Danny woke early on Tuesday, well before the sun had come up. On an ordinary day he would still be sprawled under his covers, but today wasn’t an ordinary day. It was Valentines Day, and more importantly it was Ambrosia Sheridan’s birthday. And Danny had a plan.
Quietly he dug into his trunk and pulled out a heart-shaped card. He had been working on this for the last two weeks, and it was time to get things started. He had considered sending Monkey in to deliver the first note, but decided against it. He wanted to do it all himself, and he knew exactly how he would accomplish it.
With a slight twisting shudder, the Ravenclaw’s form morphed into that of a squirrel. The Danny Squirrel ran forward, grabbed the card in his teeth, and scampered up the wall and out the window, clinging to the stone exterior of Ravenclaw tower.
He scampered down the wall until he found the window he was looking for, the sixth year girls dormitory. He stood on the sill, looking around for Rose’s bed. Seeing it halfway around the tower, he again climbed around the stonework until he reached the window between Ambrosia and Nicolette’s beds.
Danny the Squirrel checked the card, making sure the card was properly addressed and that his own handwriting had been suitably disguised, and then slid the card through the window, letting it drift to the floor below. Then he turned and leapt from the tower, spreading his arms wide and gliding on the winds that blew around the castle, sailing off on the currents of air to make further preparations for today’s surprise.
Valentine’s day dawned sunny and altogether too beautiful looking. Rose groaned and reached for a pillow to cover her head as the unmistakable sound of Idril’s tiny beak against the glass window woke her from her morning dreams. But, even if she was single on Valentine’s Day, it was still her birthday. And birthday mornings could only mean one thing.
“Cake!” She scooted to the edge of her bed to let the tiny owl and its large package inside her room. “Of course I’ll share with you.” The weary bird hooted softly in appreciation. As she moved to get into a comfortable cake-eating position, a small piece of parchment on the floor caught her attention. “Did mom sent a note? Oh!”
Her fingers gently closed around a delicately folded paper heart with her name addressed on it. “It’s awfully pretty.” She turned it over in her hand, trying to find the tab to unfold it. Idril hooted a suggestion and the blonde nodded. Reaching on her nightstand for her wand, she touched it to the origami heart then watched in delight as it unfolded for her.
As the heart folded itself into a flat piece of parchment, words began to appear on its surface. “Where sprouts of friendship began to blossom and you helped knowledge to flower, that is where the next clue has been planted.”
There had never been a Valentine’s Day, birthday, or even a regular day when Rose had faced such a hard time trying to decide what to wear. Her plan to stay in bed and mope all day had been foiled by the mystery of the heart and the tantalizing promise of a next clue. So instead of eating cake in her pajamas, she got herself dressed and made her way into the Ravenclaw common room.
Since it was a little early for couples to be overly mushy, the sunny blonde wasn’t too worried about being depressed until after breakfast. She greeted the few housemates who were awake at this hour and accepted their birthday wishes with a smile. Her gaze kept drifting to the stairs to the boys rooms, hoping for a ‘happy birthday’ from the person she most wanted to see. But, of course, he’d never been much of an early riser.
Looking at the stairs one more time, Rose had to admit that she was secretly hoping he wasn’t up there at all. No, she wanted to find him in the greenhouse with flowers and some other grand romantic gesture that really only happened in books or her imagination.
Shaking her head, the little prefect wrapped a scarf around her neck and set out for the next clue. Her breath steamed in the early morning air and she caught herself looking at the many footprints on the snowy path as if there could be an extra clue hidden there. But the tracks didn’t spell out any secret names and the steamy greenhouse was empty.
She wandered through her favorite plants, touching a leaf here or there as she walked deeper into the greenery. Passing the fire-seed bush, a little smile blossomed on her face at the sight of her study-willow.
There, at the base of the tree’s trunk sat a carefully folded red paper rose perched on the end of a green-coloured stick. Rose didn’t need prompting from Idril this time. She tapped the rose with the tip of her wand and held her breath as the note unfolded before her eyes.
