A/N: I'm blown away by the all the love I got from the first chapter. Don't say I don't listen to reviews. I went back and spaced apart the conversations. Hopefully it'll be easier to read! In other news, I'd like to touch on another thing. A few people (some of my friends included who read the chapter before I put it up) told me that they didn't care for Hermione's personality in the first chapter. I'm sorry guys, but this is fanfiction. I'm not saying that I'm going to turn Harry into a Death Eater or make Ron into a spider (wouldn't that be a laugh?) but there is NO way that every single character in the books will be the exact same in my story. I'm sorry if that offends some of you, but it's the way I'm writing it. I'm going to try to keep the characters as close to their original personalities as I can, but as I said, not everything is going to be the same.
Disclaimer: My talks to purchase the series still have gone nowhere. I have instead started an adoption process with House Black…also not going well. I still don't own the series, so every bit of it belongs to JK Rowling.
Now on to Chapter 2!
Harry turned and grinned. Ever since Ron and Hermione had stopped talking to him, he had found himself spending more and more time with Neville. He always thought as Neville as an acquaintance more than a friend. They had a few interactions first year, but since then they were only the occasionally partners in class and didn't really speak to each other in the common room. He was happy they had finally formed the beginning of what could turn to be a good friendship. "Hey Neville." He said, dropping back a bit to walk alongside his friend.
"What time did you even end up getting back last night?" Neville asked, as they walked down to the Great Hall. "I didn't even hear you come in." While it was true Snape let Harry and Daphne go around eleven, Harry had spent another full hour persuading the Fat Lady to let him in. "I don't care if you know the ruddy password." She had huffed and repeated. "That is no excuse for bad manners, and certainly not a way to behave around a Lady."
"But you're a painting." He had muttered under his breath, and that had added an extra thirty minutes. The only reason he had ended up getting in, was because Fred (or had it been George?) had let him in after hearing the back and forth from their dorm room.
Harry shrugged and told him what happened. "Merlin." Neville said shaking his head. "I think it's high time they retire her. My Gran said that she was still here back in her days when Dippet was still Headmaster. The Fat Lady is overdue for a long vacation if you ask me."
"That or maybe move her down to the dungeons." Harry said. "Let Malfoy have to deal with her." They both got a good chuckle out of that, as they walked into the Great Hall. Neville had been a good friend to him recently, and Harry was coming to learn that he was actually a gifted wizard. He just needed some room to breathe, not a teacher like Snape that would constantly belittle him and beat him down in front of his peers. If he just had a little confidence, there was honestly nothing he couldn't do, just like Daphne had told him. Speaking of. As soon as they walked in to the Great Hall, they both headed towards the Gryffindor table. But Harry's eyes were searching the table in the corner for a certain blonde. It took him a few minutes, but then he found her. Sitting by Zabini, and Tracey Davis. "Neville?" Harry asked as they sat down.
"Hmmm." Neville had already grabbed a bit of toast and started eating but didn't open his mouth to respond. Unlike Ron he actually had some table manners.
"What do you know about the Greengrass family?" Harry asked, trying to be nonchalant about it, as he poured himself a glass of pumpkin juice. He didn't want Neville to ask too many questions. While they had gotten closer, Harry wasn't sure if he was ready to trust him with every deep dark secret.
Neville swallowed before he answered the question. "Not a whole bunch really." He said thinking about it for a second. "A lot of people think that they're a dark family, but it's all rubbish."
"Why do you say that?" Harry asked.
"In the past two hundred years, there's been more than a few wizard conflicts." Neville said. "Most of them were just a few skirmish's, but every now and then you would have a Dark Lord pop up here and there. In all that time, the Greengrass family was always neutral."
"Not a single time? Light or Dark?" Harry asked surprised. He was shocked the family was still around. Not a lot of people could contend with both Light and Dark wizards trying to get your families support for two centuries.
Neville shook his head. "They're one of the few families who've ever succeeded with their constant neutrality. And certainly, the only one in the last century or so. The others were wiped out, by You-Know-Who."
"And what do you know about Daphne? The one in our year." Harry tried to ask without seeming too interested. It didn't work, Neville gave him a questioning glance.
"Do you fancy her?" Neville gave him an amused grin.
"No!" Harry exclaimed, and a few people their heads, Ron included who gave him a wave. Harry acted like he hadn't seen it. He still had no idea how to tell Ron that they weren't okay yet. "We just had detention together last night, and I realized I didn't know anything about her."
Neville shrugged . "Again, it's like the rest of her family. All the Sacred Twenty-Eight know each other, so me and Gran ran into her family a bit growing up. Honestly, she didn't really talk much, and from what I've heard that hasn't really changed. I only ever see her around Blaise Zabini, Tracey Davis, and John Duffy, but he's her cousin, and I hear that she has plenty of admirers in her house. A family name like hers, would make for a good match with anyone."
"What do you mean?" Harry asked.
"Her family is up there with the Malfoy's as one of the wealthiest and most powerful in Britain." Neville said. "I think they might've even rivaled your family at one point."
Before Harry could ask what, he meant by his family, he felt someone take squeeze his shoulder. "How's it going there Harry?" A familiar voice said behind him. He turned around and smiled. It was Charlie, the second oldest Weasley brother. Harry and he had talked at the World Cup over the summer, but he wished he could've gotten to know him a bit better. And now with this whole thing with Ron, he didn't know how the rest of the Weasley's felt about him. They had been there for him since he was eleven. He didn't want to lose them.
"Hey Charlie." Harry replied. "Fancy seeing you here."
Charlie grinned, and then turned to look at Neville, who was now staring at his plate, and chewing softly. "Charlie, this is my friend Neville Longbottom." Harry said, resisting the urge to sigh.
"Hello Neville." Charlie said extending a hand. Neville looked up and shook his hand, managing a soft "Hello".
"Neville and I have actually become good friends over the past few weeks." Harry said smiling, which was returned by Neville, who sat up straight, and nodded at Charlie.
Charlie sighed heavily. "Everybody in life needs a friend. I'm just sorry that some of yours are idiots." He glared down the table at Ron, who was shoveling food into his mouth. "Maybe if my prat of a brother actually grew some brains..." He didn't finish his sentence, and just shook his head again. "How about the twins and Ginny? They been treating you alright?"
Harry nodded. "Fred and George have been clearing the halls for me. "Make way for Harry Potter! The Boy-Who-Bamboozled-The-Goblet, The Lightning Kid, The Odds On Favorite, and the True Hogwarts Champion."
"So, nothing new." Charlie chuckled and rolled his eyes. "And Ginny?"
Harry sighed. "Ginny…well she's been Ginny."
"Honestly, Harry. You could probably commit murder in front of her, and she'd help you hide the body." Charlie sighed. It wasn't a real big secret among Harry and the Weasley brothers, that Ginny had a thing for Harry, ever since they had met. At first, she would turn as red as her hair, and would get tongue tied before rushing off. It had been funny at first. Ron and his brothers had a good laugh about it. But then as she got older, she got a little more serious. Everywhere he went, she was there. He honestly didn't know how much longer he could do it to be honest. Every time he tried to let her down gently, she would just smile, and be back the next day more determined than ever. "I love her. I really do." Charlie continued. "But she just needs to move on."
"What brings you to Hogwarts, Charlie?" Neville was able to get out. He grew a bit more confident as the conversation went on. Harry knew he would. Like he thought before, all he needed was just a push in the right direction.
Harry was also pretty curious. He knew Charlie had left Hogwarts a couple years before Harry had gotten there, and while it wasn't strange for old students to come back and visit, the older Weasley brother didn't look like he came for a tour.
Charlie didn't respond at first. It was obvious that he was trying to figure out what to say. "Ministry business with Hagrid." He said plucking a piece of toast off the table. "Can't say any more than that, boys."
"Speak of the devil actually." He said, before waving to Hagrid who was sitting at the staff table. "Sorry to take my leave gentlemen, but business calls." He nodded at Harry, and Neville before walking up to the staff table, giving a quick nod to Ron. Harry thought it was funny that Ron's brother spent more time talking to Harry than he did to his sibling.
"Was it just me, or did he get a little dodgy when I asked him why he was here?" Neville asked.
Harry shook his head. "I noticed it too. Maybe it's for the tournament."
Neville shrugged. "We should probably get to Charms." Harry nodded. Thank God that it wasn't a double period. He could just partner with Neville.
