Disclaimer: I don't own anything you recognize. I'm just playing in JKR's sandbox for some fun and I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.
A/N: I would like to acknowledge Shygui for his kind assistance in making this story better than it would have been. Check out "A Fateful Walk" if you haven't already.
A/N2: If anyone has followed me from the Castle fandom, you may be disappointed to find this is about HP rather than Castle. I have another Castle story or two up my sleeve, I'll be back!
The language of friendship is not words but meanings. - Henry David Thoreau
It had all been too much for Harry: The staring, the whispers, the pointing fingers. It was bad enough with how it affected him but it also affected his friends. Ron had nearly gotten into a fight and even Hermione had had a surprising flare of temper over the rumours. When it was even getting to her, Harry had to act so he donned his invisibility cloak and hid most of the time. However, even he still had to do homework so he found himself in the library doing research for an essay.
He'd found an out-of-the-way corner to work in but when he had to get a book, he still wore his cloak. He came around a corner thinking he was near to finding the last book he needed when he stopped in consternation. The aisle was not vacant as he had hoped, a girl in Slytherin robes was perusing the tomes near the other end. He continued to move as quietly as he could while looking for his needed book and finally spotted it. Unfortunately, it was rather high up and the girl was still there.
He suppressed a huff of irritation as she fingered a book before moving on to another. Couldn't she just find her book and leave? While he glared at her he abruptly noticed how pretty she was. She had long blond hair, high cheekbones and a creamy complexion. She looked familiar, her name seemed to be just out of reach in his memory although he knew she was in his year when her name finally came to him: Greengrass, she was Daphne Greengrass. He realized that he knew nothing about her other than she was a pureblood as she'd never been one to provoke him, unlike Malfoy and his cronies.
She still showed no sign of finishing so he looked up at the book again and since she seemed to be concentrating on her own search so much, he decided to take a chance. Unfortunately, the book was high enough that his initial grip on the book wasn't sufficiently secure and it turned in his hand so he had to move his other hand quickly to control it fully and bring it under the cloak with him. Regrettably he wasn't silent about it and his cloak may have slipped momentarily. He was startled by a low challenge of "Who's there?"
He turned to look at Daphne and saw her levelling both a glare and her wand at him. Great, just what he needed. Now he might get hexed by another blond Slytherin, he could add that to his collection. He was in no mood for a straight answer so he whispered back, "The Heir of Slytherin."
He was so accustomed to her stoic, aristocratic manner that her brief smirk and incredulous whispered response surprised him. "Potter?"
He was so startled that he waited a beat too long to respond and she had begun to frown again and brought her wand back up after having briefly lowered it. "Yes, it's me."
She relaxed again and whispered, "Invisibility cloak?"
His initial and unseen nod embarrassed him so he whispered, "Yes."
Daphne put away her wand and took a few steps nearer to him as if still looking for a book. "So, you don't really like attention like Professor Snape says?"
He barely suppressed his scoff but did respond quietly. "Snape doesn't know me and never bothered to try to get to know me. He hated my dad so he hates me. My dad even saved his life and for some reason that made him angrier."
She flicked a surprised look in his direction before responding quietly. "They were rivals and really hated each other. Professor Snape didn't want to owe anything to an enemy."
Harry was gobsmacked. "How do you know that?"
"My mother told me, my mother was friends with your mother."
Harry was left speechless. Before he could think of anything to say she had looked around and whispered, "Good luck with your homework," and wandered back to where she'd been and continued her search for a book.
Harry muttered, "Thanks." After a pause he decided that he should get back to his work although he found his thoughts wandered back to the surprisingly friendly Slytherin a few times.
Daphne Greengrass had just finished her Potions essay and was thinking about one of the interesting topics that had come up among the reference books she'd used. Since Potions was part of her family's livelihood she wanted to excel at it, she was determined to use the rest of her afternoon to look for a good book to read on the subject of the various ways to classify ingredients. It was something she had only been vaguely aware of as it seemed to be more of an academic matter than a practical one but it was time to become familiar with it. She didn't really know if there were practical applications unless she knew more on the subject. She left her spot next to a still-busy Tracey Davis and wandered over a few rows to where the type of book she wanted was likely to be.
