Disclaimer: Not mine."This is such a bad idea," Hermione said, biting her nails. "Someone's bound to recognize and I can't bear to think what's going to happen when that happens."
I rolled my eyes, a small smile coming to my face. "It'll be fine, Hermione. You worry too much. Besides," I added, standing up on my toes to look over the crowd, "last year she stood right in front of her twin and he didn't even recognize her. What makes you think it's any different now? Oh, here she comes."
'Jasmine' came pushing through the crowd towards us, unnoticed and slightly ignored as she stood next to me. Her brown hair was pulled up into a messy ponytail and her dark green eyes bright with excitement.
"This is going to be so much fun," she said, clapping together her mitten hands. "I've never actually gone to Hogsmeade with friends before."
"You'll see its much, much more fun hanging out with us than it is hanging out with your dopey old brother," I said, slipping his arm around her shoulders as we walked out the door.
Ron walked by us, suddenly, his arm around Lavender Brown. "Hey Harry, Jasmine," he said, grinning.
"Oh, Won Won, you have to introduce to your friends!" Lavender said. I cringed at her shrill voice while beside me, Josephine's eyebrow shot up and she looked rather amused.
"But you already know, Harry," Ron said, confused.
"Not Harry, silly," Lavender said, giggling. "The girl he's with. Are you Harry's girlfriend?"
Both Josephine and I got real red in the face. My arm slipped from around her shoulder, dropping down to my side and stuttering as I answered. "N-no, no, we're just – she's just – I'm just – friends."
"You too would look really good together," Lavender said. She turned to look at Hermione, giving her a sly grin. "What about you Hermione? Found anyone special or are you just tagging along with Harry and his girlfriend?"
"We're not together," Josephine and I said at the same time.
I glanced back at Hermione to see her cheeks get rather pink before she turned, raised her arm, and cried, "Cormac! Oh Cormac, wait up!"
Hermione raced off, leaving me, Joey, Lavender, and a rather quiet Ron. "We better be going too, Won Won. Bye, you two have fun," Lavender said, pulling Ron away.
"See you guys," Ron said, solemnly.
Josephine shook her head. "What a wench," she said.
"I couldn't agree with you more," I said.
"Well, what are we waiting for? It's just us now. Come on, let's get the first carriage.
She grabbed me by the hand and pulled me off.
"No matter which one we take, we'll still get there." I was grinning and her excitement was catching.
"Yes, but we'll get there first if we're in the first carriage."
I let her drag me as my situation finally came to light. I was going to be alone with her all day. Not that I wasn't alone with her when we spent time together in the Owlery.
But this was different.
This was originally just planned with me, her, and Hermione. Now that Hermione was gone, did that make it a date? Should I have brought flowers? Should I take her out to eat?
I forgot about it though as soon as she smiled up at me, her eyes bright with happiness as she said something about getting the first carriage. I nodded and smiled back, letting her pull me into the carriage with a couple of other people I didn't know.
We were just going to have fun today and that's all there was to it."Well, I'm beat," Josephine said, dipping her spoon back into her Peanut butter and strawberry ice-cream. I had bought it for her as an end-of-the-day special treat.
We had spent the whole day just wandering around, running in and out of stores until we ran out of stores. And then we'd just run around finding people we knew to start a small snowball fight. Josephine still had bits of snow in her hair and on her jacket.
She grinned at me. "I had a really fun time today, Harry."
"Yeah, me too," I said, kind of surprised. I was expecting that we would have the same awkward, silent date that Cho and I had last year but it was better than that. Way better than that.
"We should do this again some time," Joey said. "Soon."
I grinned back at her. "Yeah soon. . . . You could be my date for Slughorn's Christmas party if you want to."
"I'd like that." She glanced over my shoulder, the smile sliding from her face. "I think something's wrong with her."
I turned to see Katie Bell staggering aimlessly. I noticed, first, that she looked off, like Josephine said. . . . I jumped to my feet when I realized she was holding the pearl necklace I had seen in Borgin and Burkes.
The incidents that took place in the next few minutes were . . . confusing, to say the least. I watched in horror as Katie floated in the air. Josephine yelled something about the necklace being cursed. Hagrid appeared out of nowhere . . . Katie was in his arms and we were running back up towards the castle."I think it was Draco."
I looked up towards Josephine who stood rigid, staring out of the window. I sighed, getting up from my place on the floor to join her by the window. "Joey –"
"No, Harry, I don't need to hear the 'he's your brother' speech," she said, sadly. "I think he gave that girl that necklace and you do to."
I did, but there's no easy way to tell your friend that her brother is a want-to-be-murderer. "How did you know that the necklace was cursed?" I asked instead.
"Recognized it," she said. "Father Dearest believed a wonderful outing with his kids meant teaching them how to bargain at Borgin and Burkes. Draco always listened but I got bored and I wondered around the shop a lot. I almost touched the necklace once but I felt bad just standing next to it, so I left it alone. . . . Why would he use the necklace on that girl?"
"Maybe he was planning for someone else to get it," I told her.
"I don't know. Dumbledore, maybe? Maybe you could talk to your brother."
Josephine gave a little snort. "Yeah, that would be a pleasant conversation. 'Hello, dear brother of mine. I was just wondering have you been up to diabolical plotting lately and if you just happen to give that Gryffindor Chaser that cursed necklace that could have killed. Because if you are and if you did, that's just not very nice at all'."
"I forgot how sarcastic you could get," I said, rolling my eyes.
"It's the human nature that you love about me." She grinned at me, reaching up to move a piece of my hair from in front of my face. My stomach fluttered viciously but I ignored it, focusing on her voice as he continued. "No, we're just going to have to do some detective work. You and 'Jasmine' with a little help from your invisibility cloak and the Marauders Map. See if we can get down to the bottom of this. Maybe . . . maybe if I can figure out what he's up to, then I can talk to him. See if I can get him to go get some help."
"Okay," I told her. "We'll do this your way."
"What's your way?"
"Hold him down and pummel him with Bludgers until he confesses."
Josephine laughed, reaching over to take my hand in hers. "Thank you, Harry," she said.
"For what?" I asked.
When she looked up at me, the look I saw in her eyes was so . . . I don't even. But whatever it was, it wiped all manner of thought and expression from my mind. I couldn't breathe for a moment, my palms felt sweaty, and my mouth dry. All I could focus on was her face and her beautiful eyes. . . .
"For always having a way to make me smile," she said, softly.
And it was then. Right there in then. Right at that moment I threw away everything that I've learned about Gryffindor and Slytherin in the last six years. I threw away my thoughts on what everyone else would think and say and I admitted to myself what I should have known since I met this girl last year.
. . . . I was in love with Josephine Malfoy.