Minerva watched them closely as she ate her breakfast. This was the eighteenth morning in a row they’d eaten together at either the Slytherin or Gryffindor table. It was starting to grind on her nerves. According to Albus, the two hadn’t so much as made a move on each other and it was beginning to get painful just watching them.
“Mr Weasley and Miss Cain appear to be getting close.” Severus said quietly.
“Yes.” She agreed.
“Christmas. Ten galleons.” He replied.
“New Years Day.” She responded. “Same amount.”
“Excellent.” He said.
Their brief conversation died and Minerva could almost feel Sybill eyeing her warily. She hadn’t won a bet against Severus yet but this time was different, she could feel it. Something told her that Mr Weasley wouldn’t risk making a move before the end of the year.
“McGonagall and Snape are looking at us weirdly again.” Bill said out of nowhere.
“Again?” I asked, surprised.
“They really are.” Charlie confirmed.
“It’s really creepy.” Rowan sighed.
“Creepier than that look Dumbledore gets on his face sometimes?” Leviathan asked.
“Yep.” Tonks answered.
I grimaced. What had we done to garner the attention of both of our heads of house? Maybe they’d figured out we were unregistered animagi? No, if that were the case, they’d know about the others as well.
“Why do they get like this?” Bill groaned. “It’s like two specific people have always done something wrong at the same time for a while.”
“It’s really weird.” Penny said. “I’m glad they’re not looking at me like that.”
“Lucky you.” I sighed. “Why can’t I just have a week where nothing weird happens?”
“Because you’re a trouble magnet.” He told me. “It all became so clear when Ben tried to kill you.”
“He was bewitched.” I argued.
“He still tried to kill you.” He said.
“But he didn’t succeed.” I replied.
“Because Rakepick showed up and stopped him.” He deadpanned.
“Well at least I didn’t try to beat the crap out of him for something he had no control over.” I responded.
“That was kinda funny.” Barnaby said. “Not the part where you almost died but the other thing.”
“It took Rakepick, McGonagall and Snape to stop you from beating Ben to a bloody pulp.” Tonks nodded. “It was actually kinda scary, thinking back on it.”
“Why?” Bill frowned.
“I’ve never seen you that angry and I’ve known you my entire life.” Charlie said. “You’re lucky Mum wasn’t informed.”
Bill arched an eyebrow. “It wasn’t that bad.”
“It was.” I told him. “I think you’ve now become Ben’s Boggart.”
“Good.” He said. “Let him fear me.”
“Oh dear…” Penny sighed.
“Maybe he’ll fear you even more if you go after him in your animagus form.” Tonks grinned.
“Don’t give him ideas.” Charlie groaned.
“Too late.” Tulip snickered. “I can see the thought blooming.”
“For the love of God, don’t do anything stupid.” I told Bill.
“Why would I do that?” He asked.
“You’re a Gryffindor.” I deadpanned. “You’re full of dumb decisions and rash actions.”
“Hush.” He said.
I rolled my eyes. “You’ll have to sew my mouth shut to get me to be quiet.”
“That’s a lie.” Rowan said. “You’re quiet ninety-eight percent of the time.”
“It’s really creepy.” Barnaby told me. “It doesn’t help that you’ve got the billowing robes thing down pact like Snape.”
“If I’m going to be creepy, I’m going to be dramatic about it.” I grinned.
“They’re still looking at you two weirdly, by the way.” Tulip said cheerfully.
The week before Christmas quickly arrived and Minerva was mortified to find that Bill wouldn’t be returning home for it that year. He always went home for Christmas. Always. Of course, this meant her wager had a chance too but it was starting to look increasingly unlikely. She kept a watchful eye on the two whenever they were together and they only seemed to be getting closer and closer.
She was so going to lose the bet.
Albus smiled at her. “Don’t be so down, Minerva. I’m sure your wager still has a chance.”
“Does it though?” She asked. “Severus always wins and he doesn’t have a single romantic bone in his body.”
“I appreciate the compliment.” Severus chimed in, not looking amused. “Is the Weasley staying during the Christmas break?”
Why did Albus have to mention this during a staff meeting?
“Yes. And Miss Cain?” She asked.
“Staying as per usual.” He confirmed. “I’m beginning to think that I was right again.”
Sybill looked at them. “Mr Weasley will be wearing his hair up. Five galleons on it.”
“That’s it?” Filius asked.
“I believe I’ll have more information that’ll compensate.” The woman shrugged.
“They’ll get together.” Rubeus smiled. “There’s no doubt about tha’.”
“But are they compatible?” Aurora asked.
“Scorpio and Sagittarius are compatible, are they not?” Bathsheda replied.
“Yes.” Aurora smiled.
“You came prepared.” Septima said dryly.
“Naturally.” Bathsheda grinned.
“They’ll get together.” Aurora smiled.
“Miss Cain will be holding a snake. Five galleons.” Sybill said.
“Why does she have a snake?!” Minerva exclaimed.
“She’s a Slytherin.” Severus deadpanned. “Why not?”
“Snakes are dangerous.” Pomona reminded him.
“If you say so.” The Potions Master replied dryly.
