11

The Monster "On" Harry's Chest

"You'd think people'd have better things to gossip about," said Ginny as she sat on the common room floor, leaning against Harry's legs and reading the Daily Prophet. "Three Dementor attacks in a week, and all Romilda Vane does is ask me if it's true you've got a hippogriff tattooed across your chest."

Ron and Hermione both roared with laughter. Harry ignored them.

"What did you tell her?"

"I told her it's a Hungarian Horntail," said Ginny, turning a page of the newspaper idly. "Much more macho."

"Thanks," said Harry, grinning. "And what did you tell her Ron's got?"

"A Pygmy Puff, but I didn't say where."

Ron scowled as Hermione rolled around laughing. "Watch it!" he said, pointing warningly at Harry and Ginny. "Just because I've given my permission doesn't mean I can't withdraw it!"

"Your permission?" scoffed Ginny. "Since when did you give me permission to do anything? Anyway, you said yourself you'd rather it was Harry than Michael or Dean."

"Yeah, I would," said Ron, grudgingly. "Just as long as you don't start snogging each other in public."

"You filthy hypocrite! What about you and Lavender, thrashing around like a pair of eels all over the place?" demanded Ginny.

Ron flushed and glanced sideways at Hermione, who was studiously ignoring him.

"So, anyway, what do you really think about tattoos, Harry?" asked Ginny, ignoring Ron.

"What? Oh, well, I think they're kind of cool, really," Harry admitted. "I don't actually think I'd mind a Horntail on my chest. Who knows, maybe I'll get pissed on my 17th birthday and get one!"

"Really?" asked Ginny, a bit surprised.

"Really," said Harry, smiling slightly. Ginny smiled back at him, and then she seemed to get an idea, and her smile turned sly. "Help me up, Harry?" He stood and pulled her to her feet, kissing her briefly before she slipped out of his arms.

"Hang on, there's something I need from upstairs. Hermione? Can you come too? I might need something from you."

Hermione looked mystified, but nodded and walked up the staircase to the girl's dormitory with Ginny. Harry and Ron looked at each other.

"What do you suppose that was about?" Harry asked Ron. Ron shrugged.

"Dunno. Maybe she's got a Do-it-Yourself tattoo kit or something upstairs."

Harry looked worried for a minute, then shrugged too. "Guess we'll find out."

The girls were gone for what seemed like a long time, though it was only about ten minutes, before they finally came back down the stairs. Hermione was clutching a bag that appeared to be full of small, hard objects.

"What's in there?" Ron asked, pointing to the bag.

"Well…" said Ginny, "I thought we'd experiment with it."

"Experiment with what?" asked Harry, suspiciously. "And who exactly is we?"

Hermione let out a giggle, then shrieked as Ron jumped up, snatched the bag out of her hand, and hurried to the opposite side of the room.

"Ron!"

He ignored her and opened the bag. His face took on an incredulous look as he reached in the bag and pulled out a handful of…makeup.

"What's all this? Why do you need these to do an experiment with?" He smirked at Hermione. "Want to test how kiss-proof your lipstick is?" He made kissing motions at her, and she turned bright red and grabbed for the bag as he danced away from her.

"No!" she said, trying to corner him. "Ginny wanted-"

"You'd better not try and put any of that stuff on us, if that's what you're planning," he warned.

"I was thinking of it, actually," said Ginny.

"What!?" yelled Harry and Ron, together. Harry scrambled to his feet as Ron backed away from them. The two girls laughed.

"Oh Harry," said Ginny, still chuckling. "I don't want to put it on your face!"

"Where do you want to put it then?" he demanded, slightly afraid of hearing the answer.

"Well, you said you wouldn't mind a Horntail on your chest, so… before you went and got a permanent one, I thought I'd draw one on it with this and see how it looked."

Harry looked taken aback for a moment, but then grinned. "Oh…alright then."

"Wait a minute!" yelled Ron. "I don't want my BABY SISTER drawing a dragon on my best friend's BARE CHEST with her makeup!!"

Ginny rounded on him. "And why not, Ronald Weasley? Didn't we just establish that I don't need your permission to do what I want?"

"Well…er…" he sputtered.

