A Valentines Pas de Deux
A Valentines Pas de Deux
Merlin is it cold out here. Hermione's done her best with the warming charms, but we can only keep them going so long at night. By the time we wake up, the temperature in the tent is in the single digits, and outside is hovering at freezing. All of this time, all of this pain, and we've killed only one bloody horcrux, and retrieved no Hallows. We haven't eaten in a day and a half, not since we were able to nick those tins of soup from that muggle grocer. Well, nick is maybe a bit strong, especially when we left a £5 note in their stead. I'll get Hermione to go back there today; if nothing else, it'll keep her off of Ron's back. He's been brilliant since he came back to us. He hasn't told me so, but I'm certain he's on a mission to stand all the watches he ought to have stood while he was gone. Hermione, of course, doesn't see this. No, she has to see it – it's plain as day. She's still too bitter to acknowledge it, though, and it's driving Ron mental.
"Ron. It's my watch now. Send Hermione out here when you get a chance, will you?"
"Right, Harry. Will do."
"Ginny, it's your watch next."
"Thanks, Lavender. I'll be there in a bit. Give me a bit of time to freshen up, will you?"
"Of course. Come out when you're ready."
Bloody lifesaver this Room of Requirement. Neville's got it rigged so that none of the Slytherin goons could open it if they wanted too. Merlin, but those bastards have it coming to them. They had a second-year in a Cruciatus for five full minutes yesterday. Poor dear came in here all a mess, could barely walk. Gryffindor through and through, that one. The Patils have her in their makeshift infirmary now. She was writing a letter to little Dennis Creevey when Alecto caught her. Sent her off to Goyle for fraternizing with a 'mudblood.' Bastard. Tonight is Potterwatch night – every Saturday. That's been another lifesaver here. No news about Harry since December, but no news is good news, right? If those bastards catch him, it'll be all over every media outlet they can find, so as long as we don't hear differently, he's at least alive. Undesirable Number One my arse. At least no one here knows how to find him. He'd go spare if he knew what had become of Hogwarts.
"Hermione, you look worse than usual this morning. What's wrong – have you not been eating? Is it…"
"No, Harry. A little malnutrition seems to have taken that joy out of my life.
"Merlin, I'm sorry for snapping love. It's just I've been thinking that last year at this time it was the same man driving me spare, but I'd rather watch him go on a dozen Valentines Day Hogsmeade trips with Lav-Lav than this. He ran out on us, Harry. Why?"
"Hermione, we've been through this. I have no idea, and he's too embarrassed to tell us."
"Well he ought to be."
"And he is. How long is it until Valentines Day anyway?"
"Today's Valentines Day, Harry."
"Merlin. So it is. Happy Valentines Day then, Hermione."
"And to you, Harry. That was sweet, thank you."
"Right. Now go give that same kiss to Ron in there. Don't look at me like that, woman, I don't need you to snog him. Merlin, I don't even need you to like him right now. But let him know you still love him, Hermione. You've seen how he's been working himself. And with us not having any food, he's going to run himself to the ground trying to make everything up to us. To us – right. He's been trying to make it up to you. It's been six weeks now, can we let it go?"
"For the mission, I'll – "
"Sod the mission, Granger! For him. For us. For yourself. Because you love him, too, and he's right there in that tent and you get to tell him that. Fuck, do it because I can't tell Ginny anything today, never mind sending her the whole dozen roses and a box of choccies."
"Tent. Inside. Talk. Ron. Now. You."
A sight I am. The Boy Who Lived was out fighting Merlin knows what Merlin knows where, and The Girl He Broke It Off With is safe – okay, safe-ish – here at Hogwarts shaking and crying my eyes out. Watching those wretched Slytherins prance up and down the way to Hogsmeade arm-in-arm with each other like it's their bloody birthday and Christmas all rolled into one. Malfoy looking like the Cheshire sodding Cat with both Greengrass and Parkinson, one on each arm. Those bat-bogies are just the beginning, blondie. Watching this, I think I could let go a pretty mean Crucio or two. Right. Watch me enjoy the hell out of stooping to their level.
"Ginny, how ar – "
"Stupefy! Expelliarmus! Incarcerous!"
