I haven't abandoned anything. I've just been hit hard by life… Like, really hard. But… I'm baaaaaaaack. So, how are you guys? How's the weather? Oh, no time for small talk? Just updated the story? Well, okay then.

Chapter 24

"And then what happened?" Harry asked her.

"I couldn't shut up. It was like literal word vomit. It was as if every word that I thought was spilling out of my mouth, but my brain couldn't filter it!" Daphne explained.

The couple sat in the living room of Grimmauld Place. Daphne didn't want to be at home after the interrogation. She knew that she was being watched and it unnerved her. What if they had her place charmed so that every conversation was relayed to the DMLE? How was she supposed to ever go home? Would the wards protect her apartment from such charms? What if Harry's place was charmed? Was that even legal?

Harry handed Daphne another cup of tea and she didn't even wait for it to cool before taking a gulp.

"Mercury is a fucking idiot," Harry commented. Daphne sat on the sofa, with her legs crossed below her and Harry sat across from her in an armchair that he probably should've thrown away a long time ago.

"The thing that really confuses me, is that Robards kept censoring me. Every time I started to spew things that revealed the whole "you using legilimency on me" thing, he would silence me or ask another question," Daphne blurted out before taking a sip of her tea. It needed more sugar. Harry never put enough sugar in.

"I'm sure he didn't want anyone else to know about it. What he was asking me to do was immoral," Harry explained.

"Who do you go to when the Aurors are the bad guys?" Daphne asked thoughtfully. Harry laughed a humorless laugh.

"I think I might have the answer to that." Harry stood up and started making his way out of the living room.

Daphne was so into her own head that she barely noticed him leaving. She was still groggy from being unconscious for so long. She kept replaying the whole ordeal over and over in her head. She was afraid that if she didn't, she'd start to forget things. If only she had a pensieve to preserve these thoughts…

Suddenly, the fireplace in the living room roared to life with bright green flames and Daphne jumped in fear. Her tea spilled all over her and she nearly fell off of the sofa. She fumbled for her wand and pointed it at the tall ginger man walking out of the floo.

"WOAH!" Ron shouted, his hands up in a non-threatening manner. "What the bloody-hell are you doing pointing your wand at me?"

"Who the hell just shows up somewhere unannounced?!" Daphne yelled back at him.

"Well, that's never been a problem before! I show up here unannounced all the time. Never had a wand pointed at me either! Mind putting it away?!" Ron fired back, his hands still up to show that he wasn't reaching for his wand.

Daphne took a deep breath and lowered her wand. What was she going to do? Hex Harry's best friend. She might've if she hadn't realized who he was before it was too late. And then where would that land her? Back in Robard's clutches, no doubt.

"I'm sorry. I've had a very stressful day," she explained. She looked down at the shirt that she was wearing and sighed in frustration. The first thing that she had done after getting to Harry's place was change into something more comfortable. And within minutes, she had completely ruined one of Harry's shirts. This stupid, ugly, plain white shirt that her mother would've sniffed at if she was to ever see Daphne in it. This unspectacular shirt had been ruined with sugar-less tea and it was all her fault. Daphne broke down into tears.

"Wha- It's not that big of a deal, Greengrass. I'm not mad about it. No harm, no foul, right?" Ron flustered, unsure of what to do with a crying girl in front of him.

Harry rushed into the living room and Daphne could only guess what the scene looked like in front of him. She quickly wiped away her tears, not wanting Harry to see her so upset.

"What happened?!" Harry asked, obviously confused and a little irritated from the day's events.

"I ruined your shirt," Daphne said, tears spilling out of her eyes.

Harry walked towards her and sat down beside her on the sofa. He wrapped her up in his arms and pressed a kiss to her forehead.

"It's just a plain white t-shirt," Harry said comfortingly.

"It's the ugliest shirt I've ever seen in my life and I hate it," Daphne wailed, unable to control herself. Harry kissed her forehead again and rubbed her back lovingly.

Daphne was aware that Ron was still in the room and she could tell that he was rather uncomfortable. She couldn't bother herself enough to stop crying over this stupid shirt to make sure that Ron was comfortable. She was, however, also aware that this probably cemented Ron's opinion of her in his mind. She was sure that after this, he probably would never like her.

