Disclaimer: I do not own the Harry Potter characters and the whole world created around it; all belong to J.K. Rowling, who we all worship and serve. I just love to manipulate them to serve my own selfish needs.
But I do own Alex Ladon, Finbar Ganad, Darragh Ganad (and their mom), The Zabini Family (bar Blaise of course), and some minor characters (Orion, North, Gloves, Rufus…). DO NOT USE THESE UNLESS YOU HAVE MY PERMISSION!
The plot comes from the voices inside my head. You have been warned.
Rating: rated M for suggestiveness and language. (Any other scene not suited/allowed on FFnet will be posted on my own site. I will let you know.)
Pairings: Draco Malfoy/Harry Potter, Alex Ladon/Blaise Zabini, Ron Weasley/Hermione Granger (and probably some minor others)
THIS STORY HAS BEEN RE-WRITTEN! EVERYTHING! SO READ IT AGAIN DAMN IT!
Chapter One – Lately
"Is it okay if I sit here?" –Harry Potter
The sun was shining brightly, and it was a lovely September day at the little town of Hogsmeade. Even though it was quite early in the morning, the sun burned and radiated off the pavement. It was one of those days to stay inside the house, relaxing in a bath, preferably if it was filled with ice cubes. But no such luck for students, because it was first day of school and the youngsters were once again trapped inside the large, ancient structure of Hogwarts High while all other people had sought the protection of their luxurious, air-conditioned houses, not daring to venture out and risk getting sunburned. There was only one person outside, a young man of seventeen, repeatedly hauling his backpack over his shoulder and muttering the directions under his breath.
It was a healthy young man, athletic (a fortunate consequence of sporting regularly), yet tall and lithe. He was lacking in any real brawn, but made up for it in athletic poise. He had even, olive tanned skin, messy black hair, standing out in all possible angles, and spectacles. His jeans were a few sizes to big and his rather oversized t-shirt had started clinging to his back. His emerald green eyes studied the neighborhood and the perfectly mowed yards and the cars on the driveways getting increasingly fancier as he progressed further and further away from his own block.
He kicked an empty coke can out of the way and crossed the street to a rather old, yet clean, building. Hogwarts High. It somehow reminded him of an ancient, if modernized, castle. He stared at it rather moodily and heaved a sigh as he passed trough the main entrance, dragging his feet. Why had they been forced to move? He had been happy at his previous school. His house, his town, his school and most importantly his friends; he already missed them, and he hadn't even been here for what? Three days?
The hallways were rather deserted, save for some personnel and students trying to find their classrooms. He quickly located the office; he entered the fairly spacious room and walked up to the counter. The receptionist looked up and smiled, "New here?"
"Yes, I'm Harry Potter."
"Ah, yes, the new transfer student." She pointed to a door on his left, "He's been expecting you."
He thanked her, hauled his rucksack back on his shoulder and headed trough the indicated door.
A small sound of awe left his lips when he closed the door behind him. A huge, oak bookshelf took up one whole wall, filled with all kinds off dusty books from all centuries. Facing the door, in the middle of the room was a huge desk, littered with all kind of gadgets, pencils, clocks, postures and other objects he didn't even recognize. Sitting on a large, plush couch with a flowery pattern, was a man.
His hair was almost completely silver and the large window behind him made it come out like a halo. It must have been so long that he'd be able to tuck it into his belt. His blue eyes were light, bright, and sparkling behind half-moon spectacles, resting on his very long and crooked nose.
"Harry Potter?" The elder man greeted the youth, his voice sounding pleasant and comforting, probably having welcomed more than one nervous student in this office.
"Yes." He answered, shifting his weight nervously from one foot to the other.
"I am Albus Dumbledore, Principal here at Hogwarts High. I'm pleased to have you here, have a seat." The wizened man said while sweeping his hand in an offering gesture to a second plush couch positioned in front of the principal's desk.
"Thank you," Harry replied timidly and dropped his backpack next to the couch and sat down on the edge. He fiddled with his fingers, rested them on his thighs, on the armrests and finally he simply crossed them over his chest.
Dumbledore gazed at him from over his interlocked fingers, aged knuckles knitted under stretched skin. "Your parents would be pleased to know you attended this college."
