Hermione gestured outside the tent

Well…one night I was working on a very dark Nineteen-Eighty-Four fic involving brutality, mental torture and male-on-male rape. Joy Division on the stereo, and a cup of bitter black coffee by my side. But then, for some unaccountable reason, I found myself pouring out some pineapple juice, putting on The Best of James, and writing a fluffy little story (with a not-quite-so-fluffy ending) about Ginny and Hermione staying up late after the Quidditch World Cup. Funny how things work out. Oh yes, and in case you somehow missed the warning, it's slash. If that sort of thing makes you go 'Ewww', you know what the BACK button's for. Oh, and you might just enjoy the amusing quote below.

'Feminism encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism, and become lesbians.'
– Pat Robertson at the 1992 Republican National Convention

This story is dedicated to Phil Jones & Ruairi McAleese (the original Rampant Rory McTory O'Dell).

Sugar and Spice and All Things Nice

'Come on, Ginny,' said Mr Weasley, gently shaking her by the shoulders. 'Bedtime.'

'Wha? Huh? Ermph,' muttered Ginny. She sat up and opened her eyes. 'Oh no, I didn't fall asleep, did I?'

'Oh yes,' said George with a grin. 'Right in your hot chocolate, actually.' Horrified, Ginny clapped her hands to her hair, and grimaced when the wet, sticky locks touched her cheeks.

'Bedtime for everyone,' said Mr Weasley firmly. 'Tomorrow we can discuss the match in detail over bacon and eggs and the paper. I fancy a nice lazy day of sitting in the sun and doing absolutely nothing.'

'Right, see you all tomorrow,' said Hermione, getting up. 'Goodnight, everyone. Night, Mr Weasley.'

There was a chorus of 'Goodnight's from the boys. Mr Weasley bent down and kissed his daughter on the cheek. 'Night-night, little dormouse.' The boys shouted with laughter, and Ginny went as red as her hair. 'Night, Dad,' she muttered.

* * *

'I didn't know that your dad called you Little Dormouse,' Hermione said, opening the tent flap.

'He isn't supposed to call me it in public,' Ginny retorted. 'But he keeps forgetting – on purpose, probably. I think that he does it to remind me that I'm still his little girl.'

'Well, you're the youngest, and the only girl, and you're obviously his favourite,' Hermione observed. 'Anyway, it's better than my dad's pet name for me. He used to call me Plopkins.'

Ginny grinned. 'True. Anyway, I'm going to have a drink, do you want one?'

'OK, but I don't think there's anything to drink except water. Or there's a tin of funny teabags under the sink. Besides, I thought you were really sleepy.'

'Nah, I'm all right now we've got away from the rabid Quidditch post-mortem. I can never understand why blokes do that. I mean, I love Quidditch, and it's great going to a match, but why do they have to dissect every pass and every foul in minute detail afterwards?'

'I know what you mean. My dad's the same about football. Shouting 'Come on!' at the telly, even though they obviously can't hear it.'

'Yeah, my brothers do that with Quidditch games on the radio,' As she spoke, Ginny was rooting through the cupboards in the tent. 'Do Muggles really watch as much television as Professor Coxall-West says?'

'More. Much more. Cold in here for summer, isn't it? I'm going to get the fire going.' Hermione started to arrange wood, coal and kindling in the fireplace.

'Wahey! Look what I've found!' cried Ginny excitedly, brandishing a large and sticky bottle. 'Mead! Where did you say those funny teabags were?'

'Under the sink,' Hermione said, pointing. 'Why do you ask?'

'They're not teabags, they're spice sachets. We can do some mulled mead. My mum makes it every Christmas.'

'Ginny…I don't think we ought to do that. This is Perkins's tent. We can't exactly pinch his booze.'

'Think about it, Hermione,' Ginny said sensibly as she lit the gas cooker. 'Perkins must have known that the bottle was here when he lent Dad the tent. He'd have taken it out if he didn't want us to have it.'

'Just as well you never did any babysitting, Ginny,' said Hermione, shaking her head in wonder. 'You'd have been blacklisted by every family in the country.'

'Got to let it simmer a bit now,' Ginny said. 'How's that fire going?'

