Chapter 5 : The Dueling Intensifies
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Chapter Five: The Dueling Intensifies
At breakfast Monday morning, nearly everyone was fast asleep with their faces in their cereal and muffins. Last night's duel had been fairly exhausting, especially for the participants.
Cho Chang and Marietta Edgecombe entered the Great Hall wearing stylish hats. They had been too embarrassed to go to Madame Pomfrey, so they had spent the night trying to get rid of their rabbit and donkey ears. The best they managed to do was to shrink them, and the hats (though out of season) did the rest.
Fred's invention, Morpho trollius, had become very popular overnight. Several people walked in with their faces resembling that of a troll's. Pansy Parkinson was a victim again, having been hit by Draco who was trying it out at the exact moment she walked by.
Ernie Macmillian had not recovered yet from his duel, thanks to Hannah Abbot. He was unable to walk straight and had a permanent dazed sort of expression on his face. This made Hannah very gleeful.
Seamus Finnigan still felt the aftereffects of Rictusempra, and now he had a bad case of the hiccups. He glared at Justin Finch-Fletchley every now and then. Justin merely glared back and pointed at his arm, which still tingled uncomfortably.
Meanwhile, Ron was exceedingly wary of any creature that had multiple legs. And Harry kept glancing down nervously to check that his pants were still there.
In short, the Great Hall was unusually quiet that morning. The younger students chattered to the older students and asked inquisitive questions about the dueling competition they had been barred from attending, but they were usually stopped by a Silencing spell or two. Euan Abercrombie was hit with five of them, and he was unable to speak for the entire day, to the satisfaction of an extremely annoyed Lavender Brown, whose back still hurt from her duel last night.
Professor McGonagall entered the Great Hall tipsily, even more tipsily than the dazed Ernie. At first she sat down in Professor Snape's chair, with Professor Snape in it. Five seconds later she uttered a little scream and moved to her proper seat. Snape looked fearful of Minerva McGonagall's sanity, and quickly poured her a glass of Hangover Healer.
Nobody noticed this little episode, because they were all too tired.
The energy level of the Hogwarts students gradually rose as the day wore on. By lunch everyone was busy discussing the duels of the night before, giving blow-by-blow descriptions and arguing about whether the points had been deserved or not. According to the sheet of parchment George Weasley had hung up on the message board, Slytherin was in the lead with 223.7 points. Gryffindor came in second with 219.8 points. Ravenclaw had 200.4 and Hufflepuff was barely keeping up with 175.9 points.
Almost everyone couldn't believe Slytherin was winning. After reading the explanation of how the points were tallied, it appeared that the more people dueled, the more points they received. Bonus points were earned when a duel was won. The Slytherins had simply dueled the most Sunday night. It wasn't necessarily a reflection of skill. Upon discovering this, the other three houses vowed to sign up for as many duels as possible next Sunday, with the Gryffindors being the most fervent and determined.
"What's my next class?" Ron mumbled sleepily as he ate his lunch with his head on the table. He unsuccessfully brought a forkful of food to his mouth, creating a huge mess to the disgust of Hermione.
"Double Charms with the Ravenclaws," Harry answered. "Just what I need right now." He glanced down for the twenty-seventh time that day at his pants, which were indeed still there.
"I don't want to go," Ron groaned, slumping sideways onto the bench.
"Wake up, Ron!" Hermione reprimanded. "Come on. Last night wasn't that tiring, was it?"
Ron yawned but sat up obediently. "Hermione, you wouldn't know. You didn't duel at all."
"That's right," came the drawling voice of Draco Malfoy. "The Mudblood was too afraid to duel, wasn't she?" he sneered unpleasantly. Crabbe and Goyle tried to look threatening, but failed miserably and merely looked as though they had eaten too much, which was highly possible due to the looks of their generous waistlines.
Harry and Ron snapped to attention at the sound of their nemesis’ voice. Hermione shot to her feet and had her wand out in seconds, pointing it threateningly at Malfoy's throat.
"Does this bring back any memories, you nasty little ferret?" she spat.
Malfoy raised an eyebrow. He was completely terrified inside, but Malfoys were usually excellent in concealing their emotions. "Well, well, well," he said slowly. "Tell you what, Granger. I'll duel you next Sunday. See if you're still that confident then."
Hermione didn't lower her wand and continued to glare at him. "Fine. Just to raise the stakes, the loser has to do whatever the winner wants for an entire day."
Several people gasped. The tension surrounding Hermione and Malfoy was so high everyone could almost feel it crackling.
"Make that an entire week," said Malfoy. The entire Great Hall went silent, listening for Hermione's reply.
"Don't do it, Hermione," Neville whispered fearfully. He could only imagine what Malfoy would make Hermione do, if he won. But Hermione knew what she was doing.
