Irma always thought about Saturday Night with capitals. The Saturday itself was a working day, for both of them. But not an ordinary one; not with Saturday Night to look forward to. And she was doing precisely that as, with her customary precision, she set the wards on Hogwarts Library.

The odd sprinkle of Hufflepuffs and Ravenclaws who wanted to join Miss Granger in getting a head-start on the week's assignments would be able do so safely. The few students who knew Irma didn't live and sleep in the library, as most seemed to think, could come in pairs and seek another kind of knowledge in a quiet place behind the shelves. And they were welcome to it, as far as she was concerned. Book learning is important, Irma thought; I'm wasting my life if it isn't. But for some things practical experience is all.

She smiled as she thought about her own practical experiments behind those very shelves, more than half a lifetime ago. Some had been pleasant, one excellent, a few marginally more interesting than watching paint dry. It was a bad saying, for watching the paint dry on the walls of their first shared home, the cottage they still lived in, had been quite thrilling. But no encounter had been, as another saying went, a complete waste of time and effort. Irma was convinced that it was all of these experiences together that had made her what she was today. Which was exactly what she wanted to be: Librarian at Hogwarts, on a Saturday afternoon. Ready to leave and prepare their cottage for the Saturday Night ritual, when Rosmerta would come home after a long evening in the Three Broomsticks.

Irma did a final check and made her way to Hogsmeade. As soon as she spotted Ludo Bagman at the far end of the street, she made a little detour to avoid him. As anyone would, she thought. And smiled. Annoying as he was, the thought of Bouncing Bagman always made her smile.


"Can I bother you for a refill?" Irma asks as Rosmerta hurries by, her hands full of steaming Butter beers.

"Be right with you!" Rosmerta cries. "Sorry, my dear, bit of a rush," she adds as she puts the glass of mead in front of Irma. "Bouncing Bagman can be a bit of a handful."

Irma chuckles appreciatively into her mead. "Bouncing Bagman. How priceless. And you're so right, even when he sits, he seems to be hopping."

There is no answer, and she looks up. Rosmerta clearly feels embarrassed. "I'm sorry … I shouldn't … that escaped me. Please, don't repeat it!" There's a sudden urgency in her voice.

"It's just …," she continues, "I shouldn't make negative comments about the clients. If … when that sort of thing gets around, it's bad for business. People don't come here to be insulted behind their backs. And they're right. But … sometimes …"

Of course. Since Rosmerta has taken over the Three Broomsticks, she has spent quite a bit of money on modernizations. She needs to make a success of the place. Irma's eyes soften. "I know exactly what you mean," she says. "Same thing for me. Can't be negative about the teachers, can't be negative about the students, even. It's the downside of being support staff. No real colleagues – oh, they're nice enough, but … no chance of a good gossip …"

Rosmerta had agreed wholeheartedly. They had discovered that they both had rather lonely positions. And over the next few weeks, when Irma stopped by for a drink, they had begun to trust each other with stories about their work. Then about their private lives. Then, suddenly, Rosmerta had asked Irma to go for a walk together, on Sunday …

Good old Bouncing Bagman.

Irma closed the door of their cottage behind her and set to work. She Scourgified the kitchen and bathroom and put the sitting room to order. They both disliked clutter, and as clutter just happened around Rosmerta and simply didn't dare near Irma, they had decided long ago that this was the sensible arrangement. Before they bought the cottage, even. Somewhere in the hazy area between that first walk and spending every free moment together …

"What I really like a lot," Rosmerta says, as they head back home after a walk, "is going to concerts. Classical ones."

"Concerts?" Irma gasps. "I never thought of you as a concert-goer. I mean … I just … well, you seem such an out-of-doors person."

"No, not at all. It's simply …" Rosmerta blushes.

"Simply what?"

The blush turns to beet root. "Well, actually … it sounds so silly … but I wanted to see more of you. I really did. And I couldn't think of anything. I mean, I'm not very bookish, and … so I suggested a walk. And then you said 'let's do this again next week', so I guessed …"

"I said that simply to be with you again. So what do you really like to do?" Irma asks.

"Other than kissing?" she smiles some time later.

It turned out that Rosmerta loved concerts, eating out, and long fireside chats with a mug of hot cocoa. Irma shared her enthusiasm for concerts and eating out, and discovered a fondness for cocoa. And Rosmerta took to plays, Muggle plays, too, with gusto.

As Irma Levitated and Smoothed the clean sheets on their bed, she thought of Charity Burbage's latest publication, Ironing Out the Problems. Muggle Household Inventions and Their Influence on the Position of Women in the Early 20th Century. The poor things, she thought, electricity may be a breakthrough, but for smooth, crisp sheets they still need to pass those 'irons' over every square inch. Thank Merlin I'm a witch. Setting the stage for the highlight of the evening, she thought, smiling at the memory of one of their pillow-talks, the night Rosmerta saw her first Macbeth.

"Ridiculous!" Rosmerta looks fierce as she brushes her hair. "Why do Muggles always show us as old crones? Now, if I could cast that scene …"

"Who would you have?" Irma smiles.

