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Disclaimer: GUYS GUYS GUYS I GOT TRUSTED AUTHOR STATUS!! But that doesn't mean I own Harry Potter, because J.K. is more of a Trusted Author than I am.




Pillows. I grinned and nestled further into the pillows. I sat up after a moment, feeling quite refreshed. The day after Christmas always holds some sort of sadness, you know? How can this day possibly live up to the greatest day of the entire year? Nonetheless, my Christmas Day had been semi-miserable and there was a fat chance that today would be better. Between fights and near comas, today was looking more and more attractive. I took a long bath first. Once I felt the scent of Malfoy Manor had left my hair, I descended from my room into the common room. I wasn't two steps into the room when something- or someone- ruthlessly attacked me.

"Demeter!" Ginny cried. "Did you hear?"

"Apparently not," I replied, trying to wrench my arm from her grip.

"There's going to be a New Year's Ball!" she shrieked.

"Another ball?" I groaned.

"I know! I'm so excited!"

"What's all the commotion?" Hermione scolded. "I'm trying to finish next semester's homework!"

"There's going to be a ball," Ginny said dreamily, already twirling in circles with an imaginary partner. Hermione's mouth formed an "o" of pleasure.

"Oh, I love a ball!" she exclaimed.

"Well, you know what this means!" Ginny exclaimed.

"Hogsmeade," I nodded. "We have to go get dresses." Ginny snorted.

"Um, no! It means we have to set up a game of Seven Minutes." My jaw dropped.

"Like... in heaven?" I gasped.

"Duh!" Ginny laughed. "It's such a romantic way to find a boyfriend. So all we have to do is get some slips of paper-"

"Oh, Ginny, I don't know if that's a good idea," Hermione stammered.

"Don't be so shy! It's perfect. We'll all have dates for the ball!" I took a moment and tried to understand exactly what might be going through everyone's head.

Nope, it didn't make sense.

"Okay. Ginny. Stop," I said, putting up a hand. "You really think making us snog a boy for seven minutes in a closet will lead to an end to our single lives?"

"Uh, yeah."

"You don't think... maybe... it's a little tacky?" I suggested.

"Not at all!"

"A bit juvenille?"

"I told you, it's romantic."

"No, see, it's really not-" I sighed. "Think about it. You're in a closet-- not heaven. There's a serious lack of celestial beings. And there's ten people just across the door who know exactly what you're doing and exactly who you're doing it with-"

"So you think it's a good idea?" Ginny asked hopefully. I threw up my hands in defeat.

"Yeah, Ginny, just fabulous."

"Yay!" she squealed. "Now let's get to planning! Where's Ria?" I gasped.

"Ria! Oh my gosh, where is she?" I hadn't seen her since I'd left for the Malfoy Manor. Memories of authors who dropped side characters ran through my mind. How many times had the original best friend of the main character been casually swept under the rug? But Ria! My only connection to the real world! The door opened and my fears were calmed.

"Hey, toots," Ria greeted me. She sent me a certain look that I instantly translated as an invitation to a private room to discuss my premature return from the Malfoy Manor. "I heard my name. What's cooking?"

"There's a ball!" Ginny started. "And I've just devised a plan to get us all boyfriends."

"Isn't Hermione dating Ron?" Ria pointed out.

"That's so irrelevant," Ginny scoffed. "But anyway, we're all going to play Seven Minutes in Heaven." Ria began to cackle.

"That's an amazing plan, Ginny," she laughed. I glared at her.

"Actually, it's really not so cool," I said with a clenched jaw. Ria looked at me and snorted.

"I love it. Oh my gosh, Ginny, you're a freaking genius."

"Ria," I groaned. She only laughed harder. Ginny beamed at us, looking positively elated that Ria was receiving her idea so well.




"What are you on?" I screeched. "I don't want to play Seven freaking Minutes in Heaven."

"Oh, lighten up," Ria giggled. "This is hilarious!"

"Uh, not so much," I replied crossly. "You know who you're getting stuck in a closet with-- your little Dean. I've got Draco or Harry. This is seriously the most disconcerting thing ever."

"Come on! Remember when we played this game in middle school? So fun." I rolled my eyes.

"That was different. There weren't any alternate universes. And I have an idea that Lydia's thinking a little less snogging and a little more Oprah, a little more feelings."

"You don't think it'll be a complete lemon?" Ria questioned. I shook my head.

"Oh, it'll obviously be a lemon, but with strong emotional content. By the end of the night, I guarantee that I'll have a boyfriend."

"Speaking of the end of something, why are you back from the Malfoy's already?"

"You know... typical Malfoy. He got a little overprotective because Harry sent me-"

"Wait," Ria interrupted. "Harry got you a Christmas present?" I blushed and nodded.

"Just a little wooden tree. But it was kind of sweet, I guess." Ria raised her eyebrows and gave me a funny look. I shrugged.

"Continue with the story, please."

"Basically, he wanted a little bit of sexual recompensation for his amazing million galleon necklace that he got for me."

"I can see how that would be offensive."

"Oh, just a little. So I threw the necklace at him and apparated back here, courtesy of Lydia."

"Nice rule bending there," Ria snorted.

"Tell me about it," I sighed. "So do you think Draco'll be back in time for the festivities?"

"Oh, obviously. What's a snogfest without Malfoy?"





