New chapter here and Harry deals with the fallout of a massive change occurring because of the actions he has taken.

Writer's block hit me hard and the first half of this chapter was all I was able to write for a few weeks spread out. The last half was done in three days, for comparison. The chapter probably won't have a seamless transition from the first half to the second because of a different frame of mind, I should warn.

Harry incinerated another table into ash with a modified blasting curse. Not calming down at all, he fired off several even more destructive curses at the furniture provided by the Room of Requirement to feed his destructive desire.

The air started to get hot from the powerful magic being cast, but Harry couldn't be bothered at all. Roaring in rage, he slashed his wand from his right shoulder downward diagonally and sent a deep purple coloured blade of eldritch energy towards his target, cleaving through it like a hot knife through butter.

He took several deep breaths and felt his anger slowly bleed away, the origin of said anger running through his head.

Voldemort had broken into Azkaban and freed his Death Eaters earlier. Halloween instead of Christmas time being when it occurred.

Harry knew it was because Sirius had been freed. It wasn't a coincidence that Pettigrew was found floating right next to an area that only a rat could get through.

If Harry wasn't aware of Voldemort being alive, he might have even believed the farce that was delivered by the man to cover up how he broke in. But the manner was unsettling in and of itself. It went against Voldemort's usual modus operandi of blowing things apart and asking questions later.

Running his fingers through his damp hair to get it out of his face, Harry commanded the room to fix itself up as he turned to leave, his anger still under the surface.

"What's up with Potter, Daph?" Tracey asked her worriedly, the brunette glancing at the raven haired teen that was clenching his knife far too tightly for safety.

Potions was extremely quiet for once, mainly from what had happened almost two weeks ago.

It was nearly mid November and people were still talking about the escape of several high security prisoners from Azkaban. Harry had called off the DA meeting for that week and he hadn't showed up in the Great Hall for food, meaning he'd been completely ghosting everyone.

Daphne had been worried enough that she even went to the Weasley twins when Harry had told her to wait a little bit on their lessons while he tried to clear his thoughts.

The next DA meeting was supposed to be tomorrow, but most of the people that showed up were concerned that Harry had taken it worse than initially feared.

Probably the only person taking it worse was Longbottom. Malfoy had made a small comment, not even a particularly bad one, and got a fist to the face, courtesy of the usually shy Gryffindor. A month's detention didn't seem to bother him, but it had several Slytherins on edge. A few older ones were pleased about the breakout, but they had wisely not said anything or shown it publicly for fear of a short fused Harry Potter breaking something.

Daphne glanced at her friend and honestly didn't know what to say.

"I don't know," She whispered, mindful of Snape hovering over Finnegan's table, "He's been ghosting me for several days."

That had her irritated. The two of them had a heart to heart talk and he had obviously shown trust in her by showing her a variant of the Patronus Charm that his ancestors had devised, and now he just ignored her. Even now, he was avoiding where she was sitting. It was maddening!

Daphne stared with all her might at Harry, practically demanding that he look at her. But he still didn't look at her for a moment.

Mark my words, Harry, She thought irritably, not looking forward to the decision she had just made, I'm not letting you be an idiot and brood over something that isn't your fault.

With her mind made up, Daphne's attention went back to her potion, tossing in a crushed rat spleen to the mixture.

"Use the unorthodox, Potter," Snape remarked coldly, flicking aside a cutting curse with his wand, "None of the Dark Lord's Inner Circle will make it simple."

Harry's face betrayed none of his thoughts, but the rage that bubbled under the surface was starting to come to a head.

He did this. The change to Azkaban's break-in was his fault and he couldn't do anything about it.

In a way, the scheduled duelling between him and Snape was welcome. He had an excuse to attack the man to vent his anger instead of letting it fester.

Harry sent a stream of cutting and blasting curses, shouting the incantation for the last spell.

Snape batted aside the initial ones, but the final one was very different than the others.

A stream of fire came from his wand that took the form of a dragon and rushed towards Snape, the normally dower man showing slight surprise.

A twisting of Snape's wand had a near geyser of water erupting from it and formed into a dome around him, a loud hiss coming from the vaporized water.

Harry recognized the cutting curse that went through the vapour screen a moment later.


Harry ducked under it, the sound of stone getting torn away from the wall assaulting his ears, and he growled in anger, Snape finally being visible as the vapour cleared.

"To think you are capable of recognizing a curse as unfamiliar and to avoid it." Snape said curtly, his breathing coming slightly faster than usual. "But that is only one curse, Potter. I will not waste my time playing such childish games of spell trading. The Dark Lord will not toy with you like he did after his restoration."

Harry's teeth clenched, his Occlumency being the only thing stopping him from lashing out.

"Prepare yourself." Snape remarked, his wand blurring at a much faster pace as he sent several different coloured spells towards him.

Harry responded with him upping his own speed to match, blocking and shielding the spells, moving constantly to make himself a harder target.

Snape's lip curled into a truly sinister grin as he upped the spells to more dangerous ones, a few possibly capable of killing if they hit the wrong spot.

Harry batted a few aside, dodged one, and conjured a block of marble to stop the last one. The marble shattered and Harry flicked his wand to banish the shattered remnants towards Snape, the marble coalescing into sharp spikes with another casual flick from the teen's wand.

Snape's sleeve was struck by one before he could raise a shield, tearing it and opening an impressive cut on his forearm.

The rest hit the shield with a resounding clank, fracturing into pieces and falling to the ground.

"You lack instinct." Snape seemed to let loose completely, his voice harsh and furious. "You will fail to protect what matters most if you cannot even defeat me. Just like your father, unable to protect anyone!"

Harry's mind went to the memory of his mother screaming, his Occlumency only keeping his face from showing a reaction.

The next flash of memory was worse.

Blonde hair. A pale face with empty blue eyes gazing at nothing.

Harry's knuckles clenched around his wand and a silver opaque shield formed in front of him, taking several curses without faltering.

Snape did something next that would have been ill advised if he knew what Harry's thoughts were on.

Legilimency was a useable weapon for a duelist to cast a spell that couldn't be seen or shielded against with a magical shield.

Harry felt the focused Legilimency attack and it pried loose a small part of his shielding, specifically the dampener on his emotions.

The screaming of his mother and the emotions he felt as he held Daphne's body mixed together as the connection Snape made for a fraction of a second was overloaded.

Harry roared in anger and fired a bone breaker at a visibly stricken Snape, whose wand had lowered as his Legilimency probe was snapped.

The scarlet coloured spell struck his left collarbone with a sickening snap sound echoing through the room and he fell to the ground, barely catching himself from striking his face against the floor with his right hand.

Harry stormed towards the downed man, his wand glowing and his emotions thrashing around.

Snape's breathing was laboured from pain, but he hadn't cried out.

Harry was breathing heavily as he stood a couple feet in front of Snape, his vision being overshadowed by another memory, a memory of someone who took something precious from him in the same kneeling position.

No! He snarled internally, biting back the urge to hurt Snape further. He isn't Nott. He isn't Nott.

Snape's eyes were fixed on his, his entire body stiff like a cornered animal was when a predator was coiled to strike.

"Potter." He said quietly, for once not sounding like it were an insult.

Harry slowly lowered his wand, setting it against Snape's broken collarbone.

