Disclaimer: J.K. Rowling: Writer of the Harry Potter greatness. Sacagawea: Fanwriter of the Harry Potter greatness. Get my drift?
A/N: Hi! This is my lovely little Valentine's Day Ficlet. Please read and review.
And for those of you who were wondering, the newest chapter of Be a Doll will be up in the next couple of weeks, as well as The Art of Being Insane. Anywho, I'll shut up now. Here's the ficlet:
A Valentine's Day Ficlet
A large pile of breathing books and rolls of parchment sat in The Three Broomsticks on a bitingly cold day in February, a sight uncommon if you happened to know a certain Hermione Granger. On more than one occasion she had been mistaken for a chaotic study area with hands, and today was no different. The fact that it was Valentine's Day meant absolutely nothing to her in any way. She only acknowledged the holiday because that meant every one stayed out of her way.
She could see this reflected in the very environment around her. For once, The Three Broomsticks was void of giggling teens. They had all gone to Madame Puddifoot's to snog while drinking tea, something she considered to be a completely pointless waste of time.
Ah, yes. Stupidity was alive and well in the souls of her fellow 7th years.
Hermione looked up, alarmed. Madame Rosmerta was standing in before her table with a small mug of butterbeer clutched in her hand. "Yes?" She wondered why she was talking to her. She didn't remember ordering anything.
Madame Rosmerta's sparkly heels click-clacked noisily on the wooden planks. "Miss, this is for you." She set the butterbeer down amongst the piles of homework, looking like she was about to burst with excitement, judging from the over-large smile on her face.
"Um, why are you?" Her sentence was cut off.
"It's courtesy of the gentleman over there." Gushed the elderly woman, clasping her hands together in joy and jumping in place, "I think you've got a suitor miss!"
That made her suspicious. Her, a suitor? A boy hadn't fancied her in three years. "What gentleman?"
She dropped her voice down to a whisper. "Back there." She pointed a long nail in the direction of a hooded figure sitting at the back of the bar, whom she hadn't noticed when she had walked in. His back was to them, but it was obvious why she had whispered. The three of them were the only ones there, thus making it quite simple for them to be overheard if she spoke to loudly.
With that, Madame Rosmerta walked away, leaving Hermione stunned. Why had that man ordered a drink for her? It wasn't possible he had poisoned it or anything, was it? That would explain the hood. Maybe it was a-
She shook her head, throwing off the thought. 'It is not a Death Eater. Stop being such a twit. If your going to be paranoid than just check it with a spell.'
Pleased with her idea, Hermione drew her wand and dipped the end of it into the mug. "Venenum." She waited for three seconds, but the butterbeer didn't turn red, so she could be assured that it wasn't poisoned. She smiled slightly. The 'gentleman', whoever he was, had really ordered her a drink and she couldn't help but be flattered.
Taking a sip of the butterbeer, she returned to her work, feeling warmer than she had a moment ago. The next ten minutes passed by without much event. Madame Rosmerta was in the back sweeping and the stranger sat silently at his post. Hermione finished the star chart she had been working on, and turned to her extra credit potions essay (her average in that class was only a 99.8, so she needed to pull her grade up).
She brought the cup to her lips again and found that it was almost empty. In efforts to get the last of it, she tilted her head back and shook the mug. As the final drops fell into her mouth, the inside of the cup caught the light, and for a moment she saw something glint at her from the bottom. Her brow furrowed. That was odd. Holding the cup towards the light again, she saw a gleaming letter 'M' stamped on the inside-bottom in golden lettering.
Peculiar. Very, very, very peculiar. She didn't say anything though. If the hooded man wanted to scare her she wouldn't let him know he was succeeding. Inquiring about it would only make it worse. It was more likely he would end up explaining himself she pretended nothing had happened.
That being (partially) settled, she returned to her homework, only to be interrupted again by Madame Rosmerta. She held another mug of butterbeer in hand, beaming at Hermione as though she were the star of a romantic comedy. Hermione gave her a pained smile and eyed the new cup of butterbeer skeptically before taking a sip. It tasted just as good as the first, if not better; but yet she couldn't completely enjoy the taste, considering that suspicion always makes things taste a bit bitter.
Attempting to distract herself, she mentally spoke the words of her potions essay while writing them. 'The components of the Scalding Solution enable it to not only scorch anything that has direct contact with it, but also makes them have the feeling of drinking butterbeer sent over by a possibly handsome stranger-'
She stopped writing and stared blankly at the now useless parchment. Won-der-ful. Curse this stupid holiday. She magicked the words off and started over.
'Scalding Solution is not a common potion, but used under certain circumstances, such as when two people are sitting in a romantic pub and one of them happens to be charming enough to be sending drinks over to the other…'
Sighing, Hermione set down her quill on the table and closed her eyes for a moment. Okay. She could deal with the fact that her mind had suddenly decided to get a new best friend. But since she wasn't going to pay attention, she may as well do something productive.
Making it out like she was scratching the back of her head, she glanced out of the corner of her eye to check that the man was still turned around. He was. Quickly, she took a nice long swig of the butterbeer, gulping it down until all of it was gone. As nonchalantly as she could, Hermione tipped it back to check the bottom and there it was: a golden letter 'U' stamped inside.
