Author's Notes: Thank you all so much for the warm welcome of my little story. I' m tickled pink about all the nice reviews. I'll respond to each review personally by pm, so, dear guests, I' m really sorry I could't give you a personal reply. Thank you for reading and reviewing, though!

I forgot to introduce my timeline for this story. It's AU after the beginning of 6th year and will continue unti after the Battle of Hogwarts. Consider everything happening like in canon, except the Harry/Ginny-romance. That will definitely not happen, for obvious reasons.

DGHPDGHPDGHP

02 Exposed

Dipsy had barely popped Daphne into her bedroom, when her best friend Tracey Davis flung herself at her and shrieked 'Where have you been, Daffy? I'm worried sick here since you didn't return from your walk around the castle at curfew.'

Daphne returned her friend's hug and sat down on her beside. She cast a quick Tempus Spell with her wand and grimaced when she realised it was already well after midnight. 'Did you tell Snape I was missing?'

'Of course not. What do you take me for, a squealer? I'm not Pansy Pugface!' Tracey replied, sitting down on her bed. 'I simply thought you've finally found yourself a hot date and forgot the time.'

Daphne smiled. 'You really have a one-track mind, Toddy. Though, this time you aren't so far off the mark.'

'What?! Spill the beans, I want details right now!' Tracey hopped up and down on her bedside very much like an excited house elf.

'Well, I was up at the seventh floor when I got hit in the back with a Stunner. Next thing I know I'm in a broom-closet with a boy.'

'Oh no, not Malfoy again!' Tracey groaned.

'It wasn't him,' Daphne replied. 'Though, I suspect he's behind this sordid prank. Was he in the common room tonight?'

Tracey shook her head. 'No, you know he hardly ever was this term. He must have some really big thing going on, now that he's one of the Dork Lord's merry little bunch of idiots.'

'Hmmm, I wonder,' Daphne mused. The blond prat had acted quite out of character ever since the term started. Of course, your father being in Azkaban could do that to you, but she strongly suspected there was more than met the eyes.

'Stop talking in riddles. You'd better tell who you kneed in the gut this time,' Tracey demanded.

An evil smile crept over Daphne's angelic features. She was going to have some fun with Tracey. 'I didn't knee him. Quite the contrary, in fact.'

'Daphne Greengrass, do you really want to make me believe you made out with a random boy you found yourself with in a broom-closet? You, the Ice Queen of Slytherin, of all people?' Tracey demanded, her hands on her hips.

Daphne couldn't help the giggle escaping her lips. She flipped her hair over her shoulder and replied nonchalantly, 'No, I wouldn't. We went quite beyond that.'

Tracey gaped at her, her eyes almost bulging out of her head. 'You went WHAT?!' she shrieked. A grim line appeared around her mouth. She pulled out her wand and aimed it at Daphne. 'Who are you and what have you done with my best friend?'

'We met first on my second birthday. Your mother and my mother were best friends since they met on the Hogwarts Express. I gave you your nickname Toddy because I couldn't say Tracey;' Daphne replied. 'You'd better put down your wand or I'll never tell you what happened.'

Tracey frowned and lowered her wand. She bit her lip. 'Daffy, what happened to you? That is so unlike you.'

Daphne hesitated. How did you tell your best friend you'd lost your virginity in a broom-closet to a boy you hardly ever spoke to, due to a Lust Potion? She sighed. There really was no better way to deliver this story as to tell it from the beginning to the end. 'Well, I first assumed he'd paid someone to lock us up in the closet. But he really got offended when I suggested that. Our wands had been taken away from us and I called Dipsy to pop us out of the closet, but she didn't come.'

'Dipsy didn't come? This gets stranger by the minute!' Tracey interrupted her.

'Yeah. Remind me tomorrow to ask her what happened to her. When Dipsy didn't come, we tried to break out of the closet, but it was sealed. While we were still looking for a way out, we accidentally touched in a rather intimate place, and that touch triggered something inside of us.' Her voice faltered and she turned beet red.

The frown on Tracey's face had turned incessantly deeper while she listened to Daphne. 'A simple touch triggered something inside of you and you ended doing more to him than simply making out because of that? What kind of dragondung are you feeding me?' She interrupted herself. Her eyes suddenly went wide and she gasped. 'You were both fed with a Love Potion?'

Daphne smiled at Tracey, glad that her friend was so quick-witted about picking up clues and drawing the right conclusions. 'You're almost right,' she replied. 'It wasn't a Love Potion, but a Lust Potion, combined with an Enhancement Charm. One of the kind from the medieval times that is described in our Family Grimoire. You remember that I told you about them, don't you?'

