Title: Qye
Author: Shades
Rating: PG-13/T
Pairings: DM/HP/OC, RW/HG

Summary: AU Fifth Year for Harry Potter, one summer since the tragic events of the Triwizard Tournament. He has become quiet and withdrawn, keeping his thoughts to himself. Nevertheless, he will not have the time to be concerned about outside worries like Voldemort, not when he has to worry about his own problems at Hogwarts. A vampire woman DADA teacher and with her she brings out odd feelings and odd people.

Spoilers: From PS/SS to GoF. AU from GoF so nothing plotwise from OotP, HBP or DH. There is slash so if that is not your cup of tea, please leave and do not flame me. Thanks!

Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter or all its characters. Nor do I longer own my army of rabbits, the Canary From Hell, Kaiba, and let us never speak of the Mother of All Evil. However, I would love to introduce anyone who dares to steal Lest, Myn, Qye or ANY of my OCs to my new pet, a cute one-year-old cocker spaniel Buster. I do not own the name Lestat. That belongs to Anne Rice and I have simply borrowed the name. The character, Lest, however is my own.

-- is Change of Scene
xxxxxx is Flashback
:Bold/Italic: is Harry to Qye
:Bold: is Qye to Harry

Dedications: To QS because she got to go to The Colbert Report while I'm stuck with school and muses who bombard me faster than I can write ( ; - ; So mean!!)

IMPORTANT NOTE: IF YOU HAVE ALREADY READ CHAPTER 20, PLEASE GO BACK AND REREAD AGAIN. IT HAS BEEN REVISED AND YOU WILL NOT BE ABLE TO FOLLOW THIS CHAPTER. PLEASE GO BACK.

xoxoxoxoxoxoxo

Chapter Twenty One

xoxoxoxoxoxoxo

With Professor Opacre's solemn words, the following duels were focused and grimly determined. Each contestant stepped forward, in their eyes a look saying they didn't want to lose against the vampire, determined to at least break even with Lest. Yet they all seemed to end the same way.

Zabini had followed after Hermione, and had used a 'Muffliato' immediately, thinking if Lest couldn't hear the spells, he'd be less likely to respond. Unfortunately, the muffling spell seemed as effective as Hermione's initial spells. He lost the duel the minute he shouted 'Obscuro' as Lest had been heavily irritated at the attack against his vision. Zabini had crashed against the floor with a wave of Lest's hand and telekinesis with his wand flying into Lest's other hand. Zabini walked away with more bruises to his ego than his body.

Dean had gone next and had attempted to immobilize Lest physically, moving from 'Levicorpus' to 'Petrificus Totalus' to 'Incarcerous'. All that had done was make Lest move more than any other duel, seemingly able to tell when and where the next attack was coming. As the ropes started to fall from the last spell, having completely missed their target, they stopped midway and flew towards Dean. Professor Opacre had to spend the next five minutes explaining what went wrong and other helpful hints while she struggled with the complicated knots.

Crabbe and Goyle both had the bright idea that wands evidently weren't going to work. It took possibly only a second, both of them taking a step forward and flexing their muscles before Lest knocked them to the ground, standing over their dazed forms and twirling their wands.

These defeats didn't bother Harry. Or rather, more specifically, annoy him. What annoyed him was the way Lest drawled out mockingly helpful tips as each student's face showed how desperate they were trying not to think. Lest smirked at each student as they slumped away with their returned wands and Harry could feel his fingers twitch in annoyance each time, silently rooting for the following contestant, whether they'd be Gryffindor or Slytherin.

:He's just being himself: Qye had tried half-heartedly when Harry's eyebrow twitched as Seamus flew across the room.

:You can't tell me this isn't annoying you: Harry demanded as he watched Lest dangle the Irish boy's wand in front of him mockingly. :Yes, he's winning, he doesn't have to flaunt it! He's war-experienced and had time to learn from the other classes! He's making it seem like we're first-years trying out for N.E.W.T.s: he seethed.

:...yes, I would really like to kick his ass: Qye admitted. :And you know it's bad because I'm even feeling sorry for Finnegan: he sighed.

"Well, I see these practices have been useful," Professor Opacre said cheerfully as she dusted off a trembling Daphne Greengrass and sent her to the back. Her blue eyes glanced at the clock on her desk and she sighed. "It looks like we only have time for a few more duels, maybe one really good one." She turned back to them and winked. "I expect these final duels to go well since I assume all of you have at least learned a few things, yes?"

