|Scene Title||Greenhouse Girl Talk|
|Synopsis||Ginny visits Alice in the greenhouse and the pair have a vivacious girl talk.|
|Date||Dec 22, 1994|
Amid the various plants is Alice, who is currently working feverishly at one of the work benches and very much earning her House appellation. In front of her are three culdrons, the trio all bubbling away while the young Hufflepuff constantly stirs, dashes off to a part of the greenhouse to pick bits and bobs off the plants, and adds new ingredients; all the culdrons seem to be in various states in the same recipe. It's rather like a magical version of plate spinning as she speedily goes about. She constantly refers to a scribbled set of parchment in front of her, with lines crossed out, added, and odd, queer little doodles interspersed with the text. How anyone could read that is an open question.
Ginny arrives at the Greenhouse door with a flushed face and hair askew. She'd taken on some extra credit work - much of her free time was spent with extra-credit Herbology work, as she tried to up her grade. Her face is set with grim determination, as if she were walking off a plank into shark-infested waters. Pushing the door open, she spots Alice and smiles, her face softening. "Hi, Alice!" Ginny tilts her head curiously. "What are you doing?"
With a bit of a yelp, Alice whirls around on Ginny when the other girl addresses her. Blinking rapidly, the blonde takes a moment to recover from the jolt before offering a twitchy smile and bobbing her head quickly, "Ginny! Hello, hello! How are you?" She looks back over at the three culdrons and purses her lips, "Me? Oh, um… I had a big — very big — order for my Flavemotions and I said I'd have it to the customer in a week. I figured if I could get three culdrons going at once, I could produce them three times as fast. It's a bit of a handful, though." She turns back, smiling brightly, "And you, my friend? What brings you to the Greenhouse out of classes?"
"Extra credit work." Ginny looks slightly sheepish. "I'm, um. Not so great at Herbology. Professor Sprout often gives me extra work, to help out. I was to check on the mandrakes and note their progress." Clearly looking to change the subject, Ginny walks over to the cauldrons and peers in. "So this is how you make them? How do you get them into candy form, though? They look all sort of.. gloppy. Er, no offense."
"Oh, this is just the active ingredient," Alice replies with a trill of coquettish laughter, "I actually use a little charm to get them into pill shape. Technically, I could just pour it into moulds and then let them cool off, but that's a bit tedious. Charming is much easier and makes mistakes less likely." She sighs, stirring one of the culdrons and peering at the glubbery reddish contents, "My client wanted ten bags of joy, can you believe it! I've never had an order that large before. I even gave a large-order discount."
Ginny grins at Alice's easy-going chatter. "Seems like joy is rather popular. Did you get the hang of satisfaction yet? I bet that will be a big seller, too." Peering into the cauldron, she takes a wiff, then makes a face. "Is the sugar added at the end, too? Do you charm them sweet?" An idea strikes Ginny. "You know, you could charm them into special shapes. Around the holidays, that would really sell. You know, like little Christmas trees around Christmas, pumpkins and cats and masks for Halloween, hearts for Valentine's.."
"Sugar is the very last thing added," Alice notes idly, nodding her head and dropping in some more ingredients into one of the culdrons, "It's surprising, but sugar is very reactive in a lot of potions. So you have to wait for the potion to settle and finish combining before adding it, or it will ruin the entire thing. Some potions can't ever be sweetened!" She pauses briefly, hand hovering over another culdron before she drops in the ingredient she was holding, "Though a sweetening charm might be useful. Hmm. I'll have to ask Professor Flitwick if there is such a thing." Surprised eyebrows arch as Alice looks over at Ginny before grinning widely, "Hey! That is a great idea! I'm not sure if I could do it, though. I'm only okay at charms, really, and doing a shape like that might be a bit complicated." She purses her lips, turning her attention back to the culdrons before a Cheshire smile graces her features, "Speaking of Valentines… I hear your brother asked Luna to the Yule Ball. Good for him! And her, actually!"
Ginny peers into the cauldron again, attempting to guess ingredients, but alas, she isn't entirely successful. "That's odd, about sugar. Is it the same with salt, d'you think? They're rather similar.." She looks thoughtful, "Well, I'm not too great at Charms either, but maybe we could find someone who is? You could give them a percentage of your earnings." A grin comes on her face as Alice mentions Ron's date. "Ah, yes. The twins sort of asked for him, but they're going together. It should be quite fun. Will you be going?"
