Snake Eyes

A HariPo fanfic

by mew-tsubaki

- ^-^3

Commencement: Millicent, Pansy, & Astoria

When Millicent finally escaped Malfoy Manor, she was happy to be able to breathe again. Sure, there was magic in that house, but the constant chatter was suffocating. Millicent liked being outside best, she supposed.

It had been awfully nice of Astoria to invite her and feed her, and Millicent blushed as she thought of how Scorpius had taken to her as just another member of his family. It was nice to feel wanted, needed. Millicent only had her father left, and it could be any day when he went the way of her mother and passed without a moment's notice.

However, she thought as she walked for a while before Disapparating home, Millicent had to wonder if she'd spoken too soon. Would she actually stick around this time? Just because others knew she was around didn't mean she had to stay, but it would probably be nice if she did.

She fell asleep with that thought in her mind, and it was as though the seed had been planted and tilled, because it grew into a beautiful idea as she awoke the next several days, each morning thinking how it might be nice to see Pansy and Astoria more often.

And the seed germinated and kept growing until it sprouted and spread to Pansy and Astoria, as well. Though the three witches did not meet every day, they came close. Teatime with cake became a routine, not a habit, at closing at Pansy's boutique, and an unnamable thing always brought the three of them together.

"I never would have pictured myself like this," Millicent commented quietly as September grew to a close.

Pansy, ever the unabashed one, snorted. "What, you don't dream of the finer things in life?"

Astoria rolled her eyes as Millicent answered. "I dream of them, sure, but for…a version of me, you might say."

"A version of you?" Astoria queried.

Millicent nodded. "Not the me as I am. But another Millicent. A prettier, smaller, daintier witch, something unlike my bumbling self." She ducked her eyes then.

Pansy frowned. "Surely there's something you must like about yourself, Mil?"

She shook her head.

"Not even one thing?" Astoria asked.

"…well…"

"Yes?" the other two encouraged.

Millicent looked back up at them. "Two things. One, I like being kind of quiet. I can take in everything around me that way. And two…"

"Yes?" Pansy promptly drawled.

"I've always been rather fond of my eyes." She stared down at the table again, catching the reflection of her warm brown eyes in the pale brown tea.

Pansy grinned and Astoria put her hands together. "Then that's something, at least."

Astoria gave her a look. "What, as if you've never felt that way."

Pansy shrugged. "I know I'm a bitch, but I can say that because I know I'm pretty. What about you?"

Astoria didn't seem to like being in the spotlight. "I can't stand that my hair and eyes are the same shade of hazel…I feel washed-out sometimes."

"Compared to blonde-haired, teal-eyed Daphne, I can see why."

The Greengrass gave her a look. "But if there's one thing I like, it's my small stature. People underestimate me, so when I open my mouth, it's as though they've got to listen because they're too stunned to say anything in the presence of 'sweet, adorable, little' Astoria."

Millicent whistled, amazed by Astoria. She wished she could feel that confident herself. On the other hand…it was kind of funny watching Astoria and Pansy talk, since Astoria was stubborn but polite and Pansy was forthright and sneakily rude. It occurred to her then why the three of them kept meeting: They had rekindled their friendship.

It made sense, the more Millicent thought about it. Some things had changed since 1998…but maybe this was one thing that couldn't. At least, not for the worse. The thing was, they were reforming their friendships. But Millicent got the feeling that these connections were more real this time. They were truer. Maybe it was because the world no longer knew the sway of their generation, because the world had readied itself for Scorpius' generation and was already getting used to that new batch of magical blood.

No matter what the cause…Millicent began to feel glad she had happened upon Astoria and Pansy that one day weeks ago. Pansy admitted to feeling lonely, and so did Astoria in her own household. Millicent couldn't have fathomed these two feeling the same way she had all these years… But that was one of many things that created friends: having the same experiences and emotions.

"I didn't think you two would feel the same way," Pansy mused aloud as they sat at the table in the back on yet another afternoon. It was the third of October, and it was a warmer night than most. The witches sat, drinking iced tea and munching on crumpets for a change. Pansy rested her chin in her palm. "Well, perhaps I thought you might, Millicent, since no one had seen you," she amended. "No offense."

