Disclaimer: I don't own anything but the plot!
Thank you so much Green… I need all the help I can get! Thanks to everyone who reviewed last time. See, I got this one up right away :o) I've been working hard!
-The Charm Bracelet-
Nothing out of the ordinary had happened since the beginning of the school year. Classes were the same as always. Familiar faces. Homework. Everything seemed how it should be, almost like Harry was living a normal, average life. Yes, the first few days of school had passed by rather uneventfully for Harry, with the exception Katie Bell coming up to him and Ginny Thursday evening, trying her hardest to look displeased, but her pleasure was obviously seeping through:
"Did you plan on telling me?" She asked, standing right in front of the fire ahead of them. Ginny closed her textbook and set it onto the table beside her.
"Um, tell you what?" He asked, a little frightened as she nearly pounced on him.
"That you're allowed to PLAY again!"
"Oh right. Well, I'm allowed to play again."
"No kidding! Ginny came to me this morning telling me that she was quitting. I almost had a panic attack!"
"I'm trying out for chaser." She rolled her eyes and leaned back into the couch. Katie disregarded her.
"Right. I just need you out on the pitch, five o'clock, next Wednesday. Both of you! Without you guys me and Ron are the only players left on the team!" She stood up straight and regal like, about to walk away, but her face split into a quick grin "But I'm glad you're back" And marched away.
"I wonder if I'd go nutters if I were quidditch Captain?" Ginny asked aloud as Katie made her way towards the dormitories.
"Seems to be the trend …" Harry smiled. "All right. Gin, we have to get tomorrow night figured out."
Ginny looked confused, her brow furrowing. "What's to figure out?"
"Well, we are about to become animagi," Harry said impatiently, watching the realization dawn on Ginny's face.
"Right, right. Well, if the fates are on our side and we don't have a detention-"
"-Don't Jinx it-"
"-We have to wait until the moon is high enough in the sky, and all the sunlight is completely gone; I'd say about 11:00."
"The only thing that we have to worry about is how we're going to get out without Ron and Hermione noticing."
"I've taken care of it" He grinned.
Harry lowered his voice, and leaned closer. "You take my invisibility cloak-"
"You have an invisibility cloak?!" She exclaimed, as Harry made shushing noises.
"Yes, yes. Be quiet, I don't want the whole common room to know." She murmured an apology. "So you take it tomorrow after class and leave it up in your dorm. Tell Ron or Hermione that you're going to bed around 10:00, and wait up there until about 10:30. Put on the clock, and come and get me from my dorm, I'll wait up for you and come out at about 10:45. Don't knock!"
"Wouldn't it be easier if you just come and got me? All the girls in my room will be sleeping by then."
"I can't get up the stairs."
"Oh right. Ok, so you'll be out at 10:45."
"And no-one in your dorm will miss you."
"I'll just pile my pillows under my sheets. They wouldn't 'wake me up'"
"Well then," She said, turning away from Harry and towards the fire, a mischievous glint in her eyes. "Sounds like a plan."
Ginny slipped the invisibility cloak around her shoulders, still in awe. She had never actually worn one of them before. She knew that Tonks had one, but it wasn't nearly as fine as this, with delicate looking silver fabric that Ginny was almost afraid to touch. Silently making her way out of her room and down the stairs where she could see many people who were still awake (Like her brother and Hermione, who were playing chess in the corner)
Still as quiet as possible, she climbed the stairs of the boy's dorms. She passed the first and second years rooms without running into anyone, though when she reached the third landing, she nearly ran into Dean and Seamus who were speaking with one-another in low tones, slowly making their way down to the common room.
"-Hasn't been in a good mood since the beginning of the year, I have no idea what I did to him …"
"Well, he is under a lot of stress and stuff. We both know what happened-"
" 'S not that. He seems perfectly civil to you, Ron and Neville-"
"Him and Ron are best friends… and Neville and him seem pretty tight-"
"Ron's acting like a prick too-"
"Well you did date his sister. Remember last year when we were trying to figure out who the prettiest girl in our house was? He nearly had a conniption fit when you mentioned Ginny. Not that I disagree…"
Ginny felt her cheeks start to heat. And instead of continuing up the stairs to meet Harry, she followed Dean and Seamus to the second landing where they had stopped walking to continue their conversation. Besides, she still had at least ten minutes.
"-Fine, Ron I understand, Harry though …"
"Well, I don't know. Maybe you just caught him at a bad moment."
"I walked in- He glared." Dean raised his eyebrows.
"I don't know mate. Sorry." Seamus shrugged and headed down the stairs. Ginny turned, and slowly made her way upwards, but stopped suddenly when Dean whipped his head around and looked directly where she was standing. He examined the area a bit, then shrugged it off and follow his friend to the common room. Ginny let out a sigh of relief before carefully making her way back up to the third year landing.