The red paper shifted and faded into a sheet of normally coloured parchment, the writing on it appearing as the red hue faded away. “They are pink and round, but not quite as sweet as you. And they have a hole to match the one in my heart whenever we are apart.”
It was unfair. And impossible. And very nearly maddening. How was she supposed to make it through her morning classes when she had this mystery all around her? A rumble in her stomach reminded the blonde that since she hadn’t devoured her cake for breakfast a clue that led to donuts was probably the most brilliant thing ever.
Ducking into the great hall, the blonde looked down at the note in her hand again. It was mysterious and romantic and the reason she ran straight into her oldest friend and ended up falling on her backside. “Tommy!” She stared at him as if he’d just apparated in front of her. “Where’d you come from?”
“Well,” Tom said with a smirk on his face, “My mum and dad weren’t tired of driving themselves crazy with children so they decided in early nineteen seventy to have another and nine months later I arrived.”
If she’d had anything to throw, she would have. “That’s not… I mean…” Giving up, Rose held out her hand for him to help her up. “You’re impossible.”
“And you, my dear sweet Ambrosia,” Tommy grabbed her by the hand and twirled the little blond before pulling her into a tight hug, “are seventeen today. Happy Birthday luv.”
Wrapping her arms around him, Rose hugged him back tightly. “Thank you, Tommy. And Happy Valentine’s Day to you.” She hugged him again then tucked her precious clue into a pocket. “Do you and Céilidh have big plans for the day?”
“Not till later,” Tom started fishing into his robes, “Right now however is all about you.” He pulled a small box out of his pocket, “From mum and dad.”
“They shouldn’t have.” Taking the box with gentle hands, she beamed up at her friend. The prospect of her Valentine’s mystery had blocked the thought of presents out of her mind for the moment. But now there was no way she could rush off. Tommy’s parents were far too wonderful for her not to give their present her complete attention.
Lifting the lid of the velvet lined box, her breath caught in her throat. “Oh! It’s beautiful.” She held up the delicate watch for him to see, her smile growing as she caught sight of the tiny butterflies on the golden band. “I can’t wait to thank them.”
“Well if you like that,” he pulled another box out his robes, “You’ll love this.”
“Tommy…” Two presents at once, she was beginning to feel a little bit spoiled. But she took the second box and opened it quickly. She had to wait on her clues, there was no way around that, but there was no way she was going to wait on opening her presents.
The blonde opened the small box and there was a thin gold chain. As she pulled the chain out of the box, there was a small golden rose. As she held the rose up to the light it bloomed and unbloomed like it was breathing. Next to the rose was a tiny sea shell that seemed to have an unnatural glow about it.
“Remember that time we were at the beach on the North Sea and we found that little Mermish girl?”
“Tommy, that was ages ago!” She cupped her hands around her rose, half afraid her touch would somehow mar its delicate beauty.
“Yeah,” Tom nodded, “you’re mum sent me the shell from your room. I charmed it to give a light glow. That way you can always see the Rose.”
In an instant her arms were around him, hugging him with all her strength. “Thank you so much.” She chuckled against him. “And here I thought today was going to be kinda bad.”
“And why is that?” Tom smirked.
The blonde sighed. “Single. Valentine’s Day. You know…”
“Oh, that’s right,” Tom said in a sing song voice, “I guess it’s your lot in life.”
“It better not be,” she pouted. “And you’re not helping.”
“Maybe this will, I have one more thing.” He pulled a pink origami donut out of his pocket. “Someone knows you have a sweet tooth in the mornings.”
The blonde’s eye lit up. “You knew about this?” It was something between a question and an accusation. Her cheeks colored. She hadn’t considered opening a clue in front of an audience. But he clearly wasn’t going anywhere.
She drew out her wand and touched the tip to the folded pink donut. Like the others, it unfolded itself into a simple piece of parchment with the words, “The next day students soared, but that night they found themselves lost in a maze of possibilities and a true mystery began, the next clue will reveal itself where masks were worn.”
