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Chapter 16 : Clearing the air
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Focus, Lillian, she scolded herself. There’s a man holding a wand to your throat.
“I don’t know!” she gasped when the unseen accomplice tightened his hold on her wrists.
The dark figure in front of her chuckled darkly. “You see – the thing is?” he started in a light voice. “I don’t believe you,” he finished simply.
“Well that must sucks,” she sighed audibly. “For both of us, I mean,” she shrugged.
“Are you stupid, lady?” the other man behind her whispered. “Just answer his question, and we’ll leave you alone!” he hissed.
Lillian couldn’t help but pity her captor. The reluctance in his voice was quite obvious – reason dictates that he didn’t really want to be doing this.
“For the last time, Mr?” she prompted, hoping to get some more information out of the pacing figure in front of her.
“Skorponok will do just fine,” he said emotionlessly.
“Very well, then, Mr Skorponok. I am a secretary to Mr Longbottom. I assure you that my primary concern is not babysitting the Aurors that work under him -”
“You would do well to watch your tone, Mrs Calais,” the man called Skorponok said dangerously low. “Or would you rather see your husband and child -”
“What did you call me?” she said, feeling the serious atmosphere in the room shatter – for her, at least.
Skorponok stopped moving and turned to face her with a victorious smile. “Why, Mrs Calais, you thought you were immune to attacks or – why are you laughing?!” he spat, suddenly outraged.
Lillian pursed her lips to no avail trying to suppress her laughter. “You do realise that Mrs Callan has been dead for five years, right?”
As she said this, she felt the man behind her stiffen. She felt bad for him – but even a Hufflepuff couldn’t see the good in the person holding them captive.
Skorponok stood pinching the bridge of his nose in irritation. “Are you kidding me?” he whispered.
“Sir, I-I’m so s-sorry,” the man behind her stuttered out.
“Are you kidding me!?” Skorponok burst out, making Lillian jump and cease her laughter immediately. “I give you one thing to do!!!” he shouted as he advanced on Lillian. She closed her eyes, preparing for the worst, but was only thrown out of the way and collided with a wall. After she scrambled into a sitting position, she saw that Skorponok was holding the other man by his neck.
Okay, THINK Lillian – wand, find a wand! She instructed herself silently as she frantically began searching the room for her wand – the same wand that was protruding from Skorponok’s left pocket that was facing her.
“P-p-please, sir! Father said that -”
“What Greyback doesn’t know won’t hurt him,” Skorponok said terribly close to the other man’s ear. “Besides, Warren,” he chuckled, “I broke out of Azkaban, what worse thing could he throw at me,”
The younger man (Warren?) whimpered and started clawing at Skorponok’s tightening hand.
“Stop!” Lillian cried.
Skorponok turned his head slowly to face her. “Are you addressing me, human?” he spat.
“No, I could help you,” she scattered and rose to her feet. A glance at Warren’s bleak face told her that Skorponok wasn’t intending to let him go. “Just let him go, sir,” she pleaded, using the term he apparently preferred. “Please,” she said in the weakest voice she could muster.
“It seems our unknown guest has taken a liking, to you, pup,” Skorponok said as he cocked his head to the left, looking back at Warren.
Warren’s eyes were bulging and his attempts to get out of Skorponok’s grip were weakening dramatically. Skorponok tutted and threw him against the back wall.
That’s it, doggy, Lillian mentally praised Skorponok. Now come closer so that I can steal my wand back – wait, Lillian – act concerned for the other man, yes, that’s brilliant! Let Skorponok think you’re developing a weakness. She ran towards a gasping Warren and fell to her knees by his head.
Warren was coughing violently, but the colour was returning to his face. “Oh goodness, are you alright?” she said in her sweetest voice, making sure to add some quiver to her tone – sell it, Lillian, she thought dramatically.
Warren looked up at her with a pitiful expression – gratefulness or remorse? She felt a tug of guilt at her stomach, but forced it out of the way.
