Chapter Seven: It's Now The Beginning

Daphne and Harry fell behind, as Neville and Susan led the way up to the castle.

Harry took in the evening torches that lit their way up the path. Hogwarts stood in all her glory before them - Harry thought the castle might be even more beautiful at dusk than in the daylight with all the students milling around.

"I don't think your dad knew what to think about my dad's meeting protocol" Harry said after a moment, breaking the peaceful silence with a slight grin.

Daphne let out a soft giggle "he took awhile to get over his shock" she said smirking "your family does do things a bit differently" she allowed

"Yes, well no need to be snobbish in private" Harry said haughtily, causing Daphne to erupt in a slightly less soft bout of giggles, causing Neville and Susan to glance back at them.

They continued to walk in peaceful silence, although for Harry it was becoming less peaceful by the minute as he had something on his mind.

He glanced at Daphne out of the corner of his eye, his eyes appreciating the soft glow the moonlight cast over her form. She looked breathtaking.

Gathering his courage, his voice interrupted the silent night for the second time during their walk.

"Would you like to grab some dinner in the kitchens tomorrow night?" Harry asked softly and Daphne looked up to see he looked a bit unsure: his face was steady, but his hand twitched nervously against his leg - and his eyes - well, they were some of the most expressive eyes Daphne had ever encountered.

"Would love to" she said smiling at him, feeling the rise in her stomach again

They arrived back well after the other heirs and heiresses had returned, gaining some attention as they slipped into the Great Hall for dinner. By now the whole school knew who Harry - the emergency releases of The Daily Prophet saw to that.

It seemed Umbridge was determined to push the power she had at Hogwarts

"Mr Potter" she simpered, waddling towards him, in what Harry assumed was meant to be a brisk walk, but her short legs couldn't quite pull that off.

"That's Lord Potter-Black to you" Harry said coldly, hoping she would reconsider whatever little plan she had for him as his stomach rumbled in hunger.

"Detention for arriving late," she said, her tone light enough, but Harry would see the sneer beneath

Harry repressed a shudder.

"No thanks" Harry said simply and went and sat down at his table

"NO?" Umbrage squaked, staring at him in horror, before jumping out of her daze set by his refusal and marching - waddling Harry thought amusedly- towards him

"That's right, I'm not serving detention when I haven't done anything wrong" Harry said firmly before his wand slipped out and a shimmering bubble appeared around them. Harry picked up his fork and dug into his dinner, exchanging an exasperated look with Neville as Umbridhe continued her tirade - although silenced - he could gather her message from her flailing

"You lower this right now you arrogant little boy" she screeched at him

"Madam Umbridge" Professor Dumbledore spoke, "might I suggest continuing with your dinner as Lord Potter-Black is obviously...unavailable"

The students watched in barely concealed amusement as Umbridge's face flushed to match the colour of her robes before she spun on her heel and waddled out of the room, muttering about educational decrees the whole time.

"Sooooo" Blaise drawled, as soon as Umbridge left the hall, "that was quite the alliance you secured…I didn't know you had any contact with Potter-Black" he said, eyeing her curiously.

Daphne sighed. She looked from Tracy to Blaise and realised that there wasn't much she could do to evade her friends' questions as it seems they'd been talking about her since the emergency Evening Prophet had been released and she knew how stubborn they could be if she didn't fess up. Would it be worth it to tease them? No, while Blaise might enjoy it even more, Tracy was anything but patient and unafraid to cause a scene - something Daphne desperately wished to avoid. Her friend could be rather dramatic.

"Not until the other night" Daphne admitted glancing over at the Gryffindor Table and missing their exchanged glance.

Blaise raised his eyebrows "and then you form an alliance, just like that" he said "Have you discussed the contract pertaining to you and him"

Daphne had forgotten all about the contract "No, we haven't" she said "we discussed the goals of the alliance and then we left"

Blaise eyed her, but nodded as Tracy interrupted with questions that had Daphne blushing and Blaise howling with laughter

"Hey," Daphne said as she entered the kitchens to find Harry already there.

