Title: Heaven Forbid

Author: Duchess of Darkness (I just realized that Xiao's not my name on FFNet. Heh.) - Kaz

Rating: PG13

Summary: I hate him; I wish he was dead. He wants me dead and I couldn't care less. Let him sneer; let him glare; let him express his hatred for me. Let him ignore me, and yet keep all his attention on me. I don't care. …I think I'm in love with him.

AN: Hello hello! Guess what? Heaven Forbid has a side story! Well, okay, maybe not a side story, but it is a (long) one-shot that goes with it. There are no spoilers in it, I don't think, but if you've read up till now, then you'll get things like Harry's gender bending. Please check it out. It should be on my profile, but in case you can't find it, look for Mine Only. Yay! I hope you like it. Hehe. (Please notify me for any mistakes that I can fix so I can give a better story for you lovely readers.)

Chapter VII

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"If I didn't know any better, I would say you liked a dashing Slytherin like me," came a low drawl, the words seeming to roll easily off a quick tongue.

I looked up and caught the silver gaze of the speaking male, his eyes holding me for a moment before I pushed him away. It took me a while to register what he said and I glared at him as my answer. I had a bit too much on my mind to answer him verbally. I almost regretted leaving the Founders' room so abruptly, but one couldn't foresee their actions or whom they bumped into, like now.

"Leave me alone, Malfoy."

But alas, he did not. Instead, the blonde followed me, trying his best to seem harmless and in best interest of my wellbeing. I highly doubted that, but what would I say that would truly get him out of my sight? I had to reach the Gryffindor tower as soon as possibly if I wanted to be alone (or at least away from him). I had more important and strange things to think about than this unnatural and annoying shadow at my heels. I was sure his eyes were trying to bore a hole in the back of my head, but did my best to pay no attention to it.

With an inward sigh, I quickened my step and nearly ran up a staircase in order to lose Malfoy before he could follow. Hopefully, the stairs would change before he could reach me if I walked quickly enough.

But unfortunately for me, instead of catching him, the stairs moved before I reached the top, its sudden jerk pulling me off balance. I reached out to grab the railing, but a hand seized mine before I could hold onto the rail. I fell back against a chest and an arm wrapped itself around my waist.

I looked up to meet those gray eyes again. "I really hate bumping into you so often like this," I muttered as I righted myself and pushed the arm off me.

"I have no problem with it."

I whirled around. "What? Mr. Pride In Pure, Slytherin Blood? You have no problem in staying around a Gryffindor like me? I have a hard time believing that." I shook my head and turned around. I didn't want to hear whatever excuse he would throw at me.

"Would you believe this?"

My wrist was snagged and I was turned around. I swear I didn't know what was wrong with me, but I fell once again, meeting Malfoy's lips as he careened backwards. We were lucky we were so low on the stairs that he just fell back a couple of steps before hitting the platform. I braced myself before impact, but the hit wasn't as hard as I thought it would be. It was probably because Malfoy was underneath me and took the fall. I pushed myself up and away from the blonde, eyes widened in shock and disbelief. 1 Was I just kissed by Malfoy again? And did we just fall down stairs? Oh man...

Malfoy rotated his shoulders and rubbed at the back of his head, probably checking to make sure there was no bump. All the while he wore a small smirk. As his eyes traveled over to mine, I felt heat rise in my face.

"Are you okay?" The question just flew out of my mouth.

He chuckled. "I'm fine. Certainly wasn't a way I'd prefer to kiss a girl, but we can fix that problem."

I blinked at him. "What?" I squeaked, not sure if I wanted to know what he meant by that.

But before he could answer, two more voices cut in.

"Draco!!"

"Harle, are you all right?!"

I whipped my head around to see Blaise, Joan and Hermione rushing toward us at alarming speed. As Hermione approached me first, she pulled me up and away from Malfoy, glaring at him. Joan stood with her hands on her hips in front of us and told him off for "seducing" me. I blushed harder at this and looked away when I caught Malfoy looking at me while Blaise helped him up. Jeez, being a female was starting to corrupt my judgment and emotions, as well as my actions. Who the bloody hell would have thought that becoming a girl would make me think like one?