"You were saying about killer instinct, Professor?" He said slowly, muttering a spell that 'Sirius' taught him to fuse a fresh and clean fracture.

His wand glowed a soft green and Snape gritted his teeth as a loud crack came from the bone fusing together.

Harry, after finishing it, turned his back on Snape.

"What did you see?" Harry asked, his wand still ready.

Snape slowly rose to his feet and his breath caught like he'd just registered how much the curse had hurt.

"I heard screaming." Snape replied, his eyes avoiding Harry's, "I recognized the voice." The last part was barely above a whisper.

Harry fought back the urge to curse Snape for violating his privacy. Even if Harry was capable of Legilimency somewhat, it wasn't remotely capable enough to destroy a memory of him attacking Snape or modifying it.

"I hear that everytime dementors are around me," Harry said quietly, wanting Snape to truly understand everything about that, "That's the way I remembered her voice."

Snape, without saying a word, slowly rose to his feet.

"I was incorrect in my observations, Potter," Snape's voice still lacked the bite to it just a few minutes earlier, "You understand the situation and actions that need to be taken."

Snape seemed to force himself to look at Harry's eyes.

"Black and Lupin were not embellishing as much as I initially suspected. You are... adequately capable." It seemed to pain the Head of Slytherin house to say that. "You will cease with your sulking about events outside of your control and resume the study group tomorrow." Snape turned on his heel and left the room, swishing his wand to deactivate the silencing charm, locking charm, and several others he added to the room for privacy.

Harry glared daggers at the man's back and had a sense of vindictive enjoyment out of seeing him limp slightly.

Snape left the room and rounded the corner, disappearing from sight.

Harry dragged his hand through his hair and took a shuddering breath, angry with the situation.

His Occlumency kept the harshest of his memories from making him into a wrathful mess, but the greasy git just had to test out that insufferable tactic used by capable Legilimens in a fight.

"I hope you enjoyed the taste of what you caused, wanker." Harry hissed to himself in Parseltongue, enjoying the feeling of how the sound danced across his mouth.

At the very least, Snape paid off some of the debt he owed by experiencing the fruits of his choice in telling Voldemort part of the prophecy.

Before Harry could decide on what to do now that the duel had ended, he caught a flash of something beside the door.

Harry lazily flicked his wand to cast a detection spell, revealing somebody beside the door.

"Who is it?" He asked stiffly, wondering who was sneaking around on him and Snape.

"Um," Daphne's voice could be heard, sounding unsure, "Can I come in?"

Harry blinked for a moment in confusion on why Daphne of all people was here, but he eventually sighed and decided to roll with it.

"What, Daphne?" He put his wand away, the slight ache in his legs from being constantly on the move against Snape more apparent, now that he was coming down from the adrenaline rush.

Daphne stepped out from the doorway and she looked at him up and down, biting the bottom of her lip nervously.

She got closer and glanced around at the room, taking in the scarring on the walls from curses and hexes.

"Well," Daphne's voice lost its uncertainty after a few seconds, adopting a rather frosty tone, "Judging by the scorch marks on the wall and general damage, there's another reason I saw my Head of House leave this room, sweating, his robes in disarray, and walking with a limp than I previously thought."

It took Harry a moment to register what she said, but when it did, his face twisted into a scowl and he swore he could feel bile rise in the back of his throat.

"Don't even joke about that." He hissed, glaring at the blonde that had a rather smug look on her face.

He'd rather fool around with the giant squid than Severus Snape.

"What else was I supposed to think?" She asked innocently, but her eyes betrayed her irritation. "You ghost me after the Azkaban breakout and Professor Snape comes out of here."

"Don't try to make those comments to get me to speak, Daphne," Harry said coldly, "It doesn't suit you."

Harry wasn't wanting to deal with this right now. Snape's little attempt at Legilimency caused a headache from the brutal backlash and he just wanted to leave.

"Then why don't you enlighten me on why you decided to beg off and disappear when we had an agreement for you to help me?" Daphne's hands were balled into fists as she stared at him.

"Because I wasn't in the right frame of mind, Daphne." He stressed her name, her eyes narrowing.

"Why, because you were busy blaming yourself for some idiotic reason?" Daphne rolled her eyes, "I thought you were smarter than that."

"Don't pretend to know what my thoughts are." Harry said flatly, his eyes flicking towards the exit.

"Potter." Daphne warned, noticing where he was looking.

"Daphne, please," Harry was almost ready to beg, "I don't want to talk."

Daphne walked closer to him, within arm's reach, her eyes almost pleading.

"You told me you could help me protect my family," Daphne nearly whispered, swallowing slightly, "And then you leave without giving a reason."

"I," Harry hesitated for a moment, forcing himself to look at her eyes, despite the reminder Snape's Legilimency forced on him, "I needed some time to process what happened on Halloween. I know I caused it."

Harry was surprised when Daphne smacked his shoulder.

"It. Is. Not. Your. Fault." She said forcefully, "Honestly, I don't understand how Weasley or Granger can stand your brooding."

Again, Harry felt his irritation rise, but he clamped it down.

"I don't understand how you could possibly think it was your fault."

"It was a message," Harry stressed, pressing his fingers to the bridge of his nose in frustration, "I took the Black Lordship from Malfoy and I made myself look like a hero. So he set up Pettigrew and did it on Halloween."

Harry turned away from Daphne and started to pace some.

"I should've been honest about why I needed some space," He admitted after pacing back and forth, "But I... I didn't know how to say it."

Harry didn't feel comfortable with throwing his own fears and insecurities onto Daphne's lap. It was different when they had been together for some time. He'd been able to let his guard down, so to speak, and let her talk him through some of the guilt that lingered years after Sirius had died.

But Daphne was still a 15, almost 16, year old girl. He felt wrong about burdening her about his worries.

"Harry," Daphne said softly, putting her hand on his upper arm assuredly, "I knew what I was doing when I reached out for us to work together. That includes helping where I can. I know you're a private person, but you don't need to bottle it up until it messes with your head."

Harry felt his body relax as she kept talking.

"The DA needs you. I know it was hard on you, but it was also hard for Longbottom."

Of course I didn't think of Neville. Harry scolded himself, annoyed with himself for deciding to not say anything to ease Neville's predictable reaction.

"Are you wanting to talk?" Daphne asked politely, no longer pressing, simply asking.

Sighing, Harry nodded and pulled out his wand, conjuring two chairs.

He sat down in one, while Daphne sat in the other.

Threading his fingers through his still sweaty hair, Harry began talking about his concerns about the future of the war with Voldemort, Daphne remaining a silent listener. He talked about how it would likely go and that it needed to be headed off within a year or two if they didn't want it to snowball over.

It was probably an hour or two of him simply talking, with Daphne only occasionally asking one or two things before letting him continue.

After Harry finished talking, he realized he felt more relaxed than he had since the breakout. Maybe he just needed to air out his worries to a receptive ear.

"It sounds like you were holding on to a burden because you felt you were the one best able to carry it." Daphne eventually said, her legs crossed and her hands on her lap.

"To be fair," Harry replied, "I probably am."

"Still a Gryffindor, I see." Daphne scoffed lightly.

"And you're still the Ice Queen." Harry couldn't help but smirk.

"Prat." Daphne narrowed her eyes at the idiotic nickname.

