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Emerald Eyes was exhausted but pleased. It had been a gruelling few hours, but the source of the curse was finally located, contained, and tucked safely under the arm for transport back to the Ministry. But before the Floo powder could be handled, Emerald Eyes was confronted by Ice-Blue. Emerald Eyes looked uncertainly at her. Ice-Blue Eyes stared warily back as she struggled to suppress emotions—fear, relief, anger, embarrassment, defiance—an overflow of spilled paint across her ashen canvas. They’d not seen one another since the Battle of Hogwarts.

Emerald Eyes drew her attention to the box containing the curse. Ice-Blue Eyes peered at it in relief, and to his surprise, she smiled at him with gratitude. He smiled back.


As the stars faded from them, Cacao Brown Eyes looked up to see whose chest her forehead had crashed into. Startled Sky Blues Eyes stared back and quickly apologized. He then stooped to help her retrieve the notebook she’d dropped in the collision. She accepted with an embarrassed smile and gave in gracefully as he indicated that she should head into the conference room first. Cacao Brown Eyes found the first appropriately vacant seat.

Throughout the initial meeting between their two departments, Sky Blue Eyes found himself glancing over at Cacao Brown. He’d never seen her eyes so up-close before. Lovely eyes. Mysterious and decadent, like the box of chocolates that Milk Chocolate Brown had given him for Christmas, not realizing that her supposed “unoriginal” gift was his guilty pleasure, albeit one he could rarely afford to indulge.

Cacao Brown Eyes looked away again when she met Sky Blue Eyes’ gaze. She really should pay more attention to the discussion. This was the first time their departments were working on a project together, after all.

Sky Blue Eyes couldn’t help showing his excitement at the prospect of being paired with Cacao Brown Eyes for their portion of the project. Catching her attention, Sky Blue was pleased to see that she was amenable to the decision.

The next few months were going to be interesting.


Emerald Eyes could feel the scrutiny the entire time he explained the results of their investigation to Ice-Blue’s mother. He tried not to fidget, but what with the tearfulness of the mother when she realized she had brought the cursed paper talisman home and the disbelief that Ice-Blue Eyes exuded when told she would have to be a witness at the perpetrator’s trial—once he or she was caught—Emerald Eyes looked uncomfortably away. He felt guilty. It was a lot to expect of them, especially given the precarious condition of Ice-Blue’s father, at whom the curse had been directed. But their willingness to at least give an account of the effect of the curse would be very helpful in deciding the appropriate punishment for the crime. At that, Ice-Blue Eyes’ expression hardened, and she stiffly replied that she would do everything necessary to make sure the villain suffered the consequences. She only hoped that the man would be caught soon.

Emerald Eyes solemnly promised to exert every effort.


Sky Blue Eyes glared through the horn-rimmed frames. Cacao Brown Eyes glared stubbornly back.

Pairing them together had to have been the worst idea their Heads had ever had!

He was much too by-the-rules rigid. She had too many fantastical ideas and was getting ahead of herself; they hadn’t even agreed on the basics!

And they had another eleven weeks to trudge through before the expected deadline. Would they make it out alive?

A tiny cough interrupted the staring contest, and it turned into a squeak as the junior fled in the face of the heated glares being directed in tandem at him.

Sky Blue finally closed his eyes and pinched the bridge of his nose. Without looking at her, he suggested they take a break. Perhaps get some tea. Cacao sniffed but agreed that a change of scenery was likely best.

They exited the office. Cacao Brown went in search of a sympathetic ear. Sky Blue headed toward the indoor broom-racing track.


Sky Blue Eyes stared blearily at the noisy kitchen. He really didn’t feel like putting up with the chaos, not after the gruelling week at work. And the day before had offered no reprieve. Sky Blue desperately sought the only other person who could sympathize with the exhaustion of working overtime for the MInistry. Well, there was one other, but Milk Chocolate Brown was sadly absent from Sunday Brunch because of a conflicting event at her in-laws’ house.

When he found Emerald Eyes, he noted with some satisfaction that Emerald was just as worn out. He accepted the Butterbeer. Brief words were exchanged, and while few were said in reply to “How’s work?”, the sardonic looks and raised eyebrows told volumes. Apparently, the outbreak of Death Eater activity was still not completely contained, and the vengeful acts were getting more vicious. Sky Blue supposed he ought not to complain about the snags they’d hit in the project. At least said impediments didn’t cause one to break out in purple and blue hives so painful that bathing in Dittany only barely stemmed the screaming.

Emerald Eyes winked and congratulated Sky Blue on reaching a compromise with Cacao Brown. While none of their coworkers could prove that screaming matches ever occurred behind closed doors—a Ravenclaw and a member of the DA could surely cast an effective Silencio in her sleep—the varying shades of red their faces sported at the end of the day were surely indicative. Emerald Eyes was not a bit deterred by the frown, hinting that he had a best friend who could provide further evidence. Sky Blue Eyes rolled. Then quirked an eyebrow. And made mention of a bossy client frequently seen visiting the Auror Office. Emerald Eyes blinked. Then, surprisingly, searched for an escape and found one helping Mum clear the dishes.


Ice-Blue Eyes burst into tears. She couldn’t remember the last time she’d cried, but she couldn’t stop. She felt her father stroke her hair and, oh!, it was so wonderful to hear his deep baritone again! When she finally regained some composure, she disentangled herself and stared hungrily into the eyes that she’d inherited. It was only when asked where her mother was that she regained full awareness. She told him sternly to stay put and keep alert while she fetched her mum from their house.

