To celebrate our college is having a formal in the evening, which is a meal with normal (yucky) college food, but we dress up nice and all eat at the same time, and DUCK hits. DUCK is the Durham University Charittees Kommittee (yes, students can't spell). A DUCK hit is when you give them money (which goes to charity) and they give something to someone else, anonymously. For Valentine's Day there're the option of a rose, milk tray and a baber shop quartet, all given during formal. I like watching the milk try one best - one of the better looking guys in college dresses up in a tux and runs, ducks and rolls around the dining hall like an action man in a film to the Mission Impossible music, like the old milk tray adverts - 'all because the lady loves milk tray'. Yes, Valentine's Day is a commercial ploy, and yes, most of us will wallow in our partner-less sorrow, but I enjoy getting together with a group of friends to Hit on another friend, especially when chocolate is involved :o)
To celebrate in the more virtual world I present you with friendship fic, involving Ginny, the twins and Luna in Ginny's second year at Hogwarts. Enjoy!
Title: Let Them Eat Cake
Length: 2,090 words
Let Them Eat Cake
Ginny Weasley was not a fan of Valentine’s Day.
It might have had something to do with a dwarf with a harp and a singing Valentine in her first year at Hogwarts, but then again it might have had something to do with a much earlier incident when two of her brothers told her, in great detail, how Muggles celebrated the day by ripping out people’s hearts and eating them. It didn’t really matter beyond the fact that February the fourteenth was marked in her mind as a Bad Day.
At breakfast she sat at the end of the Gryffindor table nearest the staff table in the hope that no one would be excessively ‘loving’ this close to Snape’s glare and Professor McGonagall’s tight-lipped frown. Unfortunately, she hadn’t counted on Romilda, with bright pink streaks in her hair and a lot of pink post, who was apparently immune when it came to the disapproval of the teachers, or maybe just dim.
Ginny grabbed a piece of toast and left Romilda and her giggling friends in favour of going early to Transfigurations.
The rest of the morning didn’t go much better. There were a lot of jokes about Lockhart’s over-enthusiasm last year and quite a few about singing dwarves, but no one named her as one of the idiots that had joined in with the mess. Maybe none of the students in her year remembered or, better yet, didn’t know.
Her brothers, on the other hand, were never going to forget it. Or let her forget it.
In her haste to avoid sitting near anyone who looked like they even knew the word ‘pink’ she ended up sandwiched between Fred and George at lunch.
“Could you hand me that plate of fresh pickled toad, Forge?” the brother to her right said cheerfully, continuing the jokes the pair of them had been coming up with for the past fifteen minutes, all based on the disastrous Valentine she’d written last year.
“Of course, Gred,” said George and passed his twin a plate over the top of her head. “Don’t they just remind you of someone’s eyes?”
“Whose eyes would that be, brother of mine?”
“A hero, naturally.”
“Only a hero could have-”
“-such toad-like, divine eyes.”
Ginny slammed her knife and fork down onto the table and glared at both of them. “I swear by Merlin, if you two don’t shut up I’m going to hex you!”
Fred looked down at her curiously. “With what?”
“I’ll learn something bloody awful, just for the two of you.”
“Language!” George mock-scolded her as ruffled her hair. Ginny slapped his hand out of the way and left.
After two horrid meals simply avoiding the Great Hall at dinner seemed like a good plan, but she didn’t want to go back to the Common Room where she’d have to sit under the eyes of four brothers…and Harry. Instead she wandered around the castle after her last class finished, trying to avoid anywhere that might have two students wrapped around each other in the shadows, and ended up at the bottom of a tightly winding spiral staircase on the fifth floor.
Ginny leant back against the stone wall and then slid down until she was sitting on the floor with her back against the wall and her school bag on top of her folded legs. It was quiet in this part of the castle. She pulled out her Defence text to give herself something to do, but ended up leaving the book unopened when she heard feet coming in her direction.
She was thinking about getting up and moving when the flames in the corridor’s lighting column flared and she recognised the person coming towards her.
It was another girl, slightly taller and thinner than Ginny, with dirty-blond hair in one long plait, her wand lodged behind one ear and carrying a plate of squashed red things.
When she was younger Ginny’s mother had thought that her one daughter ought to have female company her own age instead of spending all her time around her rowdy, older brothers and Ginny had ended up being sent to play with Luna Lovegood – the only girl around her age (and from a wizarding family) that lived nearby.
They hadn’t spent any time together since coming to Hogwarts, even though they shared a few classes. They’d been sorted into different Houses, which hadn’t been surprising. Everyone had always said that Luna was smart, but a bit different, whilst Ginny had been called a tomboy and headstrong.
She’d heard that Luna was the one being called things here though, like ‘odd’ and ‘loony’, but she hadn’t been avoiding the Ravenclaw because she was unpopular; there wasn’t a lot of inter-House mixing and Ginny had never had much in common with her. Although, since no one else had had Voldemort inside their head she figured that she probably didn’t have much in common with anyone anymore.
Luna stopped an arm’s length away and held the plate out under Ginny’s nose.
“Would you like a Valentine’s cake? They’re anatomically correct.”
Ginny picked up one of the lumpy cakes and almost dropped it back onto the plate. It was squishy and pulsing.
“They stop moving when you bite them.”
“Professor Flitwick said that they’re very educational.” She looked up at the ceiling dreamily. “I think I would have preferred it if he’d said they tasted nice, but one can’t have everything.”
Ginny broke off a piece of the cake and ate it, a few crumbs falling on her book and skirt. She couldn’t think of anything to say and eating the offering seemed like a polite enough alternative. Plus she was hungry.
