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A/N: Reviews will be appreciated.
Chapter III: Discoveries
"Ah, what a wonderful coincidence. You're just in time Miss Granger. Weasley here needs that pain reliever," Madame Pomfrey said with a nod towards a puzzled Hermione.
"Did Professor Snape say that it has fermented long enough to be put into use?" The nurse continued.
Hermione tore her gaze from Ron and Harry to look at Madam Pomfrey. "Yes, Madam Pomfrey. Professor Snape asked me to deliver this Numbness-Inducing Potion," she answered. "Here it is," Hermione said as she held out the bottle towards Madame Pomfrey.
"Thank you, dear," Madame Pomfrey said gratefully. She looked at Ron and said, "It seems that you won't need to sleep all the time during the healing process, Weasley. Wait here. I'll transfer this potion to a vial and you can rub this later on your injury." With that, Madame Pomfrey turned on her heel and went to one of the medicine cabinets lined up on the far side of the wall.
Hermione was standing beside Ron's bed. She was staring at them like a hawk. Ron was looking more like an overripe tomato by the second, while Harry was biting down his lower lip to prevent from laughing.
"What did you get yourself into again this time?" Hermione said bossily as she crossed her arms on her chest.
Ron smiled stupidly at her, desperately trying to hide his pain. Harry looked outside the window, suddenly very interested with the way the specks of dust floated on air.
Hermione tapped her foot impatiently on the floor. "I'm waiting," she said curtly.
Harry knew that Hermione could be very persistent. Might as well tell her everything.
"Tell her, Ron. It's your business," Harry said. He nudged Ron's side with his elbow.
Ron's face contorted in pain. He was turning purple now. "I-I-can't. She's—she's a girl, Harry," Ron managed to croak out. He took care not to clutch his crotch, so as to avoid making everything obvious to Hermione.
Hermione's eyes widened in mock disbelief. "Oh wow, now you recognize me as a girl! Good going Ron. Took you five years to notice," she said sarcastically. It seemed that she hadn't completely forgiven Ron yet on his ignorance during last year's Yule Ball.
"Tell me now and get it over with. Whatever it is, it's not as bad as what I could possibly think," Hermione continued curtly.
Harry's eyes glinted mischievously. "What are you thinking, then?" Harry said.
Before Hermione could reply, Ron shouted reprovingly, "Harry!!!"
"Ron, Hermione's a friend! She may be a girl, but she's only Hermione!" Harry reasoned.
"I don't know whether or not I should be happy about that, but I'll let it pass as something positive," Hermione sad dryly. She sat on the edge of Ron's bed. "I can wait forever, you know. I've done all my homework for next week," she said.
"But—but—," Ron stammered. He was looking awfully pale now. Harry could easily pin point his freckles and play connect-the-dots on them if he wanted to. But of course, he didn't, because Harry had no intention of putting himself at the receiving end of the legendary Weasley anger.
"It's okay, Ron. Just get it over with," Harry urged. It was as if Ron was facing with a live-or-die situation.
Ron sighed heavily. Hermione and Harry waited expectantly. A full minute passed and not a peep was heard from Ron.
"Ron?" Harry prompted.
"Can't you wait? You're such in a hurry!" Ron said irritably. Then he sighed again before speaking again. "Fine! I'll tell you, Hermione. I'm only telling you because you're my friend, and you shouldn't tell it to anyone!" Ron said.
"I was able to hide stuff about Sirius, Professor Lupin, and Hagrid, Ron. Of course I won't tell anyone whatever your secret is," Hermione said patronizingly.
Ron gave her a withering look.
"Okay. You see, when I woke up earlier this morning, Pig was between my legs and he bit me um, you know, at er, er…" Ron stammered.
"Should I continue?" Harry said, amused. He found the situation very hilarious, but he should not make it obvious, because it was at Ron's expense.
Ron shook his head vigorously. "No, let me," he replied.
Hermione looked very intrigued. "Where? Pig bit you where?" she prodded.
"Er, you know, there," Ron muttered.
For someone so smart, Hermione still could not get what Ron meant. "Huh?" she said, confused.
"Do I have to spell it out for you?" Ron said irritably. "Surely you know about the birds and the bees?" Ron said desperately.
Harry burst out laughing. Ron was making it more difficult for himself.
"What about them? What are you getting at?" Hermione asked.
"Ron was bitten by Pig in his private area, Hermione," Harry said simply.
"Harry!!!" Ron protested.
"I said that because it's for your own good. Earlier, you're embarrassing yourself more," Harry reasoned. Then he turned to look at Hermione, who Harry knew would understand.
But Hermione was looking at Ron with pure and unadulterated disgust and horror.
"Ewww!!! Ron! Why with your owl? Why with Pig? Are you—are you some kind of a PERVERT?" Hermione screeched.
"Wha—?" Ron asked, confused. Then realization hit him in the face. "Oh no! Hermione! It's not that! It was an accident! Pig was trying to wake me up!" Ron explained hysterically. His face was burning. "Hermione, have you got no respect for me?" Ron whimpered. He felt beyond humiliated.
Harry was doubling up with laughter. He was laughing so hard that he pounded his fists on Ron's bed.
"Oh…!" Hermione said. She had the grace to look mortified. She was almost as red as Ron's hair.
Fortunately Madame Pomfrey walked in. Harry was forced to calm himself down. Hermione climbed down Ron's bed, and the three of them helped hoist Ron on it. Ron was groaning from pain all the time.
