Disclaimer: Welcome one and all to the sequel of Parenting Class! And as it still stands, I don't own Harry Potter! I'm hoping that by the time I finish OST Rowling will have given me rights. Then I can go back and redo HBP. XD
A special note to all new readers. This is a continuation off of one of my other fics, Parenting Class. I highly, highly suggest reading that one first. So please, go back. You will be so confused as to what is happening you won't enjoy the story at all and that is just tragic.
A warning for those of you who loved the humor in Parenting Class; One Step at a Time is not a humor fanfiction. This story is going to have a lot more angst, violence, drama, and I'll even sneak in that pesky romance called Dramione :D There will still be humor in this story (I can't just eliminate it completely) but please be advised that as a whole the story is more of a drama / friendship than anything else.
Also, fic is now AU thanks to the Half-Blood Prince. For those that feel the need to point out timeline inconsistencies from the series please reference that first sentence: this series is AU past OoTP. There was also not a comprehensive Harry Potter lexicon when I first started writing this (2003, people) so some minor things are incorrect. Hopefully we can all just ignore things like the fact that Norbert is a boy in this series and move on, kay?
And this note has gotten to be insanely long, so time to wrap it up. Thanks for popping by, enjoy the story and please do leave a review! They feed the hungry authoress and muse and you really don't want to see the muse when it hasn't been fed. Okay, done. See you all at the end!
One Step at a Time
It was the day after Group three had given their presentation and all members of it, Hermione, Harry and Draco, were sprawled out on the ground of their common room, more commonly dubbed the 'Rainbow Room'.
In front of them was the gigantic poster they had shown to their fellow classmates, depicting the events that had followed them through the six week class. The class? Parenting Class. It was a new course that Professor Dumbledore had inserted into the curriculum.
In it, three students were put together in a group and told to live with one another in their own set of rooms. One of the members had to take a potion and ended up being turned into a five-year old child, who had no recollection of their lives except from what they knew as children.
The other two group members had to watch the child and take pictures and record down events for a grade. The main goal of the class was to teach the students to be responsible in caring for a young child as well as managing their own schedule and responsibilities bestowed upon them.
The first person in group three to become a child had been Draco, followed by Harry and then Hermione. The course had just ended, with much relief through the castle, for Hermione had been a great source of damage and many were thankful she was back to her normal seventeen-year old self.
"Aww, look at that one," Hermione gushed, pointing at one of her favorite pictures: a small Draco running screaming from his bedroom with bright pink hair, Harry with an afro, and a lime green Crookshanks in the corner. "It's one of my favorites."
"Not mine," Draco grumbled. "Bloody girl." The girl he was referring to was Pansy Parkinson, a child at the same time Draco was and had gotten a hold of Harry's wand while she was over at the Rainbow Room. "Although I like this one."
The Slytherin's finger pointed to a picture of a tiny Harry running around the couches with Snape stomping after him, the boy darting to a new hiding place each time Snape came close.
"That was fun," Harry grinned. "Even though he ended up catching me."
"No wonder why," Hermione laughed. "Look at the picture. You were running all over the place and Snape was just taking a few steps! Which one do you like, Harry?"
The black-haired boy pointed to a picture in the upper corner. "It'll always be a fond memory," he sighed happily, petting Butterscotch, who had come over to sit next to him. In the picture, the small, Golden Retriever puppy had just come out of Draco's room with a shoe held proudly in his mouth. With the door wide open, you could see into the Slytherin's room and view the massacred shoe collection. A picture-Draco came running after the dog, who simply raced around the boy in circles.
"You're lucky I had enough money to replace all of those shoes," Draco sniffed. "Although I was almost out thanks to Hermione."
"Me?" Hermione asked, placing a hand over her heart. "What'd I do? Unlike some people, I didn't go out and buy a dog."
"The dog was better," Draco argued. "Sort of. I mean, Harry paid me back for him later. You, on the other hand, redid my entire wardrobe and had me pay for it!"
"You have the money. And I did pay for a little bit of it…"
Before Draco could argue his point, Leviculus' voice rang through the room. "Professor McGonagall is here! Shall I let her in?" Leviculus was the jester in the portrait to their room and had also supervised in the decorating. (Being a jester, that was why the room was so vibrant).
The three exchanged glances. Why was McGonagall stopping by? "Yes, please let her in," Hermione said after a pause.