'OK. Are you going to do something about your hair?'

'I'd forgotten about that.' Ginny ran her fingers through her bright tangle of hair until she came to the sticky patches. 'Urrgh. This is disgusting. Oh well, better wash it now or it'll be really bad by tomorrow.'

'I've got something which should sort it out.' Hermione rummaged in her bag, before producing a silver and purple glass jar. 'Sit down on the sofa.'

Hermione opened the jar, which was full of what looked like glittery blue honey. She scooped some out, and gently rubbed it into the stiff tufts where Ginny's hair had dipped into the hot chocolate.

'That should be all right now,' said Hermione. 'Feel.'

Ginny touched her hair. It was as soft and clean as ever.

'What is that stuff?' she asked Hermione.

'Dr Sleekeezy's Hair Tamer. I got it in Hogsmeade to stop my hair frizzing up in the rain. It's really expensive, but works for just about any bad hair situation.'

Ginny tugged one of Hermione's sproingy curls. 'I wish I had hair like yours,' she said. 'Mine's all wispy, and you can't do anything with it. I want to get it cut short, but Mum would go mental.'

'Your hair's lovely,' Hermione said. 'So soft, and a great colour. Mine's boring brown, and goes bushy at the slightest provocation.' She put the jar of Hair Tamer back in her bag and pulled out a blue-and-white striped nightshirt. 'Anyway, I'm going to get changed, now the tent's warmed up.'

'Me too.' In front of the fire, Hermione stripped out of her clothes and put on the nightshirt. She considerately turned her back on Ginny, but when she turned around, Ginny was gazing frankly at her, her red hair glowing like a beacon against her white broderie anglaise nightie. That's odd, Hermione thought. When I was that age, I was really shy about anyone seeing me naked – or vice versa. Maybe it's because Ginny comes from such a big family. Her reverie was interrupted by the sound of twenty assorted witches and wizards loudly and drunkenly singing a song in Gaelic.

(A.N. I know that not all that many Irish people speak Gaelic, but I can imagine it surviving better in the close-knit and secretive magical community.)

Hermione gestured outside the tent. 'Wish we were out there,' she said. 'Sounds like the Irish contingent are having a fantastic time.'

Ginny giggled. 'That reminds me,' she said. 'You want to hear a funny story?'

'Go on,' said Hermione.

'Well, you know Seamus Finnegan?'

'Yeah.'

'His dad used to work at the Muggle Relations Bureau in the Irish Ministry of Magic. Corresponded with our dad quite a lot. And one time, there was a big Muggle Awareness Conference in London, and the whole Finnegan family came to stay with us. So me, my brothers and Seamus all used to play together.'

'What was Seamus like as a child?'

'Much the same as he is now. Anyway, we were all into Quidditch, and one time we were playing four-on-four up in the paddock, and we started singing Quidditch songs. You know – 'Beat Back Those Bludgers, Boys', 'Crack The Keeper On The Head', 'Fire, Cannons, Fire' – that sort of thing.'

'I know.'

'And then Percy asks Seamus if he knows any Irish ones. And Seamus says 'Yeah, loads. I'll teach you a good one – it's all in Gaelic.' So he teaches us this song.'

'What was it about?'

'He told us that it was a Quidditch song, and when we asked him what it meant he just giggled and shook his head. The thing was twenty-seven verses long, and he made us do it again and again until we got it right. Anyway, the last day that the Finnegans were here, while they were saying goodbye to Mum and Dad, we all stood in a line at the bottom of the stairs and sang it. We thought we'd impress them by singing in Gaelic, see? Seamus's mum and dad went silent, and nobody moved until we finished the last verse. Then his mum went bright red, walloped him and dragged him outside by the scruff of the neck. That night, his mum wrote to our mum, and from then on we were never allowed to sing that song again.'

'What's the song about?' asked Hermione, beginning to laugh.

'It's called 'The Ballad of Rampant Rory McTory O'Dell'. It's the filthiest thing I've ever heard in my life. You can just see it though, can't you? These seven little fresh-faced kiddiewinks singing this incredibly dirty song in high-pitched innocent voices.'