"Deal," said Hermione, lowering her wand and holding her hand out to shake. Malfoy took it. He crushed it. She retaliated with a very strong Stinging Hex, and he shot her one last glare before stalking away.
Harry and Ron were dumbfounded. "Hermione!" said Ron in an awed voice.
"Yes, Ron?" said Hermione serenely, sitting back down to sprinkle her spaghetti with shredded mozzarella cheese. She picked up the peppershaker.
"I know what I did, Ron," said Hermione, slamming the peppershaker onto the table. "And trust me. By the time I'm finished with him, he's going to wish he never called me Mudblood. Ever." And she proceeded to eat her lunch contentedly.
"Way to go, Hermione," said Harry, grinning. "Can't wait to see Malfoy get what he deserves."
Hermione grinned back. "Just wait 'till you see. You have no idea what I've got in store for him."
"Hey Harry!" said Ginny, arriving at the table just then. "Hi Hermione, Ron, everyone."
"Hey Ginny," said Harry, quickly checking his pants again.
"Guess where I've just been?"
"Er…Potions?" Harry tried.
"No," said Ginny, shoving Ron aside and sitting down next to Harry. "I was in the library, looking up jinxes for our duel next Sunday."
"Oh," said Harry. "That's…great."
Ginny nodded. "I'd be very prepared if I were you. There is no way I am losing to you."
Harry couldn't think of a reply to this. He glanced sideways at Hermione, who merely shrugged.
"I've also got plans to practice my Bat-Bogey curse. Dean agreed to be my dummy to practice on," Ginny continued, buttering a roll.
"Dean Thomas?" said Harry.
"Yeah. He agreed after I threatened to tell Parvati what a bad kisser he is."
"WHAT?" bellowed Ron, knocking over his goblet of pumpkin juice, splattering Hermione.
"Ron!" Hermione snapped, using a quick cleaning spell on her robes. "Please refrain from reacting like that every time your sister tells you she's kissed someone! You should be used to it by now!"
Harry blanched. How many boys had Ginny ever kissed?
Ron ignored Hermione. "YOU KISSED DEAN?"
"Only once," said Ginny, shrugging casually. "And he's horrible, I tell you."
"Compared to…?" said Harry, not sure if he wanted to hear her answer.
Ginny paused, a forkful of pasta dangling by her mouth. She set it down, grabbed Harry by the neck of his robes, and kissed him. Harry, taken by surprise, relied on his male instincts to automatically respond.
"Hmm," said Ginny, releasing him after a minute. "He's abominable compared to you."
Harry could only gape at her, dazed. Ron looked like he just had a heart attack. Even Hermione looked surprised at Ginny's nerve.
Across from where they sat and several feet away, a girl named Romilda Vane looked livid.
With a self-satisfied smirk, Ginny left the Gryffindor table, flouncing her short skirt and flipping her fiery red hair. It was one of her rules of thumb to leave a boy hanging after the first kiss. Even if it meant she had to skip lunch.
By the time Sunday night had rolled around, Harry was extremely nervous. He hadn't seen Ginny except for brief glimpses after the unexpected kiss. He had tried to get Hermione to teach him the countercurse to the Bat-Bogey curse, but Ginny had already forced Hermione to promise not to teach him. So he was on his own.
The dueling competition commenced at seven in the Great Hall. There were a lot more students that time, students who hadn't gone the first night but had since then figured they'd missed out on a lot. There were now five dueling stages, with Fred, George, Lee, Angelina Johnson, and Katie Bell in charge of one each.
As soon as Harry stepped foot into the Great Hall with Ron and Hermione, he heard his name being announced, along with Ginny's.
"Good luck mate," said Ron. "If you get hit by the Bat-Bogey curse, don't panic. The flapping things will disappear…eventually."
Hermione didn't even have any words of comfort for him.
Harry gulped. When he reflected upon this moment in the weeks to come, he often marveled at how he was more afraid of Ginny than he was of Draco Malfoy, who was supposed to be his worst enemy (save for Voldemort).
Ginny was already at the dueling stage by the time he arrived. A huge crowd of onlookers had gathered, most of them girls in Ginny's year. Harry could make out Ron, Hermione, Neville, and Luna among the crowd. A certain dark-haired girl was there as well, lurking and glaring at Ginny.
Ginny was dressed to kill. Her robes were artfully ripped and distressed in all the right places. She wore black knee-high boots, her plaid uniform skirt (hiked up a few inches, of course), and a tight top that proved to be very distracting.
"Ready, Harry?" said Angelina shortly. Her tone of voice indicated that she didn't really care if he was ready or not. Fred had dragged her into refereeing when she had much better things to do, such as snogging the aforementioned Fred.
