I. HATE. ANTHONY.
I have been continually bombarded with threats and bite marks all saying: look! Cute Harry/Hermione romance!
And I promise that I will get a new chapter for TOPC soon. SOOON.
But this is in reply to the 'Answer Me This' challenge.
Love it. Hate it. Just review it.
Why Witch Weekly Should Not Be Left Lying Around (aka A New Twist on 20 Questions, because the real title doesn't fit)
Part One: Hermione Answers
Haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrrrrrrrrreeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee . . .
Harry Potter had no idea what was making this awful racket, but the screeching was grating on his eardrums. Groaning, he tried to lift his eyelids, and found them equivalent to the weight of Ron after a post-game binge.
Haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrrrrrrrrreeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee . . .
Attempting, admittedly a little harder than he had the last time, Harry pulled at his eyelids. They still refused to open, and he tried to raise a hand to help them.
Both left and right limbs were decidedly unhelpful. They also remained immobile.
It was becoming easier to hear the racket, and the formerly wordless noise was beginning to separate into specific sounds. There was an H, an A, an R, and an E.
Harry James Potter!
That wasn't hard to distinguish.
Guiltily, his eyelids raised themselves, and the blurred face of his best friend and flatmate, Hermione Granger, became apparent. She had been making the racket – which turned out to be his name.
"Harry!" she scolded again, and smacked him on the side of the head.
"OW!" he said as loudly as he could over the ringing in his ears. "That bloody well – OW!" She'd hit him again, this time directly on the ear, encouraging the ringing to increase.
"Language!" she snapped, and stood back, hands on her hips, head tilted to the right.
"That really hurt," he amended, clutching his head in his hands. Hermione snorted.
"It shouldn't. I barely even touched you. Did you and Ron go out for Firewhiskey last night? Wait, that's a stupid question. Fine: How late were you and Ron out last night?"
Harry couldn't remember for all the Sobering Potions in the world. There'd been a dingy bar (there always was) and a very attractive waitress that, he now remembered, he'd constantly mentally compared to Hermione.
"Bloody Firewhiskey," he muttered in reply, not loud enough to drown out the ringing, and so soft that Hermione didn't hear it and smack him.
When she continually stared at him, he finally, sheepishly, replied: "I have no idea."
"Figures," she mumbled. "Well," she continued, in a louder voice, "It must have been around the time that you had an ice cream craving." She took one hand off her hip to point to a melted puddle of Gred's Great Unmeltable Ice Cream sitting in its brown cardboard pint.
"I hate ice cream," pointed out Harry.
"Exactly. Which meant Luna was here." The pregnant witch was, now in her third trimester, hard to pin down. Around her fourth month she had begun to Disapparate at random moments, when the need to pop into Mount McKinley and other obscure destinations became too great to ignore.
". . . means Ron was here as well," finished Hermione. Harry had stopped listening, instead watching as she mopped up the ice cream with her wand.
"Sorry?" he asked.
Huffing, Hermione rolled up the nearest magazine, and bopped him on the head with it. As she began to draw it back, he gave a devilish grin and pulled, hard.
Shrieking, Hermione tumbled onto the couch next to him. Her wand jerked, and the cloth stopped cleaning the coffee table and began to clean the television set, wiping 'Double-Triple-(Tastes-like-Kneazle)-Delight' in white swirls on the empty black screen.
"Harry!" she yelled, ripping the magazine from his grip. She made to stand, but he grabbed her around the waist, and yanked, hard.
She struggled for a moment, before conceding the point and falling back into the couch.
"Really, Hermione, you should spend some more time at home," advised Harry, plucking the magazine from her hand and unrolling it to reveal the cover. "Now sit with me and read—" he paused to read the title "—Witch Weekly with me. Witch Weekly?" he continued, recognizing the curly script. "Who in this bloody flat reads Witch Weekly?"
"The girls at my office got it as a gag gift for my birthday," said Hermione, realizing struggling was futile, and leaning her head on his shoulder. Absently he placed his arm around hers, pulling her against him, and neither thought the moment awkward because they had always been like this.
