Genevieve Weasley is the name. That infernal woman, J.K. Rowling; I mean, who else gets someone's name wrong? Especially someone who was a wee bit important to wizardkind's hero, Harry Potter?
However, if you call me Genevieve, or Ginevra, or Gobblygigglygook, I promise that I will hex you into oblivion. I'll take the Unbreakable Vow on it.
Today is August 31, and tomorrow is the beginning of term.
Tomorrow I start 6th year over again. I don't really mind, because there were many times when I didn't learn anything and was just plain terrified. Being there was terrifying, yes, but I wasn't about to stay behind when the battle hit! Everyone treats me like such a child. The first years will have double as many people, because they'll have to make up the previous year and the new year.
"Ginny!" called my mother, Molly Weasley. She'd saved my life in the Great Battle.
"Make sure your trunks are packed, and cage up Everdeene."
Everdeene was my eagle owl. Errol had come home, after the Great Battle, leading a second owl, a great white eagle owl, female, who I christened Everdeene. I didn't know who'd sent her, and there was no card. My family had allowed me to keep her because the Great Battle was over and there was less risk that something would happen to me because of her.
"Yes mum," I yelled back, looking around my room. For the first time in my life, I was actually packed and ready for tomorrow. My trunks held my schoolbooks and clothes, and Everdeene's cage was cleaned and ready for her to travel in. My wand sat upon the dresser, and everything was in its rightful place.
After the war, the wizarding community had finally recognized the Weasley brilliance, as I liked to call it. Weasley's Wizard Wheezes sold a record one million Patented Daydream Charms and one billion Skiving Snackboxes. Charlie graced the pages of wizarding comics with his dragon-taming skills. He also played as an honorary member of England's Quidditch team. Bill had become a CEO of Gringotts, and Fleur a model for WizardingWorld. Percy had become undersecretary to the new Prime Minister, Kingsley Shacklebolt. Harry, Ron, and Hermione did interviews with the Daily Prophet, WitchWeekly, The Quibbler, and Potterwatch, which had become a popular radio station. Dad was promoted at work, he became Kingsley's right-hand man, and mum wrote and published books on cooking for muggles.
More prosperous families' fortunes failed, however. Any who'd been directly associated with Voldemort who couldn't plead their case were convicted and sent to Azkaban, for life, or the Kiss. The Malfoys, I am sorry to say, got off, and I discovered that the Dark Marks did indeed fade away with Voldemort's death.
But, there were scars in our society. We mourned Fred, Tonks and Remus especially. Andromeda had tearfully taken Teddy home with her. There would be fewer students this year, parents who would rather send their students to Durmstrang or Beaubatons. Our Headmaster was to be Professor Slughorn, though he would still teach Potions.
J.K. Rowling sorely neglected me, I have to say. I am in Advanced Potions, Advanced Transfiguration, Advanced Defense Against the Dark Arts, and Advanced Charms. Hermione and I would often study together when the Golden Trio was fighting or the boys were off practicing for Quidditch (this, of course, was before I was old enough to make the team). I play Chaser in Quidditch, on top of all this.
Harry and I…we broke up at the end of my 5th year, for Harry's obvious heroic reasons. Once he came back, after the war, and we really talked, I realized that he wasn't the man I wanted. I wanted someone who would stick by me, not leave me for my own good. It sounded selfish, but it was true. I've never really had very much success with boys in the past, and my whole family was in a rage about Harry and me not getting back together. Ron threw a fit, and mum started crying when I broke the news to her. Hermione surprised me by nodding approvingly when I told her that I wasn't dating Harry.
"You'll help each other a lot," she said, "but not by dating one another."
I went downstairs to retrieve my broomstick, a flashy model by Silverspun. On my way down, Ron met me.
"Practicing?" he asked. He looked uncomfortable and I knew at once what was up.
"I don't want to date Harry," I told him coolly. "So you can just shove off. Even Hermione thinks we wouldn't work."
He turned an ugly shade of purple, and left me to find my Emeralda, the newest one out.
I found it in our broom shed, and went to practice the last day I could before term.
I woke up the next morning to Everdeene pecking me.
I groaned. "What?" I snapped, ripping the letter from her beak. She gave an irritated hoot and flew out the window again.
I opened the letter.