Harry's head came up with a snap, his eyes wide and unblinking "You knew my parents, sir?"
"Yes, it might have been a long time ago, but I remember it like it was yesterday." He was looking at the young man with a hint off nostalgia dancing in his eyes "You look like your father, but you have the eyes of your mother…"
Harry swallowed and looked down at his hands, now lying useless in his lap.
"Although I rather do hope you aren't set on living up to your father's legendary pursuit of mischief…" The man went on with a fond note in his bringing up of old memories.
Again, Harry nodded half-heartedly, his eyes fixed on the tips of his worn converse shoes.
It was a good thing Dumbledore noticed his discomfort and he quickly changed the subject. "Oh, I have your schedule here." He handed the documents over to Harry, whom accepted them with another polite reply. "I believe your first class should be Philosophy, class teacher is Professor Lupin, but I believe you already know him, don't you?"
Harry nodded, "Yeah, we live on the same block and I've known him for quite a while..."
"Is that so? Well, that should be interesting. He's also your homeroom teacher, by the way." The Principal smiled "Well, you'd better be off now Harry, otherwise you'll miss the name taking." Mr. Dumbledore stood, signaling the end of the meeting and guided Harry to the door. "Please stop by if you have any questions of any kind, or if you just want a nice cup of tea."
"Eeeh, I will… thank you sir." Harry said with a tentative smile at the last comment while he slipped through the door.
Balancing on two legs of his chair, leaning his elbow on the table behind him, Ronald Weasley lazily observed students dripping in one by one. He vaguely registered his girlfriend talking to Lavender Brown, whom was sitting at the table in front of theirs. Professor Lupin was sorting through some papers, the tip of his tongue between his lips as he did so.
"You're sinfully early for the first day of school…" A deep baritone voice commented from somewhere to his right.
Ron turned his eyes to his friend with a curious arch of his brows. Finbar Ganad was towering over him, grinning slightly with his hands shoved in his oversized baggy jeans and sunglasses sliding down his nose.
"But I just bet your girlfriend wouldn't have you getting late for your first day of school, now would she?" Finbar said casually as he sat down on the empty seat next to him, the grin only widening as Ron started blushing. He and Hermione hadn't been dating that long after all, only a month or so.
Ron and Hermione had been best friends from as long either of them could remember; their mothers were good friends and naturally when the one came over to visit the other, the children ended up with each other as company while their matriarchs easily gossiped hours away over some coffee. The tradition of hanging out together continued after they were send to the same kindergarten, same primary school and finally when they both attended the same High School; Hogwarts.
But as both youngsters matured and came to realization that their best friend had grown up as well, feelings neither had ever deemed possible they would have felt in consideration to the childhood friend, developed. Indecisive of how to react to those feelings, they argued and bickered over the stupidest things first, covering up their embarrassment and worries. Their state of denial had finally been terminated this summer, and it still was a quip among their circle of friends.
Meanwhile Finbar gave the curly haired young women a wink as he greeted her, "Hey Hermione."
"Hi, Finbar, nice tan!" she said as she turned her attention back to the two young men sitting besides her. "That reminds me, how as your vacation?"
"Australia was brilliant! Too bad it's already over, 'cause the kite-surfing there was just grand." He sighed longingly and took out a bottle of water from his backpack. "Did I miss out on much, last two weeks?"
Ron shook his head "Nah, same as usual; warm, sweaty and boring." He accepted the bottle Finbar offered him and he took a swig from it. "I was damn bored out of my mind without you guys here. Why did you all have to pick the last three weeks to go on vacation? Dean gone on football camp, Seamus back to Ireland, you off to Australia, Neville away with his gran."
"What about me?" Hermione asked, clearly put out, her hands on her hips.
Ron blinked and swallowed "Oh c'mon 'Mione, you've been bored, too, without Lavender or the Patil twins…"
Hermione narrowed his eyes at him for a moment, before resuming her chat with Lavender Brown, a pretty dark blonde haired girl who liked to squeal and giggle a lot. Unlike the ever studious Hermione, Lavender gave the impression of being rather silly and sometimes even shallow, though her friends knew she had a heart of gold.
"Girls." Finbar commented with a shrug of his broad shoulders.
"Tell me about it." Ron mumbled wryly, though not without a smile crinkling his eyes.
