Summary - AU: no Voldemort. Dobby liked helping people out and he had never seen two people who needed help more than Harry Potter's Wheezy and their friend, the girl who spread socks and other items of clothing all over Hogwarts. (Romione)
A/N I tried to get Dobby's pov right so, even if I didn't really had him think wrong English (it'd have been too much), repetitions are intentional…
AU, No Voldemort AU, but Dobby is still a free Elf :)
Many thanks to my wonderful beta(s): DinoDina
(prompts listed at the bottom)
Dobby knows better
Dobby knew that he really shouldn't — he should be punished, actually, he thought, raising his hands to his ears — but Dobby was just trying to help. Dobby liked helping people out and he had never seen two people who needed help more than Harry Potter's Wheezy and their friend, the girl who spread socks and other items of clothing all over Hogwarts.
Dobby hesitated for a moment before daring to think it, quietly even in his own head: Ronald Weasley and Hermione Granger. He tensed before releasing a sigh of relief — nothing had happened. He could say their names without addressing them by their titles. Dobby smiled; Miss Granger would be so happy!
Oh! His shoulders slumped. He had done it again.
Hermione Granger. Miss Hermione Granger. Hermione Granger and Ronald Weasley, he repeated, his lips pressed as he willed himself to do it. Mrs. Hermione Weasley. Was that good? Yes, it was. That title couldn't displease her, Dobby just knew.
With a smile, he focused back on the conversation that had been going on for a while now. Dobby shouldn't, Dobby really, really shouldn't be eavesdropping — bad Dobby, bad Dobby! — but there would be time to punish himself later.
Now… Now Dobby could just find something to do in the room, like cleaning up a little, unseen. And if some students were talking in the Common Room, that was hardly his fault.
"Come on, Hermione!" Mr. Weasley — Ronald, Ron Weasley — was saying for the umpteenth time. "A book, a bag, a scarf… There must be something you nee —"
"I don't need anything. I'm giving you carte blanche." Hermione Granger peered up at Ronald Weasley from the armchair where she was sitting and reading a book, her eyes sort of mischievous. "Surprise me!"
Mr. Weasley collapsed on the nearest chair and said, "Fine, but don't complain if you get stuck with a mug!" before mumbling something more under his breath.
Dobby looked around: where was Harry Potter? He was just standing in a corner, an amused expression on his face. Some friend he was!
Dobby sighed as Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger kept glancing at each other, both longing and bashfulness in their gazes. Yes, those two needed help, and fortunately for them, Dobby was here.
Bad Dobby shouldn't have been eavesdropping, but —
"So… what are you going to do?" Harry Potter quietly said to his best friend.
"I may have a plan. Don't worry." Mr. Weasley quickly closed and opened one eye. Wink, that was a wink, Dobby thought.
Humans were so complicated.
Dobby had accidentally been folding some laundry in the Gryffindor Girls' Dormitory, unseen once again, like any good House-Elf would be, and keeping a close eye on Miss Granger.
"Hermione," Miss Patil said, "I was wondering… Is there a book you haven't read yet?"
The question surprised both Dobby and Hermione Granger.
"Oh, tons and tons," she said.
"And amongst them," Miss Patil asked, "which would you prefer having?" She casually looked at her nails, her tone light.
Well, this was weird. Unless… Oh! Dobby thought, tilting his head. That was Ronald Weasley's plan?
"I'd like —" Hermione shut up, clearly having reached the same conclusion as Dobby's. "They're too many. I can't choose now."
Dobby really wanted to help, but those two didn't make it any easier.
In the meantime, Miss Patil was trying again. "Ah, and…" She sniffed. "You smell good. What is your perfume? I never asked."
"A Muggle one. I don't remember its name," was Hermione Granger's answer.
"Oh, ehm… Ah!" Miss Patil glanced outside. "It's really… windy, isn't it? Don't you want a scarf too?"
This wasn't going anywhere, and now Dobby was a bit offended. This was the plan? Really? Hadn't it even occurred to Mr. Ronald Weasley that there were creatures who would willingly and more successfully help him?