You don't know me, not personally. If I told you who I was, you might not want to correspond with me. Your clue: I go to Hogwarts. But its 3:53 A.M., (at least it was when I began to write this letter) and Voldemort keeps jumping into my mind. No one else has come this close to him, save Potter, who, I am sure, would be too suspicious to answer a single one of my thoughts. Please don't be suspicious, please, trust me as much as you may. Until we read again,
With all due respect,
P.S. I sent the owl. I hope she's been treated well.
How curious, I thought, as I fell back asleep.
I woke up the next morning to my mum's shouting for breakfast. On my way out, I couldn't help but notice the letter again. It was printed on creamy white, expensive-looking parchment, and written in elegant handwriting. The ink glimmered, as if it was still wet, and was so black that it looked green in one light and silver in the next.
The envelope was deep black, a sharp contrast to the white of the parchment. Printed in white ink was my name: Genevieve Weasley.
Neither the parchment, nor the envelope gave away who had written the letter to me. 'Oblivious', as the person called himself/herself, wrote in a manner that seemed masculine, but could have easily been proven female as well. The handwriting was not one that I recognized, and, elegant as it was, could have been male or female.
Mum called again, and I answered, saying I would be down in a minute. I wouldn't tell anyone about this, considering how protective everyone had been of me since my first year, and my family might try to intercept and stop my new correspondence, who I fully intended to answer, if only to figure out who'd written to me. Therefore, I tucked the parchment carefully back into the envelope and put it into the side pocket of my little duffle bag that I'd take with me on the train.
I went down to breakfast, and said hello to Harry and Hermione, who'd decided to spend the last two weeks of vacation at the Burrow. They answered politely before returning to what they were doing.
I'd had a crush on Harry for the longest time, but I'd finally given it up and grown out of it. Harry was nice, but my feelings for him were more brotherly that romantic. Ron couldn't seem to accept it, and spent his time loudly proclaiming what a great friend Harry was, how amazing he was, and the like. Harry had finally gotten tired of the ploy to get my attention, and told Ron to sod off. I know because the whole house could hear them bickering about the matter.
We finally finished breakfast, and got all of our trunks into the Ministry car provided for us.
I sit beside Hermione and Ron. Considering the fact that there are only the four of us this year, the Ministry only needed to send one car. All of my brothers, with the exception of Ron, had finally graduated and would stop breathing down my neck all the time. Thank God for small blessings.
We finally arrived at King's Cross, and soon got onto the train. Harry, Hermione and Ron were swarmed by students wanting autographs and the like. Through the confusion, I managed to slip away quietly to the car where Prefects were supposed to meet.
I looked around the mostly deserted car. A couple of Ravenclaws sat in one corner, glaring at the one and only Draco Malfoy, who was immersed deeply in a book featuring a Firebolt and a Hungarian Horntail on the cover.
I sighed, sitting by Luna, who smiled at me over the copy of The Quibbler she held. Her radish earrings comforted me; some things never changed.
After about ten minutes, the rest of the Prefects and the Head Boy and Girl came in. Hermione, of course, had been made Head Girl, and, surprisingly, Malfoy had been made Head Boy.
Hermione stood at the front of the car. "Attention!" she called, sounding a little too much like McGonagall for my liking.
We quieted, and Malfoy got up to stand beside her, if you classified ten feet away as beside her, that's where he was.
Hermione didn't waste time. "Professor McGonagall would like to extend her greetings to you all today, and congratulate the combined efforts used to defeat V-Voldemort." her voice wavered only slightly.
Like the rest of them, my eyes flickered over to Malfoy, who gave no indication that he was upset or angry in his cold face. It made me want to get up and punch the git.
Hermione cleared her throat. "She requests that we get to work right away, however, on improving inter-House relations, and we'll start the morning thinking up some.
She took out one of her many self-inking, self-writing quills, which was poised over a piece of parchment, one that looked nothing like the kind that my letter was written on.
"Any ideas?" she asked, looking a little nervous.
"What about making people from different Houses team up to earn House points?" asked a boy in the year below mine. "Like the Gryffindors with the Hufflepuffs, or the Ravenclaws with the Slytherins?"
I admired his daring to go first, especially with Slytherins in the room.
"That sounds good," said Hermione, a little too encouragingly. "What else?"
A girl that had been giggling with her friends raised her hand, and Hermione nodded toward her. She spoke in a high voice.
"We could, like….have a, like, ball and, like, people from the, like, same House can't go together and it's, like, required that, like, everyone go and, like, it can be for, like, a grade."