Harry cast a quick Tempus charm and couldn't stifle the groan.

"I don't want to head to the Great Hall for supper. I'll deal with human interaction tomorrow at the meeting."

"You're not going to cancel it?" Daphne asked hopefully.

Harry stood up from the chair and rotated his neck lightly, sighing audibly.

"Stewing over something I couldn't stop isn't enjoyable. I'll just need to speed up the lessons to feel better."

"Will you do that with mine?" Daphne's tone was even more animated now.

"If you can keep up." Harry offered resignedly, starting to walk away.

"Hey," Daphne got up and hurried towards him, slowing down as she caught up, "Where are you going?"

"Food." Harry said simply, turning right as he exited the room.

"The Great Hall is the other way."

"I'm not going to the Great Hall," Harry heard Daphne huff as his stride lengthened, forcing her to walk a little faster, "I'm going to the kitchens. Feel free to join me."

Daphne turned her head and looked up at him skeptically, a pale brow raised.

"You can access the kitchens?"

"How do you think Fred and George have managed to sneak potions into the food for the last few years?" Harry smiled, noticing Daphne's eyes narrow.

"So that's how they've been doing it." Daphne grumbled, shaking her head.

Slytherin students had been pranked periodically over the years since Fred and George had found the kitchens early on and would convince the house elves to put "Vitamins" in some of the food.

"I'll trust that you won't tell your Housemates?" Harry said, turning another corner as the two still ventured to an unknown place for Daphne.

"As long as they don't change my hair to red, I'll keep quiet." Daphne exhaled through her nose audibly, her hand ghosting towards her hair.

Doing something he had done more than once after they moved in together, Harry flicked his fingers and concentrated while Daphne looked away from him for a moment.

Her hair shimmered slightly and turned partially to red as the wandless colour changing charm took hold.

Harry began counting how long it would take her to notice it as they reached their destination.

"Watch closely." He said as he stepped forward, tickling the pear specifically on the portrait.

A faint giggle was heard and the door swung open, revealing the house elves scurrying around in preparation for supper.

Several of them turned to face the two students when they heard the door open, Dobby being the one to practically squeal as he ran towards Harry.

"Dobby knew Harry Potter would come back!" Dobby grabbed ahold of Harry's midriff and hugged him.

Neither Harry or Daphne could understand much else from how excited he was and the jabbering that followed.

Daphne looked around at the kitchens, given that she'd never seen them before, and slowly took it in.

"Dobby," Harry eventually got the elf to calm down, "I know the kitchens are a little busy, but could you guys possibly fix our food and keep it here?" Harry then looked at Daphne. "And this is Daphne." He added, realizing he hadn't introduced her.

Dobby nodded his head very quickly and turned around, rushing towards where food was being prepared.

Pulling out his wand, Harry flicked it in front of him and Daphne, conjuring a table for the two of them. He then conjured two chairs.

"This honestly feels like a date." Daphne muttered, sitting down, "Not that I'm complaining."

Harry hid his reaction behind a joke, using Occlumency to hide his actual thoughts.

"It can be if you want." He said with a smirk.

"Right." Daphne deadpanned, "But right now, I'd rather talk about the reason for why you and Professor Snape were duelling."

Harry grimaced and debated for a moment, wondering whether he should be honest.

Sod it. He thought, deciding to be a little more forthcoming.

"Given that Voldemort," Harry noticed Daphne twitch at the name, "Is back, I need some more hands on training. I assume you are aware of your Head of House's prior loyalties?" He raised a brow.

Daphne snorted and nodded. "First years are made aware of it, Harry." She didn't try to hide her eye roll.

"I may be a Gryffindor, Daphne," Harry rolled his eyes in turn to annoy her, "But I'm not an idiot. I know I've pulled stuff off you don't realize."

"Stone," Daphne raised a hand up with her index up, "Chamber," Another finger, "Dementors, and tournament. Anything else, my golden prince?"

"Oh God," Harry muttered to himself, noticing Dobby coming towards them with a tray of food, "Don't ever call me that again."

"Does that really annoy you?" Daphne laughed, her eyes alight with amusement.

"Ice Queen." Harry muttered in response.

"Fine," Daphne got the message, "I won't say it again."

"Back to Snape," Harry turned and thanked Dobby as the tray was set down and Harry grabbed his plate of food, letting it sit for a moment, "A former Death Eater that is an extremely capable duelist is somebody well equipped to prepare someone that's target number one for the current band of terrorists running around."

Harry saw as Daphne connected the dots, her face expressionless and unreadable to someone that didn't know her as well as he did.

"Surprising that he would be willing to," Daphne eventually muttered, reaching to grab her plate of food, "I can guess that he enjoys hitting you with curses legally?"

"And so do I." Harry smirked, before tilting his head when Daphne's cheeks darkened a little.

"What?" Harry asked confusedly.

"I, uh," Daphne seemed at a loss for words for a moment, "I think I misunderstood."

"You lost me," Harry said, but he realized what she misunderstood, "And you found me. Ugh." He grimaced in disgust.

"I hope you meant you like cursing him." Daphne tried to smooth it over, looking extremely embarrassed.

"I'm certain both Severus Snape and I would rather die extremely painful deaths before we'd ever reciprocate anything that isn't loathing towards one another."

The two remained quiet for a few minutes as they ate some of the food, the elves taking a moment to rotate the cycle of plates now that supper had begun for the school.

Harry bit into some of his treacle tart and heard Daphne stifle a giggle. He rolled his eyes, knowing why she was amused.

"Man cannot live by muffins alone, Daphne." Harry snickered, taking another bite.

"Your argument is lacking," Daphne sniffed arrogantly, "Treacle tart is terrible compared to muffins."

And yet, you'd fix it for my birthday and would sneak a slice or two when you thought I wasn't looking. Harry hid his smile, remembering how beautiful she looked with an apron on and some flour on her face that she didn't notice.

"Knut for your thoughts?" Daphne asked, eying him speculatively.

"Oh, it's nothing," Harry replied, knowing she wouldn't believe him if he told her, "I just realized I've never asked if you like music."

Daphne hummed thoughtfully, resting her chin against her hand.

"There isn't really a favourite kind that I'm always interested in. The Weird Sisters is fairly good, but it just depends on what strikes my fancy."

"Any muggle bands or music?" Harry asked, curious about any that Daphne might have listened to before they had started dating. She'd never mentioned muggle music before.

"That's pretty much banned since two years ago." Daphne muttered with a hint of exasperation, "My father found a song that was named Roxanne and it sounded nice to him, even if he didn't pay attention to the lyrics."

Harry picked the wrong time to take a sip of pumpkin juice and coughed into the cup, spilling some on his front.

He started coughing to clear out his airway and felt his eyes water.

"What?" Harry managed to choke out, never knowing this.

He knew the song and could assume Daphne's mother would've hated it by merit of the lyrics.

"Oh, you recognize the song," Daphne laughed softly, her teeth visible from her smile, "You can guess how my mum reacted."

"She was touched by your father's good taste in music?" Harry asked with a sizable dose of sarcasm.

"I thought she was going to kill him." Daphne admitted, covering her mouth as she giggled," Roxanne-" Daphne started singing it, trying to not stammer from laughing.

Harry joined in and the two started singing the song, constantly laughing as they tried to keep a steady tune.

