Parvati was bored. Terribly, mind-numbingly, deathly bored.
"Lockhart's stones, I'm bored," Lavender sighed, plopping down next to her on the couch.
"Lockhart's stones?" Parvati asked, faintly disgusted.
"I'm trying to come up with a new catchphrase," Lavender explained.
"Still doesn't explain why you chose Lockhart's stones."
"Wanted to use stones. Lockhart popped into my mind first," Lavender said with a shrug.
"I don't think it's going to get much use when it brings to mind such a horrifying image."
"It's not that bad."
Parvati gave her a long look. "Yes, it is."
Seamus and Dean whumped down near them. "What are you guys talking about?" Dean asked.
"Lockhart's stones," Parvati replied.
Both boys made sounds of disgust and edged away from the girls. "Why would you be talking about something like that?" Seamus asked, gagging in a rather theatrical manner.
"It's my new catchphrase," Lavender informed them.
"Everyday you get weirder and weirder," Seamus said, shaking his head.
Suddenly, Parvati's neck found it too much to hold her head upright, so it relaxed and her head fell back and hit the back of the couch. It lolled to the left, so Parvati decided that looking in that direction was as good as any. Curtains were looking a little worn. Neville was talking to Trevor. Harry and Ron were engaged in a friendly game of chess (Ron was soundly beating Harry, as per usual), and Hermione was reading a book, of course. Parvati noted with some amusement that it was Hogwarts, A History.
"How often has she read that book?" Lavender asked, looking in the same direction.
"Maybe the words change every time she reads it. Completely different book every time," Dean suggested.
"D'ya think something's going on between Harry and Hermione?" Parvati wondered idly.
"What?" Seamus asked, startled. "Didn't we already go through this fourth year?"
"Yeah, but fourth year they weren't sneaking glances at each other like they are know," Parvati pointed out. "I mean, just look at—no, don't look all at once! Stop climbing over me, Lavender!" she hissed.
"Hmm, they are looking at each other," Lavender noted with interest. "They'd make a perfect couple."
"Wait, how did you get from glancing at each other to the perfect couple? Obviously I missed something," Seamus complained.
"Oh, come on, it's so plain to see. Harry and Hermione would make a great couple. You never thought that they should be together?" Parvati asked.
Dean looked at her scornfully. "Do I look like a girl? ("What's that supposed to mean?" Lavender indignantly asked.) The wonder that could be Harry and Hermione does not occupy me."
"Ah, so you do think about it, just not all the time!" Parvati said triumphantly.
"You found me out," Dean said, sarcasm dripping from his voice. "I ponder over Harry and Hermione getting together. I wonder what it would be like if they snogged in the Great Hall. I imagine a world where Ron is not only perfectly alright with their love, but he encourages, even plays matchmaker for them!"
"Well, that's just nutters," Lavender said. "Ron, a matchmaker? He'd be terrible at it."
"Look, you're missing the point," Seamus said testily. "We don't care. It's not our business, our problem or our interest!" he finished, voice rising in volume.
The famous Trio looked up at the commotion. "What are you going on about?" Ron asked.
"Lockhart's stones," Parvati replied calmly
The three friends looked at them a little oddly. "That is probably one of the most repulsive images that have ever popped into my head," Harry said, wincing. "And all things considered, that's saying something."
Ron grinned at Hermione. "Bet you don't mind the picture."
Hermione shot him an annoyed glance. "Don't be disgusting. Besides, that silly little crush was over five years ago. I think I've moved beyond it." Her eyes quickly flicked over to Harry before looking back at Ron.
Lavender sat up a little straighter when she saw that flicker. What had that been about? "Did you see that?" she whispered to Seamus as Hermione continued to argue with Ron and Harry gazed at them both, a strange look in his eyes.
Seamus sighed. "Yes," he said grudgingly.
Harry stood up abruptly. "I need to go outside."
Everyone looked at him, confused by this sudden declaration. "I'll come with you," Hermione immediately said, packing up her things.
"Me too," Ron agreed, getting up from the table.
"No! No," Harry said quickly, shaking his head. "You two can stay here. I thought I'd be alone for a while."
