Chapter 9: A Manly Discussion
Having defeated the dragon and subsequently gorged themselves upon the centaur’s bacon, Harry Potter and his comrades kissed Grimble goodbye and once again set off on their dangerous journey deep into the heart of Dumbledark forest.
Picking their way among the twisted roots that bulged through the ground menacingly, like serpentine backs breaking the surface of a storm-wracked ocean, Harry pondered the need for unnecessarily long descriptive metaphors in his favourite books.
"‘arry," said Ron, annoyingly pulling Harry from his intellectual musings, "Have you noticed that, of the four of us, there ‘aint none of us a girl." Ron gestured to all four of them in turn, pointing deliberately at each face individually to illustrate his important point.
"Yes Ron, I know that."
“Well don’t you think that’s a bit strange then?" Ron appeared unnaturally confused, as though someone had asked him to explain Darwin’s theory of evolution to a fifth grader using only five letter words while dressed in a penguin suit.
"Not really Ron." These days, nothing could faze Harry. Not even the statistically unlikely fact that they were all men….it was as though he couldn’t feel anymore.
"Have you ever had a girlfriend ‘arry? You toss headed leer."
Harry knew that Ron’s aggressive name-calling was a mask for the fear and embarrassment that came with broaching the topic of women. Despite this fact, it was still hurtful. "Yes Ron, once. It was a wonderful time in my life…" Harry wistfully remembered his summer romance, "I was only an apprentice wizard, a mere fledgling. Hogwarts was becoming increasingly lonely, and I, increasingly in tune with my romantic feelings for –"
"Anyway, Harry, what I was wondering was, have you ever done it with a girl?" Interrupted Ron, rudely.
"Hurry up you two ingrates," called Hagrid from further up the forest trail, still carrying Malfoy over his shoulder like a large sack of shit.
Harry quickened his pace, as much to catch up with Hagrid as to get away from Ron.
Unfortunately, due to his harried state, he failed to negotiate a particularly nasty serpent-backed root bulge in the undergrowth and caught his foot securely in the hollow between ground and root. Feeling himself falling, he flailed his arms wildly, instinctively looking for a tree branch or safety guard rail to cling onto in an attempt to save himself from plummeting to his likely doom on the ground two feet below him. His life began to flash before his eyes…
He saw his family, his father in particular, doing battle with the evil Voldemort and ultimately being defeated. The image twisted and warped and became the ghastly apparition of his foster family, his retarded brother Allan leering at him from behind a grimy glass window. Allan in turn became Ron, bulging staring eyes and stupefied expression piercing the glass of the window; calling his name; a disembodied head encircling his own with its bubbling inanity. And then the image faded and he saw her, the love of his life, the summer romance that would never end, her loving gaze transfixing him in its warm embrace…
"Grimes ‘arry, you’ve grabbed me jock-eggs!" Squealed Ron, excited.
Harry, shocked out of his regression, looked down to find he had instinctively grabbed onto Ron to steady his fall. Horrified, he wrenched his arm backwards, losing what little balance he had to begin with and pulling Ron violently towards him in the process. Ron crashed headlong into his chest, sending them both tumbling backwards and out of site, stirring up a wild spray of leaves and debris as they cascaded downwards across the sloping forest floor.
Twenty minutes later they came to a sliding halt. Harry sat up on his hands and shook the leaves from his hair. Ron, bleeding from the head, slowly lifted himself up on his elbows. "Did someone get the number of that bus," he said, un-funnily.
Harry laughed a little, just to be polite. After all, he knew it was his own fault that they had crashed, with no head protection, through twenty square kilometres of forest to end up bloody and battered, separated from their friends in a dark and unforgiving forest of death.
Ron began to laugh heartily, pleased with the reaction to his bus number joke.
"Ron, sssh," Harry cautioned. He listened intently to the ambient sounds of the forest surrounding them, alert for any indication of predators, such as lion.
Ron, relaxed and calm, looked at Harry, "I guess it’s just us now ‘arry, alone in the wilderness…" he trailed off suggestively.
"That’s right Ron," said Harry.
"Just like The Hardy Boys."
Harry ignored him.
"A boys own adventure," Ron continued, unperturbed, "Let’s talk about cars and ball sports."
"I don’t have a car. I have a broomstick." Harry looked at Ron suspiciously. "And I don’t know what you mean by 'ball sports'"
"A broomstick hey? What model is it? I’ve got an FP680143-SFX 6." Ron beamed with pride.
"I’ve got a shut-the-hell-up-Ron turbo."
A sharp crack sounded from the forest. Harry spun around, hastily drawing his wand from its jewel encrusted sheath. Ron leapt up and cowered behind Harry.
The trees surrounding them began to move, their leaves rustling as a ghostly figure stepped from the surrounds to confront them. Ron and Harry gasped in surprise.
There, standing in front of them, was a terrifyingly beautiful woman. She was tall and slender, and much to the boys enjoyment, scantily dressed in brown leather.
"Cor blimey!" Exclaimed Ron, "it’s a Forest Nymph!’
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