Working Girl - bellasinfonia

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The Sea of Stars

Water-stained pages, pebbles and traces of stardust


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Working Girl - bellasinfonia
sea_thoughts

The Plot Bunny That Came From Nowhere

I was reading a PM about Neville today from Dogstar (because I'd finally posted a review for the penultimate chapter of Asking for Roses) and this popped up. Ginny and Neville during the Yule Ball. Don't ask me why. It's not like this is ever going to be included in Watching for Wolves. That is purely about her second year. But this plot bunny just would not let me be; it nibbled at my heels until I was forced to write it. Not that anything actually happens.

(Background: Neville and Ginny at the Yule Ball; they have just had their first dance; as a result, Ginny’s toes are now rather bruised and her feet are aching.)

Fortunately, Neville seemed to realise that her feet were at breaking point and he guided her off to the sidelines. He made sure he was seated, then hurried off to get them both some punch. Ginny tucked her feet under the chair and silently pushed off her shoes, relieved that Mum had insisted on her wearing something ankle length. She flexed her toes, biting her lip at the pain, and watched people swirl before her. Her only comfort was that Harry looked about as miserable as she felt.

“They had two kinds,” Neville said, making her look up. “There was fruits of the forest and sloe… I didn’t know which one you liked so I got us a cup each.” He held out two silver cups: one steaming crimson, the other steaming purple.

“Neville,” Ginny said, surprised. “You didn’t have to get both.”

“I wanted to give you the choice,” he answered, carefully sitting down. “So, which would you like?”

Ginny considered for a moment. “Forest,” she said, taking the red one. “I tried sloe gin once, it was nasty.”

“My grandad used to have that in the winter,” Neville said with a smile. “He always said it warmed him up better than a fire. Still, I don’t think this is alcoholic,” he added, glancing at his cup. “Madam Pince was standing over the punch bowl.”

Ginny giggled and took a sip. Despite the steam, the punch didn’t burn her mouth at all, but it warmed her right to her toes; there was a pleasant berry flavour and she licked her lips. Neville was drinking his own cup with obvious enjoyment. “It’s not bad,” he said, “it’s like… like plum pie made liquid or something.”

“Mind if I try a bit, then?” Ginny asked.

“Oh! Sure.” He offered her his cup and she offered him hers. They both took a small sip. Ginny could see what Neville meant: plums and damsons and sloes as well… the flavour was richer and darker than hers, lingering on the tongue.

“Fruits of the forest,” she said as they exchanged cups again. “I always wonder exactly what that means. All kinds of fruits grow in forests.”

“Probably berries,” Neville suggested. “Wild strawberries, raspberries, bilberries, blackberries as well, I shouldn’t wonder.”

Ginny laughed in surprise. “You know a lot about this.”

Neville blushed a bit. “I helped out my grandad in the garden and… now he’s gone, I do all the gardening when I’m at home. Vegetables, fruit, flowers…” He shrugged. “It’s not that impressive.”

“Are you kidding? That’s amazing, Neville! I bet you don’t have to worry about gnomes,” Ginny added, thinking of her own back garden, full of tussets and hummocks and holes where the gnomes had dug through.

“We’ve got a privet hedge, keeps them out. They don’t like the spines,” Neville added with a grin. Then he looked crestfallen. “Sorry. I’m monopolising the conversation, aren’t I?”

“You’re what?” Ginny repeated, baffled.

“Monopolising the conversation. Gran said that was the worst thing you could do on a… well, at a dance. She said I mustn’t go on about plants and Herbology or I’d bore you.”

“I’m not bored at all!” Ginny exclaimed. “I think it’s great you grow all those things, and my mum would love any tips on keeping gnomes out. I’m not bored, Neville, honestly.”

Neville still looked worried, his mouth turned down. “I know you’d rather have gone with Harry than with me,” he said.

Ginny’s heart sank. “Neville, who told you that?”

“Nobody! I mean… I heard that Ron was trying to set you two up before,” he added, looking down, twisting his cup round and round so the sloe punch slooshed from side to side.

Ginny put her own cup on the table and put her hand on his wrist, stopping him. “That’s because Ron’s an idiot. He didn’t even ask me if I wanted to go with Harry, he just started trying to set us up because he knows I had a silly crush on him.”

Neville looked up, frowning, his brows punching together. “Had?”

“Yes,” Ginny said resolutely, pushing down the burning in her heart and stomach. “It was just a silly thing… I don’t feel that way any more.” I’ll never feel that way again, not about anyone, she promised herself silently. Nobody is going to tread on me like that again.

