5 Kisses: Unexpected
(Ron/Hermione, Snape/Tonks, Draco/Ginny, Harry/Cedric, Neville/Luna)
Author's note: This wasn't done for an actual 5 kisses challenge, but I liked the idea and just wanted to do one. Now, I think these might be a tad longer than you're generally supposed to write for these things, but who cares, as I really just did it for me. Only one of the five is a kiss on the lips, and only three involve actual physical contact between the two people, lol. I was trying to mix it up. The timeline jumps around, but they're all marked. Oh, and the Snape/Tonks part is very Remus/Tonks friendly.
"You run along now, Cindy. Walk, I mean. You'll be all right."
"Thanks, Mr. Weasley!" The little girl hurried away, beaming, her tears now dried.
Hermione emerged from the shadows and walked up behind Ron, touching his shoulder. "Mr. Weasley?" she said, a hint of teasing in her voice.
He turned around and smiled nervously. "Hermione, I swear I'm not putting off my homework... much. Prefect duties called."
"I know. I, er... I was watching you with that first year. You were very sweet to her."
"Poor kid. She was running and crying because some stupid boy she thought was her friend made fun of her, called her a name or something."
"And you told her the story of a little boy who, in his first year, called a little girl a 'nightmare' who hadn't any friends... But he turned out to think an awful lot of her. And, even though they fought like cats and dogs sometimes, they became the very best friends ever."
"You were listening, too, then?" Ron looked down at his feet and back up to her. "Did you hear the part when I told her that boy... stupid, though he may be... probably teases her because..."
"He likes her?"
"Yes, I did. And I think you're right. I hope you are... I mean, for her sake."
They looked at each other for much too long. Finally, Hermione threw her arms around Ron's neck and hugged him tightly. As he hugged her back, more than a bit stunned, he felt warmth and a slight pressure on the skin where his neck met his shoulder. Then the pressure was gone, but he could still feel the warmth. Had that been... Hermione's lips? Had she just kissed him?
He pulled back just enough to see her face, and she jumped back the rest of the way, startled by the intimacy of the small kiss that had happened so naturally.
"Let me know when your essay's done and I'll correct it," she mumbled quickly, then ran off, fingers to her tingling lips.
His fingertips touched his skin, still warm with the memory. "No running in the halls, Mione," he whispered with affection, beaming as brightly as little Cindy.
She felt his presence in the doorway behind her, even focused as she was on the man in the bed before her. She spoke without turning.
"You can come in, you know."
Snape took the slightest of steps into the room. "How is the potion working?"
She heard in his voice the difficulty in just making that simple inquiry. She knew he couldn't ask after Remus, so instead he asked only about the potion he had made to save him.
"He's getting stronger. The potion... it saved his life." She turned around to face Snape finally, and saw him nod and start to leave. "Wait... Severus."
"What is it, Nymphadora?" he responded, with a heavy sigh.
Yes, she hated that name... and yes, he had that look on his face like he found just talking to her extremely distasteful... but she didn't care about that right now. She was clear on very little when it came to Snape's allegiances, dark or light, good or evil... other than that his "murder" of Dumbledore had not been what it appeared. But it all came down to the fact that Remus had been hit with a spell that nearly killed him, and Snape had been the one to help her get him to safety and to brew the potion that kept him alive. And he'd hated Remus since their school days.
"I wanted to say thank you again. I know you don't like him, but you saved him, anyway. Why?"
Snape took several seconds to begin to speak. "I heard Albus in my ear reminding me that, compared to James and Sirius, he really didn't torture me that much. Or, maybe I just like to keep you all confused."
He was the one confused as she bounced up on her toes and kissed him soundly on the cheek, her fairly uniformly lavender hair tickling his neck as she did. He swallowed uncomfortably.
"Thank you for keeping him in my life," she said tearfully, and returned to her love's bedside.
Make that fiance's. He had seen her ring. He shut his eyes to their happiness and walked away.
"And my friends call me Tonks," she added, just in time for him to hear but pretend he hadn't.
He hadn't saved Lupin for Albus. He had done it for her.
When Ginny heard the sound of crying and slowly opened the door... despite the fact that it was to the boys' bathroom... she didn't know what she expected to find. But it wasn't this. Not Draco Malfoy hunched over a sink, his whole body shaking with sobs. She could see the evidence of countless tears shining in the mirror. Before he could catch her watching him, he moved to the wall and slid down it, hugging his knees.
"He'll kill me," he cried to himself. "He'll kill me if I don't... But I don't want to. I can't do it, I can't."
Ginny knew her presence would not be appreciated, but for some reason she had to go in there. She also knew she had to be out of her mind to be feeling bad for Malfoy, but at this moment she really just wanted him to be smirking again and saying insulting things about her. To be back to normal. She walked quietly inside and sat down in front of him.
"Who will kill you?"
Draco raised his head like a shot and pinned her with red eyes, both angry and terrified. "Get out of here! What are you doing here? This is the boys' bathroom!"
"What's scared you so bad that it's got you acting human for what may be the first time ever?"
"I'm not supposed to be human. I'm no good to him human. You don't understand. You can't." His yelling had quickly given way to quiet, broken utterances. That worried the hell out of her.
"Draco..." She reached for his hand, but a choked sound of pain came from his throat, like a wounded animal, and he pulled his hand away.