“They’re actually quite nice!” Silvanus exclaimed.
Severus and Minerva both sighed as he began to go into detail.
“Are you blind?!” Charlie demanded.
“What?” Bill asked, confused.
“Levi is totally into you!” He exclaimed.
“Quit yanking my chain.” Bill said. “I think I would’ve noticed.”
“Bill, your head is constantly either in a book or shoved up your arse.” Charlie rolled his eyes. “You wouldn’t know that a girl liked you even if their feelings hit you in the face as a brick.”
“I thought Percy was the one with his head shoved up his arse?” Bill frowned.
“That’s not the point!” Charlie exclaimed in frustration. “You gotta make a move before somebody else comes along and sweeps her off her feet because you took two hundred years!”
“You are really weird today.” Bill decided.
Charlie groaned. “You’re hopeless.”
“Real funny.” I rolled my eyes. “Next you’ll be telling me that Charlie’s got a crush on me.”
Rowan stared. “I’m being serious, Levi! I pay very close attention to that Bill Weasley and he clearly has a thing for you, you lucky bastard.”
I sighed and shut my textbook, standing. “I don’t have time for this, Rowan. I need to study. O.W.L.s are coming up.”
“Who are you and what have you done with the real Leviathan Cain?!” She yelled.
“Just because you’ve got a crush on Bill, doesn’t mean we all do.” I said, ignoring her outburst.
“Who wouldn’t have a crush on him though?” She asked. “That’s not – that’s not the point, dammit! He’s into you, for God’s sake! Into you!”
“Keep telling yourself that.” I replied.
I didn’t need my hopes lifted for no reason.
“Snakes, snakes, snakes.” I muttered as I walked through the corridors.
The holidays had officially begun and I had never felt more relieved than I was now. I had had the weirdest dream last night. Something to do with snakes and Bill having his hair up in a – very sexy – ponytail. It had been weird. My dreams usually were but this took the cake. At least my other dreams made sense. Jacob, the vaults, more Jacob, more vaults… I did not dream about snakes and ponytails.
I shook my head and decided to head outside. The snakes in my dream had gotten me thinking about a snake who hung out near the Forbidden Forest.
I returned to the common room to find Merula sitting in it, finally awake. That was one bad thing about this year. She was staying during the holiday too.
“Cain, why the fuck do you have a snake?” She asked.
“Merula, this is Lepidus. Lepidus, that’s Merula.” I introduced them both.
“She smells funny.” Lepidus hissed.
“I don’t care about its name. Why the fuck is it in here? Snape is going to kill you when he finds out.” She said.
“I’ll manage.” I replied. “He was cold outside so I brought him in.”
“How has that thing not bitten you?” She arched an eyebrow.
“Because I’m awesome at handling snakes.” I explained.
“Sure.” She nodded, voice dry.
Lepidus slithered around my neck, draping himself over my shoulders.
“So, how’s your boyfriend going?” Merula asked.
“Boyfriend?” I frowned.
“Weasley.” She said. “The older one.”
I laughed. “He’s not my boyfriend.”
She stared. “Bullshit.”
“He’s just a friend.” I assured her.
“Just – just a friend?!” She stammered. “There is no way in hell that ginger is just your friend!”
“Even if I did like him like that, he wouldn’t feel the same.” I replied.
“Wouldn’t – Cain, how fucking dumb are you?!” She exclaimed. “It’s blindingly obvious that you two are into each other! Even for blind people!”
I frowned. “Since when do you care so much?”
“Since two seconds ago when I realised how fucking oblivious you are!” She hissed. “Ask him the fuck out or I’m pretty sure Rakepick is going to beat you both to death with a wooden mallet!”
Patricia facepalmed, groaning. “Why are they so oblivious?”
Minerva sighed. “I don’t know.”
“None of us do.” Pomona added.
Minerva looked back to where the remaining students were seated. The subjects of the bet were sitting together away from the others. Even the Snyde girl was looking at them like they were dumb.
“Neither of us is going to win at this rate.” Severus said. “I didn’t think anyone could be more oblivious than Sirius Black but I was clearly wrong.”
“Black was seriously oblivious.” Patricia agreed then groaned. “Oh my God, I’m so annoyed by this that I’m making puns now. God help me.”
“God left this building a long time ago.” Filius sighed. “If he were still with us, those two would be together by now.”
“Why is that true?” Minerva sighed.
“They’re all looking at us weirdly again.” Bill muttered.
“What have we done wrong?” I whispered.
“I don’t know.” He said. “Have we snuck out past curfew recently?”
“I don’t think so.” I replied. “We haven’t been roped into helping Tulip and Tonks with a prank?”
He shook his head. “No. We’ve handed all our schoolwork in?”
“Pretty sure I have.” I said. “Uh, have we somehow offended one of them and thus offended all?”
“I don’t think that’s how they work.” He replied.
“Then what have we done?” I groaned. “It’s getting really weird now.”
“Maybe they’ll let up tomorrow?” He suggested. “It is Christmas.”
“We can only hope.” I sighed.