"Well, I can see that you two are busy so I'm just gonna-"

"What are you doing here?" Harry asked Ron, interrupting his escape.

"I was just coming over here to check on you after this morning," Ron said shrugging. "Wanted to make sure that you were okay."

Daphne suddenly remembered that she promised to catch Ron up on everything that was happening. It seemed like forever go when it had actually happened that morning. When she thought that she was still going to be able to go to work that day. Before she was ridiculed, interrogated like a common criminal, and hexed unconscious.

"Ron, I don't think that now is a good ti-"

"If I'm going to tell you everything, I'm going to need something a bit stronger than tea," Daphne said interrupting Harry, her voice still thick with tears.

"Daphne, are you sure?" Harry asked, worry obvious in his voice.

"Do you trust him?" Daphne questioned.

"With my life," Harry said without hesitation.

"Then bring out the firewhiskey. I'm going to find another shirt of yours to hopefully not ruin." Harry's arms fell from around her and she stood up. She gave him a small reassuring smile before excusing herself to rummage through his room.

As she was walking up the stairs, she could hear the cadences of Harry's and Ron's voices, but couldn't make out what they were saying. She was sure that it was about her. What else could they be talking about? Ron walks in and she immediately pulls her wand out on him. Harry walks in and finds Ron awkwardly standing in the middle of the living room with Daphne sitting on the couch in tears. With all that Daphne had been through that day, she still didn't want to be seen as unstable, even if she had good reason to be.

Harry's room wasn't as messy as she expected it to be. In fact, it was rather neat. Where her room looked like a tornado had come swooping through, Harry's room looked like it had been untouched.

She went to his drawers and found another plain white t-shirt. He didn't have many clothes to choose from. She supposed that that was why he had such a clean room. He didn't have many things to clutter it up with. She hoped that after this whole ordeal was over, she could take him shopping to spice his wardrobe up some. If this ordeal was ever over…

No, she couldn't think like that. She had to be optimistic. One day, this would end and Daphne could go back to her boring life.

Now that she thought about it, her life hadn't been boring since she started seeing Harry. Well, what should she have expected? Harry freaking Potter as a boyfriend. If it wasn't one thing, it'd be another. The man was a magnet for trouble. This surely wouldn't have happened if she dated Anthony Goldstein… boring Anthony Goldstein.

She slipped Harry's tea-stained shirt off of her body and slipped on the clean version. She felt much more comfortable with a dry top on. It smelled of Harry and she could feel herself start to relax. She looked around Harry's room and saw how very un-lived in it was. There was so much space to be filled. Her shoes could fill so much of the empty closet space… and her colorful robes could be hung right over there, by the window. And she had so many medical books that could go in a bookcase right in the corner.

"Everything okay?"

Daphne whipped around to see Harry standing in the doorway, a worried expression on his face. Daphne was bothered by how often she was seeing that expression.

"Yeah. Just thinking about how quickly I'm going to ruin your room," Daphne said softly.

"Ah… not with tea I hope," Harry joked, stepping into the room and putting his arms around her.

"Don't tempt me. You know how good I am at spilling tea on things. I just might. Would definitely spice up your decor."

"I'm afraid to let you even touch this room. I like being able to find what I need without hiring a search party," Harry teased.

"How dare y-,"

"It took you 20 minutes to find your other shoe! We completely missed the previews and like 5 minutes of the beginning of that movie!" Harry reminded her.

"Okay, but previews aren't that important and we didn't even miss that much. We were still able to follow the story," Daphne argued.

"That's not the point," Harry laughed. Daphne laughed along with him and she could feel the tension of the day slowly leaving her body.

"We're going to be okay, aren't we?" Daphne asked, embarrassed with how small her voice was at that moment.

"We are. And I'm going to make sure of it."


Daphne had to work at the hospital the next day. She probably should've taken the day off, but she really couldn't afford to. She was completely cut off from the Greengrass vaults and had no other source of income. Not to mention, if she messed up this internship with Healer Gupta, she was never going to forgive herself. And Clames could very well go and fuck himself if he thought that he was going to keep her away from work. Restraining order or no, she was going to St. Mungo's and that was final.