"That's a great idea too," said Hermione, wincing at her terrible grammar. "Anyone else?"
No one raised his or her hand.
Hermione stood up and began handing out pieces of parchment and Anti-Cheating quills.
I quickly voted yes to both of the proposals and folded my parchment in half.
Hermione gathered everyone's papers and quills again after a few minutes.
She cleared her throat again. "Concerning the House points, we have passed it. She waved her hand over the ballots again. "Concerning the ball, we have passed it."
The girls giggled.
Hermione split us up, and I ended up on the Ball Committee with Luna, and, to my disgust, Malfoy.
I saw that the rest of my group contained the giggling girls, Madison and Karen, Pansy Parkinson, Blaise Zabini, and Colin Creevey, who rolled his eyes in sympathy when Hermione assigned me as head of the group.
My group was larger than Hermione's, considering the fact that we had much more to do.
"Okay," I said. "The first thing that we need to do is to decide when this ball will be held."
"Make it soon, so it can be, like, a back-to-school ball or something." Said one of the gigglers.
"Yes," Zabini drawled, typical Slytherin fashion, "let's get this over with as soon as possible."
"Do it this weekend," said Colin. "Saturday night, while the back-to-school feel is still there. That way, we'll have just enough time to plan it, and no one will have much homework yet. It also gives everyone time to owl-order or owl home for the stuff they need."
"This weekend, then?" I asked, "Do I have a second?"
"Second," said Pansy Parkinson, to my great surprise.
"All who want it to be this weekend?" I asked.
The majority of hands went up, even the Slytherins'.
"Now we need a theme," said Karen.
"Masquerade," said Luna, also surprising me. "That way no-one will be too embarrassed about their date."
We quickly decided this was the best option, and that the dance would be formal, because we were serious about what we were doing, that inter-House relations were important.
Or so we told ourselves.
"Now," I said, "should we let everyone pick a date themselves, or have it drawn randomly?"
There was an explosion of voices.
"Let us choose! And the person we ask can't refuse!" said Karen and Madison.
"Random," said Colin and Luna.
"How about," said Pansy, "we have it be random, but," she paused, "have it be by compatibility percentages, provided that they aren't in the same house. It will help relations immensely if everyone realizes that they actually like people from other Houses."
"A compromise," said Zabini.
We debated a little longer, but eventually decided Parkinson's proposal was the best. It passed by a slim margin.
"Fourth years and above, right?" I asked. The reply was affirmative.
We eventually determined that Pansy, Karen, and Madison would set up the Great Hall, and they quickly began to brainstorm. Colin and Luna would design the posters and arrange for music. Blaise, Draco and I would figure out the pairings, the food and oversee anything else that came up.
We adjourned the meeting and arranged to have another one for our committee on Tuesday.
We reached Hogwarts soon after, for the second year since Dumbledore's death.
McGonagall got the first years sorted, and then spoke.
"Another year beginning. For some of you, this will mean a class twice the size as you are used to. For others, this is a second chance.
First years, please note that the forest is forbidden, as will the rest of the students.
Our Defense against the Dark Arts position will be filled by Professor Hedgeburn."
The students all clapped for the new teacher.
"The last announcements will be made by the Head Girl, Miss Hermione Granger."
Hermione stood up and strode to the front. If she was nervous, she didn't show it.
"Hello," she said. "Professor McGonagall requested that this year, we work on our inter-House relations. The Heads and Prefects are working on this together, and we had two ideas we planned to carry out thus far."
"The first is headed by me. It is a plan that has to do with the House Cup. Two Houses will combine their efforts to win the House Cup. One winning team, one losing team. Two Houses will have to combine their efforts, in short, work together, to win the House Cup."
"The two teams, as decided by my committee, are to be Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw, as well as Slytherin and Gryffindor."
It was a good pairing. Gryffindors and Slytherins had had a long, vicious history for obvious reasons. Ravenclaws, in particular, always looked down on Hufflepuffs.
"Now, my other head of the Ball Committee will explain what her committee intends to do."
Colin had to forcibly push me up and shove me toward the front. I swallowed and jogged up to the teachers' panel.
I tried to smile. "Hi, for those of you who don't know me, I'm Ginny Weasley." I swallowed again. "My committee has a planned a Back-to-School Ball for fourth years and above this Saturday, but there's a catch." Some of the girls looked nervous. They anxiously scanned the room for prospective dates. I grinned to myself. "Your dates will not be of your own choosing."