"Merlin and Morgana." Tracey said, her mouth all but watering. "Is that the Weasel's brother?"
Daphne rolled her eyes. "Keep it in your pants." She ordered her friend.
"I'd much rather get into his." Tracey said, eyeing the older Weasley until he stopped to talk to Harry and Neville. "Honestly, wouldn't mind getting trapped in a broom closet with him."
"How would Longbottom feel about that?" Daphne whispered to her and chuckled when Tracey's face went red as an apple. She didn't like tormenting her best friend, but Tracey just made it too easy sometimes.
"Bitch." Tracey mumbled under her breath and kicked her knee. Daphne's only reaction was to rub her leg and laugh.
She turned, and grimaced. Ever since they had been sorted into the same house, she had tried to make a few things clear to Malfoy. One. They were not friends. Two. They would never be friends. Three. Her family would never sign a marriage contract with the Malfoys. Her father had gone on and on at times, about how he would rather die, than marry his oldest daughter off to that Death Eater's spawn. Somehow Draco had never taken any of her lessons to heart. He still believed, as he had since they were eleven years, that he was God's gift to women, and any Pureblood should be lucky and honored, to warm his bed and bear his children. "I saw you had a little encounter with Smith yesterday." He drawled walking up, flanked by his two gorillas'.
"My business is none of yours, Malfoy." She said coldly. While she was different around her friends, she had developed her Ice Queen persona primarily for those idiots in Slytherin, to stop trying to get so familiar with her. They all only wanted one thing anyway.
He smirked at her. "Just say the word, and I'll have Crabbe and Goyle here teach him a lesson."
"As I said Malfoy, it is my business." Daphne said offhandedly. "So why don't you just keep your big nose out of other people's affairs. You might not like what happens."
Malfoy smirked. He had gotten used to the Ice Queen over the years, so it almost didn't phase him anymore. "I'm just trying to look out for you Greengrass." He said. "Slytherins have to look out for each other. It's us," he made a show of looking out over the other three houses, "Against them."
"Before I forget actually." He said, sitting down in an empty seat next to her. She glared at him, and moved away, but he didn't budge. "My Father told me a tradition of the Tri-Wizard Tournament is-"
"What?" He said confused, and a little angry at the interruption.
"You were going to ask me to the Ball, weren't you? So, my answer is no." She said, before going back to her food.
"Come on now Greengrass." He whispered to her. "I've tried to tell you so many times. Together, we'd be unstoppable."
Tracey saw what was happening but started talking to Blaise instead. She knew Daphne could handle herself. What's sad was Malfoy didn't know that yet.
"Just think. Our two families joined together?" He said. He was probably getting a hardon just thinking about it. "We'd create a dynasty that would rule the Wizarding world for the next century."
Daphne stopped chewing and looked at Malfoy. "Draco." She said slowly. "I've never heard it quite described like that before." He smirked. He had her right where he wanted her. "But just to be clear, because I guess I haven't been doing that for years now. I'd rather marry the Weasel, than ever bear your children or be known as Lady Malfoy."
His smirk fell and was replaced by a snarl. "You're not the only Greengrass daughter." He leaned closer and whispered into her ear. "Just remember that. Maybe you won't see it my way. But young Astoria will."
Before she could give Malfoy a taste of what Smith got yesterday, they were interrupted. "You have five seconds to get away from my cousin, Malfoy." Duff growled.
He had hung back up until now. Like Tracey, he knew Daphne could handle herself, but the little Pureblood prince was getting a bit too handsy with his cousin for his liking.
Malfoy stood up. Duffy had at least six inches on the boy, but Crabbe and Goyle, who still flanked their boss looking threateningly at John, were another story. Honestly, Daphne wouldn't be surprised if they had troll blood in them. "And what happens if I don't?" Malfoy sneered at Duffy, who leaned closer causing Crabbe and Goyle to step forward a bit.
"Don't forget the last time you went up against me, Malfoy." Duffy whispered into the other boy's ear. "Do you really want round two? Because I'd have no trouble teaching you and your cronies, a lesson or two in manners."
Alone, Duffy might stand a chance against Crabbe and Goyle. They might have the size advantage, but her cousin was faster and hands down the better fighter. And then nothing would stop him from getting to Malfoy. Across the table, Blaise stood up from his seat and stared at Malfoy as if daring him to make a move. He was definitely more of a traditional Slytherin, and would rather work in the shadows than anything, but he wasn't bad to have in a fight. Around them, they had begun to draw the attention of the rest of the table. Power struggles were rare in Slytherin, especially since Malfoy had gotten to the head of the heap, so any challenge to his leadership was noteworthy. Even from the head table, Daphne could feel the eyes of the Headmaster and their head of house watching them, monitoring the situation.
Malfoy blanched. He quickly could see the odds were swiftly turning away from his favor. Daddy or his money couldn't really protect him now. "Just wait, Duffy." He muttered to his housemate. "You'll get yours one of these days. That I promise to you."
"Looking forward to you trying." Duff called after the retreating backs of Malfoy and his cronies. "Well that was fun." The chatter at the table slowly started back up again, but the conversations had turned from homework and the tournament, to what had just transpired.
"That's fun to you?" Daphne asked snorting.
"Anytime I can make that little piece of dragon dung piss himself, is fun to me." Duffy said nonchalantly. "Could somebody tell me, why we've tolerated him for so long, as the "head of Slytherin"?
"Is it really worth the effort?" Blaise asked, sitting back down. "Plus, with Daddy on his side, there'll always be people who will follow that shit."
"You realize my Uncle's family is just as rich as the Malfoy's yes?" Duffy asked Blaise, as if it was some big secret. "A few words in the right ears, and there could be a new top snake. Then maybe, everybody else wouldn't hate us so much."
"He might not seem like much, but he's dangerous." Tracey said shaking her head. "I've always wondered. What happened with you guys second year?"
Daphne was curious too. She didn't know the exact details, except that Malfoy and Duff butted heads a bit that year, until one day she noticed the Pureblood pounce sat himself clear on the other end of the table from her cousin and would constantly shoot looks in his direction.
Blaise snorted, and Duff shrugged. "Not important."
"I might get a good laugh out of it, so it's important to me." Tracey said.
"Maybe, if you're a good girl I'll tell you something." He said overexaggerating a wink in her direction.
Tracey mimed blowing a kiss in his direction. "Will you please stop flirting with my cousin." Daphne groaned. "Besides, what wou-"
"Don't even finish that thought you little shit." Tracey snarled at her, and her friends burst into laughter.
"Hey Daphne." Blaise said. "If you're not busy later, can you help me with my Charms homework? Flitwick is obsessed with that bloody summoning charm."
"I can't tonight." Daphne apologized. "I have detention with Snape."
Tracey looked over at her. "Didn't you do that last night?" She asked.
Daphne shrugged. "There was still some stuff left to be done. Snape told us to come back tonight and finish."
"Us?" Tracey asked. "Wasn't it just you?"
Daphne paused for a second, before answering something that Tracey picked up on. "There was another person serving it with me."
Tracey didn't ask who because she knew Daphne wouldn't tell her, though she didn't know why. "So, Duffy." Tracey said turning to her friend. "Heard anything more about the Quidditch tryouts?"
He shook his head. "All I know is there next week. Other than th-"
They all turned and were surprised to see Angelina Johnson walking towards them. They didn't have anything against the girl, but it was rare to see a Gryffindor voluntarily approach the Slytherin table. As if on cue she was treated with a few glares, but mostly people were just as confused and curious as Daphne and her friends. "Can I have a word?" She asked, she said nodding towards the entrance to the Great Hall.
"Oh, come on Johnson. I just saw down." Duffy griped at her. While he didn't claim to be a friend to the girl, there was still a mutual respect between them.
She rolled her eyes. "It'll take two minutes at most. Now come on." He grumbled, but nonetheless got up to follow her.
He turned around and glared at his friends. "Don't touch my food while I'm gone." He left, missing the raspberry that Tracey blew in his direction.
"Wonder what that's all about." Daphne said.
"Maybe she took him for a good snog." Blaise shrugged. "If it were me, can't say I'd refuse." He ignored Daphne's glare. "Do you think Granger is alright after yesterday?"
"I think so. I heard Madam Pomfrey had to keep her over the night just to be sure." Daphne said.