"None taken," the taller witch stated. "But I think everyone gets lonely sometimes. Even in a room crowded with people."

Astoria nodded mechanically. "That's much too true. Sometimes a family meal is just…too much for me. With Narcissa and Lucius always the way they are," she whispered as though they might pop up around the corner and catch her saying things about them, "and Draco such an empty shell, and Scorpius with—" She paused. "Scorpius with…Rose…"

They eyed her and exchanged a glance. Pansy turned to her. "The bottom line is that we get lonely. So now when that happens…maybe we should just take a step back and contact one or both of the others."

"Like Floo-calling?" Millicent asked.

"Hell yes. I can barely stand the droppings owls leave," Pansy said with a sneer. Her features softened. "But it's hard to feel lonely so much. I mean…I feel lonely despite…being in love."

Suddenly the atmosphere in the room changed. "In love?" Astoria echoed.

Pansy bit her lip but nodded. "Yes. And it's going to kill me to say it, but…"

"Who?" Astoria demanded. Though Millicent didn't approve of her approach, she couldn't deny that she wanted to know, too.

"Well, as you two are the closest friends I have…"

"Who, woman, who!"

"…a Weasley."

Millicent's eyes bugged out of her head, and she saw the same happen to Astoria, who shrieked, "WHAT!"

Pansy winced at her shrillness and scoffed. "Gee, thanks. Not that I wasn't expecting that, but…"

"Not saying I condemn your choice," Millicent hurried before Astoria could form an opinion, "but…well, how? I mean, why?"

Astoria found her voice before Pansy could answer. "I like the Weasleys. I love Rose. She's, uh…brilliant. But you've always hated them. Not necessarily for being blood-traitors, but because…" She frowned.

"Because they were 'financially challenged'?" Pansy supplied. She scrunched her nose up at the remark. "I admit, that was rather stupid of me. I guess I was jealous, really, of their family. I mean, they've stuck together through thick and thin."

"Yes. Rose told me that her aunts and uncles told her and her cousins that Fred was the first to forgive Percy for being a jerk to the family after gaining his Ministry job. Though, of course, Fred died immediately after that… Still, they've not let loss tear them apart."

"Exactly," the shopkeeper said wistfully. "But their loyalty to one another…and some of them closer than the rest…I envy that."

Millicent gently smiled. "Whom do you envy, Pans?"

"…Dominique."

As Millicent had long been unacquainted with the current world's goings-on, she was definitely confused. "And, ah…who is she?"

Astoria quickly explained that she was Bill Weasley and Fleur Delacour's second daughter, and she ran through the list of Weasleys and Potters and their offspring. Needless to say, Millicent wasn't surprised that there were so many of them. That family had probably never thought of being small.

"And what's special about Dominique?"

Pansy pulled a face. "Don't say it like that. It sounds too…too…"

"Magical?"

Pansy cursed before answering her. "Just hear me out, all right?"

"This, I've got to hear," Astoria commented.

The pale witch ignored her and began: "It was two years ago, and it never amounted to much. Dominique was collecting items on her sister, Victoire's, behalf, for Victoire was marrying Neville Longbottom."

"No!" Millicent's eyes widened. "Longbottom? But isn't Delacour part-Veela? Making her kids—"

"Neville was married to Hannah Abbott for a while before they divorced," Astoria supplied. "From what I've heard, Victoire and Neville make a good pair."

"Home-wrecker?"

"Apparently not. Neville and Hannah had been on the outs for years before Neville thought romantically of his former student—"

"Could we please get back on topic?" Pansy interrupted. They shut up. "Thank you. As I was saying, Dominique came often to the store because she was her sister's wedding errand girl. I…kind of knew from day one that she was an interesting person. But I didn't want to be interested in her. It happened on its own, the more and more she came around." Pansy paused, as if replaying memories in her mind's eyes. "She would try on some of Victoire's things, and it was kind of fun, having those little secrets. She also didn't look the type to want to play around with silk brocades and freshwater pearls; she's more of a dragon-hide boots and denims woman. And I was just the nice shopkeeper."