"That redhead we saw last time. She's as hot as hell, I think. A perfect witch."

"I know who you mean. She would be great, I agree. But she's far too famous." Irma giggles. "Knowing Muggles, she'll be seventy at least before she'll have to consider playing a witch. It's a very small part."

"Bet she'll still be hot by then," Rosmerta grumbles. "Why don't they realise that every witch was young once? Or do they think we're born as wrinkly old bags?"

"Well, you're not." Irma trails kisses over Rosmerta's face, down her neck, over her breasts. She smiles as the angry mutterings turn into delighted moans.

Finally, Irma heard Rosmerta's footsteps outside. She opened the door and drew her into the house and into her arms in one quick movement, hugging her until she could feel the workday's tension ebb away.

"Coming home to you is always bliss, but on Saturday …" Rosmerta murmured as they finally went to the living room.

"Now you sit down in front of the fire," Irma smiled, "You've been on your feet all day. Just let me …" Slowly, she took off the lace-up boots and massaged Rosmerta's feet.

"Heaven …" Rosmerta sighed. "But you spoil me. I'm perfectly capable of undoing my own boots, and …,"

"You'll sit and do nothing," Irma replied. "Remember who's in a position to tickle!"

"That's …"

"Blackmail, blackmail, lovely blackmail. Now, first you'll tell me all of Hogsmeade's news, and then …"

"Well …," Rosmerta looked impishly at her. "There's quite a bit, but I'm that tired, I couldn't say a word without hot cocoa and cake. Which one did you make?" she cried after Irma as the latter disappeared into the kitchen.

"The cinnamon-and-Nutella one," Irma shouted back. Rosmerta hugged herself in anticipation as Irma returned with a laden tray.

"Now, tell me," Irma said as she cut Rosmerta a generous wedge, "Is there any news on Bertha Jorkins? Did Bagman find her? I saw him this afternoon."

"Bouncing Bagman can't even find the Galleons in his own pocket," Rosmerta replied scathingly. "He was sponging off Albus, as usual. Never saw such a one for taking out of the kitty and not putting in. And about Bertha, he still claims that she's perfectly all right and just forgetful. Besides, all they talked about was the Yule Ball and the Tournament. Bagman was moaning about how difficult it was to organize."

"Bagman? Organize?" Irma stared at her.

"Yes, isn't it cheeky? That man couldn't organize a piss-up in a brewery."

When Irma, who had just taken a sip of cocoa, had stopped coughing, Rosmerta added, "That Yule Ball has them all in a tizzy, too."

"God, yes. Ever since Albus announced it to the students, it's been Dating Hell at Hogwarts. And at the Broomsticks, I guess?"

"Poor children. Potter was staring at that Ravenclaw – what's her name again? Quidditch player? Cho, that's it. Who in turn was staring at the Hogwarts Candidate. And Weasley kept muttering about the Delacour girl."

"Did he now? Oh, Merlin. A bit out of his league, I would say," Irma smiled.

"Oh, he or Potter will end up with Hermione – just for once, I hope it's Weasley. He's always in Potter's shadow. Although for Hermione it might be nice to go with Potter – open the ball, and all that …," Rosmerta paused to sip her steaming cocoa and have another bite of the cake.

"Well, you're in for a surprise, then. She'll open the ball, all right. It seems that Victor Krum isn't daunted by clever girls. He has visited the Library daily, these past weeks. And it's not about our books."

Rosmerta grinned appreciatively. "At-a-girl! By the way, do you know what's wrong with Minerva? She seemed a bit out of sorts."

Irma frowned. "Well, you know how it is. Albus may announce a ball, Bagman may prattle and bounce, but Minerva makes it happen. It's a hellish amount of work, as is the tournament. And on top of it, Albus has insisted that the Heads of the Houses teach their students to dance. She gave the Gryffindors their first lesson this week. It's a testimonial to her excellence as a teacher that Weasley is still dreaming of Veelas, rather than fainting at the mention of a waltz."

"He didn't do well?"

"Even with Minerva leading, it was … I'm surprised she didn't need to see Poppy afterwards. 'Quite strenuous', she called it. I think the highlight of her week was when she could tell Snape that Slytherins, too, must have dancing lessons."

Rosmerta chuckled at the thought. "Well, how about this," she said, "Hagrid stopped by for a Firewhisky or two, and he said he wanted to brush up his dancing skills."

"Hagrid? Merlin's beard! Has he considered the … the technical aspect of … I mean, there is more than one situation in which size matters."

"Indeed! But I've seen him with the Beauxbatons teacher, and they just might be … a match made in heaven." Rosmerta smiled fondly at the thought of a romance.

"Well, it certainly is a match made a considerable distance from the ground, whatever body parts they are thinking with," Irma replied drily.

Rosmerta threw her head back and laughed. "Oh, Irma, you'll be the death of me, one of these days," she hiccupped. "Well, at least now we know what everyone else around here is doing. And what I'd like to do, right now … "

With a quick flick of her wand, Irma Vanished the empty cups and plates to the kitchen.

"I thought you'd never ask …" she murmured.