The entire Hall was in uproar. Professor McGonagall had to stand up to stop the noise. "SILENCE!" she commanded.
Once everyone quieted, I continued. "Your dates will not be from your own House, but will be chosen by compatibility factors. The purpose of this is to show you that not all Ravenclaws spend their days studying, that not all Hufflepuffs can't stand up for themselves, that not all Slytherins are arrogant, and that not all Gryffindors," a twinkle entered my eye, "are rule breaking heroes."
Everyone turned to look at Harry, Ron and Hermione.
"You will all get your dates by owl Wednesday morning," I said. "This will be a formal ball. Thank you."
I sat down, and the feast began.
"That was a brilliant idea, Ginny," said Ron.
"Not all me, but thanks anyway, Ron," I smiled at my older brother.
Soon enough, the feast ended, and I crawled gratefully into bed.
At breakfast the next morning, I got my schedule and saw that I didn't have Defense against the Dark Arts until Thursday, and Harry told me that Quidditch tryouts were Monday night, next week.
So much for not being busy, I thought to myself. I still had to find suitable dress robes for the ball.
Blaise and Draco walked in then. I took a deep breath, and walked up to them. Thankfully, the Dream Team had already left for Potions. If Ron saw me with the two of them! Nevertheless, this was about inter-House relations, and I couldn't be a hypocrite. Besides, I wasn't going to do the whole thing by myself.
"We need to figure out what the menu will be for Saturday and how we're going to do this compatibility thing," I said to them in a rush.
"Relax, Weasley," said Blaise, not a trace of anxiety in him. "We'll start at three. We'll meet you in the kitchens.
"Okay," I said, walking to my first class.
It's during History of Magic that I finally have time to write back to Oblivious. I picked up my plain parchment and standard quill and blue ink, which I'd gotten for my birthday, and wrote.
What would you like to talk about?
P.S. Who are you?
I give it to Everdeene to owl to Oblivious.
The day passes quickly, and I reach the kitchens by 2:55.
Dobby, a house elf that Harry befriended, runs up to me.
He bows, long nose nearly touching the ground. "What can Dobby get for Miss Wheezy?"
"A cuppa tea if you have it, Dobby. But I'm waiting for a couple of…um…friends."
He hands me my tea, and motions me toward the back, where he and a few other elves set out three chairs and a table.
"What do you need, Miss Wheezy?"
"Tea and some sandwiches would be great, Dobby. Thank you."
I sat down on one of the squishy chairs, spreading out my notes, parchment, and took out my quill, wand, and inkstand.
Blaise and Malfoy showed up then.
Dobby led them both to the back where I sat. I wasn't sure how to gauge Malfoy's reaction to Dobby, because he didn't show any sign of emotion.
They sat down on chairs across from me, and Dobby brought out elegant little cucumber and turkey triangles and a teapot.
"Thank you, Dobby," I said. "If you could stay here, we need to organize food for a ball, fourth years and older."
He nodded, great orbs of eyes blinking up at me.
"I think that the ball should be held after dinner, so that all we need is light finger foods," I said.
"How about seven until midnight, so we can have something really explosive at the end, and be like, 'yay, school!'" asked Blaise, looking at his fingernails in a bored manner, not looking excited at all.
"Sounds good to me," I said. "Malfoy?"
"Fine," he replied.
I wrote it down.
After an hour, we decided on have three drinks: pumpkin juice, iced lemon water, and an excellent concoction made up by Winky, which consisted of iced limes and cherries blended together.
For food, we decided on the cucumber and turkey sandwiches, pita crisps and hummus, and an assortment of cheesecakes, cookies and chocolates.
"Now we need to go see a Professor for help with the dates." I said.
The Slytherins sitting across from me nodded, looking bored as ever.
I thanked Dobby and Winky, and we all walked out the door. My shoulder brushed against Malfoy's, and I jumped, expecting him to complain about having to clean his robes. Which he did.
"I know that this will be extremely hard for you, Weaselette, but kindly refrain from touching me. I just bought these robes last week and I don't want to have to burn them."
Zabini cut off my retort by asking a question.
"What's the time, Weasley?" Zabini asked.
"Four o'clock. Why?"
"No reason," he replied, "but I have to go."
I crossed my arms. "How do I know that this isn't some plot of you and Malfoy's to make me do all the work?"
"It's not, Draco'll stay."
I sighed, "Fine. However, you had better be there on Tuesday."