Minerva had had enough. It was officially Christmas day and she was completely prepared to lose the bet. Apparently Bill had walked Leviathan to the Slytherin Common Room last night. She even had the ten galleons on her, ready to hand over to Severus.
“This had better be good.” Patricia muttered.
“I’m surprised you’re so invested in it.” Filius remarked quietly.
“They both make good Curse Breakers.” She explained. “If they stay together long enough to have children, maybe the kids will be good Curse Breakers too.”
“Of course that’s what you’re hoping for.” Severus said dryly.
“In any case, is anyone else concerned that Miss Cain is carrying around a snake?” Aurora asked.
“No.” He answered.
“Yes.” Septima said. “What if it bites someone?”
“It won’t.” He assured her.
Minerva raised an eyebrow. “And how can you be so sure?”
“Because I just know.” He said.
Their attentions fixated on the open doors as the two students they had been eyeing for months now entered. They were as far apart as usual and Leviathan was indeed carrying a snake.
“Not yet.” Sybill said cheerfully. “Mr Weasley’s hair is down.”
“How is that a deciding factor?” Bathsheda asked.
“It is.” The divination teacher insisted. “The snake is right but the hair is wrong.”
“Someone needs to tell that girl to put that thing outside.” Pomona said.
“I’m sure it won’t do any harm.” Silvanus smiled.
The two students sat.
“You had to bring Lepidus with you?” Snyde questioned.
“Yes.” Leviathan answered.
Minerva raised an eyebrow.
“She named it Lepidus?” Filius remarked.
“Should someone conjure some mistletoe?” Patricia asked.
“I think Miss Snyde might have us covered.” Severus answered quietly.
And indeed Snyde did. Minerva watched quietly as mistletoe began to form over Bill and Leviathan’s heads, conjured discreetly.
“Mistletoe!” A Ravenclaw cried, pointing.
Bill and Leviathan looked up and seemed to blanch. Minerva could almost feel Severus smiling – internally, of course. She felt tempted to smile too. So what she wasn’t going to win the bet, at least they’d all be relieved that the –
Her eye twitched and he looked horrified. A kiss on the cheek. That was it. What in God’s name would possess them just to kiss on the cheek?!
Snyde booed. “You’re supposed to kiss on the lips, you shitheads!”
Minerva didn’t even feel like telling her off.
“Screw you.” Leviathan replied.
She could almost hear Patricia swearing her head off internally.
“Is it just me or is everyone trying to get us to kiss?” I asked.
“It is not just you.” Bill answered. “First there was the mistletoe, Merula ‘accidentally’ tripped us, Rakepick casually walked in with a vial of Amortentia, Sinistra tried to give us a two hour lecture on why Scorpio and Sagittarius are compatible and Hagrid blatantly told us that we’d make a good couple.”
“I don’t understand what’s going on.” I sighed.
“Let’s just hope they give up with the New Year.” He said.
I hummed. It was downright annoying what everyone was doing. I didn’t need my feelings for Bill broadcast to him with flashing lights and a neon sign. He wouldn’t feel the same. Ever. He probably thought her as more of a little sister than anything.
I glanced at my watch. “Two minutes.”
Bill nodded, still gazing at the stars. We’d come to the Astronomy Tower to sit and look at them. Most of their reasoning was that they were sick to death of being bugged by everyone.
“Kiss already.” Lepidus hissed.
“Oh, not you too.” I groaned.
“What did he say?” Bill asked.
“He’s joined the weird group.” I explained.
“Wonderful. Now your snake thinks we should bang.” He sighed.
“Yes, that too.” Lepidus agreed.
“You’re encouraging him, Bill.” I told him.
“Oh, for fuck’s sake.” He grumbled.
I smiled slightly and looked at the stars. They were so pretty up here, so bright.
“Leviathan.” Bill said quietly.
I looked at him, confused. He never used my full name unless he was getting serious.
“Yes?” I asked.
“I’ve been meaning to tell you this for a while but I, uh…” He trailed off.
I stared. He wasn’t going to say what I think he was going to say, right? I must be dreaming.
“I really like you.” He said.
“Like…?” I asked dumbly.
Frustration took hold of his features briefly. “As in I want to kiss you, can I please do that?”
I smiled. “Sure.”
He kissed me chastely just as the screams from the Great Hall reached us, declaring it a New Year.
“Pay up.” Minerva whispered.
Severus scowled. “You won’t win again.”
“I think you’re losing your touch.” She smiled.
Sybill blinked. “I do believe I am owed ten galleons.”
“Why?” Aurora scowled.
Albus smiled. “Miss Cain has a snake and Mr Weasley’s hair is up.”
Severus scowled but gave Sybill ten galleons.
“We need a ship name.” Pomona whispered.
“No, what we need is to be stopped.” Filius corrected.
Things were finally back to normal. The professors were no longer giving us that weird look and we were an official couple now. It had alarmed most of Gryffindor greatly, much to the amusement of Tonks and Tulip.
I glanced at the teachers and noticed McGonagall and Snape had that weird look again. I paled before noticing who they were looking at.
I grinned. “So Penny, the professors are looking at you and Barnaby weirdly.”
Penny almost spat out her pumpkin juice. “What?!”