Neville was still looking at her, forehead wrinkled. It was Ginny’s turn to look away. Her heart still burned with those words, crying out that it was a lie, it wasn’t silly, it wasn’t just a crush or a fancy or anything of those girlish things, it was bigger than that, deeper than that –

Shut up. SHUT UP. You don’t like him anymore.

“But you could have gone with someone else,” Neville began. “You could have had… more fun.”

Ginny didn’t want to talk about this anymore. She didn’t want to think about Harry. “You asked Hermione out before me, right?” she said.

Neville went red. “Well… yes, but…”

“It’s fine, Neville. I’m not hurt, really.” She smiled at him to prove it and went on. “You asked Hermione out before me but you’re not sitting around, moping that she's with someone else, unlike two other boys I could mention,” she added in a louder tone, glancing towards Harry and Ron. Both boys were sitting at one table, gazing at the dancers with glum expressions. The Patil twins sat on either side of them, looking bored and miserable. Ginny couldn’t blame them.

Neville followed her gaze. “They don’t look happy,” he said.

“That’s because Harry and Ron are too busy moping to be gentlemen and enjoy the evening with the girls they actually brought with them,” Ginny stated, turning away. She refused to let herself look at Harry in his emerald green robes. She refused to look at the way the icy decorations turned his skin snow white, bringing out the shadows under his cheekbones. If he was miserable, that was his problem. She wasn’t going to worry about him anymore.

She smiled at Neville. “Now I came with somebody who gets me punch and worries about me enjoying myself and who knows a great deal about the contents of our punch, as well as gnome prevention methods. What more could a girl want?”

“A better dance partner?” Neville offered sheepishly.

Ginny sipped some more of her punch, considering her answer. She was very conscious of being one of the youngest people in the room, of how small and thin she was compared to the other girls here. Thank God that she’d taken after Mum and started to develop early. At least she had something on top, she thought, glancing down at the bodice of her dress robes. “Well, it looks like they’re playing something faster now, we won’t have to hold each other.”

The rhythm was so catchy that both of them were tapping their feet. A crowd was gathering in front of the band; couples were breaking and reforming. Ginny saw Hermione and Krum briefly in the crowd. They looked like they were having a good time. Ginny was glad. She stole a glance at Ron, who had obviously seen the same thing, because he had a face like thunder.

Serves you right, she thought.

Neville drank the last of his punch. “I’ll try and stay at least a foot away from you,” he promised.

Ginny laughed. “I think you’ll have a job,” she pointed out, standing up. “We’re going to be crushed.”

“Then I will try and make sure that I am the only person who steps on your toes,” Neville said with dignity as they made their way over.

“Good,” Ginny said mischievously. “I think those Durmstrang boys would crush them!”

And here endeth the plot bunny.

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*J was online and didn't realize MSN was up-sorry*

Very cute. Neville is an absolute doll! Ginny is so sweet to him. You cover her crush nicely, without over doing it. But in the end: *see userpic*

Just wanted to point out: ...he guided her off to the sidelines. He made sure he was seated, That should be She

Thanks for pointing out the typo. Glad you enjoyed it. ^^

You must post this at the Quill for everyone to enjoy! I just love this missing moment. Your Ginny is perfect as is Neville. I love how his Gran managed to make him self-conscious even from so far away. And I love how Ginny tries to push that "burning" down so she can get on with her life. She so strong - our Ginny. (I'm in agreement that the Yule Ball was pivitol for Ginny's crush on Harry)

Your imagery and scene setting was well done. I especially liked the sensuality of describing the punches. Tasting those "grown up" drinks and having a "grown up" evening made them both grow up in a lovely way. Neville got a bit of confidence and Ginny was able to see things for the way they were.

Well done!

Would you mind if I rec'd this? I really, really like it!

Not at all, rec this to anyone you like! *lol*

I don't know if it's complete enough for a Missing Moment, though. And I don't really want to do any work on it because I like it just as it is.

Yes, our Ginny is strong. Inside and out. Even though she desperately wants to give in and gaze at him, she makes herself move on (mentally if not emotionally!). The Yule Ball is where she finally stopped seeing Harry as someone who would sweep her off her feet. Not only did she get asked by someone else (imagine the envy of the other girls in her year!), she met her future boyfriend there. She didn't need his attention to prove she was attractive.

I'm really pleased you liked the imagery. I wanted to emphasise the icy surroudings and how colours would stand out against the neutral backdrop. Ginny being one of the youngest people there, and Neville being one of the youngest in his year, I suppose they do band together because of that. Thanks for pointing that out!