Alice purses her lips and mmms softly, nodding. "I suppose I could do that, yes," she admits, "I'm not sure whom to ask, though. Maybe that busy-haired girl who is always around your brother and Harry." She smiles wryly, "I'm not terrible at Charms, myself, but certainly not very good. Really, I'm rubbish at Transfigurations. It truly is cringe-worthy when Professor MacGonagall comes over to see my ham-fisted attempts. She is scarier than Professor Snape, she is." Alice brightens at the news of the Ball and bounces up and down on the balls of her feet, "Oh yes, I certainly plan to! I don't have a date, of course, but I most definitely will be going. And yourself, Ginny?"
"Hermione?" Ginny grins slightly at the description of her. "Yes, Hermione might help. Or maybe Sio, or even Luna?" She suggests two more of her friends. "We all have our bad subjects. Professor McGonagall can be quite.. intimidating, I agree." Giggling as Alice bounces, she turns a shade of pink. "I, um, will be going, yes," she hedges.
Casting a shrewd, sidelong look over to her fellow third-year, Alice can't miss the hedging nor the shade of pink. "Oh yeeeeees?" she asks impishly, stirring another culdron idly, "Sounds to me as if there is a just a leeeettle bit more to the story." She grins broadly and turns fully towards Ginny, crossing her arms over her chest, "All right, then. Out with it. With whom will you be going?"
"Harryaskedme." Ginny blurts, the words all melding together. "AndIlikehimsoIsaidyes." Her face is truly red now, and her brown eyes dart around, trying to focus on something innocous. She clears her throat, and then glances over at the cauldrons. "So is joy your best-seller?" Ginny asks in a desperate bid to change the subject.
It takes a moment for Alice to translate the melding of words, but she does get the gist of it. She stares, rather gobsmacked, mouth slowly going agape as the realization of what her friend just said. Said staring continues for several moments before Alice can close her mouth, letting out a slow whistle between her teeth. "Cor, if you don't aim high!" she says before grinning broadly, "But congradulations! Great Maker, Harry Potter!" A thought occurs to her and she cants her head to one side, "You do mean Harry Potter, right? Not some other Harry?" Are there any in the school? Oh no, no change of subject here. Normally, Alice is all-too-happy to talk about her confectionary treats, but this Big News takes precedence! So she ignores the question.
Ginny coughs, and nods. "Yes. Harry Potter. I, um. Know him through Ron. Apparently he.. likes me." She hadn't discussed this very much with another girl other than Hermione, and Alice's jumping around feels rather good, gratifying, even with her flushing face. "Do.. do you like anyone?" It's less of a subject change and more curiosity, this time around.
"Me? Oh no," Alice states with a wave of her hand, "I'll be alone forever, I suspect. My sister is the one with the beauty, after all. There's no one who could like me, so I don't bother to entertain such notions. It would be too depressing." Grinning and bouncing on her feet again, the blonde moves to hug the other girl, "But it's great that things have worked out for you and Harry thus far! Wow, I'm surprised. Considering that being, well… Harry Potter, he must have his pick of girls, to know that he fancies you must be hugely gratifying. And it makes perfect sense, too, what with… with what happened our first year and all." One does not brave a friggin' Basilisk without some kind of intense emotional attachment! She pulls back and beams brightly, "I honestly don't know how you can even talk to him, really. I'd be a nervous wreck. But I suppose you see him all the time, considering he's also a Gryffindor, so I suppose familiarity makes things a bit easier."
Ginny grins, returning the hug from the exhuberant girl. "Well, if you insist. But, maybe you're just a late bloomer, and in your sixth or seventh year.. BAM. Boys everywhere. It happens all the time." She nods firmly, and then grins. "I'm not that eloquent around him, that's for sure. He's kind of intimidating at first, but he's actually quite nice. Almost like a normal person."
