A/N: Well this was a plot bunny that hit me while I was standing out in the rain one day. I remembered something vague in the books about a few students having crushes on Madam Rosmerta, and I wanted to expand upon that, which led to this three-shot. It is AU, it is a little OOC, but it's my piece of fanfiction so I twisted it to make it what I wanted it to be.
I hope you enjoy the, from what I can gather, fourth Harry/Rosmerta story on this site, and the only one over four thousand words.
A dark-haired boy sat quietly in the corner of the buzzing inn; his hair covering his face and a butterbeer nestled in his hand. Several times witches had tried to sit opposite, but had only ended up sending him hurt and offended looks when they encountered a barrier that prevented them from doing so…not that the wizard cared in the least. He took another pull out of the bottle in his hand and then peered carefully around the crowded room; searching for any person that was giving him a look other than mere suspicion. Finding none, he sighed and then leant back into the soft leather with his eyes closed.
He smiled despite not opening his eyes to see who had spoken. "Evening Rosmerta." He cracked open an eyelid and found his gaze meeting hers; a friendly smile curving her lips and her green eyes twinkling merrily away in the light from one of the lanterns. "How's business?"
She leant back in the booth herself and shrugged, smile still firmly in place as she gave him a wink. "I can't complain Harry, but you're still my best customer." His grin widened and he pushed his innocent look firmly over his features after a moment before giving a whistle, eliciting a laugh from the pretty woman, "Of course Mister Potter, our business transactions stay private, so none of the professors know of your purchases. I'd be in trouble if they found out too!"
He leant forwards and took another draw from his bottle with a grin, "Ah, but if I was found out not only would I get detentions and a disappointed drawl from one Albus Dumbledore, but I would also have to put up with Hermione's attempts to enrol me in Alcoholics Anonymous." He grew his hair out with a small flick of his wand, turned it white, and then grew a beard a moment later before making his eyes twinkle as he pushed his spectacles back up onto the bridge of his nose, "Madam, I must protest to you selling Firewhiskey to minors, it is a most dangerous path that young Harry has decided to choose," he paused to watch her laughing hysterically at his rendition of the Headmaster, and then put a stern look over his features before forcing magic into his voice like only he and said man knew how. "Be ashamed of yourself woman, he got himself abysmally drunk not only last night after I failed to prevent his illegal entry into a lethal competition, but on several occasions preceding!"
She looked at him in shock for several seconds before dissolving into giggles once more, and he smiled warmly as he removed the enchantments from his hair and drunk another mouthful of his drink. "How did you do that?"
He shrugged nonchalantly with a secret smile, "Marauders never disclose their secrets."
She seemed thoughtful for several seconds before motioning to one of the other barkeeps who came over after a moment. "Tony, would you mind covering for me tonight? I have business to conduct."
Harry turned his head away from the man when he noticed his gaze sweep over him, and then breathed a small sigh of relief when he nodded and agreed without realizing just who he was. A moment later he found himself getting pulled by the hand up the stairs of the Three Broomsticks, past a group of ex-Hogwarts students in a rather drunken stupor, and through a door which was always talked about but never walked through by anybody. The Twins had tried it…twice in fact, but had found themselves clucking like chickens, laying eggs and defecating in absurd amounts over the next week in both cases. They had conceded defeat to the locking and protection mechanisms of Madam Rosmerta's private flat, and yet Harry found himself shocked when she willingly led him into it without any hesitation whatsoever. He found himself taking in everything about the small room he found himself facing, and a small smile came to his face as he felt the homeliness and comfort that seemed to seep from everywhere.
The room wasn't large by any stretch of the imagination; barely as big as the Gryffindor Common Room in fact, but he felt so much more at home there than he had anywhere else. The surfaces were all worn down by use; scratched and gnarled in places, but it was clear that it was well looked after and cared for, treasured even. A small kitchen was off to his left, surprisingly including a refrigerator and gas stove; to his right a comfortable sitting area, and directly ahead of him was a largish bed; its sheets neatly made. He jumped slightly when he was drawn out of his thoughts with a tap to his shoulder, and he followed Madam Rosmerta to the chairs around the table when he saw her carrying a dark green bottle and two glasses.
She motioned that he should sit, and then poured him a glass of the deep amber liquid which he cradled in his hand and sniffed appreciatively. "How old is this?"
