A/N: sorry for the short chapter- I'm really stuck on the ending for the next chapter, but it will be very long. This chapter is unbetaed. Thanks for 751 reviews and 17433 hits since the last post. (1-7-06)
Chapter Nineteen: What comes and fades
He was there again, she knew. He always came when ever she found herself in this place. It was a comforting place. A soft white glow suffused everything. The sky, the ground, even the bed onto which she was perched, all of it was made of white glow that had no definition or focus. It was like being surrounded by tangible, opaque, glowing mist. Later on, when she woke, she would blame this strange glowing environment for the calmness and happiness she always felt when inside the place, because she knew she should be positively horrified.
At that instance however, the environment was working that special magic on her logical circuits, and Hermione Granger was eagerly awaiting the arrival of her usual nighttime visitor from her common spot of glowing mist.
And he came, just as he always did, wearing clothes of the same material of the environment around. When he first approached, it always made him look like a disembodied head, hands and feet, because his clothes blended in with the glowing backdrop. Then depth perception would separate him entirely from everything else, and she'd sigh in relief to see him again.
He took his place next to her, casual as can be. He leaned over and brushed his cheek against her own, and took the opportunity to inhale deeply.
"Miss me?" And even here, in this perfect world where everything was completely backwards, his voice was still a bored drawl. She shivered.
"Something is wrong." She said. A lot of things were wrong with this scene, but it was a mark of the severity of the wrongness that, of all the nights they'd met here, she'd never voiced it until now.
"No, everything is just as it should be." He said, and turned his attention to the space just under her ear. It was then extremely difficult to stay focused on what was wrong, instead of enjoying what felt so right.
His fingers were leaving trails of electricity as they traced paths in both her palms, working their way up her arms and across her back to draw her closer still. The nuzzling was shifted to her ear and she was thoroughly distracted from what ever she felt was wrong.
"Mmmm." Hermione had not even been aware of the stress knots in her back until his fingers were there to sooth them away. She could only vaguely remember how unhappy and stressed she was when conscious- but here she could only feel contentment.
He returned from his explorations of her right ear so that he could look into her eyes and use both hands to rub out the taught lines along the back of her neck. He was so soft and gentle and unlike himself. His fingers smoothed each platelet into row with its fellows and traveled down to her shoulders.
"You must take better care of yourself." He said, his voice was soft, but it still broke her repose and she remembered that something was wrong.
"I think I have to go- something is happening." She said, but made no move to break free. How could she when his hands had found that spot in her back that, when touched just so, made her knees weaken.
He didn't try to persuade her one way or another, but continued what he was doing as if she hadn't protested. Just as she had before, she melted and forgot what was bothering her. But wasn't that the entire point of this place? To ease the heavy burdens that reality presented.
She was leaning forward, pressing herself against the ethereal mist that he wore, feeling his warmth and taking in his scent; Toasted almond, from the white-blond hair that fell far past his shoulders, some outdoor tinted musk, from somewhere around his neck, and everywhere else the smell of him. A smell she'd come to recognize the six years she'd known him, but only consciously so when she'd braided his hair the day before.
And now he was leaning forward too, and bending his head ever so slightly. He wasn't too much taller than her, but the span of his hands suggested he had a little more to grow.
And then his lips touched hers and the familiar and fantastical feeling of small explosions erupting in her abdomen made her respond and pull him closer. She wondered how the same actions could always provoke such a spectacular response. He kept it chaste, but she could almost feel him straining to make it more- and the fact that he continued to hold back made it even more spectacular. She was rising to the balls of her feet, and snaking her arms around his neck, and it was so perfect and she never wanted it to stop.
But then, that feeling of "something is very wrong" came back and she broke the kiss and pulled back.
"Hermione." The way he said her name was almost enough to completely distract her again.
But a piercing scream was making it self known, and her world of glowing mist was shattering like light reflected in a broken mirror and he was fading away.
With a jolt, Hermione woke up, in time to hear a boy's voice shrieking:
Ron Weasley recognized the shouts and ripping sounds coming from his best friend's bed. Harry had had another vision and was now desperately attempting to extricate himself, not just from his dream or his sheets- but from his own skin.
