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Chai by GubraithianFire
Chapter 1 : The Preface
 
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Author's Note: Written this early for andharrywokeup's eighteenth birthday. I don't care that it's already the 25th for you. It's the 24th for me, so I made it! Hah! I could go on and on about you, but I'm tired. Sorry. But I do love you, sweetheart.

Dedicated to SiriuslyCrack (Tahi) and Adelaide Merrefield (Arzu) for their insane amount of support/help/enthusiasm for this maddening, spur-of-the-moment story. Much love also to Elena78 (Marissa), serendip (Ali), and war and peace (Emma) for their help and suggestions, too. ^_^

Enjoy yet another WIP that probably won't be updated for another couple of months, IF you're lucky. :P

Love (to Andy, Tahi, Arzu, Marissa, Ali, Emma, and all of you out there just DYING to mock Bollywood, too!)
Gubby




 

Chai
The Preface




You know what always strikes me about people?

We’re horrible.

Like, really, really, really horrible.

How else can you explain Ron and Lavender getting together? Harry Potter thinks he’s the only one who can see his friends’ emotions? Yeah, well, I beg to differ. He’s always on about how hurt his precious Hermione was by his best friend’s fling with my best friend. I mean, seriously, what the hell? What about my best friend? Lavender Brown is an insufferable bitch, I will give him that. But seriously? How about her feelings when she saw Ron and Hermione coming down together from the boys’ dormitories? Who was her bitch for the longest time after that?

I was.

And now look at me. I’m badmouthing my best friend.

See how horrible people are?

Lavender and I actually haven’t talked for the longest time. She and Seamus upped and ran off to New York for whatever reason. And I don’t miss her that much. The only reason I’m bringing up this issue – the fling – is because the same exact thing is happening to me now. But on a much, much bigger scale.

You see, I’m in love with Roger Davies.

Naturally my twin sister had to steal him from me.

And now they’re getting married.

Guess who’s organizing the entire bloody wedding?

And guess where Padma Patil wants it held?

“A church?”

Surely there’s a reason I talk to the airhead Romilda Vane? Oh, yes. She’s my “junior photographer” partner. That’s why.

“No, Romilda,” I sigh, more than slightly miffed and frustrated. “Roger wants to be ‘fully accepted by our family’ and Padma wants ‘our family to accept him’ and all that crap–”

“Not India!” interjects Hermione Granger.

Good God, what I wouldn’t give to get that girl to shut up.

Giving her the evil eye, I relent. “Erm, yeah. Bombay. Mumbai. Whatever the hell you want to call it. That’s where they want to get married.” I roll my eyes expressively, acutely aware of Romilda and Hermione staring at me in equal parts horror and humor. “Seriously, I can’t imagine what they’re thinking.”

“India…” Romilda repeats the word as if she’s trying on dress robes, seeing how it feels. “That’s… really… far away…” she says.

Far away? No, not at all! Only a couple thousand miles away. Not far away at all.

“When’s the wedding?” asks Hermione. Nosy bitch. I can’t see what Ron sees in her. She’s a bit kinder than Lavender, but no less obnoxious.

“They haven’t decided,” I answer with a world-weary sigh. “But I’ve made Padma promise they’ll set a date before we leave. I’m not staying in that hellhole longer than I have to.”

“Surely India isn’t a hellhole!” exclaims Hermione, hand flying to her mouth in perfect imitation of someone utterly scandalized. “It’s your homeland!”

“The city isn’t too bad,” I admit reluctantly, taking a deep drought from my mug of coffee. Tea is death. Chai is worse. “But the wedding itself and all that fun stuff – that won’t be in the city, no! It’ll be in the village. And the village – have either of you lived without running water? Or at the very least indoor plumbing?”

“Yeah, I have!” crows Hermione proudly. “When Harry and Ron and I were on the run–”

“And how much did it suck?” I counter shrewdly. Never get one of the Weasleys or their subordinates on about their time in the War. No offense meant to our brave veterans and the dead, but I say we ought to move on now. It’s been almost five years. Get a life, people. Please. I have.

Though I don’t know if pining over my true love and planning out my twin’s wedding to said true love counts as any kind of a life.

Even my job is a crap one. So I’m a “social commentator” for the Daily Prophet. Really. At least Hermione has an actual career. Hermione is at the Ministry with her best friends and they’re living it up with their revolutionary reforms and all that. Romilda is with me, at the Prophet. She’s biding her time until she can be a real photographer. She’s actually not that bad, either.

I’m paid to gossip and spread heinous rumors. For all Hermione’s reforms, some things never change.

Like how horrible people are.

“Come on, Parvati,” urges Romilda kindly. “It’s your sister’s wedding! Relax! Have fun! It has to be fun! I’ve never been to an Indian wedding!”

“Pray you never will,” I advise morosely. “Five days of hyperactive masala-induced madness, complete with different torture devices for every bloody night!”

Hermione blinks. She’s a romantic at heart. Which is why I came here, I remember suddenly. I have to ask her about her feelings about her boyfriend’s brother’s engagement.

“Hermione,” I say quickly in the following lull in our stimulating conversation. “What do you want to tell the Wizarding World about Percy Weasley and Audrey Edgecombe’s betrothal yesterday?”

Romilda stares at me blankly. She doesn’t remember why we’re here, either. Typical intern. But with a gasp, realization dawns on her and she hurries off to wherever it was she left her camera. I roll my eyes noticeably as she scurries away and set Hermione a curious gaze.

“Huh? Oh!” Hermione shakes her head and composes herself; in the meantime, I pull out my voice recorder (Muggles are creative in some respects; I only modified this one to not run on batteries) and turn it on. Romilda chooses this moment to double back, camera in hand. She adjusts the elephant-trunk lens before snapping a photo of Hermione, who is caught unawares.

“Miss Granger?” I ask sweetly, enunciating very clearly so I can hear myself on the playback. “You’re currently dating Auror Ronald Weasley, right?”

“Yes, Parvati, I am.” She learns quickly, this one. Her voice is very manufactured, something she has perfected for the press, but I don’t care. My business is in print, not real life. And there is a very sizable difference between the two.

“Well, I expect you’ve heard that Ron’s brother Percy Ignatius Weasley has become engaged to his girlfriend Audrey Edgecombe?”

“Yes, I have.”

“And how do you feel about that? Any words you’d like to say to the happy couple?”

Hermione beams, and Romilda dutifully takes another picture. “Well, Parvati, I think Audrey and Percy are perfect together. They’ve been dating a year, maybe, but they really do compliment each other and they’re amazingly happy together. I can only wish them the greatest of luck in their future together and express my joy!”

I ask a couple more questions, mostly about the newly engaged couple, but this is on autopilot. Even my smile for Romilda, when she takes one last picture of me with Hermione, is mechanical. She is happy for someone else’s wedding. Well, that’s completely understandable, since her problems are with Marietta, not Audrey. But I feel guilty. And jealous. Let’s see how Hermione Granger takes dealing with her true love’s marriage to her sister. Let’s just see what’s harder in that case: hiding from Death Eaters or hiding from something even more powerful.

Try sisterly love.

Or a conspicuous lack thereof.


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