Andromeda stood to the side in a Defense Against the Dark Arts class, the drapes drawn and the new head of Slytherin House droning on about how useless Jean and her friends were. Jean had asked her if she recognised the man, he was in Slytherin house when Andromeda was at Hogwarts supposedly, but she didn't remember seeing him at any functions outside of school. He mustn't be a Pureblood.

The class had been paired off to practice as was pretty common, and when Harry happened to turn to Jean, Professor Snape had seized the opportunity to torment Ron.

"A rudimentary nonverbal deflection shouldn't be beyond you, Weasley, even Longbottom has managed to perform it with some success," the Professor sneered, casting a second stinging hex at the irate boy.

Ron's ears were pink enough to clash brilliantly with his orange hair. There was no way he was going to do any decent magic when he was so emotional. Honestly, Gryffindors. Andromeda met Hugo's eye and shook her head at the disruption.

He shrugged and assumed the position to carry on with their spellwork. She cast a jelly legs jinx as easily as she would a levitation spell. She may not have Bella's power, but thanks to the private tutors Andromeda had trained with, lessons like these were child's play.

During her first week Andromeda was given a temporary schedule so she could choose which classes she preferred. Defense had been an easy choice. The dire atmosphere in the class may have been dire, but it suited Andromeda that no one chatted. This meant she could spend quality time with Hugo without having to have a conversation. They just paired up and performed some non-verbal magic back and forth and she could feel the tension ease between them each time. And of course, annoyed as she was with Jean upon first arriving, she had taken some satisfaction in disrupting the girl's schedule by matching their time tables.

Now that they were done avoiding each other and were growing closer, Andromeda was glad to have an excuse to be near her beloved non-Hufflepuff.

"Got something to say, Potter?" Professor Snape asked, turning his attention to the green-eyed boy who had clearly been the target of his malice all along.

Was it wrong for Andromeda to quietly root for Harry Potter to land himself in another detention so she could have Jean to herself at some point this week?

Jean and Weasley were arguing over a misunderstanding at the last Quidditch match, so if Potter was off being a boy wonder or getting in trouble for acting out due to boy wonder pressures, generally Jean was available.

Jean stood behind Harry, looking nonplussed at the inevitable altercation between the bespectacled boy and the bat-like professor.

"I'm not sure you want to hear my opinion, Professor," Harry replied, squaring up.

Andromeda felt a little bad for cheering inwardly at Harry's unchecked temper. She deflected a hex from Hugo, turning in a flutter of blue silk to retaliate. Although she wasn't truly Hugo's twin, she did feel a kinship with him. Particularly in moments like these where she could sort of be herself. The only sound in the room other than the banal conversation was the shuffling of the students as they dueled with mixed results. Occasionally grunting as they got knocked on their arse.

"My, my, how well-reasoned. Truly, does the depth of your self-awareness know no bounds?" Snape sneered, like a childhood bully. Andromeda wished she could hurry the process up.

Harry was about to open his mouth to retort when the unthinkable happened. Jean made a sound.

It carried through the chamber, and Andromeda glanced over in time to see Snape glare at Jean with grim satisfaction.

From Jean's expression you could tell she hadn't meant it to be audible, but it most certainly had been. Jean had scoffed and not used to having an excuse to needle Harry from this particular angle, Snape was elated.

"Ah, appears to think she is above it all, hm? Potter, work with Weasley. You two imbeciles are better matched," he drawled, adjusting the sleeve of his robes. "Now, since you seem to take issue with my methods as an educator, why don't you demonstrate your superiority as you are so clearly pining to do?" Snape asked Jean.

Jean pressed her dark lips together and she raised her wand without a word. Her eyes were practically spitting sparks.

He began, and she deflected gracefully, firing back in a flash.

She was fast, but he was faster.

His hex would've landed if she hadn't physically ducked and thrown a jinx in reply.

It was only due to sheer hubris on his part that the spell landed, his wand flew into the air. He hadn't expected her to chance a Muggle move, but to challenge it would be to admit that he'd engaged a student in a wizard's duel.

He bared his teeth.

Jean caught his wand.

"Five points from Gryffindor," Snape spat.

Andromeda almost wanted to laugh, and then with a wily smile she allowed herself to.

Her bubble of laughter echoed through the room, and for good measure she added: "Oohlala! Because she eez better zan you?"

Hugo looked stopped short, and looked totally baffled.

The shuffling of people trying to carry on with the lesson despite their Professors open vendetta with the Gryffindors was interrupted. Heads turned to her, a beacon of pale blue in the dull classroom.

Snape rounded on Andromeda and took a long breath through his hooked nose: "For failing to follow the basic instruction I gave at the beginning of the class, Ms. Boucher. Is Expelliarmus a hex, or a jinx? No. Did I not specify that we would be practicing the nonverbal use and defense of hexes and jinxes in this class? I did. But since I cannot take points from your house for your evident failure to grasp such basic details, I will simply have to assign you a detention."

