Gabrielle placed her feet up onto the desk in front of her. Her father would disapprove, but this was not his flat, nor hers, if she were completely honest with herself. Her father had never been here, nor did she believe he ever would be. He much preferred her visits to him over any visit he would ever accomplish. He was getting to be an older man, and, in his age, it was becoming increasingly difficult for him to Apparate safely.
Her mother, on the other hand, looked as young as she did the decade before, when she lovingly embraced her daughter's cold, drenched body after Fleur had failed to save her from the depths of the Black Lake. It was not a day Gabrielle had forgotten, nor one she ever believed she could. Thoughts of that day hung on her mind as a loud thump against her door was followed by a feeble knock.
At once she took to her feet, fearing the worst. As she neared the door, she slowed a little. It was nearing three in the morning, and though she was wide awake, few others ought to be at this hour.
"Doesn't hold his liquor as well as he used to, I'm afraid," Ron said a little loudly as the door slammed open. He hauled his friend in in a less than graceful way, dragging him in by the arms. At first she thought Harry was asleep, but a moment a later he was mumbling some nonsensical words to Ron, who merely laughed.
"I can see that," Gabrielle muttered, pulling her friend by his arm as he attempted to race back out into the night. "No, Harry, over here." He stopped his fuss when he caught her eyes, apparently stuck in some sort of daze. Harry hadn't quite been the same since Ginny had left him; though she'd tried her best to help him, he always managed to slip away. Apparently a little taste of liquor was all he needed to be reminded of her.
"I wish I could stay to help, but Hermione needs me," Ron said hopelessly, then sighed. "Rosie's been up all night."
Before she could say another word to him, Ron had Disapparated; the door to Harry's flat hung open, letting a forceful gust of frigid wind into the once warm sitting room. With a mere wave of her hand, the door slammed shut. She was alone with the saviour of her world. By her count, he had saved her no less than two times, and here he was, drunk and barely conscious for all the alcohol in his system.
"You know," Harry said, with a wave of his finger, "you are one sexy – " A loud hiccough filled the room as Harry spun out of her grasp, tumbling to the floor. "Sexy woman." He looked up at her, a dorky grin on his face and held his hand up to hers. She wasn't sure if it was the overwhelming smell of Firewhisky or Harry's drunken rambling, but she could feel her cheeks warm, a sure sign that they were burning a bright, crimson red. Only Harry had ever made her blush like this, but she'd kept her feelings for him quiet since her arrival.
She was only a temporary visitor at Harry's flat, she had to remind herself repeatedly. He had been kind to her in offering her a place to stay for a few months during her stay in London for Auror training. She had elected to train in the United Kingdom because the programme in Versailles was miserably outdated and lacked imagination. That's what she had told him, at any rate. She wanted a chance to get to know him better, to see if sparks could fly between them, to see if her childhood crush had any merit.
She told herself her obsessive study of the English language and her burning desire to rid herself of her French accent when she spoke had nothing to do with her interest in the Chosen One, but deep down, she knew better. She had been preparing for an opportunity to show herself to him for who she was for years. Now was perhaps the best time imaginable for her. Ginny, only a few months before, had married Neville, leaving Harry, the hopeless romantic, heartbroken and alone. Shortly after the wedding, after saying her congratulations to the bride and groom, she had made to find Harry at his flat. She told him then of her desire to learn the skills of being an Auror from the best person for the task, and, naturally, Harry had agreed. What she had not expected, however, was an offer of residence with her trainer, however temporary. He'd even given up his bed for her, sleeping instead on the sofa outside his bedroom.
She slumped against the bookshelf in the corridor. She weighed almost half his weight, and found herself whipping her wand at him, levitating him to his bed. She would take the sofa tonight, she thought to herself.
As she turned out the lights, she look at his silhouette longingly, before laying on the plaid sofa. She frowned a bit. While it was fine for sitting, its use as a sleeping device was less than adequate. A few pillow charms and comforting charms later, she found herself, eyes nearly closed, slipping into a gentle slumber.
And then there was a loud thump; Harry had fallen from his bed.
Rubbing her eyes, she tucked her wand into her nightgown and made for Harry's room once again. She peaked her head through the door, found him slumped on the floor in a heap of drunken flesh, and sighed.
Levitating him back up onto his mattress, she noticed that he'd cut his wrist a little on the edge of his bedside table. Gabrielle took his hand in hers and kissed his cut as her mother had always kissed hers. She let his arm down gently and turned to leave once more – but as she glanced back at him to turn out his lights, she saw him teeter on the edge of his bed, ready once again to fall to his own injury. She thought for just a moment about casting a Body Bind Curse on him, but decided against it. She had a better, more reliable way to hold him where he ought to be till morning.