"What happened to Granger?" Tracey said curiously. She and Duffy hadn't been with them when Malfoy and his goons had come up to the Weasel and Granger and got into that little spat of theirs in the Entrance Hall. The situation quickly devolved into the Weasel and Malfoy throwing curses at one another, and Granger was hit by a stray one from Malfoy and had to go to the hospital wing. Daphne had only ever seen teeth like that on a beaver before.
Daphne quickly filled her in on the situation, and Tracey shook her head. None of them particularly liked the girl, but nobody deserved to get cursed like that.
"What did Johnson want?" Daphne asked her cousin, as he sat back down next to her.
Duffy shrugged. "She just wanted to make sure I was trying out. She said and I quote "We'll be royally screwed without you. You're our only hope."
"Rubbish." Tracey snorted.
"Okay maybe I added a few things, but you get the gist." He said.
"AND…there's something else." He added with a glint in his eyes. "Turns out not only Europe is involved."
"What do you mean?" Blaise asked.
"Turns out our friends from across the pond heard about the Inter-School Tournament from the Ministry and decided they wanted in." Duffy said casually.
"Americans." Tracey scoffed. Their fellow wizards were no slouches on a Quidditch Pitch, but they had another thing coming if they thought they could compete against the best Europe had to offer. "They're seriously coming over here?"
Duffy nodded. "Dumbledore tried to tell the Headmaster of Ilvermorny that it would take too much work to coordinate everything, but the Yankee wouldn't hear it. It took three days tops to organize everything. Honestly, I think their headmaster was just as surprised as Dumbledore, that they actually pulled it off."
"So, what does that mean we have another competitor? Five champions instead of four?" Blaise asked.
Duffy shook his head. "They're just here for the Quidditch tournament. Besides, they couldn't enter if they could. I heard that the Goblet has already gone dark, and it won't come back on until the next tournament."
"They'll be here in a couple days."
This school year was turning out to be quite eventful.
Harry walked into the common room and was immediately set upon by a certain redhead. "Hey Harry!" Ginny beamed at him as he walked through the portrait. Harry sighed. He really didn't need this right now. He had to get down to the dungeon's and finish his detention with Snape. "Hi Ginny." He said, forcing a smile. "I'm sorry. I can't stay, I just came up to put a few things in my trunk."
"Oh, let me walk with you then!" Ginny said, following behind him like a lost dog.
"Uhm. I'm not sure you're allowed up in our dorm." Was she really that set on him? Who was he kidding? Of course, she was.
"I just wanted to talk to you about something." She said, and before he could say anything, she continued. "There's a Hogsmeade weekend coming up in a couple weeks, and I didn't know if you maybe wanted to go!"
"I think I'm going to be a bit busy preparing for the first task." This was the first time he had been thankful for this bloody tournament.
"Oh, maybe then the one after that then." She said hopefully, clearly not hearing his tone or just ignoring it.
"Maybe yeah." He said, starting to back up towards the stairs. "I'm sorry, Ginny but I really have to be somewhere."
She pouted, but ultimately nodded. "See you soon, Harry." She said in a low voice, and then winked at him before she walked off. Harry shook his head. One damn problem after another.
He walked up to his dorm and was immediately attacked by another redhead. "Any reason you were talking to my brother, Potter?" Ron snarled at him, as soon as he walked in.
"Uhm…he came up to say hello?" Was his former mate really picking a fight like this or was he still miffed that Charlie had only acknowledged his presence. Either way, it pissed Harry off.
"I thought we were fine now?" Ron barked. "Why the bloody hell are you still treating me like a stranger?"
Harry's eyes narrowed into almost slits. "Maybe because we're not fine Ron. You never apologized to me for anything. So why should I care if you're angry that I talk to your brothers?"
"What in the bloody hell am I supposed to apologize for?" Ron took a step towards Harry. "I already forgave you."
"I didn't do anything wrong!" Harry shouted. "I told you I didn't put my name in the bloody Goblet, and that's the end of it. If you can't believe me, then that's your damn fault!"
"Get out of my face, Potter." Ron growled at him, even though he had been the one to get in Harry's personal space.
"So, I'm just Potter now huh?" Harry shook his head. "I can't believe you Ron! You call me a bloody liar, and then you demand that I apologize? You know what Ron? I've had it with you. I'm done waiting for an apology. I'm done waiting for you to pull your head out of your ass and realize what a prat you're being. From now on just leave me the hell alone."
Ron pushed him back, but he wouldn't get a rise out of his former best mate.
"What's going on here?" Neville asked walking up the steps. His eyes shot back and forth between Harry and Ron, probably thinking that somebody was about to start swinging.
"Nothing." Ron spat, pushing past Harry and Neville, and thundering down the steps.
"Everything okay?" Neville asked, seeing Harry's expression.
"I don't understand how I ever thought that piece of shit was my friend." Harry shook his head, trying to keep his emotions in. Honestly the only reason he had become friends with Ron in the first place, was because he was the first person, he met his age, in the wizarding world, besides Malfoy, and when the poster child for Pure Blood supremacy was your only other option, it had been an easy choice to make. He never had any friends growing up. Every time he made one, Dudley and his gang would always threaten them until they stayed away from Harry. The only real reason that Harry had stayed friends with Ron all these years, was because Hermione. She had basically become the mediator between the two of them whenever they had a dispute.
And now it was like he had nobody. As if hearing his thoughts, Neville came over and clapped Harry on the back. Harry smiled at his friend. He wasn't alone.
"I'd love to stay and talk Neville, but I've got detention with Snape in about twenty minutes." Harry said, throwing his pack in his trunk, and then after a second locked it. Normally he was fine with keeping it unlocked, but with the new enemy he had made today, he couldn't be too careful.
He and Neville waved to each other, and Harry walked down the steps to the Common Room.
"Uhm…Harry? Can we talk?" A feminine voice said from by the fire.
Harry groaned. "Listen, Ginny. I have places to be." He snapped, and then instead noticed it was only Hermione. "Oh sorry. I thought you we-"
"I understand." She gave him a slight smile. "She's been unbearable to deal with lately."
"I was just hoping if we could talk for a second?" She said slowly.
"I'd love to Hermione. But I have detention." And it was true. Unlike Ron he really did want to patch things up with Hermione, despite all that happened.
"Oh. Okay." She said dejectedly.
"We can talk when I get back though." He said, seeing her expression. Please don't cry woman. He'd have no idea what to do if she started bawling here and now. "I should be done by eleven or so."
"That would work. Meet here?" She asked.
He nodded, and then smiled. He really hoped that they would work things out with each other. He didn't want to lose two old friends today. Not if he had a say in the matter.
"And where are you going?"
Daphne turned and inwardly groaned. She been steps away from the common room entrance. She hadn't wanted Astoria to know she had gotten detention in the first place. Then she would have to tell her the reason, although she was sure her giving Smith a bloody nose had spread around by now. "Nowhere." Daphne said nonchalantly, hoping that was the end of it. She wasn't so lucky.
"Obviously you're going somewhere." Astoria said crossing her arms. She was a carbon copy of her older sister. If she was just a bit taller, she and Daphne might've even been mistaken for twins.
"Nosy much?" Daphne glared at her. "I didn't know I had to run it by you every time I wanted to step out of the common room."
"When it's almost 9 at night, yes. You do." Astoria smirked.
Daphne shook her head. Astoria was becoming more and more like her every single day. Whether or not this was a good thing, she didn't know. "If you must know, Tori. I have detention with Snape."
"You? Detention?" Astoria was genuinely surprised. In her two years at Hogwarts, she had never heard of Daphne failing to turn in an assignment, much less get detention. And as far as she knew, their parents had never received an owl about her besides her list of school supplies every year. "What happened?"
"That's for me to know, and you to not find out." Daphne smiled sweetly at Astoria.
Tori glared at her, but then shrugged. "I'll get it out of Duff." She said, going to sit next to their cousin by the fire, who moved over to make room for her.
"Or." Daphne glared. "You can talk about something else. Talk about what happened to Granger yesterday, for all I care."
"What happened to Granger?" Duffy said, his head snapping towards his cousin. Even Astoria had her what happened to the Gryffindor, so she quickly filled her cousin in on the situation. Daphne was surprised when she saw anger flare in Duff's eyes. "That little shit." He growled. "I should've floored his ass today when I had the chance."
