|On the Twelfth Hour of Christmas
Author: Madame Wolf PM
Twelve hours later, Remus and Ginny are in jail. They reflect on the twists of fate that saw them leave the Path of Christmas Adventure and take up the Trail of Minor Crimes. Please don't take this too seriously and trust that I know what I'm doing.Rated: Fiction T - English - Romance/Humor - Remus L. & Ginny W. - Chapters: 6 - Words: 11,667 - Reviews: 18 - Favs: 4 - Follows: 9 - Updated: 12-20-06 - Published: 12-15-06 - id: 3289858
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
On the Twelfth Hour of Christmas…
"So, what happened between you and Tonks?"
Ginny had been dying to ask the question all day, ever since Remus had knocked on her door and announced that their editor was rather peeved with them. The man being mildly interrogated looked decidedly uncomfortable, and shifted on the cell bench. "Well, we aren't together any more…"
She rolled her eyes and made a vaguely impatient gesture with her hand. "I realised that, Remus. Gosh, there isn't anyone who was even remotely connected with the Order who doesn't know you aren't together any more. But what actually happened?"
"We drifted apart. It happens."
Ginny raised an eyebrow, and then said in a singsong voice: "Real reason, please."
"I'm offended! What makes you think I wasn't telling the truth?"
She squinted at him. "Your upper left lip twitches a bit when you lie."
"It does not!"
"Look, there it goes again!"
Remus put a hand to his mouth, keeping his lip still. "All right. We didn't 'drift apart', although you and me being on the press junket for Hearts of Steel certainly didn't help matters. When I settled back into life with Tonks I'd ask her to change her appearance sometimes and she was offended and started thinking I had feelings for someone – which I didn't, thank you very much. She didn't trust me any more, and we fought, and then we decided to end it before we became more miserable."
Ginny's face was arranged into an expression of sympathy. Remus did not expect her to react to his story like that. He had, in fact, envisioned pointing and laughing. The woman moved closer to him and gave him an awkward hug, which they made last for a full minute.
As she drew away, Ginny bit her lip, as if debating the merits of something in her pretty head. In an innocent voice, she asked, "So…what did you ask Tonks to look like?"
Remus did not justify her question with an answer.
Seven hours prior to the arrest
The cafe had a sign outside saying "all day breakfast", a sign which had inspired enthusiasm within Ginny, and fear within Remus. They had found themselves a booth near the back of the restaurant and a waitress wearing the scent of stale grease and cigarette smoke like a perfume took their orders. The weather outside the glass of the window was turning foul, and Ginny watched the sea of people with detached, almost scientific, interest.
"I don't understand you, Miss Weasley."
The confession did not surprise her – most men who had entered her life had uttered the same phrase to her in one form or another – and yet Ginny felt almost hurt, it coming from Remus. She toyed with the heavy spoon she had yet to use in her tea, eyes locked on the curve of the metal. "Oh?"
"You confuse me. You're intelligent, entirely too insightful for your own good, stunning and capable. Why are you living in a stuffy house, in a bad neighbourhood, writing terrible novels with me?"
Ginny looked up, realising that his admission was less a declaration of defeat and more a challenge he was setting himself. "You think highly of me, Professor."
"I do." Remus shrugged. "I don't think I'll ever know what's going on in that head of yours, or comprehend the logic you use, but I'm going to try damn hard to find out."
She smiled at him, and he very nearly dropped his menu because it was the first smile she had bestowed on him that had not been toothy, or purposely goofy or even deliberately disarming. It was a bright, sincere smile, and it shook him to his very core.
Thankfully, the waitress had returned, bearing Ginny's large plate of food and a bowl of soup for Remus. He peered across at what his companion was intent on eating, and swallowed nervously. She had decided on eggs, bacon, chips and beans – in that order. The egg was a pale thing, all wobbly and sullen, hiding under a cove made of chips. Ginny's bacon appeared to have been made extra, extra crispy and just adding the weight of his gaze made it snap in half. The beans and chips had an alliance of sorts, with neither encroaching the other's territory, and the balance of soggy beans and dry chips remained.
"Are you going to eat all that?" He asked worriedly.
"Of course I am!" She replied, twirling her fork like a professional. "There's nothing wrong with a good eggs, bacon, chips and beans."
"There are quite a number of things wrong with it, Ginny."