"That there's no way to win against a vampire?" Nott muttered as he rubbed his elbow from where it had hit the ground when he had faced Lest. "Yes, I'd say that lesson's pretty well-learned."

"I heard that, Theodore," Professor Opacre said, rolling her eyes. The scrawny Slytherin merely shrugged. She sighed and looked at the resigned group. "Really? No one wants to give it a shot?"

Harry glanced around at his classmates and even though there was still a fair amount of people who hadn't fought yet, they were all acting as they had at the beginning, with downcast eyes and disheartened spirits. He felt his fingers twitch and he didn't even think about it, wanting so badly to erase that arrogant expression -

"I'll do it, Professor."

Heads whipped around and Harry and Hermione stared wide-eyed, slack-jawed as Ron sighed and raised his hand. Professor Opacre lit up and clapped her hands.

"Oh good, thank you Ron!" she chirped, gesturing for him to come forward. He nodded and unpocketed his wand. Harry and Hermione moved aside, still bewildered by his sudden offering. As he passed them, he paused. Harry blinked as Ron gave him a look.

"Do not fight him," Ron muttered, glaring at him. Harry stared and Ron pointed a finger at him threateningly. "I mean it, I'll tell my Mum all sorts of things so that you'll be mothered until you'll want to kill yourself if you do so."

"What the - " Harry began, an incredulous look on his face. Ron stabbed his finger and Harry raised his hands. "Alright, geez," he mumbled. The redhead resumed his trek to the middle of the room.

Professor Opacre blinked at Ron as the redhead stopped the accepted distance away from her brother and stood stiffly, staring at the male vampire with a stoic expression.

"Um," she said, blinking. Harry flushed as he realized she must've seen if not heard Ron's little intimidation. 'Wonderful,' he groaned silently to himself. 'As if I need it to look like I can't take care of myself even more.'

It got worse when her brother raised a cool eyebrow at the silent Weasley, his arms folded loosely across his chest.

"Watching out for your little friend?" Lest said mockingly, blue eyes flicking slightly over to where Harry was standing. Harry met his gaze for only a moment before turning his eyes back to his friend, teeth gritting.

'Who is he calling little?' He took a deep breath and tried to calm himself. This vampire seemed to be a never-ending source of problems for him since the moment they'd met and his desire to see him bested grew more.

:Great, a moral dilemma: Qye growled. :Do I cheer on Lest, who needs a serious knock off his damn pedastal, or do I cheer on Weasley, as much as it would pain me to do so?:

:Ron: Harry firmly said, eyes locked on the redhead and silently willing him to at least break even with Lest.

:The world must be ending: Qye moaned. :Feeling bad for Finnegan and rooting for Weasley. I can't take much more of this.:

"Looks like your little friend doesn't need much protecting," he heard Lest drawl as he kept his eyes firmly on Ron. The redhead's face tightened slightly but suprisingly didn't turn red. He didn't even make a comment as he kept his eyes firmly on the vampire. A few murmurs rosefrom the Gryffindors, surprised at his lack of temper, and Harry felt Hermione drop a tense hand on his arm.

"Lest, stop antagonizing," Professor Opacre scolded as she waved a hand at her brother. She moved back behind her desk and raised her hand. Lest merely smiled coolly as Ron tightened his hand on his wand.

"Incendio!" Ron snapped out the minute Professor Opacre's hand dropped.

Harry couldn't even begin to explain the rush of pleasure that flooded him as Lest's eyes widened in shock and he stumbled to avoid the flare of fire from Ron's wand. He heard his classmates exclaim - not even bothering to hide their excitement - at finally seeing someone catch the vampire offguard. He even thought he heard Nott shout enthusiastically "Go Weasley!"

His pleasure was short-lived, however, withering away quickly and replaced with more than a bit of worry when Lest lifted his face from avoiding the flames.

There was no trace of mockery or amusement on that face, hard colbalt eyes narrowed.

Hermione's hand tightened on his arm even as the other students continued to voice their enthusiasm and support.

Movement happened in his peripeheral vision and he turned to see Ron lightly shifting from one foot to the next. He blinked, not understanding why Ron was doing such an odd thing but when he glanced back at Lest, the vampire's eyes had narrowed even further and a grimace had appeared on his face.

:What the hell is Weasley doing?: Qye frowned.