Daphne hadn't had much sleep the night before, and the night before that sleep was absolutely hopeless. Daphne had spent all night drinking with Ron Weasley (Merlin, who was she?) and catching him up on the unraveling bullshite that she and Harry had been saddled with. Thankfully, Harry had pepper-up potion in his bathroom or that morning would've been much worse.

To avoid going home, Daphne transfigured Harry's ugly white shirt into Healer- In- Training robes. She hoped that she would be okay to go home after work that day. She just needed time to calm her nerves. She knew that she was more than likely being ridiculous, but she would rather be safe than sorry.

Harry had already left. He said something about having to see someone before work. Daphne had her suspicions about who he was going to see, but wasn't too thrilled of the idea. Kingsley Shacklebolt might be friends with Harry (if friends was even the correct term to describe their relationship) but he was no friend to her.

After the war, there was a ton of confusion as to who should be sent to Azkaban and who shouldn't. Many people wanted EVERYONE associated with Voldemort to be thrown away in Azkaban. It didn't matter if Theo was literally tortured by his father before being forced to take the dark mark. And then there were people who were too flustered by having to decide who was actually a victim of Voldemort or a willing participant in the pain of it all. And they believed that everyone should be shown mercy.

Kingsley was the Minister of Magic and he was a member of the Order of the Phoenix. He should've fought harder to put the Death Eaters behind bars. He should've fought harder to decipher who was a victim of Voldemort's and who wasn't. He should've fought harder to prevent this shite from repeating itself… again.

Daphne really didn't have much hope that Kingsley would be able to do anything. But, she could be totally wrong. Maybe Harry's not even going to Kingsley. Maybe he's going to see someone else. What did she know?

Daphne sighed and stepped into the floo. She hated taking the floo to St. Mungo's. They could get really cluttered and backed-up. It was nearly as bad as the Ministry. She much preferred to walk to work everyday because it gave her time to think and prepare herself for the day. However, her sense of direction wasn't the best and she was sure that she'd find some way to get lost form Harry's house.

So, she took a deep breath and clearly and loudly said "St. Mungo's" and let the heatless green flames engulf her.

When she arrived at St. Mungo's, of course there was someone taking up the floo that she landed in. Fortunately enough, the floo was big enough to house her and the other person. Unfortunately, the person didn't seem too excited about leaving the floo anytime soon.

"Excuse me," Daphne said with a harsh tone to her voice. It was common courtesy to exit the floo as swiftly as possible, to avoid this type of scenario.

"Is this Floor 5? I'm looking for Floor 5," the woman said, her tone nasally and more annoying than Daphne would've liked.

"No," she answered succinctly before shoving the woman out of the floo. Daphne was in no mood to deal with this nonsense. She had very little sleep, no coffee, and was completely unprepared for whatever she was scheduled to face that day. And this woman, who didn't even have the common decency to vacate the cramped space of the floo was not helping matters in the least.

"Why, I've never!" the woman exclaimed with her hand to her chest in scandalized horror.

"Yes. Well, now you have," Daphne said quickly. "Be sure to utilize this experience. I'm almost certain it will happen to you again."

Daphne could feel the dark aura around her. She was aware that this woman hadn't really done anything to be assaulted in such a rude way. But, Daphne care enough to do anything about it. She started to stride away towards the nurses' station before she heard that nasally voice again.

"Aren't you Daphne Greengrass?!"

Daphne stopped in her tracks and mentally cursed every diety that she could think of for allowing this to happen today. Not today.

"Who's asking?" She turned around and looked the little woman in her face. The woman was actually quite young. Daphne hadn't really paid much attention to the woman as she was shoving her out of the fireplace, but she had assumed that the woman was much older. She couldn't be more than a few years older than Daphne herself.

"Hello! My name is Melanie Moore and I work for the Daily Prophet. I just had a few questions about-"

Daphne took off down the hall. Not today.