"Shopkeeper? The nice shopkeeper?" Astoria pulled a face. "That's disappointing. Is that all you have to say?"

"No. Because Dominique refused to let me stay 'the nice shopkeeper.'" She let her hair down and smoothed her locks before returning them to the mouth of her hairclip. "She was too chatty, too fun, too friendly. She wanted to make me her friend. And I—" Pansy closed her eyes. "I let her make me her friend."

"There's nothing wrong with that," Millicent told her.

"I know that. But when she tried on not Victoire's dress but another in the store…" Millicent thought she saw her fight a shiver. "It was almost as though there was untamed electricity running through the store. Being so close to her, seeing something in her eyes…"

"Oh my Merlin," Astoria gasped. "You shagged her in the changing room, didn't you?"

Millicent and Pansy were as red as Astoria, and Pansy scowled and hissed, "Of course not! This is my place of business, damn you! I'd not do something like that here! And besides, I don't 'shag' anyone. I 'make love' to someone for whom I strongly care. And for your information—"

"Yes?" Astoria asked, as she and Millicent were all ears.

"—nothing happened."

Astoria deflated, and Millicent had to wonder what had gone wrong. "Did she not like you?" the tall witch asked.

Pansy shook her head. "That's the thing: I don't know. Nothing happened between us, and I was too scared to see if anything would. Then the wedding happened and I was there because of my business and…I was 'the nice shopkeeper' once more." She frowned, and Millicent wrapped a comforting arm around her.

"Oh, Pansy…," Astoria breathed. She shook her head, but all signs of her teasing had left her. Her eyes were glassy. "I feel for you, luv, I do."

"How could you? You're married to Draco and here I am, in love with a witch who's half my age."

There was a long, drawn-out silence before Astoria cleared her throat. "Just because I'm married to Draco doesn't mean I can't empathize with you. …it doesn't mean I'm in love with him," she tacked on quietly.

Millicent looked at her, words and actions connecting like pieces of a puzzle. "Astoria, you mean—"

"I'm in love with Rose," the Greengrass blurted abruptly. "I have been, since she was seventeen."

Pansy's eyes widened. "But, the Malfoys…"

Astoria shook her head and gave them a brittle smile. "They are not my family. My family is Scorpius, and my sister and our parents and our family."

"But Scorpius is engaged to Rose," Millicent stated, concerned. "What—"

"I know I can't do anything," Astoria rushed, as if afraid she might lose her courage to continue. "And I know it's wrong. But that girl…she's something special, and I don't think Scorpius understands just how lucky he is to have her. She's sensibly smart, though not book-smart like her mother. She's caring, compassionate. We get along well. She's been like an adult since she was fifteen. She's been a part of Scorpius' life since their first year, and a part of mine as a result. But she trusts me and relies on me—we get along too well to be in-laws."

"Astoria…" Her name on Pansy's lips was a stunned fragment.

"I never hated the Weasleys," the wife said, "and it was harder to think of ever hating them, the more I got to know Rose. But, you were right, Millicent—she's Scorpius' fiancée, not mine. She's…she's nothing to me." Astoria stood and walked to the window, where she sat on the sill and looked outside between the blinds. Millicent heard her whisper "She's everything to me."

"But how can she be?" Millicent asked carefully.

Astoria scowled and turned their way. "You wouldn't understand, Millicent. Have you ever been in love? Have you ever thought that you can't go to sleep at night unless you know the other person's okay? Have you ever thought of how painful it is to be in the same room with that person, whether or not they're in a relationship, simply because you feel so strongly for them but it scares you and you can't make up your mind if it's a good idea that they know nothing of your feelings? Have you ever breathed in air, tasted it on your tongue, heard the wind rushing past your ears…and caught that person's scent, tasted that person's flavor even without having tried it, and thought you heard that person close by even though they're nowhere near you? It's a quiet desperation you experience, something that doesn't drown you but suffocates you. And you can't say anything to anyone for fear of unwarranted and unwanted opinions and glances. You can't say anything to anyone because you have no one with whom you can share any of these feelings, no matter how good or how bad they feel. So do not question me unless you have shared in my experience, Millicent."