"Why do you care what happens to Granger?" Daphne asked.
"I-I don't." He stammered. "That was just a shitty thing to do."
Daphne gave him a suspicious look but decided not to press the issue. "I'll see you lot, later." She said moving towards the entrance again. "And don't say anything Duff." She added behind her. She could feel Astoria's disappointment. Whatever. It was for her own good, that she didn't find out the real reason she dropped Smith like a bad habit.
"Harry! Wait up a sec!"
Harry stopped before he entered the dungeons. Thundering towards him was Hagrid who looked as if he had run all the way from his hut.
"Hey Hagrid." Harry said politely. It's not that he didn't want to talk to him, he just didn't want to be late. "Sorry. I can't chat. I'll be late for detention."
"I won' keep yeh long." The larger man said. "I jus wanted ter ask yeh ter come down ter me hut tomorrow night."
Tomorrow night was his meeting with Sirius, but he wouldn't mind catching up with Hagrid. "Sure Hagrid. What time were you thinking?" Harry asked.
"If yeh could come down ter me hut around midnight tha' would be grand." Hagrid said beaming down at Harry.
"Uhm. But that's after hours. Won't I get in trouble?" It's not that he had reservations about being out after dark. But he was supposed to meet his Godfather at one, and he would be cutting it close.
"Please like tha''s ever stopped yeh before." Hagrid winked down at him. "Jus bring tha' cloak o' yours an' yeh'll be fine."
"Trust me yeh don' wan' ter miss this."
Harry sighed inwardly but nodded at Hagrid. "I'll see you then."
Hagrid patted him on the head. "Good lad. Now yeh bes' get goin'. Wouldn' wan' ter keep Snape waiting."
They both said their goodbyes, and Harry continued down to the dungeons. It was a bit weird that Hagrid would ask him to leave the castle after hours, just to come down to his hut. The weekend was coming up after all, couldn't it just wait till then? Maybe Charlie would be down there too. He did after all say he had business with Hagrid.
He made his way down to the potions classroom and went inside. "Potter." Snape drawled. Daphne was already sorting ingredients, and only treated him with a blank stare when he came in. Almost like their little heart to heart yesterday hadn't even happened. " has already began on sorting Flitterby. If I were you, I would begin on Fairy Wings."
Harry nodded, and went over to join Daphne by the closet. She didn't give any indication that she acknowledged his presence. "Now." Snape said. "I have business to attend too. I trust that you two can manage yourselves." He only had eyes for Harry, but his two students both nodded. "Rest assured that if neither of you finish tonight, you'll both receive detention for the next week. Do I make myself clear?"
"Yes sir." They both said.
Without further ado, Snape left with a flourish of his cloak, the door slamming shut and locking behind him. "He really doesn't care for you, does he?" Daphne finally said, breaking her silence towards Harry.
"Oh, she speaks." Harry muttered.
"What? I have to keep up appearances, don't I? I think Snape would find it strange if the Ice Queen of Slytherin, started a jovial conversation with the Gryffindor Golden Boy." Daphne said.
"Golden what?" Harry said confused. "Is that really what they call me in Slytherin?"
"That's what everybody calls you." Daphne was equally confused. "You've really never heard that nickname?" Harry shook his head. "Hmm. Personally, I like it. It's a lot better than the Ice Queen."
"How'd you get that nickname in the first place?" Harry asked.
"Does it really need an explanation?" Daphne smirked.
"I just feel that's there's a little more to it, than you just being cold to everybody." He shrugged. If she didn't want to tell him, that was fine. She had said herself that the only reason she came back, was to figure him out. He should try to make the same effort.
She hesitated. It was obvious that she wasn't used to anyone outside her friends taking such an interest in her. Finally, she spoke. "Let's just say that one of the seventh years in my house tried to get friendly with me in second year… a little too friendly for my liking."
"What'd you do?" He said in disgust. He was horrified that a full-grown wizard would try to force himself on a girl that wasn't even in her teens yet.
"I may or may not have frozen his wand…" Daphne said nonchalantly.
"And that stopped him?" Harry asked confused. "Why didn't he just use a fire charm? Wouldn't that have unfroze it?"
"Wrong wand, Potter."
"Hu- Ohh." His face went red as he finally understood what she meant.
"After that, most people just gave me a wide berth." She said, working as they talked. She really didn't fancy a week of detention to be completely honest.
"It must get a lonely sometimes, though right?" Harry asked, as he finished up with Gillyweed and moved on to Horn of Bison.
She shrugged. "I've never been one for large crowds, so my friend group suits me fine."
Honestly, he had used to feel the same way. He had been fine with Hermione and Ron as his best friends, and the rest of the students in his house, as just acquaintances. That was of course until his best friends had cut out on him.
"Why did you take this detention Greengrass." He asked, breaking the momentary silence that had set upon them, as they worked.
"Like I said." She said in a way that made it seem as if it should be clear. "I pride myself on being able to read people. You should consider it a complement, that I want to spend my own free time in Snape's classroom, just to talk to you."
"I thought all Slytherins loved Snape."
"Why? Because he favors us over the rest of the school?" She snorted, in a very un-lady like fashion. "Just because we get the bulk of our points from him, doesn't mean we don't think he can be a pretentious shit."
Harry was surprised. "So, you want to get to know me?" He asked.
"Yes. I thought I made that clear."
"What do you suggest?"
She thought about it for a second. "How about this." She said. "I ask you a question. You answer. You ask me a question I'll answer. If we refuse to answer, we may."
Harry nodded. "That seems fair. Do you want to start?"
"In our second year. They said you found the Chamber of Secrets. Is there any truth to that?" She asked first.
He nodded. "Yeah, although I didn't find it alone. Ron helped me." She was surprised. She had thought that was definitely a mere rumor.
She gestured at him to go, as she finished up sorting the Mistletoes.
"Who is your best friend?" He said keeping it simple.
She raised an eyebrow but answered the question regardless. "I have a few close friends, but Tracey Davis is probably my best. I've known her since we were in diapers." She continued. "Who is yours."
"I- I can't really answer that." If she would've asked him a few months ago, he would've said Ron, but now he really didn't know. "I guess I don't really have one."
She gave him a faint look of sympathy. "I'll accept that answer, Potter."
He thanked her and asked his next question. "Was that true about what you said yesterday? Does your Father really know Snape?"
"They graduated together from Hogwarts, back when both our parents were here."
"How did you know my parents, were here at the same time?" Harry asked, taking another question.
"I don't think it's your turn, Potter." She said, but she allowed it. "My mother told me. Apparently, my parents and yours were friends."
Harry had a hard time keeping his jaw from dropping. His parents were friends with Slytherins? From what he had heard of his mother, she was always kind to everybody, so the fact that she had made a friend outside her own house. His father on the other hand. He didn't really know, but from what Sirius and Remus had told him, he didn't seem like the type to make friends with Slytherins.
"You've gotten two questions in, so I think I deserve the same." She said, as they finally finished up their task. One look at the clock told them they had a good half hour left in their detention, though they weren't in any hurry. Teamwork makes dreamwork. "First. Is your friend Granger alright?"
Seeing Potter's confused expression, she clarified. "After yesterday I mean."
"You didn't hear? Malfoy and the Weasel got into a bickering match in the Great Hall before dinner. One of Malfoy's curses that was meant for Weasley hit Granger instead."
He and Neville had been in the library at the time and missed the start of dinner. He didn't know whether or not to be pissed at Malfoy, or Weasley for getting Hermione roped into his problems. He shrugged. "She seemed fine to me when I saw her before I came down to detention."
"Good." And then Daphne paused. "My second question is more about her, than you… is she seeing anyone right now?"
Harry didn't know what to say at first. Was Daphne a witch's witch? If so, that was fine by him, he didn't care one way or another. "Uhm. As far as I know, yes. Though I don't think you're her type." He said half-jokingly.
She rolled her eyes. "I'm not asking for me, Potter. I think my cousin might fancy her."
"Duffy? But doesn't he know-"
"That she's a Muggle-Born? Yes. Does it matter to him, or any of the rest of my family? Merlin no. We were taught to respect others and treat them as we would want to be treated. Honestly the only one who would care is my uncle."
She nodded. "John's father. He's…" She trailed off. Clearly, she had let herself ramble. "It's not my place to say, actually."
"It's fine Greengrass. It's your family's business."
She gave him a thankful look.