"Ginny! Let me out of here, woman!"
"Relashio! Neville! Merlin's balls, man, don't sneak up on me like that!"
"Good advice there, Weasley. Your stunner makes your bat-bogies look like a love-peck."
"You almost got worse. Ha. Liked that stunner, did you? Should've seen Nott go arse-over-head when I hit him with it right before the Winter holiday. Stupid berk went and talked about Harry, he should've known better. What's got you out and about on Valentines Day of all days, anyway, and in the Common room of all places? I expected you'd be curled up with a good privacy ward in the Room, seeing if you could convince Pavarti and Lavender that a three-way would be just what Harry would have wanted us to do."
"Hey now. That wasn't called for."
"Wasn't called for? Don't look at me, playboy. You've got a leg over every sixth and seventh year Gryffindor female save Hermione and myself this year. Merlin, between you and Creevey… I'm… Well, leadership has its perks, I suppose. Now, what did you want, anyway? You're interrupting a good brood."
"Er, if you care to join us, the DA is having a little Valentines Day party in the Room. No one else thought you'd be doing much of anything today, or wanting to for that matter. I figured Abe sent up some chocolate and some firewhiskey, and you could probably use both."
"Longbottom, you are a prince among men. Lead the way, good sir!"
"She kissed me, mate."
"'Bout bloody time. One of you had to – "
"Not like that. Just a peck on the cheek. But still…"
"Ron, I don't care if she said three civil words to you or rode you until you couldn't stand, it's still about bloody time you two could act like friends out here."
"Sounds like a plan that second one does."
"Ron, that's Hermione you're perving about."
"You don't really want to play the 'sister' card, do you, Potter?"
"You don't really want to chew your food from now on, do you, Weasley?"
"Right. Easy does it, mate. I'm just taking the piss here. Besides, we didn't think the middle of a war is time to start much of anything. How long has she been at the grocers?"
"Half-hour now. And don't tell that to Creevey or Longbottom. I think the war's doing wonders for their sex lives – at least according to the map."
"You're watching who's shagging who on the map. Potter, has that scar gone into your brain, now?"
"Eh. Mostly I'm just watching where Ginny goes. I just want to know she's safe."
"Where is she now?"
"Room of Requirement, along with Neville, Pavarti, Lav-Lav – hey, that hurt! – and anyone who may have strolled in while I wasn't looking."
"Sounds like a DA meeting."
"The DA sleeps in the Room of Requirement, or at least they have since the winter holidays."
"Merlin, Potter. How long have you been watching that thing?"
"Since 1st September. And no, I don't want to hear about it."
"So, that whole broken-up thing. That was just a sham, then?"
"Ron. Ginny is not my girlfriend. We broke up at the end of last year. Do you not remember the event?"
"Well sure, Harry, but…"
"I don't know how to make it clearer, then."
"Maybe not staring at a wee dot roam around a map is a good place to start."
"I know how to make it clearer: The longer this line of questioning goes on, the more danger your sister is in should you get captured. How's that for clear, Ron?"
"Colin, this is brilliant. Who put this together?"
"Lavender, mostly. But Neville got the refreshments from Abe, and Hannah, Susan and I handled the music."
"Dennis makes the cutest little DJ, too."
"Don't let him hear you say that, Gin. I think he's a bit sweet on you."
"Oh, come off it."
"Are you kidding? The whole 'Girlfriend Who Lived' bit is the height of romance and danger. Denny's always had a keen sense for the dramatic, you know."
"Only danger he'd find around me is that Harry'd kick his poor little arse back to Godric."
"You know, I think that's why Draco and the Malphettes go easy on you. They're worried what's going to happen to them when Harry finds out what's been going on here. Ginny? Ginny, can I get you something? You don't look well."
"Leave the bottle, Creevey."
She's been in the Room of Requirement for hours now. At least she's safe. And warm. Merlin, if nothing else, I wouldn't want her in this cold. Who am I kidding? I'd want her cold, hot, warm… Damnit Potter. Keep your mind off the girl. That's all we need – let Riddle get one good look at your feelings and Dumbledore will be calling love 'The Power the Dark Lord Knows how to Manipulate'. At least the tummy's warm. Thanks, Hermione.