"By gods, who do you take me for? A bloody skirt chaser?" Malfoy snorted.

Joan nodded as if it meant something big. "Yes. You might as well be, you filthy lecher."

"What!" Malfoy's eyes widened. I could just imagine what he was thinking. Lecher? Him? Hell, I bet the entire school body thought he had slept with practically all the girls in the castle.

That thought made me pause. If Malfoy presumably had slept with all the girls of Hogwarts, then... what did that say about me? I, technically, am a female right now. ...Whoa. That was a train of thought I didn't want to go down. Sorry, I'm not boarding that express, thanks.

Hermione and Joan ushered me back to our House and helped cool my heated face. Joan pelted me with a lot of questions that I couldn't answer. Hermione, though, had on her calculating look, and I half feared what she came up with. With another blush and shake of my head to Joan's question about what they had seen with me on top of Malfoy, I explained how he had pulled me to him and we both fell down the stairs, barely recovering before they came. It was embarrassing thinking about what had happened, and even more so telling it. Hermione saved me from further questions after that, stating that we all had to head to class. We had one more class before lunch.

As we walked to our next class, a thought popped in my head. Turning to the girls, I asked, "Hey, why was Blaise Zabini with you?"

Joan was the first to react, blushing and turning her head away. Hermione, however, simply shrugged and answered, "He happened to cross our path looking for Malfoy when we were looking for you. I remember him muttering to himself about Malfoy pursuing a Gryffindor girl, so we decided to follow each other and look for the both of you. Thankfully, and yet unthankfully, we found you both. Don't worry, I won't pester you about it. I'm sure Joan's done enough of that."

I glanced at Joan and tilted my head slightly to see if I could catch her expression. I was out of luck as her hair fell to curtain her face. I shook my head and continued to follow the girls to class. It was a good thing it wasn't a Double class with Slytherin, or else I probably wouldn't have been able to control myself or be assured Malfoy could control himself.

It was to my luck that the day flew by faster than I had hoped. At lunch, I sat with my back to the Slytherin table, forcing myself to talk and listen to others' conversations to distract myself from the looks I knew I was getting from a certain table. As soon as I finished my lunch, but the hour hadn't, I worked a bit on my assignments before heading off, hoping to get something done so I could avoid running into Malfoy anytime in the evening making my trip from the library or anything.

After finishing an assignment for a class and realizing I had plenty of time to spare, I decided to apologize and make a second trip to the Founders' room. 2 It was difficult for me to find, but once I stepped through, I felt like I knew the place from top to bottom. I greeted the founders of Hogwarts with a small smile and slight bow as soon as I came in, not really looking first to see if anyone was around. Rowena, I saw, looked up from whatever she was reading to greet me. Her voice was a soft, but strong; it had a tone in it that just stated her power and knowledge. I spotted a lounging chair in the middle of the room this time instead of a stool and sat in it, dropping my things at my feet. I looked over the large painting I first saw all four founders in, and saw the other three were missing. This was better for me, because I think I could talk to the Ravenclaw founder more easily than the others.

Rowena sat up and turned toward me with a gentle smile that I expected a mother would have. I didn't know if Rowena Ravenclaw had any children, but she had that air of a mother as well. I looked around the room to see if any of the other paintings in the room were occupied with the other members, or anyone random that might overhear us.

Rowena spoke up as I looked about. "Don't worry, they're all out for lunch. I just came back to do a bit of reading. They shouldn't be back for another half-hour or so. I didn't think you would be back so soon. Was there something on your mind?"

I turned back toward the blue-clad woman and nodded. "I wanted to talk about it earlier, but I didn't think it was right to ask such a bold question so early in our meeting."

The dark-haired woman shook her head. "Oh, not at all, dear. What did you want to talk about?"

I frowned, the image of Godric and Salazar bouncing in my head. "It's about the other two," I started slowly, knowing she would understand whom I was talking about. "Why...?"

"Do they pretend they hate each other?"

I looked up from where I was staring at the ground. "Pretending? How are they pretending to hate each other when I saw them glare at each other in my last visit?"