"What about you?" He asked.
"What about me?"
"I see you hang around with Zabini and Duffy. I know Duffy is your cousin. Are you…?"
She dry heaved, drawing a chuckle out of him. "Me and Blaise, have only and will only ever be just friends. I feel it'd be like you and Granger getting together."
He nodded. Hermione had always been nothing more than a sister to him. Even if things with Ron were not fixable, he hoped that he could patch things up with her tonight.
"What were you and that Weasley brother talking about today?" She asked.
"Charlie? He was just stopping by to say hello. He had Ministry business with Hagrid." Harry said, and started to ask another question.
"What does he do?" She interrupted.
He was a little miffed but answered regardless. "He works with dragons, down in Romania."
She had thoughtful look on her face. "That gives me an idea."
"What?" He asked.
"You said he works with dragons, and he's here for Ministry business? I'm going to take a guess and say that the tournament is involved." She said, and he nodded. Reasonable assumption. The tournament was the biggest Ministry event going on in the country right now.
"Duff was telling me that he took a ride on his Nimbus a few weeks ago and found a gorge that was definitely not here last year. He's flown around the surrounding areas enough where he would've noticed it before. It looked like a bunch of Ministry employees were constructing an arena of some sorts, something that could hold something massive. As big as a-"
"Dragon." Harry finished, and gulped. They wouldn't really sick a full-grown dragon on young wizards, would they? Then again, they hadn't helped him when he wanted to withdraw from the tournament, so it shouldn't have surprised him. "Bloody hell."
"Somebody is out to get you." She said, and he couldn't disagree with her.
"That must be why Hagrid wants to see me tomorrow night." He said more to himself than her.
"Why would he show you the dragons though?" She asked. "I'd think Dumbledore would've gave him strict orders."
"Hagrid has never really been one for secrecy." But even to him this didn't add up. Dumbledore would've known by now that Hagrid couldn't be counted on to keep big secrets like that. So why tell him in the first place?
"Nothing about this makes sense. But I'm sure that's normal for you. Just hope that they don't make you fight a Hungarian Horntail. Or a Ukrainian Ironbelly." She said.
"You know a lot about dragons?" He asked, looking over at her.
"More than the average person." She said, as if it wasn't a big deal. "My father's first cousin worked with them in Sweden for a while and used tell us all about them when she came to visit."
"So, if you saw one, you'd know what it was, and maybe even say…the best way to beat one?" He asked slowly.
"What are you getting at, Potter?" She asked, not quite understanding.
"Would you come with me? When I go with Hagrid tomorrow night?"
She was able to keep down the surprised look that almost came to her face. They had only just met yesterday, and already he was basically trusting her with his life. He was going to get himself killed one of these days. "I don't know, Potter."
"Give me one reason, why not Greengrass?" He asked.
She looked over at him. "We barely know each other for one."
"You said you wanted to get to know me, better didn't you?" He said. Not what she had in mind, but he was speaking the truth.
"You said it was tomorrow night? You know we can't be outside our common rooms." She said, as if that was the end of it. She was surprised when he grinned at her.
"I have my ways. I can meet you in the Entrance Hall, and we can go down to Hagrid's cabin." He said.
She didn't speak. "You took two questions, without giving me one, remember? We can call it even, after this." He said.
She rolled her eyes. "Not sure that breaking the rules, and me stealing a couple of questions from you are the same thing." She grumbled, and then sighed. "Fine Potter."
"But let me make one thing clear." She said, before he could say a thing. She took a step forward, and he backed up against the wall. "If we are caught, I will sell you out. I will say that you kidnapped me from my common room and tried to force yourself on me. Am I understood?"
He gulped. He didn't know who would believe that story, but he nodded quickly. "Glad we understand each other." She took a step back. He was a little put off, how easy it was for her to slip into and out of her Ice Queen armor.
"So." He said, after a short silence.
"So…what?" She asked, not knowing where he was getting at.
"You said you came here to figure me out. Am I an open book?"
"I don't know about that, Potter. I don't think anybody will truly know you. But I'd like to think I know more than someone else." He had her attention that was for sure.
They heard the door unlock, and in came Snape. "Potter." He snarled. "What are you doing just standing there?"
"We're finished sir." Harry responded simply.
"Is that so." Snape said, walking over to inspect his closet. After a second, he turned to Daphne. "Well done, . Twenty points to Slytherin."
"Thank you, sir." She thought it was bit funny, that this detention was meant as a punishment, yet he was rewarding her for it.
"Your time with me is at an end." Snape said, walking towards his desk. "I hope to not see either of you after hours anytime soon." He sat down and began to grade papers indicating that their conversation was at an end.
"Good job in there Greengrass." Harry said to her as they left the classroom, and then switched to a low voice that sounded a bit too much like Snape's. "I'm so sorry that you had the unfortunate pleasure of working with that bloody little trouble maker, Potter. Take another hundred points for your trouble."
"Shove it, Potter." She tried but couldn't stop herself from laughing.
"I suppose, I'll see you tomorrow night?" He asked, still hoping she hadn't decided to back out of their arrangement.
She nodded. "I give you my word, I'll be waiting for you at the Entrance to the dungeons, at…"
"11:45." He said quickly.
"11:45." She repeated. "Although I am curious as to how we're going to get through the doors unseen." They kept the gates to the castle open at night, but they always had a teacher standing guard, so it would be near impossible to sneak past them.
"That's for me to know, and for you to find out, Greengrass." He said grinning that stupid grin of his again.
"I guess, I'll see you tomorrow then, Potter." She said, starting to walk down the corridor to her common room.
"Harry." He said after her.
"What?" She asked, turning back around.
"My friends call me Harry." He said sheepishly.
"So, we're friends now?" She asked.
"If you want to be?" He gave her a slight smile.
She eventually returned it. "Ok, then Po- Harry. Friends it is. Although it'll get a bit awkward if you keep calling me Greengrass."
"Daphne it is then." He grinned that stupid grin of his again.
"See you tomorrow night then, Harry."
"See you then, Daphne."
Harry walked into the Common Room and made a beeline right towards the stairs to his dorm. This time around, the Fat Lady had seen him, and just opened the portrait door without even speaking to him. That was probably a breach of at least 10 school rules, but he didn't really care. He still couldn't believe he had a friend in Slytherin. While he knew he would eventually have to make friends outside his own house, he figured that it wouldn't come until he had left Hogwarts.
He looked over at the couch by the fireplace and remembered his promise to Hermione. She was sitting there, as the fire slowly died into nothingness. "Hey Hermione." He said, going to sit on the couch with her. "You said you wanted to talk?"
She was looking down at her lap, wringing her hands. "I'm so sorry Harry." She sputtered out as tears started to stream down her face. It was clear she had been barely keeping it together. "I should've believed you from the very start. Can you ever forgive me?"
He did the only thing that he could think of. He pulled her into an awkward hug. "It's okay 'Mione. You weren't the only one." He whispered. He hoped he had done the right thing.
"I don't know why I didn't see that in the first place." The tears had continued to stream down her face, but she able to speak to him. Just barely though. "It was probably the first and last time I'll ever listen to Ron."
"That was your first mistake." He muttered, and she barely got a giggle out with her stuffy nose. "It's okay 'Mione. Consider it, water under the bridge."
"I don't deserve you as a friend, Harry Potter." She gave him a tearful smile.
"Are you okay?" He asked.
"I'm fine." She said, wiping her nose with her sleeve. "I'm a mess, but I'll be alright."
"I know. But are you okay? I heard, about what happened with you and Malfoy in the Entrance Hall."
Her face turned into a frown. "I'll be fine. Ronald's big mouth getting him and others into trouble again."
"It's more than that." Harry growled. "Weasley's stupidity could've gotten you hurt."
"Harry." She said putting a hand on his shoulder. The shock on her face was noticeable from Harry calling Ron by his surname. "It's okay. I'm fine."
"If he puts you in danger like that again, please come to me. I'm not going to let that idiot get you hurt, because of his big mouth."
"Hermione." He said firmly.
After a second, she nodded.
"Hermione." He said, as they watched the dying fire dance. "What do you know about John Duffy?"
She was surprised by the random question, and it showed. "Not much. He didn't really talk much when we were partnered up in potions yesterday. That's unfortunate, because I did want to iron out a time to work on the project that Snape assigned us. I suppose I should talk to him about it tomorrow."