"Oh, come on Ron, it'll be fun!" Hermione urged.

"Yeah," agreed Harry.

Ron gave Harry a disgruntled look and muttered, "I know YOU think it'll be fun."

Harry repressed a smirk as Ron grudgingly nodded his head. "Alright, I guess, if you have to." He reluctantly handed Ginny the bag of makeup. "But I'll be right here! I don't want anything…funny going on!"

Ginny snorted. "Right, Ron, I'll just shag Harry here in the common room, shall I?" she said sarcastically. "Harry, would you mind unbuttoning your shirt?"

He grinned and undid his tie, then reached for his top button. Ron looked furious for a minute, then shrugged and walked over to a chair by the fire and picked up Ginny's discarded Prophet, pretending to read it while looking over the top of it at them.

"Um…do I have to take my shirt completely off?" asked Harry tentatively when he'd gotten to the last button, his tie still loosely draped around his neck. Ginny raised her eyebrows at him, and he shrugged.

"Uh…well…you know…" he mumbled. Ginny and Hermione both laughed.

"My, my, how modest you are Harry!" chuckled Ginny.

"What, mate, afraid the girls'll swoon over the sight of your naked chest?" smirked Ron.

Harry raised an eyebrow and inclined his head towards the corner of the common room where a few fourth-year girls, including Romilda Vane, were whispering and giggling, casting wide-eyed glances at him. One of them looked like she really might swoon if Harry removed his shirt completely. Ron snickered.

"Oh, alright, you can keep your shirt on," said Ginny, slightly put out. "But don't blame me if makeup gets on it!"

Harry raised a hand and ran it through his hair self-consciously. "Er, where do you want me?" he asked her. Ginny raised her eyebrows.

"That's a loaded question at the moment…"

"I don't want to hear it!" said Ron loudly from behind the Prophet.

She winked at Harry and pointed to the couch nearest the fire. "Spread out on this; that way I can see what I'm doing."

Harry nodded and sprawled on the couch, propping himself up on one elbow and leaning against its arm. He patted the spot next to him invitingly, and Ginny sat on the edge of the couch next to him, the bag of makeup beside her. Hermione walked up and leaned on the back of the couch, peering down at them interestedly.

Ginny ran her hands slowly up Harry's chest and spread his shirt out and away from it.

His breathing suddenly felt constricted, and his skin seemed to grow hot under her hands.

"Mm…" she hummed, looking at him from beneath her eyelashes. "It's a good thing you're not hairy, or this wouldn't work."

"But I AM Harry"

She laughed, then dug in the bag and pulled out a long thin pencil with a black tip.

"What's that?" asked Harry, curiously.

"Eyeliner," replied Ginny as she bent down and started to draw the outline of a dragon on his chest. He continued to look puzzled as he restrained a chuckle. The thin point of the pencil tickled him as Ginny elaborated on its uses. "It's used for exactly what it sounds like."

"But why — "

"Because we're girls and it's complicated!"

"But — "

"Shush!"

She leaned over and put her hand over his mouth, pushing him back against the cushions. He smiled and pressed her hand to his lips.

"Now be still!" she scolded, though he'd barely moved, also smiling as she drew her hand away, "or your dragon'll look more like a snake!"

"Well, that wouldn't be too bad either…"

Ginny wrinkled her nose. "No, I think I'd prefer a dragon. Snakes remind me too much of You-Know-Who."

Harry sobered, then nodded. "Yeah, I guess you're right." He perked up. "Though I CAN speak Parseltongue, so it wouldn't be too inappropriate."

"You're getting a dragon," said Ginny firmly, and Harry shrugged, causing Ginny to push him against the couch again.

"I told you not to move! You made me fudge a line!" she fussed, "Now be still, or I'll have to tie you down!"

He grinned. "That sounds fun…" Ginny smacked him lightly on the side of the head and

Ron yelled from his chair again.

"Harry! That's MY BABY SISTER!!"

"Oh, shut up Ron," said Ginny without turning her head as she raised her fingertips to her mouth.

Harry's breath caught in his throat again as he watched her. When she licked her fingers like that…he shook his head to get the image out of his head, and she raised her eyebrows at him.