It made her furious. What the hell was that idiot getting at? You don't send over drinks to someone with bloody letters stamped on the bottom of the cup! It was all just so STUPID!
"Here you go." Madame Rosmerta said, setting down yet another cup on her table.
Forgetting that she was trying to stay inconspicuous, Hermione snatched up the mug and drained it. Then, she thrust it into the light-
A bold letter 'D' winked up at her form the bottom.
Realization hit her at the same time her legs reacted. She found herself striding over to the back table, where the hooded figure still sat, 'mysterious' as ever. It was then she saw that he in fact was not sitting still but shaking rather violently with suppressed laugher. Figured, considering it was him.
"Malfoy." She said through gritted teeth, putting her hands on her hips, "Cut it out already, I get the bloody point. Would you give the whole Mudblood thing a rest?"
He tensed. Obviously he couldn't see out of that gigantic hood and had just realized she was there. "Er…I, uh…I'm knowing nothing of this 'Malfoy' you speak of." He said finally, attempting to make his voice sound deeper, but there was no use in trying to fool her now; she had found him out.
"That's not even grammatically correct." She sighed, becoming even more annoyed still. "Now can you leave me alone?"
Suddenly he reached his arm up and flipped back the hood, and he seemed rather annoyed himself. He was even pouting, for God's sakes, instead of sporting his usual smirk. "You know what Granger? You ruin everything. You really, really do."
"How am I 'ruining everything'? All I asked was for you to stop sending me drinks!"
"That's exactly it!" he exclaimed, slamming his fist on the table. "Here I am trying to pull a good-natured Valentine's Day prank-"
"A good-natured..! Excuse me, did you say good-natured Valentine's Day prank?"
"Did I stutter? Yes, I said a good-natured Valentine's Day prank."
"Well, what's that good-natured for, a demon?"
He smirked widely. "Why yes it is, thank you for noticing-" Malfoy stopped in mid-sentence. "Oh damn."
Before she knew what was happening, he had grabbed her from around the waist and pulled her into the booth. By instinct she began to kick and scream, but he held her tightly, smothering her face into his chest, making her frantic shouts unheard. Flipping up the hood with his free hand, he turned his head toward the back room and hissed "Quiet!"
Then she heard it: the click-clack of two sparkling heels on wood.
"Is everything alright in here?" came the far-away voice of Madame Rosmerta.
"Uh, yes, everything's fine." Malfoy responded cautiously, making his voice deeper. He pushed Hermione further under the table.
"Where's your lady friend?"
"She's, um, around here some – OW! – where…" He rubbed his shin where his captive had just kicked him.
"Oh. Well good luck!" she chirped genially, and went back to sweeping the back room.
Malfoy let go of Hermione and she slumped against the seat, breathless. "Why…did you…hide me?" she wheezed, throwing him a dirty look. He was not paying attention; he was suspiciously peering over the top of the seat, as if Madame Rosmerta was going to come bustling back out any second. Finally, he slumped against the seat and well and pulled down the hood. "God, I hate that woman."
She let her other question drop, becoming interested in his complaint. "Who, Madame Rosmerta? What's wrong with her?"
Malfoy rolled his eyes. "Besides the fact that she's notoriously perky for someone her age? She's old enough to be my grandmother and she was practically jumping because she thought I was your suitor." He chuckled at the last part. "Ha. Me, being your suitor. That's funny."
"Yes, it sort of is." She agreed, smiling slightly. "I mean could you imagine? It's completely nonsensical."
He leaned forward, lowering his voice. "Then again, she doesn't know that, so I suppose that's the only reason she hasn't called up St. Mungo's to pick us up yet." At this, both of them laughed, considering that something he said was actually humorous for once. But their laughter quickly died and they asked each other at the same time:
"What are you doing here?"
"I already told you what I'm doing here." He said defensively. "I'm pranking. What about you?"
"Homework." She motioned to the table she had been sitting at.
He eyed her skeptically. "And you couldn't do that at school because…?"
"Because Harry Potter exists. He dragged me here and then ran off with Susan." Hermione finished, wrinkling her nose at the memory of the two of them cooing over each other in the middle of the street. "So I decided that since I was here I might as well get some work done."
To her complete un-surprise, he started to laugh again. Though it was expected, she still couldn't help but be annoyed by it. That stupid, immature little prat. But not wanting to start up another argument, she took to simply glaring at him.
Malfoy saw the look on her face, but continued to laugh. "Sorry Mudblood." He supplied, shrugging, "But just can't believe that Potter thought you were into that sort of thing. Thought he knew you a tad better than that."
Her eyes narrowed even more. What was he getting at? "What sort of thing?"
"Valentine's Day. You obviously find yourself above it, considering you're here. I can hardly think of you as one of the hopeless romantics of the world. I'd be willing to bet that this is your least favorite holiday."
"I'm very romantic, thank you very much."
"Reading romance novels does not count as being romantic Granger."
"Look, just because I'm not out there flirting with some boy does not mean I'm not romantic! It just means I'm not an idiot!" She fumed, repeating his action of slamming her fist on the table.