Millicent opened and shut her mouth a few times, at a loss for words. There were things she could say, but she didn't know if she wanted to say them. Astoria's words…they hurt, but Millicent doubted she had any right following that up. Astoria's words were…untouchable. So Millicent shook her head and removed her consoling arm from Pansy.

Astoria watched them for a few minutes before sighing and standing again. "You know, maybe I shouldn't have said anything—"

"No," Pansy admonished. "I opened up the topic, but—thank you for being honest." She smiled, and she didn't do so teasingly. "It's nice to know that I have an ally."

Astoria frowned and didn't approach the comment. "I should probably go home."

"I should go home, too," Millicent said, and she was out the door before Pansy and Astoria could say anything else. Pansy frowned, and Astoria left shortly after.

- ^-^3

Pansy…wondered why she had opened her mouth. Had she gotten too comfortable around Millicent and Astoria? Had she turned nostalgic about Dominique two years later? Had she been looking for the next spicy thing to which she could attach her name?

No matter the reason, she felt like such a failure.

Even though she had said that she would tell Astoria and Millicent and only them because they were her closest friends now, Pansy thought that maybe she had pushed them away. After that early October afternoon, Pansy had seen Millicent once by herself, and Astoria had come by a few times only for business. It was as though Millicent had not reappeared after all this time, as though Astoria had decided to keep Pansy at arms' length.

It sucked. Once upon a time, Pansy had been friends with Daphne and Draco and Blaise and Theo and Crabbe and Goyle. But times had changed. Daphne had married Blaise. Draco had married Astoria. Theo had shed his snake skin with Tracey. Goyle had never been the same after Crabbe had died. Millicent had disappeared. Pansy had never made acquaintances of the Slytherins above and below them, so when all of those around her had left to go do their own thing, Pansy had been stranded. Now, after creating newer, supposedly stronger friendships with Astoria and Millicent…Pansy felt stranded all over again.

Even on her own time, the store was not enough to keep her distracted. She thought more and more about what she had told the women. Dominique… Pansy shook her head to clear her foggy thoughts as she stitched a decorative pattern along the hem and cuffs of a dress. Why had she opened her mouth? Suddenly everything about that span of time two years ago was resurfacing.

Dominique had been so polite. She was definitely one to go with the flow. She was tall, tan, blonde, and powerful. She carried herself with a determination that wasn't intimidating; it just hinted at how strong she was. So many times, playing in her mind's eye, Pansy saw those peony-pink lips curving up in a mischievous smile. So many times, Pansy thought of those pale brown eyes landing on her and following her every move through the boutique. Sometimes, when no one was in the shop, Pansy dared to think of that moment when she and Dominique had been in the changing room and Dominique had stood there, looking blindingly brilliant in the reflection in a fitting dress. In those moments, Pansy would have to remind herself to breathe, because she would freeze, only her fingers trembling as she remembered the zing she got from feeling the skin on Dominique's back, shoulders, neck, and arms. Then, then she'd just puddle as she recalled Dominique's gaze meeting hers in the mirror.

Of course, after that, Pansy would remember her hesitation back then, her confusion as to whether Dominique was playing with her. Then Pansy would remember how she was just the "nice shopkeeper" once again. And that would cruelly energize Pansy as she told herself that nothing would come of meeting that witch, because she'd never see her again. Never.

Well, that's what she told herself. But sometimes Pansy didn't go looking for trouble. Sometimes it found her.

- ^-^3

Saying what she had at the start of the month had scared Astoria. She wasn't ashamed to let Pansy and Millicent know—she doubted either of them would say anything, and who would they tell, at that?—and Astoria didn't feel as though their friendship was ruined. But she needed time to think. She needed time to think about the words that had bubbled up and overflowed from her.

Because they'd been the scariest thing she'd ever said.

Scarier was that she knew how true they were.

