Questions and Crushes
'So, Harry. Do you have any questions for me?' Elizabeth asked, sitting down on a rickety chair beside him.
'I… don't know…' Harry started. He had obsessed over the prospect of meeting her, asking her questions. The only thing he could think to ask at that moment was, 'What's your animagus form?'
Elizabeth laughed lightly, and said, 'You've found me out, I see. Yes, I was the owl. Or, am, whichever way you look at it. But, I'm sure you've heard from the Weasleys that I'm unbelievably powerful?'
'Yeah. Yeah, they told me.'
'Well, the owl's not my only form. I learned to control what animal I become. So if you ever spot an animal in one of your classrooms, look at the eyes; it just might be me.'
'I didn't know it was possible to transform into more than one.'
'Strictly speaking, it's not exactly possible. Or, rather, you need to practice a lot, and you need to be – at the risk of sounding conceited – intensely powerful to make it work. I'm pretty sure I'm the only person to have done it since Merlin. It took me ages to get it down. I was the best witch in my year, even though I was younger than everyone.'
'They said you were buddy-buddy with the teachers.'
'They're my family, since I don't have any left. I live at the school full time, so I got to know all of the teachers really well.'
'Who's… if you don't mind me asking... who's your favourite?'
'My favourite, huh. Well, Minerva McGonagall was my head of house, and was a good friend of my parents. She's almost been, I suppose, a surrogate mother. Flitwick, Hagrid, of course… and, um… well… Harry, I know you don't like him, but I spend a lot of time with… with Severus. Professor Snape.'
'Snape?' Harry asked incredulously. 'But… he hates anyone that's not a Slytherin!'
'Not… not everyone. Besides, he knew me before I was sorted into Gryffindor. He taught me pretty much everything I know about potions and Defence Against the Dark Arts, as well as a bunch of obscure branches of magic they don't even teach at Hogwarts.'
'But he's – he's evil.' Harry was amazed that such a sweet girl – indeed, a girl who had faced Voldemort twice as a small child – a Gryffindor! – could be friends with Snape. 'He's snide and sarcastic and cruel.'
'He never did like James, you know,' she said, 'Or, hated him, more like. And your father and Sirius hated him.'
'Well, I bet he was an oily git back then, too,' Harry said stubbornly. 'I mean… he treats Lupin terribly, as well.'
'I know Remus Lupin, Harry, and he would tell you that it isn't exactly Lupin he hates, per se; it was the fact that he's connected with your father. Those four were best friends.'
'I still don't believe that he would be kind to someone like you.'
'Someone like me?' she asked, puzzled. 'What do you mean?'
'Well, I asked everyone about you,' Harry told her, slightly embarrassed. 'They all told me how sweet and kind and compassionate and smart and…' He drifted off, unsure if she would laugh if he told her she was pretty.
'And… and, well... they all told me you were… were nice-looking.'
She smiled and blushed. 'Bet Charlie was singing me praises,' she said, her eyes fleeting to the door of the tent.
'Actually, it was Fred and George. Charlie just got a little flustered when we started talking about you,' Harry grinned.
'Oh really…' she asked, her eyes dancing.
Before they could continue talking, however, Charlie himself popped his head into the tent and said, 'Sorry to interrupt you two, but dad wanted me to tell you that the venders are here, and that everyone's going to buy souvenirs, so if you want to go, we should probably head out. The match'll be starting soon.'
'Thanks, Charlie, we'll be out in a minute. Wait for me?' Elizabeth asked, smiling over at him.
'Sure thing,' he replied, lingering a moment too long before someone (or, rather, a pair of someone's) pulled him out, laughing.
'Well, Harry, I suppose we can continue after the match,' she said, standing. 'I suppose you'll want to shop a bit with Ron and Hermione?'
'Yeah… yeah, probably. They'll want to hear all about you,' he replied, following suit, and making his way to the tent opening. 'You'll have to meet them. You've obviously already met Ron.'
'Oh yes, of course,' she replied. 'I've met Hermione as well, though.'
'Really?' Harry asked, but either she didn't hear him, or she just didn't want to elaborate.
They walked out of the tent and everyone was clearly waiting for them. Elizabeth walked over to Mr Weasley and embraced him. 'I didn't get a chance to say a proper hello.'
'Understandable under these circumstances, Elizabeth. How are you?'
'Excellent. And you? And Molly?' she asked as she let go of him.
'I'm well. And you know Molly.'
'Of course,' she smiled, turning to Bill. 'Long time, Bill.'
'Little Lizze Holmes, how you've grown!' he joked, pulling her into a very brotherly one-armed hug.
'Oh, you,' she laughed, smacking him. 'Fred and George, George and Fred,' she exclaimed, turning. 'Where are those two… ah!' They had tackled her into a group hug, and were practically lifting her up. 'You're not giving your mother too much grief this summer, are you?' she asked, pushing them both away to look them separately in the eye.
'Never!' Fred replied indignantly.
'We've been perfect angels!' George added while everyone else doubled over with laughter.
'Mhm. I'm sure I'll hear horror stories when I visit.' She turned, and saw Ginny standing by her third-oldest brother. 'Ginny! How's life amongst all these boys?'
Ginny rolled her eyes and replied, 'A complete terror, thanks for asking.' She, too, hugged Elizabeth, and when she released her, Percy stepped forward.
'Hello, Elizabeth,' he said formally, extending his hand.
'Percy, what are you doing?' she asked, opening her arms for a hug. 'Since when do I expect respect from a Weasley?' She wrapped her arms around him, and his face turned red in embarrassment.
'Never,' he replied warily, hugging her back.
'Precisely.' She turned to look over at Ron and Hermione, and smiled. 'Hello, Ron. I don't suppose you remember me all that well. Last time I saw you, you were about ten. Hello, Hermione,' she added, embracing a blushing Ron, and then the Hermione.
'Hi, Elizabeth,' Hermione said, hugging her back. 'Are you coming back to the Burrow after the match?'
'Sure am,' she replied, letting go. 'I suppose we should head off so we don't miss all the fabulous shopping. Shall we?'
As she spoke, Charlie walked over to her and ran his arm around her waist. 'Come with me?' he asked, whispering in her ear.Her smile changed into a shy one, her cheeks flushed, and her eyes sparkled. 'Of course,' she said, and they headed off, following rather far behind the others.