Harry was just closing the door to his dorm, with the book clutched in his hands protectively.
"Ginny?" He whispered. "If you're here, take the cloak off"
She revealed her head directly beside him (Which made him gasp and jump back) and grinned. "This thing is so cool!"
He chuckled a bit while she took the cloak off and handed it to him. "Thanks", he said, tucking the book into one of the inside pockets. He glanced outside to see that the sun had completely set, before beckoning her over. She didn't realize right then that she would have to share the cloak with Harry: Very close together.
She moved next to him and he threw it over her shoulders, letting it fall round her. Their heads were still visible from the neck up, and to Harry's obvious displeasure, so were their feet.
"Damn." He tried rearranging the cloak so it would cover them completely, but it seemed that the cloak had not been made for more than one person (Though it was very roomy when Ginny had snuck up a few minutes earlier.) The finally compromised on Ginny Standing directly in front of Harry, while he crouched al little, so his head was only an inch or two above her own. This made getting down the stairs again nearly impossible.
Snaking through the common room, where many students still were, Ginny realized another possible problem. How where they going to get out?
Before she could even voice this to Harry, Someone opened the portrait from the other side, and Harry lightly pushed hr shoulders, willing her to move out quickly. The portrait shut behind them, and, from what she could feel Harry was looking around to see if anyone was near. She turned to face him, but he just nodded his head towards the end of the corridor, telling her to keep going.
It's wasn't easy getting all the way down to the entrance hall. Ms. Norris had been crouching behind a suit of armor and dashed out when they passed. Moments latter (For Harry had whispered into her ear to stay still until he was sure it was clear) she returned, with Filch wheezing in her wake. He took a careful look around before returning to whatever he had been doing before. Harry once again pushed her gently, leading her to the Entranceway.
Finally, after finding their way to the enormous oak doors without being caught, Harry pulled something out from under his robes (With great difficulty, it seemed)
"I solemnly swear I'm up to no good." He murmured, before tapping his wand to an old looking sheet of parchment. A map that she had only seen once before appeared right before her eyes. "Coast's clear," He said, but didn't put the map away. "Com'on, we'd better go now, before someone comes."
Ginny nodded, checking that her feet were covered by the cloak entirely, and (Following Harry's lead) Pushed open one of the large doors in front of her, just enough so that the two of them could slip out.
"Where now?" She asked. Harry grinned, pointing towards the forest. "Are you insane! The creatures that live in there would eat us alive!"
"No, they won't. We wont go to far in, only a few hundred meters." Ginny rolled her eyes. A few hundred meters was still quite a ways in.
"Fine. Ok, lets go!" She said, tugging the cloak tightly around them. They made their way slowly (But quicker than when they had been in the castle) Towards the Forbidden forest. She pushed some of the thicker underbrush out of her way, Before Harry said (In a voice that for the first time that night had not been in a whisper)
"We can take the cloak off now." She unwrapped herself form the invisibility cloak, and felt a sudden sense of coldness where Harry's hands had been on her shoulders. They kept walking further into the forest, where the brush on the ground wasn't nearly as dense, but it was nearly impossible to see the sky with the solid blanket of branches and leaves above them. Harry paused for a minute, looking around. Ginny was scared for a second that they had become lost, but he nodded, "This way," And grabbed her wrist (Quite to her pleasure)
They came across a small meadow, no more than an acre of flat grass and smaller plants. Harry turned and smiled at her, "This is it."
At first, Ginny was lost for words. She couldn't believe it, she was about to do something that was so illegal, and if she got caught she had no doubt that she would be expelled. But at the same time, it was so exciting. She, Ginny Weasley, was about to become an Animagi.
"Ready?" Harry asked, still grinning, but a bit nervously now. She nodded, returning the smile. "Ok." He pulled the book from the invisibility cloak, and then gingerly folded it up and set it on a fallen log. Ginny scampered over towards him as he flipped through the pages finding the incantations that they had tried (and failed) to memorize.
"So we just say it together-" She nodded "-And then-"
"-Close your eyes, and continue to chant the last line over and over, and you will feel the effects of the potion that we took this morning before sunrise working starting in your head and eventually moving through your body, blah, blah, blah. We have memorized this, Harry. Now lets get it over with!"
He looked stunned. They had started brewing the potion only four days ago, but had been getting the ingredients together for nearly three weeks, and more than one made up excuse for Tonks to pick up odd ingredients for potions ("You need eye of newt? I didn't even know that wizards still used eye of newt … I don't know how your mother could have forgotten that while she was shopping..."). It had been an extremely complicated mixture, the only real positive side was that it was brewed quickly: but the side effects of the smallest mistake could be irreversible. Harry had somehow convinced her to do the brewing, telling her that if he did it, they might never change back to human form. He was joking of course, but Ginny couldn't help worrying that somehow she had managed to mess it up and poison them both.