The hour had arrived. Lydia, obviously, had felt compelled to fast forward to the day. The female contestants were Ginny, Hermione, Ria, and me. On the male side, there was Michael Corner, Dean Thomas, Harry, Ron, and Draco. How Draco had managed to get in on this was beyond me, but oh well.

"Every boy get a number!" Ginny commanded. The four boys lined up and drew the small slips of paper from a metal tin. I watched as Harry scowled at Draco. Draco smirked back with a devious grin. I shifted nervously-- things weren't looking good. I needed to draw Harry's number. He needed to win this Harry versus Draco competition! Seriously, like, life or death. If I chose Draco-- or, rather, if Lydia chose Draco for me-- Harry probably wouldn't fare so awesomely in the final battle.

"Hermione, you can go first," Ginny announced. Hermione blushed as she stuck her hand in the bowl and drew out a slip of paper. Like Hermione would ever even consider playing Seven Minutes in Heaven.

"Three?"

"That's me!" Ron cried joyfully, leaping up from the couch. He grabbed Hermione's hand and dragged her into the closet. So awkward. What do you do for seven minutes?

"So," Ria began. "Transfiguration. That's going pretty well." Everyone blankly stared at her. Nope, conversation was not to be had. We spent the remaining six and a half minutes in complete silence, other than Draco occasionally clearing his throat.

"Well. I suppose I'll open the door," Ginny finally said with a wicked grin. She twisted the knob slowly, then flung the door open to reveal Hermione and Ron in, well, a rather compromising position. What did you expect? They leapt up and straightened their clothes, blushing madly the entire time.

"Hermione on top," Ria muttered approvingly in my ear. "I never though she had it in her." I snorted.

"Are they even official?" I giggled back. "This is so non canon."

"Ria, you're up!" Ginny cried. Ria winked at me before drawing the number one, earning herself seven minutes with Dean. Their escapade was followed by Ginny and Michael. Ron, of course, fumed on the couch and made several attempts to burst into the closet, but Harry and Dean did a smart job of holding him back. When they finally emerged, Ginny looked at me with a peculiar expression that unsettled my stomach. Not that it was already settled, or anything.

"It's your turn now, Demeter," she smiled. I rose from the couch and looked warily at the bowl. I turned to Ria with a pleading look.

"C'mon, we don't have all night, Demeter," Ginny joked. "Don't be shy!" Ria chuckled unsympathetically and nudged me forward. I turned my gaze to Harry and Draco, the only two who hadn't been picked. Harry wouldn't meet my eyes. Draco winked and licked his lips. I felt my lunch consider coming back out to play. I pushed it back down and advanced, sticking my hand into the bowl. Two slips. I touched one, then the other. I lifted my hand up away from both of them and closed my eyes tightly. Holding my breath, I lowered my hand once again and felt paper under my fingertips. I gripped it tightly and pulled it out, then unfolded it.

"Number five," I read aloud.

"Me. I'm number five," he said.

Harry. It was Harry. I sighed with relief. I was safe from Draco Malfoy, at least for now. And if things worked out in the closet the way I hoped, I'd be safe from this entire world forever. Harry followed me into the closet and gently shut the door behind us. We faced one another.

"Thank you for the present," I murmured. He nodded.

"You're welcome."

"So. We've got seven minutes?" I scooted forward, hoping that Harry would get a hint and start heating things up. He mirrored my movements. His hands landed on my waist and mine on his chest. My eyelids fluttered shut.

"I believe you," He whispered, his lips centimenters from mine. "You didn't lie to me. I'm sorry." Oh gosh, I thought. This is not Oprah. I snaked my hand to the back of his neck and pulled his face to mine. The effect was immediate. His hands grazed over my body and I found my back pressing against a wall almost instantly. His lips parted mine and his tongue began to explore my mouth. And suddenly, I realized that he was a much better kisser than he'd been during our last relationship. I couldn't quite put my thumb on it, but the way he urgently pressed his mouth to mine sent chills up and down my spine. As I was reflecting on this, he broke away.

"Will you go to the ball with me?" he asked breathlessly.

"Wha?" I said dazily, still leaning toward him mouth.

"The ball? Will you go?"

"Oh, yeah. Sure."

"Demeter," he began. I waited a moment.

"Yes?" I prompted.

"I think we need to talk about what happened the last time we-- well, you know. Dated." Okay, man, look. Seven Minutes in Heaven. Not Seven Minutes of Relationship Evaluation. I opened my mouth and was about to tell him as much when the door opened.

"Time's up!" Ginny called cheerfully, peering into the darkness to see how far we'd gotten.

"Are you kidding me?" I said crossly. "It's been, like, two minutes!" I slammed the door and turned back to Harry.

"No, no, no!" Ginny giggled, opened the door again and pulling us out into the lights. "It's called Seven Minutes in Heaven for a reason, silly! Only seven minutes!" Except for the part where it hadn't been seven minutes. I clenched my fists and narrowed my eyes, just as Draco was doing a few yards away from me.

"Well played, eh?" Ria laughed, slapping me on the back.





A/N: Well, as previously stated, I am now a trusted author! *grins* So that means more updates because I've finished writing the story. I'll probably post every other day or so starting with this chapter. I also need to post that abomination other story about Malfoy... *gags* I mean yay.

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