CHAPTER 3: BUTTERBEER AND BOYS
GINNY – BUTTERBEER AND BOYS
While Harry was shopping at Quality Quidditch Supplies, Ginny Weasley was snooping around The Apothecary in Diagon Alley. She played with a small pouch full of Galleons in her right hand, musing over how she had received the money.
Mrs. Weasley had recently bought Ginny a new set of dress robes as a reward for her becoming a Gryffindor Prefect. Ginny graciously accepted the gift and, when her Mum wasn’t watching, sneaked into Madam Malkin’s Robes For All Occasions earlier that morning and discretely exchanged the robes for cash. Now Ginny could buy what she really wanted.
Ginny combed through many barrels of slimy stuff which lined the floor of The Apothecary, and sifted through jars of all types of powders, herbs and trinkets on the bookshelves. Bundles of fangs, feathers and claws hung from the ceiling. The stench was horrible. Ginny pinched her nose and continued looking. She was a determined girl. A chubby, middle-aged wizard approached.
“May I help you?” the store clerk asked.
“Yes,” Ginny replied. “I’m looking for yohimbe bark, saw palmetto and dandelion root.”
“Ah, so you want aphrodisiacs?” the clerk responded.
“Actually, they’re for my herbal douche,” Ginny replied facetiously. What the fuck was he thinking? Of course she wanted aphrodisiacs. Ginny glared at the clerk. The Ministry really needed to raise the minimum wage.
“I see. Might I also recommend pulverized blister-beetles?” the clerk inquired, clearly aware of Ginny’s true intentions. “Muggles refer to this legendary substance as ‘Spanish Fly.’ It contains cantharides, which cause physical arousal.”
Ginny smirked. She knew that she being was a very, very bad girl... and she loved it!
Ginny paid for her goods, left the shop and strolled down the Alley to The Leaky Cauldron to meet up with Ron. Ron and Hermione were hanging out in the corner of the pub, talking about Harry.
“I’m still worried about him. He’s always spending so much time alone. I think he’s depressed. Ron, you have to talk to him.”
“C’mon Hermione, I’ve tried for the past three weeks. I mean... He’ll talk when he’s ready.”
Hermione looked displeased. Ginny interrupted.
“Did you order me a beer?” she asked her brother coolly.
“You’re too young,” Ron joked. Ginny sneered, grabbed his butterbeer and downed it.
“Hey!” Ron yelped.
Ginny smirked, handed a few sickles to the barman and ordered two more beers. She loved spending money. Ginny took out her silver, monogrammed flask and covertly poured a double shot of whiskey into each mug of butterbeer (What’s the point of drinking butterbeer if it’s not spiked?). Then, she put one beer front of Ron and downed the other. Ron smiled until Ginny proceeded to grab the butterbeer out of his hand and down that one, too.
Hermione was amused. “Ron, it looks like your little sister can drink you under the table.” Ron was definitely not amused.
“So Hermione, I need to talk to you about men,” Ginny remarked coyly.
Ron choked on a cracker. Hermione grinned, pulling Ginny away. They walked over to the other side of the bar. Meanwhile, Ron pulled out an Extendable Ear and strategically hid it so that he could eavesdrop on his sister’s love life.
Hermione cornered Ginny and yanked another spiked butterbeer out of her hand.
“You’ve had too much,” she said, concerned.
“Fine,” Ginny retorted. “You drink it.”
Hermione grimaced and tried to down the beer. She ended up coughing half of it up. Hermione wiped her mouth with a napkin. “We have to [cough] do this more often,” she said. “So [cough] what do you want to tell me?”
“Well,” Ginny cooed. “There’s a sexy new bloke at Hogwarts, and I fancy him.”
“What happened to Dean Thomas?” Hermione asked.
“Erectile dysfunction,” Ginny snickered. Hermione giggled nervously. Ron stared at his butterbeer, horrified.
“Anyway, the new guy... Well, he’s not exactly new. He’s actually in your class. But I ran into him in August and he has become incredibly sexy. I have to shag him.” Ginny grinned mischievously.
“Umm, I see,” Hermione said uncomfortably. “Does he have a name?”
Ginny looked over the bar at Ron and saw him listening into the Extendable Ear, holding his breath. She motioned to Hermione, who looked over, saw Ron, and rolled her eyes.