"I didn't say anything."
"No, but I could tell. Those tins of soup were a godsend. At least I didn't have to cook."
"Now I'm really not saying anything."
"You don't have to. I'm a dreadful cook."
"Enough of that, Hermione, you're keeping us alive out here. More'n Ron and I can do."
"Here, Harry. Happy Valentines Day."
"Shouldn't that go to Ron?"
"Oh, he and I have sorted things out. There's just not much we can do about it until this war is over."
"And if this war goes on another three years?"
"Then we'll figure it out then. Eat your chocolate. And don't give me that look. We've waited this long to sort things out, a little thing like a war won't keep us apart long, you know."
"I know, love. I just hate to think how many people's unhappiness I'm the cause of right now."
"Right. Harry, next time just don't start a war with sweet old men like Tom Riddle over nothing. Merlin, and you started this whole thing years before you were born, too."
"You know what I mean. If I could just find those bloody…"
"Hush. Eat your chocolate. Go hit your cot, watch your map and have a good cry."
"I know my hair's gotten long, but Merlin, have I grown breasts, too?"
"Fine, then have a good wank. Whatever. I'll let you know if Ron figures out that Potterwatch password. Just remember Ginny's thinking of you too, tonight. And don't look at me like that."
"Like you want to rip my eyes out for saying that. You know Draco and Snape have told Riddle everything by now."
"It's my fault then, isn't it? We should have taken her with us."
"Right, because a brilliant, competent, hard-headed witch with a trace on her magic and a stubborn streak the size of the Thames is just what we need. You'd have been too busy keeping her safe to worry about anything else. And knowing the reasonable witch she is, Ginny's figured that out, too. Next time I give you that speech, I expect you to sing along. Turn in, Potter. We have work to do. What was that for?"
"For being the best sister a bloke could ask for. Good night, Hermione."
"Night, Love. Sleep well."
So teach us things worth knowing,
Bring back what we've forgot,
Just do your best, we'll do the rest,
"And Longbottom is a sot!"
Merlin. Last time they came up with some interesting words, something about broomclosets and busty Hufflepuffs. Oh look, there's Longbottom over there with his tongue in a busty Hufflepuff. Hope Hannah knows what she's getting into. Or is that Susan? Enough firewhiskey, Weasley. Godric's gonads, if MacMillan starts looking that good, I had better get to bed.
"Ginny, wait. You can't go out there like this."
"Like what? Out of my way, skank. Hex you into next week."
"Right, Ginny. Try pointing the wand the right way, first. Merlin, Gin, you're a sitting duck for the Carrows pissed as you are. Colin's asked the Room for cots for all of us. Go turn in."
"Right. Sleep. Good idea."
"Cots are this way, Ginny. That's a girl… easy now."
"So I suppose no one knows, then, Lav?"
"No, sweets. They'd've said something on the broadcast if anyone had heard anything. But no news…"
"Tell me it's good news, Brown. Go on, then. Try your luck."
"Right. Good night then."
"Wait, Lavender. I'm sorry… it's not been the best day today. Pull up a cot, you've kept the Girlfriend Who Stayed Behind safe for another night, reckon you can get some sleep, too."
"Bloody awful kisser that brother of yours."
"I'll take your word for it."
"You're going to need some of those chocolates in the morning. Best thing for a hangover, next to the hair of the dog that bit you."
"Reckon Granger's taking good care of him?"
"If she's taking that good care of him, I'll rip her fucking face off."
"Your brother, Gin. Focus here."
"There are four of you, Lavender, and the room's spinning too fast for me to focus."
"Point taken. Still, do you think?"
"Merlin, woman. Tell me you're not still pining after that git. He's my brother and I love him dearly, but he wouldn't know what to do with a girl if she came with an instruction manual."
"That's fair. Still, he's quite fit. Merlin is he fit, and…"
"H'mione was about as prepared for this as anyone could be, Lavender. I'm sure Ron is just fine."
"Like I am about Harry. Quit your moping, Ginny. He'll be back. Meanwhile, we've work to do here."