The portrait swung open and the Transfiguration professor walked in, her hands holding no potion bottles like the group was accustomed to seeing, but rather two letters.
"Is something wrong, Professor?" Harry asked, rising to his feet with Hermione and Draco following suit.
"Not wrong, just some problems that need to be taken care of," McGonagall said. "First of all, Mr. Potter." Harry gulped. "We've been getting several complaints from students around the school about your dog. As you are no longer a child and will not be as upset, we must tell you that Butterscotch will be leaving the castle tomorrow."
Harry knelt down and hugged the puppy. "He has to leave? But where will he go? Can he stay with Hagrid?" he asked on sudden inspiration.
"No, he cannot stay with Hagrid. We've already found him a nice, temporary home."
"Who…who are his new…owners?"
"An Arthur and Molly Weasely," McGonagall smiled, Harry's face transforming to express great relief. "They've agreed to house your dog until summer, where he will then be returned to you."
Harry nodded, although he still hadn't a clue of what he was going to do about the summer. After all, Dudley was allergic and he doubted his aunt and uncle would let him keep Butterscotch. Maybe Hermione could watch him? "All right, thank you, Professor."
McGonagall nodded. "Other news if for Parenting Class. This room was designed for that class only. So, tomorrow I'm going to have to ask you all to go back to your own houses. Your room especially will need some touch-ups."
Hermione blushed. "Sorry about that."
"Also, Mr. Potter, I have a note for you from Professor Dumbledore, and Mr. Malfoy, also a message from Dumbledore regarding your stay in the castle over the summer with Professor Snape." The woman handed both pieces of parchment over. "There will also be a Prefect meeting the day after Halloween. Both of you, Miss Granger and Mr. Malfoy, are expected to attend."
"We'll be there," Hermione said, nodding her head.
"Good. I'll see you tomorrow in class." The woman turned and exited the portrait, Leviculus wishing her a good night as she passed by.
"So it's our last night," Draco said, his voice soft.
Hermione looked down at the floor. For her and Harry it wouldn't be too different. They were at least both in Gryffindor. But Draco would be all the way down in the Slytherin dungeons. Class schedules would be back to normal (No more Divination for Hermione!) which would mean the only classes they'd have together would be Herbology and Potions.
"We should all do something special together," she said.
"What?" Harry asked, flopping down on the couch and Butterscotch jumping on his stomach.
"Let's have another tea party," Hermione grinned, a smirk crossing her face at the boy's horrified looks.
"How about no," Draco said, claiming one of the two armchairs. "Besides, it's already nine. We have classes tomorrow so we really can't stay up late."
A light went off in Hermione's head. "Let's all sleep together!"
Draco gave a sly smile. "I wouldn't mind doing so with you…but with Harry? He's not exactly what I'm interested in."
Hermione flushed a brilliant magenta. "Not like that! I mean, we all just stay in one bed. Like when you and Harry were kids we did that one time."
"I am not sleeping next to Harry," Draco said, pointing an accusing finger at the male Gryffindor. "It's wrong."
"Then I'll sleep in the middle," Hermione said, "and you two can go on the ends. Just no squishing me."
"And what's the point of this?" Harry asked.
"Well…since it'll be the last time we all get to spend the night in the same area of the castle, it'd just be nice to have the company."
"Who's bed?" Draco asked. "Because I don't think we're all going to fit in just one."
"Couldn't we combine two?" queried Harry. "In the common room maybe? We could move the couch and I'm sure we could get them to fit."
"Sounds good," Hermione agreed. "Who wants to donate a bed?"
About ten minutes later, two beds (Harry and Hermione's, Draco absolutely refused to let his be tampered with) were meshed together in the middle of the common room, one large blanket covering the entire thing and three pillows placed side by side at the top.
"Now everyone, dress decently," Hermione warned. "Just in case someone comes by…Ginny still knows the password and Professor Tobin might come by…or just someone. Okay?"
Draco saluted. "Yes, Mother."
"Good boy," she congratulated, standing on tiptoe to pat him on top of his head. "Don't forget to brush your teeth. That goes for you too Harry."
Harry grinned. "Sure thing, Mione. Besides, I like having sparkly white teeth." Rolling her eyes, Hermione entered her own room and shut the door to get changed while Draco made a mad dash for the bathroom to take a last minute shower and Harry went to go get dressed as well.
