Disclaimer: I own nothing that you recognise from any of the Harry Potter books, and I definitely don't own the game of Wink Murder, although I may have altered the rules slightly.
Becki's Note: Well, I hope you'll be kind. I was struck by an idea, even though I had no intention of writing a fanfic. I hope it is up to your standards.
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It was a warm September evening, and the light filtering through the common room windows was a dusky pink flecked with gold. Harry looked up as Hermione spoke, breaking the silence that had settled in their corner.
'Ron, do you think it'll be ready yet?'
Harry frowned. As far as he knew, there was nothing happening that night except for a lot of Transfiguration homework being rushed through. (Apart from Hermione's, of course: she had done hers in the library days ago.)
He was interrupted by Ron's answer.
'Yeah, we've given them plenty of time.'
'Good. Let's go then. Come on, Harry.'
'Come on!' said Ron impatiently. 'Are you really that desperate to do your homework? You'll be turning into Hermione any day now.'
'But I don't know…'
'Never mind' Hermione butted in. 'Just get a move on.'
'Oh, fine' Harry said, resigned to not knowing what the hell his best friends were talking about. 'I guess I'll find out soon enough.' He couldn't help wondering if Dobby had cooked up some 'amazing' surprise for him: a hand-knitted tea cosy maybe?
They walked for several minutes, not down the marble staircase leading to the entrance hall, but along the corridors of the seventh floor. At last, they came to the painting of Barnabas the Barmy. Harry's mind suddenly clicked.
'What? The Room of Requirements? Why do we want that? We only ever used it for the DA.'
'Exactly!' Hermione beamed.
'You'll see' she said, grinning at his bemused expression.
She walked forwards and backwards three times, muttering something incomprehensible under her breath. Suddenly, a door appeared where a picture of a rather bloated monk had been. She counted slowly to three, glanced at Ron, and flung open the door.
A wave of noise hit them as they stepped inside. At least a dozen people were shouting, screaming and cheering. Harry noticed that the room looked much as it had done the night that Umbridge had caught them, except for the banners that now adorned the walls. He strained to see one of them over the heads of the small crowd. It read 'Happy Birthday Harry!!'.
'What?' he yelled, trying to make himself heard. 'My birthday was months ago!'
'Yeah,' shouted a voice he recognised as Seamus's. 'But we thought you deserved a party even if it is late.'
Harry grinned. He would bet anything that this had been Hermione's idea.
'Shurrup all of you!' yelled Ron, his fingers now in his ears.
Finally everyone quietened down, and Harry was able to concentrate enough to see who had been making all the racket. There was Ginny, Luna (what looked like half a beetroot dangling form her ear), Hannah Abbot, Michael Corner (who kept glancing reproachfully at Ginny), Neville, Dean (glaring at Michael), Lavender and Parvati, close beside Padma and Cho, Colin and Dennis Creevey, Ernie Macmillan, Justin Finch-Fletchley, Anthony Goldstein, Terry Boot and, Harry was surprised to see, Zacharias Smith. The remaining members of the DA.
Harry felt he should say something, uncomfortable though he was at all this attention.
'Well, thanks for turning up, all of you, but I really…'
There was a collective sigh, and Cho said:
'Oh, shut up Harry. We came because we wanted to be here, and to wish you a happy birthday. Please don't go all humble on us, just enjoy yourself for once!'
Harry opened and shut his mouth. There was nothing he could really say to that. Amazingly, he noticed, he was able to answer Cho without blushing, stuttering, mumbling or making a fool of himself in any way. Neither did his stomach try to throw itself out of his mouth as he had become used to.
'Whatever you say. I can't argue with that.'
Ginny grinned evilly.
♠ * ♠
Several noisy, hyper, enjoyable hours later, most of the group were sitting around, sipping butterbeers or cold pumpkin juice, which Dobby had apparently provided for them. Harry grinned slightly as he thought that his first guess hadn't been that far off after all.
Parvati stood up.
'Right. Games. We've done enough dancing.'
A groan went around the room. Someone finally voiced everyone else's thoughts. It sounded suspiciously like Zacharias Smith.
'Not Truth or Dare, please! Everyone always plays Truth or Dare. I'm sick of it!'
'No. Not Truth or Dare. Wink Murder.'
About three faces in the group (Parvati's, Hermione's and Justin's) didn't immediately form expressions of confusion.
'Er…what's Wink Murder?' Hannah Abbot asked tentatively.
Luna answered her before Parvati had a chance to speak.
'It's a highly dangerous game in which muggle spies use laser vision to decapitate their unsuspecting enemies and…'
Parvati cut across her.
'No, Luna. It is a muggle game, but it does not involve decapitation or laser vision.'
Several people laughed in a relieved kind of way, and Parvati continued.
'Everyone has to stand in a circle, and one person leaves the room. They are called the Detective. One of the remaining people is selected to be the Murderer.'
It was pretty obvious that she had got the instructions from a Muggle Studies textbook, even though it wasn't one of her subjects for OWL.
'When the Detective comes back into the room, the Murderer has to wink at another player without being seen. That player then has to pretend to die. The Detective has three guesses in which to find out the identity of the Murderer. If he or she is correct, the Murderer then becomes the Detective.'
She paused and took a deep breath.
Most people nodded, but there were still a few confused faces, although some of these could have been caused by hearing what sounded eerily like Professor McGonagall's voice coming out of Parvati's mouth. Ginny decided to help her out.
'Well, I'm sure we'll pick it up as we go along. Any volunteers for the Detective?'
Harry glanced around, wondering whether anyone would dare try out one of Parvati's ideas, though he kept this thought to himself.
'I'll try it' said Luna, 'It sounds a good game to me, though they certainly stole the name, as I said earlier.'
As there were no other volunteers, they were forced to agree, although Harry couldn't help thinking that Luna was the sort of person who was least likely to stick to the rules. One thing was for sure: this was going to be an interesting game.
♠ * ♠
Becki's Note II: Please review: it would mean a lot to me. Don't be afraid to criticise, but please don't flame unless you have a genuine point to make. I will only update if I get reviews, as I see no point in writing for a non-existent audience. Thank you!