They had barely managed to take the first mouthful before a shadow fell upon their table. Carefully replacing the cutlery on to the plate, Ginny looked up. Neville Longbottom was standing in the aisle, effectively blocking it to both patrons and employees. Even though the weather was chilly (to say the least), Neville was wearing a skin-tight black shirt and a pair of jeans with no coat in sight. He was clenching and unclenching his fist as he stood there.
"Hello Neville!" Ginny said brightly. "Have a seat!"
Remus shifted immediately over so he was next to the window, pulling with him his soup and crackers. Neville sat down with much creaking and groaning from the leather seat. "Good afternoon, Ginny, Professor Lupin." He patted the older man on his shoulder, making him wince internally. "It's been an awfully long time since I last saw you, Ginny!"
Remus had decided that someone the dimensions of Neville and with as many bulging muscles as he now sported should not be talking so politely, or as intelligently.
She nodded in agreement. "I know, Neville. I'm afraid this meeting is only for business though." Ginny's face fell, and even Remus felt sad because of her expression, though after a second he realised that he was being rather manipulated, so he slurped his soup angrily. "We need you to run an errand for us."
"Oh? An errand? What sort of errand do you have that you need me to do it?" Neville asked curiously, turning a napkin continuously in his meaty hands. "It's not moving house, is it?"
"No, no, Neville." Ginny gave him a thousand-watt smile, replacing the napkin with her delicate hands. "We need you to scare someone for us."
His features clouded. "Oh, I don't know about that, Ginny. You know I like you – gosh, you even went out with me for a week! – but I don't want to get into trouble." His hands withdrew to his side of the table.
"Er, allow me?" Remus asked Ginny, who shrugged and brought a forkful of beans to her mouth. "A woman named Janine Gough bought my stolen briefcase, Mr. Longbottom. Miss Weasley and I retrieved the briefcase, only to discover that in the place of a very important document there was a great deal of money." He ripped open a packet of fake sugar and poured it into his tea. "What we need you -,"
"That stuff will kill you." Ginny interrupted, her right cheek bulging with food, like a squirrel. She swallowed her large mouthful. "It'll give you cancer."
"That's why I'm only using one packet of the fake sugar – or 'fugar', as I like to call it – and two packets of the real stuff." He replied acidly. "Anyway, Neville, what we need you to do is return the briefcase, with all the cash, and ask Janine very politely where my document is."
Neville nodded his understanding. Before he could ask a question, Ginny added: "And if she is not…forthcoming…with the information, feel free to shake the answer out of her."
The man looked conflicted. "Can I try not using violence? I'd really rather like to use non-violence."
Ginny rolled her eyes, but gave her permission. "I don't think it'll be nearly as effective, but as long as you get the draft back to us, I don't care." She nibbled on some of the bacon, and gave a loud, almost orgasmic sound. "Oh, god. Try some of this bacon, Remus."
"I don't like bacon."
"Ginny, Professor Lupin said he didn't like bacon…"
Remus' objections were for naught, as Ginny had climbed on to the table so she was kneeling in front of him, trying to insert the bacon into his closed lips. "Eat the bacon. It's insanely delicious."
He glared at her. Very carefully, slowly and clearly, he said: "No-mph!"
Having used his protest to her advantage, Ginny slid back to her chair and cleaned her fingers on the serviette. "See? It was well worth me feeding you."
Remus had to agree that the bacon was very delicious. He said nothing about the fact Ginny had just fed him using her fingers. Neville ordered himself some pie, which came piled high with ice cream and whipped cream and looked almost as bad for him as Ginny's meal. Ginny and Remus finished their tea and handed both Janine's business card, and the map Hermione had drawn to their employed muscle, and paid for their food. Outside it was bitterly cold, and Ginny found herself walking a half step behind Remus so that he sheltered her from most of the snow.
"What do we do now?" He asked her, trying to ignore the fact Ginny looked like she should be in snow always, with the wind teasing and threading her hair with snowflakes. He had his hands deep within his pockets, but had nothing interesting in them other than some lint and a dead lighter.
"I think we should go ice skating!" Ginny told him excitedly.
"I don't know any ice skating rinks, or any frozen lakes for that matter."
"Oh. True." She scrunched her face up in thought. "Feel like getting really drunk?"
The part of him that was a teacher, would always be a teacher, said that getting drunk with a former student was a terrible idea. However, the part of him that was cold and tired and somewhat depressed and just a little bit shorter than the other part of him said that getting drunk with Ginny was a fantastic idea. So he said yes.