When Draco emerged from the bathroom, a heavy cloud of steam following, he saw that Harry and Hermione were already sitting on the bed. Just as Hermione had said, both of them were completely covered; Hermione in a pair of red pants and an overlarge white tee shirt with a lion stitched on it and Harry in gold pants with a red tee shirt.
"I'm surrounded by Gryffindors," Draco grumbled, climbing up next to Hermione. Like the other two, he was dressed in his house colors; emerald green pants and a gray tee shirt with a curled serpent on it (gray since silver was hard to find in clothing.)
"Ack! You're all wet!" Hermione cried as his hair dripped onto her shoulder.
"What would you expect? I just got out of the shower."
"My bathroom!" Harry called, jumping off the bed and racing for the bathroom. "I need to brush my teeth!"
Once inside, he let out a soft cackle, and then went to brush his teeth, determined to take a long time.
Outside, Hermione and Draco stared at each other, before Hermione finally looked at her crossed feet. This was the first time they'd been alone with each other since…since well, the incident. And neither had a real clue of what to do.
"Got Sparkles?" Hermione finally asked, pulling the blanket up over her knees.
"Of course," Draco replied, holding up the beloved dragon, who had miraculously survived Hermione's reign of terror with no damage at all.
Both lapsed back into silence, Hermione picking at the blanket and Draco bending one of Sparkle's wings. Butterscotch, who was lying on the foot of the bed, gave a soft whine. Even he didn't like the silence.
"Is your Starstone essay done for Uncle Sev?" Draco asked.
In the bathroom, Harry groaned and resisted the urge to hit his head on the door he was leaning against. He really wanted to know what had happened during the storm. But neither were talking (when he'd asked Hermione she'd blushed and told him it was personal and when he'd asked Draco the Slytherin had gotten extremely defensive) and they didn't want to discuss it with each other. And whatever had happened was the reason they were so uncomfortable.
"I finished it a few days ago," Hermione answered. "Yours?" After all, schoolwork was a safe subject to talk about. But it wasn't the topic Harry wanted them to do.
"Same here. It was really easy. Although I did think they'd be pieces of stars…not clam shells."
"I wish they had been made of real stars. That would have been so interesting! I mean, to study something from outer space!"
Harry sensed the conversation was dying again. Deciding to exit the bathroom before they got too suspicious over his long absence, the boy opened the door. "Anything happen while I was gone?" he asked, making his way towards the bed.
"Nothing really," Hermione said with a yawn. "Although I'm getting awfully tired. And we have History of Magic first thing tomorrow…I need to be awake. I don't want to miss a single word Professor Binns tells us."
"Take notes for me?" Harry begged, settling down beneath the blanket.
"No. Take your own notes. It's the only way you're going to learn. What class do you have first, Draco?"
"Divination," he answered sullenly. "Yay."
"Just quit the class," Hermione advised. "Old woman's a fraud…except for a few actual prediction she's made. But you're not learning anything up there."
"Neither of my parents would like it if I gave it up," Draco said softly. "Seer blood actually does run in my family…although no one's had it since my great-grandmother, who died when I was a kid. They're hoping that I'll…oh, never mind."
"No? What were you going to say?" Hermione asked, propping her head up on her elbow and Harry leaning back against the headboard so he could see Draco over Hermione.
"They're…well, they want me to predict a prophecy that will help…Voldemort."
Hermione snorted. "Scary as that might be, how do they even know that you can predict anything? Just because you have it in your blood doesn't mean it'll actually pop up. Has Lucius or Narcissa ever seen anything?"
"Blood's on my father's side…and no, he's never predicted anything. Problem is…I have."
"What kind of things?" Harry asked.
"Well…I predicted an earthquake when I was eight and ended up saving Dobby's life…and I can sometimes see what's going to happen before it does."
"Interesting," was Hermione's comment. "Do you think you should go to Dumbledore?"
"Why? So he can monitor me twenty-four seven? Besides, if I'm at the school then no one who would use it to their advantage would be here."
"I wouldn't be so sure," about that Harry said. "When I was little, some Slytherins were chasing me. I think one of them was Nott. Not everyone here has nice intentions."
"Blaise does sleep in my dorm. If anyone ever heard anything he could probably just erase their memories."
"But what about when you're at home?"
"I'm staying the summer here, remember? Speaking of which…I still have to read my letter. I'll just do it in the morning."
"But what about over winter break? You're going home then, aren't you?"