After they stifled their laughter, Harry leaned a little closer to Daphne, grabbing her complete attention.

"Thank you for talking with me, Daphne," Harry said genuinely, "I needed someone to talk to."

"You're a friend, Harry," Daphne set her right hand on his left, eliciting a slight stiffening of his posture, "Even if we started out as 'allies'," She rolled her eyes at the word, "I'm truly thankful to have started to know you as Harry, not the Boy-who-lived."

Harry smiled as the two stared at each other for a moment, this one moment making him forget everything he'd experienced. It was almost as if it was all just a bad dream.

But he knew it wasn't.

Voldemort broke his Death Eaters out earlier, but Harry at least was able to get out of the hole he dug from stewing over it and blaming himself.

"I think Ms. Davis will be getting a little worried from how long you've been gone." Harry eventually said.

Daphne let go of his hand and nodded, looking saddened.

"I'll see you tomorrow." She said, hesitating for a moment, before turning and leaving.

Harry sat there for a minute before he turned and thanked Dobby, as well as the rest of the house elves, and left the kitchens.

He pulled out his invisibility cloak and donned it, walking back to Gryffindor tower, his thoughts going over the last week.

I'll need to apologise. Harry thought to himself as he got to the Fat lady's portrait.

He'd ghosted his friends to give himself space, having only talked with Sirius through the mirror.

Sirius had been high strung and had been doing some political maneuvering in the aftermath, including a few things relating to getting Amelia Bones potentially on board with the Order.

Harry pulled off his cloak and said the password, causing the entrance to open. He stepped forward and saw that a few Gryffindors were milling about, most of them looking subdued.

The last Potter spotted Hermione and Ron, the two whispering to each other with a couple papers between them.

Ron had been taking his studies more seriously ever since the summer, especially the practical portion. Harry had checked a few of his papers, noting they still seemed a little bland, but his practicals improved some in Charms, Transfiguration, and Defense.

It took a moment, but the common room noticed him there and all got quiet, eying him a little nervously.

Harry gave Ron and Hermione an apologetic look and walked towards them, discreetly casting a silencing charm as he let his wand lower towards his palm.

"Before either of you say anything," Harry muttered, flicking his wand again to cast a Notice Me Not that should last a few minutes, "I'm not upset with anyone. I just needed time to get my head on straight."

"You didn't talk to anyone for a week, Harry." Hermione said worriedly, her expression and tone soft, "That's not normal."

"I'm Harry bloody Potter," Harry scoffed, "I'm anything but normal."

"Just," Hermione sighed, Ron's eyes also fixed on Harry, "I want to trust that you're not going to isolate and not talk with anyone."

"I've talked, Hermione." Harry said flatly, "And not just to Sirius." He added when Hermione looked to be prepared to comment.

"Who?" She asked skeptically, her brown eyes narrowed.

Harry glanced at Ron for a moment, expecting to get up and leave after his likely blow-up.

"Daphne Greengrass."

Ron's hand clenched and his eyes widened, while Hermione had a suspicious look.

"Are you sure that is wise, Harry?" She asked with no small amount of concern, "I know I've talked with you before, but can she really be trusted to that degree?"

Harry knew Hermione was just trying to be protective, having seen how pretty Daphne looked and the bookworm had been working overtime to try and 'make up' for something she thought was lacking in their friendship. But it bothered him that his best friend doubted Daphne of all people.

"I've already talked with Sirius about her," Harry couldn't keep all of the coldness out of his voice, "Her father wants an out to not be forced between Dumbledore and Voldemort."

Harry fought the near involuntary eye roll he developed from people flinching at the name as the two did just that.

"Why would her family be against You-Know-Who?" Ron asked, finally speaking, "My dad said something about them being secret supporters of him back in the war. I think Greengrass' uncle was a Death Eater."

"He got disowned for that stunt," Harry levelled his gaze at Ron, "And her grandfather used up a lot of money and resources to stop them from being dragged through the mud later."

"Why would she share that?" Hermione asked, tilting her head in confusion and furrowing her brow, "That seems a little personal."

"To show she isn't trying to get one over me." Harry lied easily, having heard it from Daphne years later, "She's not a bad person."

Ron didn't bother hiding the snort of distrust and doubt.

"Care to share with the class, Mr Weasley?" Harry asked rhetorically, his piercing green eyes fixed on Ron's blue.

"She's from a Pureblood family that had someone closely related being a Death Eater," Ron said coldly, "A snake."

"Pettigrew was a Gryffindor," Harry said tightly, "What's your point?"

Ron winced at the tone, but soldiered on.

"It's not a coincidence that she's all interested in you, mate," Ron's face hardened, "I mean, not that you're ugly or stupid, but do you really think you're worth a girl pissing off her House to be friends with you?"

Harry took a deep breath, his hand clenching and unclenching.

"Have you spoken with her at all outside of a classroom setting?" Harry asked simply.

"Er, no?" Ron replied, a bit confused.

"Well I have." Harry's voice tightened suddenly, "And she hates Voldemort's Pureblood supremacy stance."

Before Ron could say anything, Harry spoke again.

"I've talked with her and helped her out privately with some spell work," Harry explained, "Her family owns more than one potion brewery. She would've had me dosed with a love potion within the week if she meant any nefarious intent."

"So either you trust my judgement on whether she's trustworthy and her family's political sway can help me kill Voldemort," Harry spat the name out, "Or you can stop helping me out. Sirius and my dad started second guessing and doubting Remus later in the war, but didn't think anything of Pettigrew. I don't need to tell you how that ended."

"Harry," Ron's voice almost cracked in horror, "I'd never do that. I'd never betray you."

"Would you betray my trust for what you thought was my own good?" Harry ignored the small stab of pain as he forced his Occlumency to blunt the emotions swelling up from remembering Ron doing exactly that.

"Harry." Hermione said his name, her eyes moving between her two friends nervously, "Please, you don't realize how that sounds."

"Ron," Harry ignored Hermione, staring at the red haired teen, "Would you sabotage a possible friendship and alliance I could create with Daphne Greengrass? Because she's a Slytherin?"

Ron looked terrified, his breath coming fast and shallow.


"Answer me for the sake of our friendship."

Ron's hand clenched and he stared back at Harry.

"No." Ron's voice cut through air like a knife, "I wouldn't. I can't betray you like that."

Liar! Harry growled internally, fighting the urge to storm away.

"Even if I did think something was wrong, I can't really trust my own judgement after last year, can I?" Ron put his head in his hands, looking away.

"Ron, don't be like that." Hermione tried to get Ron to lay off himself, but the teenager didn't seem to care, even as the girl tried to place her hand on his shoulder.

"Please don't, Hermione," Ron shrugged her hand off him, "Harry's got every right to doubt me. He saved Ginny and I thanked him by being a wanker and doubted him about putting his name in the goblet."

Hermione's eyes narrowed at the word wanker, but she kept quiet.

"I'm not going to doubt your judgement, Harry." Ron sighed sadly, "I'm not going to be a terrible friend again."

Harry stared at Ron in shock. He'd never been that honest and open about that before. Did him giving him the cold shoulder over the summer change him that much? Or did he just keep quiet about it?

"Thank you, Ron." Harry managed to say after he found his voice, "I just... I don't want everything to go to hell again."

