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Daphne traced her hand along the frame of a painting. Warm memories of students flooded her brain. Hundreds of them. There was so much warmth and history here at Hogwarts. Beauxbaton was comparatively new. There was less richness to the flavours. She ran her hand along the Slytherin table. A hundred thousand meals touched her mind. She feasted on it. A warm laugh with friends over breakfast, lunch, and dinner was what the aggregate was.

It was different from how things were in the Slytherin common room now that You Know Who had returned. There was tension. Malfoy had real influence again. His father had been inner circle of You Know Who's followers. The dark lord's return meant that certain expectations were placed on him.

It also made Daphne a target.

It was abundant that she was something to Harry. It was obvious she allied herself with the light. Tracy too but to a lesser extent. It meant Daphne had to ward her room against intruders. It was easy with the blood magic Harry taught her. Her own skills in enchanting coupled with blood magic made her private room within the Slytherin house the most well warded place in the castle. Plus she still carried Harry's cloak.

It smelled like him

Eldritch ozone and something torched along with clear crushed ice. That was his flavour.

Daphne settled next to Tracy and buttered some toast. She glanced across the Hall and saw Harry eating breakfast across from Luna knew he respected her power. She also knew he wanted to help her. Someway. Somehow. Lovegood's presence meant there was a bit of space between Harry and the next Ravenclaw student. But Daphne figured Harry didn't mind in the slightest. He got up after eating. He really should eat more…

Daphne worried about him getting enough. Sometimes he would call it good with just an apple. That was like ninety calories. Out of two thousand for the day at one of three meals. Daphne worried. He seemed thick enough. Maybe he ate more at other meals. Daphne watched him go with his eyes bright and reflective. Daphne watched him almost run into Ginny Weasley. She glanced him up and down before she said anything. Harry shrugged to whatever she said and Daphne watched Ginny frown at the dismissal. Daphne knew that Ginevra was also somebody Harry wanted to help. He just wasn't sure how. Much like Luna. His seer. Daphne swallowed her jealousy and instead focused on the analytical look in Harry's eyes. He was interested in Ginevra. But he wasn't interested interested. He was concerned about how she was progressing and healing in the aftermath of what she'd been through in her first year. You Know Who was subtle and insidious.

Daphne knew that.

She finished her toast quickly.

"In a rush?" Tracy asked.

"It seems like I'm constantly in a rush these days," Daphne sighed. "I'm constantly playing keep up. I need to get ahead of my problems."

"That's a big meal to digest," Tracy pointed out. "Say are you and Harry finally dating?"

"What's that mean? Finally?" Daphne demanded of her best friend.

"Finally. Like my god holy shit are they finally together," Tracy clarified. "I waited years. Well only like two. It's obvious how much you like him, at least to me. And he gives a shit about you like no one else in his life. So yeah. Finally."

"What do you mean by dating?"

"Kissing? Holding hands? Going out together?" Tracy elucidated.

"We went out together all the time even before third year!" Daphne protested.

"Hence the finally. Has he kissed you? Is he a good kisser? I demand to know. Woman I live through you."

"He's alright at kissing. I don't even know what it would mean to be a good kisser. What's that mean?"

"So you have! You've kissed him!" Tracy squealed. "At long last. You know when he told me you went on a date with some guy I got worried. You know? Like that the fuck are you doing? Honestly…"

"You didn't answer my question," Daphne intruded before Tracy could get carried away.

"What was the question?" Tracy wondered honestly. Daphne sighed.

"What does it mean to be a good kisser?"

"Well when he kisses you do you rub your thighs together? Do you blush? Does it… you know."

"No. I don't know. Tell me." Daphne demanded.

"Does it get you wet under your school girl uniform? Gods how obvious do I have to be? You're so obtuse Daph."

Daphne flushed furiously at the first foretelling of her flower. "None of your business."

"What? Its girl talk. You can tell me."

"Inappropriate," Daphne decided and declared. Harry did other stuff which turned her on. "Now if you'll excuse me I need to attend to Harry."

"I'm coming with anyway," Tracy grumbled absently. "I'm done eating." She was upset Daphne wouldn't tell her the things Harry did which turned her on. Too bad. It had to do with Legilimency and being in her mind. It felt so good to open herself up to him.

Daphne strengthened her Occlumency barriers. Calmed herself down. And rose. She refused to permit more visions from the table into her mind. She glanced down the table at where Malfoy and the other scions of death eaters loomed and talked in hushed tones. Then she turned on her heel.

Tracy followed close behind.

"I need to ward where you sleep…" Daphne trailed off to her best friend.

"Oh?" Tracy wondered.

"Just in case. You're Harry's friend too. It could be dangerous."

"What do you need from me?" Tracy asked.

"Just a drop of blood for the blood ward."

"Blood magic?"

"What of it. Harry taught me."

"Of course he did."

"He wanted to keep me safe. Harry has serious enemies. So do you by proxy," Daphne murmured.

Daphne entered the knight on the first floor which led to Harry's room and stepped through it with a murmur of the password. Tracy was right there with her.

Harry was there with books lined out across the table.

"Hi Harry," Tracy greeted.

"Tracy. How have you been holding up."

"Nothing happened to me. I'm fine. And I'm glad you guys are back. I missed you."

He chuckled lightly. He stepped up to Daphne and wrapped his arms around her. He entered her and she dropped her Occlumency shields at his familiar presence. He kissed her gently. Then he released her. She almost moaned at the loss. It felt too nice. It wasn't fair. What if she wanted to make him feel good for a change? She sighed heavily. The best she could do was make sharing her headspace comfortable.

"What are we working on today?" Daphne asked him.

"I'm working on Voldemort. I'm attempting to understand his new body. It certainly is no mere homunculus. There are all sorts of advantages an unscrupulous wizard could give themselves if they had time to design a body from the ground up. Walking blood wards. Folding space. Not to mention the human body is just outright inefficient in a lot of ways. We actually have an awful digestive tract for an omnivore," Harry clarified.

"What do you need from us?"

He frowned. "Nothing at the moment. I figured you'd appreciate the time to work on the situation with your father's vaults and family magics. I know I have a Wizengamot seat and can write letters for you if you need me to. I can start applying pressure. Just let me know."

"I could start on that… but… it will be harder now that You Know Who has returned. Any block siding with you will be opposed to him. And since my father's vaults were confiscated under suspected death eater activity it doesn't look good," Daphne clarified for him.

"There must be something I can do."

"Not really," Daphne shot back.

"A lot has happened since Voldemort's first rise to power. People may be willing to listen now when they weren't before. Just think about it."

"Sure," she decided. "If I think of a way you can help I'll let you know. For now I'm just waiting for Susan to come through with my father's case file."

Harry hummed in thought and stroked his jaw where Daphne knew it had been broken by his muggle family. It bothered her a little now that she knew the origin of that habit. He let it affect him. And how could he not? He spent his formative years getting his brain melted by abuse. She'd seen the worst of it with her power when she brought him to the house. The image of him being whacked over the head with a frying pan replayed over and over in her mind. The way he hit the floor was awful.

But he was better now. He was in a better place. And the fact he trusted her with that knowledge meant everything to her. She'd seen Pettigrew murder the Dursleys. Well deserved if anything was to her mind. She didn't feel an ounce of pity for them. Not after what she had seen them put her boyfriend through.

Boyfriend was a funny word. It sounded so immature compared to what they had together.

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