Dobby had to remind himself that the Weasleys weren't like the other Pureblood families, they wouldn't take advantage of House-Elves just like that, but Dobby… Dobby was different too. And he really, really liked helping his friends out!
"I noticed you never wear jewels," Miss Patil was saying, a bit desperately.
Dobby sighed. Bad Dobby was still eavesdropping, the laundry forgotten.
Bad Dobby, bad Dobby.
"Bloody hell!" was Ronald Weasley's expected reaction when Dobby checked on him right after Miss Patil had reported the outcome of her mission.
"I really wanted to do something nice for her this year," he said, looking down. "Something special, meaningful," he whispered.
"I don't understand why you're making such a big deal out of this," Harry Potter said. "You know she'll like everything you gift her."
"It's just…" Mr. weasley shook his head and headed towards their Dormitory, leaving a puzzled Harry Potter behind. "I just love…"
Dobby smiled. This, Dobby could work with to help them.
Surprisingly, or maybe not so much, waiting for Hermione Granger to even think those three words took longer, but Dobby was patient. He had time and many chores to complete whenever Hermione Granger and her female friends were around. And most importantly, he was there when she opened Ronald Weasley's present, which she had saved for last: a simple mug as the boy had threatened.
Dobby sighed. He himself had hoped… Well, never mind. Mr. Weasley had tried, maybe in the wrong way, but Dobby had seen how the boy had been up late, wringing his hands and picking at his lips.
The look on Miss Granger's face now was very telling in its own way, yet not enough for Dobby's purposes.
It was still nice to get his suspicions confirmed though. Hermione Granger's was clearly disappointed not by the mug itself but by the idea that the boy she liked had given up on her.
The sadness in her eyes when she turned to Miss Weasley to show her the mug almost broke Dobby's heart, but there was nothing he could do if she refused to cooperate. It's not like Dobby could snap his fingers and force her to admit her feelings.
Humans! he thought, unamused.
Months later, Dobby was way past the point of no return. The number of his transgressions had rapidly increased until he had lost count, so one more or less really didn't make any difference. Not when he might finally have the opportunity to gather the last piece of information he needed to solve all this mess.
With a soft crack, he left Hogwarts without permission and Apparated at the Burrow, where he knew Hermione was spending part of the Christmas holidays.
"He's an idiot," Hermione Granger was screaming. "A brainless idiot. I can't stand him!"
Miss Weasley patted her on her shoulder. "Did you argue with Ron again?"
"I hate him. He behaves like he doesn't care. He doesn't care. I-I —" Her sentence got caught in a hitch.
"You love him."
"W-What?" Miss Granger gaped. "No, no… Wait! I mean, what did you say?"
"You love him, and you know it."
"I…" She blinked several times. "Yes. Damn him."
With a snap of his fingers, Dobby disappeared, a huge grin on his face.
Now he only needed two vials to put his memories into so he could gift the ones about Ronald Weasley to Hermione Granger and vice versa. Anonymously.
He was sure they'd appreciate it. All of Hogwarts would appreciate it, actually, Harry Potter included — having two best friends like them was bound to give him headaches.
And for once, Dobby didn't plan to stick around to see their reactions, not because of some belated scruple, but because he already knew the outcome, and it would just be boring.
Plus, he had a very oblivious Harry Potter and a very stubborn Miss Weasley to take care of now.
The Golden Snitch forum (Mahoutokoro, Mizu)
-The Golden Chase 2018 (Happy Birthday Harry!): prompt nr. 4
-Dreamcatchers Challenge: Dream: Write a story featuring a known 'light' character
-Ollivander's Wand Shop: 9 inch: Write about a Gryffindor character.
-Through the Universe: Dwarf Planet: (character) Dobby
-World Doll Day: Waitress, 2011: Write about a house-elf
QLFC, S6 R6, Wigtown Wanderers, Keeper. June: Draco Malfoy, Dudley Dursley, Dobby.
word count: ~ 1300