Sunday afternoon I headed to the library and found Victor at the back. His annoying fan club was hiding and whispering behind a shelf not far from his table.
“They are being less discreet,” I pointed out, leaning against his table.
“I had noticed that also.” Victor was reading a different language book, although it was still about muggle ones.
“They are waiting for you to ask them to the dance,” I teased.
“They will be waiting a long time,” Victor said deadpanned, making me laugh. “Did you think of anything?”
“Yes actually. I needed some outside help though. No worries, they are trustworthy and do not know all of the details,” I reassured him as he looked up.
“I will trust your judgment then. Thank you. What do I need to do?”
“On Tuesday arrive at a quarter past twelve carrying a book. Walk towards the book return then duck behind some shelves, so you cannot be seen from the windows. Wear your usual uniform. Someone is going to walk out, looking like you and lead your fan club on a scenic tour of Hogwarts.”
“You always have the most absurd ideas,” Victor said looking amused.
“Not actually my plan but I admit it is rather impressive.”
“I will be here,” Victor said nodding.
I turned to leave but paused and turned back around. “Victor.”
“Yes?” he asked looking up curiously.
“We are magical.” He looked confused and I tapped his book. “We are magical,” I repeated. It took a minute but a look of understanding came over his face.
“Thank you,” he said standing. I nodded and left the library as Victor headed for a new book.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
“Hermione?” I asked as the bell dismissed us from Ancient Runes.
“Yes?” she responded while gathering her books.
“That spell from Hagrid’s class that you wanted to learn.”
“Oh yes!” she remembered excitedly.
“I wrote down everything I remembered about it. It’s…” I pretended to be searching through my bag. “I must have left it in the library,” I said, making an annoyed sound.
Hermione bit her lip. “We can go check before lunch. It might still be there,” she suggested.
“You don’t mind?”
“It won’t take very long. Let’s hope it’s still there.”
Hermione led the way to the library. Just as we passed the door I knew Fred was inside of, I spoke. That was the signal the twins had planned. “Sorry about this. I really should have remembered.”
“It’s no problem, really,” Hermione said kindly.
We entered the library and I took the lead, going straight for the back. I didn’t hear anyone else around meaning Fred and George had successfully cleared out whoever else might be lingering in here. They also had left the parchment I gave them earlier in the morning.
“Still here, that’s good,” I said, going directly to the table and picking it up. I handed Hermione the notes. “All yours.”
She started scanning the information immediately. “Wow, this is a lot of information.”
“Drawing of the wand movements on the third page,” I pointed out helpfully. Come on Victor, now’s the time. Hermione started examining the drawings. “Slightly adjusting the wand movements and using a different prefix lets you make the spell last longer or shorter. I added some on the second page for you.” She flipped back to the second page as I spotted Victor heading our way. I discreetly motioned him over.
“Gave Karkaroff the slip again?” I asked.
“What?” Hermione asked, confused. She looked up and noticed Victor. “Oh, sorry,” she said awkwardly.
“No problem,” I replied casually. “Hermione meet Victor. Victor, Hermione,” I introduced.
“Nice to meet you,” Victor greeted with a thick accent.
“It’s nice to meet you too,” Hermione said politely.
Quickly, Fred ran up to us. “Need your help,” he gasped, pretending to be out of breath.
“What’s wrong?” I asked worriedly, as planned.
“Having a bit of trouble, come on.” Fred dragged me away as Hermione watched me, looking even more awkward. It’s up to you now, Victor.
Fred pulled me out of the library but stopped right outside the door. “How’d I do?” he asked grinning.
“You were great. They followed George?”
“Course they did,” he answered, rolling his eyes. “Wonder where he’s leading them.”
“As long as it’s away from here,” I replied, glancing through one of the library windows. I didn’t see Hermione or Victor, I took that as a good sign.
“So, Hermione and Krum, eh?”
“You’re not allowed to tell anyone.”
“Hmm,” Fred said thoughtfully. “Will you do something for me if I promise not to tell?”
“You’re going to blackmail me?” I asked skeptically.
“All I want you to do is come for a walk with me.”
“Yes, a walk.”
“You say that so suspiciously, honestly don’t you trust me?”
“Fine,” I gave in. “We’ll go for a walk.”
“Excellent. Tonight at six?”
“Alright,” I agreed, already cautious.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
At ten to six I walked up to the girls’ dormitory to drop off my bag before meeting Fred. Though there were quite a few people in the common room, I hadn’t expected to find anyone in the fourth year girls’ room. Imagine my surprise when I found Hermione and Ginny both sitting on Hermione’s bed, talking excitedly. They looked surprised when I came in.
“Just dropping my bag off,” I explained, walking in.
“You helped set me up, didn’t you?” Hermione asked. Thankfully she didn’t seem upset.
“Did I?” I feigned innocence.
“Honestly, Fred just happening to come in after Victor arrived.”
“You sure started calling him Victor quickly,” Ginny commented while smirking.
Hermione blushed, making me laugh. “I noticed you missed lunch, is that a good sign?” I asked.
“Yes,” Ginny answered instantly. Hermione told her to shush.
“Just ignore or better yet avoid Karkaroff,” I warned.
“Why?” Ginny asked curiously.
“Because he’s a greasy git who likes to parade Victor around.” ‘Because he’s a filthy Death Eater,’ sounded a bit blunt.
“Victor’s really nice,” Hermione randomly said.