She was browsing through the books when she had an odd feeling of not being alone. Her eyes flicked down the aisle she was in but seeing nothing, she returned to her search and eventually touched a book she was considering but ultimately decided it wasn't quite what she wanted. Unexpectedly, she heard a soft sound and saw a book disappearing at the end of the aisle that she was in. She had learned to be cautious even before coming to Hogwarts so her wand was in her hand and she was glaring in the direction of an unseen interloper before issuing a stern challenge.
She was very surprised to hear the response and was delighted by the snarkiness of the answer. Was it really Potter? There was enough of a pause that she became wary again but eventually put away her wand after he confirmed it was him. Her father had drilled into her the benefits of having contacts plus she was curious so she engaged the Gryffindor in conversation. She quickly encountered his ignorance about his family and then realized to her shame that she was not considering the fact that he was an orphan. She'd heard that he had been forced to stay with Muggles, which explained his ignorance of the wizarding world. Apparently, he was ignorant of some basic personal knowledge as well. Wasn't he staying with relatives? Didn't they tell him anything?
She wasn't quite sure what to do so she retreated to her former search and relaxed when she was able to hear his quiet footsteps withdrawing. She had a lot to consider starting with the revelation of his being a Parselmouth in the aborted duelling club fiasco of two days ago that had made her think about the Gryffindor that she had heretofore never spoken with.
She had noticed him, of course, how could she not? He was as famous as Dumbledore and You-Know-Who and she'd used to own a full set of the books about him until she gave them to her little sister. She'd never mistaken them for reality, she'd known that they were fiction but they had been fun to read. She also vowed to herself that she'd never EVER admit to having owned them to the real boy.
If she'd had any illusions about the books being real, they would have been dashed when she first saw him in their first year. She'd glimpsed the sorry Muggle clothing he'd worn before putting on his robes. She'd seen he was shorter than she expected and way too thin. It had taken her a while to accept the possibility that he wasn't in a good situation wherever he lived as she couldn't think of any other reason for him to be so scrawny.
Now she even had some personal interaction with him and it just made the situation even more intriguing. He was clueless about their culture yet came from the same pureblood background as she did. He wore what was basically old rags at times yet the wealth of his family probably exceeded hers. Now she knew he even had what was certainly a very expensive and rare magical artefact: an invisibility cloak. He was a mystery wrapped in an enigma and Daphne loved solving mysteries.
She hadn't paid a lot of attention to what her mother had said about the Potters since she didn't know them but now she not only had some curiosity of her own, perhaps she could relay some of that information to Potter. He was famous and although reclusive, he did seem like a nice enough boy and didn't seek confrontations unlike some members of her house she could name. Perhaps she could get to know him? Her father would probably approve of that if he saw the possibility of some advantage for the family and given her mother's affiliation with his, her mother would most likely be all for it as well. Yes, this definitely called for writing a letter.
A small parcel was delivered to Daphne two days later during breakfast. She was a little surprised at the speed of the answer until she noted her mother's handwriting. Her mother was always faster to respond than her father. Tracey was curious but not intrusive as she took out a few photographs, a letter from her mother and an unusually thick note from her father. That was very intriguing, hearing from her father this quickly might indicate something important. However, as usual, her father's correspondence was sealed with family magic and she wasn't about to undo that with witnesses. She was forced to leave it for later and peered at the photos first.
It was mostly photographs of her mother with various other girls from Hogwarts. However, one stood out as it showed her mother with a large group from a wedding. She realized it was the wedding of Harry's parents when she saw how like his father that Harry was. Then the beautiful woman next to him must be Lily, his mother. There were three men near his father and the one closest to Potter was obviously a Black, most likely the traitor Sirius Black. There was one rather rotund and unpleasant-looking young man with them. She briefly wondered who he was.
"Who are they?"