Rose read it twice before looking up at Tommy, a sudden mischievous look in her eyes. “You know who it is, don’t you?”
“I really don’t.” Tom obviously lied. “A house elf riding a hippogriff delivered it to me.”
“You’re evil.” Because this was a special occasion, she hit him in the arm. “Do you think I have time to get down to the pitch before I have to be in class?”
Tom shrugged and looked at his watch, “No.” He said flatly.
Though the temptation to hit him again was almost overpowering, Rose decided on another hug. “Evil,” she said again. “But thank you. For everything.”
From as far back as her first year, Rose had really wanted to like History of Magic. After all, what wasn’t exciting about the wars, discoveries, and overall growth of the magical community? The professor, that was what.
Chin on her hands, the little blonde stared through Professor Binns as he droned on as usual. Normally she would at least try to take notes. But today it was impossible. Her quill flicked over her parchment, drawing a very simple representation of the quidditch pitch. Somewhere out there was her clue… just waiting for her while she was stuck in this class where time seemed to stand completely still.
Glancing to her left, she saw Dee writing down something. “Ohmygosh. Did I miss something?” she whispered.
Her Slytherin friend shook her head and grinned. “Nope. I was just making a list of books I want to buy next time we go to Hogsmeade.” She leaned a little closer and continued, “Remind me to lend you the one I just finished. There was a dark wizard and this incubus and it was…” She grinned wickedly and fanned herself with her hand. “The heroine was a lucky, lucky girl.”
Rose put a hand over her mouth to hide a giggle. “Sounds good. I haven’t actually read anything new in a while.” She paused and looked down at her drawing. Romance novels just didn’t hold her attention anymore for some reason.
Diedre followed her friend’s gaze to the parchment and her mouth curled in a wicked smile. “It looks like you’ve got your mind on something else, or someone. Been working too closely with your handsome Quidditch Captain?”
“No!?” The blonde’s cheeks took on a rosy blush. “I mean yes. I mean… not too closely. I’m just… thinking.” It was officially the worst denial of all time but linking Danny with her mystery clues felt too much like getting her hopes up. “I just have to run out to the pitch later to find something.”
“You’re going out to the pitch?” Cassidy asked, leaning in from Rose’s right. “Watch out. The ground is a bit pitted. Danny had me out with the beaters. One of the bludgers went a little bad and started pounding into the ground. I think Danny finally ended up chaining it to one of the goalposts until it wore itself out.”
Rose couldn’t help but smile at the thought. It was such a Danny thing to do. “Thank you, Cass. I’ll definitely watch my step. I don’t imagine I’ll be out there for too long though.”
The Ravenclaw keeper smiled faintly as he looked at Rose. “Good. Happy birthday, by the way. I hope you find what you’re looking for at the pitch.”
“Thank you.” She beamed at her friend, momentarily forgetting how torturous this class was today. “I hope I do too.”
Watching her step on the Quidditch pitch always seemed like good advice. Rose picked her way around the dents left behind by Danny’s over-excited bludger while keeping her eyes open for signs that the various creatures that found the large grassy field a good place to graze hadn’t cleaned up after themselves. The last thing she wanted to do was ruin her shoes.
Since Cass had mentioned the goal post, it seemed like a good place to start. The maze mentioned in her clue no longer existed anywhere. There was just grass, posts, and the stands. All in all, far too many places to hide a tiny piece of parchment. But she wasn’t going to give up just because there was a lot of ground to cover, not when she was in the middle of a romance quest.
As she drew closer she could see the bludger wasn’t completely worn out. It hopped and twitched occasionally, looking like it might still want to smash something… or someone. “Ugh. I love this sport. Really I do,” she reminded herself.
Something long and narrow dropped to the ground just within Rose’s peripheral. The sudden movement and whumpf of impact nearly caused her to jump out of her shoes. The little blond let out a gasp of surprise as she craned her neck skyward. Shielding the sun from her eyes with her hand, she managed to spot her assailant. Céilidh swerved her broom to a stop in much the same manner as a snow-skier, thankfully without the spray of snow.