"Harry!" Ron yelled, jumping into action and yanking open the curtains of Harry's bed. "Harry! It's alright!"
"What the bloody hell is going on!" Draco Malfoy had woken from his peaceful slumber- a much needed rest from the full day of potions making and verbal sparring with the resident swot- to the blood curdling screams of what sounded like someone being tortured.
He too jumped into action, springing from his bed and blinking to adjust his eyes in time to see Weasley opening the curtains to Potter's bed and grabbing his shoulders roughly.
"It's over now Harry, you've got to snap out of it." Ron was coaxing a writhing Harry's hands away from his face where they appeared to be glued to his scar.
"Awww… Did ickle Potty have a nightmare. Why don't you crawl into bed with Weasel so he can…"
"Shut up Malfoy!" Screamed Ron.
Harry pulled his hands away from his scar long enough to sit himself up- whereupon he immediately keeled over the side of his bed and deposited the contents of his stomach.
"Shit!" Ron said, as he jumped back to avoid the sick.
Draco couldn't believe what he was seeing- this was the mighty Harry Potter who always beat him at quidditch and who battled the dark lord. Harry was shaking uncontrollably, sweat and tears leaked down his face. He was half on- half off the bed, his legs tangled in his sheets and his chest and head hanging off to one side as he gasped and fought to keep his constitution.
"Evenesco." Ron muttered, and the pool of sick vanished. Ron stepped closer and helped Harry back onto the bed.
"Ron- Hermione- Danger-" Harry gasped as Ron helped him up.
"Harry, Hermione's in her dormitory.. she's safe."
"No, V-Voldemort said.. said he'd h-hunt down…"
"Shhh…" Ron scolded, and motioned his head in the direction of Malfoy.
"What's going on!" Hermione appeared at the door to their dormitory. Ginny and Pansy were behind her.
"Granger! You aren't allowed up here! Or were you planning on sleeping in Zabini's bed cause you miss him so much." Malfoy spat out to her.
Hermione's eyes snapped to Malfoy- standing tousle haired in loose sleeping trousers and a sleeveless undershirt. His face was contorted with a mixture of disgust and amusement. He was as far from the boy that appeared in the white place as one could be, and that comforted her slightly. The phrase "I was just having a dream about snogging you." Popped into her head, and she had to suppress a laugh as she imagined he might then sarcastically invite her into his bed instead. Reminding herself that Malfoy had no way of knowing what her sick unconscious was up to if she didn't give it away, she returned her attention to Harry.
Hermione waved her wand and lit some floating candles. She hurried over to Harry's side and perched on his bed. Hermione took in his sweaty brow, the way his clothes clung to him, and the way the sheets were tangled around his legs and felt a stab at her heart. Voldemort had forced through the occulmancy barriers that Harry had spent months erecting- the result was just as bad as when he'd had the vision of Mr. Weasley.
"Harry…" She said softly. "Was it.." She trailed off, keenly aware of the other occupants of the room.
"Yes." Harry ground out. "He was s-speaking directly to me… told me he'd attack everyone I c-care about." Harry was still shaking.
Hermione reached out a hand and stroked his hair away from his scar, which was a raised and raw red from the rubbing Harry had given it.
"Well, that's nothing new." Ron said reasonably.
"What's going on?" Pansy said, as Ginny walked around her to join the pileup on Harry's bed.
"Potter just had a nightmare- no need to fawn all over him like that." Malfoy sneered at them.
"That's all?" Pansy shook her head and snorted in disgust. "I'm going back to bed." She left.
"You should go to bed too Malfoy, we'll take care of this." Hermione suggested, without turning her concerned gaze away from Harry.
But Draco, who rarely had such juicy dirt on Potter, was eager to exploit the embarrassment card.
"So… Potty has nightmares about the big bad Dark Lord coming to eat his friends."
"Sod off, Malfoy." Ron ground out, directing his wand towards the soul Slytherin in the room.