Harry nodded. Honestly if Daphne's cousin fancied Hermione, he deserved a shot. Better him than Weasley. As long as he treated Hermione right, Harry and he didn't have a problem.
Hermione yawned. "Until then, I think I'm going to bed. Crying does take a lot out of you." She smiled at him, and before he knew it, he was wrapped in a bone crushing hug. "I'm glad everything is back to the way it should be."
Even though he was in slight pain, he returned her hug. "Me too, 'Mione. Me too."
"You got detention again tonight, Daphne?" Blaise asked his friend as they walked out of the Great Hall.
Daphne shook her head. "You need help on that Summoning Charm?"
"If you have the time, I'd appreciate it. Flitwick wants me to do it tomorrow for him." Blaise said.
"Why didn't you ask me for help?" Tracey asked.
Blaise looked at her in horror. Ever since first year, Seamus Finnegan had caused more damage to their Charms classroom than anybody. Tracey was a close second. It's not that she didn't have a handle on her magic. She just got a little…. eager with spells.
"Because he's not an idiot." Duffy muttered under his breath and ignored the threatening glance that she shot at him in retaliation.
"Good day to you, big sister." Astoria said, walking over to them.
"What do you want?" Daphne coldly said to Astoria. While it wasn't on par with the Ice Queen, it was still enough to make most people shiver. Astoria wasn't one of those people.
"I just wanted to check in on my favorite sibling." She grinned at her, and ignored the glare that Daphne gave her. "Maybe even to check how her detention went last night."
"Fine. Now go away." Daphne said simply and turned away.
"Just fine?" Astoria pressed on. "You didn't…hit anybody did you?"
Daphne eyes narrowed at her sister, and then turned to Duffy who suddenly looked way too interested in looking at his shoes. "Seriously?" She spat at her cousin, who shrugged.
"Kid got it out of me, she's a master." Was all he said.
Astoria hit Duff on the arm for the kid comment. "I can fight my own battles, Daph." She said, but then gave her a sister a one-armed hug. "But I appreciate you giving that little prat what he had coming."
Daphne's glare morphed into a small smile, and she returned her hug. The Entrance Hall was nearly empty, as everybody else had already started to their classes for the day. Nearly empty that was.
"So, what's the first class of the day boys and girls?" Astoria asked.
"WE." Tracey said, emphasizing the fourth years. "Are headed to Defense Against the Dark Arts. YOU, little squirt, need to go to Care of Magical Creatures."
Astoria rolled her eyes. A carbon copy of her sister through and through. "Oh, come on. Professor Hagrid won't notice if I'm a bit-"
They all turned, and were surprised to see Granger, running towards them clutching about three or four books. Daphne felt her cousin stiffen next to her, as the Gryffindor stopped in front of them.
"Yes?" Tracey asked, not unfriendly.
"I just wanted to talk to John." Granger said, looking past Tracey towards Duffy. When he didn't move immediately, Astoria shoved him forward.
"H-Hi." He stammered out.
"I just wanted to let you know, that we needed to find some time to work on Professor Snape's project." She said. "Are you free tonight around 7? We can meet in the library."
Duff didn't answer, except to murmur out gibberish. "I'm sorry?" Granger asked, moving closer so she could hear him. That just made things worse.
"He'll meet you at 7." Astoria said, patting her cousin on the back.
"Great... I'll see you then." Granger said slowly, turned and ran back down the hallway.
"Smooth Duff." Astoria snorted. "Super smooth."
"What was that all about?" Blaise asked perplexed.
"Nothing." Duffy said, pushing past his friends, and started walking down the hallway.
"Wait a second." Tracey said, bounding after him her face morphing into one of clarity. "YOU FANCY GRANGER?!"
He stopped and whirled on her. "Say it a little bloody louder. I don't think they heard you in Fooking Dublin." He spat and started walking again. This time Tracey didn't try to follow.
"Did any of you know about this?" She asked the rest of their group. Daphne shrugged. It wasn't her place to talk about Duff's personal life. Astoria nodded, obviously not sharing the same sentiment.
"I found out this summer at the World Cup. We passed by her and the Weasley's tent, and he couldn't keep his eyes off her. I asked him about it afterwards, and he acted like he didn't know what I was talking about. After about an hour of badgering, he finally caved, but swore me to secrecy. He started to fancy her around the end of last year.
Daphne glared at her. "What?" Astoria said simply. "It's not a secret anymore."
"Honestly never would've guessed it." Tracey said. "Him and Granger."
"Yeah." Blaise said, as he started walking past her. "Just like you and Longbottom."
Tracey glared after him, as her face went red.
"Wait." Astoria said more to herself than anybody else . "YOU FANCY LONGBOTTOM?!"
"TORI!" They all snapped at her.
Harry tapped the Marauder's Map with his wand and said the magic words. "I solemnly swear that I am up to no good."
This day had gone at a snail's pace. He had been counting down the minutes until he saw Hagrid that night. And Daphne.
There she was. In the Slytherin common room. For a second it looked like she would just stay in her dorm with her roommates, but then he saw her dot make its way to their common room.
"Guess that's my cue." He muttered to himself. He started to make his way down to the common room, and just as he was almost out, he ran into Hermione. "Oh, hey Harry." She said tiredly as she walked in through the portrait.
"Hi Hermione. Where've you been?" He asked. It wasn't like her to come back after hours like this. Especially since curfew went into effect over an hour ago. Then again, he couldn't really talk.
She yawned. "Just coming back from the library. Me and John were working on Snape's project."
"Didn't the library close over an hour ago?" He asked confused. She shrugged.
"Madam Prince trusts me. She knows me well enough that I would never displace the key she gave me." Of course, she had a key.
"How'd it go with the project?" He asked. He knew he had places to be with Duffy's cousin, but he could spare a second to talk to Hermione.
"He's very quiet. Not at all what I expected." She said. "I haven't really spoken to him before, but from what I've heard, he's not usually like this. He does his share of the work though. Anyway, where are you off to?"
"Oh uhm." He stuttered. "Hagrid's."
She looked like she was about to chastise him but stopped herself at the last second. "Just be careful, Harry." She said.
"Come on, 'Mione." He smiled at her. "I'm an expert at this by now."
"Not sure that's a good thing." She said shaking her head. They said their goodbye's and went their separate ways. It was a good thing she came along. Now he didn't have to explain to the Fat Lady why he was leaving at this hour. He slipped on his cloak, and slipped out through the open door, and shut it behind him. It was a simple matter to get down to the Entrance Hall. He almost bumped into Filch at least three times. Even with the Map, it was like the man was able to come out right on top of him. And then there was Miss. Norris. He didn't know if cats in the wizarding world had special powers, although it wouldn't surprise him. Every time he was out in his cloak after hours, it always seemed like she was straight through it into him.
Making his way down to the Entrance Hall, he checked the Map once again. There she was. At the entrance to the Dungeons, like she had promised. He knew she had told him she'd meet him, but he was still surprised. He thought she might've gotten cold feet at the last minute.
What didn't surprise him was the guard that was by the open gates to the castle. It looked like it was Flitwick tonight. If there was anybody who could defend the castle on his own, it was him. He had been a dueling champion after all. Harry cast a Silencing charm on his shoes. Even if he was invisible to the naked eye, the cloak wouldn't do anything to stop anybody from hearing him. It was a simple matter to sneak past the Charms professor, over to the entrance to the Dungeons.
Inside waiting for him, was his companion for the evening. She was silently tapping her foot, grumbling under her breath about how "I'm going to curse that damn scar, off Potter's head for making me wait like this."
He slowly walked around her and leaned down close to her ear. "I thought I told you to call me Harry." He whispered.
She jumped a good few inches into the air and was barely able to hold in a scream. She looked up into the air, where Harry's voice had come from, but didn't see anything. "Harry? Ho- Where are you?"
He took off the cloak with a flourish. "Here and at your disposal, Miss." He grinned.
She took his offered hand to help her to her feet. After a second, she hit him hard in the shoulder, and he grunted in pain. "Never. Do. That. Again. You. Prat." She seethed, slapping him in the shoulder, with each word.
He rubbed his now sore shoulder. "Guess I'll call it a win, that you didn't curse me." He muttered, and her smirk showed her agreement. "Are you ready?"