“Hop oan,” the redhead directed with a nod of her head to the broom she’d dropped nearby.
“You’re insane!” the blonde complained, knowing it wouldn’t do any good. “I don’t have time to go flying today though. I’m kinda looking for something.”
“Ah ken. Ye’ll nae be able tae fin’ it wi’oot th’ broom. Ye huv tae come up ‘ere tae git yer gift
“I won’t? My what?” With a sigh Rose reached down to grab the broom. She wasn’t going to get any answers from Céilidh while she was on the ground. Thankfully, she’d flown enough times with Danny that her takeoff wasn’t completely embarrassing. “Please don’t tell me you’re in on this too,” she said as she finally rose to her friend’s height.
“Ask me nae questions ‘n’ ah will tell ye nae lies,” Céilidh smirked. She reached into her cloak and withdrew a small blue velvet pouch. “First hings first,” she held out the pouch by its bronze drawstrings.”Happy Birthday, ‘Brosia.”
Rose reached out across the empty air, tensing slightly as her broom gave a little wobble. As soon as her fingers closed around the pouch, however, the wobble ceased. A smile came to Céilidh’s eyes as the corners of her mouth jerked up. “Ye’ll need baith hauns tae open it, lass.”
Rose bit her lip and gripped the broom tighter with her legs. “You can stop enjoying this so much…” But she couldn’t complain too much; she had a present. Still completely paranoid about falling to her doom, she gently pulled on the drawstrings and opened the gift. “Oh wow…”
Forgetting her fear, she gasped as her fingers closed around the delicate pendant and held it up to the light. The detail on the miniature broom was breathtaking and the shining amethyst tail seemed to catch and hold the sun. “It’s so beautiful. Thank you!”
“Ye’r welcome, loue. It haes a balance charm oan it, sae ye dinnae huv tae be sae worried aboot falling aff yer broom anymair.”
“Really?” Deciding that Céilidh was quick enough to catch her if she fell, Rose decided to risk a test. She drew her broom up beside her friend’s and reached out for a tentative hug. “It works!”
Sure now that she wasn’t going to die today, she looked to the redhead and tried to force her smile into a convincing pout. “Now what was this business about needing to look from up here? Do you know where my clue thingy is?”
Smirking, Céilidh nodded. “Ah dae.”
The redhead’s ponytail bobbed back and forth as she shook her head. “Noo whit kind o’ mukker wid ah be if ah juist gave ye th’ answer?”
Rose rolled her eyes. “You’re right. It’s much better to be like everyone else and torture me today.” But she couldn’t help but laugh. Leaving her friend’s side, she flew toward the goal posts. It was probably much safer this way. She circled the sleeping bludger twice and to her relief found no sign of parchment.
“How about a hint?” she asked the redhead. “You know, you could tell me hot or cold or something.”
“Aye, ah suppose ah cuid dae that,” the Gryffindor nodded. She drifted out to the center of the pitch, casually tracking Rose’s flight. “Richt noo, ye’r damn near polar.”
The blonde wrinkled her nose in irritation but immediately changed course. Not by these goal posts. That left the ones on the other side, a whole lot of grass, and the stands. Drifting away from Céilidh, she flew past the elevated seats reserved for faculty. That didn’t seem likely. On an impulse she flew along the front row of bleachers, heading for the center spot that she’d claimed as team-manager’s seat. “Hey! I think I’m hot now,” she called out.
On the seat where she had watched and tracked practices and helped Danny scout opponents sat an orange pumpkin shaped card. Rose dropped into the stands and picked up the delicate origami structure. As she drew her wand the little blonde sat down in the seat she had claimed as her own.
Tapping the wand to the orange paper, she watched as it went through the now-familiar process of reverting to a sheet of parchment. Holding her breath, Ambrosia scanned the lines. “Beneath the heavens, alone yet together, the clue awaits where unknowing hearts sat side-by-side”
Beaming and holding the clue to her chest, she turned back to her friend. “Yeah. I found it.”
