The paper flew from Harry's hands, hovering a few feet above his head. And then, it started singing….
Ron tried, he really did. But 'pickled toad'! And 'blackboard'!
Harry had tried to make himself as small as possible throughout the song (if you could call it that) and was now halfway out of his seat. He looked like he wanted to hide under the Gryffindor table and stay there for the rest of the term—or his natural life, whichever was longer. Neville had turned purple in an effort to control his mirth (Ron suspected that he wasn't breathing). But it was Hermione's reaction that did it for Ron. She was obviously trying not to laugh and had demurely placed a spoon over her mouth to hide her smile. How someone could look so cute while doing that was beyond Ron, but it finally sent him over the edge and he exploded into a fit of laughter.
He felt bad for laughing at his best friend. But really, how much could one person take without breaking? First there were the teachers' costumes, then the Slytherin Quidditch team's outfits, then that silly poem, and then there was Hermione's reaction.
Ron had no doubt as to who had pulled the prank.
Fred and George are geniuses, he thought, for once admitting—at least to himself—his admiration for his older brothers.
Fred and George are idiots, thought Ginny, once again remembering something she had realized a long time ago—the twins went too far sometimes.
She was livid. She wanted to strangle her brothers to death, Bat-Bogey them into oblivion, and feed them to the giant squid—not necessarily in that order. But, predictably, they were nowhere to be found. She had marched throughout the entire castle and grounds looking for them, with Luna tailing along like a mildly interested tourist to her homicidal tour guide, but she had seen neither hide nor hair of the twins since breakfast.
It was almost lunchtime and Ginny had yet to catch sight of her meddling brothers. She was sitting at the courtyard, still fuming, and scowling at anything that moved.
They just wait, she thought murderously. When I find them, I'm going to make—
"It was very nice of you to write that poem, Ginny."
Ginny practically jumped out of her own skin when she heard someone speak. Her head snapped towards Luna, who she had just realized was sitting beside her.
"What are you talking about?" she asked automatically, but inwardly wondering how Luna knew that she wrote the silly poem.
"You know, the poem this morning," Luna replied matter-of-factly.
"I—I didn't write that," she lied.
Luna only smiled and stared at Ginny with her wide, blue eyes. Ginny sighed. Somehow, her lying abilities didn't work on Luna.
"Alright, I wrote that," she admitted grudgingly.
Luna, looking thoughtful, pointed out, "The pickled toad comparison wasn't very flattering." Ginny grimaced helplessly at her. "And the last line didn't seem to fit with the rest of the poem. But all in all, it was very nice," she added cheerfully, "Though it wasn't very nice of your brothers to make it sing to Harry Potter. He looked as red as the Gryffindor banners, but I think that was fitting since he is the Gryffindor Seeker."
Ginny flushed a deep red at the casual reference to the words of the poem. Luna didn't seem to notice her embarrassment and continued, "There's something I don't understand though."
"What's that?" asked Ginny, finding herself curious at how thoroughly Luna was thinking about the whole…mess.
"If you like Harry Potter—"
Ginny opened her mouth to protest, but immediately thought better of it. She just knew that telling Luna that she didn't like Harry would have the same effect as pointing out that Crumple-Horned Snorcacks didn't exist. The only difference was that one was a lie and the other a sensible point.
"—how come you stopped hanging out with him?"
"We never hung out before," said Ginny defensively, and at the same time feeling awful about it. "So I didn't stop. It never started."
"I think flying together counts as 'hanging out'," said Luna matter-of-factly. "You used to do it almost every week last year. How come you stopped going?"
"Well, he likes Cho…" Ginny let her explanation trail off, perfectly aware of how pathetic it sounded.
"Hmm," Luna said thoughtfully after staring at Ginny for several seconds. "Why is that stopping you?"
"I'm sure you enjoy being around him. Even if he doesn't like being around you—"
Ouch, thought Ginny.