:I don't know: Harry responded slowly. :It doesn't look like Lest's happy about it though... :

There was no witty quip from Lest as he straightened from where he had hastily moved to avoid the fire. He raised his hand in what was becoming a familiar move to shove contestants down and snatch their wand.

Except this time, the contestant didn't fall. Ron must've seen the gesture because he shifted his feet, catching the push with his left foot behind him and balancing himself with his right foot in front. His wand hand did jerk forward, as if his wand wanted to fly out, but Ron's grip seemed tight and he only jerked forward a bit.

The vampire muttered something too low for Harry to hear, even as the class quieted down, curious about Ron's actions. Lest took a step forward, dropping his hand.

"Aguamenti," Ron snarled and water burst from his wand. Lest hissed and once again barely managed to dodge the jet, eyes flashing dangerously as he found his bearings on the now slippery floor around him.

:Holy hell: Qye breathed. :Weasley's actually pretty good.:

Before Harry could give his assent, a small book suddenly flew from Professor Opacre's desk, aimed right for Ron's wand hand. Harry sucked in his breath because if Ron lost his grip on his wand -

"Protego," Ron muttered and the book smacked against the invisible shield, quivering in the air as it was caught between two extreme pressures before clattering to the floor.

"Not bad," Lest commented quietly. Ron's eyes had never left Lest's eyes and –

Harry frowned. Wait. He shifted around, absently arranging Hermione's tense hold so he could see better and...he blinked. Ron wasn't looking at Lest's eyes. It took a few more glances between the two of them but he confirmed it. Lest's eyes were trying to capture Ron's but Ron's always seemed firmly fixated on some other part of the vampire's face, even as he moved from one foot to the other.

"I wonder how good that concentration is?" Lest mused aloud and Harry had just enough time to see a small frown on Ron's face before all the trinkets flew from Professor Opacre's desk.

Over the year, several students had gathered the courage to give small things to the new teacher, their liking increasing their giving nature. Adding to the small items Professor Opacre had collected herself as she interacted with the wizarding world - a wizarding chess piece, a few pieces of jewelry, some Knuts and Sickles and Galleons, a tiny Sneakoscope - there was quite a collection.

And that entire collection flew towards Ron, all at different speeds and distances. A simple Shield Charm wouldn't be able to hold them off.

Ron grimaced and flicked his wand, banishing a few back, and Harry saw Lest flick his own hand in that familiar gesture. Ron's wand jerked out of his hand half way before he regained his grasp. In that small moment, a few trinkets aimed for his hand, to dislodge his grip, and his face, to distract. He managed to dodge them, his constantly shifting feet giving him extra time to move, and Harry exhaled in relief as he didn't lose his wand.

The students were quietly urging Ron on, trying not to distract him from the confusion of constantly falling and banishing and returning trinkets. Harry held his breath because it looked like Ron was even starting to get a head lead. Instead of returning trinkets to the desk the redhead had started to send them towards Lest, who had to dodge them, feet moving carefully on the slippery surface.

Ron might actually -

And then Lest smirked. The small textbook he had thrown at Ron in the beginning - lying innocently just a little way from Ron's feet - shot up and hit the redhead in the back of the knee of the leg that had just shifted back.

Ron's eyes widened and he stumbled. In that second, a few lighter trinkets smacked against the side of his hand, causing it to reflexively loosen just as Lest gestured with his hand again.

The wand fell into Lest's palm just as one last trinket crashed into an unsteady Ron, dropping him to the floor.

All the hope that had swelled up during the duel evaporated and the class was silent again.

"No wand, no fighting techniques sufficient enough to parry me off..." Lest drawled, fingers curling around the wand. He took a step forward and he wasn't even unsteady at all, walking on the watered floor. He stopped, a few feet from where Ron lay on the floor and looked down at the redhead with an unreadable expression.

And then he dropped the wand in his lap.

Here, Ron's face turned red as his blue eyes glared fiercely up at the vampire, hand clenching around his wand, lips tight. And Lest...smirked.

'Well,' Harry thought distantly, a thought as quiet as the rest of the class. His green eyes were locked onto that smirk, even as Ron picked himself off the floor, even as the trinkets and book flew back neatly to the desk, even as Professor Opacre slowly moved from her place. 'Well then...'

"That...that was good Ron," Professor Opacre said unsteadily. Lest finally turned away from Ron, moving back to his spot as the redhead jerkily dusted himself off. The smirk was still on that face and green eyes stared at it until it disappeared. Only then did they slowly move to Professor Opacre.