She heard Skorponok’s footsteps coming closer to her and Warren. Looking down into the young man’s bloodshot eyes, she gave him the ’trust me’ look, at which he gave her the ‘are you insane?’ look, to which she responded with a roll of her eyes and a slight nod. He blinked, seeming to understand her intention.
The footfalls stopped and she felt Skorponok crouching down behind her. “Attached, are we?” he chuckled darkly into her ear, making chills run down her spine. Focus Lillian, find your wand! She instructed herself mentally. I really hope he isn’t a Legillimens, she added before she could stop herself.
She started feeling around with her left hand to where she guessed the pocket would be with him so close to her. “What!?” she feigned outrage. “No, I just don’t want you to hurt someone because of me,” she chuckled, making sure that it sounded nervous.
Skorponok inhaled through his nose beside her ear, causing her to shudder involuntarily. “How are you going to save our little Warren here, then?” he chuckled just has her hand closed around her familiar wand.
“I have access to Mr Potter’s schedule, I could -” she said nonchalantly as she pointed her wand to where his body was bound to be.
Warren shook his head, and Skorponok punched him in the face with his right fist, causing him to cover his face with both his hands and whimper.
Now Lillian! She instructed mentally. “Levicorpus!” she cried, shouting the first spell that came to mind.
Skorponok made a noise that strangely reminded her of the cries of a puppy just as his body was hoisted into the air by the ankles.
“Would you dance with me, please?” Ron asked in an exasperated voice. “Mum’s asked me for the billionth time tonight!”
Ginny shook her head fondly, chuckled and kissed Harry quickly on the cheek. “I’ll be right back,” she said softly in his ear. He smiled in reply and nodded at Ron, who nodded back awkwardly and pulled Ginny to the dance floor by her arm.
Harry was sitting by one of the circular tables in the tent where George’s reception was being held – the same tent, incidentally, that their ceremony was held in a few hours ago.
He was toying with his name card when somebody tapped him on the shoulder.
“Hermione?” he said as he turned around and faced her. “What’s wrong?”
She chuckled and stuck out her right hand. “Neither of us has a partner – the way I see it, you can either dance with me or be subjected to a Weasley prank in a few minutes,” she said with a smirk as she nodded to the table where Fred Weasley, Fabian and Gideon Prewett were talking in hushed tones, smiling vehemently.
“Technically it’d be more Prewett than Weasley, you know,” he said haughtily and crossed his arms. “And besides, I don’t dance.”
She rolled her eyes, grabbed his hands and pulled him to the dance floor. “What are you, a Ravenclaw?” he thought he heard her grumble and he chuckled. He let go of her right hand and twirled her, then moved in and put his left hand on her hip, smiling smugly.
She giggled. “Not bad for someone that doesn’t dance,”
“Shut it, Granger,” he chuckled as they started moving with the other couples.
After a few minutes of bad dancing jokes and snarky remarks (most of which came from her) the music changed to a slower song.
Harry started searching the crowd for Ginny, seeing that a slow song would definitely be awkward with the girlfriend of the man that had accosted him of fooling around with his sister only yesterday.
“Don’t worry about it,” Hermione said. “Molly’s gotten hold of them now; we’ll have a few more songs to partner together,”
“You okay with dancing with the... err,” he trailed off.
“Fornicator?” she snorted.
“I’m not a fornicator,” he chuckled.
“I heard,” she said seriously. “It was exactly the same for me and Ron.”
“She talks about our sex-life?” he asked, hushing his voice.
“More the lack thereof,” she shrugged.
“We just can’t catch a break!” he exclaimed and dipped her.
“I know, right?” she said breathlessly as they straightened out. “You are really good at this, you know.”
He shrugged. “My dad’s from a very old family – dancing was second only to me learning to fly a broomstick.”
“Why didn’t you pursue Quidditch?” she blurted out. “If you don’t mind me asking,”
He shrugged. “Don’t get me wrong – I love Quidditch, it’s just that, I don’t know. I guess it’s the deep-set desire every little boy has of following in his father’s footsteps that finally drove me to becoming an Auror.”