Tracey nodded, her eyes still wide. She looked shell-shocked. She jumped up, hurried over to Daphne and hugged her fiercely. 'Oh Daffy, I'm so sorry! I had no idea! If I'd know, I'd have come looking for you and got you out of that mess!'

Daphne pulled her down beside her. 'Don't be sorry, Toddy. There's no way you'd have known this. Actually, I made the deliberate decision to go with the Potion and sleep with him.'

Tracey's head jerked up. 'You did it voluntarily? But, Daffy, you always said you'd wait until your wedding night!' Her voice dripped with disbelief.

A sad smile played around Daphne's lips. 'Dad wrote me today that he's considering to sign a marriage contract.'

'Oh, bugger!' Tracey sighed and pulled her into another hug. 'I can understand that you're not looking forward to your wedding night anymore.'

'Yeah,' Daphne said sadly. 'And what other choices do I have? Just look at the other boys in our house. They are all brutes. I've been afraid that I'll get raped by one of them ever since my third year. In that light the choice really was easy. The boy I met tonight is quite the looker, he's kind and considerate and he treats me like the most precious thing on earth.' She surreptitiously wiped away a tear from the corner of her eye.

'Wow!' Tracey's voice sounded awed. 'So, I guess your first experience was a pleasant one?'

Daphne let herself fall back on her bed. She pulled up her pillow and hugged it to her chest. A broad smile appeared on her face. 'You have no idea, Toddy! It was simply wonderful!'

Tracey gaped at her, open mouthed. It was a sight to behold, Daphne thought with an inward chuckle. Her best friend hardly ever was at a loss for words. Finally she said, 'It seems I really have something looking forward to, provided that I can find the right bloke for it.'

'That you have, Toddy. That you have.' Daphne giggled. She stifled a yawn. 'Excuse me, but I have to catch up on my beauty sleep. This evening was rather exhausting.' She flashed her friend a wicked grin.

Tracey snorted, but went back to her bed without a reply.

Daphne quickly dressed for the night and then hid in the seclusion of her bed curtains. She snuggled under her blankets. Thinking of the way Harry had held her close to him, she drifted off to sleep.

DGHPDGHPDGHP

The next morning she almost overslept. She hardly made it into the common room in time to go to the Great Hall for breakfast with the rest of her house. She took her usual seat next to Tracey, and opposite of Theodore and Blaise. With the aid of her Occlumency skills she schooled her face to a calm mask while she unobtrusively scanned the Gryffindor Table for any signs of Harry.

As always, the Gryffindors trickled into the Great Hall in small numbers. 'Snape would have a fit at that lack of house discipline', she thought with an inward grin.

Her heart somersaulted when he finally came into the room, and then found a new place to beat somewhere in her throat. He sat down next to Granger, facing the Slytherin Table. Granger said something to him, which made him snap at her, and she huffed and turned away from him. While he ate his breakfast, he looked at the Slytherin Table.

Their eyes met. Her heart stopped beating for a second. There was something in his emerald green eyes that got right to the bottom of her soul. 'It's only because of the damned Potion', she reminded herself, and her heart started hammering again. However, it was only due to her strict pureblood upbringing that she didn't jump over the tables and flung herself at him. Almost against her will her lips curved into a smile.

He responded with a blinding smile and then lowered his gaze to his plate. Daphne found herself left oddly breathless. She didn't notice the humming and sniggering that started among the rest of her year and the seventh and fifth years, as well as she didn't notice the sneers and dirty looks that were thrown her way.

DGHPDGHPDGHP

The world as she knew it until then collapsed around her during recess.

'Fancy visiting a broom-closet with me, Greengrass?' a 7th year leered at her as she entered the common room to get her books for Charms.

She flipped her hair back and gave him the iciest stare she could muster. 'In your dreams!' she replied and continued her way to her bedroom.

'No reason for you to be toffy-nosed, Greengrass. After all, you spread your legs for Potter, whore!' he called after her. Sniggers at catcalls resounded in the common room.

Years of strict upbringing enabled her to hold up an unmoved façade. 'My, my, Slytherin isn't what it used to be. Next they'll believe the Tales of Beedle the Bard are true… ' She let her voice trail off and disappeared in the corridor that led to her bedroom. In her bedroom, she let her books drop on her bed and then slumped down, heaving a big sigh.

Tracey came into the room only seconds behind her. 'Is it true?' she asked, her eyes as big as saucers. 'You didn't tell me the name of the boy last night. Was it really Potter?'