"Really, it isn't wise of you to try to tease Harry while you are alone with four Gryffindors, in the middle of the night- who knows what could happen to you." Ginny added brandishing her own wand like one would admonish a wayward child with a ruler.
Draco sneered at them but retreated to his own bed anyway. He drew the curtains and made a show of adjusting his blankets. Then he lay still and listened to the conversation that was sure to follow, aided by the eavesdropping charm he had cast on his ears.
They started speaking but it was almost too quiet for him to hear.
"What was it Harry- has there been an attack?" Ron asked.
"Vision- he was talking to that LeStrange woman." Harry whispered, his voice shaking slightly. "Talking about- I didn't really understand; Something about a weapon that will destroy me, keys, the shadow lands, and Blaise Zabini."
"Weapon? But the weapon was the prophecy- V-Voldemort, (Not you too Ginny! It's just a name) wanted the knowledge of how to destroy you-" Hermione began, but was cut off.
"I know." Harry snapped, his voice returning to normal and his shaking subsiding. "I told you I didn't really understand."
"Just start from the beginning." Hermione suggested in a soothing voice.
Harry wracked his brains for the beginning.
"He was saying that he lost them- lost them both."
"Who are them?" Ginny asked.
"I'm not sure- I think…" He trailed off.
"Just keep going in chronological order for now." Hermione said.
"Then he started talking about the weapon and the shadow lands. He said it was something that could destroy me, and that he'd lost it- but that he would have to join him because he was a dark wizard, or something.
"LeStrange stepped forward and she started talking about, I can't remember really, but she did say something about desire between a man and a woman. Then she mentioned Malfoy."
"Which one?" Ron asked quickly.
"Draco. She said that they could use Draco because of Hermione's lifedebt."
Draco's eyes perked up at this, and he sat up in his bed and slowly and quietly as he possibly could.
"Then Voldemort said they couldn't rely on Draco because he'd saved Hermione and- something else… I don't remember."
"Keep going." Hermione urged.
Draco rolled his eyes as he imagined her taking notes- It was just a nightmare for Merlin's sake!
"Bellatrix said Draco would do it, that he'd never be a blood traitor- Toujours pur."
"What?" Ron asked.
"Toujours Pur, it's the Black family motto." Harry said.
"It means "Forever Pure" in French, and the Malfoys and Blacks are ethnically French."
Draco blinked. 'How the hell do they know that?'
He remembered that his mother was fond of the phrase- and that their copy of the black family tree had that motto etched along the top- but it wasn't written in any of the books of heredity, so how could the dream team possibly know that?
"Voldemort said that Draco was a wild card whose loyalties hadn't been proven." Harry continued.
"So he might be one of the lost people from the beginning." Hermione said.
Harry nodded and continued. "Then he said something about betrayal being a good option to turn Blaise, and that they wouldn't need Draco- or something like that."
"Why do they want Blaise?" Hermione asked.
Draco could hear the definitive note of panic in her voice.
"He's involved in that shadow land thing- the weapon that can destroy me." Harry said.
"Could Blaise possibly have a copy of the prophecy?" Ron asked.
"But how could he- only Dumbledore, myself and the Divinist who saw it know about it…"
"We don't know that." Hermione countered worryingly.
"No, we don't." Harry agreed.
"I don't really understand." Ginny piped in. "How does a prophecy have the power to destroy you- You've mentioned it a few times and I know we were fighting to protect it at the department of mysteries, but you never explained what it is."
There was a silence.
Draco was burning with curiosity.
"I'm sorry Ginny- that's really private, and the fewer people who know the better." Harry said at last.
"That's hardly fair! I fought to protect it the same as all of you.."
"Ginny." Ron cut her off. "It's Harry's business."
"Ron-" Harry stopped him. "Ginny, Listen, what this vision tells us is that Blaise isn't safe because he must know about the prophecy. The people who know about it are in danger. You saw what those deatheaters were doing to get to it- they were going to kill us all. I can't tell you for your own protection." Harry reasoned.
"You told them." Ginny huffed.