Rowena crossed her legs. "Do you want a blunt answer?" When I nodded, she said, "It's a façade, dear. They're actually friends even though they don't pull that image. I suppose you can say that their supposed 'hatred' toward each other is their way of expressing endearment. Have you not experienced this before?"

My thoughts turned toward a certain blonde. "There is someone I share hatred with, but I don't think its endearment as you say. In fact, I don't think we can even become friends. It's just not logical."

"Why not?"

I opened my mouth to answer but held back as the question sank in. Why not? I stared down at my feet again.

"Well..." I started hesitantly. "He's been trying to get me into trouble and get my killed ever since we crossed each other on the train in my first year here. He said horrible things about my friends, and I couldn't stand his rudeness. I guess, from there, we just started to hate each other and..."

"Maybe regret that you never became friends...?"

My eyes snapped up and widened. "What?"

Rowena rested her chin on her fist, propping her arm up on the armrest. "Maybe you two don't like each other because you never got the chance to know each other and become friends."

"Then why does he always try to get me and my friends in trouble? If he wanted to become friends with me, then why does he give me more reasons to hate him?"

"It could be that he doesn't know how to express himself towards you and/or your friends. Even though he supposedly 'hates' you, doesn't he still pay attention to you and looks like he's watching?"

I paused for a moment. Actually, she was right. Though Malfoy hated my guts (I'm sure), it was always him who gave me the most trouble. "But how can he not know how to express himself?" I asked to no one in particular.

Then, it hit me. I remembered something that he said to me. "My reputation is my life. If I do not keep it up, I might as well just forget that I ever lived under the name of 'Malfoy'."

I looked up and stared at the woman. She smiled knowingly and said, "Perhaps he likes you more than you think. Actions aren't always the best way to communicate — neither are words. You have to look past all the obstruction and find the real meaning. Like Godric and Salazar, they give the appearance of pure loathing, but when you catch them off guard, you see something you never thought would be there."

"Are you filling that he-she with crap again, Ravenclaw?" interrupted a harsh voice.

I turned to see Godric and Salazar slip into the painting from the other side. Salazar Slytherin eyed my warily before he stopped a bit before the female founder and whispered something to her. Rowena, I caught, was still smiling, a strange look in her eyes as she answered in the same hushed voice.

"Back again?"

I turned again to see that Godric had spoken to me. I nodded to his question.

"What's your name?"

I frowned. "You already know my name."

Godric waved a hand in front of his face. "No, the name you go by now. I'm sure you're not going by the same name now that you look different."

"Harle."

"From Harlequin? That's interesting... It's a bit too close to your real name, though."

I nodded. "I made it off the top of my head when Joan barged in on me at the Headmaster's office."

Godric nodded and glanced at the other two before continuing. "So, I hear you have boy troubles."

I felt my face heat up at the wording. "Bloody hell, what is this? A dating service?"

Godric chuckled and shook his head. "Don't get me wrong, I didn't mean to offend you in any way."

"It's fine," I muttered. "But you're right, Miss Rowena and I were speaking about this rival of mine."

At the sound of a rival, Salazar broke off his private conversation with Rowena and turned to me. I sank back in the chair and hoped it would snap around me and block the three pairs of eyes staring at me.

"Rival?" Godric repeated and looked at Rowena.

Rowena caught his expression and shook her head. "You did not mention he was your rival," she said to me. "Though it does not make things more complicated, it is still a small fact worth considering."

Salazar snorted. "You make it sound like we're solving a murder case. Oh no, I think this kid's the murderer! Tch."

I frowned at the Slytherin's sarcasm. The ring was far too familiar.

"Salazar Slytherin, would you stop patronizing and making things worse? Albus entrusted us to help this child and you certainly are not helping," Rowena reprimanded.

Salazar snorted and crossed his arms across his chest. My frown creased as I studied his mannerisms. I didn't know why, but he reminded me of... of... Who? His manner of talking and actions were similar to someone I knew. The name was on the tip of my tongue, but I couldn't bring myself to say it. I stared at him for what must have been forever, because the next thing I knew, three people were calling my name. I blinked and saw that the three founders had noticed my blank stare.

