On Halloween, the third-year students at Hogwarts embarked on their first trip to Hogsmeade. Mr. Filch, the caretaker, meticulously reviewed a long parchment list, ensuring that everyone on it was allowed to visit the village.
A substantial group of Slytherin students, including Skyler, successfully passed Filch’s scrutiny and made their way to Hogsmeade.
Draco, who had visited the village a few times during his childhood, assumed the role of a guide for the group, leading them through the only all-wizarding village in the UK.
“These are the Three Broomsticks, where you can find the best butterbeer. It’s probably the liveliest place in Hogsmeade,” Draco pointed to a pub and provided an introduction.
Daphne gave Skyler a sly look and remarked, “Madam Rosmerta, the owner, is renowned for her beauty. Even Minister of Magic Cornelius Fudge and the professors visit this place for drinks. Don’t you want to take a peek?”
Skyler, aware that there were things he couldn’t say even if he thought them, playfully replied, “With you and Meredith here, do I need to look at other girls?”
Daphne shot back, her eyes sparkling with a strange light, “Is that so? Where’s Morag? Where’s Luna? And Hermione—remember the look on her face when you held her hand that day… Tsk tsk…”
Daphne playfully poked Skyler’s curiosity.
Soon, Meredith, Pansy, and the other girls joined in.
Meredith’s expression turned chilly as she asked, “Morag, I understand, but Luna and Hermione? When did that happen?”
Draco, with a smirk, commented, “Hermione Granger? The one with the prominent front teeth?” He paused and continued, “I hate to say it, Skyler, but you already have Daphne and Meredith, and they’re still not satisfied. Okay, I’ll admit that Morag has great qualities and would be a suitable match for our Malfoy family, but Hermione’s front teeth are quite…”
Pansy couldn’t help but smirk and quipped, “Oh, I have to hand it to you, Skyler. Your tactics are subtle and efficient!”
Blaise and Knott looked at Skyler with a mix of admiration and a hint of envy, jealousy, and resentment. Skyler’s popularity with the ladies was indeed remarkable.
“Trust me,” Skyler hurriedly refuted, “Luna, Hermione, and I are just friends, not even particularly close friends.”
He pretended not to hear anymore and changed the topic skillfully. “Look over there! It’s the Weasley twins. What’s that shop they came out of?”
The Weasley family, known as pure-blood traitors, had always been at odds with the Slytherin students.
With this diversion, Skyler smoothly shifted the focus. The group turned their attention to the direction he indicated.
Draco explained, “Oh, that’s Zonko’s Joke Shop, a joke shop. Most of the Weasleys’ products come from there. If Filch had the chance, he’d probably want to shut down that store.”
Pansy, taking the lead, suggested, “Perhaps we can visit Honeydukes!”
Duke Honeydukes, famous for being the favorite store of Hogwarts students, was their next destination.
“Fizzing Whizzbees!” Several girls exclaimed with delight as they descended on the candy pile at the store’s entrance.
For girls, there was always a delicate balance between indulging in sweets and maintaining their figures.
This age-old predicament was a conundrum even Dumbledore couldn’t resolve.
However, it seemed that Honeydukes had found a partial solution in the form of Fizzing Whizzbees—sugar-free treats and the only sweets Hogwarts girls could consume in abundance without guilt.
Skyler didn’t have a strong inclination for sweets, and as he wandered the shop with Daphne and Meredith, he could only observe the selection with a hint of disinterest.
Amidst the bustling crowd, a wizard was offering milk fudge as samples of a new candy variety.
Shelves stacked with an assortment of unimaginable confections filled the room.
Large chunks of buttery peanut brittle appeared almost oozing with cream, pink coconut sorbet glistened temptingly, and a neatly piled array of chocolates in numerous flavors made Skyler wonder if it was a special occasion despite it not being Valentine’s Day.
A few girls seemed intrigued by the chocolates, while Bertie Bott’s Every Flavor Beans and Honeydukes’ special candies filled jars to the brim, straining the wooden frame beneath their weight.
“My parents would love Fluffy Mints! They’re both dentists,” a familiar voice rang out, prompting Skyler to turn and spot Hermione engaged in a conversation with Ron.
“Hello, Skyler!” Hermione greeted him, but Ron let out an untimely snort.
Hermione offered an apologetic smile to Skyler before returning to her discussion with Ron.
Draco and his companions weren’t particularly keen on sweets and decided to leave after making a few purchases.
Skyler was left to serve as the girls’ personal candy porter, responsible for lugging around bags filled with sweets.
Fortunately, Skyler had Newt’s suitcase with him (under his Supreme Wizard’s Robe), so he was more than capable of handling the entire Honeydukes store if necessary.
After two long hours in Honeydukes (poor Skyler endured 3 seconds of self-pity), the girls were finally content and willing to release him.
Pansy and her friends planned to continue shopping at the Wizard Clothing Store, while Daphne seemed to have other intentions.
Thus, Skyler, Daphne, and Meredith separated from the group.
Hogsmeade Village, not very large, featured over a dozen shops. As the girls weren’t interested in the Zonko’s Joke Shop or clothing, and their Honeydukes shopping was complete, Skyler found himself at a loss.