"Impatient much?" he asked, shaking his head, "Ok fine let's start. Ready?"
"I said I was." She had anxious little butterflies growing in her stomach. He opened the book widely, holding it up so they could both see it. He pulled out a miniature compass, and turned steadily, so he was facing due west. Ginny followed.
"Can you see it?" He asked quietly regarding the book. The moonlight was light enough so Ginny could read the words clearly, and nodded. "Good, ready?"
"Stop asking me that!"
"Sorry, Sorry." He obviously didn't really mean it. He looked just as nervous as Ginny felt, but gave her a supportive smile anyway. Then, doing something that was completely unexpected; He grabbed her hand. "Ok … Here it goes." She took a deep breath, not sure what to expect:
"En er det andre
det andre er en Ser hva som det ser
Føler seg hva som det føler
seg er hva det erEn er det andre"
She felt her head going light, sort of tingling. She couldn't think of anything, and didn't even notice when Harry dropped her hand.
"En er det andre"
Slowly the tingling spread to her neck and shoulders, then her chest and abdomen and all down her legs.
"En er det andre"
It was becoming hard to think straight, so she decided that she might as well not think at all. The only thing that she could concentrate on was:
"En er det andre"
"En er det andre"
Her voice was mixing with Harry's as she chanted. She didn't know if anything was happening, but she didn't open her eyes.
"En er-" but the words didn't all come out; she was no longer able to speak.
But that didn't come out either.
And for some reason, she wanted to run up a tree…
And then it hit her. She'd done it; She had become and Animagi. But, she didn't know what. She looked around, able to see things in the dark much better than she had a few minutes ago. A sound on her left made her head snap towards it, and her body to crouch down in caution instinctively.
Staring back at her was a very powerful looking wolf.
She jumped back, and the wolf cocked his head as if it were amused, but remained sitting calmly only three feet away from her. A little embarrassed by her initial reaction to run away, Ginny flicked her tail in annoyance, and showed her claws to prove that she was capable of handling herself.
Of course, she didn't realize until after she had done this that she indeed had claws to show, and a tail to flick. Looking down, instead of hands she had to very feline looking paws that were striped ginger and white, and a soft tail that she unconsciously tucked around her legs. She blinked, and twitched her ears: She was a cat.
Feeling a sudden burst of energy, she jumped up, and pranced around Harry playfully. He gave her she was assumed was a 'wolfish grin,' and stood up, stretching his newly formed hindquarters, and waging his tail. He looked around, inspecting himself, not paying attention to the active feline in front of him. Deciding that he was no fun she scampered across the clearing, finding it easy to move nimbly through the underbrush with impeccable precision.
Though, she only amused herself with this for so long, before an equally excited wolf was chasing her.
Harry didn't know how long they stayed out playing in the dark. If he hadn't been part wolf, a game such as chasing a cat around a clearing would seem extremely trivial and pointless: But when he was a wolf- it was fun.
It was an odd feeling, being something other than a human, but at the same time, it felt natural. He could still think for himself: and if he wanted too, could probably walk into the Gryffindor common room without the sudden urge to attack anyone, But … There were all these new thought and feelings in him. Instincts. He wanted to run, he wanted to play.
But after an hour or so of running and playing, the human in him was getting tired. However, changing back to human was another challenge all on its own.
The book said that you just had to will yourself to be human: But he just didn't know what that meant. There were pages and pages of things to remember while turning back to a human, and Harry had memorized them fine, but now that he was in the position, he really didn't know what it meant. He closed his eyes and concentrated hard on, well, himself: The human Harry.
When he opened his eyes, he was standing on two legs again.
A little ginger cat was sitting at his feet calmly. She looked up at him with steady yellow eyes, a bit confused.
"Uhh, Just close your eyes and think about being, erm, you" Harry was sure that if she still had eyebrows they would be raised in disbelief, but, she closed her eyes, and seconds later her catlike features changed back into human.
"That was so wicked!" She said excitedly.
"I know." He said sitting back on the log he had left the invisibility cloak on wearily. It was extremely dark now, the only light coming from the moon. Ginny sat beside him.
"May I see the book?" She asked. He pulled it from the cloak, and handed it to her. Muttering 'lumos' under her breath, she started to flip through to the pages that they had both looked over together.
"'Wolf: often associated with a person who will put their friends in front of themselves-" She grinned, "'-The key features of the wolf are strength, honestly and loyalty to their pack.' Hmm, Harry. It sounds like you to me." He took the book away from her, and flipped back a few pages.