Salazar was the first to react to my stupor. "What, are you suddenly fascinated in me now, kid?"

I shook my head to clear my thoughts and mat Salazar's gaze. "I'll admit that you remind me of..." I paused a moment to frown. It took me a moment, but suddenly, I realized whom I was thinking about. All in one motion, I shot up from my chair, my eyes widened, and I shouted, "DRACO MALFOY!!"

The three founders looked at each other wearing similar frowns. "Malfoy?" Godric spoke first. "Where have I heard that name before?"

Salazar's frown deepened and he snorted, drawing attention toward him from the other two founders. "I remember. You know that old wizard with the blonde hair like the moon and a look that could wither any innocent living thing? The old fart with that nasty cane?"

Rowena's eyes widened. "I remember! And he had a son with the same hair and gave him a cane just like it, putting his wand inside." She frowned again. "I remember, when I was passing though a painting one time, he was torturing this poor young wizard. He was a small young man, and I felt so sorry that he was on the receiving side of this man's wand."

Godric came to realization too. "Ah- Lucius Malfoy! That devil! He's the son of that man. Didn't that brat get married and started following some other troublemaker of a wizard and got mixed with dark magic?" He paused to glare at Salazar. "I think they were both under your house."

Salazar threw a shocked look at the black-haired man. "What? What does that have to do with anything? Just because those brats are under my house doesn't mean it's my fault. It's their own brains that were corrupted from the start. And the fact that it's always MY house that receives all the blame truly wounds me. And now YOU are accusing me of something that I can't control? It's not like your students are all that better," he added as an afterthought.

My eyes widened and I fell back into the chair as the two started arguing. Godric stood up quickly. "What do you mean by 'it's not like your students are all that better'! Are you saying that Gryffindors would stoop to the level of Slytherins and do such dirty tricks that your students have done? Are you saying that we are like you? I believe naught! The students under my house are far different from yours, and because they are so different, that is why they are in separate houses and hold such a good name. Perhaps if you weren't such a bad role model, Salazar, your students wouldn't be given such a bad reputation. I do not mean to accuse, but as it is truth, your students have given themselves a bad name and do not seem to correct their mistakes. They are troublemakers. All these wizards and witches we hear about that have been tainted with dark magic all have come from YOUR side!"

"And you're saying that your students are perfect angels? I do believe you host a number of troublemakers yourself, Gryffindor. I do remember coming across a few children dressed in your robe colors pulling pranks on students in MY house as well as others. Surely you cannot be so blind. You turn your back on your students' mischief and point fingers at me when you are just the same. You may have been given a better name than I, but at least I am not a hypocrite."

Gordic, I noticed, did not say anything back. Instead, he turned tail and fled the side of the painting. I could not believe how things turned out. I came here to talk about the two male founders with Rowena, but then it turned to my complicated relationship (hatred — oh, help me if I think anything but) with Malfoy, then the discussion takes a ninety-degree turn to something else, which leads to such a strange argument. I frowned as I stared at the spot where Godric once stood in the painting. My gaze slowly traveled to Salazar Slytherin who had his hands clenched into fists, eyes set in a dark glare. He sharply turned toward me and yelled, "What!"

I jumped and quickly shook my head. Salazar still stared at me and seemed to look me up and down before turning toward me. I was relieved to say that he looked a little less angry, but only a little bit.

"You."

"Yes?"

"Did you really deny being in the Slytherin house?"

I blinked. How had he known that? I nodded and asked, "How did you know that?"

He shook his head and leaned against the table behind him. "Godric and I had just come back from Dumbledore's office where we were having tea and the topic of you came across our discussion and we found out that you didn't go to the Slytherin house even though you would be put there."

I didn't ask how Professor Dumbledore knew about my switch in houses. After all, it was his hat and it lived in his office. He could put it on any time and ask it all the questions he wanted and get the answers straight away like it did for me when I put it on a second time in my Second Year here.