At that moment, the clang of the bell that sounded the change of period sounded across the grounds.
“Juist in time!” Céilidh called from the middle of the pitch. “C’moan, ah’ll buy ye lunch.”
Rose looked down at the parchment again. “But… If I go now I can still make it before my next class and…” She glanced over at her friend. “You’re not going to take no for an answer, are you?”
“Feart nae, lassie.” Céilidh drifted over to Rose and hooked arms. “Ah will nae be blamed fur fouling up th’ plan by letting ye run aff.”
“So you admit that you know the plan.” Rose jumped on the Gryffindor’s last words. “There’s totally a plan.”
“Absolutely nae.” Céilidh remarked with a completely straight face. “Ye’v juist bin chasing wee bits o’ paper aroond a’ day fur na reason.”
“You’re evil. Just like your boyfriend” She did her best to glare at Céilidh but ended up laughing. A quiet grumble in her stomach reminded her that she really was hungry and that eating wasn’t the worst idea ever. “Fine. Let’s go have lunch.” Her blonde hair streamed out behind her as, just for a second or two, she led the way back down to the ground and into the castle for lunch and other distractions.
From the top of the Astronomy tower Danny watched the two girls streak off on their brooms. He couldn’t resist taking a break to watch Ambrosia find one of the notes despite the preparations that needed to be made. The young man smiled as he pulled his omnioculars off and slipped them into his pocket.
He walked over to the spot where they had so often studied the stars and carefully placed the last card. Then Danny turned and sprinted toward the edge of the tower, jumping off the edge and transforming in mid-air to his animagus form before gliding down to the ground.
Rose’s body was walking down the third floor corridor, but her mind was on the Astronomy tower. The students walking by her barely registered in the little blonde prefect’s mind as she wandered aimlessly down the passageway. This was torture. Pure torture. How was she supposed to concentrate on anything even remotely academic when she knew there was a clue waiting for her? But she couldn’t skip a class for her birthday. Or could she…
Considering the problem from every angle she could think of, she continued down the hallway, completely oblivious to any passersby, including but not limited to one Mister Laun Orris-Whitmoor who she ran into almost head on.
“Woah where’s the fiendfyre Rose?”
“Oh! Laun! I’m so sorry. I wasn’t paying attention.” Understatement of the year. “I was just… thinking.”
“Always dangerous. What’re you thinking on?” The blond boy smirked.
The little blonde blushed, hesitating before remembering who it was she was talking to. If there was anyone in the castle who would love the idea of a birthday clue hunt, it was Laun. Breathlessly she spilled the story of her day to him, ending with, “…and there’s a clue just waiting for me in the Astronomy tower but I have class and then more class and I’m pretty sure I’m going to go insane before I have a chance to sneak up there. And ohmygosh how would I explain it to Professor Sinestra if she caught me?”
Laun tried to take in this rambling train of thoughts, one part of her spiel did stand out rather prominently to him.
“I cannot. Believe. I. Forgot. Your. BIRTHDAY!” Laun’s eyes went wide, and Rose stood in partial horror at what she may have unleashed. The Slytherin started dancing, throwing his arms out. “FOR SHE’S A JOLLY GOOD FELLOW! FOR SHE’S A…”
Before he could finish, Rose thrust out her hand and covered the boy’s mouth. “Laun! Back to the Sinistra problem!”
“Sorry, um… let’s see. Well, we could tell Professor Sinistra that we were investigating a new constellation for Professor Trelawny! That we were working on a cross-class project and that we were gonna blow the zodiac wide open! Look out, Sagittarius!” Laun grinned widely and expectantly, clearly thinking this was brilliant.
Rose couldn’t help but laugh. Instead of covering his mouth again, she wrapped her arms around him in a hug. “Thank you, Laun. I think I’m going to go to class and suffer through this.” She grinned up at him. “But I’m definitely going to save your ideas… just in case. In fact, I think I’m going to make them your birthday present to me.”