"Sorry," he said quickly as she rubbed out the line that he had made her spoil. She bent over his chest, redrawing the dragon's tail so that it curled around his belly. He laughed and she swatted him again.

"Hey, I can't help it! It tickles!" he protested, his stomach still quivering with laughter.

Ginny grinned.

"Lucky for you, I'm done with that part. Now all I have to do is color in the lines." She stuck the eyeliner pencil behind her ear and dug in the bag for eye shadow.

Ron looked up from his paper and folded it, forgetting that he wasn't interested, and joined Hermione behind the couch. He bent over and squinted at Harry's chest.

"Hey Ginny, that actually looks pretty cool." Hermione glanced at him, smiling slightly.

"Oh, I suppose you want one now?" she said.

Ron shrugged. "I wouldn't mind, I guess. I don't really want my sister drawing it though!" Ginny scowled up at him. "I didn't mean it looks bad or anything!" he said hastily, "It would just be weird! That's the kind of thing that doesn't feel right unless it's someone you fancy doing it!" Hermione looked at him with raised eyebrows.

"Pity," she said, "I was thinking of drawing one on you when Ginny's done with Harry's."

"Oh…er…"

Ron struggled to say something, then gave it up as a bad job and fell silent. Hermione laughed and mussed his hair, then crossed her arms on the couch and looked back down at Harry and Ginny. Ginny had filled in the dragon with different shades of green and grey eye shadow, and was now working on drawing flames coming out of its mouth with bright red lipstick. Apparently the flames were in a sensitive spot, as Harry's stomach kept quivering as he tried not to laugh. Ron looked grumpily at the pair, then turned his head and made a gagging motion.

"There!" said Ginny, a few minutes later, starting to put the cap back on the lipstick. Then she stopped and raised it to her mouth, rubbing it on her lips. Harry looked up at her questioningly. She grinned.

"Wha — mmf!"

She had grabbed the collar of his unbuttoned shirt, pulling him up towards her and planting a passionate kiss on his mouth. His eyes widened and he was stiff with surprise for a minute, then closed his eyes and leaned into the kiss, raising one hand to cup the back of her head. She broke it, grinned at his dazed expression, and started kissing him quickly all over his face and neck, concentrating on his cheeks. Harry sputtered, then used both hands to grab her head to hold it still and kissed her firmly on the mouth again. They stayed like that for a minute or two as everything around them started slowly melting away, then heard a loud, "AHEM!!" from behind them.

They broke apart and looked over the couch at Ron, who had obviously just cleared his throat, and was scowling at them with his arms crossed, and Hermione, who was smiling behind her hand at them.

"What?" asked Ginny innocently, folding her hands primly in her lap. Ron held his angry expression for a minute, then glanced at Harry, who tried to duplicate Ginny's innocent expression, but failed miserably and ended up looking smug instead. Ron choked and burst into laughter. That was all it took to set Hermione laughing too, and Harry and Ginny joined in. Harry started to put his arms around Ginny to pull her to him, but she carefully placed a hand on his chest and pushed him away.

"Don't, you'll smear it!" she said.

"Oh, right," said Harry, slightly disappointed. Ginny smiled.

"Why don't you go see what it looks like?" Harry nodded and got to his feet. He walked up the staircase to the boy's dormitory, his unbuttoned shirt flapping as his loose tie slid off his neck and fluttered to the floor. He passed Seamus and Dean on the way, and they both looked at him curiously, Dean frowning slightly.

"What happened to you?" asked Seamus. Harry laughed. "Ginny thought she'd experiment," he said, gesturing towards his chest.

Seamus grinned. "She experiment on your face too?" He asked, tapping a finger to his own cheek. Dean scowled, and Harry frowned confusedly. "Just make sure you look in the mirror properly when you go up to our room," said Seamus, smirking as he and Dean left. Dean nodded curtly, his hands in fists by his sides.

"I'll make sure I do," said Harry, still frowning slightly.

Harry got up to the room and stood in front of the one full-length mirror in the room, pulling back his shirt to see his chest better. He grinned. The dragon looked magnificent; Ginny was an excellent drawer. Then Harry caught sight of his face, and laughed out loud. There were bright red lip marks smeared all over it, and his mouth was covered in them. He went to the bathroom, stripped off his shirt and tried washing his face, but the stuff wouldn't come off. He frowned and scrubbed harder, but it wouldn't budge. He grabbed the towel, still scrubbing at his face, and left the room, still shirtless.