He suggested, “Um, not interested in shopping for clothes? Maybe we should go find Draco at the Three Broomsticks?”
Daphne’s eyes sparkled mischievously as she feigned seriousness. “I’ve heard about a nearby teahouse that serves delicious cakes. How about we give it a try?”
Meredith instantly caught onto Daphne’s intentions and chimed in, “You mean Madam Puddifoot’s Teahouse? I’ve heard the same. Her refreshments are renowned.”
Though it was Skyler’s first time in Hogsmeade, he was well-versed in the original work and knew about Madam Puddifoot’s Teahouse.
Suppressing a smile, he agreed with their suggestion.
The trio strolled along the street until they reached a small pink teahouse situated on a side road opposite the Hog’s Head Inn.
The establishment’s host had undoubtedly passed the romantic stage of life.
Even Skyler, who considered himself unromantic, couldn’t help but sense the atmosphere.
Nevertheless, Madam Puddifoot’s Teahouse was a popular dating spot for Hogwarts students.
Upon entering, Skyler immediately spotted two familiar faces seated in a corner—Percy and Penelope.
The two were engrossed in their conversation and hadn’t noticed the newcomers.
The teahouse had a cozy and misty ambiance adorned with frills and bows.
Despite the modest crowd, there were plenty of available seats.
The three of them found a spot by the foggy window, maintaining a comfortable distance from Percy’s table.
Hogwarts students filled the surroundings, and though some faces were not immediately recognizable, they carried a sense of familiarity.
Among the students in the teahouse, Skyler recognized Roger Davis, Ravenclaw’s new Quidditch captain for the semester, who ranked third on the list of girls’ dream lovers (with Skyler taking the top spot and Cedric Diggory, another Quidditch captain, in second place).
Roger sat with a beautiful blonde girl, and their hands were tightly entwined on the table.
Mrs. Puddifoot approached and asked, “Two… well, what would you like to order?” She was a plump woman with a neat black bun.
She initially intended to use her usual line but quickly changed her words upon realizing that this table was different.
“Three cups of milk tea, please,” Daphne ordered.
“If they redecorated here, I think many couples would patronize this place,” Skyler observed as he looked around.
The shop’s current decor left much to be desired, and he couldn’t help but wonder if most wizards had a taste for such surroundings.
When the milk tea arrived, Skyler took a sip and was surprised by its excessive sweetness.
Seeing his discomfort, Daphne and Meredith couldn’t help but cover their mouths and laugh.
“This tea is like syrup,” Skyler complained in a hushed tone.
Daphne gloated a little as she smiled, saying, “It seems that Mrs. Puddifoot believes the sweetness of lovers is the best thing. Look, little angel!”
From the small round table, a creature resembling a human baby with golden fleshy wings and a lower body wrapped in a golden cloth (resembling a diaper) rose into the air.
The little angel couldn’t speak but laughed and sprinkled pink confetti onto the table.
Skyler observed the milk tea with confetti and sighed internally. Did young girls in the wizarding world enjoy this kind of ambiance?
He took out his wand and waved it over the round table. The confetti and tea cups vanished.
Skyler then cast a Silencing Charm on the surrounding area to keep their conversation private.
He lightly nodded to the little angel, which ceased its confetti scattering and instead produced a golden harp, playing Richard Marx’s “Right Here Waiting.”
(Note: Cherubs come from the Bible, not folklore. According to Rowling’s world-building, they should not be magical creatures. Here, the author envisions them as magical creations activated from statues or models, manipulated by wizards to perform actions like sprinkling confetti and playing music.)
Although this piece was originally intended for the piano, it had a poignant quality when played on the harp.
Daphne and Meredith, even without exposure to Muggle music, were moved by the emotions conveyed in the piece.
The three of them sat in silence, fully immersed in the music.
Suddenly, there was a crackling sound as Roger Davis and his girlfriend began to kiss through the sugar bowl.
Their actions seemed to cast a spell, and other couples sitting nearby couldn’t resist following suit.
The teahouse’s atmosphere quickly turned seductive.
Skyler felt a bit awkward in this situation. In his current life, his first kiss had been with Meredith.
He had also kissed Daphne during a summer vacation concert.
With both of them present now, he was unsure about what to do. If he could access the internet here, he would have sent an “online help needed urgently” message.
Daphne and Meredith exchanged glances and then sat on either side of Skyler, each behaving obediently.
Daphne leaned close to Skyler’s ear and whispered, “Consider this your reward for spending the day with us. We’ve kept you company for so long. Are you bored?” She smirked.
Before Skyler could respond, Daphne’s arms wrapped around his neck like a snake, and her fiery lips silenced his words.
After a while, Skyler finally regained his composure from the amazing feeling.
Before he could catch his breath, he opened his eyes and found Meredith’s exquisite face dangerously close.
Her long eyelashes were still, her eyes filled with anticipation, and her slightly parted, rosy lips seemed to beckon him to taste.
It exuded an irresistible allure and coquettishness.
In that moment of silence, their eyes conveyed their feelings, and Skyler leaned in to kiss Meredith.
Meredith let out a soft sigh as she wrapped her arms around Skyler’s neck.
The two of them shared their breath and felt the tender, gentle connection between them.
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