Andromeda gasped falsely, but didn't bother to stage a full protest, trying to express with her silence that she'd thought better of it. Jean stood behind Snape and Andromeda resisted the urge to wink at her. She looked at her though, absolutely on purpose, and then made a show of bowing her head in contrition.

Jean rolled her eyes almost imperceptibly, before turning to Harry with a look warning him not to say another word.

"And can join you." Snape turned to glare at Jean. "It'll take more than one of you to clean up the mess Peeves made in the astronomy tower."

Victory!


Harry sat at dinner with Hermione on his left and Ron on his right. The two were still at odds. At least Harry didn't have to maintain a conversation with them both at once, as Ron's tongue was bet into Lavender Brown's mouth and she was doing her best to voice her approval in the form of some frightening gagging noises.

"I never thought I'd miss the sound of Ronald chewing," Hermione complained, glancing over Harry's shoulder and looking genuinely green.

Harry was nodding in agreement without full awareness of his actions, he put down his fork in resignation and opted to pick apart a dry roll. Grasping for any topic to distract from the slurping noises, he noticed Hermione watching the exchange students. "That was strange in Defense," he said, and followed her gaze to where Adela and Hugo were sitting.

After Hemione's initial frosty reception of Adela, the girl hadn't sat with them again. Yet today, she'd come to her defense. Not to make it about him, but Snape laid into him every day and the french girl hadn't said a word.

"Hm?" Hermione asked, "Oh, yeah. I can't believe I lost House points, thank goodness you won your Quidditch match."

He elbowed her. "Come off it! You picked up fifteen points in Herbology right after," Harry said, almost considering serving himself a bowl of soup before the thought was interrupted by a wet smack.

Hermione looked pleased at the compliment and shrugged, her mouth full.

Harry continued: "I didn't mean that though, of course Snape will find an excuse to take points. I meant Adela, have you two been talking or something?"

Hermione swallowed her food and coughed a little. Waving her hand apologetically she took a sip of water. "Wrong pipe." She put her hand over her chest and took a breath. "So, what will you do while I'm in detention?" She asked.

Harry winced when Lavender's groping hand momentarily tapped his shoulder in her search for the back of Ron's head. He almost admired their sheer lack of shame, and Ron restraining himself from breaking the kiss for an occasional bite of baked beans.

Perhaps Lavender had had a talk with him.

"Reckon I'll catch up on my Transfiguration essay," Harry mused, sparing a glance for the Slytherin table to see if Malfoy was where he left him.

"You're going to obsess over Draco, aren't you?" Hermione asked.

"Mm-hmm," Harry hummed agreeably. He was only half-listening, he'd spotted Draco sat with a bored expression and he was reading something off of a piece of parchment. What was he reading?


Hermione thought about her conversation with Harry as Snape made a long speech about her and Adela's joint incompetence to kick off their detention. They stood in a mess of wet, wadded up paper left by Peeves. It was the kind of lifetime supply of papier maché that only a poltergeist could produce.

She knew from experience that it could take Harry a while to cotton on to something unrelated to You-Know-Who… well, to Voldemort, but she always ended up telling him in the end. The Time Turner and Lupin's lycanthropy in third year, Victor in fourth; she couldn't keep a secret from Harry.

Still, how could she explain all this? Not to mention, it wasn't just her secret to tell.

"And of course, there will be no magic allowed, so if you'll just hand over your wands. You may come and collect them once you're done," Snape told them, in full awareness that it would take them right up to curfew.

Once he was gone, Hermione turned to see Andromeda looking way too pleased with herself under her pretty blue hat.

"Alone at last," Andromeda said, and took Hermione's hand, pulling her close.

"Don't you think we could've come up with a better excuse to spend time together than this?" Hermione asked, gesturing to the mess they had to clean up with nothing but sacks and shovels.

"Ah, my precious Gryffindor Princess, so pure of heart," Andromeda replied. "Don't tell me you only brought one wand to detention?" She pulled a wand from her pocket.

Hermione felt her face fall with surprise momentarily, but quickly recovered so as not to encourage Andromeda to be completely unbearable. "He'll be able to tell," Hermione observed.

"Only if I do too good of a job!" Andromeda replied, and with a wave of her wand the two shovels became animated and the sacks followed them from soggy pile to soggy pile. Andromeda slipped the wand back into her robes and turned to Hermione, catching her at the waste, and dipping her slightly for a kiss. "Perks of dating a Slytherin," Andromeda mumbled against her mouth, and Hermione could feel that wicked grin.