Thick red jam oozed out of the corner of the cake and made her fingers sticky.
Luna sat down next to her, tucking her school robes underneath her, and placed the plate on the floor between them. “There was a girl with very pink lines in her hair at your table this morning,” she told her, as if Ginny didn’t know.
“Romilda Vane. She’s in the year below us.”
“She’s going to have trouble come Nargle Season.”
Ginny hastily searched her memory for the strange things she’d heard Luna say in the past. “Um, they’re the ones that live in mistletoe, right?”
“Yes. An excessive amount of cards on Saint Valentine’s Day often leads to attracting nargles at Christmas. There was an article in the Quibbler about it two years ago.” She tilted her head to one side thoughtfully. “Do you think I should give Romilda Vane a copy?”
“What, so she can beat the boys away with it?”
“To read, although I suppose boy-beating would also work.”
Ginny smiled at the serious look the other girl wore. “Have you ever been given anything on Valentine’s Day? I mean, from a boy?” she asked impulsively, then wished she hadn’t.
She ducked her head down, hiding behind the red hair that fell loose around her face, fabled Gryffindor courage failing in the face of acute embarrassment. Not only would Luna now think she was a complete idiot, but Ginny was pretty sure that no boy would have given ‘Loony’ anything that wasn’t meant to be a joke, which made her tactless as well as dumb.
“No, but then I’ve never been attacked by a nargle either,” Luna replied serenely. “It all balances out.”
“I sent Harry Potter a Valentine last year,” Ginny blurted, then crammed some more of the cake in her mouth to stop herself saying anything else.
“My Dad says that I’m too young to fall in love yet and I wouldn’t want to send a Valentine to anyone I didn’t care about,” said Luna, still in that unshakably calm tone of voice. She pulled her plait over one shoulder and fiddled with her sparkly blue hair tie. “I don’t think Harry Potter would mind knowing that you care about him, but some people get embarrassed by singing dwarves. I think it’s one of those things referred to by the adage ‘a place for everything and everything in its place.’”
Ginny looked up at her curiously and Luna widened her grey eyes disarmingly before adding, “For instance, if you’re sharing a bed I suppose a singing dwarf would spoil the mood, even if it was delivering a Valentine.”
Ginny coughed as some cake crumbs went down the right way, then elbowed the other girl in the ribs in protest whilst she got her breathe back. “I daydream about kissing him, not sleeping with him!”
“What’s that like?”
“Warm. Nice.” Ginny looked down again, wriggled her toes inside her shoes, then looked up and grinned. “I’ve never been attacked by a nargle either. I mean, I’ve never given a nargle any reason to attack me, so I don’t know if…well, what it would be like, really.” Her voice trailed off and she backtracked in her mind, trying to see if she’d made sense.
Then she remembered that she was talking to Luna. It was comforting in a way. She felt like she could say anything she wanted and it wouldn’t have to make sense, because Luna didn’t always make sense either, or because Luna sometimes found sense in things without it obviously being there.
The blond girl stroked the rim of the plate between them with a pale, slender finger. Ginny hoped it wasn’t sentient or anything. She’d had enough of magical objects like that.
“There are unicorns in the
“They like girls better than boys and they especially like girls who haven’t been attacked by nargles. Or had reason to be attacked by nargles.”
“Oh.” Ginny blinked slowly whilst she thought through the last few minutes of conversation. “So, a lack of Valentine’s cards means less nargle attacks and getting closer to unicorns?”
“And less teasing, I think, but the nargles and unicorns are more important.”
Luna beamed at her and Ginny couldn’t help but smile back.
“Were you reading?” Luna asked apologetically, indicating the book still on Ginny’s knees. “I hope I didn’t interrupt.”
Ginny shrugged and shoved some of her hair back behind one ear. “I was just going to look for a good hex to use on my brothers.”
“They don’t have very good hexes in the assigned texts for Defence Against the Dark Arts.” She tilted her head again and a corkscrew earring brushed against the collar of her school shirt. “Have you tried Curses and Counter Curses by Viridian? That has some interesting jinkes, hexes and curses, like Jelly-Legs, the Tongue-Tying Curse and the Bat-Bogey Hex.”
“Those sound good, especially that last one.” Ginny licked a finger and used it to wipe some jam off the corner of her Defence book, an action which she could have sworn Luna winced at, before putting the text away. “Could you show me?”
“I’ve only read about them.”
“I guess I’m going to the library then,” said Ginny cheerfully as she got to her feet.
Luna stood up as well and picked up the plate of beating-heart cakes. “I’ll come with you. In case you run into any Wrackspurts on the way and,” she added waving the plate around so that the cakes were in danger of falling off, “in case you require sustenance on your quest.”
“Thanks!” Ginny swiped another jammy lump off the outstretched plate and danced backwards a little, pretending to steal what had actually been offered. “They’re good. Although they make me feel a bit like a cannibal,” she said with a grin.
“Cannibalism is quite common actually, and not just among species that eat meat,” said Luna, her eyes drifting over a portrait of a woman feeding a green swan hanging on the wall opposite the staircase, a spider’s web at the top of the wall and a blob of jam on the floor before coming to rest on Ginny’s forehead. “Urthnian Monglars only ever eat cabbage leaves until they reach ten years of age, which is at the end of their lifespan, and then they try to eat the younger generation. Some of them even succeed.”
It seemed like Luna didn’t really care what anyone thought of her cakes, what with ignoring the sort-of compliment and changing the subject, but looking into her wide eyes Ginny thought that maybe she did care.
“They’re good,” she repeated. “The cakes. They taste nice.”
Ginny Weasley was not a fan of Valentine’s Day, but she had nothing against cake.