"Sorry, Lav!" Parvati cringed as her friend - and dueling partner - hobbled off towards one of the crimson cushions at the opposite end of the room. Lavender waved a hand in response, and Hermione Granger, the DA's appointed in loco mediwitch, was soon at her side, effectively wiping out any desire Parvati had to join her friend on the soft cushions. She really was not in the mood to hear another of Hermione's lectures on using proper aim and proper wand technique and blah, blah, blah. As far as she was concerned, Hermione could stick it all up her oh-so-proper arse.
Parvati glanced around the room for a moment before settling herself against the wall by the door. Small flashes of light darted around the room as the dueling students shouted out hex after curse after shielding spell. It was rather astounding to see how far so many of them had come - this was the first time that someone other than Neville had incapacitated their partner in weeks. Harry Potter, playing leader as usual, meandered around the room, stopping every now and then to give suggestions on wand grip or enunciation.
One would think that someone so comfortably in charge wouldn't have so much trouble leading on the dance floor, she thought, pulling her knees up to her chin. Parvati rolled her eyes. Harry Potter was quite possibly the very definition of passive-aggressive.
Minutes ticked by, and she watched as Harry finally approached the only two Ravenclaw girls in the DA: Cho Chang and Marietta Edgecombe. The exchange looked very hesitant and awkward from where she was sitting, and frankly she was glad her involvement with Harry had never developed past the Yule Ball date (if their thirty minutes together could really even constitute a "date".) She knew all about their doomed romance; Lavender had overheard Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger discussing the couple's first kiss in the library, and apparently the two had drooled all over one another.
Parvati was so lost in her imagining of the Harry-Cho courtship that she hardly noticed who was now sitting beside her until she spoke.
"Aren't you the girl who went with Harry to the Yule Ball last year?" Cho Chang queried, looking her up and down. Parvati blinked.
"Yes." What, had Cho now blown her partner's kneecaps to the size of small watermelons? "Parvati Patil. Actually, you may know my sister, Padma - she's in Ravenclaw."
Cho's eyes lit in recognition. "Oh, right. You're twins?" Parvati nodded. "I don't know her very well, different years and all..."
"Right..." They trailed off into silence, and Parvati slid her legs back to the ground, feeling slightly uncomfortable. "So. Erm, what'd you do to your partner?"
"Oh." Cho looked back across the room. "Nothing. Harry's showing her some thing to do with her wand. He thought it would be 'best' if I waited over here, said it might take a while." The smaller girl sighed, blowing a few strands of jet black hair away from her face. "Honestly, he's the very definition of passive-aggressive."
Parvati perked up immediately. "Don't you think so? Wouldn't you know, he spent the entire Yule Ball first making me lead him in the dance, then moping around talking to Ron Weasley, and then staring at -" she cut off immediately, unsure of whether to continue. "Well, you." Cho ducked her head and blushed. "And finally he just disappeared for the rest of the night," Parvati finished, shaking her head. "Thank goodness for those Beauxbatons boys, or I don't know what I'd have done with myself."
"At least you never kissed him," Cho said, searching Parvati's face for affirmation. Parvati snorted.
"Believe me, it's nothing special," Cho giggled lightly. "Completely amateur, and he hardly gave me the time of day afterwards. We went to Hogsmeade together for Valentine's Day, and he wasn't romantic in the least. Oh, and then there was the Hermione Granger thing," she added, her face darkening.
Parvati nodded sympathetically. "I know, they've got the strangest relationship, those two and Ron Weasley. Although according to Lavender, Hermione is leaning towards Ron at the moment, so you needn't have worried."
"Well, really, how can you not worry when your valentine wants to ditch you for lunch with another girl?" Cho pointed out.
"True, very true."
Cho leaned her head back against the wall, closing her eyes. "Boys. Can't live with them..."
"...can't live with them," Parvati finished. They giggled. "You know, you thought kissing Harry was bad - well, Dean Thomas over there," she pointed him out with a discreet finger, "wouldn't even look me in the eye for two weeks after we snogged."
Cho shook her head sadly. "Typical. Really, though, haven't you ever thought about just giving them up?" she asked, turning her head to face Parvati. Parvati was quiet for a moment. There was a vague suggestion in Cho's words, and Parvati was fairly certain of what it was after years of reading Young, Modern, and Magical magazine. She had never really given much thought to what they termed "experimentation." Well, alright - she had noticed how increasingly attractive Ginny Weasley had grown over the years, but it was purely an empirical observation.
Parvati smiled slightly. "Yeah. Just once or twice, maybe."
Cho smiled back. "Yeah. Not seriously, though." Her eyes drifted back to where Harry stood beside Marietta, his mouth moving exaggeratedly as he pronounced the words to a spell. The smile faded slowly from her face. A few seconds passed, and she exhaled loudly through her nose, meeting Parvati's eyes. "You know, those robes you wore to the Yule Ball last year - hot pink? - they were gorgeous. Really set off your dark eyes."
"Thank you," Parvati said, genuinely touched by anyone who commented on her excellent fashion taste. A faint flush appeared over Cho's pale cheeks. Cho Chang really had a very pretty, dainty mouth, she noted.
"All set, Parv!" The moment was cut short by Lavender, whose kneecaps had returned to their normal, flattened size and shape. She still appeared a bit stiff in the joints, but otherwise seemed completely cured. "That Hermione, she may be a pain in the arse, but she really knows what she's doing."
"That's great, Lavender," Parvati said, glancing between her best friend and the girl beside her. Cho cut in quickly.
"Well, I think Harry's all done with Marietta. It was nice having a chat, Parvati." Cho hopped to her feet and made her way slowly towards Marietta, who was looking increasingly miserable with every passing second.
"You too," Parvati replied, pressing her lips together to hide her smile. She stood and allowed Lavender to drag her back to their dueling spot by the arm, gossiping all the way.
"So did she spill anything about Harry?" Lavender whispered excitedly. "They're not still dating, are they? I was certain after Valentine's Day that they'd cut it off."
"Yes and no. I'll tell you all about it later," Parvati whispered back, though she hardly registered what Lavender had said - she was too busy plotting new ways to sit out at their next meeting.
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