“His name is Severus Snape.”
Ron coughed loudly and dropped his butterbeer, which shattered on the counter. He was mortified. The girls walked back over to him, feigning shock at his outlandish behavior. He was redder than a beetroot.
“Ron, did you actually think that we didn’t know that you were listening?” Ginny chided. “You’re so immature!”
Ron was still horrified. “You like... Snape?” he squawked.
Ginny groaned. “Of course not, you git. That was just for your benefit.” Ron was still sweating. “I said, the guy I like is in his sixth year at Hogwarts, and now he’s really sexy. You figure it out.”
Ron look disturbed, yet a bit relieved. Hermione grinned. Ginny traipsed off to the ladies room. She loved tormenting Ron. If only he knew who it was...
DRACO – THE RETURN OF THE QUEEN
Draco Malfoy was ready for his close-up. Well, not really - he just demanded to be noticed. It was September 1st, and he was finally ready to show off the newer, sexier Draco to the lucky Hogwarts ladies. Hell, he spent two hours in front of the mirror preparing his mullet for his arrival at King’s Cross Station.
The ride in the Muggle-Mobile was dreadfully slow. Draco hated traffic, and didn’t understand why he couldn’t just Apparate. He was a Malfoy. He deserved special treatment. What was the Ministry thinking?
The Malfoy’s Rolls Royce pulled up at the entrance to King’s Cross Station. His house elves collected his trunks (all eight of them) and wheeled them onto Platform 9¾. Everything was going as planned.
Draco caught his breath, repositioned his polished Slytherin Prefect badge, and then stepped onto the main carriage of the train. There were gasps. Millicent suddenly look flustered. Pansy was having trouble breathing. Draco flashed his perfect Malfoy smile. Everything was definitely going as planned. A doll-faced, Pureblood first year fainted. This was just perfect. It was time for him to make his way over to the Prefect Carriage.
“Look at that gorgeous bloke,” Millicent cooed in Pansy’s ear.
“I know,” Pansy replied. “He lost all of that weight, and now he has an incredible physique.” Weight? Draco was never fat! What was that stupid, inbred cow thinking?!
“Tell me about it,” the flustered, nameless first year commented, crawling off of the floor. “I just want to stroke his silky, long brown hair.” Long brown hair? Was she blind? That dumb bitch should be banging Potter! Draco should give her detention for that moronic remark!
Suddenly, Draco got bumped aside. An unbelievably sexy Neville Longbottom entered the main carriage. Not only he had grown four inches over the summer, but his golden tan and long brown hair accentuated his devastating blue eyes and his newly developed physique. In short, he was incredibly good-looking and oozed sexuality. Another girl fainted. Pansy was so nervous she almost passed out. Even Ron looked a bit hot and bothered.
“And he’s a Pureblood,” Pansy whispered, almost at a loss for words.
Draco was in shock. ALL THIS ATTENTION WAS FOR LONGBOTTOM? That Stupid, Slimy, Second-Rate Squib! He Should Kill Him Right Now! As Draco was about to take out his wand, a mob of horny third and fourth-years trampled over him in their attempt to pounce on Neville. They chased Neville into the last carriage. Ginny was already there waiting for him.
NEVILLE – WHAT REALLY HAPPENED TO NEVILLE OVER THE SUMMER (A.K.A. – HOW NEVILLE BECAME SEXY - AN ASIDE)
Okay, so Neville was sexy. But he never intended to become that way. Actually, he never really thought that much about it.
In April, Neville had approached Professor Sprout about his interest in studying abroad over the summer. Gran was going to spend the summer at the International Bingo and Square-dance Retreat in Tennessee, and he didn’t want to spend the entire summer alone at the Longbottom Estate in Lancashire. Besides, Trevor needed a vacation.
Professor Sprout originally recommended that he go with his grandmother to the Americas to study viola rostrata, the rare, purple, long-spurred violet. Well it so happened that Neville was visiting his parents at St. Mungo’s in May (yes, Hermione reminded him that he should have been studying for his O.W.L.s instead), and he ran into Professor Lockhart. After giving Neville seventeen autographs, Gilderoy showed him an Egyptian Lotus Flower that one of his fans had sent to him for his birthday (okay, one of the healers from the fourth floor probably had sent it to him). Anyway, Neville fell in love and immediately owled Professor Sprout to inform her that he had to go to Egypt. Fortunately, she thought that it was a fantastic idea, and actually found him a private grant to do herbology research there.