"Alright, Harry," Gabrielle whispered, slipping into the covers with him, "you're staying right here." She pulled him against her in a tight embrace and found herself enjoying the warmth of his breath against her chest. Her eyes closed once again and she drifted off to sleep.
Harry awoke that morning to what had to be the most peculiarly pleasing moment of his life, aside from a skull-splitting headache. He could see only a faint glimmer of sunlight shimmer in through the unbelievably blonde hair that covered his face and torso. The sweet smell of chamomile invaded his nostrils, distracted him for a moment as he took a deep breath. It was then that he realised that she was asleep, drawn-out on top of him. For a moment, he worried he'd dragged some woman at the bar home with him and started to get a little angry at Ron until the woman turned her head toward him. Her hair pulled itself from his sight to reveal her identity.
"Gabby," he wondered aloud. Her eyes opened slowly. "It seems I wasn't the only one who had a bit of a crazy night."
"You kept falling from your bed," said Gabrielle a little too defensively. She apparently noticed how she sounded, because her tone of voice changed considerably. "See what you did to your wrist," she took his hand in hers and set it before his eyes. "I couldn't let you do that to your head." She patted him atop his messy hair a couple times, then smiled at him.
Harry looked at her for a moment, but just blinked a few times, and made to sit up. The Delacour girl whined a little inside when his warmth parted from her body, but stretched in reluctant welcome to the new morning. She found herself chuckling when he made his way toward the door, finding the wall instead. His head made a very similar sound against the wall as it had the night before against the floor.
"I need some coffee," Harry groaned, shaking his head. "And a bit of hangover potion," he added, massaging the sore spot on his forehead. Rather than walk toward the door like a normal person, Harry felt his way toward the door, as if he had a great mistrust of his own eyes. As his hand touched the doorknob, he sped quickly outside.
Gabrielle slipped a cold blue blouse on with a matching skirt and stepped out toward the kitchen. The scent of freshly roasted coffee overwhelmed her; it was though she were at home, sitting right before a freshly brewed cup of her father's delicious coffee. As she stepped into the kitchen, her eyes went alight as he handed her a warm mug, then sipped a little of her own.
"That's much better," Harry said after finishing his second cup. She drank hers a little more slowly, enjoying the flavour of each and every drop.
There was a moment of silence in the kitchen. Harry stared at her, and she at him.
"How did I get home last night?"
"Ron dropped you off," she explained, finishing of the last of her coffee. "Said he wanted to help, but his daughter was causing problems at home." She sat her mug down on the counter to pour herself another.
"I've always wanted a daughter," Harry admitted, a little randomly. It amused her to see just how truly human he was. She'd always seen through the media's ridiculous lies and stories. If there was one thing that she knew, however, it was that he was brave and loyal – and very handsome.
"Me, too," Gabrielle said, perhaps a little too enthusiastically. She quickly returned to sipping her coffee, then caught a glimpse of the newest printing of the Daily Prophet. She caught him smiling at her in the corner of her eyes. This was the longest time, as best she could remember, that they'd ever been alone together. He stared at her for what must have been five minutes, yet seemed like only a few seconds. There was nothing but silence between them until he began to speak.
"Are you sure you don't have some sort of," it took him a moment to find the phrase he was looking for, "Veela superpowers or something?" The look on his face was priceless, much like the look a small puppy has when playing with its favourite tennis ball. She smiled, and shook her head. He was flirting with her.
"Not really, no," she said simply, then amended, "not that I'm aware of, at least." She took another sip of her coffee, taking special care to keep her eyes focused on his.
"Why do I have this feeling that you're not being completely truthful with me?"
"You've heard stories?" Gabrielle said, jumping up onto the counter-top. The bottom of her skirt slid up to her mid thigh, teasing a little of her bare skin. While Gabrielle was not a practised seductress, she did know how to catch a man's interest more fully. She grinned as Harry looked away. He was trying to be a good boy, after all.
"Bill has told a few, yes," he said, turning to return the milk to its spot in the refrigerator. She rested her head on her hand and watched him pour out the coffee grounds into the rubbish bin.
"What has he said, exactly?" she asked, fighting back a giggle as she hopped down from her perch next to the sink. She took a step toward him. Anything juicy she could get about her sister's relationship with her husband was fascinating to her.