Alice pauses thoughtfully, tapping her chin, "Mmm, funny you should say that, actually. Professor Lupin happened to be visiting the school one day to speak with the Headmaster and we had a bit of a chat. He said that he believes Harry really wanted to be treated like a normal person. Still, though, the things he's done…" The blonde smiles sheepishly, looking down shamefacedly at her feet, "In all honesty, I'm a bit embarrassed to talk with him directly. Remember that silly rumor our first year about Harry being the Heir of Slytherin of all things? Well, naturally I never believed it, but MacMillian sure did and would talk at length about it in the common room. I really should've said something in Harry's defense, but I didn't. I was just a first year, after all, and it didn't seem… correct for me to say such a thing to an upperclassman. I'll always regret that, I think."
Ginny looks a bit surprised at this tidbit. "Normal? That's kind of hard when he's Harry Potter.. but maybe that's the point. I'll have to try and do that, I suppose." She gives her friend a pat on the back after her confession. "You were just a first year, I wouldn't worry too much about it. Now you'll know to do differently, but I doubt anyone would hold it against you."
"Yes, well," Alice replies, looking back up with the still-sheepish expression on her features, "My family is not very tolerant of mistakes. I suppose it's a reaction to that." Instantly, though, her good cheer returns and she's all a-smiles again, "But back to more important things! Yule Ball with Harry Potter. Wow. Have you found your dress for the occasion yet?"
Ginny gives Alice another reassuring pat before she grins, nodding. "Yes, Sio lent me a gown that she wore when she was my age. Sleeveless, with a sweetheart neckline and a really full skirt, with a gold half-jacket that's semi-sheer. She invited me to find an empty classroom before the dance and get ready together. Do you want to do that, too? You're welcome to join."
Alice's eyes widen at the invitation and she grins even wider, if that's possible. "Oh, that'd be great, thank you, Ginny! It'd be like a pre-party party! And that dress sounds wonderful, Ginny. You'll look smashing in it, I'm sure!" She chuckles faintly, "Sio really is one of the good Slytherins, isn't she? Don't tell her, but… I'm always a little worried it will all turn out to be an act."
Ginny grins right back at Alice. The girl's happiness is rather catching! "Yes, it'll be quite fun. I'm going to invite Luna, and Angelina Johnson, too. It'll be an all-girls party. What does your dress look like?" At the comment about Siobhan's potential act, she chuckles. "I don't know if it is or not, but I don't think so. It kind of makes me rethink Slytherins, if one can be so nice."
"Ruffle-y," Alice responds with a wry smile, "And red, funnily enough. It is a great irony that my House colors do not look very good on me. You'll see it the night of the Ball, don't worry." She claps her hands together, giggling, "Ooh, yes! It'll be five of us, then! I'm afraid I don't know much about Miss Johnson, other than she is on Gryffindor's Quidditch team." There is a faint paleing of skin at the mention of Quidditch, but Alice soon recovers, bouncing on her feet once more, "This is going to be so fun! I can hardly wait!" She hesitates briefly then frowns, "Well, as long as the Ministry doesn't try something, anyway. Based on things I've heard, I wouldn't put it past them to arrest Harry and Sio on the night of the Ball."
Ginny bounces right along with Alice, letting out a rather girlish string of giggling. "It really is. I can't wait, either!" When Alice mentions the Ministry, though, bouncing and giggling cease. "What? Arrest them? Why? What have you heard?" Questions come rapid-fire now.
"You mean you haven't?" Alice asks in surprise, eyebrows arching, "I thought everyone had heard by now. Some Ministry people came to the school and started interrogating Harry and Sio." She leans in conspiratorally, "I heard that they wanted to use… use the Cruciatus on them, but Dumbledore dueled them and turned them into pigs. If the Ministry is willing to use Unforgivable Curses on students… well, it hardly seems likely that they'd stop short of arresting them, would it? And if in Ministry custody, Dumbledore would be hard-pressed to help, wouldn't he?" With that cheery little aside, Alice shakes her head, looking very much troubled, "I don't know what is going on in the Ministry. First they lose Sirius Black and now this? Minister Umbridge must be vastly more incompetent than Fudge ever was."
"Well, I'd heard rumors, but I didn't believe them.. pigs? Really? Actual swine?" Ginny looks rather pale, and she has to brace herself against one of the tables in the room. "Dumbledore won't let that happen," she says with fervent belief in her voice. "None of the professors will. It's wrong." Her eyes blaze, and she corrects Alice, "Acting Minister Umbridge."