“Do you like it, though?” she asked with a frown.
“Very much, I love my job,” he said. “Look, Hermione, I’m sorry but this is starting to feel a lot like an interrogation and my palms are starting to sweat!” he chuckled nervously.
She blushed deep crimson. “I’m sorry – I need all of the facts to understand something and you not going into Quidditch was a shock for me.”
“Why Ms Granger, were you a fan?” he asked with a devilish smirk, twirling her expertly between the dancing crowds.
“You caught me,” she snorted. “I had a crush on you all through my first three years at Hogwarts, you know?”
He frowned and faltered a little behind the rhythm. After a few steps he regained his composure and looked questioningly at Hermione. “A crush?”
She shrugged. “Yes, and on you, of all people,”
He smiled and looked over her shoulder at a dancing George and Angelina. “Way to make me feel special, Hermione,”
“Oh don’t act all hurt,” she said as she smacked his shoulder with a tiny smile playing on her lips. “You were always drowning in desperate girls and you have Ginny now.”
He was about to say something, but a tap on his shoulder and Hermione’s ‘speak of the devil’ remark, plastered a smile to his face.
“If you’re all done molesting my boyfriend,” Ginny said in a bad imitation of Ron’s voice.
“Be nice,” Hermione said seriously as she let go of Harry and went off to find Ron. Another slow song started to play.
“I thought you couldn’t dance?” she asked with her eyebrows raised.
“I can’t,” he said with a shrug as he spun her under his arm.
She was blushing as he pulled her tightly against him.
“Forgive me for even thinking the contrary,” she giggled. “You should be more careful, you know,” she said with a scowl.
“Did I hurt you?” he asked seriously stopping his dancing immediately. “I’m sorry, I -”
“Harry, relax,” she said with a smile. “I’m fine; I didn’t mean it like that.”
“So if you’re not hurt why should I be more careful?” he asked with a puzzled look, swaying them to the music once again.
She looked over her shoulder at the single’s table which they were passing. “You must’ve realised that we are quite the number of Weasley siblings,” she started, to which he nodded. “Well... not one of my brothers can actually dance.” she said and shrugged.
Harry was coincidentally looking at Bill Weasley who was... dancing... with a very pretty blonde girl. Well... not dancing, exactly. He was waddling awkwardly from foot to foot.
“At least he was born attractive,” Ginny sniggered, looking at the source of Harry’s pained expression.
“You were getting to the why I should be careful part?” he prompted.
“Oh, right! Well, every girl wants a man that can hold their own when they’re dancing and make them look good,” she continued matter-of-factly. “And you showing off your partnering skills so flamboyantly...” she trailed off and gave the group of girls watching them a smug smile.
He laughed softly and led them to the middle of the dance floor, away from the desperate single girls that had been winking at him for the entire duration of the time he’d been dancing.
“I wouldn’t worry about the other girls so much,” he said, looking down into her bright brown eyes.
“Why’s that?” she asked, feeling her legs start to wobble a bit.
They had stopped dancing and he was inching his lips closer to hers. “I’m already taken,” he said with a smile as he captured her lips with his own. Her arms found their way behind his neck and she pulled herself closer to him. He kept his hands appropriately on the small of her back and her left cheek.
“Oh, William, eet is so romanteek!” he heard a voice with a heavy accent from behind himself and pulled back immediately.
“Harry,” Bill said with a curt nod and a polite smile before waddling himself and the almost too beautiful blonde girl away from them.
All of a sudden Harry was contemplating buying the girl a drink. He shook his head and turned to Ginny and found her frowning.
“Out of all of the girls here, he goes and chooses a Delacour?!” she said very vehemently.
“What’s a Delacour?” Harry found himself asking before he could stop himself.
“I suppose you want to dump me now and have her carry your children?” Ginny said, rolling her eyes.