"Oh yeah?" He sneered back, turning in his seat to face her. "Prove it."
His words hung in the air for a moment, as if challenging the both of them to, well, prove it. Then it happened; Madame Rosmerta came back into the room. Without even thinking, the two of them ducked under the table, Hermione snatching up Draco's hand worriedly as she went. She couldn't explain why she didn't want Madame Rosmerta to find them, but somehow she knew if she did things wouldn't end well.
"Hello?" she said. "Anyone here?" She marched over to the table Hermione had previously been sitting at. "Miss?" She continued to search around the pub a while longer before sighing and returning to the back room, muttering about how 'that Madame Puddifoot' was stealing all her customers. The two students held their breaths for almost a minute after she left before deciding it was safe to exhale again.
The Three Broomsticks then became eerily silent. Not a floorboard creaked, not a door squeaked and no one's voice was heard in speech. It was the sort of silence you would expect in the dead of night, but never the sort of thing you would ever think to hear while there was a Hogsmeade visit. And never the sort of silence you would expect to hear while Draco Malfoy and Hermione Granger were in the same room either.
"Mudblood, you have exactly 3 seconds to let go of my hand before I hex you into oblivion. Three-"
Well that was more like it. "Oh Malfoy, save your breath." She said irritably, dropping his hand immediately. "I don't even know what I'm doing here, I should have left ages ago…" She started to crawl out from under the table, but he put a hand on her shoulder to stop her.
"Hold on. You can't go yet." Was it just her, or did he sound…sincere? "You haven't proved your romantic and I'm not letting you leave 'til you do." Malfoy finished, smirking as though this was the most fun he'd ever had.
Well, at least he was being sincerely something, even if it was sincerely evil.
Hermione crawled backwards and sat back down on her spot on the floor, sighing dramatically as she went. "Listen up Ferret Boy," He flinched. "I'll just say it. I am not romantic, so I actually can't prove anything to you. But I have a really good reason not to be, and that is this:
"Nothing good ever comes of it. If I were to join in the celebrations and go off snogging some creep in Madame Puddifoot's, then what would happen? Nothing, that's what. I hate Valentines Day. I hate everything about it. So why should I bother? I'm much better off keeping away from it, don't you think?" She waited for him to tell her that she was wrong, or to start laughing at her sheer honesty. But as the look on his face twisted in confusion she could tell he wasn't planning on doing that at all.
"Well Granger, as much as it pains me to say this…" And by the look on his face it really was killing him to do so, "I agree. Over-sized stuffed animals can go and die for all I care." He finished, not managing to keep the grin off his face.
Hermione gave a short laugh. "Yes, those are rather stupid. But what really gets me is the heart-shaped boxes of chocolate." She had risen up to her knees (the floor was rather hard).
Malfoy groaned. "I know. Candy shops are cheating us with those you know. You get more chocolates with the rectangular boxes, I've even checked. They're better than flowers though-"
Her eyes lit up. Boy, did she hate flowers! "Don't even get me started on those! All the flower shops do is go to the back lot behind their store, yank out a bunch of weeds, tie a ribbon around it and then sell it for 10 galleons! It's plain sickening!"
"Just another money-making scheme!" He declared, now up on his knees as well. "That's not the worst though. You know what the worst is, don't you?"
"Oh, definitely, because nothing could be more terrible than-"
"JEWELERY!" They shouted together, both of them leaning forward in excitement.
"The useless necklaces-"
"Diamond cuff links-"
"AND THOSE AWFUL, GAUDY RINGS!" Hermione and Draco finished, finally running out of breath. They fell back against the little wall space under the table, cheeks flushed and eyes bright. Nothing brings your spirits up like a good rant. The two of them sat in silence, trying to think up more things that they hated about gift-giving.
Then Hermione gasped in shock, covering her mouth with her hand. "Oh no."
She seemed rather unwilling to tell him. "Well, I just realized…you know how I said I hated everything about Valentine's Day? I don't. Because I like those big, red balloons. I really, really do."
His face fell. "Oh that's - no wait." He paused, getting that strange, confused look on his face. "I like balloons too. They're nice."
Hermione nodded. "Yeah, they are. They don't really bother anybody. They just kind of float around."
"Floating around is nice."
She merely nodded in response. Ever since realizing that there was something she didn't hate about Valentine's Day she had seemed rather disappointed.
"Blimey, I wish I had a balloon." He said suddenly. He turned to her. "Hey, Granger?"
"Will you buy me a balloon?"
She looked up at him, her eyes lighting up again. "Sure. As long as you buy me a balloon."
" 'Course I will." He tugged at her wrist. "In fact, let's go now!"
"You mean, go buy balloons? Right now?" She seemed skeptical at the idea.
He looked too excited to turn down, and besides, she wanted a balloon too. "Um…okay."
They then ran out of the pub, never noticing the owner of two sparkling heels watching them just one table away. She smiled warmly as the door of The Three Broomsticks slammed, and went over to the table to pick up the empty butterbeer mugs.
"Well, at least they didn't go to Madame Puddifoot's."