"Already missing the wonderful freedom of being a bachelor, Ronnie?"
Ron looked over his shoulder and straight into Dean and Seamus' grinning faces. "I am very happy with my current love-live, thank you very much!" he said with a smirk as he slipped an arm around Hermione's shoulders, "You're both just jealous because you're both incapable of finding a girl able to tolerate your presence longer than five minutes!"
Hermione send a pleading stare up to the ceiling at her boyfriend's immature reaction, but allowed Ron to pull her closer to steal a kiss nonetheless. Dean and Seamus looked at each other and began simultaneously making gagging noises, Finbar's baritone rumble from his chuckling joining in.
Unfortunately their intimate moment was short-lived as their Homeroom teacher's voice snapped them back to reality, "Mr. Weasley, could you please remove your lips from Miss Granger?"
Remus Lupin sniggered amusedly to himself at Ron's bright blush and stuttered apology. "Thank you. Before we go on with the register, there's a new classmate waiting outside to introduce himself…" he looked through to the open door. "C'mon in Harry, eh, Mr. Potter."
Ron's blue eyes took in the young man shuffling to the front of the class obviously not that thrilled to introduce himself before a whole audience of complete strangers, though Remus nodded at him encouragingly.
"My name's Harry Potter and I moved here three days ago…?" He blurted out meekly, gaze diverted to the ground. He shot a pleading look at Remus, as if begging to let him take his seat and away from the judging stares from the other students.
Professor Lupin sighed and indicated him to take place, noting to himself that Harry hadn't changed a bit when it came down to talking in front of people he didn't know.
Harry scrunched up his nose as his eyes scanned the classroom for empty seats. He came across an empty gap next to some guy with violently red hair. He quickly marched over to it.
"Is it okay if I sit here?" he queried tentatively.
Ron smiled and nodded, "Sure, go ahead," he said, moving his chair more to the left (and closer to Hermione while doing so) to give Harry some room.
Relieved, Harry lowered himself between the redhead and another guy with rather long, black hair.
"So, new in town eh?" Ron asked the raven head next to him.
Harry nodded while he accepted Ron's hand, shaking it firmly. "I'm Ron Weasley by the way and this is Hermione Granger."
Hermione smiled at him and mouthed a 'Hi' before turning her interest back to the teacher.
"She'll be willing to talk after class; Hermione has a rather intense love for knowledge…" Ron whispered, rolling his eyes in an entertained manner, "and that weird guy to your right is Finbar Ganad."
"Hey!" Finbar reached over behind Harry to swat him, but Ron ducked. "Ignore him," he said with a nod of his chin toward Ron, "Nice to meet you."
Harry accepted his hand and shook it, grinning back at him and taking in the sight of the young man. Finbar had long black hair, loosely tied back in a ponytail, several strands dangling before his eyes which were a very light, bright blue. His clothing style was casual, two charms hanging around his neck and some leather bracelets around both his wrists. His white cotton shirt was loose and unbuttoned at the top three buttons, revealing a dark tribal tattoo curling out of it, continuing its travel from over his chest up to the right side of his neck. He wore oversized baggy jeans, sunglasses hanging from his belt.
"And sitting behind us are Seamus Finnigan, Dean Thomas and Neville Longbottom." They all nodded and smiled respectively as Ron mentioned their names.
Dean Thomas was an afro-American with a wide smile and kind, deep brown eyes. He was flanked by Seamus Finnigan, a young Irish lad -judging from his thick brogue - with short sandy brown hair and clear blue eyes. Neville was a shy looking youth with a round face, but nevertheless remarkable in a way Harry couldn't quite put his finger on.
Ron continued the conversation, "So where have you moved to?"
"Becker's street, apartment block C, number thirty-two." Harry answered, curling his hands around the back edge of the chair and leaning his weight on them.
"Brilliant! Only a block away from me! Seamus, Dean and Neville live in the neighborhood, too. Hermio—" but the rest of Ron's sentence was cut of by a harsh sneer:
"Shove off little girl, I'm sitting there!" A slightly hoarse tenor snapped rather acidly.