Astoria had never quite so eloquently expressed what she felt for Rose. But now that she had… Astoria bit her lip as she passed Narcissa's room one night. Merlin, the chaos Astoria could raise if the truth ever got out!

And now that she'd been able to articulate it to her friends, Astoria worried that it would be too easy to say as much to Rose. She wasn't one for slip-ups…but what if, by some astronomical chance, she did let Rose know? After all, some had said that the chances had been more than astronomical for Harry Potter to defeat Voldemort—yet he'd done it. And confessing to one's love was so much more trivial compared to the triumph of good over evil.

Or was it? Astoria thought this as she went downstairs and lounged in the sitting room, a book propped open on her lap. It made sense for good to "win" when there was a tilt on the universal scales in favor of evil; good had to be there to correct that tilt and set things right. That was the natural order of things.

But love… Love was much harder to handle. Sure, love could be good or evil. But love was much more complex than that. It had to take into account the personalities and feelings and situations of everyone involved. One right or wrong move, and love could create good or evil. While good and evil balanced precariously on the ends of a worn leather strip…love was a jumble of complexities that affected and bumped into everyone like the invisible silk threads of a spider. Sometimes a person could see the threads when illuminated by dewdrops of clarity and fact. But most times, a person had no clarity and had no hard facts, and the person ended up too deeply entangled in the web before the person even knew that they'd been caught.

Rose knocked on the doorjamb and smiled at Astoria, tearing the older woman from her thoughts. "'Evening, Astoria. Mind if I join you?"

Astoria drew her knees up and motioned to the sectional. "By all means. But I wasn't aware you were over tonight."

Rose plopped onto the couch, close enough to lean against Astoria's legs. "I wanted to be over, but Scorpius was hanging out with Al tonight. He said I could still come over if I wanted. He said you wouldn't mind." She glanced upwards, her large blue eyes on Astoria. "You don't mind, do you?"

A lump briefly formed in Astoria's throat, but it passed as she patted Rose's head and smoothed her hair. "No, of course not, Rose. You know I enjoy your company."

"I enjoy yours, too," Rose said softly. "Say, you remember what I said about not having bridesmaids?"

"Yes?"

"Well, I changed my mind, if that's all right. Dominique's back from France for a little while, so now she can be my maid of honor. She's my closest female cousin, you know. I don't have to have any other bridesmaids, because I know Scorpius will only have Al as his best man." She paused. "Is that okay?"

"It's fine, Rose. Anything for you." Astoria slowed in stroking Rose's hair. Sweet Salazar, she really needed to stop saying ambiguous things to the younger witch.

"Thank you. We should probably take Dominique to Garland Boutique soon, to get a dress made for her."

Suddenly Astoria thought of Rose's request, and what the younger witch didn't know it would mean. Taking Dominique to Pansy's shop? With Astoria and Rose there, as well?

Astoria blinked. When had they walked into their own little web?

- ^-^3

Millicent was being mean. She knew it. She had only breezed past Pansy's store once since the start of the month, and now two weeks had passed. Millicent shook her head. She couldn't believe how stubborn she was being…but she just wasn't sure if she wanted to partake in the conversation Pansy had begun.

If she did, then what? Millicent grumbled to herself as she walked across the city, struggling to turn up the street on which Chocolate Incantations resided. She had not been inside it for a long while. But now she was wondering if that had been such a good idea. Avoiding trouble didn't resolve anything.

She took a breath and finally headed down the sloping road. Soon enough, the sign for Chocolate Incantations came into view. Millicent stood outside for a few minutes, admiring the confections in the window. Then she reminded herself why she was there, and she went inside.

"Ah, hullo," Mrs. Willoughby said once she saw Millicent. "How are you, Millicent?"

Millicent felt her face grow warm; Mrs. Willoughby always spoke to her in this tone that made Millicent feel as though the elderly woman would wrap her up in a hug. She liked it, though the feeling was not something to which she was accustomed. "I'm…good, thanks. Anything new?"

The old woman shook her head. "Not right now. Mr. Willoughby's thrown out his back. And just when we needed something from the test kitchen, too. So, can I get you anything?"

"Do you have the Dirigible Plum Dumplings?"

