Chapter 1 : Heartache in Hogsmeade
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I've always loved the snow. That day in Hogsmeade, I walked down the main road with my tongue out, attempting to catch snowflakes. Some people gave me strange looks, but I didn't care. I never did.
I'll never understand why some people hate it so much – snow, that is. It's beautiful and pure. Why does something so lovely make everyone so sad? It breaks my heart to see everyone so miserable.
As I walked along the road, everyone I saw seemed to be frowning. Well, everyone except for Lavender. She looked as giddy as ever as she dragged Ron along. He didn't look happy, but then again, he never really did during those days. I saw Hermione in Tomes and Scrolls earlier and thought about going to talk to her, but she looked sad, so I left her alone. I saw Draco walking by, too, and he looked distraught, but that was nothing new.
Even Seamus and Dean looked unhappy. They were in the Three Broomsticks, and I saw them through the window as I passed by. When I waved, they waved back, but I could tell the smiles on their faces were forced. I felt bad for being so happy when everyone around me seemed to be feeling blue, but I couldn't help it. The snow was just so pretty.
"She's so strange, that one, isn't she?" Seamus asked me as Luna skipped down the path just outside the window.
I nodded and took a sip of my butterbeer.
"Yeah, but she's alright. I kind of like her." It was true. I know people made fun of her all the time, but after getting to know her a bit during the D.A. meetings the year before, I found out she wasn't so bad after all. She was quite a charming girl.
Seamus raised an eyebrow at me. "Like her?"
"Merlin, no. I don't like her, not like that. I mean, she's cute and all, but no. She's just nice."
Seamus laughed. "Yeah, right. I'm beginning to think you just have a bit of a thing for Ravenclaws."
"Shut up," I muttered. I had seen Padma walking by a mere five minutes before with some seventh-year Hufflepuff prat. After a year of swooning over her, I still couldn't muster up the courage to ask her out. It was the reason I was on my third butterbeer.
"I know, I know. Sorry, mate."
"Maybe I should just forget Padma and go after Luna," I said jokingly. "At least she isn't as nutty as a certain someone you have your eyes on."
I glared at Dean. "What's that supposed to mean?"
"Oh, come on. You've had a picture of her under your pillow since last April, for Merlin's sake! Did you really think I had no idea?"
I looked deeply into my mug of butterbeer. I wasn't aware that anyone knew, but I guess I shouldn't have been surprised that Dean did. He was my best mate, after all, but it was still embarrassing. Who fawns over their ex-girlfriend and keeps a picture of her under his pillow? A crazy bloke, that's who.
"You just better not let Ron see that picture," Dean said. "Then again, maybe he wouldn't care. He doesn't look too happy."
I looked up and out the window, and there she was. Her lovely hair was sprinkled with fresh snow as she skipped along the path with her hand grasping Ron Weasley's. Ron looked irritated as she giggled and pointed at something, and that made meirritated. I'll admit that she was a bit obnoxious at times, but it was simply because she was spirited and lighthearted. She was a wonderful girl, and it drove me insane that Ron didn't realize how lucky he was.
I just wished Lavender would see that, leave him, and come back to me, someone who actually cared about her. But by the looks of things, that wasn't going to happen anytime soon. After all, I had been the one to break things off between us because I was just as daft then as Ron was now. Ending things with her was the stupidest thing I ever did. I missed her so much.
"Ooooh, Won-Won, look!" I said excitedly, pointing at a bucket of rather tasty-looking lollipops in the window of Honeydukes. "We should get some of those to share!"
He shook his head. "Nah, that's okay."
I looked at him inquiringly. "Since when do you turn down a sweet, my sweet?"
"I'm just not in the mood today, Lav."
I pouted. "Okay, okay. Want to just go to the pub, then?"
"Yeah," he said with a nod. "Yeah, alright."
I smiled as we walked arm-in-arm toward The Three Broomsticks. I knew something was wrong, but I tried my best to ignore it. I couldn't lose Ron when I'd already lost Seamus. I wanted to show him just how fantastic my life was without him. Of course, seeing him in the pub didn't help. Ron was wonderful, but I really missed Seamus, and the sight of him sitting near the window looking so handsome made me want to run to him and kiss him. But I couldn't do that. He didn't like me that way anymore. So instead, I immediately started snogging Ron once we sat down and secretly hoped that it was breaking Seamus' heart to see it.