Daphne was startled by Tracey's quiet question and looked around carefully before responding. When she turned to answer, she saw an inquisitive eyebrow raised by her friend. "I think it is the wedding of Harry Potter's parents."
Tracey's lips quirked before she responded. "Harry? Did you two talk more than you told me about?"
Daphne looked around again, frowning slightly before responding. "No. It's just his name, why are you making a big deal out of this?"
She had a knowing smirk before answering. "Why are you holding a photo of someone else's parents?"
She frowned further at Tracey before pointing out her mother near the bride. Tracey was not satisfied by that in the least and continued to wait for a proper answer.
Daphne huffed quietly and then put everything back into the envelope for more private consideration. She firmly said, "Later." She really liked her best friend but she had this annoying habit of wanting to talk about subjects that Daphne preferred to avoid. She wasn't even 13 yet, why was her friend trying to tease her about boys?
Harry was clenching his teeth after yet another maddening Potions class. He just wanted to get to the common room so he could push it all out of his mind. Hell, he'd even be willing to settle for getting thrashed at chess again by Ron than continuing to think about his problems for even another moment.
He was distracted from his musings by someone putting a note in his bag and the lingering scent of flowers as the person passed. The blond hair gave away the identity of his mysterious contact and once again he contemplated the conundrum that was Daphne Greengrass.
"Harry, are you all right?"
He looked into the concerned eyes of his friend Hermione and realized he would give everything away by standing around like an idiot. "I'm fine." He hurried towards the steps out of the dungeons forcing Hermione to hurry to catch up while Ron's long legs easily kept up on his other side.
When they reached the common room one glance at a very curious and intent Hermione led him to head for a secluded corner to satisfy both of their curiosities. Motioning for them to wait, he sat down and dug in his bag for the note as Ron stood uncertainly for a moment before joining the other two in sitting down. He brought up the note as Hermione asked, "Someone passed you a note?"
"Right. It was Daphne Greengrass, she dropped it in my bag as she passed." He was opening the note as he noticed Ron suddenly jerk into alertness.
Harry could see his suspicious look but decided to read the note before responding, it wasn't very long.
If you are interested in some information, come to the unused room across from the Charms classroom at 8PM tonight.
At the bottom it was signed simply with initials: DG. He looked up at Hermione who was looking at him curiously. "She invited me to a meeting tonight."
Hermione's "Are you going?" nearly overlapped with Ron's "It's a trap!"
Harry glared at Ron for his volume and when Ron looked clueless, Harry brought up his finger to his lips. That action made Ron blush faintly and he glanced around for eavesdroppers; Ron, however, wasn't done yet as he followed up more quietly with, "Why would a Slytherin give you a note like that?"
Harry had decided not to read too much into his contact with Daphne before and hadn't mentioned it to his friends and now was beginning to regret that decision. "We talked a few days ago, in the library, her mother and mine were friends."
Hermione responded eagerly. "So she's going to share information about your family?"
Harry shrugged and responded with, "I guess so." Ron had remained silent so Harry looked up at him and he appeared to have tasted something unpleasant.
When Ron noticed Harry looking at him, he asked, "Your mum was friends with a Slytherin?"
"Just because Daphne is a Slytherin doesn't mean her mother was. Besides, I reckon once you graduate your house doesn't matter anymore."
Ron shrugged uncertainly, apparently not convinced by Harry's logic, so Harry turned to Hermione who was contemplating him with a small smile. "You should go."
Harry smiled and nodded in agreement while Ron appeared disgruntled but he had evidently decided to remain silent.
Tracey followed behind her friend and saw her enter a room she knew to be unused, one of many around the huge castle. She peered around and then hurried to a new vantage point and waited for Harry Potter to appear. She checked for the presence of her wand but left it where it was. She was slightly concerned for the safety of her friend but mostly, she was very curious about why she wanted to meet the mysterious Gryffindor.
Daphne had never shown much interest in any boy so this liaison with a boy had her curiosity fully aroused. That was made worse by the fact that her friend was being frustratingly vague about what she was doing. She really liked her best friend but this evasion of the most interesting subjects was not something Tracey liked. Really, if you can't tell your best friend your secrets, who can you tell?
She came alert when the door opened again, was her friend coming back out? She saw it shut again with no visible person involved. She wanted to slap her own face, she was so stupid! Daphne had told her that Harry had an invisibility cloak but she hadn't expected him to use it. She wasn't going to see anything tonight.
She snuck over and listened at the door. She heard absolutely nothing. One of them must have used a privacy charm. Given how secretive her friend was being, it was probably Daphne. She sighed in frustration and slowly made her way back to the dungeons. She wasn't going to have her curiosity satisfied tonight.
Harry's feelings fell somewhere in between Hermione's anxiousness to learn anything new and Ron's near-certainty that it was a bad idea. He left early for the rendezvous with his invisibility cloak on. He reached the place of the meeting and found a place out of the way to wait. He saw Daphne arrive alone and was relieved until he saw the girl she hung out with sneaking around behind her. He was pretty sure her name was Davis and that Daphne hadn't been aware of the fact that she was being followed.
That reassured him about Daphne but made him wonder about Davis. He watched her long enough to see that she appeared to be only waiting. Maybe she was nosy or maybe she was worried about her friend. Either way, she seemed harmless, especially now that he knew they had company. He didn't want to make Daphne wait any longer so he proceeded into the room.
He wasn't surprised when she said "Hello, Potter" once the door closed behind him. Having to open the door was a rather big giveaway of his presence. When he saw her wand in her hand as he was removing the cloak, he nearly went for his own before he realized she was casting spells towards the door. He looked curiously at her when she finished and put away her wand.
"What were those spells?"
"A simple locking charm and a privacy charm. I don't think either of us will want this conversation overheard."
He saw pieces of parchment and what looked like wizarding photographs on the desk near her. He understood the need for some security, he'd come in advance for a reason. He wasn't sure about the privacy charm though. Maybe this wasn't going to be about his family after all, sighing to himself he guessed that there was only one way to find out.
"What information did you have for me?"
"Much more than we can cover this evening, actually. First, we have to come to an agreement."
He tried to suppress his frown. "Agreement about what?"
"About confidentiality mainly but also what we each can gain from this affiliation."
Now he was really puzzled. "Affiliation?"
"I mean our association with each other... I'm not offering a familial alliance, I can't do that."
This was just getting more and more obscure for Harry. "What is a familial alliance?"
Daphne looked puzzled for a moment until her face morphed into realization and a slight blush. "Sorry. I keep forgetting you were raised by Muggles." She paused for a moment, apparently deep in thought. "This going to involve more than I thought. For now, I'll just talk about us and what can do for each other. If we agree, we can talk about other things as well."
Daphne sighed and gestured towards a nearby desk as she took a seat at the desk near her.
Harry grabbed a desk and turned it towards her before settling down himself. He then looked at her expectantly but he had to fight another frown when he saw her staring at him seriously. It was the hint of pity that annoyed him. Her face cleared before she began to speak again.
"I am the heiress of the Most Ancient and Noble House of Greengrass. That may not mean much to you now but in the magical world it carries with it certain expectations and obligations. Although we follow the old ways, we are not blood bigots."
She waited for a response, so he decided to offer his interpretation of her last sentence. "So you mean you don't hate Muggleborns."
She shook her head emphatically. "No, we don't. We don't hate Muggles either. However, Muggleborns don't understand or like the old ways and we understand why. There should be a class about wizarding culture for the Muggle-raised to understand us better but there isn't. By the way, that is deliberate. Whenever a class like that is brought up, a majority of the old families prevent it."
Harry was appalled. "Why?"
"So they can keep their power plus they see it as the Muggle raised's obligation to learn the culture they are entering, not as their obligation to teach them. If they didn't make it hard for the Muggleborns to understand our power structure, they might be able to make changes. Wizards and witches live longer than Muggles and that makes the people in power tend to be even more set in their ways. They don't like change. It's why we still wear robes; to be honest I'm a little surprised we speak contemporary English."
Daphne's smile helped him relax enough to smile back. He didn't like what he was hearing but he knew it wasn't her fault.
"What I'm trying to get at is that we tend to look at things differently than the Muggle-raised. It aligns well with what Slytherin valued in students so a lot of us end up in Slytherin. I can see you tensing up, I bet you think of Malfoy when you think of Slytherin, am I right?"
He was a little disconcerted by her observation of his feelings and felt further unsettled by her question. "Well, um, yeah."
He was surprised by her chuckle. "Malfoy isn't very Slytherin at all. You'd be surprised at how many of us don't like having him around. If our head of house wasn't so good at protecting our points, someone would have put him in his place by now. Privately, of course, we don't air in-house discord to outsiders."
Harry found that hard to believe and it must have shown on his face.
"I'm serious. Malfoy may be the loudest of us and that is part of what makes him a bad Slytherin. We're supposed to be cunning and ambitious not attract a lot of negative attention that interferes with our plans. You will also find that Malfoy's circle is rather small. Crabbe and Goyle follow him because of family obligations. Pansy fawns on him because her family is poor and hope to get their hands on some Malfoy gold through marriage. So far Lord Malfoy has resisted a contract with their family. He is probably hoping for a better match."
"Contract? Do you mean a marriage contract?"
"Some families have stopped using them but they are still used in the oldest families."
Harry's mind was boggled at that moment. There was so much he didn't know he couldn't even ask the right questions.
"That's a sample of the information I have to offer. I also have some information to share about your family." She paused to point at the papers and photos on her desk. "In exchange, I want information from you."
Harry looked at what was on her desk longingly before forcing himself to consider what she expected. What information could he possibly have that she wanted? "Information about what?"
She sighed and looked at him seriously as she pondered. "My father is Lord Greengrass. He's my father so he does look out for me but as Lord Greengrass, he has to look out for the entire Greengrass extended family. As my father, I owe him obedience and respect. As my head of house, I owe him even more than that. If he wrote a contract for me, I would be duty bound to follow it regardless of my feelings. He has to look out for the long-term viability of our family, not just me. Things have not been as quiet as most people seem to think since you somehow defeated the Dark Lord. My father wants to be ready for whatever is coming and like it or not, you seem to be one of the ones involved in whatever is coming. I will pass on what you tell me to him so he can make an informed decision for the family."
If they wanted to know all about him, that could include the Dursleys. As much as he wanted to know more about his family, he didn't know if he could talk about his time outside of Hogwarts. "What if there's something I don't want to talk about?" He saw her tense up and a flash of consternation in her eyes.
"Any question I ask you, you can ask me and I will answer truthfully."
The earnest look on her face made him believe her. She wasn't being her normal stoic self with him and he was catching more of her feelings than he'd ever seen before. She must be under orders from her father and that is forcing her to make concessions. He understood that she was making a commitment to him now. He was sure she had no stories of home life like his but she was offering to be as open as he was and he respected that.
He was torn about this deal they were proposing though. As much as he wanted the information that she could share, he wondered what would happen to the information he shared. He wasn't a Greengrass and her father would have no reason to protect him.
"You mentioned confidentiality. Does that mean what I say won't go to anyone other than your father?" He saw her hesitate and then think for a moment.
"Probably but I'll have to clear that with my father. How about this. What you tell me can only be shared with anyone else with your permission, would that work?"
Now it was his turn to ponder a response. His eyes flicked to the papers on her desk again and he was greatly tempted. "If we both agree to share information helpful to the other, I can agree."
A smile appeared briefly on her face and she nodded. "That we can agree on. I'll have to contact father and wait for his response. Would you want a signed contract or just a promise between us?"
A contract made him nervous, especially since they had just talked about marriage contracts. "A promise is fine."
He saw her relax and there was another quick smile so he knew he'd made the right choice.
"For your part, you need to keep it quiet that I am sharing information with you."
"It will be harder for me to keep up with what is going on in Slytherin if they know I'm sharing information. It could also get me in trouble."
"Oh. Right, that makes sense. I'll keep it quiet."
"Good. I'll find a way to slip you another note when we can talk again." She turned to the door and said "Alohomora" as she sent a spell at the door.
He heard a click and knew he could leave. He regretted leaving the family information for later but understood that apparently, Slytherins don't give anything away for free. It sort of made sense but dulled his enthusiasm for this endeavour. On the other hand, he had just learned more about wizard society than he'd learned in his entire time at Hogwarts. He was going to get something of value back so he guessed it was all fair in the end. He was about to open the door when he remembered Davis.
"By the way, Davis followed you here."
He was reassured by her surprised look. "Tracey?" Then a frown formed on her face, "That's interesting." She smiled but it wasn't the happy sort of smile. "I'll take care of that. Here, given that you shared that information with me, I can share something now."
She went to the desk and selected a photo and came back with it. Harry saw a wizard photo of four girls in Hogwarts robes. He recognized one of them as his mother as she pointed her out and said, "Your mother." She pointed to the girl next to her, "My mother." She hesitated and then pointed to the next, "This is Alice Longbottom, Neville's mother. You probably know about her."
Harry shook his head in confusion.
"Oh, well maybe I shouldn't say more then. This last girl is Marlene McKinnon but she died just a few months before… your parents."
He could easily see her unease and appreciated her concern.
"Here. You can keep this one."
Harry gave her a big smile and a nod. "Thanks." He peered at the photo to look more closely at Daphne's mother since it was taken from a distance and details were a little hard to make out.
"She was a Slytherin."
"What?" He looked at her and saw her 'ice queen' face. Had he done something wrong?
"My mother was in Slytherin."
"Oh, err… that wasn't what I was looking for."
Her mask slipped as he saw a hint of surprise. "What were you looking for?"
Harry could feel his face heating up. "I was checking the resemblance to you. You look like your mum."
There was a hint of a smile on her face so he turned back to the photo. "Your mum is pretty." He felt his face heating once again but even worse this time. Why did he say that?
"Do you think I'm pretty?"
He could tell from her voice that she was teasing him so he didn't look as he was already blushing enough. He cleared his throat and replied, "Of course." He heard her chuckle and if anything his face felt even hotter. It was time to cut his losses.
"I'll wait to hear from you then."
After the door shut, she took a deep breath before wandering back to the desk and practically falling into it. Except for final exams last year, that conversation might have been the most stressful time for her at Hogwarts. She knew her father wanted everything to be advantageous towards their family but she was very uncomfortable with taking advantage of Harry's naiveté. He may be ignorant but he wasn't stuck up or as closed minded as people seemed to think. She felt especially bad about assuming he had been checking her mother's house. He hadn't reacted too badly to her so she shouldn't have assumed the worst about him. She reasoned that if she worded her reply to her father correctly, he'd assume that Harry knew their ways and wouldn't be an easy mark. She'd obey her father of course, but she would phrase things so that she'd be unlikely to get orders she didn't want to carry out. She was confident in convincing him to agree to their terms.
Her mother would support her, of that she was certain. She'd expressed dismay at what she'd heard about the Potter heir. In fact, she could make sure that everything would go smoothly with a letter to her mother so she should get to that right away. She'd then use the enchanted parchment to contact her father tomorrow. She had wanted to emphasize the reciprocal nature of their pending agreement so when he told her about Tracey, she countered immediately by sharing a photo. It also made her feel good but she tried to ignore that as her father would consider that being soft although her mother would probably approve.
Now though she had to handle Tracey, slowly a smile appeared on her face as she planned what to say to her nosy friend and she was really looking forward to it. It had also been fun to tease Potter. Overall, the meeting had worked out pretty well in Daphne's view.
A rather bemused Harry slowly made his way back to Gryffindor tower. He had learned a lot and it appeared that he had an opportunity to learn even more. This could turn out to be very valuable to him. On the other hand, it was hard to trust someone that he'd really just met and the fact that she was a Slytherin didn't help. Then he considered the fact that his mother had had a Slytherin friend. She obviously hadn't shunned them so he probably shouldn't either. Also, he had seen some real signs of honesty, enough to make him cautiously optimistic but he really needed to talk to his friends.
As he entered the common room, he saw Ron about the same time that Ron saw him. Hermione looked up from her book a moment later and he headed over to them. They were already in a rather isolated corner so it looked like a good time for a private talk. Ron spoke first, relief evident in his tone.
"Good to see you, Mate."
Harry barely managed not to roll his eyes, Ron seemed incapable of giving anyone the benefit of the doubt. "She didn't try to ambush me, Ron."
It looked like Ron wanted to retort but he stopped himself. Hermione had the opposite reaction, "So, what did you two talk about?"
"Mostly pureblood customs. She wants us to come to an agreement, to exchange information."
"She didn't have you sign anything, did she?"
"No, Ron. We're not going to write a contract, we're just going to go on promises."
"Are they enforced by anything?"
"Not that I know of and she has to talk to her father first anyway."
"Her father? Why?"
"He's her head of house, Lord Greengrass."
Ron looked astonished. "Are you talking about a familial alliance?"
"No, this is only about exchanging information."
There was that alliance thing again. He was curious but Ron already seemed riled up so he decided to defer that question. His response seemed to satisfy Ron for the moment so Hermione stepped in. "What sort of information?"
"She's going to teach me about pureblood customs and she will share information helpful to me like what is going on in Slytherin. Also stuff about my family, of course."
Ron was surprised again. "That could be dead useful."
"Exactly what I was thinking."
Hermione was still concerned. "What does she want in return?"
Harry felt a little sheepish. "Information about me and what's been happening."
Hermione considered that for a moment, scrunching her nose slightly before asking, "And how do you feel about that?"
"Not great but it might be worth it. She's contacting her father about confidentiality. I don't want anything going beyond Daphne and her father."
"That's a good idea. Why do they want information about you, though?"
Harry glanced around and lowered his voice forcing them all to lean in. "Her father suspects that Voldemort isn't gone for good. He wants to know what I know about what's going on so he can prepare their family for what might affect them."
Ron jumped in again. "But Harry, are you sure her father's not a Death Eater?"
He was about to deny that when he realized that they had never specifically covered that. "I don't think so. I guess I'll have to bring that up when she hears back from her father."
"But she's in Slytherin! Can you trust what she says?"
"She said she'd tell the truth."
"If there's no enforcement on that, you won't know for sure."
Harry sighed. Ron was getting a little irritating but it also looked like he needed another long talk with Daphne Greengrass. "By the way, nobody else can know about me getting information from Greengrass, it could get her in trouble."
Ron frowned but after a moment, he nodded an acknowledgement. Harry looked at Hermione and she promptly said, "Of course, Harry."
Harry suddenly realized he had one thing more to share. He took the photo from his pocket and held it so both of them could see as he pointed out who each of the girls were. He noticed a slight reaction from Ron when he pointed out Neville's mother. That increased his curiosity so he wanted to see if Ron would share information. "Neville has never mentioned his parents. Daphne knew something but said it wasn't her place to tell me." Harry looked at Ron as he said this and Ron noticed.
"Ummmm, well, I reckon she has a point on that. If you want to know, you should ask Neville. I don't know anything for sure, just what I heard. It might not be right anyway."
Harry nodded thoughtfully then looked at both of them. "Should I show this to him?" Hermione nodded yes right away but Ron thought a moment before saying, "Yes."
With their endorsement confirming what he had already planned, Harry got up and headed for the stairs after failing to see Neville in the common room.
Hermione considered Ron thoughtfully after Harry left. She was surprised that Ron kept what he thought he knew to himself out of consideration for someone else. It wasn't the sort of thing she was accustomed to seeing from him and she sort of liked it. When Ron seemed aware of her attention and began to fidget, she just smiled and returned to her book. Apparently, Ron could be more complex than she had thought.