A.N.: This second chapter/one-shot was also written for the FF Quidditch League (Kenmare Kestrels), with the prompts: lamp (word) and the dialogues (sentences starred in story not my own):
"The next time I tell you it's a bad idea, how about you try actually listening?"; "I will eat that damn muffin if it kills me."; "Revenge is a dish best served with sprinkles."
This chapter/one-shot was also written for Rumpel's HPFT Companion Piece Challenge. Big thanks to my Betas, Ari347 and Queen Bookworm the First.
I quickly checked over my shoulder before tiptoeing down the dimly lit corridor. As silently as possible, I stopped in front of a painting of a bowl of fruit and tickled the pear. Wincing as its laughter echoed down the hallway, I watched it transform into the green doorknob I was so familiar with. The door opened with a slight creaking, but I quickly slipped inside and closed it before anyone could investigate the slight noises I had made.
As soon as I turned around, I came face to face with an awkward looking creature, its legs and arms seemingly too thin compared to its oversized head. I crouched down so that I was eye level with the small house elf and smiled.
“Misty! How are you?”
The house elf beamed, her cheeks darkening. “Misty is quite well, Miss Weasley. Misty is hoping you are well too, Miss Weasley.”
“You can call me Molly, Misty. And I am, thank you,” I replied, my heart aching to give the small creature a hug. Ever since James had shown me the kitchens back in third year, Misty was always the house elf to help me. Although I’d tried to make my gratitude known, she had actively declined any sort of physical contact or gift. “Are there any of your blueberry muffins left from this morning?”
She sprung into action, her delicate feet pattering against the floor as she bustled around the rest of the elves, who were performing other odds and ends such as cleaning. “Right away, Miss Molly. If Miss Molly is liking, Misty can have a whole basket of blueberry muffins sent up tomorrow morning!”
“That’s quite alright, Misty,” I called to her retreating figure. “But thank you so much.”
Glancing around the vast kitchens, I smiled on the odd occasion that another house elf made eye contact with me. They seemed happy down here, much happier than Aunt Hermione kept telling us. Although their clothes were all neutral beiges and browns, they were all cleaned and pressed, and some had even pinned small baubles such as wilting flowers or small patches of patterned fabric to their chests.
“Here is Miss Molly’s muffins! Misty has brought milk and napkins if Miss Molly is to be staying in the kitchens with Misty for a while?” Her pointed ears were perky, her eyes bright, and I couldn’t bring myself to say no.
“Would you like to come sit with me, Misty?” I asked, my heart melting as a smile enveloped her tiny face.
“Oh, Miss Molly, Misty would be loving that!”
She shuffled over to the end of what would have been the Slytherin table in the Great Hall and with some effort, and managed to place the large basket of muffins and napkins, along with the large glass of milk, up on the table before jumping onto the bench. I sat next to her, the difference in our sizes almost comical. We sat there, eating blueberry muffins and talking about what was to be served for lunch tomorrow, what Misty would be doing on her day off, and my upcoming tryouts for Oakshaft Academy. Completed invested in our conversation, I hadn’t realized that someone else had entered the kitchens.
“Oh! Mr. Finnegan! Misty had not realized you were here!” The little elf beside me squeaked, as the newcomer sat down across from us. She jumped off the bench and began wringing her hands. “Misty is very sorry, Mr. Finnegan, for not knowing you were here. Is there anything Misty can do for you?”
He smiled, the edges of his eyes crinkling up in the most gorgeous way. “That’s quite alright Misty, thank you. I should be the one who is sorry. I’ve interrupted the two of you.”
Misty smiled shakily. “No, no, Misty is to be going. If Miss Molly or Mr. Finnegan need anything, Misty is always here to help!”
With that she scurried off, and Christopher chuckled. “I think I might have scared her off. I didn’t mean to.”
I looked back at him, noticing the genuine concern written on his face. “I think she’ll be alright. It took months for her to sit at one of the tables with me, let alone have a conversation. She just needs to be comfortable around people.”
“You’ve known her for a while then?”
Christopher whistled, low and beautifully. “So what you mean to say is that you’ve been breaking curfew for three years now?” It was at that moment that I realized that the Head Boy was sitting across from me. He seemed to notice where my thoughts were going because he quickly talked me down. “I’m not on duty. So I won’t tell anyone that you were out wandering the corridors late at night if you don’t rat me out.”
I pursed my lips and grabbed another muffin from the basket. “Thought Head Boys didn’t have a curfew. What could I possibly have on you, Christopher Finnegan?”