Hermione rolled on the floor, convulsed with laughter.

'Oh Ginny, that's classic, it really is. Rampant Rory McTory O'Dell. I swear, I'll never forget that.'

'Anyway, I think the mead should be ready by now.' Ginny took the pan from the stove and poured the thick, spiced liquid into two mugs. 'Here, try some.'

Hermione took a cautious, medicine-sized sip of her drink. It was strong and sweet, but very smooth. She took a large gulp. 'Mmm, lovely!'

'Anyway, do you want crumpets?'

'Not really. I'm happy just with the mead.'

'Mmm.'

The girls pulled the squashy, cat-smelling brown sofa closer to the fire, and sat on it. It looked a lot more comfortable than it was.

'This stuff is stronger than it tastes, Ginny,' Hermione said. 'I'm feeling really mellowed out.'

'Me too,' Ginny murmured. 'Nice.' She stretched, and lay down on the sofa, with her head against Hermione's thigh. Ginny's very soft red hair and warm smooth neck rustled against Hermione's skin. Hermione looked down at Ginny's freckled face, and found herself thinking that the pale curve of Ginny's jaw would be very nice to lick. I really must go easy on the mulled mead, Hermione told herself. Why else am I having these feelings?

'Hermione?' asked Ginny.

'Mm-hmm?'

'Can I ask you a question?'

'Mm-hmm.'

'Do you like any boys?'

Hermione put her lips close to Ginny's ear (kissing distance, thought Hermione, but I do NOT want to think about that) and whispered.

'Really?' Ginny squealed.

'Fraid so. You won't tell him, will you?'

'No. Have you ever, you know, kissed a boy?'

'Yes.'

'Who?'

'Oh, just someone from home. You wouldn't know them. How about you?'

Ginny's face fell. She sat up and stared down at her hands, swallowed hard, and muttered something under her breath. Hermione bent her head to hear what Ginny was saying, and her eyes became very round.

'Oh Ginny, I'm so sorry. But it's over now. It's all right. Anyway, we've all got things we're not proud of.' Hermione put her arm around Ginny and hugged her. Ginny took a big slug of mead, and looked happier. She smiled at Hermione.

'Yeah, you're right. Hermione?'

'Mm-hmm?'

'I really like you, you know.' Ginny leaned forward and gently brushed her lips against Hermione's. Hermione jerked backwards as if hit by a Dispelling Charm, and her mead spilled on the sofa. Colour flooded into Ginny's cheeks, and she looked every bit as shocked as Hermione felt.

'Oh, I'm sorry, Hermione. I didn't mean to do that. It's just that you were so nice to me about, you know, and you looked so pretty just then. I think I'd better go to bed, I've had a bit too much mulled mead.' Ginny looked as if she was about to cry. Hermione's stomach flipped over, and her skin prickled. It's the drink, Ginny's right, it makes everything so slippery and easy, but ohhh she is so soft, and so lovely. And it would be so sweet. A smile burgeoned on Hermione's lips, and spread slowly until it reached her eyes.

'It's all right, Ginny. I think I've had a bit much mead too.' Hermione put her hand on the back of Ginny's neck, leaned forward and kissed Ginny's small, soft mouth. Ginny's lips were cool and smooth. Hermione felt a small, sweet hand on her shoulder blade, before Ginny withdrew her mouth.

'Hermione?'

'Mm-hmm?'

'Do you…you know, like me?'

'I think so. Do you…like me? In that way?'

'I think so. Yes, I do.'

'Ginny?'

'Yeah?'

'Can you kiss me again?'

And this time Ginny, stretched out on the sofa, placed a hand on each of Hermione's shoulders and pulled her down. Ginny's lips nudged Hermione's, and then Ginny was aware of fuzzy hair tickling her cheeks, and a long, flat tongue exploring her mouth. You can tell she's the daughter of dentists, thought Ginny, and in her head she giggled, but out loud she moaned into Hermione's honey-and-spice mouth, flooding Hermione with sweetness. Ginny's fingers traced curlicues and spirals over Hermione's cotton back, and Hermione shivered. Every nerve in Hermione's body crackled with excitement, every hair stood to attention. Hermione smoothed a stray strand of Ginny's bright hair from her forehead, and shifted position. The pelvic bones of the girls knocked together, and Ginny sucked in her breath sharply, as the pressure suddenly made her very aware of that part of her body. Their mouths, socketed together, made a shared cave for tongues to fondle each other. Hermione kissed Ginny softly on the tip of her nose, and Ginny smiled at Hermione's quiverings as she licked a slow line up the older girl's neck. Hermione propped herself up on her hands, and looked down at Ginny. Ginny's face suddenly clouded.