"Well, that's what I heard," Alice says, a bit of doubt creeping into her voice, especially with how pale and unhappy Ginny suddenly looks, "Maybe the rumors are wrong, though. I mean, they are just rumors." She brightens suddenly, "Though! You can always ask the source directly! I mean, since you're going to the dance with Harry and all, you can just ask him for the real story." She sighs heavily, shaking her head, "I didn't ask Sio the last time I saw her. She looked… out of sorts, though. Something was worrying her. It would make sense that it was the prospect of being arrested by the Ministry." Alice is a little taken aback by the fury in Ginny's eyes and voice and she raises her hands in a supplicative gesture, "Y-yes, yes! Acting Minister Umbridge. Of course. And, no, I can't see Dumbledore allowing it, but really… what is he going to do if the Ministry sends a team of Hitwizards here to arrest them? The best he could do is, perhaps, hide them on the grounds somewhere." Alice: Worst Case Scenario. "B-but as I said," she quickly adds, "It was just a rumor! Maybe… maybe they came over for… tea. Or something. Or maybe they weren't even here and it was all a mistake."
Ginny looks vaguely distressed - more distressed, rather - when her fiery response takes Alice so aback. "It's okay, Alice. I won't shoot the messenger. Maybe I will ask Harry.. or Siobhan. Have to find the right time to do it, though." She looks consideringly at one of the bubbling cauldrons. "No point in listening to any of the rumors until I know the truth, right?" It's almost as if she's talking to herself, now.
"R-right, exactly," Alice replies, letting out a breath when it seems the messenger will not be shot, "And you're quite right about not listening to rumors. I really shouldn't have mentioned anything, I'm very sorry Ginny. It was quite tactless of me. Especially since such rumors have been so unreliable in the past." She brightens, though it is a bit strained, "I bet nothing of the sort happened. If Ministry officials did come by, it was probably only to… to chat, or maybe to make sure Harry had adequate protection since Sirius Black did try to kill him last year." She winces. Wait, that's not very encouraging, either, is it? She clears her throat and just attempts to change the subject, "So, you mentioned Charms is not your best. What is, may I ask?"
Ginny manages a smile at Alice's determined cheerfulness. "It's okay, Alice. Don't worry about it," she says, her tone sincere. Taking up the chance to change the subject, she smiles. "Well, Transfiguration is my best, actually. Charms.. probably second best, I suppose. Flitwick's a very patient teacher, I've gotten better this year. Herbology is my worst subject, and I need it if I want to become a Healer, which I do."
Alice can't help but laugh, her good humor returned in full. "That's quite interesting! We're nearly opposites there. Transfiguration, as I said, is terrible for me. Charms I'm merely all right in. Herbology I have no problem with. I would do better in Potions if Professor Snape would be a bit more flexible. It's my best subject practically speaking, but you wouldn't tell that from my marks in the subject." She chortles faintly, bouncing on her feet again, "I can't tell you how many times he's marked me down on papers because of my handwriting." She makes a motion to the disaster scribbling of the parchment near the culdrons. It almost makes Snape's objection seem reasonable.
Ginny grins, absently rubbing a leaf between her fingers as she listens to Alice. "Professor Snape is a rather, er, trying teacher. I do end up learning a lot, but almost against my will," she chuckles. "Each Potions lesson is rather.. interesting, that's for sure."
"Oh, there is no question on that," Alice agrees with an impish grin, "I sometimes get the impression that he holds classes just to amuse himself. Though then I look at him and never once have I seen even a little bit of joy in his face, so I think that impression is just wrong." She turns back to the culdrons and begins to feverently stir them, one after another, "Um… I'm sorry to be rude, Ginny, but I'm getting close to a critical juncture in the brewing. I'll need to concetrate on this quite attentively."
Ginny sniffs the air. Apparently Alice's critical juncture involved something that smelled almost sulfur-like. Suddenly, she's a little more wary to know of all the actual ingredients. "Sure, Alice. I should get to checking on those mandrakes now, too." Pushing off from the table, Ginny very nearly knocks a plant over, just barely managing to catch it and right it. Face red, she goes over to the far corner of the Greenhouse, where the mandrakes are being kept.
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