For the third time since entering his hidden study room, Danny double checked the table he had set. Gerti had helped him with the food, of course, but the rest of the arrangements he had seen to himself.
As the young man was turning the vase of flowers slightly to present a better view of the blooms to Rose, the doorway began to form with the bricks. Danny straightened his tie and turned to smile at Ambrosia.
The sight of Danny –tie, kilt, and all– after her long day of searching, hoping, waiting, and more searching, left Rose standing frozen in the doorway. She stared at him, barely able to take it all in, let alone find something intelligent to say.
Danny stepped around the table and offered his hand to Rose. “Happy birthday, hen.”
“Danny… I…” She took his hand, unaware that she was trembling until she felt his fingers close around hers.
Smiling, relieved that Rose was here and happy, Danny led Rose to the table and pulled out her chair. “Ah howp ye liked the little scavenger hunt,” he said as she took her chair. “Ah wasnae shuir whit tae get ye for yuir birthday, sae Ah just…”
She stared up at him in disbelief. “Like it? It was amazing. I can’t believe you did that. And ohmygosh… in my room! I nearly went crazy today and really all I want for my birthday is…” She stopped, blushing bright red.
“Is?” Danny replied with a lopsided smile. “D’ye want tae finish that thocht, or woud ye rather hiv dinner first?”
Golden curls falling across her face as she shook her head, Rose’s blush grew brighter. “I have my birthday present,” she whispered.
Danny smiled back. “An’ Ah’ve got my Valentines Day gift too.”
The two Ravenclaws made small talk as they ate dinner, four courses, all of Rose’s favorite foods, culminating in a triple layer chocolate cake with chocolate frosting. As the empty plates vanished from their table, Danny looked at Rose and chuckled softly.
“Ah’d hiv never guessed we’d hiv ended up here,” he said.
Rose looked down at the empty table. They were back to serious subjects. There was really no reason to be afraid to talk to him about anything… but she was. After all, this was it: the big thing they’d never mentioned out loud to each other. But it was Valentine’s day… the perfect day to blurt things out.
“I wanted us to.” She gave a quick embarrassed smile. “I mean… not here here. This place never crossed my mind. I just mean…”
Danny laughed. “Ye’re the only ane who ever caught me here. Ah thocht it was appropriate.” He looked around the little room, then back at the girl. “An’ Ah wanted us tae end up taegether too. But things kept happening tae mess things up.”
She was apologizing almost immediately. “I’m so sorry, Danny. I didn’t mean for any of it to be a mess. After Halloween I was so determined to figure out what had happened… poorly brewed love-potion, by the way. Then there was my vision and… fainting.” The last word came out in a defeated whisper.
Nodding, the boy scooted his chair closer to hers. “Ah wis sae determined tae fin’ oot wha ah hud bin snoggin” Halloween, bit ah ne’er considered th’ body ah maist wanted it tae be.” It was Danny’s turn to blush. “Ah juist figured ye wid huv tellt me if ’twas ye.”
The young man paused. “Loue potion gaen wrong?” he asked, perplexed. “Ony idea wha made it or howfur thay git it tae us? Or why?”
Rose shook her head, hiding a little smile. The potion was so not the important part of the story. But at least he was sitting closer to her now. “Nope. I got as far as figuring out what it was before… other stuff happened.”
“Weel some o’ they hings kept making me hawp ’twas ye an’ nae… Och!” Danny stopped as he remembered the other surprise he had planned for his housemate. “Ah huv something else tae shaw ye.”He stood up and walked to the other side of the table. Bending down, he retrieved something covered in a soft cloth, the kind that might be at home on Rose’s bed.
Twisting a curl around her finger, she held it to her lips but managed to resist the urge to bite down as she watched her friend. “What is it?”
With a flourish, Danny pulled off the cloth to reveal a plant Rose knew well and, in fact, had given to Danny about fifteen months earlier. “Ah’d like tae present Arborous Amortentia,” he said with a lopsided grin. “It’d nae been doing sae guid, at least until Ah bumped intae ye on the Astronomy Tower.”
“Oh!” She stared at the plant then back up at him. “It looks amazing.” Gently she touched a finger to the lush green leaves and pushed them aside to marvel at the small, pink fruit that was growing there. “I can’t believe you still have this.”
Danny smiled. “O’ coorse ah kept it. ‘Twas frae ye.” He sat back down, his chair scooting even closer to hers. “Ah dinnae take as guid care o’ it for part o’ this year, but Ah remembered saemthin’ aboot a romantic day an’…”
The little blonde blushed again and gave a little laugh. “Danny… you don’t need any plant to help you with that.”