The soft aroma of dinner and dessert floated over to Daphne and she breathed in deeply.

Harry's face lit up in a smile when he saw her "Daphne" he smiled before leading her over to a cozy fireside couch in the kitchen

Daphne settled onto the couch next to Harry. She wouldn't have thought the kitchens had some of the comfiest furniture in the castle.

"I is bringing yous desserts" a voice interrupted Daphne's admiration of the sofa and she jumped as she realised the house elf was handing Harry the desserts and Harry, well he sent an amused look her way and Daphne felt colour rise on her cheeks.

"So treacle tart is your favorite then?" Daphne asked, unwilling to let the conversation take an opening for him to get in a smart comment.

"Yes, apparently it was my mums as well" Harry beamed as he took another spoonful, handing her the dessert the elves had brought

"Mmmm bundt cake" Daphne said excitedly "it's so warm" she sighed as she cuddled the cake close to her chest, settling back into the sofa for the evening, poking her tongue out at Harry as his eyes sparked in amusement - his mouth thankfully occupied with the treacle tart.

Daphne didn't realise it at the time, but they ended up talking long after they had finished their desserts, and after the house elves had brought them their last mug of steaming hot chocolate. Daphne closed her eyes for a moment. It was so warm, she was so content, Harry's soft voice fell over her like a soothing tea.

Harry awoke to the sun hitting his face, moving his hand only to realize there was something soft, heavy and warm on top of him

He blinked. Daphne was cuddled up to his chest on the large sofa and they were covered in a warm woolen blanket. House elves, Harry thought, smiling fondly.

Daphne seemed to be in the process of waking up as well, blinking up at Harry confusedly, before blushing.

"Umm morning" Daphne said sheepishly as she realized she had fallen asleep on him, but she didn't make a move to leave yet... it was just so warm...

"Morning" Harry said softly, unable to look anywhere, but her sapphire eyes

A shiver ran through her body as the cool morning air swept in and Harry automatically tightened his hold, pulling her further into his warm arms before he realized what he was doing "Oh umm sorry" he said quickly, but Daphne shook her head

"Nice and warm" she said and Harry's deep chuckle vibrated through his chest as she closed her eyes again

"Daphne... do you feel like we've known each other longer than we actually have" Harry asked her curiously as he studied the way her nose wrinkled as she answered

"oh good, it's not just me" Daphne mumbled into his chest causing it to ripple with laughter

"It's weird, but feels like we've been friends for awhile" Harry said

Daphne smiled up at him, her eyes opening again, meeting his own with a sleepy gaze

Harry smiled back. He thought she was the cutest thing in the world in the morning.

A few weeks later and Daphne was still missing Harry's warm embrace as they slept, but she blushed to herself. They were friends, she couldn't demand to come sleep in his bed every night just cause she liked to be cuddled…who knew what he needed his privacy for she thought

Her check heated up in embarrassment as she tried to derail that particular train of thought

Harry had also managed to somehow switch electives and Daphne smiled as they partnered up together on their Runes Project that Professor Babbling had assigned.

She decided now was as good a time as any to get a few questions answered. Especially since they were in what, Daphne was certain, was not the Gryffindor Common Room.

"So you don't live in the Gryffindor rooms" she said started curiously

"No, as Heir to the founders I had a few other rooms to choose from…since I was sorted into Gryffindor I chose Godric's room as it was closest to the Gryffindor Common Room.

Daphne nodded, looking around, impressed

Daphne was just explaining what she wanted to do with a Runic Cluster, twirling her hair around her finger as she thought when she looked up and suddenly noticed how close their faces were

Her eyes met Harry's sparkly emerald ones and he seemed to stare right into her soul before leaning in every so slightly. Daphne's breath caught as she moved to close the distance, her eyes slowly closing

BANG

The two jumped apart as the portrait swung open and Neville rushed in, his face pale

"Harry" he panted "it's Uncle Sirius"