What could the Daily Prophet possibly have questions for her about? She had been trying to keep a very low profile. Her relationship with Harry had surely become old news. She hadn't assaulted any other reporters lately. Had something gotten out about her short time at the DMLE the day before?

Daphne quickly ran into the break room and locked the door behind her. She just needed five seconds. Just five fucking seconds to clear her head. The day was starting off rather badly. Her nerves were shot and her temper was much shorter than usual. Could she just have a few seconds to recollect herself before anything else happened?

"Hey Daphne! Have you read the paper?"


Daphne burst through the door and slammed it shut. She whipped out her wand to do a quick muffliato before turning her attention towards the blonde man sitting behind the desk.

"Don't bother knocking. Come right in, Daphne. I don't have a deadline to meet in two hours. Please, have a seat," Draco said, his eyes glued to the papers laid out in front of him.

"Have you read the Daily Prophet today?" Daphne asked, completely ignoring his sarcasm.

"No," he sighed. "Is there another riveting article about how I've given Hermoine the dark mark? Because that was in last week's paper and we all know how much the Prophet likes to recycle the horseshit that they pass for news."

Instead of answering, Daphne slapped the newspaper down on his desk. Draco rolled his eyes before letting them wander to the wrinkled piece of journalism. The smile that broke out on Draco's face only made Daphne angrier.

"What the fuck?" he asked before laughter overtook him.

"It's not fucking funny, Draco!" she snapped, crossing her arms over her chest and glaring down at him. He attempted to stifle his laughter, but then began to chuckle again.

"War Hero Neville Longbottom eloped with Greengrass heiress Daphne Greengrass last weekend in an extremely private ceremony. Sources close to the couple tell us that Harry Potter is devastated over the news, but the couple couldn't be happier." Draco read aloud, bursting into laughter again.

"This is all your fault!" Daphne hissed at him before taking a seat on the other side of his desk.

"How in the world is it my-,"

"You broke off your engagement with Astoria! If you would've never-,"

"Um, according to this paper, it's you who married Longbottom," Draco supplied, his voice filled with joy and mirth.

"Bloody fucking papers can't even tell the difference between us. I'm blonde and her hair is black. How on Earth could they get us confused?" Daphne grumbled, her arms still crossed over her chest. She wanted to pout and if there was anything that she knew Draco was good at, it was pouting. And pouting was always more bearable with great company.

"Remember when they confused Theo for Greg Goyle last year?" Draco reminded her. "They look nothing alike! Got their names mixed up because they both had Death Eater fathers. Nearly fucked up his whole "unspeakable" career."

"Is it too much to ask that they get their facts straight?! They're the biggest newspaper in the country, for Merlin's sake!" Daphne fumed.

"I can not wait for your father to read this story," Draco said gleefully. Daphne hadn't even thought about that. Her father was going to flip his shit. Served him right for all of the crap he's put her through over the last few years… the last few days even.

"I hope it gives him a heart attack," Daphne admitted truthfully. "Bastard has put me in quite the predicament lately."

"Join the club of "My father was a complete and total fuck up and now I have to deal with the consequences of his mistakes" club. We meet on Thursdays at 6pm. No sign-up fee required," he joked humorlessly before handing Daphne back the newspaper.

She took another look at the moving picture. Neville was holding her sister's hand tightly and looking down at her as they walked down some unnamed street. She could see her sister's left hand and it looked like there might've been a ring on her fourth finger, but there was really no telling. The thing that really unsettled her was how HAPPY her sister looked.

How long had the two been dating? Had they really been married? What kind of person gets married without letting their sister know? Had they really moved so far apart from one another that Astoria couldn't be bothered to write an owl letting her know of the upcoming nuptials?!

"I mean this in the best possible way, Greengrass. You look like a dementor has kissed you," Draco noted nonchalantly. Oh, Daphne was sure that she did. With the day that she had yesterday and the day that she was having now, who could blame her?

"I had a rough day yesterday. It's a long story."

"Yes. Well, as I said, I do have a deadline to meet in about two hours so-,"

"I was interrogated by the DMLE yesterday about the whereabouts of my father," Daphne interrupted. Draco stared at her, a blank look on his face. Daphne opened her mouth to speak again, but Draco held up a finger to silence her.