“Okay, but I’ll probably still get you something! You know my sister Artemis runs that magical pet shop, and she’s been doing some interesting things with cross-breeding. Sure she had to raise her insurance rates, but some of them are somewhat adorable! I’ll keep you posted!”
The blonde took a step back. “Um… thanks. I may have to skip the experimental animals though. I’m pretty happy with the regular ones.”
“Well, I’ll think of something!” Laun smiled happily.
“I don’t doubt that,” she laughed. “But you really don’t have to do a thing. I just love the offer.”
“Any time, Rosie, anytime.” Laun tapped her gently under the chin.
She gave him another hug, because he was Laun and he’d manage to completely distract her for a good four or five minutes, then squared her shoulders and prepared herself for another eternally long class.
Pausing at the foot of the stairs, Rose had to wonder if she looked as obsessed as she felt. She’d managed to make it through the entire afternoon without exploding in a sudden burst of anxious energy. And, while she was well aware of her own tendency to exaggerate at emotional moments, the afternoon classes really had seemed longer than normal.
But the waiting was finally over. She’d skip dinner and the rest of the night if she had to. She was going to finish this clue hunt and find the person at the end of it. Taking a couple of steps, she bit at a curl that wandered a little too close to her mouth. She was certain, or certainly hopeful, that the fact that she hadn’t seen the one person she really wanted to see all day was a good sign.
The stairs to the top of the tower had never seemed longer. But it didn’t matter. Nothing short of losing a leg or two was going to stop her now.
“Carkful thare, Brosia,” Rose grabbed the railing as the voice nearly dead in her path stopped her short of the top of the stairs, “Gif ye dinnae keek whaur yer gaun, ye coud faw a’ brak yuir neck oan these steps. Verra dangerous.”
Orlando MacFoozle and Nicolette Ainscough sat side by side on the last step. The raven haired Ravenclaw gave her sister a smile. “Happy Birthday.”
“Och,” the Scot snapped his fingers and cursed to himself, “tha’s richt. It’s yuir birthday, isna? Ah fergat. Isna it something ense tae?” He looked over to the girl beside him. “Is the day something ense?”
She chuckled, rolling her eyes and giving a shake of her head.
“Juist whit oan God’s Green Hogwarts haes ye rinnin fer yuir life oan yuir birthday o aw days?”
If she didn’t love them so much Rose would have stunned them both and jumped over the bodies. Instead she smiled and took a breath, winded from her mad dash up the stairs. “Oh. Thank you. Hi. Um…” She looked back and forth between their smiling faces. “I’m just getting something up here. What are you two doing?”
“Just sitting.” Nicolette leaned over to give a casual look behind her bunkmate. “There is really a lovely view of the inside of the castle from here. I never noticed it until Orlando showed me.” Leaning back she gave a playful scowl to the boy beside her. “I think it’s just so he can tell everybody that walks by that he’s my boyfriend. Which he has.”
“Dinnae blame me we coudnae gae up tae the Astronomy Touer,” he replied with a grumble, “It’s no lik it’s ma faut tha Sinestra hud the steid locked up ticht fer renovations.”
Nicolette narrowed her eyes, though that glimmer of a smile wasn’t hidden in the corner of her lips. “It’s fine.” She kissed him on the cheek. “This is much more romantic.”
“Wha dae ye keep bringing up ‘romantic’?”
“Wait. What? Locked?” Her insides felt like someone had cast a surprise Glacius on her. None of their other words seemed to register. “It’s locked?” Maybe she’d misunderstood. Maybe they were wrong.
For a fleeting moment Rose wondered if it would be too mean to strangle him. “The door. You said it’s locked?”
“Och.” He nodded. “Ah did. Locked. And nae amount o ‘aloha mora’ wid git a body in.” His head tilted to the side and he regarded her curiously for a moment. “Wha? Whit coud ye possibly need in thare, Brosia?”
“But I have to get in there.” Genuine panic was beginning to sink its claws into the blonde girl. “It’s where my note told me to go. It wouldn’t tell me to go to the tower if I couldn’t get in. That’s just… not the way it’s supposed to go.”