"Not today, sorry." Mrs. Willoughby looked a little defeated at being unable to help her customer. "Um, maybe…"

"Yes?"

"She's in the test kitchen," Mrs. Willoughby whispered. She pointed at the circular window that led to the other backroom, to the test kitchen.

Millicent grimaced, but she peeked anyway. She caught a glimpse of a young woman with mahogany hair and muddied teal eyes. The young woman was whisking some chocolate concoction furiously, her lips slightly parted in her concentration, revealing a sliver of her pink tongue caught between her teeth on the left. The sight…was somewhat relaxing. So. She looked all right.

"You should see her," Mrs. Willoughby insisted. "I'll go get her for you. Or I could let you back there just this one time. I won't tell Mr. Willoughby, promise."

Millicent smiled a little bit. "It's all right. I don't have to see her."

"But you two used to be close mates…"

Though it wasn't the elder woman's fault, her words rang in Millicent's ears. Of course. Of course Millicent had been close to that young woman. But as mates?

Hardly.

Millicent felt a boldness well up within her, one that she doubted would've existed had Pansy and Astoria not revealed so much of themselves. Now, today… Millicent just hoped they were willing to see Millicent revealed, as well.

"Millicent? Are you all right?"

"I'm fine, Mrs. Willoughby. Can I have three slices of Dobos torta, and some Mallowsweet Muddy Buddies?"

Mrs. Willoughby nodded and rang up her purchases, and Millicent set out, traversing the city once more. However, this time she was not avoiding Diagon Alley. Instead, she was heading directly there.

The other shops on the street were blurs to her as Garland Boutique came into focus. Millicent could only hope that Astoria was there, too. If not…well, maybe she could storm into Malfoy Manor?

As luck would have it, Astoria was on her way out when Millicent entered. Astoria and Pansy looked a little surprised to see her, but then Pansy looked saddened, Astoria stubborn.

"Isn't it time for tea?" Millicent asked.

Pansy scoffed. "I thought we stopped doing that." Astoria said nothing.

"We had a pause," the tall witch said. "But we're resuming. I've brought cake."

Millicent saw Astoria's face waver just a fraction, and it was then that she knew she'd already won. Astoria turned around and headed for the planning table as though nothing had changed, and Pansy disappeared into the back to get said tea. Meanwhile, Millicent passed Astoria a cake slice, put one out for Pansy, and spread the other treat out on the paper bag. When Pansy returned, Pansy poured the tea and sat, but she was curious. "You're being fairly adamant."

Millicent nodded. "I thought I should. I like spending time with the two of you too much to wait for one of you to pluck up the courage to mend us."

"So?" Astoria asked, rolling a Muddy Buddy around on her tongue. "How are you going to do that?"

The tall witch grinned. "Oh, I'm already doing that, otherwise you wouldn't have eaten anything yet." Astoria blushed and stopped eating, and Millicent chuckled.

"Why are you chuckling?" the Greengrass inquired. "I mean…when I last saw you, I said some harsh things…"

Millicent shook her head. "I should've stood up for myself." She looked to Pansy. "It was never something at which I was very good."

"Go on, then," her old roommate encouraged.

"I'm not in love with a Weasley. I've never been in love with a Weasley." Judging by the sour looks on Astoria's and Pansy's faces, that probably hadn't been the best opener. "But…"

"You're in love?" Pansy assumed.

"Yes. With a witch."

No one ate. "Oh," Astoria breathed.

"With a—a Potter."

Pansy's eyes widened. "What? After all this time, you tell us you're in love with the Weasellette?" She scrunched her nose up. "Come on. Anyone but her—"

"Pansy," Astoria reprimanded. She shot Pansy a look and then observed Millicent carefully. "It's not Ginny, is it?" But she wasn't asking a question; she was confirming a suspicion.

Millicent shook her head. "It's not Ginny."

Pansy looked awfully confused. "But, as for Potter witches…" A light seemed to click on in her head. "No."

Millicent shrugged, as though it wasn't that big a deal—though she knew it was. "Yes."

"No!"