And thank you for the compliments. ^_^

Starsea,
I really enjoyed this! The emotions of teens at a dance were very accurate. Among other things:

~Both boys were sitting at one table, gazing at the dancers with glum expressions.~

~She stole a glance at Ron, who had obviously seen the same thing, because he had a face like thunder.~

You highlighted the fact that girls often mature before boys. Like here, where Ginny "gets it" and they don't:

~"That's because Harry and Ron are too busy moping to be gentlemen and enjoy the evening with the girls they actually brought with them."~

And could Neville be more sweet?

~"I wanted to give you the choice."~
~"Gran said that the worst thing you could do on a... well, at a dance."~

This line is practically out of the books. It shows Ginny's spice:

~That's because Ron's an idiot!" HA! I love Ginny.

I enjoyed seeing Ginny and Neville have a missing moment of friendship on their very own. I'm sure you could post this at the Quill if you wanted and people would enjoy it. It's very reader friendly, even without any changes. Plot bunnies are fun, eh?




Hello, Zia!

Thanks for commenting and picking out your favourite lines. I really appreciate that, it lets me know what works. Poor Ginny - the fact she's only seventeen months younger than Ron means that she's on the same level as him most of the time, if not ahead of him! Yet he's supposedly the older, wiser one!

Neville's a teddy bear. Frankly I think Ginny was lucky that he asked her to the ball. God knows that she'd have had a miserable time with Harry! (He might have made more effort with her than Parvati, but that's not saying much, is it?)

And of course Ron's an idiot, he's her older brother. ;)

The enthusiasm of various commentators has made me think of submitting this to the Quill after some revision. I'm still thinking about it, but I'm more amenable to the idea than I was before.

Aw, this is so sweet! I love stories that are about Ginny or Neville, or both. This is so sweet, because I don't think I've read a fic about Neville and Ginny at the Yule Ball, and I always wondered how it went. My favorite pairing (sadly non-canon now) is Neville/Ginny, because she's just so sweet to him, and Neville just deserves someone like her. This is a great little fic, thanks for posting it!

Arya

You've never read a story about Neville and Ginny at the Yule Ball? EVER? O_O I can't believe that. Especially since you're a Neville/Ginny fan (don't worry, I won't kill you ;D). I would have thought the Yule Ball was an ideal situation for writers of this pairing. O_o Anyway, I'm glad I filled that little gap, even if this story isn't really shipping them.

Love your icon, btw. Who made it?

I don't read N/G fics. I'm reading a N/H one right now. I generally don't read shippy fics, unless they're very well written (like the N/H one). I don't know why...

Hehe, thanks. enhancedminds made it. :)

Do you mind if I friend you?

No, not at all, friend away. And I'm taking that icon. :D

I know what you mean about shippy fics... still, I'm surprised you've never encountered a story about Neville and Ginny at the Yule Ball before. Hmm. I wonder if I really should attempt that Ginny POV of Goblet of Fire that's been mushrooming in the back of my head?

Ooh please do!

Now I feel like reading Ginny fics...*goes to search the quill*

*cough*Watching for Wolves*cough*

You've probably read that already, right?

I can also recommend "The Slimmest Wildest Chances" by St Margarets, "A Glass of Water" by Jo Wickaninnish and "Beating Tom" by J Forias. :)

Ack, more fics to add to my growing list. But I am in fanfic reading mood, so I will look at those. I've already read J Forias's (he's so awesome).

If you get to plug, I do too! Read my fanfics, any of them! :) (Arya on SQ)

Thanks for the recs!

I beta'd "A Chance Encounter", remember? ;)

Eep. I'd forgotten about that, sorry!

*is reading your fic* :P

Heh, no problem. ;) I'm reading "I'll Be Seeing You" at the moment, will leave a review.

*waits with baited breath for verdict on WfW*

This one-shot was great. Actually, that was the first story I read which centered around Ginny and Neville at the Yule Ball.
The characterisations were spot-on.

Btw, I read your profile and saw that we have a few similar interests.
Travelling seems to be one of them. My sister and I have been to Haslemere near Guilford and right now I'm living in Vienna.
Is it alright if I friend you? You can friend me back:).

Absolutely! It's always good to meet a fellow traveller. ^^ My mum's name is Sandra, so it'll be interesting to know somebody else with that name.

Other people have remarked this is the first story they've read about Neville and Ginny, which rather surprises me. It seems like a great opportunity to explore their characters. Glad you enjoyed it. ^^

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