The grant specifically funded Neville to spend two months in Egypt, researching the rare Lotus Flowers on the Nile River. The Nile was one of the three places in the world where lotus beds bloom in the summer, and these flowers have incredible healing powers. They are especially helpful for people who have very bad memories (ahem, Neville). So Neville left Hogwarts in June, right after being healed from his injuries at the Department of Mysteries.
Okay, so you are still probably wondering how someone like Neville suddenly became sexy. Well, while in Egypt, Neville developed an incredible tan (he had a bad habit of forgetting to put on his magical sun block). His hair also grew out (Gran wasn’t there to remind him to get a haircut, either). Neville had no control over growing four inches, but he did eat a lot of protein (Gran owled him food weekly so that he wouldn’t eat with the ‘natives’). Finally, Neville and Trevor decided to use their free time to help a local nonprofit build indigenous housing for the poor. All that lifting and sweating in the hot, Egyptian sun for two months really got his body into shape.
When Neville returned to London in August, he ran into his good friend Ginny Weasley, and she took him shopping on Old Bond Street for some trendier clothes. Ginny made him spend his extra grant money on outfits that would make him look ‘sexy,’ whatever that meant.
NEVILLE – THE RETURN OF THE ALMOST-SQUIB
On September 1st, Neville was standing behind Draco Malfoy, waiting to get onto the main carriage. And the stupid git wouldn’t move. Anyway, Trevor was getting really irritated and gave Neville a ‘get onto that train or I’ll hop onto it myself’ look. So Neville climbed up onto the train and patiently stood behind Malfoy waiting for the damn princess to find a seat. But no, Malfoy just stood there surveying the car and patting his mullet. Ugh! Anyway, some malnourished first year fainted, and Neville was really concerned that she might have passed out due to toxic mold exposure and poor ventilation in King’s Cross Station (he read about that in Herbology Weekly). So, of course, he bumped that dim blonde git aside to see if he could be of any assistance. Lo and behold, another first year fainted. This was becoming an epidemic. He really wished Poppy were there to treat them.
Well, a few moments later, the entire class of third and fourth year girls boarded the train and started running towards him. Fortunately, Neville saw Ginny at the back of the train holding a two person carriage just for them. Thank God for Ginny. What would he do without such a good friend?
GINNY – THE RETURN OF THE PRINCESS
As Ginny told Hermione at The Leaky Cauldron, she really wanted to fuck Neville. The newly sexy Neville, that is. Okay, so Neville wasn’t the sharpest tool in the shed. But that’s what her ball gag was for (Ginny liked shopping at Knockturn Alley, too). Hopefully, Ginny mused, she would make her first move on Neville when he was chased down the aisle of the Hogwarts Express by a harem of horny third and fourth years into the private two person carriage she conveniently reserved at the far end of the train. Okay, so she should be in the Prefect Carriage right now receiving instructions from the Head Girl but... this was an emergency! Ginny rubbed some of the ‘Spanish Fly’ on her chest. Gosh, she really was a very, very bad girl. Hee hee hee...
RON – THE RETURN OF THE SLOPPY SECOND
Ron Weasley was not having a good morning. He had recently found out that his little sister was a horny git, and to top it off, she liked a sexy bloke in his class. Ron had enough problems with her dating Dean Thomas or Michael Corner, but who was this new, mysterious Mr. Right? Why couldn’t she just marry Harry?
Ron boarded the main carriage of the train and watched the door, waiting for this magical ‘sexy’ person to step onboard so that he could beat the shit out of him. As if anyone was good enough for his little sister. And why was she having a better sex life than him, anyway? He’d never even had a girlfriend.
Ron was about to walk up to the Prefect Carriage when guess who stepped onto the train... Malfoy. A newer, sexier, more arrogant, and more physically developed Malfoy. Ron gasped. NOOOOOOOOOOOO!!! Not Malfoy, please! She couldn’t... That was so... yuk! Ron was about to throw up when he saw his good friend Neville standing behind the blonde. Ron was really glad that he had a friend there right now. But what was Neville doing dressed up like Tarzan?