Astoria gave her another look. "Is it really Lily Luna?" she asked the tall witch.

"It is," Millicent said. She took a few breaths, trying to put the messy thoughts in her head into order. "Rather, it has been, for a long while."

"How long?"

The tall witch shrugged again. "A few months."

Pansy seemed to find her tongue. "Come again? How the hell did that happen? I mean, Astoria's makes sense because of Scorpius, and mine makes sense because of Dominique's sister's wedding, but—"

"Some things just happen, all right?" Millicent interrupted, a bit annoyed. "She works at a sweets shop in the city, and I happened upon it one day. I didn't immediately know who she was. But even after I learned her name, I still felt comfortable around her. I still felt as though I had a like mind in the world." She closed her brown eyes, thinking of her feelings. "Things did turn romantic with her."

"What?" Astoria gasped.

"No!" Pansy repeated, as if that was the only word in her vocabulary.

Millicent took another bite of her cake to finish it, and the caramel slid right down her throat. She coughed to clear it. "She's…she's something else."

"Wait, you mean—" Astoria's hazel eyes widened. "Lily Luna Potter is actually…?"

Millicent suddenly felt awkward, and she wondered if she should've shared this. "I don't know. But…we did sleep together. Once. It was back in August."

"What happened?"

"I… I'm not sure. I woke up alone the next morning."

"But Lily… She actually slept with you?"

Millicent furrowed her brow. "I didn't pressure her into anything, if that's what you're implying. And it had been months before it had happened. I honestly thought…" She stopped, for something strange was happening: the backs of her eyes felt wet. That—that had never really happened before. Not to Millicent.

"Mil," Pansy said gravely, "are you in love with Lily?"

The owls up the street at Eeylops could be heard chirping in the silence. Then Millicent thought about the emotional torture she'd undergone for a month and a half. "…maybe that's not the word. But I know I want her."

The other two exchanged a look, and then Astoria said, "Then it's settled."

"What is?" the boutique owner asked.

"We've got to help each other in love." Astoria nodded to herself, as if that would reassure all of them. "Somehow, we've got to help each other find our happy endings."

Millicent pulled a face. "I'm not sure we're meant to have happy endings, Astoria."

Astoria shook her head. "No, there's no 'meaning' to have happy endings. We make our own. We just have to get you to confront Lily in the sweets shop." She glanced at Pansy. "And, um, there's something I've not told you, Pansy…"

The pale witch narrowed her eyes. "What?"

"Dominique is back. From France. And she's Rose's maid of honor."

If possible, the already pale woman blanched. She opened her mouth, but no sound came out.

Astoria daren't look at Pansy, so she met Millicent's astounded face instead. "As for me…I just have to sabotage my own son's wedding. So, who's with me?"

"That's horrible, Astoria!" Millicent blurted.

The wife frowned. "We'll figure out a way not to make it so horrible, Millicent." She raised her tea cup. "Now, are you with me or not?"

Millicent reluctantly clinked her cup with Astoria's. Pansy, having regained her mind, shook her head and clinked her cup with the others so hard that tea sloshed out.

"Even if only one of us can turn her life around," Pansy stated, "I say we give it our all. But a little head's up next time, all right, Astoria?"

Astoria smirked, and Millicent was so disbelieving that a chuckle bubbled up in the back of her throat.

Maybe being unlucky in love wouldn't be so bad if, as Astoria had said, they made their own happy endings. They would simply have to make their good luck.

- ^-^3

And now the title's explained, *lol*, for "snake eyes" is the gambling term for getting a pair of ones with your dice, which is a losing pair. Not to mention the snake pun with all the Slytherins… ;P Anywho, I'm very much looking forward to the next three chapters, though I had a lot of fun finishing this one. Some notes—Victoire/Neville is an M&MWP, so I'd appreciate a nod if you use them; Dobos torta is a Hungarian dessert cake created to last longer than other cakes (it's also quite yummy! :Q); and Mallowsweet is a Wizarding plant used by centaurs (no idea how it would be in Muddy Buddies, *lol*).

Thanks for reading, and leave a review while you await ch3!

-mew! ;)