Slightly annoyed at the obnoxious display, Harry turned to look over his shoulder until his scope of vision landed on its source. Somewhere in the back of the class was a young man glaring down at a rather scared looking girl. His silver hair caught the sunlight streaming through an open window, and he had gray eyes shining like shards of mirror, as dark as the cloudbursts that open from the heavens. His frame was smaller than Harry's, less muscular and powerful, his skin paler. Yet his face was more sculpted, with prominent cheekbones. Outfitted in a black sleeveless t-shirt and faded, baggy jeans, hanging low on his hips, the nameless youth swept his hair back with an annoyed hand gesture, but several strands flopped immediately back in his face. He wore a silver ring around his left thumb and his right eyebrow was pierced. Hanging around his neck on a black cord was a dark crystal, probably his birth or zodiac stone.
Ron groaned, his lips curling with disgust, "That's Malfoy, our local bully. He likes to pretend he owns the place around here…" Ron informed him in a strangled whisper, "He's a bloody git as he has just perfectly demonstrated."
Harry lifted an eyebrow as he saw the girl scurrying away with one last, fretful look over her shoulder and Malfoy taking up her place, sitting down with one graceful movement, oddly out of place for a guy with such an attitude. But demeanor of hell or not, he had already swept Harry's breath away; never had he seen such a devastatingly good-looking human being.
A young man with brown hair, hazel eyes and expensive designer clothes took up the seat next to him, his outfit was quite simple though, fancy yet worn casually, the sleeves of his white button-up shirt bunched up at his elbows; black tie dangling loose over his shoulders. He seemed to have this whole 'intellectual' look about him.
"Ron and he hate each other's guts," Finbar whispered in his ear.
Malfoy crossed his arms over his chest, the movement causing the muscles in his arms to tighten, and smirked challengingly at Professor Lupin, who was rolling eyes at the display.
"Good to see you're as polite and curtly as always, Mr. Malfoy. Now if you please?" Lupin said dully waving the paper for the register taking.
"By all means, -professor-, go ahead," the entitlement was followed by a pause that clearly stated his lack of respect towards his superior.
Remus sighed tiredly, figuring the young man would never change, shook his head and started calling of names.
No answer. Remus peered over his paper at the class, and an amused smile curled around his lips.
"Ladon?" he called again, eyes flying over the students seated in front of him.
"PRESENT!" someone abruptly yelled, slamming the door open and skidding to a stop. A slightly flushed and heavily breathing young woman had entered the classroom.
The vision Harry beheld was most certainly nowhere near anything he had ever seen; she had an amazingly big bunch of dreadlocks, pure white and perfectly knotted, hanging halfway down her back. The strings of hair were adorned with all kinds of brightly colored wooden pearls and other trinkets, occasionally tinkling as they brushed against each other. She was wearing a once red, but now faded blouse. She also wore baggy denims, hanging low on her hips, torn at her left knee. Around both wrists were several bracelets, mostly with shells or wooden pearls, and on both hands were silver rings. She had a tanned skin, and her nose and cheeks were littered with very small freckles. Her eyebrows and eyelashes were as equally white as her hair. Harry guessed she was no taller than 5'3", but she had a slight yet wiry built and was graced with generous curves obvious even in her over-sized outfit.
"I'm sososososososoooo sorry Professor Lupin, really so so so sorry. I overslept." Came the rushed apology, her voice rather raw for a girl, yet pleasant. Still panting slightly she cracked an eye open and looked the teacher.
"That's okay Miss Ladon, but you missed the introduction of our new student." He said with an amused look on his face as he regarded his student, "Take a seat now, you can meet him later."
Alex heaved a sigh, muttered a thank you and strode over to the back of the class, dropping herself next to Malfoy who was arching his pale eyebrows questioningly at her. She rested her skateboard –previously hanging from the straps of her rucksack- against the wall.
"But I must commend you Miss Ladon, I think you just broke your record, late on the first day of school." Remus commented her with a little grin, before turning back to the calling of the register.
"That's Malfoy's girlfriend, Alex." Ron provided Harry in meanwhile, casting a glance over his shoulder and making shifty eyes.
"The famous hip-to-hip duo, never seen apart." Dean added, leaning in from over his bench.