Hermione and Ron seemed taken aback. "Alright," Hermione said quietly, looking at Harry. "I suppose you get tired of our arguing."
Harry gave her a pained smile. "Something like that. Nice to have some peace," he mumbled. "I'll be back soon," he promised. He turned and walked out the portrait hole, everyone in the common room watching him. Ron looked over at Hermione and opened his mouth, but she shook her head.
"Don't, Ron. Not now." Then she turned and walked out of the tower.
"Going to the library, I expect," Ron sighed. "Better go with her." He trudged out of the room, his seeming reluctance belied by the concerned appearance on his face. Everyone watched him go.
"Do you think that something's going on between Ron and Hermione?" Seamus wondered.
"Again?" Lavender shook her head. "Not a chance. They definitely went through that fifth and sixth year, remember? Even the professors were glad when the decided it wasn't working." All four students shuddered remembering the now legendary blazing rows Ron and Hermione had engaged in. What had been cute in fifth year had quickly progressed to bloody annoying then to downright dangerous by the beginning of sixth year.
"You know, I still wonder why they broke up," Dean said.
"Do you not remember their last fight? The professors were repairing the Great Hall for a week!" Parvati exclaimed. "It was pretty obvious it wasn't working, even to them."
Dean waved it off. "No, not that. Well, not exactly." He paused, collecting his thoughts. "I mean, Ron and Hermione always got back together after the other fights. But that was kind of odd, especially after the fights got really nasty. But that fight—I refuse to believe that it was over some kippers. The things they were bellowing at each other you don't say because of food. What exactly went on to make them act that way? It had to be something huge."
"Look, it was probably like you said. Ron and Hermione always got back together after those fights, but it never seemed like they solved the problem. It was as if they felt they were supposed to be together, so they kept on trying, even when it was going to hell. That kind of pressure has to get to you," Lavender theorized.
"No," Parvati said slowly. "I don't think that was all of it. Dean's on to something. In the middle of the fight, Ron was yelling about Hermione betraying him and she was saying it wasn't her fault and he of all people should understand. Then the spells started flying. Two weeks later they were best friends again and the wondrous Trio roamed the halls once more."
"Those three have always had a strong friendship," Seamus argued. "It might be strange for other people to go back to being best friends after that, but with them, it makes a sort of sense."
"Seamus, they destroyed the Great Hall," Dean said incredulously. "How do you go back to being friends after that?"
"Those two didn't destroy the Great Hall and you know it," Lavender sighed, exasperated. "I seem to remember you tossing around a few spells. Once one those hexes hit the Slytherin table, everyone got involved."
"But Ron and Hermione were the ones throwing around the hexes to begin with," Parvati pointed out. "What could they say to each other that would make them hate each other one day, then two weeks later was fixed so that they could be friends again? And," she continued, cutting off Dean's protest, "they really were friends. It wasn't any of that formal 'let's be nice to each other for Harry's sake' crap. They really made up and were back to being friends until the end of time."
"Wait, what does this have to do with Harry and Hermione?" Seamus asked.
"An excellent question," Dean murmured.
"I think that fight had something to do with Harry," Parvati said forcefully. Lavender nodded in agreement.
Dean shook his head. "No, no, no." He pointed an accusing finger at them. "Not three minutes ago you were talking about Harry and Hermione sneaking glances now, this year. The only reason you're saying last year's fight had to do with them is because you're enamored of the idea of Harry and Hermione. You're twisting things around to fit your idea."
"Enamored?" Seamus mouthed silently.
"I am not!" Parvati retorted hotly. "I'm saying that all the little glances started after that fight. Why would they start then? Because the fight was about Harry!"
"Do you have one piece of real evidence for that?" Dean shot back. "Besides, if the fight was about Harry, don't you think we would have seen some sign before the hexing began? Why would they fight about something that didn't exist?"
"I'm telling you, that fight was about Harry. It's the only thing that could get Ron and Hermione that riled up."
"You are out of your mind," Dean informed her.
Parvati smiled sweetly. "You're just mad that you're going to be thinking about Harry and Hermione's relationship now."
Dean opened his mouth to disagree, but then shut it with a snap when he realized she was right. "Lockhart's stones," he muttered.
"Success!" Lavender whooped.