There was no smile on her face as she patted Ron the shoulder and sent him along. As he made his way back to the crowd, accepting the half-hearted congratulations of his dorm mates, there was a sharp look in her eyes. She shook her head clearing all traces of it just as Ron turned back around.

"Well," she cleared her throat, forcing a smile on her face. "I suppose after that none of you wish to - "

Harry didn't even need to think about it.

"I'll do it."

Ron's head whirled around but Harry didn't even wait for Professor Opacre's acknowledgement, beginning to push his way through the crowd. The redhead still somehow managed to catch the sleeve of his room and he glanced back at the irate redhead.

"What part of 'do not fight him' did you not understand?" Ron hissed.

"Your Mum already mothers me and is likely to do so until I'm dead," he muttered. "How much worse could it get?"

Ron opened his mouth - probably to tell him it could - but he didn't wait. He pulled his sleeve away and dodged through his curious classmates to the front, wand sliding into his hand. Professor Opacre was beaming at him from the front of the room but he only spared her a glance before he took the spot everyone else had taken, hand tight on his wand. He raised his green eyes as the female vampire thanked him profusely, barely hearing her.

Cool emerald eyes clashed with interested cobalt eyes, Lest raising an eyebrow as Harry gave him a steady look.

:Right then: Qye said and Harry felt the pressure behind his eyes increase more, as if Qye wanted to see this clearly even though he hated viewing when Harry was in movement. :Well...this should be interesting. :

"Remember," Professor Opacre said, voice faraway, as Harry and Lest stared at each other. "Use whatever means necessary to incapcitate my brother, Harry." In the corner of his eye, he saw her hand lifting.

:Don't think: Qye softly reminded him.

Harry's brow furrowed. :Wait: he suddenly realized, eyes widening slightly. :Can't he hear you?:

Professor Opacre's arm dropped.

In the same style that had fallen Ron, the trinkets from Professor Opacre's desk zoomed towards him.

"'Protego'," Harry said automatically because it was just like last year, wasn't it, being pelted with objects by Ron and Hermione in training for the Maze. He didn't even think about it, green eyes glancing only momentarily as the trinkets hit his invisible shield and rebounded, because it was instinct and there were a million other things that were instinct too.

"Expelliarmus," he called out, flicking his wand out and he saw Lest's eyes widen and narrow as he dodged the blast of red light.

:Qye? : he thought as he kept half his attention on the duel and his shoulders stiffened because what happened if Lest heard that too?

:Keep your head on the battle!: Qye shouted and his entire right side jerked back, not totally of his control, as several larger trinkets made their way past his shield and aimed for his hand. Harry grimaced and it didn't even require thought, shooting a succession of 'Expelliarmus!' at Lest, making the vampire curse in a language that was not English as he moved to avoid the blasts of red lights.

:Qye: Harry urged silently, eyes focused on the moving vampire. :Can't he hear that I'm talking to you?:

:I don't think so: Qye replied distractedly and his left arm - again, it didn't feel like his action - moved to swipe away a few of the smaller trinkets. :Didn't Myn say he was only reading your immediate thoughts relating to your actions? :

:My immediate thoughts consist of talking to you: Harry snapped and his anxiety slipped into his actions, turning his 'Expelliarmus' into 'Reducto' with barely a thought.

Lest jumped back as the first Blasting Charm broke off the leg of one of the desks. The vampire paused for only a moment, shooting Harry a sharp look that he barely noticed before he grimaced and moved to avoid the next ones.

:I don't think he can hear this: Qye said, watching from behind his eyes as Harry pulled back his spells and put up his Shield Charm again. Lest paused, eyes narrowed at him as stood next to a toppled over desk. :It's...too deep a level, I think: Qye said quietly in the lull of battle. Over the blood rushing in his ears Harry could faintly hear a buzz from the class and a murmur from Professor Opacre but his mind was too occupied, too filled with his worries about Qye and a vampire who just wouldn't go down.

:Myn said you'd be able to feel if a vampire was probing deeper than superficial thoughts, right?: Qye asked suddenly, causing Harry's wand to twitch and a wizarding chess piece to fly towards Lest. The vampire batted it aside carelessly, sharp blue eyes barely moving from Harry's face.