Daphne nodded mutely.

Tracey dropped on the bed beside her. 'Oh, bugger!'

She snorted. 'Yeah, I've supposed I'd be in trouble if the cat ever got out of the bag. Guess exactly that has happened.'

Tracey put a comforting hand on her shoulder. 'At least it was only this one time. You don't have to see him again. They'll find something else to gossip about soon.' Contrary to her words, her voiced didn't sound convincing.

Daphne snorted. 'I wish! Probably the Potion was overdosed, or they overdid the Enhancement Charm. Fact is, we both still feel the effects of the Potion. You don't know how hard it was for me this morning at breakfast not to jump at him! We already agreed to meet again tonight to get rid of our problem.' She turned red at her last words.

Tracey raised her eyebrows at that, unable to keep a grin from spreading over her face.

Daphne frowned at her best friend, but the retort that was already at the tip of her tongue was interrupted by a knock on the door.

'Come in!' Tracey called.

The door opened and Blaise and Theodore came into the room.

'What do you want?' Tracey demanded.

Theodore looked uneasily at his lover. Blaise nodded at him and gave him a small push into Daphne's direction. Theodore stumbled and had to steady himself at the bed post, which made Tracey chuckle.

'Shut up, Tracey!' he glared at her. Then his gaze focussed back on Daphne. 'I've been told you cheated on me with Potter. Is that true?'

'Theodore, have you've been hit with a Confusion Curse? Last time I checked you were more or less openly gay,' Tracey glared at him, her hands on her hips.

Theodore didn't pay her any heed. His gaze was still fixed on Daphne. 'Damn it, Daphne, the contract is not even signed yet! And if this story turns out to be true, it probably never will! No one in Slytherin will expect me still to want to marry a bloodtraitor whore!' He gave the bedpost a good kick with his foot.

Tracey looked from him to Daphne, a look of sheer disbelief on her face. Daphne had her head hung low and her cheeks were rather pink.

'You … you are about to sign a betrothal contract with THEODORE?' she asked, her voice clearly showing that she still couldn't believe it. 'When was that decision made?'

'Yesterday,' Blaise supplied. 'It's an idea old man Nott and Daphne's father came up with to keep both of them safe from the Dork Lord's clutches.'

'Yeah, and Daphne ruined it all just because she wanted to shag Gryffindor's Golden Boy,' Theodore spat and kicked the bedpost again.

Daphne's head shot up. 'Shut up, Theodore! You know absolutely nothing and I won't tolerate your disparaging remarks!' She crossed her arms in front of her chest and glared at him.

Theodore glared back, clearly thinking of another biting retort to come up with.

'Whoa, hold in your Hippogriffs,' Tracey said and stepped between them. 'Instead of beating each other up like some stupid Gryffindorks you'd better use some of your Slytherin cunning and try to find a way out of this mess.'

Slow clapping from the door interrupted her. 'That was very well said, Tracey,' Blaise drawled.

'Oh, shut up, Blaise! Instead of lounging against the doorframe and playing bella figura you'd better put your few existing brain cells to work!' Tracey shot back.

Blaise pushed himself from the doorframe he'd leaned against and ambled toward Tracey. 'Your wish is my command, my dear. However, Theodore's course of action should be obvious, I think.'

'I have no idea what you're talking about, Blaise,' Theodore snarled. 'Instead of talking in riddles you'd better come to the point. We've got to be at Charms in ten minutes.'

'Uh oh, do I sense trouble in lover's paradise?' Tracey stage-whispered at Daphne. However, she was not rewarded with a smile by the pretty blonde, who still kept glaring at Theodore.

'All right, I'll explain it in simple words so that you with less than the average brain understand,' Blaise drawled. That earned him huffs from his three friends, and he grinned. 'It's as simple as that: you were in the broom-closet with Daphne for some … eh … prenuptial celebrations. That'll stop the gossip mongers and prevent Daphne from the … unpleasant repercussions of her ill-advised choice of …uhm … playmates.' Ignoring Daphne and Tracey's glares, he went on, 'Also, that'll stop some of the rumours going on about you, Theodore.'

'You mean I have to tell everyone that Daphne and I –.' Theodore let the rest of the sentence hang in the air, looking positively green.

'No one will believe that, Blaise. Everyone knows you and Theodore are an item,' Tracey protested.

Blaise gave her a very Italian shrug of his shoulders. 'He'd not be the first one in this house who turned out to be bi,' he replied. 'You don't have to tell anyone, Theodore,' he addressed his boyfriend. 'During Herbology this morning Daphne and Tracey will have an exited, whispered talk about just how wonderful you were last night and how exited she is about your betrothal. By lunchtime everyone will know and the gossip will die down.'