"Sure, Weasley." Then he ran toward the dungeons.
I shook my head. "C'mon, Malfoy, what teacher should we ask?"
"I don't know, probably Hedgeburn, he doesn't hate me yet. What do you think, Weaselette?"
"Don't call me that!" I snapped.
"Why not?" he smirked. There was the Malfoy we all knew and disliked. "Why does it matter now?"
"What do you mean, Malfoy?"
"See," he said, some of the old sharpness in his grey eyes, "if you get to address me by my last name, why can't I yours?"
I didn't reply, spinning on my heel, and almost smacking into Professor Hedgeburn.
I turned Weasley red. "I'm sorry, Professor."
"Not a problem. You must be a Weasley."
"I am. Ginny Weasley. I was wondering if Malfoy and I could ask you a question."
The brown haired, middle-aged wizard glances briefly at Malfoy before giving him a curt nod. Malfoy doesn't react, but a faint pinkish tinge comes to his pale face.
"Professor," I say, "we were wondering if you knew any spells to help us do the compatibility percentages for the ball."
The new teacher shook his head ruefully. "I would ask Madam Pince in the library. I'm sure that there's a spell for that."
"Thank you, Professor," I said respectfully. I walked toward the library, leaving Malfoy to follow me like a puppy, if he could resemble one.
I entered the library, Malfoy still trailing me, probably because he didn't want to be associated with me. It wasn't as if I cared, because I was in no hurry to be associated with him.
"Madam Pince, I was wondering if you had any books associated with spells for compatibility? It's for the ball on Saturday."
She pointed me toward an entire bookshelf that housed a hundred thick, pink volumes. "Its one of those books."
"Thanks," I muttered. "Malfoy, come help me with this."
"Do I have to, Weaselette?" came Malfoy's practiced drawl of indifference. "They're pink!"
"As if their color makes me happy, Malfoy. Come and help. The sooner we find the spell, the sooner you can go and fix your hair."
His hand flew to the blonde strands. "What's wrong with it?"
I sighed. "Nothing that a little gel can't fix with most people. Let's get this over with."
He finally sighed and mimicked my cross-legged position on the ground. I picked up a book and flipped to the index.
"I found the love potions, Weaselette, though I bet you already know how to use those."
"Oh please, Malfoy. Even if I did use them, it would at least work for me, unlike you."
I heard a snort and a page turn. "Weaselette, I can assure you that three quarters of the girls in this school secretly think that I'm hot. Not that I would even consider dating them."
"I'm going to laugh when we find the spell and you aren't compatible with anyone."
"Speak for yourself, Weaselette."
We lapsed into silence for the next hour.
"I found it!" I proclaimed triumphantly.
"What is it?" asked Malfoy sulkily, probably because he hadn't been the one to find it.
"The spell is 'amortitus specilatio', and we need to put all the names in a bowl and say the spell. It's supposed to take all the names and sort them by highest compatibility."
"We have enough time before dinner to get this done, Weaselette. Let's get the class lists from McGonagall and get this thing over with."
We got the lists and went to the kitchens, so we could be sure to have dinner while we designed the partner letters.
We got all the names into a large basin.
"You do the spell, Malfoy. If you don't like whom you get, then it won't be my fault."
"Fine, Weaselette. It's obviously because I'm the better wizard.'' He waves his wand before I can retort. "Amortitus specilatio."
The papers fly out of the bowl and onto the tabletop, one on top of the other, signifying the partners.
Forgetting myself, I squeal. Picking up the pile with Hermione's name on top, I find Ron's underneath at 79 percent.
"Darn," I said, "Remember to put the pairs that got the same House back in the bowl for re-sorting."
I picked up Pansy Parkinson's next. "Merlin's beard, Malfoy! Parkinson got Michael Corner, 54 percent!"
"Keep in mind, Weaselette, that I'm not exactly upset about that."
"Sure you aren't…Luna got Harry…84 percent. I'm so happy for them!"
"If they can get past the Crumple-Horned Snorkack episodes. Zabini got Chang," said Malfoy.
"Ooh, I found mine!"
"You mean that you actually got some-"
"Oh my God! Tell me this isn't happening! I can't believe it!"
"Just because you got Smith -"
"Malfoy, you git, I got you!" I wailed. "96 percent!"
Malfoy was at my side in an instant, snatching the papers from my hands. "This is impossible! What a bunch of baloney! This can't be right!"