She shrugged and then cradled her own; warming it with her body heat. "I pulled it from the cellar about a year ago. It was covered in dust, right down the very bottom in fact, and so I decided to bring it up to my private room – chances were that it was a little too…extravagant for normal consumption. I didn't want it to be served to men or women with the intention to get drunk; something this old was meant to be enjoyed by a fellow Firewhiskey enthusiast."
She smiled kindly at him and he raised his glass a fraction before taking a tentative sip; his eyes widening when the heat burst through him and filled him with a tingling sensation. "Merlin!"
Her smile widened as she nodded and sipped at her own drink. "Isn't it just amazing? I'm glad I could share it with somebody that actually appreciates it."
"Thank you…nobody's ever really shared something with me before." He gave her his famous lopsided smile, "It's…a very welcome experience."
She felt her stomach flutter slightly, but quashed the feeling with another smile and sip. "It's no problem Harry, but now I think you should tell me why you're sitting down in Hogsmeade with a boring old barmaid instead of up at the castle celebrating being chosen for the Triwizard Tournament."
His expression turned sour, and she became concerned when he let out a deep sigh before taking a notably larger sip of the drink. He flicked her a charming smile, "Firstly you are not old, and you're most certainly not boring, so you can cut that out right this minute Madam-"
"Rosie." He paused, confused, and she smiled at him; a slight blush tinting her cheeks, "My name is Rosie."
Distracted for a moment he raised an eyebrow, "And your last name is Rosmerta?"
She shook her head with a slight chuckle, "No; my mother's name was Rosmerta and I continued tradition. My last name is Pericaliya."
Harry's smile softened, "Fitting." This time it was her turn to be confused, and he answered her question before she could voice it. "Pericaliya is a Greek name, it means exceeding beauty."
This time she couldn't stop the fully-fledged blush that burst over her cheeks, and she lowered her eyes bashfully; it had been a long time since anybody had complimented her in such a way without being lecherous. Trying to distract both herself and Harry from her condition she questioned, "How did you know that?"
He shrugged and leant back in his chair with another sip, "I dabble in the older languages in my free time; it helps in spellcrafting and warding – specifically the former. It should be…interesting to see just what is awaiting in the first task; I've been dying to try a new blasting hex I created; a hybrid of everto, latin for destroy; αποδεκατίζουν, Greek for decimate; and разрушать, Russian for ruin. It was more than a little difficult to combine the spell matri-" He caught her slightly awed expression and rubbed the back of his head sheepishly. "Sorry, I'm boring you with details."
She shook her head even before he had finished, "No, that was amazing! I mean, I only know how to do the basics with magic, and yet you can just pull a hybridised spell-cross off the top of your head like that! When I was at Hogwarts, at least before I left in fifth year, we were told that hybrid spells were impossible!"
He blushed at the praise, "Well it is normally; wands aren't created for mixing magics and to try is generally a fatal mistake."
He pulled out his wand, and her eyes widened at the sight of it. In harsh contrast to the normal dark wood she was expecting, she was instead faced with a wand the likes of which she had never seen before. Its shaft was bone white; completely pure of any imperfections saves a line of curving runic symbols that were carved in silver on its surface. "Good Merlin, it's beautiful!"
He blushed deeper, "Thank you…I made it." She raised her eyes to meet his in shock, and found him looking back at her without a hint of a lie in his eyes. "It's made from the horn of a unicorn, freely given, and the runes are silver because there is unicorn blood imbued within them – also freely given."
"But…but you could be immortal!"
"Because it was freely given?" She nodded and he smiled at her before shaking his head. "I don't want to be immortal, and the Unicorn knew that. I just want to defeat that bastard and live a happy life. This," he motioned to the wand as he slipped it back into his wrist holster, "is a gift from the lightest of all light creatures. The first core-"
He grinned and nodded, "Yes, it has three. The first core consists of Unicorn hair soaked in Unicorn blood; the second is the wing feather of a royal phoenix-" he saw her gaping jaw and laughed, "and yes, I know full well that a royal phoenix has never been seen and that a wing feather has never been given before; and the third core is a feather from Pegasus." He hesitated for a moment, and then pulled it back out before holding it out handle-first to her. "Try it."
She shook her head almost violently, "I couldn't."
He nodded with a smile, "You can, and you will."
"It's too powerful for someone like me!"
He frowned and then placed it back in its rightful place before meeting her shocked green eyes with his own slightly irritated ones. "Rosie, if we're going to be more than business partners then we need to get some things straight. Are we going to be more than just business partners?" At her slight nod he continued, "Right then. You're a barmaid, and in no way does that reflect how powerful, how respectable, or how nice you are. Do you enjoy your job?"