"Well, I expect we've already got a price on our heads for being Harry's best friends." Ron countered, unhelpfully reminding Ginny that she wasn't one of Harry's best friends.
Draco heard the bed shift and the weighted foot steps that was unmistakably Ginny leaving the room.
"Ron!" Hermione snapped when the door closed.
"What? She was being nosy; it's not any of her business." Ron said.
"Ginny loves Harry so much- you can't keep rubbing it in her face that-"
"Ginny's got a boyfriend by the name of Dean Thomas that loves her- or so he says (and if he hurts her I'm going to rip out his spleen.) She should be paying him more attention than Harry!"
'Interesting, so little Ginny's still got a crush on Potter.' Draco thought.
"Guys…" Harry said quietly.
"How can you be so insensitive! This has nothing to do with her boyfriend, Ginny loves Harry like Ilove Harry."
'You too Granger? I'm just catching all the interesting facts this evening.' Draco thought.
"She just wants to be close to him- to be his friend and support him like we do, of course it hurts her that Harry pushes her away…" Hermione continued.
"Hermione.." Harry said quietly, but again was ignored.
"You heard Harry, he can't tell her for her own protection- that's not pushing her away!" Ron said.
"Yes, but you shouldn't constantly remind her that she isn't as close to Harry as you are." Hermione said.
"But she isn't!" said Ron.
"Guys!" Harry snapped. The bickering duo turned their attention, at last, to their third. "I've got a monster headache so could you stop it for one night?" He said with irritation.
'Me. Me. Me me me. What a whiney little dag!' Draco thought to himself.
"I'm sorry Harry- was there anything else about your vision?" Hermione asked.
Harry paused to think.
"After Voldemort decided what to do- he started talking about how Dumbledore was going to be destroyed by what he wanted to protect, and that when Blaise joined him I would be destroy and that he would take over." Harry said at last. "Then he left to this chamber with a mirror and he started to talk to me directly.
"He said that he knew I was there and that he and I were one because we share blood." Hermione gasped. "Then he told me he was going to come after everyone I love and he told me to protect them if I could. He looked in the mirror and I woke up."
The trio was silent for a time.
"I still say that isn't anything we didn't know- we've always known he would attack who you care about. He did it with Sirius, so he'd probably try the same with us." Ron said.
Harry winced at the reminder of Sirius, who he'd been desperately trying not to think about during this vacation.
"But Harry's smarter now- he wouldn't fall for the same trick again."
"This isn't the same trick, Hermione. He isn't going to try to kidnap one of you to get me to do something this time. He is going to try to hurt you- he mentioned you specifically more than once Hermione."
"Well of course he wants to kill me, I'm not just your best friend, but I'm also muggleborn. And let me be the first to remind you that I would be on their list even if I had no association with you, Harry. They hate me for who my parents are, not for who my friends are." Hermione added encouragingly.
Harry gave her a weak smile, which quickly turned into a frown.
"Hermione- he wants Blaise." Harry said at last.
"And Malfoy." Ron added.
"I know." She repeated.
"The faster you cut ties with them both- the better." Harry said.
"Why?" Her voice was defensive.
"You shouldn't become friends with people who are going to be deatheaters. You might have to fight one of them- or both." Ron said.
"That's ridiculous. First of all, even if I had the inclination I could never become friends with that haughty little ferret."
Draco gritted his teeth against her insult.
"Second of all, we don't have any indication that Blaise will join Voldemort. He's expressed his desire to be neutral most fervently. Even if he is a dark wizard, pushing him away isn't the solution, that will just push him towards the opposite side."
"I don't want you to get hurt." Harry said sadly. "Either of you. But right now, you are target #1."
"Wrong. Blaise is target #1, and Malfoy is target #2. Think about the information they have. Voldemort believes I am Blaise's girl friend. If Malfoy is the first person that the Dark Lord lost, that Blaise is most definitely the second. They want Blaise on their side, and you mentioned that Bellatrix was talking about desire."
"Get to the point." Ron said.
Draco rolled his eyes- honestly, couldn't those idiots think for themselves! He'd already worked out what it all meant.
