Can't Knock 'Em Out
For Lily Allen
Who wrote the song
"I hate him," she hissed ferociously, rubbing at her feet and angrily brushing her arm across her eyes. "I hate him, I hate him, I hate him!"
Ginny gazed at Hermione sympathetically as she offered her a tissue. "Wouldn't that be nice?" She asked dryly. Her friend smiled wetly but didn't answer, choosing instead to blow her nose rather loudly and bury her head in her hands. Ginny took a seat and wrapped her arms around the distraught girl's shoulder. "Well, it wasn't all bad, was it? I mean, you had fun with Viktor, didn't you?"
For a moment, Hermione brightened, her cheeks flushing red. "Yes," she admitted quietly. "He was a perfect gentleman, you know, and if your prat of a brother hadn't – if he hadn't been so entirely stupid about the whole affair than I – well, I wouldn't be crying on your bed, now would I?"
Ginny didn't laugh, since the moment didn't seem right, but her lips twitched upwards. "I suppose not. But then, you can hardly expect Ron to let a day go by without trying to ruin it, now can you?" She smiled sardonically. "But don't think about the latter half of the evening; ignore everything that my brother has ever told you and focus on Viktor Krum, the most famous bloke in the world right now, and how he asked you out and danced with only you all night long, and how he was the absolute perfect gentleman who likes only three things in life and you're one of them."
Hermione blushed, and despite her best efforts a genuine smile cropped up around her mouth. "You're right," she said, her voice determined. "I'm not going let Ronald Weasley ruin the best evening of my life! And – and next time that Viktor wants to kiss me, well, I'm going to let him!"
The redhead looked stricken. "Kiss you?" She repeated. "You refused to snog Viktor Krum?" She wore an appalled expression, as though Hermione had just confessed to murdering her pygmy puff. "Are you mad? What on Earth possessed you to say no to snogging Viktor bloody Krum?" Hermione blushed, mumbling something at the bed and directing her eyes anywhere but Ginny's face. "What was that?"
"I said, 'I didn't want Ron to blow up again'," she clarified, and then heaved a sigh as her eyes pooled with fresh tears. "Fat lot of good it did me."
"Yes, yes, but Ron gets his wand in twists no matter what you do," Ginny told her impatiently, waving away the comment. "Next time that boy asks to kiss you, you don't even answer, Hermione, you just lean in and – and ravage his mouth like it was Christmas dinner!"
Hermione's mouth dropped open with shock and she squealed, "Ginny!" before falling into giggles. "I can't believe you just said that!"
Ginny lifted her chin determinedly, though her cheeks were tinged red. "I'm telling you, Hermione," she said severely, "That boy is turkey. That boy is turkey dipped in Mum's gravy with the promise of dessert, and if you don't snog him accordingly, there will be very serious consequences."
The older girl clapped her hand over her mouth to stifle her laughter, and it wasn't until her mirth had subsided that she smiled with gratitude at her friend. "Thanks, Ginny."
She shrugged. "Boys are stupid, don't pay them any attention," she advised. "Trying to talk any sort of sense into any of them is like hitting yourself on the head repeatedly with a large brick."
"What a familiar feeling," Hermione intoned dully, but her eyes were dry and the smallest of smiles had begun to creep along her cheeks. She raised her eyebrows suddenly. "Well, how was your evening?" She asked, tipping her head to the side. "Did Neville hurt your feet too badly?"
To her great surprise, Ginny was suddenly beaming as she shook her head vigorously. "Not at all! Would you believe it, Hermione, he was actually quite…well…suave!"
"I know! He was very smooth – he didn't step on my feet once; in fact, I think I may have stepped on his a little, and he was just so sweet, Hermione."
The brunette gasped suddenly, clapping her hands to her mouth. "Do you fancy Neville?" She burst out, eyes wide and hair frantic.
But Ginny laughed. "No, no, nothing like that. It was just…nice, you know, after…" she trailed off, an almost guilty expression fleeting across her face.
"After being ignored and stepped on by Harry Potter," Hermione supplied, not unkindly.
"He doesn't mean to," Ginny defended weakly before offering a feeble smile. "He's just a helplessly stupid git who wouldn't know a good thing if it was related to his best friend." Then she giggled. "What fantastic tastes we have!" She sighed. "Yes, well, you can't knock 'em out and you can't walk away . . ."
Hermione opened her mouth to speak, but was overrun by the loud, irate tones of Parvati Patil from the other side of the third year dormitory door. "And Harry bloody Potter didn't ask me to dance once, just sat there and stared at Cho sodding Chang . . .!"
Followed closely by a softer, more remorseful, "But at least he was polite. Poor Padma; Ron Weasley was positively mean to her all evening."
The two girls on Ginny's bed glanced at each other, jaws hanging open as Parvati's voice faded beneath Lavender's excited squeals. A small, vindicated grin twisted Ginny's mouth and she winked happily. "Well, it looks like we had better nights than both our blokes combined." She whistled, brown eyes dancing gleefully. "I mean, yeah, Ron ended up puffing your pygmy in typical Ron fashion, and Harry failed—once again—to remember that I exist, but now the whole school is going to know that they're rotten dates."
Hermione thought that Ginny looked a little too delighted by this prospect and said nothing for a second before asking hesitantly, "It isn't wrong to kiss Viktor, is it, if it's only to make Ron upset?"
Ginny lay back, apparently pondering the ethics of using one boy to make another jealous. "Well, maybe it's a little rotten," she admitted. "But on the other hand, if given the opportunity Ron would use Great Aunt Mildred to make you jealous; and anyway, it's not like anyone could prove it."
Although there was something distinctly shoddy about this argument, Hermione couldn't help but nod in a self-satisfied sort of way, already planning the event in her mind. Then she stifled a laugh. "What do you think Harry would do if you kissed Neville?" She asked.
"Probably nothing," Ginny replied in a bored tone. "He probably wouldn't care all that much, beyond the fact that he'd know Neville Longbottom got a girlfriend before he did."
She caught Hermione's eyes and neither could fight the laughter. Both girls surrendered to fits of giggles, lying sprawled across Ginny's gold and maroon sheets. Their fancy, glittering dress robes became wrinkled and tangled in the hanging curtains, jewelry was lost and hair mussed against the pillows.
But Hermione didn't care overly much; the most important thing, she decided, was laughing at midnight with her best girlfriend, making fun of boys and dates and feeling sorry for girls like Lavender and Parvati, who had to go back to their beds and wash off all the makeup but still try to look pretty.
Hermione's eyes were nearly glued shut from crying and Ginny's face had gone all red and splotchy from laughing and if the boys could see them now . . .
But they couldn't, and Hermione just laid back against Ginny's bed and let herself forget about red-headed twats and their scar faced counterparts (neither of whom had any sort of sense at all, if their taste in women was any indication).
(And anyway, Ron might had yelled at her for fraternizing with the enemy, but at least she'd fraternized at all!)
(He was just jealous that no one wanted to kiss him.)
(And that was it, no more thinking about males at all, as they were all had their heads up their own buttocks.)
Ginny was speaking: "Well, all in all, I'd say tonight was rather successful, yeah?"
Hermione smiled. "Rather," she affirmed, "Even though boys are stupid."
"Remarkably stupid . . ."