Finbar had a skeptical frown as muttered "And never seen kissing…"
Lupin finished calling names and raised his voice to cover the idle chatter, "Okay, get your books open on page eleven…" he watched them do as they were told, before something else popped back in mind, "Oh, before I forget, the whole werewolf thing might have been amusing last year, but I'd really appreciate it if you'd knock it off, I'm kind of tired of seeing lower years approaching me with silver objects…" he shot a particular dark glare in Draco's direction who didn't even bother to shield his gleeful smirk.
Lunchtime came rather quickly and Harry found himself sitting at a table alone, sipping his lemonade and un-wrapping the sandwiches he'd made hurriedly that morning. His emerald eyes darted around the crowd of people, their noisy tumult circulating around him as he sat there observantly.
People-watching was a private hobby Harry liked to busy himself with when he happened to be in a throng of unfamiliar people by himself and nothing to do. It was a rather entertaining habit he had developed over time, and it never failed to amuse him. The little flock of lower year girls seated on the table next to them were trying to live up to the dimwitted airhead attitude that screamed wanna-be-cheerleader whilst trying to draw the attention with their squeals of delight of some group jocks sitting near them. Complete with bouncy movements, over-use of make-up and popping pink bubblegum. He imagined them dressing up in high heels and mini-skirts, desperately following the latest fashion trends and getting drunk at parties trying to be cool. Definitely the kind he hated the most.
Snapping out of his musings with a little jump, the raven head reflexively looked up and had to shield his eyes from the disgusting bright pink –thing- standing before him.
"Do you mind if I sit here?"
It was followed by a giggle and before Harry had even the chance to reply, she'd already sat herself down opposite of him and looked at him from under long, mascara-ed eyelashes. She had a short black bob and the most disgusting pink dress Harry had ever seen in his entire life.
"I'm Pansy Parkinson, you are?" she offered with a giggle.
"Harry." The ground out as politely as he could muster, though a difficult feat seeing as he was dealing with an even worse case of dimwitted airheadness than the little entourage of lower years he'd been studying.
"Ah yes, the new transfer student. So how do you like it here? I always—" and then the sassy girl started droning on and on about various kinds of things and all Harry was able to, was to stare at her, fervently hoping the building would collapse and squash everything (especially her, twice,) but him.
"So then I said to her 'Millicent, darling, you'd better switch over to that fat-free diet yoghurt I've been eating… -"
He could always try to kill her with his straw, but then again he'd have to get closer to the pink dress, thus risking going blind. But maybe it was worthwhile after all. His right eye twitched.
"Ah Harry, there you are."
Ron Weasley, the redhead next to whom he had sat during Philosophy this morning, put his hand consolingly on Harry's shoulder, while frowning down at Pansy as he towered over her. The youth had never in his life been so relieved to see someone and he had to suppress the urge to jump up and grab hold of Ron's leg, and beg him never to leave him alone again.
"I might figure you'd like a little tour around our school, with us both sharing a few classes and all." Ron offered gently, tugging his new classmate up to his feet.
Harry nodded fervently and had his bag packed within a heartbeat, standing besides Ron and slowly letting out a breath in relief.
"So, if you don't mind Parkinson, and I'm sure Harry would just love to listen to your fascinating adventures some more, but his studies and grades go first now don't they?" Ron went on as he grabbed Harry's arm just above the elbow and led him away, without listening to Pansy's spluttering objections.
Hermione and Seamus were standing at the exit of the cafeteria, the Irish boy trying to keep Pansy on the other side of the hall with a surprisingly dark glare. They followed Ron, still holding Harry's arm, through the hallways and outside to the basketball court. The three boys slumped down against the wall while Hermione sat down opposite of them, neatly folding her legs underneath herself.
"Alright there mate?" Ron asked Harry, his blue eyes studying him worriedly from under red bangs.
Harry nodded, slowly coming out of his stupor "It was horrible."
Seamus patted his knee, looking genuinely sorry for him. "I feel fer ya mate…"
The rest of that day passed for Harry in a surprisingly pleasant way, accompanied by his new 'friend' Ronald Weasley, who seemed to have 'adopted' him. Harry had really dreaded the fact that he had to leave his 'old' friends behind, fearing that in his ineptness of spontaneous socializing he would end up alone and miserable in this new environment. It wasn't that Harry was antisocial and aloof, not at all, but he found it rather strenuous to just start talking about something to person he didn't know, especially after how he'd been treated by most strangers at his old place.