"They want to get Malfoy to use his lifedebt to … I don't know…" Draco was sure she was blushing through the statement. "..seduce me away or something, so that Blaise will feel betrayed and start to hate muggleborns. But Voldemort doesn't believe he can rely on Malfoy because he saved me so they are going to try a different way."
"And what is that?" Ron asked.
"How should I know, I'm not the one who knows what he's thinking- that's Harry." Hermione snapped. "But really, it wouldn't have worked anyway- it's much too transparent. Blaise is too clever to fall for something like that. And anyway, they are working with the wrong information- I doubt Blaise would care even a little bit if he found me fawning all over Malfoy." She said with disgust.
"Hermione! Do you want to give me nightmares, don't say things like that!" Ron said.
"Welcome to my world." Hermione replied loftily.
"So what do we do?" Harry asked, getting them back on track.
"I say we write a letter to Blaise and explain to him, without giving away too much information, that Voldemort wants him to join and that he might try doing it through me. I'm sure he's worked it out on his own already, but it wouldn't hurt to warn him. That way he'll be more wary of any situations that might pop up." Hermione said.
"How would we explain how we know this?" Ron asked.
"Well, I'm sure by now most of the school has heard of the DA, and assumed that it really is a private army of Harry's and Dumbledore's. Any army must have spies. Blaise will probably assume we got the information from a spy if we say it's from a reliable source. Or something like that." Hermione looked pensive. "That's what I don't understand though… Why would Voldemort break Harry's occlumancy barriers to show him a vision of himself plotting to recruit Blaise with such an obvious ploy?"
"I don't think he knew I was there." Harry said.
"Of course he knew, Harry, who do you think took down your barriers?"
"Actually, I didn't clear my mind before I went to sleep… I was so busy thinking about elemental genesis and sorcery…" Harry said sheepishly.
"Harry!" Ron and Hermione snapped at the same time.
"Shut up, you'll wake Malfoy." Harry said. "I'm sorry, I've just had so much on my mind I haven't been practicing lately. I must've slipped up and I doubt he was expecting it either. He seemed to realize it towards the end and that's when he started talking to me directly."
'Potter knows occlumancy?' Draco thought to himself. 'And how does Potter know about Elemental genesis? What is going on?'
"Well you are going to practice it right now before you go to sleep, and I'm going to watch you do it." Hermione said bossily.
"Hermione.. I can do it with out you watching." Harry gritted out- obviously not liking Hermione's mother hen impression.
"I have to think about some things anyway, and I know I won't be able to go to sleep until I've sorted it all out." She said.
"Hermione, you've got to be in top form to make that potion. If you botch it you're mind will be permanently bound to Malfoy's- or you'll go insane. That'll put a quick end to your thinking.
"Get rid of the lifedebt, then we can go back to trying to out maneuver the Dark Lord." Ron said.
"That's the first reasonable thing you've said all night." Hermione replied with a sarcastic smirk, and then she frowned. "You're right, but I hate sleeping with this lifedebt on my shoulders. Dreaming of Malfoy is just plain creepy."
Draco's eyes widened. 'She's still having those dreams.' He couldn't help the smirk that overcame his face. 'pervert.' He thought, smiling.
"I'm amazed you aren't the one waking up screaming." Harry said, and the three of them chuckled. Draco scowled.
"Yeah, Malfoy-naked, talk about a nightmare!" Ron added.
"Ugh, Ron, shut up! Not even dreamless sleep potions take away the stupid dreams. I'm almost grateful for this interlude, because I was having another one when Harry's scream woke me. This is one part of magic where the side effects are nearly worse than the negation of the action." Hermione said, and rose stiffly.
"Side effects…" Harry said pensively, suddenly reminded of something he knew was just beyond his scope of memory.
"What Harry?" Ron asked.
Harry shook his head.
"We'll write that letter to Blaise tomorrow, and we'll inform the headmaster of the vision. Rest up you two. I'll see you in the morning." Hermione said. Tentatively, she leaned down and pecked Harry on the cheek. "Sweet dreams."
And she left.