Daphne had listened to him thoughtfully. 'That's so corny it might even work,' she admitted.

'Trust me, it will work, if you pull it off convincingly enough. But now we'd better get going, or we'll be late for Charms. Theodore, you'd better escort your betrothed,' he said and went to the door.

They gathered their books. Still frowning, Theodore offered Daphne his arm as they went out of the room. She thanked him with her sweetest smile.

'Stop frowning, Theodore,' she said under her breath 'You're supposed to be over the moon, considering how generously I gave my affection to you last night.'

Theodore snorted and Daphne gave him an impish grin, to which he replied with one of his own. Arm in arm they walked up to the Charms classroom.

DGHPDGHPDGHP

As always, the Slytherins approached the classroom en masse in the pecking order they had established in first class. Malfoy went ahead, flanked by his minions Crabbe and Goyle. Right behind them came Pansy Parkinson and Millicent Bulstrode. In some distance followed the remaining four Slytherins. Usually, Theodore and Blaise would pair up as well as Daphne and Tracey. Today, however, Theodore escorted Daphne on his arm, while Blaise and Tracey simply walked side by side behind them.

The Gryffindors were already waiting in front of the classroom. Behind her eyelashes Daphne quickly scanned the small group. Harry stood leaned against the wall, his two friends close by him. His hair was messier as usual and he had dark circles around his eyes.

Malfoy stopped in front of Harry. 'Well, well, who do we have here?' he sneered. 'You look awful, Potter. Did you have an exhausting ride recently?'

Daphne could see how Harry balled his fists. His desire to punch Malfoy in the face was easily to see for her and also for every other Slytherin. His eyes wandered to her, and she could have screamed at his lack of subtlety. She shook her head imperceptibly, hoping he'd catch her warning.

He immediately looked away, exhaled and his fists uncurled. 'Never been better. Thanks for your concern, Malfoy,' he replied.

Something like disappointment flickered across Malfoy's face. Then he recovered, looking Harry up and down. 'I thought so,' he drawled.

The door to the classroom opened. Tiny Professor Flitwick stood at the threshold, inviting the class in. Saved by the bell before Harry's Gryffindor side could get her into hot water, Daphne thought while she followed her classmates into the classroom.

'What was that all about, mate?' she could hear the Weasel ask Harry while they both sat down.

Harry shrugged. 'I don't know, Ron, I haven't found out yet how Malfoy's addled brain works,' he said loud and clearly so everyone in the classroom could hear him. Finnegan and Thomas sniggered, while Malfoy looked at Harry's back as if he was trying to burn a hole into it with his eyes. Only Granger was giving Harry a rather suspicious side glance.

Daphne sighed. If anyone in Gryffindor was likely to find their secret out, it was Granger. That girl really was much too sharp for her own good and Daphne's comfort.

She didn't dare look at Harry during Charms at all. She knew Malfoy and Parkinson were watching her like hawks for any sign of her relationship with Harry. Much worse, the Pull that had flared up during breakfast had returned even stronger. She breathed a sigh of relief when the double period was finally over and she and Tracey walked to the greenhouses. During the first class of the morning she had found out that the Pull would somehow lessen if she removed herself from Harry's presence. Even though NEWT level Herbology was taught to all four houses in one class, it was easy to hide behind the plants and pretend that Harry wasn't there.

Today, Professor Sprout taught them how to care for the Amorous Squidvine, a plant that looked like a potted squid with its many tentacles grouped around a pink bulb in its middle. The tentacles were quite a nuisance, sneaking around the studen't hands and arms and wrestling their tools away while they tried to prune and repot the obstinate plants.

Daphne and Tracey were paired up with Lavender Brown from Gryffindor and Eloise Midgen from Ravenclaw, both quite the gossip queens. 'Perfect', Daphne thought.

As if on cue, Tracey whispered in her best Slytherin stage whisper 'Tell me, Daffy, how was it?'

'How was what?' Daphne played dumb, fending off the tentacles that tried to sling around her waist. The plant she and Tracey had been given to work on really was an exceptionally affectionate example of the species.

'You and Theodore!' Tracey whispered excitedly. 'You've surely taken your time in that broom-closet, and I bet it was not for playing gobstones.'

Daphne slapped the tentacle around her waist sharply, looking at Brown and Midgen from the corner of her eyes. They had both edged nearer, not caring for their Amorous Squidvine that just sneaked its tentacles under their robes and obviously tried to feel them up. Time for some expert acting!