Salazar stared at me for a long time before shaking his head as if to clear a thought and left the paining in the opposite direction. Rowena stared after him with a contemplating look on her face and wiped the expression off her face before turning toward me. "I'm sorry, dear," she said. "Perhaps this is not the best time to ask those questions I knew you wanted to ask."

I nodded. With a sigh, I got up and gathered my things, turning to leave. After a few feet, Rowena's voice called out to me again. I turned back toward her to see her standing up with her hands clasped in front of her.

"If you want those questions answered, and want to talk to them, (I'm sure I know what you wanted to ask me earlier) you'll probably find Godric in the north tower sulking by the painting of the lake. Salazar, if I know him, is probably brooding in the astronomy tower in the garden painting. It would be best to talk to them after hours, dear, when you won't be interrupted or eavesdropped on. And don't worry, those two tend to stay away from each other for a long time before making up, so visit anytime."

With those words, I nodded and left the room, a frown creased on my brows and my head bent. I would need to talk to one of them one of these days.

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AN: Many thanks to my faithful readers, and I love all you reviewers out there. You remind me that I need to give you something super and SPECTACULAR! I apologize for the previous chapter being so quick and short for you, and with such a long wait for an update. I'm really off schedule, it seems, with my writing habits and ideas are hard to come by for what I have planned. One would almost think I lost that part of my brain that gives me my ideas and sorts all my planning. Maybe so... Hopefully, though, this chapter was a little more like the rest and more paced out and less choppy. No clue of if that's true, but I am anxious to hear of what you guys have to say.

Zax: "For all we know, she might die the next second from misery... Poor, pitiful fool."

Oh, hush, Zax. Anyway, your comments and views and any advice is greatly appreciated (unlike Zax's here).

Zax hands me a lollipop

I do not eat lollipops! throws it back If you're going to give me something, try a mocha or something to wake me up! Summer has turned my poor brain to mush!!!!

Zax sighs and rolls his eyes, mumbling, "I'm not your errand boy, you know..."

MY CHOCOLATE!!

Zax: "Please review or she'll blow a gasket."

(1) Holy shmoly! I have NO earthly clue what came over me to write all that! sweatdrop Well, I hope you guys enjoyed it nonetheless. Kinda movie-slash-fantasy-like, but still kinda sweet, don't you think? Ah, oh well.

(2) It's nothing important other than the bluntness of me. Here is the point where I ran out of ideas and I figured that you guys might want to hear more about the founders, so I stuck Harry in here again.

PS: School's up and running again, and mine gave the go on 8/12/04. Updates, I'll sadly point out, will not be as generous as before this summer of 2004 (if you can't tell already). All my works will be updated at a slower pace until I can get things settled and see what road awaits me (and stuff doesn't keep pilling up on me, like homework). Don't worry, I'll still be working on this one, but as said, things won't be so frequent as before. I'm sorry I didn't give a good chapter before, and this one probably seems a bit hurried as well, but I was trying to get it in while I have a three-day weekend (staff development thing). Please, guys, send your support, I greatly appreciate it. Well, see you sometime in the future! bows in gratitude and apology

PPS: Yeah, noting the story, I just realized that it was kinda weird and Harry seemed (to me) kinda off. Especially at the end of the chapter when I suddenly go off to the founders and that sudden argument... I almost forgot I was writing in first person. (Heh.) I'm not very good at debate, and whenever I can't find anything to say back (anything smart, anyway), I glare like a child and either walk off, or just stand their like an idiot (or worse, make a premature sound and throw my hands up in the air). I'm really a kid at heart, and sometimes I just can't control myself. Hehe. sweatdrop! (Nooo! I don't wanna grow older!! I don't wanna be an old fart and have wrinkles like Grandma! I wanna stop growing and getting older once I graduate!!) ...Okay, D, you're weird. Yeaaaah....... Lay off the chocolate.

PPPS: Yes, a slightly different format of writing because of the stupid updating system has come up with. Have I already mentioned how much I strongly dislike it?? Well, you're hearing it again as I show you some slight differences here and there.

Well, I hope you enjoyed that and please, do review. I hope I can pull out another chapter for you soon.