"More than anything!"
"Well then don't be ashamed of it!" he yelled, and she looked at him in shock; she had never before seen him so confident, and she wondered if it was the Firewhiskey talking for a moment before giving him her full attention when he started talking again. "You love this job, and you chose it because it brings you a sense of happiness; something which you couldn't have gotten doing any other work. Just because you only use housework spells doesn't mean that you couldn't blast the living, excuse my language, shit out of a-" He rolled his eyes good-naturedly when he caught her disbelieving expression, and then waved his hand vaguely at the window by her bed, causing it to swing open and let in the slightly chilly air of the evening. He pulled her to her feet and led her over to it - neither commenting on just how much they enjoyed the feel of their hands touching.
Harry stopped her in front of the window and then pulled out his wand before waving it at a point by a tree in the distance where a large stone wall sprung up from nowhere, and then stepped in-behind the barmaid before forcing his wand into her surprisingly soft fingers. She gasped when the flood of power and warmth ran through her, and then became suddenly very aware of Harry's body pressing into hers from behind as he held her hand in his to guide it. "Right, now listen closely. The incantation is 'iunctus ruina', and I will guide your hand. I will end with a flick, and that is when you will voice the spell, okay?"
"Harry, is this really okay?"
She was clearly distressed, and he hugged her slightly from behind; surprising both himself and her with the action. She found herself relaxing into his embrace, and blushed deeply when she realized that he surely felt the stress flowing out of her. Harry, out of sight of Rosmerta, was blushing almost twice as hard as she was; never before in his entire life had he initiated a hug, and yet here he was out past curfew, out of school grounds, drinking Firewhiskey of a most potent concentration, and embracing a very, to him at least, beautiful woman nearly twenty years his senior while about to perform an impossible spell with a wand that shouldn't exist. "Are you ready?" She nodded after a deep breath, and he began the complicated twists and swirls needed to perform the complex spell. After nearly ten seconds of slow, measured movements he jerked with a flick and the spell burst from the lips of the woman he was holding.
A beam of blue surrounded by a white vortex burst from the end of the wand trailing a tail of green as it sped towards its target, and when it hit the results were astonishing. There was an almighty thump, and a burst of light which illuminated the outcome of the curse. Even Harry's eyes widened to epic proportions when he saw the explosion of earth which reached almost two hundred meters into the air. It took a moment, but when it was over and the dust had settled he immediately pulled the wand from her fingers and sent several high-powered repairo spells at the positively decimated area before closing the window and casting several magic-scouring charms around the room. He let out a deep breath which he hadn't realized he had been holding, and then collapsed into a chair he conjured by the window; watching as a battalion of Aurors popped into the courtyard looking extremely jumpy.
Madam Rosmerta on the other hand, was staring at her hands in shock and Harry looked up at her after a moment before grinning lopsidedly. "Well I think we can strike you not being powerful off the list; it's clearly a bullshit statement."
She nodded mutely and he led her back over to the couch; her hand once more in his, and sat down beside her this time before refilling their glasses and sitting back into the soft leather. It took nearly half an hour for the first words to be spoken, but when they were it was clear that the pretty blonde had gained a lot of self-respect through just the tone of her voice. "Thank you…I feel a lot better about myself now."
Harry smiled and raised his glass a fraction. "I'm glad I could help."
After several more minutes she spoke once more, "So why are you down here with a…barmaid drinking Firewhiskey instead of celebrating with your house?"
He took a sip and looked wryly at her, "Because that house currently hates my guts; they think that I cheated my way into the tournament."
"So you didn't enter your name?"
"Of course I didn't," he snapped, but then sighed and sent her an apologetic look. "Sorry, I'm just sick of hearing people accuse me."
She recovered quickly from the shock of the outburst, and nodded in understanding but a hint of confusion was present in her eyes. "It's no problem; I've only heard the gossip, and they all say that you entered your name. If you didn't then who did?"
He shrugged, "Wouldn't have the faintest clue. Actually, to be honest it's probably just another one of Dumbledore's tests for me, which just so happens to be homicidal…again."
He sighed and leant back in his chair with a dry smile, "Well it goes like this…"
Over the next three hours he told her of his adventures since the beginning of Hogwarts, and at the end of it she sat back in shock; now on her sixth glass of Firewhiskey. "All of that? All of that and the senile old coot is still testing you?"