"I understand, mate." Ron sighed again, "I'll trust your judgement about Greengrass. But if she gets you hurt," Ron looked up at him, "Be prepared for me to say 'I told you so'."

"No argument there." Harry said, flicking his wand to get rid of the privacy charms. "And I should've said something instead of not talking. Sorry about that."

Ron looked relieved and Hermione as well, but to a lesser degree.

"I'll get an answer for how you managed to cast that nonverbally in just a couple months." Hermione scowled as the spell ended.

"Practice." Harry gave the same non-answer to push Hermione's buttons.

Before Harry could say anything else, Neville came through the entrance, looking deep in thought.

"Neville," Harry raised his voice slightly to get his attention, the normally soft-spoken boy coming towards him, "You alright?"

Neville seemed relieved to Harry, probably from the fact that he was actually interacting now.

"I was going to ask that." Neville muttered, still looking confused, "Something's going on with Professor Snape."

"What?" Harry asked, assuming it was probably from him fracturing Snape's collarbone.

"He told me to write lines and to leave early." Neville's frown deepened, "I don't know why he'd do that."

The fifth year Gryffindor had been given detention with Snape after he punched Malfoy, and judging by Neville's reaction, Snape didn't do his regular punishment.

Neville muttered something and looked at Harry a little more closely.

"Could you help me with some spells?" Neville asked quietly, glancing around the common room.

"One on one help?" Harry asked in response, not looking forward to it if that were the case.

"Yeah." Neville replied.

Harry sighed audibly and closed his eyes for a moment, trying to think of what to say.

"I'm helping someone else one on one, Neville." Harry eventually said, hating every moment of it, "I don't think I have the time for it all."

"I can't-" Neville began to say, but stopped himself, "Can we talk more privately?" He almost begged, looking extremely uncomfortable.

"Dormitory." Harry said simply, turning on his heel and walking towards the steps to the fifth year boy's dormitory, with Neville right behind him.

The two got to their destination and Harry turned around, facing Neville.

"Okay, talk." Harry said kindly, noticing how tense Neville's posture was.

Neville seemed to no longer care about bottling it up when they were in the common room and had several pairs of eyes on him.

"I can't stand it." Neville's face betrayed his anger, "Her face in the Daily Prophet, staring at me. Taunting me." His fists were clenched and his body was shaking. "I know You-Know-Who broke them out. I'm too stupid and weak to kill her." Neville turned away from Harry and started drawing in ragged breaths. "I'm useless."

"Neville, stop it." Harry scolded him, putting his hand one Neville's shoulder to pull him to face him again. "I know what you're talking about. I read what happened from the trials."

Neville's eyes practically glowed from his anger, not from Harry knowing, but from the situation.

"Then you know why I want help."

"You had your mum and dad taken from you," Harry nodded, "But do you really think they'd want you to be like this right now?"

"I wouldn't know what they think." Neville muttered darkly, "But I can't deal with the Slytherins constantly grinning about it. I already punched Malfoy, and I enjoyed it." Neville looked disgusted with himself. "I feel like I can't do anything."

"Have you talked with Professor McGonagall?" Harry asked, "We both know punching and cursing people doesn't help."

"I can't stop thinking about it, Harry, that's why I want you to help me!" Neville's desperation was visible in his eyes as he practically pleaded, "I can either get detention after detention because they get what they deserve," Neville almost seemed to doubt his own words, "Or I can get help and vent."

Between his own training, helping Daphne, duelling with Snape, and maintaining a somewhat healthy social life, Harry was spread thin.

But Neville was a friend in need of help.

"I'll need to check something," Harry eventually said, deciding to talk with Snape before curfew, "I won't make any promises, but I'll try to help how I can."

All of Neville's frustration and negativity seemed to bleed away from the answer, his face breaking out into a smile.

"Thank you, Harry," His fellow Gryffindor relaxed as he nearly collapsed into his own bed, "Thank you."

"We gotta stick together, mate," Harry let his eyes flick towards his trunk for a moment, "Gryffindors aren't liked by Death Eaters."

Neville muttered something that Harry couldn't make out, but it sounded like an acknowledgement.

Not thinking of anything else related to the previous statement, Harry asked something he'd been wanting to for awhile, but had been distracted by the breakout.

"How's the new wand working for you?"

Neville laughed and pulled it from his pocket.

"I think I might pass Transfiguration now," Neville's barely Acceptable grade in the subject was definitely known to Harry, "My Gran wasn't happy about Professor McGonagall asking to talk with her. I wish I wasn't there to hear it."

Harry could only imagine how two extremely opinionated witches would clash when it was related to Neville's wand.

"But it works well for you?"

Neville's grin lightened his expression. "Better than anything else. It feels easy when I cast spells now. It was sluggish before, but it's much easier than before."

Flicking his own wand in his hand, Harry twirled it between his fingers.

"I'm glad for you Neville," Harry stowed his wand away in his sleeve again, "I'll be back." He added a little abruptly, walking towards the steps, "I'll check on the thing I needed to."

Harry barely heard Neville acknowledge what he said before he started going down the steps. Glancing at Ron and Hermione and giving a quick and vague explanation on where he was going, he exited the Gryffindor common room and visualize the destination he had in mind, walking towards it.

Severus Snape was currently doing something that he wasn't supposed to do during the week and would have left Dumbledore very displeased with him for setting a bad example.

He was drinking.

The days following the Azkaban breakout were taking a toll on him. The Dark Lord had gone quiet for a time while his Inner Circle recovered, but the man had him brewing potions to speed up their recovery.

Oh how he wished he could slip something in some of the nutrition potions, if only the Dark Lord wasn't breathing down his neck the whole time. But that wasn't the only thing that set him on edge. Questions about Potter were being asked. His progression in his studies, his demeanor, things that normally would be beneath the attention of the most powerful Dark Lord in centuries.

The combination of those things had him straight up enjoying the prospect of putting Potter in his place and to teach Longbottom the error in being an impulsive idiot.

But Potter had matched his attacks and was displaying a viciousness that wasn't common in an unblooded teenager.

Deciding to defeat Potter in a way he wouldn't be prepared for, something the Dark Lord would likely try in a possible confrontation, Snape had hit him with a concentrated Legilimancy probe.

How was he supposed to know that Potter had impressive Occlumency barriers in his mind? He had never been told. A single memory had been directed back at him by his probe, likely being at the surface because of the taunt he made moments earlier.

I didn't realize that he heard her when dementors were near. Snape downed the remaining contents of the glass, hissing softly as the firewhiskey went down his throat.

It wasn't natural for Potter to have that memory. It was wrong in a way that defied all of his thoughts about Potter. Emotions were also something Snape felt through the Legilimancy probe. The amount of self-hatred and blame was disturbing, and not just because it was coming from a 15 year old boy when he thought about his mother.

Snape honestly wasn't able to tell if it was Potter's emotions or his own from his own feeling of guilt surrounding the death of Lily Evans.

The experience was not a pleasant one for Snape. Potter exhibited thoughts and actions similar to his own when it was related to Lily Evans, making him doubt his choice of seeing Potter as primarily James Potter's son instead of Lily's.

As he was sat at his desk, stewing over his choices in life, Snape felt the alert on his door activate, meaning someone was outside. A moment later, a knock was heard.