“You sound surprised by that.”
“I just…well he’s famous –”
“Harry’s famous,” I pointed out.
“Well yes, but…Durmstrang…er…sort of has a reputation for being a Dark Arts school,” Hermione said. “No offense to you, of course,” she quickly added.
“It is a Dark Arts school,” I said, not slightly offended, “even more so with Karkaroff as Headmaster. That doesn’t mean everyone is a slimy git. Just most. Victor’s family has been going there for generations. There are several people who aren’t caught up in the whole Dark Arts thing that attend purely because it’s a family tradition.”
“That makes sense,” Hermione said thoughtfully. “Will Karkaroff even let Victor come with…someone like me?” she asked, sounding worried.
“Yes,” I said firmly. “Victor wouldn’t care either way though. I won’t lie, Karkaroff isn’t going to approve, but after this year Victor’s done. Karkaroff isn’t going to alienate his prize student.” Hermione bit her lip. “Go with Victor and have fun. Ignore Karkaroff, if he gets rude casually slip Moody into the conversation, that’ll shut him up.”
“Thanks,” Hermione replied.
“I have to go,” I said spotting the time. It was a few minutes past six. I dropped my bag on my bed and left. I didn’t see Fred or even George in the common room. I walked out of the portrait hole to check.
“I thought you were going to stand me up.” I looked to my left and saw Fred leaning against the wall.
“Sorry, lost track of time while talking,” I explained.
“No worries.” He pushed off the wall and held his arm out for me. “My lady.” Rolling my eyes I hooked my arm around his and we took off. “How was your day?” he asked as we walked down a flight of stairs.
“Absolutely spiffy,” I answered, matching his tone. “How was yours?”
“Ah, well it isn’t quite over yet so I suppose I don’t have an answer ready.”
“Do I get to know where we’re going?” We had already walked down two more flights of stairs.
“That would ruin the whimsical nature of this walk.”
“I would hate to ruin the whimsical nature of the walk you blackmailed me into taking.”
“Blackmail is such a harsh word. I prefer aggressively convinced.” We walked for a few more minutes until Fred stopped at a door in a deserted corridor. “Here we are.” He pulled a handkerchief out of his pocket. “You need to cover your eyes,” he instructed.
“Er…” I panicked slightly. Don’t be stupid, this is Fred, I scolded myself. “Alright.” I let him tie the fabric over my eyes.
I heard Fred open the door and a second later he grabbed my hand, leading me into the room. “Over this way,” he directed me after closing the door. “Few more steps. And there we go.”
“I can take this off now?” Fred reached up, removing the handkerchief as I looked at the scene before me. There was a thick blanket on the floor along with a platter of different types of cheesecake, two forks and a couple of bottles of Butterbeer. There were little fairy lights brightening up the room too. It was…well, er…romantic. I couldn’t help myself from smiling. “What’s all this?” I asked, turning to Fred.
“Our first date?” he asked unsure. “Well, it could be the second. I don’t know if you count that time with Dumbledore in the kitchens as a date.”
“Dumbledore crashing our first date?”
“It has a nice ring to it.”
“Let’s hope he doesn’t crash this one.”
“You think he just waits around until he sees a couple too preoccupied to notice him then casually strolls in?”
“Awkward,” I said laughing.
“Huh, face the door to be ready for him?” Fred suggested.
“I’m imagining him flying up on a broomstick and tapping on the glass to hello.”
“It’s a bit weird that we’re making up ways Dumbledore can barge in here.”
“Just a bit,” I agreed. “Should we sit down?”
“Definitely.” Fred opened the Butterbeers after we were comfortably on the blanket. “For you,” he said handing over a fork. “Pick a slice.”
“That one,” I said choosing a chocolate one.
We ate in silence for a bit until Fred spoke up again. “So I’ve been thinking–”
“I’m very proud of you,” I teased. He glared at me. “I’m kidding! Sorry, sorry. This is a lovely date, please continue on.” Fred frowned and put down his fork, then took mine and set it down too. “Fred –” I started. I hadn’t been trying to ruin the night. Suddenly Fred wrapped his arm around me, pulling me to his chest as he leaned back onto the floor. Taken off guard, I didn’t struggle against him.
“Much better,” he commented. “You can relax you know.” Not really…er used to this kind of closeness made it a bit harder for me to relax. “Hmm, baby steps I guess.” Fred said, shifting his arm.
“Sorry,” I muttered.
“Don’t be. I imagine I’d be a bit nervous if some nutter pulled me onto the floor too.” I smiled even if he couldn’t see it. “Now, where were we? Ah yes, I’ve been thinking, I don’t know if you’ve heard, but there seems to be this Yule Ball thing coming up. I was rather curious if you’d like to go with me.” I cringed, I really hated formal parties, well all parties really, but especially formal ones but it was Fred asking, surely that would make the night more enjoyable. “I realize you happen to detest these sorts of frivolous events so I do promise to be as improper and unsophisticated as humanly possible without getting us thrown out.”
I let out a chuckle as I considered his proposal. As much as I hated the idea of a formal ball I would be with Fred. That would make it worth it no matter how many doubts I was currently having.
“Alright,” I told Fred. “No getting thrown out though.”
“I promise you’ll have fun.”
“Ugh,” I said suddenly realizing.
“You could at least wait a minute before having second thoughts.”
“It’s not that.”
“I have to buy a dress.” Fred laughed at how miserable I sounded.
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