He sipped once more, also on his sixth, and shrugged lazily. "I'm past giving a shit. Even though he's always watching me for excess power in case I turn out to be another Voldem-"
"You'd never do that!" she interrupted vehemently, and he smiled at her warmly – making her stomach flutter again.
"Thanks, and you're right; I won't, but he can't see that. All he can see is that if anybody is anywhere near his power then they'll go dark. He seems to think that he's the only one who can handle such power without succumbing to the dark, and I'm just a teenager, so in his eyes, how in the hell am I supposed to handle such responsibility? All the light creatures disagree however."
"And I agree with them."
His smile deepened, and turned even softer, and she found herself wondering just how drunk he was. If his forward nature was anything to go by then he was quite intoxicated and would likely forget what transpired in the morning, and so she leant forward at the same time that he did and met his lips with her own. She had had her fair share of kisses in her time; all of them ruining the romantic view that she had held onto as a child. There had been no fireworks; no feeling of completion in her soul; no emotions of elation and euphoria, and no real feeling behind them – but Harry's kiss blew all of that into the water. Fireworks, no, but the warmth that spread through her was incredible. The only thing that she could compare it to was Firewhiskey, but even that didn't do what she was feeling justice.
What she had intended to just be a peck, nothing of much consequence, quickly turned into something very meaningful for the blonde; something which she had only considered possible as a child. She could quite literally feel the completion it brought into her; the flood of emotions it both evoked and conveyed, and the joy she could feel was like nothing she had ever experienced before. It was several minutes later that they separated; their lips swollen and bruised, and their breath coming in ragged pants as they struggled to regain their coherence; their foreheads resting together. It took a couple of moments for her to realize that the smell of alcohol on Harry's breath was completely missing, and she looked up into his eyes to confirm the dread she felt.
Sure as she had thought his eyes were completely clear and full of sharp awareness and the feeling plummeted into her stomach…until he leant forwards and pressed a single, but infinitely gentle kiss once more to her lips before pulling back and looking at her as if to judge her reaction. Her reaction was confusion. "Harry…I- I don't understand. How are you not dru- why did you kiss me?"
He smiled lightly and took another sip of his drink. "My magic purifies anything I ingest. Oh I can still get drunk, but it takes a lot more than sipping on several Firewhiskies over the course of a few hours. As for why I kissed you, I thought that would be obvious; I quite fancy you."
Foregoing the purification aspect for that moment, Madam Rosmerta moved on to the rather glaring, what she considered, problem that had presented itself. "You can't like me!"
He grinned happily back, "Wonderful, I'll settle on like like you then."
"Wha- why- you can't do that!"
"Too late!" he rebuked with a carefree shrug, "Don't care what the lot of them thinks if they ever find out – in fact they can shove their derogatory comments quite forcefully where the sun don't shine thank you very much. And don't," he interrupted as she moved to speak, "for a moment try and get out of this by saying that you didn't want that to happen. I paused half-way and allowed you to meet me; you accepted and participated in that kiss, and not once did you move to yank yourself away."
"Harry, what I did was wrong-"
"Why Rosie?" He pointed to himself, "Because I am who I am? Because of my fame and all that rubbish? Does that mean that I don't get to choose who I'm with?"
"Ah, I see," he interrupted again, a look of comprehension spreading over his face, "you believe that you're not worthy. You're beautiful, you're charming, you're powerful, and you're certain in yourself…apart from now, but I think this is the exception to that rule. Why can't you be with me?"
"I'm too old Harry; I'm eighteen years older than you!"
He shrugged, "Rosie, it's not as if I'm asking for your hand in marriage right this moment; I'm asking if you want to be with me and see where we go. That's what I'm asking you."
"Will stay the hell out of my life or else face the consequences." She still looked uncertain and worried, and he sighed deeply before sending her a small smile, "Would it make you feel better if we agreed to keep our relationship a secret? I'll set up a few more privacy wards and such over your apartment when I leave and unless we're in here then we'll just act friendly – what do you think?"
She sat silent, thinking for several minutes before looking across at him, "And Dumbledore won't find out?"
He shook his head, "And neither will anybody else unless we mutually discuss it and agree. Even the Twins won't get a whiff of it after I'm done with the rest of the protections."
She thought for several moments more before Harry found himself eyes-wide as she kissed him positively senseless for the second time that night. In the middle of the kiss he grinned to himself and wrapped his arms around his new girlfriend, 'I'll take that as a yes, I would be delighted to be with you.'