Merlin, that girl simply wouldn't quit. I gently pushed her away.
"Lav, there are other people here..."
She giggled. "So? That's never stopped us before."
Before I could retort, her lips were on mine, and I reluctantly gave in. I really liked kissing her, but I just didn't like her. Well, not in the way you're supposed to like someone you snog on a regular basis, anyway. She was a nice enough girl – she was funny, charming, and sweet – but she wasn't...what's the word?
Hermione. Yeah, that's it. She wasn't Hermione.
I felt like such an arse. The way Hermione had been so cold to me since I started things with Lavender made me think there was a slight possibility that she liked me, too, but I was too much of a coward to find out. I'd never have the bloody guts to tell her how I felt. What was more, I didn't want to give up Lavender because she made me feel so damn good about myself. She was always going on about how smart I was and how I was amazing at Quidditch, and I liked it. I was using the poor girl.
So much for bravery and chivalry. I was the lamest Gryffindor to ever exist.
Both Lavender and I were startled when the door to The Three Broomsticks suddenly slammed shut, bringing us back to reality. When we broke apart, I could see a head of bushy brown hair outside the window of the pub. Hermione was briskly walking away. She saw me snogging Lavender. Again.
I was the biggest prat in all of Britain.
He's not yours, I thought to myself. He's not yours. He's hers. He's Lavender's. He doesn't like you.
I was on the verge of tears as I walked as fast as I could through the streets of Hogsmeade, desperate to get back to Hogwarts as quickly as possible. Ever since Ron had begun dating Lavender, I hadn't seen him without his mouth attached to hers, and it made me absolutely sick. I couldn't even go into the damn pub to get a drink without coming across them snogging each other senseless. It was simply ridiculous and I couldn't stand it anymore.
He must have known he was completely breaking my heart; he wasn't as daft as he sometimes appeared to be. But then again, maybe he was. The only other explanation was that he knew what he was doing and was simply too much of a jerk to care; I would have rather considered him to be daft than downright mean.
I was so wrapped up in my thoughts that I walked directly into someone as I rounded a corner.
"Oh, Merlin, I'm - Malfoy," I said, startled. "I'm sorry."
I braced myself for the insults and the name-calling, but Malfoy didn't say anything. He simply stared at me for a moment.
"It's fine," he muttered. Then he simply continued walking toward The Three Broomsticks as if nothing happened.
I stood there in the snow, completely gobsmacked. I had just walked straight into Malfoy, Draco Malfoy, and he hadn't done a thing. He didn't even call me a Mudblood.
Perhaps Harry had been right all along. Maybe there really was something going on with him.
I couldn't believe them all. Granger had been practically sobbing over the Weasel, and said Weasel looked completely miserable as the Brown girl was all but shagging him in the middle of the crowded pub. Even Thomas and Finnigan looked bloody pathetic, moping as they sat by the window sipping butterbeers. Come to think of it, every single person I saw in the village that day looked gloomy. It was so ridiculous.
Because really, any problems everyone else had were petty little inconveniences compared to what I was stuck dealing with. If all I had on my plate was a bit of love trouble, then I'd be just as happy as that looney blonde from Ravenclaw always seemed to be. I would have given anything to have normal adolescent problems like they all had, but life's not always fair. I had a job to do, and if I wanted to see my next birthday, I had to get it done regardless of how much I simply didn't want to do it anymore.
I played with my wand in my pocket as I looked around. Madam Rosmerta was happily chatting with a tipsy Professor Slughorn. It was almost too easy. All I needed was an object to curse. I scanned the shelves behind the bar, and my eyes fell on a wrapped bottle of mead tied with a gold ribbon. I allowed a small grin to appear on my face as a plan formulated in my head.
For MissMuggle's Writing Excercise Challenge:
"Lay out a story that you love in simplest terms, then change it piece by piece. First change the setting, then the characters, then at least one major event. Put in an author’s note what story you started with."
The story I began with is Love Actually, one of my favorite films of all time. One of my favorite aspects of that film is how even people who seemingly have little to no interaction at all are connected in some way and may even be dealing with some of the same troubles. I thought it'd be a fun concept to apply to an HP story.
Thanks for reading! :)