“Mebbes,” the young man said, his blush matching the girl’s, “Bit ah figure a bawherr hulp fur a perfectly romantic day wilnae hurt either. Especially now that Ah hiv the perfect person tae share it with.”
It was probably the silliest thing to ask after everything he’d done today, but Rose just had to hear it again. “You really want to share it with me?”
Wiggling his eyebrows, Danny leaned in closer still. “Well Ah dinnae want tae share it wi’ Madame Pince,”he said, mischief in his voice.
Stifling a laugh, Rose mirrored his movement and leaned in closer. “Are you sure? Girls who like books are very attractive.”
“Ah kin,” he said, his mischievous smirk melting into something softer. “Ah found ane, muckle younger an’ muckle mair bonnie.”
“Danny…” Sitting this close to him, she was practically holding her breath. “I promise I’m not going to faint this time…”
Danny had nothing to say. He simply leaned in close to his housemate, his friend, this amazing girl, and their lips met. After an all too short eternity they parted again.
Rose touched his cheek, green eyes filled with wonder. There was probably some perfectly romantic thing she was supposed to say right now. At least, that’s the way it always happened in the books. But all she came up with was, “see? I told you.” Then, just to prove it, she leaned forward and kissed him again. It was just as good the second time.
Breaking the kiss again, Danny grinned. “If ye hud fainted, Ah wid huv taken it as a compliment. Bit Ah’m really glad ye didnae.”
“Me too.” She couldn’t help but grin back. “But honestly, Danny, do you know how crazy today made me? I had to sit through a whole day of classes.”
Danny smiled. “An’ ye fainted when Ah wis aboot tae kiss ye.” He leaned in and gave her another quick kiss. “Ah’d say it’s even.”
This time she grabbed his tie as he pulled back, trapping his face close to hers. “Wait one minute. Does this mean that everyone else was in on it too?”
“Weel” Danny said sheepishly, “Kind o’. Thay knew ah wanted tae dae something special fur yer birthday ‘n’ that ah left a’ they notes.”
Since she already had him this close and it was an experience she was enjoying too much to stop, the blonde kissed him again. “You’re an evil boy,” she told him with a smile. “But as long as you’re mine, I think I can handle it.”
This was perfect. Being with Danny, her Danny, without all the wishing and worrying and everything else she’d been doing for the last few months. As far as she was concerned, they could stay in this room forever. “Hey Danny?” she asked as a new thought struck her.
“Yes Rose?” he asked with a smile.
“How did you get into my room… while I was sleeping?”
Danny grinned and his form quickly shrunk into that of a squirrel. After a split second, the squirrel turned back into Danny. “The stairs hiv an alarm, but nae the windows.”
As a prefect she should have been shocked, or concerned. Instead she gave a faintly naughty giggle.”We’ll have to remember that.”
Danny leaned over and kissed the girl again. “Ye dinnae hiv mischief oan yuir mind, dae ye hen?”
“Maaaaaybe,” she giggled. Then, because she didn’t have to resist it anymore, she threw her arms around him and held him tightly. It felt so good to know she didn’t have to let go.
The young man returned his girlfriend’s embrace. “Ah shoud hiv done this earlier,” he said with a sigh.”But Ah kin ye’ve had a string o’ lonely birthdays and valentines days. An’ Ah wanted tae make this ane special.” He pushed the girl away, so he could look in her eyes. “Ah howp it was worth the wait.”
She touched his cheek again, fingers delighting to find all the places that had previously been off limits to a casual friend’s touch. “I could have waited forever for this.” The blonde gave him a sly little grin.”Not that I’m saying I would have liked it. But, Danny, you are so worth the wait.” And to prove it she kissed him again. It never seemed to get old.
After repeating the proof repeatedly, the young man reluctantly broke the kiss. “A’ve git a gift fur ye tae,” Danny said with a smile.
The blonde raised an eyebrow. “A gift? I thought this was my gift.” She blushed but managed to give a faintly naughty smile. “You’re an awfully good gift. And I get to unwrap you anytime I want.”
“Ah doubt Professor Flitwick wid appreciate ye unwrapping me during Charms, hen.” Danny cocked an eyebrow and watched the girl’s light blush turn bright. He reached under the table and produced a pair of flat packages, both wrapped in bright paper and topped with pink bows. “But Ah hawp thae wull hauld ye ower.”
Still blushing, Rose reached out to take the packages from him. “Danny… this really is too much…”
“Na it isnae,” he said placing his hand on hers. “Ah’ament sure ah cuid ever gie ye enough, muckle less awfy much.”