Hermione tipped herself upwards, a little breathless and laughed. "So, we're dating are we?" She asked, and then the laugh left her at Andromeda's expression.

"Let's go look at the view," Andromeda said, and she led Hermione by the hand.

"You don't want to talk about it?" Hermione asked, leaning against the railing of the astronomy tower, to watch Andromeda's neat spell work in action. She was a talented witch. Hermione found competence very attractive.

Suddenly, Andromeda was the only thing in her line of vision, hand on either side of Hermione, barring her against the railing. "It's difficult for me to say any of this out loud," Andromeda replied. "It's like I have two minds about everything. The way I was raised, versus the way I am."

"You and Sirius had that in common," Hermione said sadly, her expression soft.

Andromeda looked down, her eyes fixed on Hermione's tie. A gentle wind rustled around the tower, and Hermione saw a tear darken the silk of Andromeda's uniform. Just one, she tipped her head back and blinked against it.

Hermione reached up and rubbed the tear track away.

"Didn't work out so great for him, did it?" Andromeda asked, clearing her throat. "Merlin, I always cry around you, Jean. My Mother would string me up if she saw me so ill-composed."

"You're under a lot of stress… Look, if you ever need help with your research. You don't have to go through this alone."

"Jean," Andromeda laughed, and her glamour made it hard to tell she'd been crying a moment before. She kissed Hermione's nose. "Are you coming on to me?"

"I have a lot of thoughts, actually," Hermione said, trying to think logically and knowing that even when it came to the strangest magic it helped to be methodical. Although, it was hard to take that approach when Andromeda was being so unco-operative. "I just need more information to help you get home, I still don't even know how long you've been in this time." Andromeda kissed Hermione's top lip even as she was talking. "Rather marvelous that you arrived at Hogwarts the morning after I returned," Hermione continued.

"You are driving me crazy. I'm starting to wonder if you bring this stuff up because you like being more hickey than woman," Andromeda replied, burying her face against Hermione's ear, she started to kiss just below it, her pale hand slipping over Hermione's dark thigh. This was Andromeda's new pursuit, seeing how far she could ruck up Hermione's skirt.

"Jesus Christ," Hermione said, and reached down to catch Andromeda's hand on it's journey.

"Mmmm, I love those Muggle swears. That one Mary Mother of God, is my favourite."

Andromeda left her hand beneath Hermione's grip, her thumb reaching up higher and finding the hem of Hermione's knickers. Just barely brushing the elastic.

"Anyone could walk in!" Hermione complained.

Andromeda groaned, and kissed her fully, her other hand screwed up in the fabric of Hermione's shirt, untucking slightly at the back. She quickly found Hermione's skin.

God, Andromeda was sexy, and so good and turned on. Clearly delighted to have her hands under Hermione's shirt. More chuffed than ever to push the back up and feel the skin stretched thin over Hermione's spine. She pressed her fingers hard into the muscles in Hermione's knotted back and they gave under the pressure with a delicious ache.

In the barrage of sensations Hermione almost forgot to move. She had to remind herself over and over, leading to stuttering reactions in answer to Andromeda's ebb and flow. Hermione knew that it was obvious that she was flustered and that she liked it.

Andromeda pressed into her, followed her lead, took it and gave it back. Over and over.

Hermione spent a lot of her time trying to maintain what little control she could over these situations, but she felt her resolve starting to give way. She had to draw a line somewhere. She trailed a free hand down over Andromeda's stomach.

The other girl caught Hermione's wrist and guided it down, between her slim, white legs. Hermione had drawn a hardline around the area however, so she moved her hand to the side and pulled Andromeda closer by her hip.

Not missing a beat, Andromeda's hand found its way under Hermione's jaw, thumb warm against her chin in the October air.

They didn't break to talk, just moved against each other desperately.

Andromeda slid her knee between Hermione's legs and pulled the Gryffindor against her thigh, tongue licking into Hermione's mouth.

She was merciless.

The bang of the door being opened with enough force for it to bang off the far wall behind it echoed across the Tower platform and the girls gasped against each other's mouths.

Before she really knew what she was doing, Hermione was standing between Andromeda and the entrance. Without a second thought she'd drawn Andromeda's wand drawn from the other girl's pocket.

Ron, and Ginny thundered in, wands also at the ready, Harry leading the charge, bloody Marauders Map in hand.

"She's an impostor!" Harry blurted, blushing scarlet at the scene he'd just interrupted, but barreling forward nonetheless.

In Hermione's peripheral vision, Andromeda was draped back against the railing, fanning herself with her hat.

"Sacre bleu!" Andromeda exclaimed, without much conviction. Bloody Slytherin.


a/n: Quarantine is semi-over for me now, but I am enjoying writing this story so hopefully I'll find the time to continue :)

Thank you for feed back, it's encouraging beyond words