"Small Cat/House Cat: Will have an undeniable streak of independence, but still a love for company, with many friends. A cunning or mischievous personality-" Ginny laughed, "-With a calm exterior, as well as a talented debater. A perfect match, I'd say."
"Why thank you Mister Potter." She chuckled, stretching her back in a feline way, "It was weird, wasn't it? I mean, after the initial shock of not having fingers and being covered in fur …"
"Yea, I know... It took me forever to figure out what I was."
"Me too! I was thinking that I mixed the potion wrong or something." She stretched her arms behind her neck, sighing slightly.
"It was perfect." He said, not just about the potion, but the whole night. It had just been … amazing.
"Yea…" He sat in the dark for a few moments keeping relatively silent, mulling over what had just happened in his head. The fact that he had done it was overwhelming: He, Harry Potter had become an Animagi.
"Think that Ron and Hermione will be mad?" She asked eventually. Harry's mind had coincidently been on just that. He couldn't see either of them taking it well. Hermione would be very unhappy that they broke the law for no good reason, and Ron would likely be offended that they did this without him.
"Are we going to tell them?"
"Do you want to?"
"Do you want to?"
"I asked you first," He said childishly.
She sat up straighter on the log, and looked thoughtfully at the moon ahead of them. "We should."
"Well, obviously. But do you want to?"
She didn't answer for a few minutes, but sat in silence again. "I don't really know."
Mulling it over in his mind as well, Harry couldn't find any good reason to tell them. But, deep down he knew that if they had done something like this without him he would be really hurt.
This was different some how. Really, He hadn't spent a lot of time with them lately. They were probably off doing things without him all the time that he would never know about, nor care about, because he was doing something elsewhere with Ginny.
A few minutes passed without any talking.
"We should go back," Ginny said, not making any attempt to move.
They continued to sit in silence, looking out into the clearing, watching the breeze gently play with the delicate wild grasses that grew there. That plus the fact that he was in the company of a beautiful young woman left him no desire to go back to the school. Next to him Ginny shifted slightly into a more comfortable position so her back was leaning on a large tree behind her, and her legs were curled. Her scarlet hair fell gracefully down her back and around her face, which she gently pushed out of her eyes and behind her ears. She was breathing lightly, lost in her own thoughts. She was gorgeous.
"Yea. Ok," She seemed to come out of her trance like state, and turned towards him offering a resigned smile. Pushing herself up with a smooth sort of poise, she offered her hand to him, which he took gratefully, and retrieved his invisibility cloak and book that had been nestled under the deadfall carefully. "It'll be easier to get back this time." She commented while he pulled it around him, shooting her a puzzled look. As if reading his thoughts, she transformed into the elegant cat, and leapt effortlessly into his arms, enabling him to wrap the cloak comfortable around them both.
He raised his eyebrows. This could be useful.
"Did you hear me? Checkmate!"
"I've beat you: Again. Has the infamous Ronald Weasley, Lord of the Chessboard, finally met his match?" She threw up her hands in a very silly way, emphasizing each word she said. Normally Ron loved it when Hermione would fall into one of her silly attitudes, but he was still fuming over the lost chess game.
"Hardly." He said coolly, believing that Hermione was enjoying defeating him far too much. She grinned cheekily in a way that he had only ever seen his sister do; some form of twisted pleasure and self-satisfaction.
"Deny it all you want, I have witnesses." She gestured over her shoulder at no one in particular.
"Whatever," He rolled his eyes and crossed his arms tightly across his chest pouting slightly.
"You're just a sore loser. You made some really stupid moves too. Must be off your game tonight." She said wickedly, though after hearing herself say it out loud, she asked him in a slightly concerned voice, "You're ok, right?"
"I'm fine." He said still pouting. It was true; he had been off his game tonight. Every time he tried to concentrate on a move, she would somehow distract him. It was enough to drive a man to insanity.
"Alright." She said, beginning to put her pieces away in an orderly fashion, trying to hide a smile when one of her knights told her how magnificent she has played. She closed her box, and looked up at him, Cinnamon eyes shining. "What do you want to do now?"
Look at you.
"I dunno. We could go see what Harry's doing." He said, shifting to a more comfortable position.
"He went to bed."
"Her too. Honestly Ron, you were here when she announced it." She rolled her eyes in good humour.
"Right, right." He sighed. It was already 11:20, and the common room had cleared out mostly with the exception of a few of the more nocturnal students who were lazily sitting by the fire, or doing work at one of the tables. "I'm hungry."
"Your always hungry."