The Hufflepuff furrowed his brow. “Whit note?”
Rose took a breath and thought about all the people she’d explained things to over the course of her birthday. Honestly, it felt right that she tell Nic and Orlando. They’d understand. And maybe, just maybe, be able to help her find a way inside.
“I’ve been following these clues today,” she began. Then, in a rush, she told them the story of her day, ending with the pumpkin shaped note that told her to go to the Astronomy Tower. “He wouldn’t tell me to go to the tower if there wasn’t a way to get in.”
“Hmm…” Orlando nodded, rubbing his chin thoughtfully. “Chasing doon clues frae a stranger, Brosia,” he said, “Coud be awfu unchancy.”
Nicolette scooted over beside him and tucked her arm through his. “Or incredibly sweet.”
The Hufflepuff looked up to the blonde. She had a thick lock of that hair trapped between her lips. He read the crease in her brow. “Ahm sairy, Brosia. Ye winna git in the Astronomy Touer wioot onything short o an Elf.”
“But…” The blonde’s eyes filled with tears as it began to hit her that she might not get her clue. “I don’t have an elf.”
Orlando nodded. His lip curled up in the faintest of smiles. “Ah ken. Fortunately,” he snapped his fingers, “Ah dae.”
There was a loud crack and Gerti, the matronly house elf appeared on the landing behind Nicolette and Orlando. She beamed that warm smile, peering up at the others from beneath that misshapen mess of knitting she always wore. “Did Gerti’s Gentleman need something?” She held up a platter that had a cup of tea on it. “Gerti did bring a nice cup of tea, just in case.”
Rose put her hand back on the railing to steady herself. “Ohmygosh,” she breathed, grasping her newfound hope. “Gerti? Could you possibly please get me into the tower? There’s a piece of paper there that I need, and Nicolette and Orlando told me it’s locked so if you could please just help me…”
Always happy to serve, the house elf smile seemed to get a little bigger. “Of course, Gerti can.” She lowered the tray as the boy in front of her reached up to take the platter from her hands. “Gerti would be happy to take the lady anywhere she would like to go.”
“Just to the top. Please. It won’t take me long to find my note, I promise.” She looked to where her friends sat leaning on each other. “Thank you. You’re brilliant.” Then she extended a hand to Gerti. “Can you take me now?”
“Och, Brosia?” The pair grinned. “Happy Valentines Day.”
Gerti the House Elf reached forward between the seated pair and took Rose’s hand in hers. The second they touched there was a crack and the two of them were gone.
“You’re really evil.” She scooted a little closer.
He smiling wickedly. “I ken.” He planted a kiss on her cheek. “The tea was for you.” He held the platter with the cup toward her.
The Ravenclaw smiled and took the cup up. “My little romantic.”
It probably shouldn’t have surprised her that the top of the tower was empty, her quest had been going on all day, she saw no reason to think that it would have ended so soon. The curiously surprising thing was that there were also no signs of renovations.
“I bet you think you’re funny,” she muttered to the closed door and the couple on the other side. But she couldn’t really complain, not about any of it. It was as if someone had tapped into her dreams, or the diary that she always intended to keep, to plan out the most perfectly intriguing day.
She gave a contented sigh as the wind tousled her curls. Any other evening she would have been perfectly happy to stay up here, maybe do a bit of studying, but not tonight. Tonight she was on a mission.
Her card was in the center of the floor, a delicately folded little star that just begged to be opened.”Well, you’re not big enough to hold a boy,” she told it before tapping her wand to one of the points.
Fairly certain that the entire school could hear her heart beating, Rose waited breathlessly as it began to unfold. It was probably –definitely– her imagination, but this one seemed slower than all the others.
“The end of your journey awaits where trust began: Fifth stone down, third over.”
With a squeal that could have caught the attention of dogs as far away as Hogsmeade, the tiny blonde turned and raced out of the tower. Looking back, she couldn’t remember if Nic and Orlando were still on the stairs as she ran by or not. At that moment all that mattered was that her quest had a destination. A very important destination.