:Yeah...: Harry said, watching carefully. A bit of tension seeped away from him. :I suppose. Though: he said, suddenly realizing as a bit of disappointment appeared, :maybe it would've helped with you.:

:What do you mean?: Qye asked, frowning.

:To prove you were real: Harry explained and he glanced around, trying to think of his next move. Now that Qye had alleviated his concerns, his burning desire to beat the vampire revived. :Then they could talk with you and get you out of my head:

:Hm: was all Qye said.

Before Harry could question that noncommittal response, Lest's voice brought him back to the duel and his green eyes flashed back to the vampire, hand tight on his wand. The duel was over the minute he lost his wand so he couldn't afford to slip on it.

"Are you really this dull-witted?" Lest demanded.

Harry blinked, thrown aback by the burst of frustration that emanated from the vampire's voice.

:What the hell is he talking about?: Qye scowled and Harry narrowed his eyes at the vampire, stiffening slightly.

Was this a new trick? In all the other duels Lest had never once insulted any of the contestants. Even when he used his mocking tone of voice he was still just giving them assistance.

"Good gods, you really don't think at all," Lest muttered. "You must be a simpleton."

Harry gritted his teeth, ready to throw back a few retorts himself.

:Harry: Qye suddenly said and Harry blinked, irritation displaced by the tone of Qye's voice. It sounded suddenly realized and viciously victorious at the same time. :Harry, he can't hear what you're thinking when you're talking to me.:

:What?: Harry asked, hand twitching slightly as he eyed the vampire.

:Dull-witted is being too nice: Qye mumbled and Harry watched as Lest narrowed his eyes, mostly in response to his own flashing green. :He can't hear what you're thinking...:

And just like that, understanding struck him and he couldn't stop the slow smile that spread on his face.

:...so he can't see what I'm about to do: Harry whispered back and Qye just pulsed in the back of his head, full of triumph and anticipation.

"I realize the silence in your head must be of great joy to you," Lest cut into their mutual feeling of coming victory. Harry focused back back and the smile wiped off his face as he stared at the vampire. Lest raised an eyebrow, hands by his side. "Do you really need to smile though?"

Harry wasn't going to say anything but his lips moved. "Just thinking about how far you're going to fall from your perch when I beat you."

His green eyes flashed but he didn't say anything to Qye - as it was obviously it had to be him - because it was okay, watching the vampire's face tighten.

"You going to do better than your friends?" Lest asked and there was that amusement, that mockery, and it conjured visions of Hermione's ineffective spells, Zabini crashing to the floor, Dean mercilessly tied up, Greengrass yelping as projectiles aimed at her hand, Ron so close to winning if it hadn't been for that underhanded ploy and...

Lest smirked.

"Why don't you give it your best shot?" he drawled out coolly, tilting his head to the side.

"Wingdarium Leviosa," he said calmly and he saw Lest's eyes narrow. No one must have used this spell, a first-year spell quickly learned and forgotten, so innocent. He couldn't see what Harry was thinking so he couldn't know what the spell did, as the broken off leg from the desk Harry had blasted hovered up.

:Idiot must be too focused on you to be using that vision thing: Qye said and there was a tinge of something in that voice but mostly just expectant victory.

The leg hovered and Harry could hear of the buzz of his classmates increase but it was all in a second because like Professor Opacre said, things had to happen fast, duels happened fast, like a flash of green light and lost lives. The leg shot towards the vampire's head and Harry had a flash of a club knocking out a troll and it felt fitting to end this with a move Ron had used. It only took a second, the leg levitating up and shooting towards Lest's head with a flick of Harry's wand -

- and Lest caught it with hand, not even looking behind him.

"You don't honestly think I'm that stupid, do you?" Lest asked calmly. Harry's eyes widened and he felt his shock echo from Qye. "I think it's okay if I break some of my limits with you...Harry."

And he flung the leg towards Harry.

From his lips automatically fell a Shield Charm but his eyes widened even further in shock when the leg continued on through it, dismay filling him in an instant as he saw that it would hit his hand and the duel would be lost -

- and his body jerked to the left, Qye shouting :Harry!: in a worried voice, and the blunt end of the broken leg crashed into his left shoulder with such force it knocked him around and sent him crashing to the floor. His wand slipped from his fingers at the last moment, landing beside his head as he fell and tasted the floor.

And the volume suddenly went up, just a little bit, because he heard the surprised cries from the other students, Hermione's worried voice and Ron's low curses penetrating them and he even thought he heard Professor Opacre cry out to, voice concerned one moment, scolding the next.