"Lets go to the kitchens." He was already standing up, willing to go without her. He was expecting a fight, or at least a 'Ron, its late' or a 'Ron! We can't go sneaking around the corridors; we might get caught!' And was more than stunned with her:
"We are prefects, after all. We can do that." She pointed out, standing up and stretching her back. He continued to stare at her in disbelief. "Ron?"
"Com'on, lets go." Hermione walked towards the portrait hole, looking behind her to make sure that he was following.
"Right. Kitchens" He followed her out of the common room, and found himself moments later waiting at the top of the landing for a staircase to come their way. Meandering towards the kitchens they didn't speak much, but moved quickly with some unknown importance.
"Is it the pineapple?" Hermione asked on their arrival, staring at the bowl of fruit painting in front of her, with her head cocked to the side a little.
"Pear," He reached over her shoulder, and tickled it with two fingers. It began to giggle at first, and then positively shake with laughter, before turning into a wooden doorknob. Upon entering the kitchen, Ron was greeted with many courteous smiles and, 'What can we get for you, Master?' but couldn't fail to notice that the houselves smiles faded slightly when they spotted Hermione, and most of them went back to work, muttering under their breath.
"Mr. Wheezy!" To his left a happy Dobby was bouncing on the balls of his feet, waving at him enthusiastically. "You has come to visit us? And you, Miss!"
"Hi, Dobby." Hermione said from behind him, her brow furrowed, probably looking at all the woolen elf-clothes that he was wearing.
"What can Dobby get you? Tea? Sweets?" He asked quickly, and Ron put his hands together greedily.
"Do you have Butterbeer, and maybe some chocolates?" He watched Hermione out of the corner of his eye, expecting her to protest him bossing Dobby around, but she just pursed her lips, and crossed her arms, staying silent.
"Yes, Mr. Wheezy, sir. In just one minute, sir. You can sit by the fire, if you would like." Ron nodded, smiling, and made his way over to the squishy couch by the fire, Hermione following him a few seconds later, still looking displeased. "Oh, come on, Hermione. They like to work!"
"Its still slavery. Its not like they're getting paid."
"Look, Hermione … WOW! THE KITCHEN'S HERE ARE SURE AMAZING. HOGWARTS MUST HAVE THE BEST BLOODY FOOD IN THE WORLD!" He said very loudly, with Hermione 'tutting' beside him.
"Ron! Don't yell," But he pointed over the couch at all the houselves, who were now wearing very pleased and bashful smiled, looking at one another modestly.
"See, they're proud to make food, Hermione. They love serving us. You could do them a big favor and just tell them how much you appreciate them, and then let them work." She looked at him open mouthed for a minutes, processing what he had said. Guess I finally got through to her, Ron thought smugly before Dobby and one other elf returned with six bottles of butterbeer and a pile of chocolaty sweets.
"Its still wrong …" She mumbled under her breath, before thanking both elves politely.
"Wow, thanks!" He said enthusiastically, the house elf accompanying Dobby bowed low, and hopped away, but Dobby took a seat in a squashy armchair next to Hermione.
"How is Mr. Harry Potter, Miss? He hasn't come to see me yet." He said with a concerned voice. Hermione looked as if she didn't know how to answer that.
"Well, he's-erm- very busy. He's in many NEWT classes, you know."
"Yes, Harry Potter is a great Wizard. He is very bright."
"But I suppose that he's alright. I'll tell him to come see you some time soon, Ok?" Dobby's face lit up.
"Yes! Yes Dobby would like that very much, Miss. But Dobby must get back to work now. Thank you for coming to see Dobby!" He jumped up, still happy, and made his way over to a group of houselves preparing something else.
"See," Ron said, his mouth full of chocolate, "They're easily satisfied." Hermione just nodded and took a swig of her butterbeer.
"I didn't ask him how Winky was." She said in a mournful tone. Ron looked around, and other than Dobby's ruffled appearance, all the houselves were wearing neat tea towels with the Hogwarts stamp across them.
"She isn't here. Maybe she's cleaning or something," He shrugged, reaching for a chocolate cup cake from the pile. Hermione looked at her bottle.
"Maybe." She sighed, leaning back and looking at the fire. "But it just doesn't make sense."
"Dobby's so happy to be free, and she thinks that it's like the ultimate sin."
"To a houself, it is. And I wouldn't compare Dobby to other houselves as if he's the norm…" He smiled.
"Yea," She laughed a bit, reaching for a brownie, and didn't continue to speak of it. Ron noticed that she still looked concerned. Not that it was an unusual thing for her to be all caring and stuff; Ron had witnessed it himself hundreds of times. Each time they got a paper back in Potions she would look at her mark first, but wouldn't lose her anxious look until after she found out if Ron and Harry passed as well.
"You wanna go back to the common room? We can take all this stuff with us." He said, signaling the four unopened butterbeer bottles and sweets.