"Sure," said Harry, gripping his wand tightly in his hand.
Ginny winked at him and then smirked.
"On your marks, get set, whatever…duel." Angelina blew on her whistle sharply.
"Hello Harry," said Ginny pleasantly. She twirled her wand in her hand.
"Hi Ginny," said Harry.
"No bloody way."
"Well, you should be. Stoliocisi!" Ginny shouted.
"Whoa--" Harry found himself being turned upside-down. At first he thought Ginny knew about the Levicorpus curse, but then he realized his hands were planted firmly on the ground. Blood rushed to his head.
"Wow Harry," said Angelina dryly. "Since when do you take gymnastics?"
Harry shoved the weight off of his hands and got back onto his feet, glasses askew. He felt dizzy.
"Elephantio!" cried Ginny.
"PROTEGO!" roared Harry. There was no way he was turning into an elephant. The spell ricocheted off the Shield Charm and hit Marietta Edgecombe in the face.
Cho and Marietta had just arrived for tonight's duels. Cho dropped her wand when the spell hit Marietta and screamed, "Merlin's pants! You have a trunk!"
"Why meeeee?" Marietta wailed, running out of the room amid uproarious laughter.
"Porcupinuous!" said Ginny. A handful of pins shot out of the end of her wand and attacked Harry.
He was able to dodge them all using his superb Quidditch reflexes. But that wasn’t enough. It was time to go on the offensive.
"Banana peelius!" A banana peel shot out of his wand right under Ginny's feet, causing her to slip and fall.
"Petrificus totalus!" Ginny retaliated from her spot on the floor.
Harry did some sort of split jump in the air to avoid the jet of light.
"Do you take ballet, Harry?" said Angelina, making a mark on her notes.
"Brilliant idea, Angelina!" said Ginny. "Ballerinius!"
This time the jet of pink light hit Harry in the leg area and he found himself sailing across the dueling stage, doing pirouettes and arabesques and grand jetes that he had absolutely no control over.
"Merlin, Harry!" said Ginny, giggling. "You're even better than Fleur Delacour, and she's French!"
"Make it stop!" Harry roared, as his arms snapped over his head and began doing port de bras.
"Okay," said Ginny, shrugging. "Finite. Trapezio!"
"Protego!" said Harry, coming out of a glissade. He was a fraction of a second too late, though, and he was hit with the Trapezio jinx. He was instantly swept into the air, at the mercy of Ginevra Weasley.
Ginny waved her wand like a conductor conducting a symphony orchestra, fully enjoying herself. Harry was like a puppet, and he flew this way and that, depending on what Ginny was doing. He began to feel dizzy and lightheaded.
"Hey Harry!" yelled Ginny, watching her dueling opponent begin to look sick. "How are you feeling?"
Harry did not answer for fear that he might throw up if he opened his mouth. He pulled out his wand and tried to aim it at Ginny, but it was very difficult from his position. "Stupefy!" He hit Angelina instead, who was knocked out for the rest of the duel.
Ginny undid the Trapezio jinx and Harry crashed to the floor. "Any last words?"
"Huh?" said Harry, bemused and dazed, struggling to his feet.
"Batty Bogeous!" shouted Ginny triumphantly. Her aim was dead center, and thus Harry Potter, the Boy Who Lived, was defeated.
Harry had one last glance of a victorious Ginny before everything faded to black.
Harry awoke an hour later. His head felt very heavy. He looked around to see Hermione and Ron staring at him anxiously.
"What happened?" he said, confused. "Where am I?"
"When you fell, you hit your head pretty hard. And after you got hit with the Bat-Bogey curse, you passed out," said Hermione. "Which brings us to the hospital wing."
"You're joking," said Harry. He had lost his duel to Ginny, and now he was in the hospital wing?
"That's what I said." Ron shook his head sadly. "You got destroyed, mate."
At that moment, the doors to the hospital wing banged open and Ginny strode through, looking very smug.
"Hi Harry!" she said brightly, pushing Ron aside and sitting down at the edge of the bed.
"Hey Ginny," said Harry meekly. "Congratulations."
"What's my prize?" said Ginny expectantly.
"What d'you mean?"
"What do I win for beating you?" Ginny batted her eyelashes at him coyly.
"Er…me?" said Harry hopefully.
"That’s what I hoped you would say," said Ginny, beaming and leaning down to kiss him deeply. Ron's eyes bugged out and he ran out of the room like a crazy person. Hermione rolled her eyes at Ron's immaturity and then left Harry and Ginny alone to snog each other senseless.
I hope that was as fun to read as it was to write. Please leave a review. I still need wacky spell ideas! :) Oh, and come visit my Meet the Author page (link on Author's Page)!
Yours till the heliopaths escape the Ministry,
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