It was harder to imagine that she wasn't really there, seeing him like this, once she'd said his name. "Leave me alone... Ginny."
She didn't know his situation, but she had a frightening feeling she knew what... or who... it had to do with. What surprised her was how much of her fear was actually fear for Draco. She stood up and went to the mirror. As her lips pressed against cold glass, she wondered if he was really as cold, and somehow knew the answer was not what she had thought.
"Okay. But maybe I understand better than most. And I understand that, no matter how difficult the place you're in, you have more of a choice than I did."
Face behind his hands, he didn't see her leave. Only aware of her presence by the sink, her words, and then her absence. After a few minutes, he got up and forced himself to where she had stood. He raised his eyes to face the reflection he had begun to loathe and stopped short. Not only had Ginny magically repaired the cracked mirror, but she had (magically or not, he wasn't sure) left him a message, written upon the glass.
You are better than what you see.
Beside her words, there was a kissprint... She had left him a kiss. He marveled at it, tracing the lines of her lips, careful not to smudge their perfection.
"You make me want to believe that."
"Take the Cup, Harry. You're there."
Harry knew he had to. But this wasn't how it should be.
"It should be the two of us," Harry said quietly. Cedric heard him and his tired gray eyes lit up.
"That's brilliant, Harry! We'll share the victory. C'mon. One, two..."
"Wait! Cedric..." Harry stopped Cedric with a hand on his arm. And tried not to lose all focus when the older boy gave him that same beautifully curious look he had when Harry had first uttered the word 'dragons' to him. He didn't know what to say. He couldn't tell Cedric the dream he'd had... of the two of them taking the Cup together, which turned out to be a Portkey, which delivered them straight to Voldemort and Wormtail, who... killed Cedric. Harry's dreams had a tendency to be prophetic, and he was determined to change the outcome of this one. But he couldn't bring himself to tell Cedric, any more than he could tell him about the other dreams he'd been having. The ones where they had been closer than competitors. Closer than friends. The ones where they had...
"What are you waiting for, Harry?"
Because he needed Cedric distracted for a moment... Because he was making sure Cedric stayed alive, but he couldn't guarantee the same of himself... Because he just wanted to, Harry answered the question.
He put a hand on Cedric's shoulder. At the same time, the other grabbed the back of his head, pulling down. Their lips crashed together before second guessing could be had on either side. Perhaps it was due to Harry having just saved his life, or maybe it was just shock, but Cedric didn't shove him away. Not as awkward as it should have been. More intense and desperate, and brief. Tense lips began to slacken, but it was over, a moment before Cedric's hands could find the courage to rest on Harry's back.
Harry broke away, emerald eyes dark with regret. But not for what had just happened. For what was about to.
"You are the true champion, Ced," Harry whispered. Then he sprinted the last few feet to the Cup, reached out a hand to touch it, and disappeared.
Cedric was left alone with a lot of questions... Where did Harry go? Was that supposed to happen? Trying to catch his breath and sort out confusing feelings about why... why Harry would suddenly take the win for himself like that, why he would... why he'd...
And why he had let him.
Sparks. That was the only way he knew to get out of the maze now, to send up sparks. Instead, he sat down and put his head in his hands. Cedric had a lot of thinking to do.
"You were very brave, you know," said Luna to Neville on the train ride home, referring to their part in the recent battle at the Ministry.
Neville shrugged awkwardly, uncomfortable with praise. "Th-thanks, Luna. But not really. I made a lot of mistakes. I broke my dad's wand. Gran's not going to be happy with me."
"Better a broken wand than a broken you. That's what my mum used to say."
"Er, when did she say that?" Neville wondered aloud.
"She said it to my dad after he broke his wand falling out of a tree on a Snorkack hunt when I was nine... Hmm, maybe that's why I remember so clearly."
"Because she died very soon after that. Her wand survived, but we would much rather have had her," said Luna, in her very honest way.
"I'm sorry. I know how you f-..." He stopped himself, hating that expression, even if for once it might be true. "I'm sure my Gran wouldn't care about a wand if it meant having my dad, or my mum, back like they were. They were heroes."
"My mother had pale blond hair and could whistle the Battle Hymn of the Witch-public with her nose."
"I'm saying that I'm a lot like her. And you're a lot like your parents. You're a hero, too, Neville."
Knowing how unusually truthful she was, he had to believe her. But, before he could manage another thank you, Luna stood and walked over, picking up his Mimbulus Mimbletonia and sitting next to him. She gave the plant a little kiss, complete with mwaa sound, on a slightly droopy green leaf. Despite his knack for Herbology, Neville hadn't been able to do much for his Mimby the past couple of weeks.
"It's been worried about you. Plants can sense our stress, or when we're in danger. Now that you're safe, I think it's looking better already." Luna's smile grew as big as her eyes.
"Maybe it was your kiss."
Both blushed, especially Neville at realizing what he'd said. He hurried on past his own embarrassment.
"Trevor seems okay," he said, holding up his pet.
"Toads are exceptionally good in a crisis. And he believes in you... like I do."
"Can you really whistle the Battle Hymn of the Witch-public with your nose?"
Those big eyes sparkled and her nostils flared in preparation. "Yes." And the two of them shared their own private concert.