She nodded, "Yea, alright," and tucked the bottles into her robes, leaving the chocolate for Ron.
For what felt like the hundredth time that night, Nymphadora Tonks, Auror extraordinaire, two years of intense defense training, able to take out three death eaters twice her age checked herself out in the mirror- letting out a frustrated growl.
Time for a mental checklist:
Breath: (She cupped her hand over her mouth) Minty fresh
She seemed fine.
"Tonks, Tonks, Tonks. You look gorgeous." She jumped to see a very smug looking Charlie Weasley leaning on her doorframe, arms crossed over his chest, "Actually, far to gorgeous for my older brother. Who ya' ditching him for?"
"You think?" She disregarded the last comment, but examined her outfit self-consciously. He started chuckling, inviting himself to come in and sit at the end of her bed.
"Yes. Wonderful. You shouldn't be so worried about it. For god's sakes, its only Bill…"
"Shut up!" She said mock offended.
"Pfft" he started chuckling softly to himself. Ignoring him, she turned back to the mirror. Maybe it's my hair ... (Which was long, brown and curly) Willing herself to change, it was in a trendier looking cut, shaggy and falling around her face.
He was still giggling quietly on the bed.
"What!?" He began to laugh hysterically, falling back.
"Oh man, Tonks…" He said through fits of laughter, "You've got it bad!"
"I'm just saying … You must really like my brother."
"I don't! I just don't like to look like crap."
"Mmhmm, Whatever. You were never like this in school …"
"I'm not like anything!"
"You are! I can read you like a book Nympha-"
"-Dora. You like him … A lot."
"So what if I do?" She pouted, crossing her arms, and sitting next to him.
"Well … That would be cool." He grinned patting her on the shoulder and standing up, "Just, no funny business under this roof. At least when I'm around."
"Well, I'm just saying-"
"Hey Tonks! Are you ready to go?" A voice called from down the hall.OhmygodOhmygodOhmygo-
"Breathe." Charlie grinned.
"Uhh … Yea!" She called. "I'll be there in a sec."
"Asshole! I'm leaving. Have fun being home. All alone. All lonely here-" He pulled her into a tight hug.
"Have fun, Love. I'm going to the bar, expect me home around, I don't know, midnight."
"Why would I care when you got home, Charlie?" She asked innocently, skipping out of the room, catching his wink.
"-What do you mean, 'We don't have a reservation for Weasley?' I called days ago."
"I'm sorry monsieur, but I an unable to find your name on de list…" The snobby looking maître de said in a firm (and clearly fake) French accent, looking at Bill with some form of displeasure.
"Well, let me take a look then." He pulled the clipboard away from the man (Mildly surprised) and examined it. "Its right here!"
"I am sorry monsieur, erm, Wesley"
"Weasley!" He could hear Tonks giggling in the background
"I beg your pardon. We shall have a table for you in 'alf an 'our. You are welcome to stay in de waiting area, or order drinks in at de-"
"Drinks. Please." He said, Tonks was attempting to contain laughter, obviously trying her hardest to maintain a lady like manner.
"Right this way," He nodded for them to follow him into a dimly lit bar area with tall stools and elegant looking décor.
"Whoa…' He heard Tonks murmur impressed, allowing himself to grin. It had been his goal, of course, to impress her.
"You like?" He inquired taking a seat next to her on the tall bar stools. She merely nodded, looking around.
"Whoa…" She said again, giggling. He ordered their drinks, and for the next half hour, they talked about pretty general things: Friends; Music; Quidditch; The usual.
But the conversation landed on rather uncomfortable territory before too long…
"So, How is work?" She inquired politely, taking a sip of her of drink. Work. Oh man. If it wasn't for the fact that he had to see his ex-girlfriend every day, it might be all right … But the sad truth was- He did. Every single day they had to work together, in the same corridors, just them and some very awkward (and hateful on Fleur's part) glances. She was now not asking him questions (even though, in reality he had more power over her) but giving demands … It was bloody tiring.
But he wasn't about to tell a potential love interest that, so he settled on a simple shrug, and, "Work. What about you, being back at good ol' Hogwarts… Bet you never thought that you would set foot in that place again."
"I didn't." She started to laugh, "Ever. I think that McGonagall almost passed out when she found out…"
"Well, Bill. I wasn't exactly a model student … You should know that!" She grinned.
"Oh trust me, those are some memories that I probably couldn't let go of even if I tried…"
"Pfft. Like what!" She rolled her eyes in a playful way, challenging him.
"Well, remember that time …"
It was already 1:30, and Bill was nearly done his essay for Emergency Healing Charms. No wizard could go without knowing these inside out: The Dark lord's power was growing rapidly. Nearly everyday someone was called out of class to be told that a friend, Loved one, family member, or in the case of Christian Bones, entire families had been killed. They were at war.
