Title: Trip to Diagon Alley
Pairing: Harry/Ginny, Ron/Hermione
Disclaimer: Not my world. No payment received.
Summary: Harry and Ron are shopping in Diagon Alley
Author's Notes: Written as a snow day drabble on February 15, 2016
Trip to Diagon Alley
Harry's boots shuffled a few steps forward in the freshly falling snow. As a child, he'd only ever visited Diagon Alley in the summer or fall just before the start of school. It was still strange to see it covered in snow like this; it made it feel like almost a completely different place. He shivered from the chill in the air and watched as vendors on both side of the street levitated their outside tables inside or summoned drapes for their carts. The street wasn't closing down, but it felt like it was time they were going. Besides, he could tell the temperature was swiftly dropping. “Well, I think I've got everything I need. How about you?”
Ron trudged along beside him, packages and bags weighing him down. “Nearly. Hermione, ah, caught that cold I had last week. We need more Pepper-up.”
“For that, we'd better get to...” he trailed off as their eyes met. Then their heads turned, as if one, toward the Apothecary.
Ron swallowed. “Maybe she doesn't need it after all. She looks good with her nose that shade of red.”
He sighed. “I know, but... Harry, you've got to admit it's weird, right? I mean, you took his memories and we all left him to die but he just so happened to have the exact right antivenin on him? Don't you think that's weird?”
“Weird for a skilled potions master who is working undercover for a man with a giant snake he's seen kill people to carry antivenin at all times?”
“Okay, okay,” Ron relented. “But why fake his death?”
“I wouldn't have taken his memories otherwise. I think he knew that.”
Ron was quiet for a while as they walked toward the store. “The memories, though. It's not like you can unsee all that stuff about him being in love with your Mum. That doesn't make you uncomfortable?”
It did at the time. The truth was, it kind of still did, even eight years later. Maybe it always would. Sometimes the way Snape looked at him made him feel kind of funny, like Snape was looking right into his eyes and thinking of Lily. But that didn't change what he did. “He saved the world, Ron. He did it for love, same as I did when I went to fight Voldemort. That's all I really need to know about him. His heart's in the right place now. He deserves our respect and appreciation for what he did.”
“Which is why your newborn baby's called Albus Severus, not Albus Ronald, I know. But, still, it's weird being around him is all. Might've been better if he'd died.”
Harry tensed to hear this statement. Sometimes Ron could be a completely insensitive arse! And sometimes he could be bang-on right about things Harry would never admit out loud. “Oh!” Harry exclaimed suddenly. “I just remembered I need to pick up something for Ginny at Madam Malkins.”
“Harry!” Ron looked flustered, glancing at the Apothecary. “Don't make me go alo—”
“I'll be quite quick and meet you at the Leaky Cauldron, all right?”
“Harry!” Ron called again, but Harry had already turned, hurrying in the exact opposite direction.
He wasn't scared to see Snape. Gryffindors didn't get scared about things like that. Harry Potter didn't get scared, period. He'd faced giant spiders and trolls and the most evil wizard who had ever lived a half dozen times. He was not scared to see his old teacher now. Certainly not. In fact, he and Ginny had invited the man over for tea every every month since asking him to be Albus' godfather.
Except... this was Snape's territory. And Ginny wasn't here. Anything could happen. Anything could be said.
No, it was better to let Ron go alone, even if he felt a little guilty about doing so. Harry bought a spare set of Ministry robes at the shop just in case Ron looked for a Madam Malkins bag among the purchases. Then he found a table in a corner of the Leaky Cauldron and ordered the Shepard's pie.
The good thing was, these days no one made as big a fuss over him as they once had. He got nods and waves and hellos, of course. And there would always be a few people looking at him with awe. But in general he got left alone to live his life and order his meal. On most days, he was glad about this. But on others, like today, he could have used a distraction from his thoughts.
Luckily, Ron wasn't far behind him. “Ordered us some fire whiskey,” he proclaimed, sliding into the seat across from Harry. Then he paused, looking at Harry even though Harry ducked his head down, pretending to examine his soup spoon. “Maybe I should have bought you a bottle of Pepper-up too. You look a bit peaky.”
“M'fine,” he lied to his best friend, a trained auror who could no doubt tell when he was lying. He stared out the window at the snow falling more heavily now.
A minute passed, during which Harry was pretty sure Ron was trying to figure out the best way to call him on it... whatever it was. Then Ron leaned across the table and spoke in his most serious voice. “Are you sure you're not going to sneeze in your soup?”
Harry cracked a smile. “No, I'm not.”
“You sure about that? I could transfigure this napkin into a handkerchief if you need.”
Harry chuckled, nodded. “I'm sure.”
“Good. Now let me tell you about this look Snape gave me when he saw who'd walked into his shop. Remember when we crashed the car into the Whomping Willow?”
Harry's chuckled turned into a laugh.