"—you're still hanging out together. So at the end of the day, you'd be the happier one."
Ginny scrunched her face up in confusion. "Huh?" she said, quite articulately.
If Luna had been Hermione, Ginny was pretty sure she'd be rolling her eyes at that instant. Then again, if Luna had been Hermione, she wouldn't be making that particular point. It simply didn't make sense to Ginny, no matter which way she looked at it.
Luna gave a shrug. "If you like hanging out with him, you shouldn't let anything stop you."
At least that made sense, thought Ginny.
"It doesn't matter now anyway," she said out loud. "After what happened this morning, I don't think I can be around him and not make a fool of myself," she explained dejectedly. She would probably think of the poem every time Harry looked her way and that was sure to make her blush and stammer like a silly little girl.
"Stupid Fred," she huffed irritably. "Stupid George," she clenched her hands into fists. "Stupid twins," she gritted her teeth. "Stupid brothers," she said with a loud, frustrated growl.
"They weren't very nice," agreed Luna.
"I'm going to get them back," Ginny declared vehemently.
"I expected you would," said Luna serenely. "But I think you should calm down first," she suggested. "You wouldn't be able to think of a good payback otherwise."
Luna's suggestion actually helped a great deal. Once Ginny had calmed down, she finally came up with a way to locate her idiotic brothers. Once she'd had her lunch, and after Luna had left to write an essay which was due on Friday (one of the very few things Luna had in common with Hermione was their desire to do their homework way before it was due), Ginny had gone to the sixth year boys' dormitory and nicked Fred and George's copy of the Marauders' Map.
It was lucky that the twins left their Marauders' Map in Fred's trunk. Using the Map would be the easiest way to find them and Ginny had no desire to borrow Harry's copy, let alone talk to him, so soon after what happened that morning. It was also lucky that Harry's dad, Sirius, and Professor Lupin decided to make a copy of the Map for Fred and George, or she really would have to borrow from Harry.
It had been on the winter holidays of the last school year when Fred and George, who had ran into Harry, his dad, and Sirius at the Leaky Cauldron a few days after Christmas, finally learned the real identity of the Marauders. Ginny wasn't present at the time but Harry had later told her (well, he told Ron and she just happened to be present at the time) that the twins had dropped to their knees in front of his dad and Sirius and sang praises to the two Marauders. A few days later Fred and George returned the Map to its original owners. The Marauders then made several copies of the Map—one for Harry (they never told his Mum), one for Fred and George (given as a thank you for nicking the Map from Filch), and one for Lupin so that he could watch out for students who went on nighttime jaunts (Ginny suspected that he didn't look at the Map too often)—with the original copy going to Harry's dad or Sirius (Ginny wasn't sure which one of them really had it).
Fred and George had received their new copy around February. Unbeknownst to them, Harry, with the help of Sirius, had charmed the Map so that it didn't show a person's dot correctly unless said person was within a few feet of the Map. It took the twins getting caught out of bounds three times (twice by Filch and once by Lupin) to realize that they had been the victims of a prank. Harry had consequently fixed their Map, but they had yet to prank him back.
Ginny realized that that was probably the reason why the twins sent Harry that silly poem. She wondered if she was just 'collateral damage', or if they had meant to prank her too. In any case, they had included her in the prank and that meant one thing: payback.
Several hours after breakfast found George and Fred taking a lesser-known route to Gryffindor Tower in order to avoid their little sister. Once there, they would get their copy of the Marauder's Map in order to keep track of Ginny and make sure they didn't come within a few feet of her. They were quite sure that Ginny was not too happy with them because of the material they had used for pranking Harry.
In George's opinion, it was a work of genius. Inspired, he thought proudly. He doubted whether their prank would have embarrassed Harry as much if they hadn't used Ginny's composition. She really had a gift. George would even go as far as to say that she would be a good comedy writer. Who else could think of such a line as "fresh pickled toad"?