At that moment, another house elf appeared, carrying a large ice cream sundae, piled high with whipped cream. He set it down in front of Christopher, squeaked a few words, and then rushed away as I popped a piece of muffin in my mouth. Christopher’s eyes lit up mischievously, and grinned.
“You can call me Chris, by the way. I prefer it. And, you know how absolutely mind numbingly dumb Marco Flint is?”
I frowned through the muffin. “Yeah, he’s about as bright as a lamp without a bulb. So?”
“So, he forgot to lock up the broom shed last time the Slytherin team was practicing. A bunch of squirrels got in and gnawed on the brooms.” I felt my smile drop and he immediately switched from annoyance to reassurance. “Mine’s the worst and it’s not even that bad! McGonagall was down there a few hours ago working her magic, but I’m still peeved, so-”
“What’s in the sundae?” I interrupted.
His smirk returned in full force, a sneaky glint in his eye. “U-No-Poo. I told the elves it was my vitamins,” he whispered. “So can I count on you to not let slip that it was me, once Marco inevitably flips?”
“This is such a bad idea,” I mused. “He’s going to figure out it was you and then what’ll you do?”
“I guess I’ll have to figure that out later. Now, this is the part where you decide if you’re really going to eat that last muffin - what, is that your fifth?” he asked just as I reached for it. “And also, if you’re going to help me.”
I stuck my tongue out at him, feeling very combative. “Don’t tell me what to do! I will eat that damn muffin if it kills me.*” I took a breath and tried not to smile at his pleading face. “And as for helping you… Revenge is a dish best served with sprinkles*. Misty!”
The small house elf Apparated with a large crack, her wobbly smile endearing. I asked her for sprinkles and as she went off to find them, I polished off the last blueberry muffin much to Chris’s amusement. When she reemerged with the toppings, we dumped half a bottle on the already melting sundae and got up, laughing quietly as we left the kitchens. We were only halfway down the corridor when we were stopped dead in our tracks.
“Mr. Finnegan! I don’t recall you being on duty this evening.”
We both turned to see the tall, lean figure of Professor McGonagall striding towards us. I felt my stomach drop as I realized that Chris was still holding the incriminating sundae.
“Professor,” he greeted her, his voice strained. “Sorry, I was just… just…”
I cleared my throat and they both looked over at me, Professor McGonagall with curiosity and Chris in relief. “I wasn’t feeling well. Christopher found me on my way to the kitchens for some tea and decided to accompany me to keep me out of trouble. He was just bringing me back to my common room now.”
I could’ve sworn I saw the glimmer of a smile on her face. “Ah, yes, Miss Weasley. The kitchens would be quite familiar to you. Although that is a very strange cup of tea.”
“Oh, right. Well.” I glanced over at the sundae Chris was holding, and quickly grabbed at the spoon. “What’s tea without a bit of ice cream?” Scooping up a large amount of whipped cream and shoving into my mouth, I smiled. “Dewicious!”
“Right, we’ll be on our way. Thank you, professor,” Chris forced a smile and quickly grabbed me by the arm, turning me around and guiding me down the hallway.
“Please tell me that the pills weren’t in the whipped cream,” I hissed.
Chris seemed to be struggling to keep it together, chuckling under his breath. As soon as we turned the corner, he began running, tugging me along with him. We quickly darted into an alcove and he finally began to laugh.
“Oh you should see your face!” he cried, setting the sundae down on the floor. “Don’t worry, they were just in the actual ice cream.” His eyes darted down to my lips and his bloomed into a smirk. “You’ve still got some whipped cream. Here, let me get that.” He brought a hand up to brush the whipped cream off my bottom lip and it stayed, cradling my cheek.
My cheeks darkened as I realized just how close we were to each other. “I can’t believe I just had to do that! The next time I tell you it's a bad idea, how about you try actually listening?*”
“So, there’ll be a next time?” he asked, his eyes darkening.
“I guess that depends on you”
With that, he kissed me, slow and sweet at first, his lips tentative on mine, then deeper. I felt the stone wall press into my back, the cold shocking my otherwise warm skin. Pushing him away, I laughed breathlessly.
“Okay, next time. That sounds good.” I would’ve bet any kind of money that my cheeks were as red as my hair. “I’ll see you later, Chris.”
He seemed confused, but I didn’t wait around to explain anything. I just ran. Back to my common room, back to my bed, to overanalyze the fact that Christopher Finnegan, Head Boy and captain of the Gryffindor Quidditch Team, had just kissed me in a dark hallway in the middle of the night.
And to think all I had been looking for were some blueberry muffins.