Her fingers closed around his, amazed at how holding his hand felt completely different now. “We’ll argue more about that later,” she laughed. Forgetting any sort of patience or gentleness she tore the paper off the first package then gasped with delight as she pulled out the leather bound book. “Is this?” She flipped through the pages, eyes shining as she looked at picture after picture of the two of them. “I didn’t know you had all these.”
“Well,” Danny said with a smile. “Ah had tae write my mum. An’ yuirs. An’ Tommy’s.”
“You’re amazing.” She set the scrapbook in her lap to open the next present. As the pink paper fell away, she gave him a curious look at the sight of the title. “The Rules?”
There was a twinkle in Danny’s eye. “Open it.”
She opened the book to the middle. “It’s blank,” she said, slightly confused. Danny flipped the pages back to the beginning of the book to reveal several of her spontaneous rules written in a neat script.
“The birthday person gets the first slice of cake for breakfast. Wait. Are these my rules?” She turned another page. “You wrote down my rules?”
“A’ o’ thaim Ah cuid mind, aye. Danny said as he watched her eyes move across the page. “Ah thocht they were cute.”
Looking up at him, Rose shook her head in wonder. “Is it too early to give you the Best Boyfriend Ever award?”
“Ah’m nae the best ever,” Danny replied, punctuating his statement with a peck on her cheek. “Ye dinnae ken whit kind o’ boyfriends thare ur in Mongolia.”
The blonde laughed. “I’m pretty sure there’s a rule about no arguing with your girlfriend when she calls you the ‘best ever’. You really should read the book.”
“Ah thocht Ah’m nae allowed tae,” He said matter of factly. He reached over and flipped to the third page, pointing at a rule. “See? It says so richt there.”
“But you just read that one,” she pointed out triumphantly.
Danny grinned. “Aye. Bit A’ve ainlie read th’ ones ah wrote, th’ ones ye tellt me.” He leaned toward the girl and cocked an eyebrow. “A’m sure thare ur mony mair ye haven’t written doon yit.”
She leaned in to meet him, grinning as her nose bumped against his. “Oh you have no idea. But don’t worry; they’re all nice ones.”
“Ah’m howpful they arenae too nice,” he said roguishly. He tilted his head to the side. and their lips met again.
She was smiling even before the kiss ended, green eyes sparkling with mischief as she tried, and failed, to keep an innocent expression on her face. “So… I guess this means you’re now dating the girl you had a crush on when you were a little first year following her to the astronomy tower.” She almost managed not to laugh as she continued, “You know, that girl who was a friend of one of your close friends, who didn’t even cross your mind as a serious crush until she was seeing someone else and you were seeing someone else…”
For several seconds the boy stared at her, mouth agape. Then he laughed. “Ye heard that?” he asked, baffled. “That was months ago. Why dinnae ye say anything afore now?”
“Well there really are very few moment when the timing is right to tell the boy you’re crazy about that you were eavesdropping on him,” she laughed, loving the look of surprise on his face.
Danny laughed. “Ah’m nae shuir hou Sebastian micht take the news that Ah’ve finally got up th’ nerve tae ask ye oot.” For a brief moment he studied the amusement on Ambrosia’s face. “Ah ken ye picked th’ richt time, hen.”
She flashed an impish grin. “Of course I did. Now that I have you where I want you, I can reveal all sorts of evil secrets.” She paused and snuggled into his arms. “Not that I can think of any others right now. But I’m sure I’ll pick the right time to remember them.”
The two sat in content silence for a few minutes, then Danny had a thought. “Wait… Sae whin we wur dealing oot noble revenge tae Probert, Flint ‘n’ Marcus, ye knew wha mah Slytherin mukker wis?”
“Mmm-hmm. But it was awfully cute to hear you explain the whole thing.” Her curls spilled over his shoulder as she rested against him. “So… now what… boyfriend?”
He smiled. “Ah’m nae shuir, mah girlfriend,” he said with a smile. “Mah the script ended wi’ yer birthday presents.”
She beamed at him, reaching up to run shy fingers through his hair. “Well you did do an awful lot of work. Planting those clues and getting our friends to torment me must have worn you out.”
“It wasnae sae bad, it was for ye.” he replied. But Rose was right, he was a little worn out. “Mebbes we should head back tae the’ common room. It wouldnae dae for oor prefect tae be caught out late snoggin’ a disreputable bloke like me.”
“You’re right.” She bit her bottom lip to keep from giggling. “I think it would be much better to be caught snogging in the common room.”
Danny stood and offered the girl his hand. “Awricht, then ‘Brosia. Let’s head on up.”
She took his hand, her fingers fitting perfectly in his. This was magic. Two people leaving the room together after being apart for longer than either of them had wanted. “Best. Birthday. Ever!” she whispered to him.