Massaging his temples slightly, he rolled his parchment neatly and tucked it into his bag. Somehow, he thought that he would eventually gather enough strength to make it up to his room (One of the biggest perk of being head boy- You get your own room) but right now, sitting in front of a warm fire suited him just fine-
CRASH! Bill leapt up, pulling out his wand, prepared to attack.
"TONKS!" A hushed whisper came from behind the portrait hole, "Are you ok?"
"Fine, fine. Oh no! I dropped the-"
"What are you doing out so late?" He demanded, tucking his wand back into his robes, relieved. A small girl with a pretty face, and a guilty grin stood before him along side his brother, with an equally guilty smile.
"Nothing" they said together automatically. Both of them, he noted, were covered head to tow with red and yellow paint, and Tonks was hiding something behind her back.
"Don't lie …" He folded his arms across his chest. Charlie looked nervous, darting his eyes at the girl next to him, who shrugged helplessly, then sighed.
"I guess there's no use hiding it from you, Bill …" Charlie opened his eyes wide, elbowing her in the ribs (still keeping his hands behind his back) murmuring something like 'shut up' through his teeth. Tonks just hung her head in a mournful manner, "We were off snogging in one of Flich's broom cupboards."
Bill looked over them once. Tonks was still hanging her head in embarrassment, and Charlie looked stunned, taking the smallest step away from her. Nope. Would never happen.
"Yea, nice try. Accio" He summoned whatever they were hiding behind their backs. Instantly, six empty paint cans came flying towards him, and landed neatly at his feet. Tonks looked defeated, and pouted, stomping her foot. Charlie looked mad that his plot had been frustrated.
"Billy!" he whined, "You take the fun out of life …"
"What were you doing with these?" He asked, reading the label on one of the cans (Esters all-purpose house paint. Guaranteed to paint any surface imaginable, including wood, brick, walls, water, air and most gelatin desserts.)
"Just a little … Artistic flare to lighten the school up a touch." She said innocently, though her eyes, half hidden from strands of shoulder length brown hair that were unable to stay in her hair-tie, and now falling across her guilty face, were still blazing with mischief.
"Uh huh. And would this 'artistic flare' have anything to do with a prank pulled on, lets say, the Slytherins', perhaps?" He asked, vanishing the cans one by one. They both looked away.
"Charlie, aren't you a prefect?"
"What would give you that idea?" Charlie asked in what sounded like an attempt to be offended. Bill raised his eyebrows, and pointed at the little "P" badge that was pinned securely to his little brother chest. "Oh, well that thing. Isn't mine, can't think of whose it would be…"
"And what makes you think that we did anything to the Slytherins?" Tonks asked.
"You denied it, first. You only used Gryffindor coloured paint, for another, and you both look so guilty that you would put any convict to shame." Tonks looked down, scrunching her eyebrows together and looking serious for a second, but looked up again with the same shamefaced expression.
"Is that all?"
"Well, no …" He said, thinking hard, "But … That's what I would have done. However-" He said as an afterthought, "-I sure as hell would have a better excuse than yours. That was weak, children, weak! Have I taught you nothing?"
There was a moment of stunned silence.
"Erm … Sorry?" Tonks offered, shrugging. Bill couldn't contain it any longer, he started to laugh, and was quickly joined by Charlie, then Tonks…
"Go to bed …" He said, "But, If they some how trace it back to you, I saw nothing! Right? Wouldn't look to good having the Head boy letting you get away with pranks like that…"
He winked at them, and wandered up the stairs, hearing Tonks proclaim, "Charlie, your brother is the coolest!"
"Oh yea!" She said enthusiastically, laughing, "That was great! I don't think that they ever found out it was us!"
Bill nodded, still chuckling to himself- but not before noticing how pretty Tonks' laugh was. It's … real. He though to himself, knowing that he wasn't making sense. But it was true. It wasn't a laugh that was forced, or made up, or perfect. It was just … real.
"Monsieur?" The maître de was back, bowing his head slightly towards a newly set table near the window, "Your table is ready."
"Thanks," He inclined his head slightly, standing and offering Tonks his arm. In a fake accent that could have rivaled the maître de's asked, "Mademoiselle, may I accompany you to our seats?"
She laughed her very real laugh again, and said, "Why Monsieur, I would be delighted!"
And linking her arm into his, they happily made their way to the chicly set table ahead of them.
Some how Harry had found his way back to the portrait hole without getting spotted by a single person. But now he was faced with another challenge.How the bloody hell am I supposed to get back in?