Anyway, Ron was about to pull Neville aside and vent when a mob of flustered third and fourth year girls chased them all into the back of the train. Fortunately, Ginny was holding a carriage for them. Well, it was a two person carriage, but three would just have to do.
Ron forced his way into the small carriage and then slammed the door behind them. It was a bit cramped in there. And what was that dreadful smell? It smelled like... dead beetles? Ginny looked really perturbed. Blimey, as if she had any right to be pissed off after setting her designs on Malfoy. Ron felt sick. Why was she glaring at him like that? He’s the one with the right to be upset! He really needed to talk to Harry.
HARRY – THE RETURN OF THE BOY WHO LOVED
Harry sat in an empty compartment on the Hogwarts Express. He munched on a chocolate frog that Hermione had given him for his birthday, and stared vacantly out of the window.
Harry was upset... and a bit confused. He was so sure that once he had left number four, Privet Drive and was finally in the company of his best friends, that his problems would have somehow disappeared… that he would have found shelter in his friends’ warmth. But the reverse had, in fact, happened. Harry was still alone, and his friends could not shelter him from his own internal suffering. Instead, their feeble efforts to protect him only reminded him of how vulnerable and weak he truly was. Even among friends, he was still alone. But why? Only one answer resonated in Harry’s heart. He had entangled himself in a web of lies.
Harry’s web of deception started off as a simple strand. He lied to Professor Dumbledore about not hearing voices in his second year. It was easy. It seemed like the right thing to do... so he did it again. Harry didn’t tell Ron and Hermione that Neville’s parents were at St. Mungo’s because their minds were destroyed... And again... Harry lied to his friends about giving his Triwizard Tournament winnings to the Weasley twins. Each time, Harry had a very good justification for why he needed to lie. Hermione said that it wasn’t good to hear voices in the Wizarding World. Harry promised Dumbledore that he wouldn’t share Neville’s family secret with his friends. And Harry did not have to seek Ron and Hermione’s approval for his uses of his Triwizard winnings. But the problem was... it was too easy. Lying became a habit... a safe haven. And now, Harry was truly deceiving his best friends. Harry had lied to them about why he had stopped studying Occlumency with Professor Snape... Ron and Hermione still didn’t know about Trelawney’s Prophecy... And let’s not even discuss Harry’s sexual preference.
Harry blinked back tears. The scary part was, Harry was so used to seeking refuge in his cocoon of deception that he inadvertently imprisoned himself there, and in doing so severed the emotional bonds that he most desperately needed... the ones he shared with his best friends. And were they aware that they were being deceived? Did they even know? Or would Harry soon have to lie to them about this, too?
Hermione entered Harry’s carriage after faithfully receiving her instructions from the Head Girl. She saw the sad, vacant expression on Harry’s face and immediately tried to cheer him up. Harry quickly wiped his eyes.
“Harry, look at the ferret with the mohawk,” she giggled, pointing to the next cabin. Harry was not amused, but he didn’t want to hurt Hermione’s feelings. So he stood up, peeked into the next cabin, and glanced at the blonde Slytherin posturing like he was the queen bee. Harry was engulfed by a surge of emotion; chills trickled down each vertebral disc of his spine. Harry despised that bloody git. Why did he drop that damn mug in Diagon Alley? How could he be flustered by that conceited little shit?
Just as Harry settled down next to Hermione, Neville and Ron bolted past their carriage. Neville looked like an aborigine in Out of Africa. Harry was amused. He felt a little better. Ron and Neville were immediately followed by a group of ravenous females. Hermione grinned.
“Looks like Neville’s stirring things up at Hogwarts,” she said.
“Why d’you reckon that?” Harry asked.
“Look at him,” Hermione replied, a bit surprised at Harry’s blatant oversight. But Harry didn’t feel inclined to look back at his mobbed friend. He was dreaming about someone else... someone with platinum blonde hair and smoky grey eyes. No, he was just thinking about what wizardry he would use at his duel tomorrow night. Damn midnight duel... What was the amazing bouncing ferret even thinking?
Harry never told anyone about the duel. He reckoned that he probably should have, but he didn’t want to drag his best friends into more Malfoy antics. Besides, Harry had a few spells of his own that he couldn’t wait to try out on that narcissistic twit. Harry grinned as he glanced over at a certain blonde gossiping with Pansy Parkinson in the main carriage. He would definitely be ready for the challenge.
END OF CHAPTER 3