As if on cue, Fred began to chuckle. George eyed him questioningly.
"The look on Snape's face," Fred explained through his chuckles. "And Flint, and Malfoy…. And don't even get me started on that poem! We, dear brother, are geniuses," he added smoothly.
George gave a small chuckle of his own. "I wonder what Ginny's gonna do for payback," he contemplated idly as they took a small side corridor that led to a hidden staircase that would lead them directly to the seventh floor corridor where the entrance to Gryffindor Tower was located.
"We're about to find out soon," replied Fred, who was ahead of George and had suddenly stopped in his tracks. A second later, George followed suit.
Right at the end of the corridor, standing on the foot of the staircase that led up to the seventh floor, was the last person they wanted to run into that day. Wand in hand, Ginny looked half-triumphant, probably for finding the twins, and half-furious, most definitely for the prank they had pulled that morning. George wondered briefly how she found them, until he saw what she was holding in her other hand. In spite of the dire situation, George couldn't help but be proud of their little sister's ingenuity.
"Is that our map?" George asked Ginny calmly as she got off the bottommost step of the staircase and started to walk slowly towards the twins.
Ginny narrowed her eyes at George, who took an involuntary step backward along with his twin. "It's mine now," she declared.
George smiled—a gesture that was sure to annoy his little sister even more. "Be my guest," he told her. He and Fred were really planning to give it to her anyway. "We don't need it anymore."
Ginny opened her mouth to retort, but Fred cut her off. "So…" he said, grinning from ear to ear. There was absolutely no doubt, from the glee in his voice, as to what he was going to say next. "Harry, eh?"
What little left of Ginny's composure was broken down by Fred's casual comment. She advanced menacingly on the twins, reminding George of the Veelas in the World Cup—the ugly, scary-looking versions.
"Why do you always—" she began, but was apparently too angry to finish her sentence. "How could—What—"
Ginny continued advancing on the twins, her words colliding into each other as she muttered and cursed. She was barely intelligible, as she always was when she was extremely angry, but George and Fred got the gist of her statements: they were going to pay. Knowing never to ignore their sister's threats, the twins retreated slowly, too scared to move quickly lest they provoke her even more.
Suddenly, Ginny swiped her wand through the air. George and Fred instinctively covered their noses, expecting her infamous Bat-Bogey Hex, but nothing happened to them. Instead, the broom cupboard to their left opened with a loud bang. There was a split-second in which George wondered what his sister was trying to do. The next thing he knew, he was struggling against an invisible force that was dragging him towards the cupboard.
In a matter of seconds, the twins had found themselves in a heap inside the small broom cupboard, with their little sister towering threateningly over them. As one, the twins swallowed audibly.
"This isn't over yet," Ginny said with deadly calm. And with that, she forcefully closed the door on the twins, but not before muttering their most dreaded words and sending bat wings flapping and scratching all over their faces.
Ten minutes later—though it felt like an hour to George—the transfigured bat wings finally began to disappear. George and Fred were quiet for a minute, both catching their breaths and checking for scratches on their faces.
"So, we're in for it with Ginny," Fred said casually.
"Yeah," agreed George. "Harry, too," he added after a moment. "He won't rest until he gets his retribution."
The twins looked at each other, grinning manically. Fred said out loud what the two of them were thinking:
"This is going to be fun."
AN: So, I know I'm a bloody idiot. It took me 8 months to update a story and when I did, it was only to change some chapters and add one very small scene. I'm very sorry about changing the chapters when they're already uploaded. But like I said in my Author's Note in the previous chapter, I had to do it. The chapters lacked coherence because of that one small part. I would like to explain more, but I am pressed for time. So this is just it for now. If you want to kill me, or demand further explanation, just PM me or something. I will answer everything once I have the time. And I promise, it will be soon.
As for when I will update next. I am not sure. It could take months again. But I am getting back on this story (and starting one other-still HG), so hopefully I can update early next year. I'm not promising anything though.