"Well," Harry said, slightly thrown off but still convinced that this was the best way to keep Hermione from disappearing into her office, "let's read."
"It's alright. I realize that reading Witch Weekly is the last thing you want to do on a Saturday afternoon, and I have work to do . . ." She'd begun to sit up, but Harry tightened his arm and his resolve. Then he spotted the article name on the cover.
"'How Well Do You Know Your Male Friends?' Sounds perfect." Snorting, Hermione moved out from under his arm, and settled on the pillows at the other end of the couch, her knees under her chin, her toes pressed against Harry's outer thigh.
"If we're doing this ridiculous quiz, you have to start," she said.
"Alright," replied Harry, and flipped the pages. "Ah, here we are. How well do you know your male friends? Both of you take this quiz, count up how many you have wrong, and then see how well you two know each other. Read, set, quiz!" he finished in a bright falsetto.
"Just ask the questions, Harry."
"Right." He cleared his throat dramatically. "When was the last time I was really, really mad?"
Hermione didn't even have to think. "Last Thursday, when you, Ron and I went out to dinner. Ron had to leave early because Luna had Apparated into a volcano, and he had to bust her out of a Hawaiian prison. That snobby blonde witch came over and invited you to have a drink with her at the bar. When you told her that we were having dinner, and she said that you were Harry Potter and I was nobody, so who cares? Then your eyes got really narrow, your teeth clenched, and you told her that I was Hermione Granger, your best friend and she could sod off."
Realizing that this was going into dangerous territory, Harry nodded and asked the next question.
"What's my all-time greatest fear?"
This Hermione had to think about. As she was doing so, she bit her lower lip. "Hmmm . . . not having Ron or I there," she finally said.
Stunned, all Harry could say was: "How did you . . .?"
"Oh, come off it, Harry," laughed Hermione. "I've known you for . . . what? . . . thirteen years? Of course I'd pick up something like that."
You don't pick up everything.
"What's my favorite kind of weather?"
"Any weather you can play quidditch in." Her statement was without hesitation.
"Bzzt," replied Harry. "Wrong answer number one." Hermione frowned. "Snow. I love snow."
"Snow," repeated Hermione. "You'd rather have it snow than perfect quidditch conditions?"
"Yes," said Harry. "If I could choose between falling in love and doing well in school – this is a bit null-and-void, seeing as we're out of school, but whatever – which would I choose?"
"Falling in love."
"Well, you were firsthand witness to how much I loved school."
"Just say the next question."
"Right. My first kiss was . . ."
"Oi! That one was too easy! You knew that because I told you!" Hermione stuck out her tongue. "Harpy," he muttered.
"And you love me for it," she said.
You have no idea.
"What's the most spontaneous thing I've ever done?"
"Oh, dear," said Hermione, biting her lip again. "Oh! Oh! Kissing Ginny after we won the Quidditch Cup sixth year!"
"That wasn't the most spontaneous thing I've ever done."
"Well, what was?"
"If you won't tell me I get it right."
"Fine. Switching to the Protection Department when I first became an Auror for the ministry."
Hermione smacked herself on the forehead. "OOH! I should've known that one. Ron looked like he'd swallowed his tongue when you told us, so I'd guessed that he didn't know anything about it." Cue the lip biting. "Hit me with the next one."
"What constitutes my perfect meal?"
"Butterbeer, my white lasagna with béchamel and pesto and Mrs. Weasley's chocolate cake." Perfect. He'd been subjected to white lasagna with béchamel and pesto every other Tuesday since the day they moved into the flat – every other Tuesday he made Hermione make dinner, and it was the only thing she could make. And he loved it.
"Correct. What charm do I use most often?"
"Accio. Because you're a lazy git who can't get anything for himself."
"You're right, but I resent being a lazy git."
Hermione raised an eyebrow. "So you resent the truth now, do you?"
"It's not true."
"But you just said it was."