But Ron was a fantastic guy, he was talkative, had a wonderful sense of humor, seemed genuinely interested in whatever Harry had to say, and never grew tired of answering his questions. And as they spend most of their first day of school together they both unconsciously took a fond liking of one other, and though not by words they mutually decided that they could make great friends.
It was when they were slowly heading towards their last course of the day, Biology, both laughing merrily at their poking fun at each other, that they encountered Draco Malfoy for the second time that day.
At first neither of them had actually seen him heading right towards them from the opposite direction, until Malfoy deliberately shouldered Ron rather roughly, causing the redhead to stumble and bump into Harry in turn.
"You stupid bloody bastard!" Ron immediately lashed out, whirling around to find Malfoy already facing him.
He wore a haughty smirk on his face, regarding Ron as if he were a disgrace to nature, "I am so sorry, Weasel-bee… I do hope you can forgive me?" he leered, pressing a hand to his chest mockingly.
At his joke, though how lame it was, both his fleshy cronies, Crabbe and Goyle sniggered obediently. Both parties stood there glaring at each other darkly, hoping that the other would wither and die from the sheer contempt they hosted for one other.
Harry flanked Ron uncertainly, himself staring disbelievingly at Malfoy's holier-than-thou attitude, which was already starting to get on his nerves. And as he watched the blonde's anger-clouded eyes flicker over to him, Harry was reminded that the person who was writing the script for his life really had a sadistic sense of humor; putting such a superficial and insufferable persona in such a enticingly expressive body.
Then a hollow tapping of footsteps neared on them and Harry immediately recognized the many, many dreadlocks of Malfoy's very own girlfriend striding determinately towards them. His first reaction was naturally a groan of resentment, fearing that things now really were going to take a turn for the worse. But, to his ever-lasting surprise, they didn't.
Just as Draco moved to look over his shoulder, slightly annoyed that he was being interrupted, Alex scuffed him rather hard over the back of his head, causing Malfoy to hiss indignantly.
"Stop pretending to be such a bloody asshole." She bit angrily at him under her breath, giving him a shove at the shoulder in the opposite direction to emphasize this point. Her green eyes lingered apologetically on Ron and Harry for a moment before she turned on Crabbe and Goyle, "As for you two morons," Alex said threateningly, taking a step closer, "SHOVE OFF!"
Harry felt almost embarrassed in the two dimwits' place when they actually did cower away quickly, though they were facing a girl two heads smaller than them.
In meanwhile, a furiously blushing Draco Malfoy was arguing heatedly with his girlfriend as she dragged him away.
"What the hell was that all about?" Harry asked, slightly dumbfounded as to why Malfoy's own girlfriend had just stood up for them.
Ron's red eyebrows furrowed thoughtfully as he peered in the direction the couple had gone, before slowly answering "Alex is… alright…I guess. Has her moral values straight."
The bell rang, signaling the ending of the last course, and thus a pack of jubilant teenagers stormed out of school. Well, they weren't all jubilant teenagers. Amidst the drumming crowd of youngsters, a lean figure with white-blonde hair and striking gray eyes ambled moodily homewards, his hands trust deeply into his back pockets, glaring ahead. On his left side he was accompanied by a brown haired young man, regarding his ire blonde friend with enigmatic hazel eyes.
Blaise Zabini frowned at Draco's popping vein in his left temple, an impending sign of doom. "Aren't you taking the bus Draco?" he ventured carefully.
"I'll walk," the other snapped, not even turning to look at him
Blaise momentarily considered saying something else, but decided against it and left Draco alone to wallow in his own little world of self-pity and wounded pride. Besides, Alex was catching up on them, barely able to keep the enormous map tucked under her arm, with her first drawings of the year probably inside. Better to let her handle Draco's foul mood, it was somewhat her fault after all.
"Vein," He said as she fell into pace next to him, shooting her a meaningful look.
Muttering something slightly annoyed under her breath, she scrunched up her nose and quickly pecked Blaise goodbye on the cheek.
Alex took a few jumpy steps, before falling into stride with Draco, eyeing him wearily. She almost had to jog next to him of she wanted to keep up with the lean youth's vengeful steps, his long legs marching him straight home. Her lips parted to say something.
"Don't," he growled.