“What? No! I want you to carry my... err... what?”
Ginny bit her bottom lip and stepped closer to him, wrapping her hands around his neck. “Good answer,” she said, biting her lip. “But to answer your question, the Delacours are a French magical family. Very rich, very old. Rumour has it, however,” she said, dropping her voice. “That her Grandmother was a Veela that charmed her Grandfather into loving her with her gorgeous looks and silvery blonde hair.”
“Well that explains a lot,” Harry said, inwardly very grateful that his compulsion to leave Ginny in the middle of the floor, albeit how fleeting, wasn’t entirely his fault.
“Goodnight, love,” Ron whispered in Hermione’s ear before she pecked him on the cheek.
“Night,” she murmured before closing Ginny’s door.
I must be the luckiest guy in the world, Ron thought to himself. How did I end up with someone that great?
He climbed the few flights of stairs to his own room and found the door slightly ajar. He was about to open it when he heard a giggle from the inside that he recognised easily – Ginny.
Like hell I’m letting them do anything in my room, he vehemently thought. He raised his fist, prepared to knock loudly on the door before bursting inside.
“Ron?” he heard from behind him. “You alright?”
Harry was walking up the final few steps to Ron’s room in the T-shirt he was bound to sleep in that night. “Ron?” he asked again.
“Fine, I’m fine,” he sputtered. “Wait, if you’re not in there with Ginny... who is?” he asked.
Harry grinned before walking past Ron and into the room. “Nobody,” he chuckled.
Ron walked into the room a little more embarrassed than he would have liked. “Why are you laughing, Ginny?” was the first thing that came to mind.
“I was wondering what would happen if you found me naked in Harry’s bed,” she said dryly “I’m happy – happy people laugh, Ron.”
“Oh,” he managed. “Hermione’s turned in just now.”
Ginny looked at Harry and pouted. “But I don’t want to go,” she whined. “You go sleep in my room, Ron.” she said suddenly, perking up.
“Why would I do that?” Ron asked suddenly very confused.
“So that I can sleep with Harry in your room,” she explained. When she saw Ron’s face turning a bright shade of red and Harry fight to hold back his laughter, she realised her weak choice of words. “Not sleep with him sleep with him,” she explained, suddenly flustered. “I meant sleep with him, with our clothes on and everything.”
“I think now’s a good time to get to bed, Gin,” Harry said through his muffled laughter. “I doubt you explaining things is going to make this any easier.”
“I’ll just get going then,” she mumbled and stood up to go and kiss Harry goodnight. “My room’s just down the stairs, you know,” she whispered seductively.
Harry chuckled and shook his head. “Good to know, I’ll walk you down.”
“I’m fine on my own,” she shrugged. “Besides, we wouldn’t want you taking advantage of little old me, would we?”
“I said I was sorry about that,” Ron mumbled whilst pulling his shirt over his head.
Ginny snorted and kissed Harry quickly before walking out of the room quickly.
A very uncomfortable silence followed. Ron went to brush his teeth and when he came back, Harry was already in bed and was facing the wall.
Must be sleeping, Ron reasoned before pulling open his own sheets and flicking his wand to turn off the lights. He had been mulling over the situation for the entire day, and when Hermione had danced with Harry, he found himself not angry or jealous, but guilty of what he had thought about the guy.
Ginny had used their dance earlier that evening to talk to him about the way he had been treating Harry since they’d first been introduced. ‘He’s never even tried anything without my consent and he’s never said anything against you,’ she had said without a hint of resentment.
‘I mean, I get it. You’re the older brother with the trust issues, but I’m really starting to like him, and he’s going to be a part of my life – oh for heaven’s sake stop looking at the Veela-woman!’ Smiling a bit to himself, he turned to where Harry was sleeping.
“You awake?” he asked, half hoping that he was.
“Only in spirit,” Harry chuckled in response.
“Oh, I erm,” he swallowed. “I wanted to apologise for the prat I’ve been.”