"Lest, you idiot!" she shouted far away and there were hurried clicking footsteps coming towards him.

'That hurt,' he thought fuzzily and coughed. He blinked and slowly started lifting himself up. He winced as his left shoulder protested the movement and used his right hand to rub it as he kneeled on the floor, his left hand supporting him.

There would most likely be a bruise but...

Something glinted in the reflection of his glasses and his green eyes blinked as he saw his wand, lying on the floor in front of him.

He blinked again.

Footsteps came closer and he felt a presence behind him as he dropped his hand to the floor.

"Are you okay?"

He froze.

"He'd better be okay or Mother will cry when she's seen what I've done to you," a feminine voice hissed a little further off. His head buzzed and he looked over his shoulder.

Lest's even face met his, standing behind him, hand outstretched to help him up. There was no remorse, no guilt on that calm face, no tremble in the hand or tension in the body as it bent forward slightly. Harry felt his body tense because he had just pushed him to the ground and he wasn't even sorry -

Then his eyes focused and he saw a tightness around those seemingly unaffected eyes.

He dropped his eyes and turned his face back to the ground.

"Harry?" Professor Opacre asked concernedly, voice closer. From the corner of his eye he could see her coming to where he knelt on the ground, clear bag in her hands.

He closed his eyes and cleared his throat. "I'm okay."

On the other side of the classroom, he heard sounds of relief from his classmates and he opened his eyes, beginning to straighten up.

From the quiet of his mind, Qye - voice fiery - spoke. :Lest really needs to lose.:

And he could feel his body moving on its own accord, saw his body turn, left hand accept Lest's to get up -

- and right hand deliver a punch straight across Lest's face.

A look of surprise on the vampire's face before he crashed down to the floor and he heard Professor Opacre's yelp clearly as the rest of the class fell silent, stunned.

Lest's burning eyes snapped up...and widened when they found themselves staring at the end of Harry's wand.

Already he could feel control returning to his body and Qye moving back while he stared at the still vampire on the ground before him. His breathing was steady and he knew every eye was on him. He blinked, only once.

And then he lowered his wand.

"The duel's mine."

His words echoed in the quiet classroom and he saw Lest narrow his eyes, pale face slightly pink from where his fist had made contact.

"And how exactly," the vampire said in a low-pitched voice heard by everyone, "did you come to that conclusion?"

Harry met his gaze unwaveringly, hand gripping his wand tightly. "Because," he replied quietly, flashes of green light and a terrible darkness clinging to him only a week ago going through his head,"If this had been real, you'd be dead by now."

And then his lips quirked not of his own volition as Lest's eyes narrowed.

"Besides," his voice spoke without him, "that looked like it hurt."

"I was slightly surprised by you hitting me," Lest said stiffly after a moment, pushing himself off the floor and onto his feet, blue eyes glinting dangerously at him. "It wasn't like it was that bad - "

"I was talking about you falling from your high horse," his voice smirked and Harry inwardly sighed as the vampire's eyes widened and then grew considering, lips twitching in obvious amusement.

--

"You should've just let me hit him," Lest muttered while he held an ice pouch to his cheek, leaning against the room's door post as Marylin finished cleaning up. She left the broken desks off to the side for Filch to pick up when he was doing his rounds. Her light blue eyes shot a quick glare over at the her brother as she made the final adjustments to her trinkets.

Did he really have to use them ?

"Ha, right," she replied sarcastically, straightening the battered wizarding chess piece. "And be known as the professor that brought down Hogwarts by letting you two have a petty fight? Don't think so." She shuddered as she imagined the chaos that would've happened.

After she had made sure Harry was okay - a few bruises but nothing more than the others received - and hustled him back to the group, she was torn between letting another student try and ending class early. The others had been thrown into stunned disbelief as much as she had been when her mild student hit her brother - who hadn't even lost his temper! - and, even she had to admit, to a small degree she stressed to the others, won.

But as he rejoined them, they evidently snapped out of it and her already frazzled nerves - hesitantly fluttering around a too quiet Lest who was merely thoughtfully looking at Harry while he rubbed his reddening cheek - took another hit when they burst into cheers and whoops. Each of them looked eager and ready to go another round with Lest and she had perked up. The way they had looked, so downtrodden, made her worry they wouldn't be able to face a Dazain if they ever had to. But they had spun around and she was so close to letting them try again...