"My, my, my… aren't we in a lovely mood today?" Alex grabbed his arm rougher than perhaps necessary, pulling him to a stop. In response, Draco wrenched his wrist free and crossed his arms angrily across his chest, leering at her from over his nose. Though the gesture appeared strangely defensive, too, as if trying to protect himself against the indignity of having been too obvious considering his emotions.
Alex couldn't stop herself from rolling her eyes heavenward, silently pleading whatever divinity that was up there for patience, "Oh, I see, still pissed about this afternoon…"
Draco snorted, but a flicker of injured dignity betrayed him as it flashed through his eyes.
Mimicking his pose unconsciously, Alex heaved an annoyed sigh, "C'mon Drake, you know I won't stand for your I'm-the-almighty-pain-in-the-ass attitude towards Ron and his friends, it's just so…so…so" she hesitated, trying to pin down the right word, "Pathetic."
"WHAT?" he screamed, flecks of spit spraying from his mouth, but further protests were immediately silenced by Alex's sharp pinch in his nose. The nose-pinching was definitely one of the things he really, really disliked the most about her.
"Shut it blondie!" she drawled with a dangerous sort of patience, watching Draco grabbing for his nose with a wounded expression on his face, as if she'd severed it instead of just twisting it, "You," she continued, prodding him in the chest, "have issues. And I," she prodded again, "am tired of them."
This was followed by a staring contest, both glaring at each other, teeth bared, electricity crackling between them. Suddenly Alex reached out and pinched his nose again, Draco letting out an undignified squeak. He rubbed his nose and shot her an irritated look. "I hate it when you do that."
"That being the reason why I keep doing it in the first place." she retorted easily, sensing that Draco was wordlessly letting their disagreement go. She took the peace-offering all too gratefully, fully knowing how painful it could be to argue the matter until someone came out victoriously.
Draco let his eyes roll back and he drew in a breath, trying to steady his nerves. He changed subject instead, "What are you doing the rest of the day?"
"I promised them 'Bambi' tonight. You can come over and watch if you like." Alex grinned at him, her right eyebrow arching questioningly.
Feigning a pensive expression briefly, as if he even were seriously considering the suggestion, before changing it to a skeptical frown, "I think I'll pass…" and then let the corners of his mouths quirk up in a smirk, a gesture Alex swore he practiced in the mirror, "See you tomorrow then?"
"Yup." Gracing him with a wink and a gentle smile, Alex dropped her skateboard to the ground and put her left foot on it. With a derisive salute, she set off her foot on the pavement, putting the scruffy board with faded hippy patterns in motion.
The pair parted, both heading for complete opposites of Hogsmeade, Draco hearing the rhythmic rolling of the wheels moving further away. "Don't be late tomorrow!" he called out, not bothering to look over his shoulder.
Harry read and re-read the note Ron had stuffed him in his hand before they parted, smiling brightly for the first time after he heard they were moving. Ron's cell-phone number. His first friend. He skipped up the stairs, passing on using the rickety elevator, and hurried up to the third floor. He fidgeted with the key and the lock, until he heard a click and he pushed the door open, still looking at the paper with the digits on it. Green eyes still glued to Ron's sloppy scribble, Harry dropped his backpack carelessly on the way in, calling, "Back!"
His only response was some metallic clattering in the kitchen and he knew his Godfather was trying to cook. Even after fifteen years of practice, Sirius Black remained an awful –not to mention deadly- cook. The trashing was followed by some shameless cursing and finally a disgruntled; "Would you mind helping out here, Harry?"
Taking a long, deep breath, preparing himself for the worst, Harry stuffed the note in his pocket. Poking his head into the kitchen with a weary glance, he found Sirius trying to shake some disturbingly purple-looking substance of his hand. "Fucking." Fling "Stupid." Fling, fling. "Food."
Handing him a wad of napkins, Harry skipped hurriedly over to the pot, eyed it for a while before lifted the lid up carefully. Standing on his toes and peeking in from a safe distance, he still was greeted by a waft of unbearable stench billowing out of it, burning his nostrils and making his eyes water. "What were attempting to cook, anyways?" He coughed miserably, rubbing at his eyes with a hand.
"Spaghetti…" Sirius deadpanned, his lips dropping into a tight frown.