"Your sister is... a natural," he replied. She'd always wanted to be like her sister in nearly every way, and if she could learn just a little more, she would be satisfied. "I think that's how he put it."
"Really?" she asked, her head tilting just a little. "I wonder if I'm a natural."
"You've never – ?" Harry let his words trail off. He decided to try not to pry too much into Gabrielle's personal life, but she volunteered the information anyway.
"Really?" Curiosity had gotten the better of him. Without even a thought, he questioned further. "Not with anyone?" He was discovering that he knew less about her than he liked. She a friend of his, one he'd come to trust quite intimately in an unusually short time.
"I've not even slept in the same room as a male until last night," she admitted, blushing a little. Though she would never would admit it to him, she'd only ever been interested in him for as long as she could remember. Even when the dozens of boys threw themselves at her during her years at Beauxbatons, she simply ignored them.
"Sorry about that," Harry sighed. "That was lousy of me to do to anyone, especially you." She was intrigued by his choice of words.
"It's okay." She smiled at him, leaning against the wall. She rubbed the fabric at the edge of her skirt between the fingers. She was nervous. "I didn't mind. It was kind of nice, actually."
Harry looked at her with a confused look on his face. Caring for a drunk friend is never fun. He'd learnt that the hard way the first time Hermione had had a bit too much to drink after she'd had a bit too much of the elderflower wine served at Luna's wedding. Harry very much doubted he would ever see Hermione with such a lack of omniscience – or such low inhibitions. He had taken her to his flat and had to force sleeping potion down her throat so that she didn't rip off all his clothes. While he cared dearly for Hermione, she was beginning to date Ron at the time. He didn't need any more drama than he already had had recently with Ginny.
"It's the most time I've had alone with you since I came here," she said softly and cautiously. He looked into her eyes apologetically.
"I've not been a particularly good friend, have I?"
She didn't answer; the silence nearly killed Harry.
"I know," Harry said, a little happier when a thought crossed his mind. "I'll make it up to you. We'll go out tonight, just you and I. My treat." He stepped from the kitchen into the sitting room to tidy-up a bit.
"Are you asking me out on a date, Harry?" She chuckled and the nervousness she had felt began to flutter away.
"I suppose I am," he agreed, returning one of the throw pillows back to its place.
"Of course, I'll go."
Harry looked at her for a moment, then at the floor in front of him. Though he didn't see it, Gabrielle suddenly let out a squeak and a giggle.
"What?" Harry said, further confusion overtaking him. "Was it something I said?" He added, taking a seat on the sofa upon which she had attempted to sleep the night before.
"As a matter of fact, it was." She took in a deep breath, then placed one hand on his shoulder. "Last night," she was still having difficulty breathing, "when you came home, you pointed right at me and you said 'you know you are one sexy, sexy woman'." She copied his drunken slur surprisingly well, she found, but when she tried to mimic his voice, she was met with far less success.
This time, it was Harry's turn to blush. He regretted his adventured in the pub even more. He didn't doubt the truthfulness of her words. He'd never known her to lie or even exaggerate. She had this over him and could use it to her liking. Though he hoped she never would, he could never be entirely sure.
"Did I, now?" He tried to sound more sure of himself than he was. At first, he thought she must have seen right through his act, because she stood up and stepped over to him, then sat in his lap.
"You sure did," she said proudly. He took his pointer finger and touched it to the tip of her nose.
"I don't remember saying that," Harry replied defiantly, much to the annoyance of the blonde beauty now seated in his lap. She fidgeted a little as if deciding whether to cause him some sort of pain.
"Of course not," she growled, reminding him of an irritated kitten. If she started hissing, then he'd be in real trouble. She was still quarter Veela, after all. "You were drunk."
"Must not have happened, then."
Her mouth opened and shut; he could see the frustration beginning to well within her. At what could not have been a more perfect time, he graced her cheek with the light brush of his fingers. As though he had cast some powerful spell over her, she seemed to calmed down at once. She began to understand the game he was playing with her. He was no longer just her saviour, but a man who was quickly falling in love with her, as she had with him.
"You know, Gabrielle, you really are one sexy, sexy woman," Harry said, a smirk of his face. He looked at her and waggled his eyebrows. "There. Now I've said it."
"Did you mean it?" She asked, still not entirely certain if the man before her was teasing her. He took her cheek in his hand and kissed her softly. As though instinctively, she kissed him in return. It was as if her mind had simply left her. As the kiss deepened, she began to wonder if he had some special superpowers of his own.
Author's Note: Please, if you've taken the time to read this little story, take the time to tell me what you think of it. Review!