Tears threatened her Ice-Blue Eyes again as she tried her best to soothe her clinging, wailing mother. Finally, she scolded her mum for wasting time crying instead of going to Mungo’s. Her mum nodded, cleaned her face so she would be presentable, and disappeared through the fireplace.

Ice-Blue Eyes called to a house-elf to announce the good news and to request some refreshments. No sooner had she sat down, however, did the fireplace alert her of a visitor and a head of untidy hair appeared, requesting entrance.

Emerald Eyes stepped through. Ice-Blue noted the bags under those fascinating eyes and was curious at the triumphant glint. He wasted no time in informing her that they had the perpetrator in custody, and the man would be on trial within the next two weeks.

Ice-Blue Eyes found themselves crying into a set of dirt-covered robes. She didn’t care. She felt arms enclose about her hesitantly and a hand make soothing circles on her back before stopping abruptly. She struggled to put some distance between them but still could not escape his hold.

Emerald Eyes peered into Ice-Blue’s with concern. A thumb gently wiped away a stray tear.

Ice-Blue Eyes realized for the first time that the round eyeglasses that she’d always felt unfashionable and childish actually perfectly framed those brilliant Emeralds.

A *pop* startled both as the house-elf returned with the refreshments.


Sky Blue Eyes looked around the ballroom. He sighed. He knew that socializing and networking were important for his career, and he never failed to attend the Ministry’s functions, but those were sometimes insufficient reasons to spend endless hours in a crowded, hot, noisy room. Nevertheless, his eyes would not betray how unenthusiastic he felt.

At the earliest possible opportunity, Sky Blue searched the crowd for a pair of friendly eyes. He found Cacao Brown Eyes next to Milk Chocolate Brown and the critical Brown that was his sister. He greeted the ladies and offered to refresh their drinks. He accepted Cacao’s gratitude, Milk Chocolate’s smiling acquiescence, and ignored Brown’s amusement.

As he mingled, Sky Blue Eyes was constantly aware of where Cacao Brown Eyes was. He smiled and thought back to the past month of working together on the project. Despite their different approaches to beginning a project, they had soon found a harmonious rhythm, and the bickering had morphed into discussion and debate over what would work best. He saw that she was equally adamant about efficiency. She’d noticed he was untiring when trying to complete a task.

Finally, having found his courage at the bottom of his fourth champagne, Sky Blue Eyes sought Cacao Brown Eyes for a dance. Sky Blues brimmed with pleasure when she acquiesced.

Cacao Brown Eyes was astonished to find he was a good dancer. Not particularly graceful nor brilliant in his moves, but he was a steady, reliable partner—they did not collide with other couples and he never misstepped.

Sky Blue found himself struggling to remain aware of their surroundings. Cacao Brown was looking up at him from the same angle as that fateful day they had collided by the doors to the conference room. And the Cacao Browns looked even more mesmerizing with the slight enhancements applied to her eyelids and long, dark lashes.

When the dance ended, Sky Blue looked toward the terrace and back questioningly. Those Cacao Brown Eyes became crescent moons of agreement.

And when he kissed her for the first time in the moonlight, Percy felt a twinge of regret that in any case it was too dark to see Padma’s dark chocolate eyes, even if they’d both kept their eyes open. He needed to find an opportunity during the day, soon and preferably by the sea, with her long, wavy hair billowing in the wind behind her.


Emerald Eyes gloomily stared at the crowd from his hiding spot. He’d never seen the point of balls, but as Assistant Head, he had no choice but to attend all Ministry functions. But this was not the sole cause of his dismay. The last of the trials had ended last week. The case was finally closed, the last of the elusive Death Eaters found and put away in Azkaban.

He’d not seen Ice-Blue Eyes for over three weeks, and he found himself missing her frequent drop-ins to discuss the case—even missed the shrill bossiness of her voice now that it’d stopped reverberating off his walls.

But Ice-Blue’s father was back to full health and his tormentor locked away, and she was once again her old self. Emerald frowned disapprovingly as he observed how she laughed and chatted and danced with the men surrounding her.

He sighed and took another gulp of juice. Not being in a festive mood, he’d volunteered to be on duty tonight.

Suddenly, someone grabbed the glass from his hand and dragged him onto the dance floor. When Emerald Eyes finally met Ice-Blue ones, he was so astonished that he tripped on the hem of her dress robes and nearly toppled them to the floor. Beet-red, he muttered that he was on duty and tried to leave, but she wasn’t having it. She saucily told him she’d made a bet with the Minister’s son that she could get him onto the dance floor and keep him there for an entire song. And now that she’d won, her friend would be informing his father and the Head Auror that Emerald was to be excused from his duties. Indeed, when he locked eyes with his boss, Emerald Eyes saw the man wave affably for him to enjoy the dance.

Focusing on her again, he saw Ice-Blue pout at him. She admonished him for not once coming over to visit. Was she a person of no importance now that the case was over? Well, she wasn’t some shy Hufflepuff to be thus pushed aside. So, he owed her at least one dance and preferably dinner.

Emerald Eyes blinked but then suffused with joy.

Like a scene out of one of those silly songs that played on the radio every Valentine’s Day, Harry was finally permitted to kiss Pansy after their first official dinner date. When afterwards he stared breathlessly into her pale eyes, he felt that perhaps those gushing love songs weren’t completely worthless drivel.