"Seriously…" Harry snorted with a raised dark eyebrow, rumpling the lightening-shaped scar above his eye comically "Purple spaghetti? You've totally overdone yourself this time Sirius…"
"Yes, ha-ha, very funny. I buggered something up." Sirius groaned in embarrassment, looking sincerely flustered.
Trying to force his suspiciously twitching lips to remain sealed, Harry adverted his gaze, trying to spare his Godfather his glee. But at Sirius' utterly disgusted grimace, the laughter spluttered through his lips before having to bend over as the sounds of amusement filled the kitchen. Not able to repress a sheepish grin either, Sirius removed the pot, heading for the toilet to flush the purple mess down. Still sniggering, Harry took the necessary tools to cook them albeit a simple, but edible, meal.
"Hermione," said Ron, almost like a plea, "Can we please, please, go home now? What do you need all those books for, anyway? School has barely started."
For a change, he had to look up to see her face, which was currently an image of complete concentration. The small stool on which she was standing put her at an advantage in height; Ron's nose now reaching just under her shoulders.
"Because Ronald," said Hermione grimly, "Unlike you, I think that passing my last year is rather important." She had not even diverted her gaze from her study of the book spines, her finger slowly continuing to trail and pause at each title. Every now and then she would pull out a book, leaf through its contents and perhaps pile it on the towering collection Ron was holding in his arms.
"But it's the first day of school!" exclaimed the redhead again, trying to glance around his burden of books. He watched how Hermione, ignoring him, was peering at the bold title on one of the backs, an inch separating her nose from it. Then she plucked it out, flapped it open, pored through its contents and ended up adding it to her collection as well. Ron's knees began to tremble under its increasing weight.
"Don't you think you have quite enough now?" he ground out, trying to shift the weight closer to his chest, but causing book-pillar to sway ominously.
"…Just one more." She muttered, tucking a strand of frizzy brown hair behind her ear. Finally satisfied with her selection –the last book being the biggest one yet- she hopped down and set of for a table, Ron staggering behind her.
What seemed like an eternity to Ron, and what actually was half an hour, Hermione continued to go through book after book, every now and then heading over to the copy-machine to get a sample from a page she found particularly interesting. She probably would have to pay quite lot money to pay for all those copies. Ron knew why she was so keen on 'being prepared'. As it was their last year, classes had become more in-depth in their chosen fields and Hermione, surprising everybody had had a last moment's change of heart and switched subjects this year. Normally, the teachers would disallow this, but in Hermione's case, knowing that she would fight for her grades, they had given her a go ahead until Christmas. Then they would evaluate her grades and if they had dropped dramatically, she would have to pick back up her previous field courses.
"So, who else is in your field? That Colin Creevey kid, I thought, wasn't he?" asked Ron, trying to make a conversation.
Hermione didn't even looked up from the passage in her copies she was high-lighting. "Colin is a sixth year, Ron, and he's in photography, which is Malfoy's field, and not Journalism."
With a firm line she finished covering the part she would need with a bright yellow color, frowned at it in a critical manner and then looked up. Ron was staring glazy-eyed into the distance, his arms loosely crossed over the table. Feeling just a tiny bit guilty for dragging Ron along to the one place he absolutely resented, she elaborated somewhat more on his question. "But Zabini's in my Journalism classes, real quiet one, him, and Luna Lovegood is a year below me."
"Loony Lovegood? In Journalism?" Ron said with a disbelieving class, "Isn't her dad the owner from the Quibbler?" at Hermione's nod he almost shouted, "but they deal with all that paranormal stuff like aliens and the monster of Loch Ness! Isn't Journalism all about facts and the truth and things like that!"
"That was what I thought, too." said the young woman with a tiny laugh of her own. "And what about your classes? Is Harry in them, seeing as you two seem to get along so well?"
Ron shook his head, "Nope, It's still just Seamus and me. Harry's in Literature."
Startled, she blinked at him. "Literature?"
"Uh-huh, don't ask, he doesn't quite seem like the type of guy to me either."
Biting her bottom-lip thoughtfully she bowed back over her pages, then added somewhat softly, as if only saying it to herself, "Just as you wouldn't expect Malfoy to be in photography."
Title credits go Lost Prophets – Lately.
This chapter has not yet been beta-ed!