Disclaimer: Harry Potter and Company belongs to J.K. Rowling and Company. I am not part of either company.
Author's Note: This fic was written in response to GinnyW's "Valentine's Day Chocolates" Challenge at the Yahoo!Group, PotterPlace. Read and enjoy…or get a stomachache.
Chapter 1. A Prologue of Sorts
Harry Potter stared at the dancing flames in the fireplace. He counted the sparks flying from the logs, each one representing a day.
One, two, three, four more days until the worst day.
Valentine's Day was never Harry's favorite holiday; it was barely tolerated in his life. Growing up, the shower of love shared by the Dursleys was never extended to him. When he was twelve, the feelings of loneliness once associated with the holiday turned into utter embarrassment with Lockhart's mess at Hogwarts. His fifth year only heightened these feelings when he gaped at Cho Chang's sobbing face on his first date. Seven years later, Harry faced a bittersweet breakup with Ginny Weasley on the fourteenth of February. A relationship beginning in the midst of a war had never let the pair have a chance to know each other- and to love.
Valentine's Day had always symbolized embarrassment, the end of a relationship, the mangling of a relationship, or a miserable combination of the three.
Yet this year, things could be different. A new relationship had begun long after Voldemort's downfall, this one more confusing and hopeful than the past. Luna Lovegood was sleeping against him, her even breathing rising and falling against his chest. A ring was resting in his pocket, waiting for the holiday to come.
Harry wondered about the state of his friends around this time of year. Hermione and Ron, suffering from the same hormonal problems as Ginny and Harry's situation, had broken off their relationship once Voldemort was dead and their lives were ensured. Ron hadn't wandered for long before he found love and marriage with Lavender Brown. As for Hermione…
The flames changed from orange to green, jarring Harry from his thoughts.
"Seeking permission to enter, from the Floo Messaging Centre," said a disembodied bearded head floating in the flames.
"Come right in," said an awakened Luna, stretching her arms from her nap.
The head entered the room, attached to a short, hairy body wrapped in a toga. The dwarf scratched his chest and pulled out a scroll of parchment and two pink cards. He handed the cards to Luna and Harry and tugged at his toga.
"Blimey, this thing itches," he muttered. In a louder voice, he said:
"An invitation from the Ministry of Magic,
Do not worry, we warn of nothing tragic.
Valentine's Day is almost here,
A time to hold your loved one dear.
Snuggling close in a secluded niche,
Nuzzling your beloved wizard or witch.
Come celebrate, one and all,
You are invited to the Valentine's Day Ball.
Held on the evening of Monday, the fourteenth of February
Bring your love- do not be wary:
Valentine's violets, red rosy hearts,
Come and learn of love at Hogwarts.
"Regards, Rufus Scrimgeour, Ministry of Magic, and Headmistress Minerva McGonagall, Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry." The dwarf rolled up the parchment and extended his palm to the surprised couple.
Harry turned pale at the display, but Luna squeezed his hand. This Valentine's Day might turn out differently, after all.
Luna smiled at the dwarf and stuck her hand into the sofa, where she found two Knuts.
Handing the coins to the surly-faced dwarf, Luna said, "There are a few Galleons that could go your way if you stayed for a cup of tea and answered a few questions about the relationship between dwarves and Crumple-Horned Snorkacks for the Quibbler."
"O' course…I have a few more messages to send, but a few Galleons now is better than a few Knuts in tips later," said the puzzled dwarf as he followed Luna into the kitchen.
Harry smiled to himself as he watched Luna boil the tea in a frying pan. The ball would most likely turn into a disaster for him, but he could always propose to Luna that evening. As he read over the invitation in his hand, Harry wondered who else would attend…
Another Author's Note: Where are the protagonists? They will make their appearance soon. Reviews are welcome.