'Oh Toddy, you wouldn't believe it!' she swooned. 'He was incredible, so manly and strong. When he finally made me his, I thought I was going to die from ecstasy!' She cast a quick side glance at Brown and Midgen. They had given up all pretence on working on their Squidvine, listening into Daphne and Tracey's conversation unabashedly.

'Oh Daffy, I'm so happy for you!' Tracey stage-squealed. 'You must be over the moon with a betrothed like that!'

Brown and Midgen exchanged a look as if they'd just won the jackpot in a lottery.

'Yes, I am, thank you, Toddy,' she said, demurely lowering her eyelashes to hide her satisfaction. Brown and Midgen had fallen for the bait hook, line and sinker. Not even before lunch was over the whole school would know that she had been laid by Theodore Nott, who also was her betrothed.

However, the good mood about their successfully accomplished ploy vanished when she walked back to the castle with Tracey. Bad luck had it that they were walking out of the greenhouse just behind Harry and Granger and the Weasel. Finnegan and Thomas passed them, leering and sniggering, and quickly caught up with the three inseparable friends.

'Way to go, tiger!' Finnegan shouted and slapped Harry on the back.

'Yeah, congrats,' Thomas chimed in. He turned his head to Daphne and gave her a wink.

Granger glared at the four boys and stormed off towards the castle in a huff.

'I don't know what you're talking about,' Daphne heard Harry trying to play dumb.

'A little bird told us you fucked Greengrass,' Finnegan grinned, loud enough that Daphne could understand every word. 'You're one very brave man, Potter. I mean, she's beautiful, yeah, but a cold bitch. She's more likely to freeze your bits off with her stare then to … you know what I mean.'

'Sour grapes, mate,' Thomas cackled. 'You're jealous because Greengass refused to get laid by you last year. Only after that you started calling her "Ice Queen". Before that you said that she was the hottest bird you've ever seen.' Again, he turned his head to Daphne and leered at her.

Daphne fingered for her wand, but was prevented from drawing it at Thomas and Finnegan by Tracey, who put a hand on her arm and shook her head in warning.

Finnegan ignored his friend and slung one arm around Harry's shoulder. 'Come on, mate, tell us, have you done the deed? Zack Smith says he's heard Nott was the lucky bloke to get into her knickers.'

The Weasel sniggered. 'The bitch and the Death Eater wannabe deserve each other. In my book he's welcomed to fuck her any day of the week.'

Daphne could see how Harry balled his fists until his knuckles turned white. Tracey must have noticed, too, because she draw in a deep breath and whispered, 'Don't do it, Potter!'

The Weasel, oblivious to his friend's building rage, went on. 'Shove it, Seamus. As if Harry'll ever shag a slimy snake.' He gave Harry a stupid grin, obviously pleased with himself for his show of friendship.

She could see how Harry exhaled slowly and uncurled his fists. 'I think your behaviour is disgusting,' he said. Though his voice sounded calm, his body language betrayed his still boiling anger. 'You shouldn't talk about a classmate like that!'

'Oh, come on, Harry, who cares? She's just a slimy snake!' the Weasel said dismissively.

'Yeah, tell us, mate, did you fuck her? Was she a good shag?' Finnegan persisted.

Daphne could see that something snapped in Harry. His eyes glowered like green fire.

'I didn't do anything like that,' he hissed at the still dumbly sniggering boys and stormed off to the castle.

She let out the breath she didn't know she'd been holding. Thanks Merlin her brave Gryffindor hadn't had the silly notion to defend her honour. That surely would have added fuel to the fire.

Tracey shared her sentiments. 'At least he had the sense to storm off before he punched them in their silly faces,' she murmured.

'Yeah,' Daphne murmured, still lost in her thoughts. Harry hadn't exactly lied about their relationship, either, she thought with a small smile. After all, what they had shared last night was something special, something that didn't deserve to be described in crude terms and broadcasted all over the castle, in spite of the suspicious circumstances that had forced them together. She had the distinct feeling that Harry agreed with her on that. Damn, he was incredible sensitive for a guy and rather hot, too, when he got in a huff. Again, the Pull raised its head and made her want to run after him and drag him in the next broom-closet. Probably it was better she wouldn't turn up in the Great Hall for lunch.

'Excuse me, Toddy, but I don't think I feel like having lunch today,' she said to her friend.

Tracey gave her an understanding smile. 'Let's head to our room and ask Dipsy to get us something from the kitchen.'