"I didn't get wished sweet dreams." Ron grumbled as he crawled into bed.
"Yeah, well you also didn't get to see your dinner all over again." Harry said, yawning.
"Make sure to practice your occlumancy before drifting off, or Hermione will have your balls." Ron reminded.
"She won't need mine.. all she has to do is go to sleep and she'll have her hands full."
"Harry! That's disgusting!" Harry laughed.
Draco, for once, agreed with Weasley.
"And with that pleasant thought- have sweet dreams Ron. Forgive me if I don't kiss you." Harry said, and he pulled his curtains closed.
Ron pulled his closed as well, muttering about "Blood Harry.." and "Malfoy….starkers….gross!"
The dormitory fell silent and Draco's thoughts churned.
The Shadow lands.
Draco knew what all of these things meant. And Hermione was correct in her assumption that Blaise had already worked out that the Dark Lord desired his services. The Dark Lord had similarly been attempting to court Blaise's father during his last stab at power, or so his father told him.
These words made sense to him. Ironically, he had contemplated using his lifedebt in the exact manner his aunt had suggested- but even he realized it was too transparent before he seriously deliberated on the matter.
Occlumancy was a branch of sorcery. But, what use did Potter have for Occlumancy? And why did he have to practice it before bed? Sorcery could only be used by powerful wizards, like Zabini- did Potter also fall into that category? As for Elemental Genesis, he had no idea how Potter found out, but the whole of Slytherin house was operating under the threat of suspension to keep the secret, and who ever leaked it would be skewered long before Dumbledore caught them.
If Potter was to be believed, and his vision true, the dark lord thought his loyalties were in question. Draco thought he'd made it crystal clear. He hated Potter more than anyone else in the world, and used every opportunity to prove it. His loyalties were obvious: Malfoy house, above all, then Slytherin. If Malfoy house served the Dark Lord, than he too served the Dark Lord, no matter how stupid he thought it was.
So why did he save Hermione Granger?
He remembered lying on this same bed the first night he'd moved into Gryffindor tower and asking himself the same question. He still didn't know why.
'It was just a reaction, I couldn't help it. My body acted without my consent. But it doesn't matter how or why, what is important is to deal with the now and continue on the best interests of my houses.' In his opinion, he didn't need to consult anyone to know what the best interests of his houses were. The name Malfoy had been disgraced, its patriarch thrown into Azkaban like some commoner, and its manor ransacked by ministry muggle lovers and mudbloods for the Malfoy treasurers. Securing Hogwarts, while it might go against his vicarious obligation to serve the Dark Lord, played right into his obligation to rebuild the respect towards his name.
His father was a school governor, or had been, so Draco would do better; he would become a school founder. His father had commanded the respect of all Slytherin house, respect which Draco had lost since his father's imprisonment, and subsequently, his saving of a mudblood; He would command their respect and be their leader.
At the end of this misadventure in potion making, Draco would lead his class mates into their common room. If his father was still in prison when he graduated, which he dearly hoped he wouldn't be, Draco would join the Dark Lord and lead the assault to free him.
Let Potter have his filthy sycophants- Draco knew, he had learned the hard way, that the only people you can truly trust, the only people that you can ever rely on, are those of your blood. Family first, they were the people who would protect you always.
Even if they didn't betray you…
Even if they didn't try to kill you..
Next chapter: Draco and Hermione FINALLY take the Synergist potion- what awaits them in the center of Slytherin territory? Only their worst nightmares.
In General: We're at the halfway mark of the story. The plot I outlined for this story really stops at this point with only a general idea for the ending. I know where I want to go after this point but I haven't set in stone how I'm going to get there. However: All the mysteries, or a good many of them, will be revealed within the next 4 chapters, so stay tuned!
Responses: Apparently this is a big no no- so I'll try to respond individually in some capacity, either through the ff system or by posting to another location.
Congratulations to: bluemaui49 for being observant regarding foreshadowing.