“’s alright,” Harry yawned in response. “I understand.”
“You shouldn’t,” Ron said bitterly after a pause.
“How so?” Harry asked, turning to face the direction Ron’s voice was coming from.
“You’ve done nothing wrong and I’ve been perfectly horrid towards you,” Ron explained.
“Well I snapped at you too,” Harry shrugged.
“Because I drove you over the edge,” Ron sighed. “You sure you were a Slytherin, though?” he asked with a chuckle.
Harry laughed with him. “The sorting hat considered putting me in Gryffindor, you know.”
Ron propped himself up on his elbow. “Really?”
“Yeah,” Harry shrugged. “I told it that I trust its decision, and I’ve never had anything against Slytherin.”
“Wow,” Ron said, letting out a deep breath. “You in Gryffindor – that could’ve changed everything! We would’ve actually had a chance in Quidditch!”
They laughed. “Winning isn’t everything, though,” Harry conceded.
Ron sighed. “Would’ve been great to do so every now and then!”
They lay in silence for another few minutes.
“I really am sorry, mate,” Ron said earnestly. “I’ve been a real prat.”
“It’s fine, Ron,” Harry chuckled.
“Shake on it?” Ron asked, sticking out his hand.
“That’s probably not the best idea,” Harry reasoned. He struggled wore glasses in daylight for a reason. No glasses plus night-time darkness would be a homicide mission.
“Oh come on!” Ron insisted.
Harry shrugged and stuck out his hand.
On the bright side, he did find Ron in the darkness of the room. On the other hand... his hand collided with Ron’s nose with a sickening crunching noise.
“Bugger!” Ron yelped.
“I’m so sorry!” Harry said. “I can’t see under normal circumstances!” he explained before pulling his wand out from under his pillow ant flicking it so that the lights went on.
“By dose!” Ron whined. “I think you broke by dose!”
“It’s not that bad, really!” Harry said, crouching down by Ron’s bed.
“Really?” Ron asked. “Hurt’s like it’s dobody’s busidess!”
Blood was starting to flow freely from under Ron’s hand and Harry’s eyes grew wide. “We should try and fix that,” he reasoned.
“You dow ady spells?”
“Uhm,” Harry said, thinking hard. “Nope, nothing.”
“Herbiode,” Ron said. “Go get Herbiode!”
“Of course, Hermione!” Harry said. “I’ll be right back!”
“Take your tibe,” Ron chuckled before swearing under his breath.
Harry ran out of their room and descended the stairs as quickly and quietly as he could – no need to wake up any of the other Weasley’s in the process. While he tiptoed... well if you call running and trying to step silently tiptoeing... he couldn’t help but smile to himself and immediately feel guilty. His girlfriend’s brother finally gets over his aversions towards him and then he goes and breaks said brother’s nose.
He saw light coming from under the door and breathed a sigh of relief. Knocking as quietly as possible, he hoped that they were still awake. A shadow and a laugh from inside the room eased him immediately. The door opened and in front of him stood Hermione in her pyjamas – a very tight tank top and bikini bottoms.
“Harry!” she exclaimed, closing the door so that it was covering her attire. “Ginny’s brushing her teeth!” she explained, her face red.
“Do you know per chance how to fix, say, a nose?” he asked and winced at how it must have sounded.
Her brow furrowed. “A nose?” she repeated. “You look fine.”
“It, err... isn’t my nose,” he explained and ran a hand through his unruly hair. “Ron was caught by surprise.”
She nodded quickly and disappeared into the room. When she came back her hair was in a loose ponytail and she was wearing a red robe. “Let’s go.”
They ascended the stairs as quickly as they could, and burst into the room where Ron was now hunched over by the side of his bed. Blood was running down his forearms.
“Ron!” Hermione gasped, unintentionally casting an accusing glance in Harry’s direction.
“It wasd’t his fault,” Ron explained. “I forced hib to! We were trying to shake hads,”
“Shut up,” Hermione snapped as she knelt by his side. “Let me see.”