"Ginny!" he yelled as soon as he was within earshot of the common room. "How do I get this stuff off?"

She met him at the bottom of the stairs with a pink bottle in one hand and cotton balls in the other, grinning hugely.

"Sorry Harry, I couldn't help it," she said, a hint of laughter in her voice, looking him up and down. "I DID want to see how kiss-proof my lipstick was!" He noticed her mouth was still bright red, her lips slightly swollen from their kisses earlier. He smiled.

"Fine, but can we get it off my face now?" he asked.

She nodded and grabbed his hand, drawing him back to the fire. Ron and Hermione had stolen the couch, where Ron had sprawled across the whole thing, including Hermione, who kept trying to nudge his feet off her lap.

"I see you've gotten over your modesty," said Ginny with a smirk.

"What?" said Harry, then realized he was still shirtless and felt his ears start to burn.

"Oh…um…yeah, I guess." She and Hermione laughed.

"Well, I can't say I mind," said Ginny, grabbing his hand and pulling him down onto the floor between the couch and the fire. She massaged his bare shoulders, her hands moving down his back, and he made an appreciative noise in his throat.

Ron cleared his throat menacingly after a couple of minutes, and she raised her eyebrows, but removed her hands.

She picked up the pink bottle and poured liquid from it onto a cotton ball. Harry eyed it suspiciously. "What's that?"

"Makeup remover," she said as she started to wipe his face with the now wet cotton ball. "Takes this stuff off a lot easier than soap and water." Harry nodded, and she finished cleaning him up.

"Oh, by the way, how do you like your dragon?" she asked. He smiled.

"It looks great. I'd kind of like to keep it, at least for a few days."

She grinned delightedly. "Well, actually, now that the makeup's dried on your chest, it won't come off for a week or so unless you use makeup remover. It's got the same stuff in it as my lipstick."

"Oh, cool," he said as he slung an arm around her neck and drew her to him, kissing her forehead, then moving down to her nose, her cheeks, and finally, her mouth.

Ron got up, disgruntled by this outright display of public affection between his best friend and his little sister. He stretched and yawned loudly.

"Well, I'm going to bed. Good night Harry, Ginny."

Hermione stood too. "I think I'll go up as well; there's some reading I need to get done. I'll see you guys tomorrow." She and Ron headed up the stairs to their respective dormitories, leaving Harry and Ginny alone in the now empty common room.

Harry put his arm around Ginny's shoulders and she snuggled into him, tucking her head under his chin and laying on hand on his chest, slowly tracing the outline of the dragon. He smiled.

"You know, it's funny that you should chose a dragon to put on my chest."

"Really? Why's that?" she asked.

"Well, remember when you and Dean were still dating and me and Ron caught you guys kissing in the corridor?"

She nodded ruefully, "Don't remind me. I thought he was going to suck my face off!"

Harry chuckled and kissed the top of her head. "I think that was when I finally realized I liked you, you know, like that," he said slowly.

She sat up and looked at him. "Really?"

"Really," said Harry. "I saw him kissing you and it was suddenly like there was this…I dunno…dragon or something in my chest, roaring to get out and tear him apart. I could have happily murdered him right there."

Ginny laughed, bent her head, and kissed the skin beneath his collarbone. He shivered and wrapped his arms around her

"Funnily enough, it roared again when we kissed for the first time, but with a rather different sentiment," he said softly. She smiled.

"Well," she said mischievously, "Now you've got a dragon IN your chest and ON your chest."

She snuggled up to him again, nuzzling the place where his neck joined his jaw, then lowered her head to his chest, pressing her right ear against the skin above his heart as it started beating faster.

"Mmm…it sounds pleased now," she said softly.

He tucked a finger under her chin and raised her face to his. "It's practically purring," he murmured against her lips before pressing them to his. She wrapped her arms around his neck, and Harry tried to fix the moment forever in his mind as everything looming over him disappeared, and he was happy.

Excerpt from Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince