It was during the second charms lesson of the second term of Harry's sixth year when he first became aware of Daphne Greengrass. He had known of her, of course, but thanks to that git Malfoy, Harry had never had much interest in the Slytherin class in his year so he hadn't known more of Daphne than her name and a fleeting memory of a pretty face.

In said Charms class, however, Harry happened to sit right next to her.

Flitwick taught them how to charm objects to become impenetrable, which was a fairly complex thing to do. Harry had figured it out fairly quickly and was only the slightest bit smug about doing so before Hermione managed. The moment he put his wand aside, Harry's eyes fell on Greengrass.

As always, Daphne Greengrass was the picture of grace. Her face gave nothing away of what she might think as she held her wand like a violin virtuoso would hold their bow. She swiftly and precisely moved her wand and intoned clearly: "Fortifica!"

Nothing happened.

Harry almost blanched.

She might have looked terrifically competent casting that spell, but that still didn't make any of what she did right. For one, the correct motion to cast the spell was a slight upward twitch followed by a counterclockwise spun jab. And even disregarding that, the spell was "Fortifucus maxima".

But Daphne stared expectantly at her piece of parchment, waiting for that telling silver glow as if she had just delivered a textbook performance.

Harry glanced around in the classroom. No one seemed to have noticed her less than stellar performance. He sighed. Oh, why did he always want to help everyone?

He leaned over to her. "Hey, uh, Daphne, right?"

She looked up, regarding him for a moment. "Yes," she said pleasantly, "How can I help you?"

"Uhm, actually... I wanted to help you." He felt almost uncomfortable suggesting that to her.

Daphne glanced at his piece of parchment, which displayed a strong silver sheen, then nodded again. "If you would be so kind."

He hadn't expected that but managed to take it in stride. "Right, uh..." He scooted one seat closer so he didn't have to so obnoxiously lean across the seat. "So, uh, the spell is "Fortifucus maxima" and..."

Harry explained to her how to perform the spell in his own words while Daphne listened with an unsettling amount of focus, not blinking once. The moment he finished, Daphne turned to her sheet of parchment, pointed her wand at it without preamble, and intoned "Fortifucus maxima!"

The spell applied perfectly, leaving a silver sheen upon completion. Experimentally, she stabbed at it with her wand before putting it aside with a satisfied nod.

Then she smiled easily at him with kind eyes. "Thank you, Potter. I am ever so grateful."

Harry almost blushed. Who knew the girl could smile like that? "Uh, you're welcome."

After dinner and ten minutes into their Transfiguration lesson, Harry came to the startling realizations that Daphne had been sitting two seats to his left from him and Hermione. And now that he thought about it, she might have been sitting there last year too.

They were doing simple human transfiguration and Harry had just turned his finger back to normal. It had previously been a raven's claw. Professor McGonagall suggested that such small unguided transfiguration was a good indicator of one's animagus form. If you had one, that is.

Finished with his work, rewarded with a very satisfied nod from the professor and a competitive glare from Hermione, Hary found his eye wander over to Daphne.

She was staring at her hand with the same resolute expectation in her face, the same as in the previous charms class.

Somehow Harry got a distinct feeling that she had botched it. After a quick glance at Hermione, who was muttering into her hand - maybe to coax a transformation out of it - and once again scooted a seat closer to Daphne. She noticed him before he could say something.

"Hello again, Potter," she greeted kindly.

"Uhm, Hi again."

She returned to staring at her hand.

He coughed quietly into his hand. "Uhm, need any help?"

She nodded. "I would greatly appreciate it."

Again, Harry walked her through the steps of the spell how he had done it himself and again Daphne proceeded to succeed on her first try.

"Animavis!" she spoke softly.

Daphne's pointer finger briefly shimmered a dull blue before it morphed into a claw. Not much unlike his finger had.

"That was great," he praised. Who knew he was that good a teacher?

Daphne dipped her head in thanks. "I do ow it to you. Twice you have aided me now."

"It was no big-"

Harry was caught off guard when Daphne suddenly leaned forward and softly kissed his cheek. "You have my gratitude," she said easily before sitting back and practicing the spell again.

Blinking rapidly, and rather perplexed, Harry skipped back into his seat. Had she just...? He couldn't have imagined it, right? He brought a hand to his cheek. It felt a lot warmer than normal.

For the rest of the lesson, Harry was a bit absent-minded and totally missed how Daphne transfigured their entire table into a flock of chicken when she missed her finger.

Harry had no idea how it came to it, but he was partnered with Daphne during their potion lessons. Maybe Slughorn liked mixing the houses. Or maybe Daphne had just sat down at the wrong table. Harry had honestly not listened to the start of class. Anyways, they were brewing...? Ah, Slughorn's handwriting was so awful, Harry could barely make out the word "-draught" at the end of it.

He glanced over at Daphne, who was meticulously arranging her knives on the table. One in particular she kept prodding, moving it by maybe a tenth of a millimeter, for almost two minutes until she appeared satisfied.

"We can begin," she told him with a satisfied smile.

Now if only Harry knew what they were supposed to do in the first place. So he just nodded and returned his eyes to the blackboard. "The first step is to..." He squinted. "Slice four Velkhim-Beans into neat quarters."

"It shall be done," Daphne acknowledged. She left and returned with an armful of what Harry assumed to be the rest of their materials. "If you would be so kind and prepare the kettle."

"Oh, uh, sure."

And while he did that, Harry kept a watchful eye on Daphne. She placed one of the beans under her knife to cut it in half. But then she let go of the admittedly very hard bean just as she applied the pressure. It shot out from under the knife, bounced off her forehead and hit Malfoy, who was sitting right in front of them, square in the back of the head.

Harry did his best not to laugh.

Malfoy reared his head around, obviously furious, but was met by Daphne's calm countenance, which seemed to greatly confuse him, so he turned around without a word.

Daphne did not seem to care for the missing bean and simply moved on to the next, achieving the same amusing result. This time the bean bounced off the kettle Harry had just placed over the burner and smacked Malfoy in the temple.

Again did he rear around, was met by Daphne's stare, and returned to his work without comment.

The third bean bounced off the ceiling, then off Malfoy's table and hit him right in the eye.

By the time Malfoy was howling in pain, Harry was already keeled over laughing but no one seemed to pay him any mind.

When Harry - as well as Draco - had recovered from the whole ordeal, Daphne was already working on the next bean, unperturbed by what was going on around her.

"Here," he offered, a bit breathless, "let me help you." Harry kind of begun to like Daphne that day.

He wasn't partnered with Daphne during Herbology, but she did sit right across from him and Ron. Therefore he got to watch her handle the Drakeling-Flower saplings with utmost care. Which was exactly how they were not supposed to do it.

Harry wondered if she ever listened to the professor's instructions.

Ron was busy holding down the sharp, wing-like leaves of their sapling so Harry quickly reached across the table to pull the maw-like blossom of Daphne's flower down before it could bite her pretty nose.

"Careful," he said, "They need a firm hand." At least, that's what Neville said. And Harry had long since decided that it was better to trust Neville on these things.

Daphne smiled at him as she had before during potions. Harry's heart lurched a bit in his chest. "Thank you. I owe you yet again." Something gleamed in her eyes, something akin to mirth. "My, how come you have decided to aid me this day? Is there something you wish to tell me?"

Harry felt his face heat up. Or maybe the stupid drake flower had spat fire at him. Either way, his face was red and he knew not how to answer aside from coughing nervously.

Daphne laughed, clear like a bell cast from the purest silver and bright like the stars at night. This time he was most definitely blushing.

When Harry returned to his own project, Ron gave him a funny look.

"What are you doing?" Ron asked, wincing as the plant struggled in his hands.

"Uh, nothing," Harry said dismissively, "Just... helping someone out."

Ron looked across the table at Daphne, who smiled back at them, then shook his head. "If you say so, mate. Now gimme a hand before this bloody thing chews of my thumb."

During dinner, Harry found his eyes drift to Daphne a few times, almost as if drawn to her magically. She was sitting at the very edge of the Slytherin table, eating her meal in silence. As if sensing his eyes on her, she looked up and offered a dignified smile before returning to her food.

What Harry found strange was that no one at her table seemed to pay her any mind. In fact, no one ever seemed to pay Daphne attention at all. Strange...

But then Hermione drew him into a discussion about runes that bored Ron to death and left Harry's head throbbing. He liked runes alright but by Camelot! Hermione took it to the next level and beyond.

Dinner vanished before he managed to finish it, so - after a miffed glare at Hermione - Harry left to get some food from the kitchens. Dobby was always happy to make him something. On his way down the wandering stairs, Harry ran into Luna. Well, her legs.

"Good evening, Harry Potter," she greeted airily, not looking up at him from her sketchbook.

"... Hey there," he returned, desperately trying to calm his heart. She had scared the living daylight right out of him.

Perched in a window alcove five feet above the ground, Luna peered down at him with bright silver eyes. "Hmm," she hummed, tapping her nose with her pen. "You've seen something."

"I did?"

She nodded, smiling at him. "It's always nice to know you do. It gets lonely if no one can see you."

Harry just nodded. Well, she probably wasn't wrong. But what exactly had he seen? Had he missed a unicorn walk through the hall? Doubtful.

"Mind coming to the kitchens with me?" he asked on a whim.

Luna smiled brightly at him. "Why yes! I do mind!"

"Oh." He hadn't expected that.

She giggled, hopping down from the alcove straight at him. Harry scrambled to catch her and thankfully Quidditch had sharpened his reflexes enough to allow him to catch her before she could hurt herself. Or him, really.

"Luna!" he chided. Damn, she was so light.

Entirely too nonchalant for Harry's liking, Luna hopped out of his arms and walked back towards the stairs. "Harry," she said as if chiding him, "I can't go with you! There's something you have to do!"

"Eh, there is?" he asked uncertainly.

"Of course there is, silly!" Luna jabbed her pen at him. "Now shoo! You're going to be late!" Spinning on her heel, Luna walked back up the stairs.


Sighing, Harry filed that away for later. He'd tell Flitwick about that. After he stuffed his face with roast.

The kitchen was a lot livelier than Harry had expected. And he had most certainly not expected Daphne. Was that what Luna had hinted to? How did she know that? It was almost as scary as the entire Dark Lord campaign and his fucked up childhood memories that Dumbledore hid in a closet in his office. And, now that he thought about it, Luna had predicted that one, too. In weird metaphors including unicorns and half of a werewolf. Plus three-quarters of a pixie.

Well... Maybe. Or maybe Harry was just weird like that, too.

"Good evening," Daphne said gently once she spotted him, obviously not disturbed by the fact that he had just climbed through a portrait in the wall. "What brings you here with the hour being oh so late."

"Uhm, food."

Harry wanted to hit himself. Was that really the most intelligent thing he could come up with?

Daphne laughed softly. "Why, I am quite the same, then. Do join me." She spoke quietly as if to avoid disturbing the busy elves.

"Gladly," Harry responded with a smile. "Did you ask the elves for food yet?" he asked, sitting down at the small table Daphne was using.

She tilted her head. "I... haven't managed to catch their attention quite yet."

Harry nodded. "Yeah, they are pretty focused on their work."

Daphne offered a strange smile in response.

"Dobby!" he called out and not a second later did the excitable house-elf appeared, a plate in one hand and a knife in the other.

"Masters Harry has called faithful Dobby!?" the elf squeaked, huge eyes staring unblinkingly up at Harry.

"Yes, Dobby," Harry sighed, rubbing at his suddenly aching temple. "Me and... Daphne here would like a late dinner if that isn't too much of a bother."

Dobby's eyes snapped to the side to where Daphne sat as if he had only just realized she was there." O-Of course! Master Harry and his Daph-Daph will have good meals!"

He vanished with a crack.

Harry bit his lips. Daph-Daph? Oh lord, he was so close to breaking down laughing.

"What an excitable creature, this elf," Daphne mused.

"He's... unique," Harry offered. And batshit crazy. And psychotic. And maybe rabid, actually. Could elves get rabies? Was that a thing? He'd ask Hermione about that later.

Harry had looked forward to the next class he'd have with the Slytherins. He really did. But it just so happened to be Defence with Snape and Harry had various reasons for not looking forward to that. Snape being the biggest and battiest of them all.

Still, they were practicing the Patronus today so Harry was reasonably sure that there was nothing that could go wrong.

Not even if Daphne botched it.

He found himself partnered with her and focused by a long and uncomfortable stare from Snape, who seemingly tried to glean something from Harry by just staring a hole into the back of his head.

This time, Daphne seemed to patiently await his instructions instead of simply starting.

"Guide me, master," she quipped and Harry almost swallowed his tongue whole.

"Uh... I guess." She was messing with him. Definitely messing with him. "Well, first start by focusing on a happy memory. The happiest and most impactful you can think of."

Daphne tilted her head. "Impactful?"

Harry licked his lips. Did she grow more beautiful by the second or was he imagining things? "Y-Yes, impactful. A memory so strong it gets to you just by remembering it. Like... uh, something that vastly improved your life, or someone that made you feel happy or loved."

She nodded. "Hm, I do not remember such a thing, but..."

Harry frowned. She did not remember anything that improved her life?

"I guess," she continued thoughtfully, "that coming to Hogwarts was... nice."

Harry shook his head. "Nice won't cut it. Favorite foods or the like won't either. It has to be a strong positive emotion."

Daphne stared at him for a moment. "Then... I might have something, yes."

Harry let out a relieved sigh. "Great! Then pull it to the forefront of your mind and let it linger there, bask in the feeling, and then cast the spell."

Nodding again, Daphne closed her eyes and lifted her wand. For the briefest of moments, after she opened her eyes, she glanced at him before intoning gently: "Expecto Patronum."

A thick silver mist fell from her wand and right into Harry, who almost flinched at the cool yet warm feeling of nebulous silk that touched his skin.

"That was great!" he praised, smiling at her.

"It was," Daphne agreed, eyes on him. "Though it might need a stronger memory."

"Maybe," Harry shrugged. He was good at casting the spell but not so sure about the inner workings of magic being it. Maybe Daphne was simply not magically strong enough.

"I would ask that you help me make more memories, then."

Ah... Ha? "Uhm, what?"

"Yes," she nodded firmly, pocketing her wand. "While the memory of you I used was quite nice, I do believe we can make better ones."

"Y-You used m-me? A memory of ME?"

Daphne smiled at him. "Why yes."

Before Harry could produce a blush that matched his skyrocketing heartbeat, Snape's shadow fell over their table.

"Potter," he drawled, something strange in his eyes, "Stay after class." Then his eyes drifted to Daphne. "You too, Miss Greengrass."

Harry sighed. "Of course, Profesor." No need to antagonize him any more than he apparently already had.

Snape left for his podium, cloak billowing behind him.

Meanwhile, Daphne looked at her head of house with confusion before she returned to smile at him. Harry felt his face grow hotter by the second.

"Potter," Snape drawled the moment the worried Hermione had closed the classroom door. "You seem to have noticed Miss Greengrass."

Harry had no idea what he was talking about. "Uhm, yes?" he said uncertainly. "I did?"

Snape frowned down at him before glancing over at Daphne, who seemed oddly at peace where she was sitting at her table. "You misunderstand, Potter. Though that does not surprise me, imbecile that you are." He gestured to Daphne. "You seem to be aware of her, able to perceive her. Have you not noticed that no one else does? Or are you truly this self-absorbed?"

"Huh?" Why, what an intelligent response.

"I was not aware you noticed me, Professor," Daphne chimed in.

"Sporadically," Snape answered shortly. Then he dipped into a short bow. "I feel I must apologize even so."

Daphne shook her head. "You do not have to, Professor."

"What am I missing?" Harry asked, brows furrowed as he looked from Daphne to Snape.

Snape rolled his eyes in exasperation. "Miss Greengrass here is... cursed, one might say."

"It runs in the family," Daphne informed him with a small smile.

"Cursed how?" Harry asked. "Cursed to... go unnoticed?"

"Cursed to be air to anyone but a select few," Snape explained impatiently. "I do not understand how you are one of those, but I suspect even you, Potter, must grow into yourself one day."

"And... is there no way to break this curse?"

"No," Daphne said immediately. "My family has sought a cure for centuries and came to the realization that we were forever to be but a shadow in everyone's wake." She smiled sadly. "My father was the same until my mother came to be able to see him." Her smile became strained and her eyes distant. "Neither have... talked to me in-" She stopped, swallowing. "Well, I am just happy that you are able to perceive me."

Harry frowned. "But I always knew you. Well, I mean I saw you before and all."

"That's the fate of the Greengrasses since ancient times," Snape said, swiping a piece of parchment from his podium. "To be but a passing afterthought. A face in the crowd. That is the curse Miss Greengrass is afflicted by since the day she was born."

"There are four people that notice me," Daphne said. "The Headmaster, my sister, Professor Snape, and now you, Harry."

Harry felt his stomach constrict. She hadn't mentioned her parents. "That's... awful," he managed.

"Indeed," Snape drawled, fixing him with a glare, "Mind you that the curse is not that simple. You said it yourself, Potter. A passing memory. That's what Miss Greengrass is to everyone but you and her sister. If you were to introduce her to someone they wouldn't remember her five minutes later aside from a passing thought."

Harry frowned. That was an awful fate. But... "How do you know all this, sir?"

"The headmaster so graciously informed me," Snape snapped. "Not that it concerns you, Potter."

"Well, it does now!" Harry took a deep breath. "And there really is no way to undo this?"

"No," Daphne said simply. "Many have tried but... they forget."

"But... But your mother got to your father, right? How can she not... I mean-!"

"And she will know him until the day she dies," Daphne said sadly, "but she won't ever know me."

Harry sat back into a chair, baffled.

"Do us all a favor, Potter," Snape said, leaving the classroom. "And don't do anything stupid."

Harry almost groaned. Did he have to be so foreshadowing? Whatever Snape had just jinxed, Harry didn't want any part in it. One dark Lord was kind of enough on his plate already.

"So if I introduced you to my friends..."

"They would recognize that they've seen me before, maybe even recall my name, but ultimately forget about my presence seconds later." Daphne finished, smiling at him.

"And you're okay with that? No wait, that's a stupid question..." Harry shook his head. "Well, guess I'm your new friend then."

"Oh, pooh, Harry." The way she said his name tickled some flops out of his stomach. "I had already planned on asking you out on a date to Hogsmead the moment I knew you could perceive me."

That kicked his stomach down into a strangely warm abyss somewhere between his knees. "Wh-? Really!?"

Daphne nodded seriously. "Of course. Who else would I ask?" She smiled. "And I do have to admit, I feel rather lucky that it is you who can be my... partner."

Partner. Harry's stomach turned sideways and his heart did flip flops against his rib cage. "Uh... me too."

For the rest of the day, Harry had serious problems with not looking at Daphne. His eyes always found her and she always seemed to notice when he did. She offered a smile, bright and beautiful, and it was all Harry could do to not run over and sit with her.

But... what exactly stopped him.

"Say, Hermione?"

Hermione looked up from her dinner book. "Yes?"

"Is there a rule against students sitting at tables other than their house's?"

She blinked at him. "Not that I know of, no."

Harry smiled at her. "That's great!"

Without missing a beat, he rose from his seat, stalked over to the end of the Slytherin table and sat down next to Daphne.


It sounded awfully loud as he said that. Probably because the entire hall had fallen silent.

"And a good evening to you," Daphne returned, seemingly not noticing everyone around them gaping and eyeing them.

Harry wondered if that was a side effect of her curse. Did everyone ignoring her lead to her returning the favor, so to speak? It would explain why she didn't seem to listen to the instructions in class unless they were written somewhere.

Daphne wondered if it would be much of an inconvenience if she kissed him again.

The rest of the school wondered who the hell that girl at the Slytherin table was that Harry Potter was talking to.