Ron removed his hands and a very skew nose awaited their eyes. “How bad is it?” Ron winced as she tried to touch it.
She snorted humourlessly. “Well Harry as quite the punch, by the look of things.”
“You’re telling be!” Ron laughed.
“Okay, this might hurt a little,” she said cocking her head in sympathy.
“Just get it over with!” he exclaimed. “I’b bleeding out!”
Hermione chuckled. “You’re such a drama queen, Episkey!” she said confidently, flicking her wand.
Ron felt his nose turn very hot and then very cold. He gingerly inspected his nose and found that it had been mended. “Thanks, love,” he sighed and tried to pull her into a hug. She pulled a face and backed away quickly. “You’re covered in blood, Ron. Ergo I’m not hugging you,” she explained.
“Oh, I really feel like hugging you, though, so could you maybe...” he trailed off, gesturing at his hands that were covered in blood.
She sighed and smiled fondly. “Why not, Scourgify,” she said, her voice full of authority. The charm was so powerful that an old stain on Ron’s shirt disappeared along with all of the blood. “There,” she said, stowing her wand away. “You may thank me now.”
Ron smiled and pulled her into a hug. “You are truly amazing.”
Hermione shrugged as if it was nothing, but Harry saw her ears turn red and she was smiling into Ron’s shoulder.
When they separated, Hermione sat beside Ron and Harry took a seat across from them.
“What happened?” she asked with a smile.
“I punched him in the dark without intending to,” Harry said, nervously tugging at his sleeping pants.
“He’s making it sound a lot worse than it was, Love,” Ron laughed. “We had just sorted out our... well my... differences, and I asked him to shake on it. He said that it would be a bad idea, but I insisted. So, he accidentally punched my face in an attempt to find my hand.”
Hermione sat, dumbfounded, for a second before laughing. “Why?” she gasped in between her loud chuckles.
“I couldn’t see,” Harry said guiltily. “I’m vision impaired most of the time,” he gestured to his glasses, “And as good as blind in the dark.”
“Well, at least I got what was coming to -” Ron’s sentence was cut off by a huge yawn.
“And that’s my queue,” Hermione chuckled. “Good night you two – try not to break anything else?”
They snorted and bid her good night.
Harry took off his glasses and closed his eyes with a small smile after saying goodnight to Ron. His thoughts drifted to Ginny without his consent, but he didn’t mind and for the first time since meeting Ron, didn’t feel guilty.
Hi guys! (and girls!) - go gender equality, I guess... haha.
A really long wait, I apologise, but exams are fiercely munching up my time!
Anyway, to answer a question I've gotten a few times in the reviews (which I encourage you to be apart of... wink wink) Ginny likes Harry. A lot. She only doubted the speed at which their relationship was moving - she didn't want to end up in a loveless relationship again. Hope that clears things.
Then, a few shout outs!
To nesciamema, no over the coals action, haha, but a bit of mockery in stead. Bear in mind that Ginny is being kept in the dark at the moment.
Then to Harrysavesme, a bit of relationship evolution there... given a bit more violent than necessary, but hey - it isn't a party unless something gets broken!
And to HerEyesOnMeGazing, no Dean in this one, but we haven't seen the last of him! I hope you found what you were looking for in Ron's reaction, I must've rewritten that scene a billion times!
Finally to all of you that I didn't mention individually, I am SO grateful for each and every one of your reviews - you encourage me to keep going even if it feels like I've hitten an impassible wall! PLEASE keep at it.
Please review, any questions, comments, thoughts or concerns are ALWAYS welcome, and I answere each and every review.
I am truly grateful to you all for reading Cintradiction, and I hope that I'm not disappointing you so far, as the number of reviews suggests... That was very suggestive... I apologise... LOL!
All my love,
PS I realise love coming from Fenrir Greyback is a bit disturbing - but bear with me... HAHAHA!!!
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