Interesting theory awards go to: Weaselbee, and Trieste
Short shorts: "Mate" : What the British audience perceives
"Hermione, I have a confession." Hermione whipped around violently, her life-of-it's-own-hair attempting to strangle her for the offense. Standing before her was Blaise, his red eyes aglow, looking rather nervous.
"What is it Blaise?"
"Well- I…" He paused, looking any where but her. "I- I've been misleading you- I'm not … not a wizard."
"Not a wizard.. but you can do magic, how can.." But Hermione was cut off mid-explanation of his obvious-wizardness.
"No. No, I'm- I'm really an .. an elemental mage." Blaise confessed.
"Oh! I knew that."
"WHAT! But- I! I'll kill them, only the Slytherins are supposed to know and- " Fire and brimstone erupted around him as his anger grew.
"Blaise! No- I figured it out, I'm not top of the class for nothing."
"Oh, I see." Blaise said, calming down, the acrid smell of brimstone still lingering. "Well, that will make things easier then. You see- as a mage, I am technically a magical creature."
"Really, you are?"
"No- but it's a good plot device. You see, as a humanoid magical creature I can forfeit any pre-existing contract on a person of my choice and claim them irrevocably – FOREVER!"
"Blaise, what are you saying?" Hermione asked nervously.
"I'm saying- What I'm saying is- I am an elemental Mage, Hermione, and you are my… are my… FRIEND!"
There was a loud dramatic pause of silence.
"Yes, my friend! The one person chosen by magic and fate and God and stuff, who can complete me! There is only one such person in the world as this for me, and that is you- Hermione. My friend."
"Um, Blaise, that's not what 'friend' means." Hermione said, her eye brows crossing in confusion.
"Quiet, friend, for tonight we shall bond and make our friendship permanent." Blaise declared, then he held out his hand to Hermione, beckoning her to take it. "Come, my friend."
Hermione's hair began to curl in irritation.
"No- That's not the way you use that word. That's not what friend means. You said that a friend is the one person who can complete you and make you happy- but I have several friends, and you could have more than one too. Imagine! If only one person in the world could make you happy you could spend your whole lives looking for them and never find them, or if they died you'd live you life in despair. How sucky would that be? I ask you!"
Blaise dropped his proffered hand.
"More than one?"
"Yes! By definition a friend is a companion and confident whose company you enjoy. Surely you enjoy other people's company besides myself?"
"Well- I guess Harry is alright." Blaise said thoughtlessly. Then his face froze in shock. "GAH! Does that mean I really AM gay!"
"No.. No…" Hermione began but was cut off.
"What's this?" Asked Harry, swooping in on his broomstick heroically. "Are you having a crisis, Blaise?"
"Harry, Dios Graci! Quickly tell me, are you my friend?" Blaise asked.
"Well, sure, why not?" Harry said.
"No, Harry, wait! Blaise is confused- he thinks---" But too late.
"Friend!" Blaise said, his evil looking eyes lighting up not-so-angelically. Harry smiled at him.
"No! Harry, Blaise is being ESL!"
"Hermione! Don't insult him- it's not his fault Greek is his first language." Harry admonished.
"But you are agreeing to something—You two aren't talking about the same thing—" She searched for words to express the increasingly exasperating situation.
Meanwhile, Blaise was giving Harry a hug.
"You are my friend, and I'm gay." Said Blaise.
"I'm glad you are happy." Said Harry.
"Harry, he doesn't mean gay like happy he means homosexual- and you are not friends, Blaise!"
"You said I could have more than one!" Blaise countered.
"Want a game of exploding snap?" Harry asked brightly.
"Wait, you don't understand!" Hermione said.
"How about we go for a walk around the lake- we could have a picnic and play cards." Said Blaise brightly. "Friend." He added with a smile.
"Uh- sure, if you like." Replied Harry, looking confused.
"Damn it! You are supposed to be my friend, Blaise!" Hermione complained.
"Well you aren't being a good friend right now!" Blaise said, then he dragged Harry from the room.
"Ah well." Hermione said, her shoulders sagging. "There's always Malfoy."
Please review! Oh, and I'm looking for a beta, if anyone is interested: iam at internet2 dot edu