'Ginny?'

'Huh?'

'You OK?'

'Yeah. Are you?'

'Mmm.'

'Hermione?'

'Yeah?'

'I'm scared.'

'Me too,' said Hermione. 'But you know, we don't have to do anything we don't want to.'

'No.'

'I could sit here all night kissing you, you know.'

'Me too. Hermione?'

'Ginny?'

'Do you want to go to bed? This sofa's really uncomfortable.'

'OK. We don't have to sleep in the same bed, you know, or we could go top and toe. Actually…'

'…No,' said both girls together. Hermione stood up, and then took hold of Ginny's small hands to pull her to her feet.

'Oh, Ginny…' The rest of the words were lost as Ginny flung her arms around Hermione and held her very tightly. Hand in hand, weaving a little from the mead, they crossed the room and slid into bed, where Ginny curled up on her side, and Hermione wrapped around her.

'This is called spoons,' said Hermione.

'Why?' Ginny wanted to know.

'Cos you fit into each other like two spoons,' Hermione explained.

'Oh.' Ginny smiled and wriggled even closer. Hermione kissed the downy skin on the back of her neck.

'Ginny?'

'Mmm?'

'I really like you.'

'Mmm. Hermione?'

'Yeah?'

'What are we going to do tomorrow?'

'Dunno. We can sort it out in the morning.'

'The boys might come in and see us.'

'No. They knock before coming in. They always knock.'

'I didn't really mean that. I meant…what about you and me?'

'I don't know. Just have to see what happens.'

'It'll be OK though. If we are…you know. There are lots of witches who are. Lots more than Muggles.'

'Mmm.' Hermione was going to divulge what she'd read in Chapter 9 of Minorities in Magic, but then decided it would be more fun to kiss Ginny instead.

'You know Madam Hooch and Professor Sprout at school?' Ginny said.

'What about them?'

'Fred reckons he once saw them kissing in Greenhouse Three.'

Hermione grinned, and gently ran her hand over Ginny's body. Ginny's erect nipples quivered, but it was impossible for Hermione to tell through the thick embroidered cotton.

'Hermione?'

'Yeah?'

'Can you help me off with this nightie?'

'I can try.'

The buttons were small, fiddly and numerous. Hermione had nimble fingers, but she was sleepy, and fuzzy from the mead.

'Bit of a challenge, this,' she muttered, exposing Ginny's creamy shoulder after several minutes of protracted effort.

'I know. My mum made me pack the bloody thing. I think it's to stop Harry having his wicked way with me.'

'It's not going to stop me having my wicked way with you.' Both girls dissolved into fits of delighted giggles, and it was a long time before Hermione became reasonably serious again.

'Ginny?'

'Yeah?'

'I just want you to know that whatever happens, I won't ever, ever forget tonight.'

Suddenly, the tent shook. Loud explosions came from outside, and terrified screams. Just outside the tent, a voice was heard, shouting. This voice did not sound frightened. It sounded angry, and very serious indeed. Ginny instantly recognised the voice as her father's.

'Hermione! GINNY! Wake up!'

Ginny sprang out of bed and opened the tent flap. There was an expression on her father's face that she had only seen once before, two years ago, just before he punched Lucius Malfoy in Flourish and Blotts. Mr Weasley did not even notice the mead on Ginny's breath or the undone buttons on her nightdress.

'Listen, no time to explain, don't bother getting dressed. Put your coats and shoes on, and get outside with the others. Hurry – this is an emergency!'

* * *

As usual, Hermione was right, but this time it was for the wrong reasons entirely.

DISCLAIMER: This is JK Rowling's world. I just like to play in it sometimes.