Title: Rhapsody in Silver and Red

Author: Shannon/Raindrops on Roses

Rating: G
Category: General

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.


Rhapsody
3. A state of elated bliss; ecstasy.
4. Music A usually instrumental composition of irregular form that often incorporates improvisation.

Hearing the knock on the door, she waved her wand. The door opened, and she turned back to her cauldron. "You're late, Mr. Allenby."

"I'm sorry, Professor," the boy squeaked. "Peeves--"

"Was being Peeves, no doubt," she sighed. "Five points for being five minutes late. You know what to do."

The second-year dutifully picked up the bucket and filled it with warm water. He set to work scrubbing the benches clean.

He had earned himself detention when he had caused a classmate's potion to explode. This was his third night serving it.

It was also her birthday. She was twenty-one today, and no one had noticed. Well, her parents had, of course. They had sent her a gift certificate to Flourish and Blotts. At least it was something useful. But sometimes... she wanted a silly gift. Something that wouldn't be put toward her classes.

She sighed and stirred in ground flutterby leaves. Harry was off on some secret mission, and Ron was on an international Quidditch tour. Her fellow professors had their own lives to lead--she supposed she should not expect to be fussed over.

It was still disappointing. Oh, well. She would just retreat into her room after young Mr. Allenby completed his assignment and spend the rest of the evening reading. It wasn't much of a birthday celebration, but she didn't feel like going out by herself.

Suddenly, an owl appeared at the window. She made sure the contents of her cauldron were simmering steadily, then walked over and opened the window. The owl flew in and perched on the desk. It glared at her for keeping it waiting.

She removed the package tied to its leg. The nondescript barn owl ruffled its plumage and flew off into the night, not waiting for a reply.

She shook the small box in curiosity. It made no sound. She opened it carefully. A piece of parchment fluttered out, but that was not the item that caught her attention. She gasped.

A beautiful ring was nestled in the center of the box. It contained a beautifully-cut diamond, flanked on either side by rubies, set in silver. The ring itself was intricately knotted--she couldn't tell the age. It could be brand-new, or it could be ancient.

She slipped the ring on her finger. It was a perfect fit--it did not even seem to have an enchantment on it to make it shrink or enlarge to her size. She gazed at the stone. It had a sparkle to it that she had never seen before in a diamond. Not that she had seen very many diamonds.

She walked over to the window to see if the owl was anywhere nearby. It wasn't--but something caught her eye. She looked down--and her eyes widened in shock.

By the window, where it was darker, the ring seemed to shine with a light of its own. She removed it and held it in front of her eyes. Compressed starlight? But who...?

She hurried back to her desk and scrambled for the parchment, hoping it was signed. It was not, but the handwriting--and the terse message--gave the giver away. 'Merry Christmas, Miss Granger.' She had seen that handwriting for nearly ten years. It was a gift from him.

But how could it be? He was dead. Buried over a year ago. A little niggling voice whispered in the back of her head. They had never found his body...

"Professor? I'm finished," a voice interrupted her musings.

She looked up, startled. "Very well, Mr. Allenby. You are dismissed. Be here at the same time tomorrow night." The boy nodded and hurried out the door.

She sat at the desk, absently twisting the ring on her finger. She waved her hand. The candles in the room flickered out. The clear stone lit up the room... but not as much as her smile did.