...until Draco Malfoy had stepped forward.

The Slytherins had perked up, ready to support their Housemate and she heard Seamus whisper of how he was practically the equivalent of Harry and they were all practically making way for him to be the next contestant...

She really didn't have choice, did she? Just brightly smile, explain their faults and strengths, cheerfully tell them their assignments as they confusedly gathered their things and ask them not to warn anyone as she slammed the door behind them.

Let those two fight. Right.

She paused, blue eyes quietly gazing down at her collection as she straightened her battered wizarding rook. Her mind flashed back to the duel between Ron and Lest and she bit her lip as she remembered those shifting feet and obvious lack of eye contact. She knew Draco and Ron weren't even the most civil of schoolmates but as she had watched that duel she silently thought about how much the two might actually have in common. If she had known, she wouldn't have let the Weasley boy fight perhaps. At least it hadn't been as it could've been, say with Draco fighting.

"The little bastard needs to be pushed down a peg anyway," Lest muttered, breaking her out of her worried thoughts. She paused, then turned and stared incredulously at her brother who was now glaring at the wall across him.

"I'm sorry but how's that cheek of yours?" she finally asked after a moment and Lest turned his scowl towards her.

"It's not the same thing," he replied stiffly, straightening from his slouch. He put down the make-shift pouch - ice brought by house-elf and her handkerchief - and gingerly touched the colored skin.

"Of course," she rolled her eyes, turning her back on him. "You had that coming." She paused and shook her head. "Though I would've never suspected it would be from Harry," she said ruefully, packing the last of her things in her bag. "Who would've guessed he'd be your worst kind of opponent, huh? A perfect long-range fighter." She grabbed her bag and turned around with an amused expression on her face. "I bet none of them could've guess you're a close-range fighter. I hinted to them that you weren't the greatest with telekinesis or shielding but I guess none of them got that."

"Bragging that you're better than me in those fields does not say anything about my own skills," Lest replied, tossing her an icy look. She shrugged and took his arm.

"Yes, well," she said, locking the door. "Let's see if we can find something for that bruise." She looked up at him. "Still hurt?"

"Could be worse," he said quietly.

A tinge of resignation was in his face but when she questioningly touched his arm, the emotions bled away to an indifferent face and he said nothing more.

--

"Weasley."

Alert blue eyes snapped up.

A pale eyebrow raised and Ron gritted his teeth as his eyes focused on the dark and found Malfoy leaning against a wall. A wall that he just happened to have to go by to get back to the Gryffindor Common Room with the snacks from the kitchens. Harry's 'victory' was being bragged to every one who had dueled Lest since no one seemed to have been able to beat him. And since Ron had been the closest after him, with Fred and George surprisingly trailing behind him, a celebration was taking place. He, in effort to calm himself and not strangle his best friend, had volunteered to go for the kitchen run.

And now he had to deal with this git. Well, at least he could vent some of his irritation...

Malfoy must have seen his hand twitch to his wand because he shook his head and moved away from the wall. Ron felt his eyes narrow more as the Slytherin spread his hands before him.

"Just want to talk, Weasley," Malfoy said, sharp eyes looking at his own.

Ron snorted. "Heard that before."

Malfoy's jaw clenched but all he did was let out a long breath and move aside with an expectant look on his face. Ron gritted his teeth because it was obvious the only way he was getting back is if he 'talked' with Malfoy. He weighed the pros and cons, the snacks hindering his movements with a wand, and how long he'd been gone.

He sighed and glared at the blonde, stalking past him. "What is it?" he asked shortly.

Malfoy caught up to him and met his pace. They quietly walked until Ron's temper started to rise again. He wanted their chat to be over quickly so he could get back and silently fume at Harry while the rest celebrated. At least Harry was subdued after his match so it wouldn't be like his annoyance would have much to run on, unlike with his current company.

But just when Ron was about to snap, Malfoy finally spoke, voice low.

"About your duel..."

Ron glanced sharply at Malfoy and the irritation faded away when he saw look in the gray eyes. He'd seen that look before.

Ron inwardly sighed and cursed vampires.

xoxoxoxoxoxoxo

Author's Notes: Le gasp, you didn't have to wait five months for this! XD Um...don't expect another one for at least another two weeks though...cough Anyway, please look to my LJ for full AN.

...have I mentioned how much I love you all? ; - ;

Next chapter: "Say Yes" In which Myn shows that she still is, in fact, Myn.