Title: The Insufferable Zipper

Author: Aelan Greenleaf

Rating: T

Category: Humour, Romance

Summary: "What's my problem, Ginny, what's my problem? My problem is that you've oh-so-calmly suggested that my best friend has had the dubious pleasure of seeing you starkers!" H/G, R/H.

The Insufferable Zipper

"It's almost over." moaned Ronald Weasley, as he collapsed down into an empty chair. He was so, so tired. How could weddings be so exhausting? More to the point, why should they be so exhausting? Weddings should be performed entirely sitting down. None of this standing and walking and dancing business.

"Just think Ron: now you and Fleur are related! Isn't life fun?" quipped Ginny, sitting down opposite her brother, grinning as a look of slight disappointment crept onto his face. "I'm sure it's legal somewhere, Ron. Like Antarctica. They seem to have very few restrictions there."

Harry grinned from beside her, placing himself down onto the grass just beside Ginny. Her hand drifted down for a moment, touching his shoulder lightly, before moving it away. His heart gave a small pang at the retraction of her touch.

Hermione sighed as she took the last available seat, and she smoothed her lilac shaded dress beneath her before dropping down in relief. "I'm just glad that we don't have to be over there," as she pointed over to the far side of the field, where a band was playing and the adults danced away merrily.

"Me too." agreed Harry, remembering with a sudden bout of embarrassment the Yule Ball, and dancing with Parvati. Unfortunate.

The evening was beautiful around the teenagers; the heat of the day not yet gone, and the chill of night still not yet arrived. Behind them, the music climbed higher, and the noise of chatter and laughter reached their ears.

"Harry," started Ginny, gazing up into the night sky, "Dance with me."

Something grabbed at Harry's lungs with amazingly sharp claws. "W-what?"

Oh, how her eyes were burning with mirth and amusement. "Dance with me!" And she stood up out of her chair, swishing her dress out around her, and holding out her hand.

Ron started to laugh from his seat, as Harry rose, uncomfortable, from his chair.

"You do remember the Tri-Wizard tournament, right? Do you know what you're in for?"

"I'm sure you're a fantastique dancer, Harry!" she exclaimed, emphasizing his talents in the accent of her new sister-in-law.


"Danse avec moi!" she said, and for a fleeting moment, Harry thought her slightly insane.

"Fine." he replied, resigned to his fate. He took her hand, and together they danced in the grass, while Ron and Hermione looked on, amused. They twirled and they side-stepped, pulling around each other, and, grudgingly, Harry knew he was having fun. He began to lower her down, pulling her into a dip...

"Ouch!" Ginny yelled, and her partner promptly dropped her.

"Ginny!" Harry exclaimed, even as Ron began to howl with laughter, and as Hermione joined them on the grass, concerned.

Two stunned brown eyes met two immensely guilty emerald ones, as Harry helped Ginny up off of the ground. "I'm so sorry, I didn't mean to drop you, it's just that you screamed out and I thought I hurt you..." Harry began rambling on, and Ginny had to grin.

"No, you git, it wasn't you. It was the bloody zipper on my dress. It's been pinching me all day!"

There was (merely momentary) relief on Harry's face. "Oh, good."

A slightly unnerving mischievous glint appeared in his girlfriend's eyes. "Could you help me with it?"

"Of course." answered Harry, and he moved to her back, reaching for her zipper. Ron stopped laughing suddenly and was watching them both with more than a little anger in his features.

"Oi!" he yelled, and the other three all turned to him. "Just what are you both doing?"

Ginny gave her brother an annoyed look. "He's fixing my zipper, Ronald."

"Well, isn't that, a bit, you know, revealing?" The anger faded and embarrassment turned his cheeks more than slightly red. Now it was Hermione giggling beside him, laughing at the state of her friend.

"Whatever do you mean, Ron?" said Ginny, feigning ignorance.

"He's... well, you know. Kinda close to you. Don't make me say it!"

"Oooh." Ginny let you a long sigh. "Well, Ronald, it doesn't really matter because there's nothing there that Harry hasn't already seen."

Harry Potter proceeded to turn an incredible shade of tomato red, as his fingers fumbled on the insufferable zipper on the back in question. His vision shifted to his (now former) best friend, who was sputtering madly and attempting to both rise out of his chair and think at the same time. In different circumstances, it would have been immensely entertaining to watch, but at the moment, Harry could feel a strange sensation of fear sprout inside of him.

"Ron..." began Hermione, but he ignored her, intent on his sister and his ex-best mate.

"Harry?" bellowed Ron, even as the party continued on away from them, loud in the summer night. "Harry, what is Ginny saying? What did you do to my sister?"

"Uh, well, I... look, Ron, it wasn't all that you think..."

"No? What do I think, Harry?"

"Look, Ron," interjected Ginny, for which Harry was eternally grateful, "I didn't mean to upset you. Okay, well, I did. But not this much. What's your problem?"

Her older brother, with his flaming orange hair and completely infuriated expression, was beginning to resemble in great detail a giant, over-ripe, pumpkin. However, since the situation was so very tense, there was no one laughing, regrettably. "What's my problem, Ginny, what's my problem? My problem is that you've oh-so-calmly suggested that my best friend has had the dubious pleasure of seeing you starkers!"

Ginny almost expected steam to start rising from her sibling's ears. "Ron, that's not what I meant."

"You're not answering my question! You're avoiding it! Harry, I'm going to kill you!"

His younger sister was very, very irritated. "You hypocrite! I've seen you and Hermione, locked at the lips, when you think no one's watching!"

Immediately, Ron's pumpkin face froze and the wide grin plastered onto Hermione's face disappeared. Both then adopted expressions closely resembling horrification to the extreme, and paled in the evening light.

Now it was Harry's turn to chuckle with pleasure at the embarrassment of his two best friends. "What's this, Ron? A little tongue-tied?"

Ron and Hermione met each others' eyes, then looked away so quickly it was as if the two had been burnt. "I-uh... well, it's all a new development, really."

Ginny laughed at her brother's expense. "A new development? You've been pinning away for Hermione for months! Years!"

"Well, uh, it's just, well, nothing, really..."

"Nothing?" started Hermione, whose colour had now returned and was staring at Ron, annoyed.

The young man looked absolutely, positively, frightened out of his mind. "No! It's not nothing! I mean- Hermione, that came out totally wrong!"

She glared at him.

"So, you two are going out, then?" suggested Ginny, while Harry continued to smile madly behind her.

"Yes! I- yes, we are!" confirmed Ron, looking wildly back and forth between Ginny and Harry, and Hermione. A curious silence followed the moment, and they could hear a slow song playing from the reception area.

"Okay. You've redeemed yourself, Ronald." muttered Hermione, breaking the quiet.

"Good. I mean, it wasn't really my fault anyways. It was Harry's!"

The smile faded from Harry's lips. "Me? What did I do?"

Ron gave him a pointed look. "You were the one caressing Ginny's back! You started this whole argument!"

His best friend shot him an indignant look. "I was not caressing her back! I was fixing that insufferable zipper."

Ron considered this a moment, while the two girls were both trying very, very hard not to explode into laughter. "Very well," he answered, a moment later. "We will blame this all on the zipper."

Ginny grinned and grabbed Harry's hand. "Come on. Let's dance for real."

And with Hermione and Ron following right behind them, the four friends, still slightly embarrassed, headed off into the music of the night.