"Is- is it safe?" She asked looking a bit nervous
He nodded. "It's just an invisibility cloak." He said wrapping it around himself so all she could see was his head. "See?"
"Are we going to be able to fit under it at the same time?" It didn't really help their case, if their bodies were mostly hidden, but their feet were seen.
He nodded again. "We'll just have to crouch a little." He said, before opening up so she could step inside. "Wait." He said as she stepped forward, and he drew his wand. Seeing her flinch, he quickly apologized. "Sorry. I was just going to cast a Silencing Charm on your shoes."
She looked impressed and confused at the same time. "When did you learn that? Flitwick isn't supposed to teach us that until next year."
He shrugged. It had been a relatively easy charm to learn. He didn't know why the rest of his classmates, had to wait another year to learn it. He quickly cast the spell on Daphne's shoes, and opened his cloak back up for her again. After a moment's hesitation, she joined him, and they disappeared from the naked eye. "Try to get down a little more." He whispered to her, and she obliged.
"Is this how you, Granger, and the Weasel get around at night?" She muttered. It must've been a bloody nightmare. It was bad enough with just them. She couldn't imagine having three people under here at once.
She felt him nod, and they slowly started walking off towards the gates. They saw Flitwick playing a game of Wizards Chess with Nearly-Headless Nick, and thoroughly getting destroyed. "You must be cheating somehow!" Flitwick said in a high-pitched voice.
Harry and Daphne both resisted the urge to laugh, as they snuck by the two companions.
"It actually worked." Daphne said incredulously. She had actually expected them to be caught the second they stepped out into the Entrance Hall. "Can we take this cloak off now?"
She felt Harry shake his head. "There still could be a chance that someone could be watching the grounds from the ramparts. Best to wait till we get closer to Hagrid's cabin." She grumbled, even though she knew he was right.
As they got closer and closer, he suddenly didn't know what he was going to do about Daphne. Yeah, she was invisible under that cloak, but eventually Hagrid would no doubt notice there was another person under there with him. It's not like that he could get mad that he brought Daphne with him. He had after all asked Harry to meet him after hours… so that made it okay right?
When they were about ten yards from Hagrid's cabin, Harry stopped. Hagrid was standing outside, and Harry felt bad for thinking so, but the man looked ridiculous. He was a wearing a blue suit that looked like it belonged to an oversized clown, and had used some sort of gel to smooth his hair down to the side…quite unsuccessfully. And as Harry and Daphne got closer, they had to stop themselves from retching. The man was wearing some sort of cologne that assaulted their nose.
"Stay here." Harry whispered to Daphne, and before she could say anything, pushed the cloak up slightly, and made himself visible.
"Dammit Harry." She cursed after him.
"Hagrid!" He called out to the Professor, who brandished his umbrella at the boy, before seeing who it was.
Yeh almost gave me a bloody heart attack." He said, lowering his umbrella, and then looking at Harry with a perplexed look. "Where's your cloak? Tell me yeh didn' leave the castle without it."
"Uhm. Well." Harry started, but then a twig snapped behind him.
"Get behind me!" Hagrid hissed at Harry, and before the boy could tell him it was okay, he grabbed Harry, and shielded him. "Who's there!" Hagrid growled, leveling his umbrella at where the twig had snapped.
"Hagrid." Harry managed to say. Being trapped against the wall of Hagrid's house made it difficult to speak. The smell of the overpowering cologne didn't help things either. "It's safe."
"I heard summat Harry." Hagrid whispered, his eyes still scanning the night.
Harry sighed. "Daphne. You can come out." Hagrid gave him a confused look as he released him. After a second, a very pissed off Daphne revealed herself.
"Who's tha' now?" Hagrid barked, still not lowering his umbrella.
"It's okay Hagrid." Harry said, quickly standing in front of Daphne, and holding up his hands. "She's with me."
"I told yeh too come alone." Hagrid said, shaking his head.
"You didn't actually." Harry quickly said. "You just said meet by your hut. You didn't say if I could bring anyone or not."
Hagrid looked past Harry at Daphne, and then lowered his umbrella. "Did yeh go an' get yerself a girlfriend Harry?"
"She's not/I'm not, my girlfriend/his girlfriend." Harry and Daphne said simultaneously, to Hagrid's amusement. Daphne was lucky that Harry couldn't see her blush in the dark.
"Yeh're a Slytherin aren' yeh?" Daphne nodded. "Never imagined Harry would keep friends with a Slytherin. Never had any grand encounters with 'em meself."
"But if Harry trusts yeh. Yeh're alright in me book."
"But." He said, raising a finger before Harry or Daphne could speak. "This can' get out. If Dumbledore finds out tha' I told two students ter break curfew, I'll be in a real heap o' trouble. Am i understood?" The two students nodded. "Honestly would've thought yeh would've brought Ron or Hermione if yeh brought anyone Harry."
"Hermione was feeling tired." Harry said simply, with a tone that Hagrid shouldn't even ask about Ron.
Hagrid noticed that but didn't ask after it. "Righ'. We should get goin' then."
The three of them started off into the Forbidden Forest, after a momentary hesitation from Daphne. First time in the forest after all. "It's okay." He said, giving her a slight smile. After a second, she followed after the two of them, but sticking as close to Harry as possible.
"Granger was feeling tired, was she?" She whispered to Harry. He shrugged.
"I didn't want Hagrid to ask too many questions." Harry shrugged. "Plus, it was true. Hermione was tired…mainly because she spent the last couple hours in the library working on a project with her partner."
Daphne smirked. "And how did it go for her you think?"
"Apparently Duffy was quiet. Wasn't quite what she expected."
Daphne shrugged. "He seemed quiet when he came back to the Common Room. Had this big dumb look on his face. Wouldn't speak to me even as I was all but yelling in his face. Poor guy has it bad."
"Won't Malfoy be a bit peeved that one of his house is interested in a Gryffindor. A Muggle Born at that."
Daphne snorted, drawing the attention of Hagrid. She gave him a polite smile until he turned away. "Please. My cousin is probably the biggest enemy that Malfoy has at Hogwarts right now, besides you. Certainly, the biggest in his own house. I bet if Duff wanted too, he could become the new leader of our house tomorrow. But that hasn't really been his style. I think he'd just rather play Quidditch than worry about who's top snake."
Harry understood that. Honestly, if he had a choice, he'd rather be playing Quidditch now, than risking his life in some tournament. That was an easy choice though.
"That might change soon though." Daphne said.
"What do you mean?" Harry asked.
"Malfoy has been getting harder and harder to deal with. He and Duff had words today at breakfast actually." Harry nodded. He had noticed that something was up at the Slytherin table today, but hadn't paid it much attention. He had been busy talking to Charlie. "Wouldn't surprise me if there's a new leader of the house soon. I just hope Duff play's it carefully."
"Are we nearly there Professor Hagrid?" Daphne asked, as they trudged through the forest.
"Hagrid ter yeh miss Greengrass. Yeh're a friend o' Harry's now after all. An' any friend o' his, is a friend o' mine." Hagrid said. For every step of his, it was about three of theirs, so they were barely keeping up. "An' it on'y should be a few more minutes. Nearly there, we are."
"Uhm. Hagrid." Harry said. "Can I ask you something?"
"Wha' is it?"
"You're- You're dressed differently." Harry said, pointing out the obvious.
"Well. Uhm. I'm not goin' ter be dealing with yeh lot the rest o' the night am i?" Hagrid stammered, his face going red behind his beard, something that they noticed even in the darkness. "I eh. Got plans later." He didn't say anything more, and Harry didn't ask.
"Stop here." Hagrid said, as they stopped near an opening in the trees.
It looked like any other part of the forest. The only difference was it looked like there were an assortment of cages nearby, four in all. And perched off to the side, was a group of four tents.
"Hagrid." Harry whispered. "Why are we here?"
Hagrid's only response was too whistle a low tune, that turned high, and then finished low.
Suddenly a quartet of roars broke the silence, and the dark night air was broken by a stream of fire from each one of the cages. Daphne and Harry jumped back, but Hagrid moved closer. Out of each tent, came a group of ten men. "Wand's at the ready boys!" One of the wizards cried out. Even in the dark, Harry could make out his red fiery hair. Charlie. "AIM! GO!"
"STUPEFY!" Forty wizards cried as red beams burst from their wands. Three of the dragons went down, but the cage on the farthest side of the clearing, roared ever louder.