Pulling out his wand, Snape levitated the bottle of whiskey he normally reserved for the end of the year towards a cabinet, setting it down and closing it with a casual flick of his wand. He then grabbed the glass and shifted it out of sight.


The door opened and revealed Potter out of all people.

Snape internally cursed his luck, eying the younger of the two with disguised curiosity.

"Potter." He said neutrally.

"Professor." Potter returned an equally neutral response.

Snape waited for Potter to explain why he was disturbing his silence patiently.

"I wish to put the duelling lessons on hold for a short while." Potter said simply, not beating around the bush, "Neville wishes for more help on spell work."

Snape showed no outward reaction outside of a slight raising of his brow.

"I am unsurprised that Longbottom would require more assistance," Snape remarked flatly, gazing at Potter's posture for a sign of irritation, "But it is foolish for you to impede your own progress for his sake."

"A few weeks to get him to calm down over the Azkaban breakout will stop him from punching Malfoy when he predictably says something stupid." Potter drawled in an intentional mimicking of his own tone of voice, "You don't want to deal with overseeing his detentions and I don't want a friend being in detention in the first place."

Snape honestly couldn't bring himself to care what Potter said. The duelling lessons were voluntary on Potter's part. Nobody was forcing him to do it. If Potter wanted a short break to attempt to keep Longbottom from making a fool of himself, then Snape wouldn't raise a fuss.

"If that is what you wish to do, why disturb my personal time?" Snape asked simply. "I am rather busy."

"Busy drinking the firewhiskey in your potion cabinet?" Potter asked with the same taunting tone James Potter had been fond of, his son's face almost identical.

Snape gave a halfhearted glare at Potter somehow knowing that, but he didn't expect the teen to be forthcoming with how he found out about it.

"Your continued presence is unnecessary." Snape said, remaining in his seat.

"Noted, sir." Harry turned to leave, but paused for a moment, "Despite being an irritating and spiteful man, you were a friend to my mother and have helped me prepare for the Dark Lord. Thank you and we can pick up where we left off in a few weeks, sir." He then opened the door and left, the sound of his footsteps becoming more and more faint as he walked away..

Snape watched Potter's back as he left, his eyes still on the doorway after he disappeared from sight.

Pondering his next course of action, Snape eventually decided to refrain from filling the glass again. Instead, he rose from his chair and went to finish grading the few remaining papers of some first years.

Why must you make this difficult, Potter? Snape thought internally. Why must you hate yourself for Lily's death?

The last thing Snape wanted was to see more of himself in Potter than the bits of James Potter's personality he rarely saw.

He banished the thoughts from his mind and went back to grabbing the papers in need of grading, the monotonous task preferable.

Daphne entered the Slytherin common room, noticing a few students doing a doubletake.

Yes, I know I'm beautiful. She thought sarcastically, walking straight towards her room.

She entered and saw Tracey lounging on her bed, sprawled out completely.

"Get up." Daphne instructed irritably, flicking her wand at Tracey and sending a stinging hex at her.

Tracey barely held back a shriek as it struck her, causing her to jump up.

"A simple request would've been fine." The brunette grimaced as she massaged her left thigh where the hex hit her.

Tracey focused on Daphne's face and she started snickering.

"Annoyed the Weasley twins?" Tracey asked as she was still laughing.

"What?" Daphne tilted her head confusedly, not understanding her friend.

Tracey kept giggling and went to her own bed, pulling a small hand mirror out and tossing it to the natural blonde.

Daphne caught it and stared at her reflection, her eyes widening in horror.

"My hair!" She screamed, half of it turned red.

She looked closer and she knew who did it to her. The colouring was patterned in the same way the red and gold of the Gryffindor House crest.

"I'm going to kill him." Daphne growled, taking out her wand.

"That's rude, Daph," Tracey was red-faced from her nonstop laughing fit, "Think of it like someone putting a flag on a conquered castle."

Daphne glared at her friend, not finding it funny at all.

"Shut up." She muttered, running her hand through her hair.

She hated anybody messing with her hair. It was hers! Nobody else's.

"But Daph, you know what they say about boys that mess with a girl's hair," She smiled deviously, "It means they like you."

Daphne fired another stinging hex at Tracey, hitting her nose.

"Not the face!" Tracey shouted, clutching her face. "I don't know why I'm still your friend."

Daphne was annoyed with Tracey, but she knew she meant well. The blonde/redhead sat down on her bed and waited for Tracey to stop sulking.

"My nose is probably as red as your hair now." Tracey mumbled, stomping towards Daphne and sitting next to her.

"This is my bed." Daphne said, annoyed by how her sheets were messed up from her friend wallering like a pig in her bed. "And yes, your nose matches the rest of you."

Tracey's nose was now swelled and was red from the stinging hex, the brunette giving Daphne the stink eye.

"I missed you too." Tracey mumbled, glancing at Daphne's hair again. "And how is Potter? I was a little busy getting hexed by you."

"Don't lay in my bed," Daphne shot back, twisting her wand counterclockwise and muttering a spell to nullify the hex she hit Tracey with, "There. And Harry," Daphne ignored the snort Tracey made at her using his first name so casually, "Was handling it about as well as Longbottom did, minus punching Malfoy."

The two had discussed the possibility of Harry possibly getting in a row with Malfoy and Tracey had jokingly tried to make a bet on which bones Harry would break.

"Do we need to worry about him giving Professor Snape a headache by teaching a lesson to a few of our more... pure-hearted housemates?" Tracey asked with a roll of her eyes.

Being a half-blood, Tracey was definitely aware and witnessed the barely disguised contempt and backhanded comments from other Slytherins, the fact that her father was a Lord was the only reason her mother's status as a muggleborn wasn't used against her.

"Probably not," Daphne replied, resisting the urge to try and change her hair colour back, "He just needed a sympathetic voice to put him back in his place."

"Really practicing your married life already, Daph?" Tracey snickered, ignoring the icy glare from her friend, "I'm not getting any younger. I want to be the Maid of Honour before I'm old and grey."

"You're a month younger than me." Daphne deadpanned.

"You don't need to remind me how old you are," Tracey laughed, ducking as Daphne swatted at her lightly, "Do you need a little help snagging Potter?" Her expression set off a few alarms in Daphne's head.

Despite have several misgivings, Daphne asked the question.

"What exactly do you mean?" Her voice was laced with warning.

"I'm pretty sure you can ask your dad for a dose of Polyjuice," Tracey said innocently, "A hair from you and I can help you out."

"That's not funny, Tracey." Daphne's eyes narrowed at her friend, "And aren't you supposed to ask out Blaise?"

"This isn't about me, Daphne," Tracey said admonishingly, "This about you snagging Potter and me being a good friend. I can forsake my own true love to help my shy and nervous best friend." She added the last part with a snicker.

"You are not going to Polyjuice yourself to look like me to ask Harry out on a date." Daphne said coldly, despising such a visual. She knew Tracey was doing it to simply press her buttons to get a reaction...

And it was working.

"Okay, I'll stop," Tracey laughed, putting her hands up to placate the girl, "But how is your mission to ask him out progressing?"

A side eye glance towards Tracey was indicative enough of Daphne's thoughts on that question.

"I'm not answering that."

"Come on," Tracey whined, "I need some excitement in life and you're basically living a romance novel."