"Here," Madame Pomfrey said as she gave the vial to Ron. "Use this pain killer after you've used the healing potion. Thrice a day, young man, okay?" Ron could only nod feebly. "You can attend your classes after all. But I want you to rest here for the whole day," she said more gently, seeing that Ron was in agony.
"May I remind you, though, that that pain killer is a Numbness-Inducing Potion. You won't feel a thing wherever it is rubbed," Madame Pomfrey continued.
'So that meant I won't feel a thing in that area,' Ron thought reflectively. For four weeks. So that meant no wet dreams for four weeks. No masturbation either. What would be the consequences? He was a hormonal teenage boy, after all. But he decided that it was the least of his worries for now. What was important was that no one should find out.
Madame Pomfrey turned to Harry and Hermione. "I think it's better to give Weasley here some privacy while he help cure himself," she said.
"Yeah, as much as I'd like both of you to saty, you need to get out of here," Ron said. "Exhibitionism is not my thing."
Harry snorted while Hermione looked scandalized. Then both of them started to walk out the door. Before they went out to the corridor, Harry yelled, "Hey, Ron, we'll go visit you later!"
Hermione only nodded and lifted her hand for a small wave. She was still embarrassed with what she had first thought of Ron's injury.
"Don't tell a soul!" Ron yelled from his bed.
When they were out in the corridor, Harry burst out laughing again. "My God, Hermione!"
"Shut up, Harry," Hermione said curtly. But a small smile was tugging at the ends of her lips. She turned to look at her watch, then her eyes grew wide. "Oh no, I forgot all about the prefects' meeting!" Hermione said in a panicked voice. "Gotta go, Harry! See you at lunch!" And with that, Hermione sped off to the opposite direction.
Harry was left alone in the corridor. He wondered if Hermione was telling the truth or maybe she was just too embarrassed so she felt that she had to get away first.
Harry decided that he would just go and look for Dean, Seamus, and the Weasley twins for a little game of Quidditch. Thinking about Quidditch made him think about her. Too bad, they were in different houses. It would have been so much fun to be her teammate rather than to be her opponent. After all, they were both Seekers for different houses. He was so wrapped up in imagining himself flying high in the sky on his broomstick side by side with her that he did not notice that someone was running fast down his path from the opposite direction until when they bumped into each other.
"Ouch!" a feminine voice shouted.
The next thing Harry knew, he was falling on his rear, and books and parchment were flying everywhere. The person he bumped into fell on top of him, and they lay on the floor, a tangle of limbs.
The person struggled to stand up but her or his feet were tangled between Harry's legs, so the person fell hard on Harry's chest.
A wonderful scent of apple tickled his nose. He found himself breathing deeply to catch the scent. Harry looked down and saw masses of bright red locks spilling on his chest.
It was a she. It was Ginny Weasley.
Ginny struggled to stand up again, and this time, she was successful. She did not notice that it was Harry she ran into. She was absorbed in fixing he robes and picking up her books and pieces of parchment.
"Goodness, I'm so sorry. I didn't know where I was looking. I 'm about to go to the library, you see, to research on the assignment Professor Sprout gave us. I don't know if I'll be able to finish it on time, because Professor Sprout said that there are only a few books which tackled the topic he gave us…" And Ginny babbled and joked on and on as she picked up her stuff from the floor.
Harry knew from Ron that Ginny was a talking machine. Fred and George said that Ginny was a bundle of energy—always bubbly and cheerful. Of course, Harry never saw that side of Ginny before, because she always blushed and stammered around him. He had thought that maybe her brothers were exaggerating, but now he knew that they were telling the truth. Harry kept quiet the whole time he was helping Ginny was picking up her things on the other side of the corridor. He was a bit fascinated at seeing Ginny's vibrant side for the first time.
"…So I'm really, really sorry. Maybe you think I'm blind or something. Well, I don't blame you if you do. I hope you're not hurt." Then Ginny stood up and looked up. And she saw Harry.
"Here," Harry held out some of Ginny's books towards her.
Ginny blushed furiously and she hastily snatched her books from Harry. She looked down on the floor and mumbled "thanks". Then she muttered "sorry", but she might as well said it to her shoes, because Ginny's eyes were focused on the floor.
Then Ginny turned on her heels and started to flee.
Harry was glad to see the energetic Ginny. He had always heard from other people what a great person she was, which of course he had no idea of whatsoever. It was unfair because other people could get to know that side of Ginny while he could not. Maybe it was time for him to be friends with her.
Harry was not the youngest Seeker for nothing. If a Snitch could not escape from him, what would be Ginny's chances of fleeing away from him?
He often wondered why she always ran away from him. Ron said that Ginny had a crush on him, but Harry had doubts. If you liked someone, you would seek someone out and not run away from the person, right? Ginny must be afraid of him for some reason. It must be because she must have been thinking that he was a snob. It was mortifying if that was what Ginny thought. Am I being a snob? Harry though worryingly. He loved Ron and Hermione dearly, but it would not hurt to make friends with more people.
He gently grasped Ginny's shoulder. "Hey, Ginny, wait!" Harry said.
Ginny stopped, but she did not face him.
"Hey, Ginny, wanna eat brunch?" Harry asked.
Ginny's eyes widened. Then she shook her head. "I—I don't have time to eat. I'm off to the library," she muttered.
"C'mon, we can have brunch together. We'll just be quick," Harry said kindly. He stood there watching different expressions passing through Ginny's face. Then Ginny's face broke into a tentative smile. "Okay," she said.
"Hey, I'll carry some of your books," Harry said as he reached for Ginny's books from her hands.
They walked together towards the Great Hall.
A/N: To be continued.
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