"WEASLEY! THE HORNTAIL!"
"UTHER! ABBOT! GET ON IT!" Charlie cried, as a man and a woman led their groups over to the remaining dragon. Harry heard a sharp intake of breath from Daphne, and when he turned to look at her, her face had gone white. "Are you okay?"
"My-My-My-" She stuttered, but before she could clarify the assembled wizards and witches cried out another group stunning spell sending the beast down. Only barely, however. Harry could still see the Horntail's eyes were still almost open. Even the handiwork of thirty stunning spells couldn't do the beast in.
"Bloody hell." Harry muttered to himself. He just hoped that he didn't have to face the Horntail. Who was he kidding? He had been entered against his will into a tournament meant for wizards three years his senior. Of course, he would get the Horntail.
"Evenin' Charlie!" Hagrid called out to the Weasley brother, as he stepped further into the clearing.
"Hagrid." Charlie nodded at the larger man. "Surprised to see you here. Did you see what spooked them?"
Hagrid paused. It was obvious he hadn't liked scaring the dragons. Unlike a lot of other wizards, he didn't see the dragons as beasts. More as giant teddy bears…. that could breathe fire…and could rip a man apart. "Didn' see anything Charlie. Sorry I can' be o' more help."
The two men quickly indulged themselves in conversation, as Charlie's coworkers went around to the cages, making sure each of the dragons wasn't seriously harmed.
The witch who had led one of the stunning groups, drew closer to Daphne and Harry.
Harry heard another sharp intake of breath, and he quickly pulled the cloak out of his pocket and forced it over them. The witch's eyes scanned the exact spot where Harry and Daphne were, before she went back to the others.
"My-My cousin." Daphne finally got out.
Harry understood. This must've been Daphne's first cousin once removed that worked with dragons in Sweden. No wonder she was nervous.
"Have you seen enough?" Harry said, hoping she caught his meaning.
She nodded. "Swedish Short-Snout, Common Welsh Green, Chinese Fireball. And," She gulped, "The Hungarian Horntail."
Harry solemnly nodded. "Let's get out of here."
The wizards in the clearing were so distracted by the dragons, they didn't notice a few snapping twigs as the two students made their way back up to the Castle.
"What the hell is the Ministry thinking?" Daphne hissed. "Having teenagers take on fully grown dragons?"
"I thought you said you knew the first task were dragons?" Harry whispered, as they moved through the gates. They could see Flitwick had gone off gone off a few feet from the entrance to relieve himself, so they didn't have to worry about him hearing them.
"It was more of a guess, Harry." She said. "I never really thought that the idiots would have done it."
"Then why did you come?" Harry said, as they walked up to the entrance of the dungeons.
She hesitated, but then shrugged. "Curiosity." Why had she come? She didn't really have an answer, other than: he had asked.
"So, what do you think?" He asked. She looked confused. "Best way to deal with each of them?"
She thought about it for a second. "Let me get back to you tomorrow. I got a couple books from my cousin last year for my birthday, that I can go over. But I'm too tired to do it tonight."
He nodded, and then looked into her eyes. "Thank you." He said. "For coming with me tonight."
She smiled at him. "Anytime, Harry." She looked like she wanted to say something else but stopped at the last second. "Well, I should probably get back to my common room."
He nodded. "I'll see you tomorrow?" He asked. Tomorrow was Saturday, so they didn't have classes.
"Meet me in the library. Say 3'oclock?"
"Sounds like a plan."
She turned to go back to go down the hallway to her common room but turned. "Goodnight, Harry."
He smiled at her. "Goodnight, Daphne."
He watched her walk away until she passed out of view, but then he snapped to attention.
12:50, he noted as he put on his cloak. He had to meet Sirius in the common room in 10 minutes.
He barely got up to the common room with time to spare. He was surprised that hadn't run into Filch, though a quick look of looking at the Map showed the man was skulking through the dungeons. Thankfully, he saw that Daphne was already in her own dorm.
He looked around his own common room. This was it. This was where Sirius told him to meet him. But where was he?
He sighed and sat down on the couch in front of the fire. He didn't think that Sirius lied to him, but he possibly could've been delayed. Maybe even captured. "I'm sorry, Sirius." He muttered to himself.
"For what, Pup?"
His head shot up. He scanned the area around him but didn't see a thing. But. He had heard Sirius' voice … hadn't he?
"Down here." A voice came from the fire. He looked down, and instead of seeing a regular fire, he saw his godfather's face grinning up at him, from the flames.
"It's good to see you, Harry." Sirius smiled up at him, but then his face turned serious. "We haven't much time. I've broken into a wizard's home and I'm using his floo, but who knows how long until he comes home."
"I need to ask you one question, Pup. Did you or did you not, put your name in the Goblet of Fire?"
"No!" Harry exclaimed, and then noticed how loud his voice had gotten. "No." He whispered this time.
"I had to ask. I knew you weren't stupid enough to risk your life for coin." Sirius smiled at him. "Tell me more about this dream you had."
Harry then went into the dream he had before the World Cup. How Wormtail, and that… that thing had talked about murdering him. Every detail, even of how they had killed that poor Muggle gardener.
"The Death Eaters at the World Cup." Sirius said. "This dream. They aren't coincidences Harry. Hogwarts isn't safe anymore. The Durmstrang headmaster? Igor Karkaroff. He was a Death Eater Harry! And from what, I've heard he's done a decent enough job of teaching every child in that school, a bit or two on the Dark Arts."
"So, what? Should I leave?" It would kill Harry to leave the place he had called home for the last three and a half years, but if his life was in danger, should he risk it?
"No." Sirius shook his head, and ashes spread throughout the fireplace. "No, if you leave now the Goblet will take offense."
"What do you mean? It's just a cup."
"It is more than just a cup, Pup." Sirius explained. "There's deep magic in that Goblet, ancient stuff. If you leave now, you could risk losing your magic."
"No. The best plan right now, and I'm sorry to say this, is to just move forward, and let events unfold." Sirius said sadly.
"You want me to risk my life?" Harry asked, not believing what he was hearing.
"I'm sorry Harry, but I can't think of another option." Sirius said. "With Hermione and Ron's help, you should survive this tournament."
"Uhm." He hadn't updated Sirius on Harry's and Ron's relationship. "Ron and I aren't exactly friends anymore."
"I'm sorry to hear, Pup." Sirius said compassionately. "But you can't just let that die. Every relationship, including friendships, goes through rough patches. That doesn't mean they're not worth saving."
Harry nodded. He didn't know if things were fixable with Ron, but he would try to patch them up at least.
"Where were you tonight anyway?" Sirius asked suddenly. "I tried you briefly before this, but you weren't here."
Harry explained where he had been that night. "-and then we came from the dragon camp. I only just got here."
"We?" Sirius asked.
Harry coughed. "Me and…my friend Daphne."
"Hmmm… Daphne." Sirius gave him an amused grinn. "Why have I never heard of this…Daphne."
"Erhh. She's sort of a new friend." Harry stammered, as his face went red at Sirius' implications.
"If you say so, Pup." Sirius gave him that stupid grin of his again. "I'm sorry, but I must go. I feel that wizard will be back soon."
Harry nodded, but then a thought came to him. "Sirius. Were my parents ever friends with Slytherins?"
Sirius smiled sadly. "There was a time when houses didn't matter, Pup. Bloody hell, for a time I dated one of Jane Flint's friends, even though she was a Slytherin."
"Jane Flint?" Harry asked.
"She is now married to Lord Daniel Greengrass, the head of his family."
"I'm sorry, Pup that I can't stay longer." Sirius said. "Please, for the love of Merlin. Be safe."
Harry nodded, and before he could say goodbye, Sirius was gone.
Harry sighed. He was still no closer to knowing who had put his name in the Goblet of Fire. Only, just enforcing what he already knew.
Somebody was out to kill him.
A/N: Hope y'all enjoyed this chapter! I'm having so much fun writing this story!
But I just want to say this, if any of you were wondering: This won't be an instance romance story. I can't even tell you how many stories I've read on this site alone, where Harry just MAGICALLY (no pun intended…actually you know what? It is intended) falls in love with the female character of the story. True love takes time. So, if anybody is reading this, hoping that Harry proposes to Daphne in the next chapter, stop wasting your time. I hope that's not the majority of you.
To all the others: Review, Follow, Favorite!