Daphne rolled her eyes at that, not believing it one bit.

"How, might I ask, am I 'Living a romance novel'," Daphne used air quotes mockingly, "As you so eloquently put?"

Daphne did not like Tracey's expression.

"The frosty and cold girl," Tracey began grandly, a massive smirk on her face, "And the dashing and bold guy. Two rival houses, coming together against all odds."

"You're not as funny as you think you are." Daphne rolled her eyes, ignoring her friend attempting to annoy her. "Can you fix my hair? I can't exactly see it very well."

Tracey sighed and mumbled something about being a killjoy and pulled out her wand, muttering the incantation Finite.

Daphne felt her scalp tingle as Tracey's wand glowed purple and the spell took hold.

"Well?" Daphne asked, noticing Tracey go very quiet, "Done?"

"Um," Tracey slowly backed away, her face extremely pale, "I think something went wrong."

Daphne's breath quickened and her eyes widened in fear, her hands going up to her hair. She grabbed some and pulled it in front of her eyes to see it.

Instead of her normally bright blonde hair, or even the infernal red mix that Harry did, it was orange.

"Tracey," Daphne growled, turning to her potentially former friend, "What. Did. You. Do?!"

"I- I," She stuttered, backing away further, "I did the charm right. It should've worked."

"Well it obviously didn't!" Daphne snapped, moaning pathetically as she imagined Astoria mocking her again like last time.

"I don't know what to do!" Tracey threw up her hands, "Did Harry set it up like that?"

That had Daphne stopping in her tracks, making her think for a moment.

I told him about the Weasleys changing my hai- you're dead, Potter.

Daphne walked towards her trunk, flipping it open and grabbing her dress hat.

"What're you doing?" Tracey asked confusedly, her hands fidgeting in worry.

"I'm going to kill the Boy-who-lived." Daphne said simply, tying her hair into a bun and putting her hat on to hide it.

"I don't think you can get into Gryffindor tower." Tracey pointed out, ignoring the proclamation of premeditated murder. "Wrong House."

"Watch me." Daphne challenged, walking out of the room.

Daphne continued onward and ignored everyone looking at her with curiosity, exiting the the Slytherin common room.

"Unless you have the password, I cannot grant you entrance." The Fat Lady declared, looking down at Daphne.

Daphne had made her way through the castle, under a Disillusionment charm of course, and reached the location of Gryffindor tower.

Right now, it had been several minutes of her pleading with the portrait to let her in for a moment, or to at least send a message.

"I cannot send messages, girl," The Fat Lady stressed the last word as if Daphne were a child, "And it would be for the best that you leave before the other portraits listening in decide to report that a student is out past curfew and is attempting to get into another house's common room."

Daphne seethed at the denial, glaring up at the portrait.

"I might need to be like Sirius Black then." Daphne said icily, inspecting her hand and flexing her fingers to show her nails. "He seemed to know what to do."

The Fat Lady recoiled away, a look of fear on her face.

"Go, hellion," The portrait demanded, "The nerve of youth these days." She huffed.

Daphne cursed under her breath and walked away, fighting the urge to try and fix her hair.

She had already tried it multiple times as she walked to Gryffindor tower, but it wasn't working at all.

I'm not dealing with orange hair. She growled internally. Her ideas were running thin on how to deal with it. She could try and 'borrow' one of the school brooms and fly up to the window, but that would be difficult. It wasn't like she could apparate.

Wait a minute. She paused at the last thought, a small smile making its way to her face. Witches and Wizards can't apparate in Hogwarts, but I know who can.

Daphne reached the kitchens and tickled the pear on the portrait, a faint giggle coming from it as the portrait opened up.

Daphne noticed that most of the elves were absent, while only a handful were still organizing dishes for breakfast tomorrow.

"Excuse me," She walked towards the nearest elf, its dark eyes looking up at her, "Do you know where Dobby is?"

"Dobby be helping Winky in the Come and Go room." The elf said in a squeaky voice, its expression less than happy, "Other elves be better if help is needed."

"I prefer Dobby." Daphne replied, knowing that Harry was well acquainted with the elf, "And what is the Come and Go room?"

"A room that provides things on the Seventh floor," The elf began to explain, but Daphne held up her hand.

"I think I know what you're talking about," She said, suspecting that Harry might've learned about the room from the house elves, "Would you mind telling him a friend of Harry's needs help with something?" She asked politely.

The elf nodded its head.

"Dobby will be told to help student." The elf then disappeared in a crack.

A few moments later, the elf and Dobby appeared right next to her, the dual crack making her flinch slightly from the sound.

"Harry Potter's Mistress Daphy wishes for Dobby's help?"

Daphne breathed through her nose to not say anything. Those four words were something she never wanted to hear in that order again.

"Please, call me Daphne," She managed to put on a fake smile, the flinch of the elf meaning she failed spectacularly, "Harry is the only one that can fix a little problem I have," She pulled off her hat to reveal her orange hair, "And I need to get into Gryffindor tower. Would you mind apparating me there?"

Dobby frowned, his ears drooping slightly.

"Hogwarts elves are not to be letting students from other Houses apparate alongside them. But Dobby is a free elf," The elf's eyes seemed to have a mischievous glint to them, "Dobby be bringing Mistress Daphy to Harry Potter." The elf reached out his hand towards Daphne's

"Don't call me Da-" The orangette began to say, but her vision blurred and her ears were filled with a crack sound as Dobby apparated.

Harry Potter was laying in bed, reading the book Dumbledore had given him on utilizing Occlumency to put a better leash on his magic and to not randomly cause things to explode.

He'd already known a great deal of it from figuring it out himself, but no harm in reading over it again.

The peaceful atmosphere, with everybody else in the common room, was rudely interrupted when he heard a crack and a weight fell on top of him.

He felt the air get driven from his lungs as someone fell on him, his vision swimming from the shock. The Potter rolled to the side to dislodge the person, a faint squeak of shock coming from the girl's mouth as she hit the ground with a thud.

Harry groaned and had his wand put, clutching his stomach as he tried to make out who it was.

Nobody has orange hair at Hogwarts. He thought, staring at the back of the girl's head. How'd she get here?

That's when he noticed Dobby to the left side of his bed, a look of embarrassment on his face.

"Sorry, Harry Potter," His ears dropped as he waved his arms wildly, "Dobby didn't know Harry Potter was in his bed. Mistress Daphy wants to speak with you."

"Please stop calling me that." Daphne said from the floor, the orange haired girl now identified.

Harry managed to get over his shock of Daphne actually being in his dormitory, trying to figure out why as well.

"Would you mind telling me why the bloody hell you're here and had Dobby drop you on top of me?" He asked, wincing at the soreness already settling in his stomach.

"You mutilated me!" Daphne almost shouted in despair, tugging at her hair, "Change it back! It's been hours."

Harry stared at her hair, then back to the fiery look in her eyes, and fought the urge to flinch back.

"It should've changed back after you used a finite charm on it." Harry said, wondering what on earth would cause it to turn orange. Blonde and red would make it orange when mixed, but he only made part of her hair red.

"Tracey did it and it turned orange." The blonde Slytherin practically moaned the last word out in desperation, fiddling with her hair. "Fix it."

Harry couldn't help himself and started laughing, eliciting a look of icy fury from Daphne.