Ginny obviously sensed his panic because she dug her claws into his upper arm, and looked up at him sourly.
"Just a minor glitch, Gin. Nothing to worry about." He whispered.
Minor glitch. Right. How am I going to do this? I can't take the cloak off and just walk in there, everyone things that I'm up in my dorm asleep, but I can't just say the password and walk in there while I'm still invisible, because people will wonder what made the portrait hole open by itself. And I-
The small cat in his arms suddenly grew much heavier, and jumped down. "What's the matter?" She demanded, quietly.
"We ca-" but he cut himself off at the sound of voices and footsteps approaching from the end of the corridor. Instinctively, Harry pulled her under the cloak, covering her mouth with his hand. She bit him, of course, but stayed quiet.
"-And McGonagall, I though that she was going to explode when Seamus' desk started to bark-"
"-Well, he had tried the spell three times. I guess it was better that that poor Hufflepuffs, though. His still had fur!"
"Its Ron and Hermione!" He hissed into Ginny's ear. She nodded, backing up into him more, and looking down to check if their feet were showing. Harry stiffened at the physical contact, but relaxed and ducked down a bit as His friends rounded the corner.
"Do you know what time it is?" Hermione asked, holding a bottle of butterbeer in her right hand, and checking her left for a non-existent watch.
"No clue. We've been gone for about an hour, I'd say 12:30." Harry checked his watch, which read 12:47.
"What were they doing?" Ginny said wickedly under her breath, and Harry suppressed a laugh.
"Ginny, when they open the portrait hole, we have to sneak in right behind them, ok?" He felt her nodding.
"Cleansweep. Ron, you aren't aloud to come up with the password anymore." Hermione said, when Ron raised his eyebrows.
"I think that it was very intelligent!" he said pompously, following her into the common room. Harry and Ginny took this opportunity to dash in quietly. Ron was unloading pocketfuls of sweets onto a table, and Hermione pulled out a few more bottles of butterbeer. They were still conversing, though now quieter, about their transfiguration lesson earlier that afternoon.
"Harry." Ginny said very quietly while they were laughing. "We only have one cloak…"
"How am I going to get back up to my dorm?" Harry pondered about it for a moment, and realized that maybe he hadn't though this plan out quite as well as should have.
He shrugged. "We could wait until they go to bed," But he was drowned out by another burst of laughter. To him disappointment, they both looked wide-awake. "Or we could climb up to my dorm, and then you could turn into a cat and go back downstairs."
"Kay, lets go." She said, willing him to move forwards, and slowly up towards Harry's dorm.
They made it to the second landing before it seemed Ginny said that she would risk transforming, and sneaking back to her room.
"Mmhmm. We'll work on it tomorrow, right? Like, running around as a cat and wolf, seeing all the mischief that we can get into... all that good stuff?"
"Yes! I haven't had so much fun in a long time," He tucked his invisibility cloak under his arm. She grinned widely.
"Good! I'll see you in the morning."
"Of course." They stood looking at each other for a second, and then deciding that was to awkward, he looked down at her knees then the stairs, then the faded light from the common room, then back at Ginny, who was looking at him.
"Umm…" She started in a hushed, turning her head towards the stairs, "…I guess I should … go to-uh-bed."
"Yea." He said in an equally quiet voice. He could feel his heart beating a million times in a second, mentally slapping himself. Potter, Come on! You have faced Lord Voldemort for Gods' sake. This is just a girl. A very pretty girl. Very, very-
"So, good night." She said brightly, turning and taking a step towards the stairs, obviously bracing herself to change into a cat. It was now or never.
"Ginny-" He reached out and touched her shoulder. She whipped her head quickly around looking startled, and stepping into it (Which caused them to be about a foot away from each other) on guard. Quickly cupping his hand on her cheek, and leaning down a few inches, he placed his lips on hers in a soft kiss.
It was over before it began, and only a second later, he pulled back, feeling his cheeks heat up.
"Erm. Yes, well … Good night, Gin." He murmured into her ear, before dashing up the stairs towards his room. But in the back of his mind, he thought that he heard a soft little voice behind him say:
"Good night, Harry."
Well, I got that up a lot quicker than my last one! Phew. That's my longest chapter yet! Please let me know if you liked it?!
Suzanne (Who asked what happened to Fleur) Its back a few chapters. colorado_chick- Good girl, that's a lot to read in one sitting. Soph and Doxie- Thanks for the nice reviews, and Bella, thank you so much for your support! Its true, though! (Btw, being a month today, she's starting to slowly move on with normal life, as much as she can- that is.)
By the way- I was surfing the Net for a few pictures, and I found these… (In my mind) this is what Harry and Ginny look like in their Animagi Form :o)
Harry's Animagi Animagi you enjoyed!