm funny," Ron grinned wider and walked out the door.
Hermione stuck her tongue out at Ron's back, but followed him out into the garden. Sure enough, there were Ginny and Harry, out by the oak tree. Harry still hadn't put his pants back on. One moment Ginny was yelling at Harry, her face wildly alive with fiery temper. The next moment, Harry had Ginny pinned to the oak tree, kissing her . . . intensely. Two paces in front of Hermione, Ron stopped suddenly and clenched his fists. Hermione quickly grabbed one broad shoulder and spun Ron around. "Looks like everything is taken care of here," she grinned. "Give them a minute, and then we'll chase them back inside."
"But he's . . ., " Ron tried to turn around, but Hermione caught him by the chin.
"No Ron, leave them be. Two minutes from now, is plenty-soon enough, to get Harry's pants back on," Hermione said, as she reached up to smooth Ron's hair. He was quite tall these days, she had to stretch way up to reach his head. Ron obliged by lowering his head to meet her, lips slightly parted, eyes looking nervous. After one gentle stroke, Hermione seized a small clump and yanked the red hairs out by the roots.
"OUCH!" Ron screamed. "What was that for?"
"For my own WooDoo Doll," Hermione smirked.
A/N I loved HBP and just had to get this story out. I promise to get back to my WIP Court Ordered Diet right away.
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