Draco grabbed a sheet of paper and wrote a quick note. He opened the window to his office, folded the note into a paper airplane, and tossed it out of the window and watched it take flight through the air.

"What are you-"

"Asking Hermione for an extension on the deadline. I'm sure that she'll give it to me. We're not supposed to send in our proposal until next week, but you know how she likes to revise her revised revisions." Draco opened up a drawer at his desk and took out a bottle of firewhiskey and three small glasses. Daphne made a face at the amber liquid, remembering how much she had had of it, not even 12 hours ago.

Moments later, Hermione burst through the door. "Malfoy, this better be good."

"Hello to you too, love," He said, a smile spreading across his face.

"Daphne? What are you doing here? Is Clames bothering you again? Because if he is, we can move the plan along. I've got just the thing to fix him and if he thinks that he's going to get away with-,"

Draco poured a bit of firewhiskey into one of the small glasses and handed it to Hermione. Hermione looked back at him with a very confused face, but held the glass tightly in her hand nonetheless.

"Draco, it's 2 in the afternoon. You can't really expect me to start drinking right now. Especially with our deadline in two hours!"

Draco made a face at Daphne, letting her know that the floor was hers to say her piece. Daphne sighed, poured herself a glass of the firewhiskey that she knew was probably too expensive to be tossed back as quickly as she did, and began to tell the couple her story.

When she was finished, the pair stared at her in stunned silence. Draco began to massage his temples and Hermione also tossed back her glass of whiskey.

"What they did was completely illegal," Hermione finally said to break the silence.

"You got drunk with Weasley last night?" Draco asked, confusion filling his voice.

"Is that really what you focused on? Not the corruption, blackmail, or coercion? That's what you zeroed in on? Daphne asked, her head a little foggy after drinking Draco's expensive alcohol so quickly and with nothing on her stomach.

"Well, that doesn't surprise me. It's the Ministry after all. This wouldn't be exactly news."

"Would you happen to know if my father had anything to do with Voldemort? Might he have shown up to an event or anything like that?" Daphne asked, desperate for any kind of answer. She would gladly sacrifice her father's freedom if it meant that she could go back to having a moment of peace.

"I think you're overestimating my position in his eyes. After my father fucked up in our fifth year, there's no way that I would've been involved in any kind of event where I would be crossing paths with financial backers."

Whenever Draco spoke of his time with Voldemort, he always had a glazed look to his eye. It was as if he was both trying to remember specific instances and simultaneously blocking out others. She saw the same look in Theo's eyes whenever it was brought up. But, unlike Draco, Theo would avoid conversation of the topic.

Daphne had a raging headache. She was tired and cranky and wanted nothing more than to crawl into a hole and stay there for eternity. She was happy that she had friends to come to in her time of need, but she was absolutely frustrated that all of this had fallen on her plate within such a short time span.

She had spent her lunch hour with Draco and Hermione and hadn't ingested anything other than alcohol and it really wasn't settling well with her stomach. Before her lunch break, Daphne had been so focused on the Prophet bluster with her sister and working with Healer Gupta that she hadn't noticed how hungry and fatigued she was.

"Stop showing up here without food in your stomach, Mrs. Longbottom. You only ever visit to complain. Never to say "hello" or ask how my day is going," Draco teased before reaching into his desk drawer and pulling out granola bar. Daphne quickly reached out and snatched it from his hands.

"I'll make sure to visit you and interrupt your deadlines more often, Draco. And the Longbottom joke… sooooo, not funny."

I'm going to TRY to update regularly at least once a week. I know that I've said that before… but I mean it this time. To be fair, i meant it last time too. But…. life amirite?

Thank you to those who have favorited and followed and reviewed. You have no idea what it meant to me to get those beautiful notifications that another reader has decided to take a chance on my sporadic story. It really made my darkest days the tiniest bit lighter. And I thank you for that.

Leave another review if you will? I do enjoy reading them, for the most part, and will start to reply to each of them again. Look out for the next chapter!