Knowing he wouldn't win, Harry decided to do the adult thing and ask the next question. "How many children do I want to have?"
"Two," said Hermione. "One would be lonely, three would be too many. Two."
"What will their names be?"
"Lily or Aurora for a girl, and James or Sirius for a boy."
"Dammit. You know me better than I know myself." Hermione attempted a rakish smile, and although it didn't succeed in the rakish department, it certainly was a beautiful smile.
"Right. What's my favorite piece of clothing?" Hah. She'll never get this one.
"That horrid olive-green shirt that you passed your Auror exam in."
"Hermione," he said, awed. "Your observational skills astound me."
"Your lack never do," she teased. "Now, on with the quiz!"
He shook his head mentally, then managed to get out: "Floo Powder, Porkey or broom?"
"You don't need Hermione's observational skills to know that one. You just need to read the Prophet."
"Harry, I hate to disillusion you, but I am Hermione – therefore the observational skills are part of the package. Sorry."
Lovely package, though.
"What's my dream job, even though I have one?"
"The one that you already have."
"Ding ding ding! Three hundred points to Miss Hermione Granger and her observational skills! A round of applause for the little lady." As per his request, the clock in the corner began to clap madly. Exchanging wide-eyed looks, they returned to the magazine.
"How many times have we downed a Butterbeer together? Oooh, tough one."
He was expecting a pause, maybe a moment that she needed to do the math, but her answer came instantly. "Seven hundred and thirteen. Including instances with Ron, though not how much he drinks."
Cue the goggling eyes.
"You amaze me, Hermione."
She shrugged. "Simple math."
"Simple math, she says," he snorted. "Well, simple math this: what q. . . oh, you have GOT to be kidding me."
"What?" asked Hermione, leaning forward to read the question.
"What quidditch position am I most qualified for, even if I hate to play? Oh, are you trying to help her win?"
"It isn't a race Harry," she reprimanded. "And Seeker. Of course."
Harry dramatically smacked the magazine, Claire Montague on the cover squealing, and then asked the next question. "What's my favorite hex of choice?"
Hermione opened her mouth to answer, then paused, and it closed. She opened again, and again she paused. This happened a third time, and in the fourth, she answered. "Sectumsempra."
"True," he grudgingly gave. She smiled brilliantly. "All right, next is . . . if I could be any Animagus form, what would I be?"
"Choose or your personality?"
"Choose, I suppose."
"Alright, you'd choose a phoenix. Phoenixes can fly, which would give you freedom. And it'd remind you of Dumbledore."
Involuntarily, both heads swiveled to the empty portrait hanging over the fireplace. He was probably at Hogwarts now.
"Is there something in my room that I'm hiding from everyone, and if so, what is it?" asked Harry to break the silence.
"Yes. And it's a picture of the original Order of the Phoenix that Moody left for you in his will." Correct, of course. How very perceptive of Hermione.
"It's not hidden," he pointed out.
"Just because it's there in plain sight doesn't mean it's hidden. I doubt Ron's seen it there on the wall."
"Good point. What's my favorite thing about you?"
"My loyalty," she said simply. It was very short, and very beautiful, and very much untrue. But Harry wasn't ready to tell her the real answer.
"Right," he said, his voice almost cracking.
"Oh, do you want some water?" she asked, making to stand.
"It's alright. There's one more question, and then we'll take a break." She nodded, and settled back into the couch. "Do I have any birthmarks, and if so, where are they?"
"Yes," she said, and brushed her fingers across the back of his ear. "Right there."
"Wrong," he said.
"Oh!" Hermione replied indignantly. "Am not!"
"Too!" persisted Harry childishly, and pulled up his shirt to show her one positioned on his stomach to the right of his navel . . . and a very well-defined chest, which Hermione had to work hard to ignore.
"Well, it's not a Hungarian Horntail," she teased. "But it'll do."
Part Two will soon be coming. But I thought I should put this up first.
Still . . . I know this is not TOPC. But you could still be nice and review.