"I know what happened," Harry explained, smiling at how adorable Daphne looked when angry, "You wouldn't look out of place in the orangutan enclosure at a zoo."

Daphne's hands were clenched and she seemed to grit her teeth.

"That's a warning." She pointed at him, "Now tell me what happened and fix me."

Harry scoffed at her being extremely dramatic about her hair, knowing she didn't take kindly to that part of her being touched or harmed.

"If you'd done it yourself, it would've been fine. Or if I did it. Tracey's magic isn't tied to it, so it got watered down and mixed with the rest of your hair."

Daphne fidgeted as he gently grabbed ahold of some of her hair, his fingers moving across her scalp.

"Hold still," He pointed his wand at her head, "I don't exactly want to accidentally ignite it."

Thankfully, her back was turned at that point. The massive grin on his face would've caused her to slap him. Instead, he heard her whimper faintly and sat completely still in front of his bed.

Harry traced his wand across her head, whispering the incantation. Her hair shifted to its normal honey blonde and he let go of her hair. The girl jumped up and pushed her hair in front of her face, trying to look at it.

"Thank Morgana." She breathed out, her body relaxing in relief.

"Your welcome, Mistress Daphy." Harry muttered, winking at Dobby as a thanks for another way to aggravate Daphne.

"You're insufferable." Daphne huffed, glancing around the dormitory, "And this room is a pigsty."

"I'm sorry that a room of five blokes doesn't live up to your expectations, Daphne." Harry said with a touch of sarcasm, "And yes, I'm fine after you were dropped on me."

"It wasn't on purpose." Daphne said hastily, tucking her hair behind her ears, "But thank you. And please don't mess with my hair again."

"Blame Tracey." Harry said, "She should've known better."

Daphne shook her head and glanced towards the bed.

"Mind if I sit for a moment?" Daphne asked.

"Go ahead," Harry shrugged, "Could you give us a moment, Dobby?" He asked the elf.

The elf nodded and disappeared in a crack.

Daphne sat down on the bed a few feet from Harry, pondering what to say.

"It seems I found a way to get behind enemy lines." She laughed softly to herself, "Slytherin-1, Gryffindor-nil."

You have no idea, Daphne.

"You had an elf," Harry smirked at her, "And I already beat you to the punch by three years."

The blonde obviously didn't expect that, judging by her reaction.

"Huh?" Daphne asked dumbly, looking totally lost.

"I've been in the Slytherin common room, Daphne." Harry smiled, noticing her connect the dots.

"I don't believe you." She eventually said, turning up her nose, "You're lying."

"Under the lake, so the lighting is tinged green." Harry grinned openly when Daphne's eyes widened comically and her mouth fell open.

"How?" She asked incredulously, his description of the Slytherin common room on point.

Harry leaned forward, his mouth just a few inches from Daphne's ear.

"Magic." He whispered, a snort escaping him.

Daphne huffed and pushed him away.


"You mispronounced Potter." Harry shrugged.

It was at about that point that he realized the risk they were taking.

"I think you should g-" He began to say, but the two turned as they heard footsteps.

A very unladylike word escaped Daphne's mouth and Harry did the first thing he could think of.

He grabbed Daphne's shoulders and pushed her face first into the bed, throwing his blanket over her. He heard a muffled growl of several expletives, but he flicked his wand to silence her.

Neville, out of everyone, came up the steps and spotted Harry.

"Harry, Hermione said you could help me out with a question on the Transfiguration pape-" Neville paused as he looked at Harry closer.

Harry's fear was confirmed when Neville's face turned red in embarrassment.

"You, uh," Neville tried to say, "Studying with someone?" His voice was almost a squeak.

Daphne shifted under the blanket to try and get up, but Harry kept his hand on her to keep her still.

"You," Harry paused for a moment, deciding to be merciful to Neville, "Could...say that. Yeah, sure."

Neville at this point was red as a tomato and tripped slightly as he tried to turn and leave.

"Well, good luck, Harry." Neville managed to stammer out, practically running away.

After Neville left, Harry dropped the silencing spell and took his hand off of Daphne's back, the blonde jumping up with a wrathful expression.

"Are you trying to kill me?" She demanded, breathing heavily, "I almost asphyxiated, Potter."

So it's 'Potter' again.

"I didn't want Neville seeing you," Harry defended himself, "As it is, I'm going to be suspected of having a girlfriend. But what if they saw it was you in my bed?"

At the mentioning of 'bed', Daphne jumped up and stepped away, cursing under her breath.

"Elaborate." Daphne said in a clipped tone, her eyes narrowed at him.

Harry replied truthfully.

"Could you imagine the scandal of Harry Potter sneaking his Slytherin lover into Gryffindor tower?"

Daphne sputtered at the description.

"I'm not your lover!" She said hastily, her face flushed in embarrassment.

"If Neville saw you, you might as well be." Harry said in response, "I don't need your dad forcing a Pureblood shotgun wedding because he thought something was going on."

"What even is a 'shotgun wedding'? Daphne asked.

"Threatening to castrate or kill me if I didn't marry you." Harry answered simply. "Not exactly an easy choice."

"Oh hahaha, I feel so desired." Daphne rolled her eyes, looking around, "Can you call for Dobby? I don't want to be in here."

Harry did so and Dobby appeared with a crack at his name being called.

"Mistress Daphy wants to go back to her own bed, Dobby," Harry looked at the elf, "Can you please take her back?"

"Call me that again, and my father will be the least of your worries." Daphne's eyes were focused on him.

Dobby seemed to think that Harry was in physical danger, because he reached out towards Daphne and apparated away, leaving Harry alone in the dormitory.

Now that he was the only one there, Harry let himself fall forward into his pillow, groaning audibly.

It was supposed to be some light-hearted fun to poke Daphne's buttons concerning her hair so he could mentally get away from his issues about Voldemort breaking his Death Eaters out of Azkaban. Instead, he gets an extremely aggravated blonde sicced on him for turning her luscious and beautiful golden locks into an orange abomination.

10/10 spell work, Tracey. He though sarcastically, rolling into his back and grabbing the book Dumbledore gave him.

Harry didn't fancy the odds of Neville not keeping it a secret that he had a girl in his bed. He'd likely accidentally let it slip.

Thank Merlin he didn't see it was Daphne. Harry counted his lucky stars for that.

Forcing his thoughts away from the situation that befell him minutes ago, he went back to reading and deciding what next to do for helping both Neville and Daphne in preparation for Voldemort moving out in the open.

End Chapter:

Like I put above, Writer's block hit me and I couldn't seem to get the words to flow. I basically kept hitting the wall until I finally got into the flow again.

Snape mistakes Harry's emotions about Daphne's death for his mother's death and it's left him conflicted about judging Harry. I won't be bashing Snape as a completely vicious jerk. He's still a bastard, but not evil incarnate.

Daphne talks with Harry and grows a little closer to him in the process, but it'll be a little slow going. Harry knows her better than she knows him and it will show at times, so Harry will be taking it slow.

I've never seen a Roxanne joke about Daphne's mom before when that's her name. I thought it'd be funny.

Anyway, apologies for over a month of waiting. Writer's block and real life have a habit of eating into this little hobby of mine.

I hope you enjoy the chapter and have a wonderful day.