Title: Nocturne in Green and Gold

Author: Shannon/Raindrops on Roses

Rating: G
Category: Vignette

Spoilers: None.

Disclaimer: This story is based on characters and situations created and owned by JK Rowling, various publishers including but not limited to Bloomsbury Books, Scholastic Books and Raincoast Books, and Warner Bros., Inc. No money is being made and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended.


Nocturne:
1. A painting of a night scene.
2. An instrumental composition of a pensive, dreamy mood, especially one for the piano.

She sat up in bed and threw the covers aside. She could not sleep. Standing, she threw on her robe and silently crept out of the dormitory. Where she was headed, she did not know.

She hurried down the stairs and through the empty common room. The fire was banked, giving off a warm, dark red glow. She slipped out of the portrait hole, taking care not to wake the Fat Lady.

She walked to the end of the vast corridor. Left or right? Impulsively, she turned left, toward the Astronomy Tower.

Climbing the staircase to the top of the tower, she observed the portraits on the walls. Most were sleeping at this time of night, but a few greeted her wordlessly.

Stepping out onto the bare stones of the Astronomy Tower, she shivered. She wrapped her bright yellow robe around her and tucked her hands in her pockets. She leaned her head back to look at the stars. It was a clear winter night, and the heavens went on for eternity. Her normally bookish nature seemed to have gone on holiday; instead of picking out individual constellations, she simply enjoyed the star-spattered canvas of the sky.

"Good evening, Miss Granger," a low voice sounded behind her. She tensed, then forced herself to relax.

"Professor Snape," she nodded. "It's a beautiful night, isn't it?"

"Indeed. Tell me, Miss Granger, what is the Head Girl doing out of bed at," he paused, and she supposed he was checking his watch, "one forty-five in the morning?"

"Not awaiting a rendezvous, if that's what you're thinking, Professor," she said, lips turning up at the corners. "No student in her right mind would come up here for a romantic interlude. It's freezing."

"Five points for your cheek, Miss Granger," he said idly. They stood in silence, staring up at the stars.

"Have you ever wondered what it would be like to touch a star?" she asked.

"I assume it would be rather hot," he replied dryly.

She had no idea why she was speaking to him, of all people, like this, but she continued. "I used to dream that I climbed into the sky and pulled a star down for a keepsake. It always felt cold to the touch; cold and hard, like a diamond." She doubted he cared. Perhaps that was why it was so easy to speak like this.

"Starlight has always contained magical qualities. If one is fortunate enough to capture it, it can be compressed and set into a ring, much like a diamond." She raised her eyebrows. Had he just voluntarily spoken to her?

"I didn't know that."

"Miss Granger, contrary to your belief, there is much you don't know." His biting words did not match his tone, and for once in her life, she was not sure of what to say. Taking one last long look at the dark sky, she sighed. She turned slowly.

"Good night, Professor," she said, meeting his eyes. They were as dark as the night sky--but without the light of the stars.

"Good night, Miss Granger," he replied, nodding stiffly. She left the Astronomy Tower as quietly as she had arrived. Her mind, rather than the quiet contentment that she had been seeking, was in a state of confusion.

She would get no sleep that night.