"I doubt I'll say anything," the Slytherin said, trying to reassure Hermione. "Don't worry about it…really. If I haven't said anything before it's really doubtful I'd say anything now. Just forget I said anything."
Hermione opened her mouth to retort, but bit her tongue. She couldn't force Draco to accept help from Dumbledore. And as he said, it'd probably never happen. What were the odds?
"Do you think we should all get some sleep?" Harry asked in the resulting silence that followed Draco's plea. "We do have to get up early."
"It'd be a good idea," Hermione yawned, dropping her head back on the pillow, after flicking her wand at the fire across the room and dousing it into a mass of burning embers.
Beside her, she felt Draco shudder and grabbed onto his hand beneath the blanket. An action that didn't go unnoticed by a grinning Harry. "Do you want me to put the fire back?" Hermione asked, searching out Draco's almost glowing eyes in the darkness.
"No…I'm fine," he whispered, squeezing Hermione's hand and gripping Sparkles in the other. "You just did it a little suddenly…that's all."
"Good night," Harry murmured, remembering to take off his glasses and place them on the table next to the bed, turning his head away from Hermione so she wouldn't see his smirk.
"Sleep tight," Hermione whispered, poking both Harry and Draco. Both waited expectantly for Draco to say his line, but it never came. "He's already asleep," Hermione laughed softly. "Guess he's had a long day, huh?"
"Appears so," Harry said, shaking his head in amusement. "Well, night Mione."
"Good night, Harry."
Hermione awoke with a smile on her face, not sure of why she was so happy. Soft rays of sunlight filtered into the room and were lighting right over her eyes, the reason she was probably awake. But why was the sun coming in to her right? Her window was stationed across from her bed…
Going to sit up, she suddenly realized that she couldn't move at all. Carefully turning her head, the Gryffindor girl came face to face with Draco, who was holding her like a teddy bear and the explanation of why she couldn't move.
A half squeak half yelp issued from her mouth as she realized their actual positioning. Both of his arms had wrapped fully around her, one sliding underneath the back of her shirt. Her own hands had deceived her in sleep; one was cupping his cheek and the other holding onto one of his arms.
They're legs had become a tangled mess beneath the blanket and she had pressed herself up against him quite noticeably. Her head rested on his pillow and from the red mark on Draco's forehead, she could only guess that her own had been pressing against it the entire night.
"Looks like you had an interesting night."
Hermione whipped her head around to see Harry, standing at the door to the bathroom with a towel in his hands that he'd been using to dry his hair. "Harry…no, this isn't…I mean…I don't…what happened?"
Harry shrugged. "I don't know. But it looks like you both slept well."
"Harry, help me," Hermione pleaded, face rapidly turning tomato red.
"I think I'll wait till Draco wakes up," Harry grinned, taking a seat in an armchair. "It should be priceless."
"Harry, please," the girl begged, trying to remove her hand from Draco's cheek without waking the slumbering Slytherin. "I really don't want him to wake up when we're like this! Please!"
Grumbling beneath his breath, Harry got off his chair and made his way to the bed. "You owe me for this."
"Yes, yes, just hurry before he wakes up!"
Wishing that he wasn't so nice (this could be a boost that Harry and Ginny needed for the pair), Harry grabbed Draco's shoulders and twisted him away from Hermione, the girl pushing herself quickly away.
"Happy?" Harry asked, lowering Draco back onto the bed, the Slytherin staying sound asleep through the entire process.
"Yes. Thanks, Harry. I'm going to go get dressed…make sure all of your things are in your trunk so it can be moved back to our dorms. And get Draco up in about five minutes…he'll be late otherwise."
While Harry waited for the five minutes, he pulled the letter out of his book bag that McGonagall had delivered the night before. He didn't know why…but it wasn't a letter he wanted to share.
Undoing the Hogwarts seal, Harry was met with neat, cursive handwriting that he had long ago placed as Dumbledore's.
I'm writing to inform you that your Occlumency lessons will start again with Professor Snape on the sixth of November. Please report to his room at seven-thirty sharp…to the other students, you are still taking Remedial Potions.
Remember Harry…this is important. I have talked with Professor Snape and he has agreed to be…less harsh, shall we say? It is up to you to master this…you may or may not remember, but when you were serving your two weeks as the child in Parenting Class, you were once possessed by Voldemort and he managed to physically contact you…almost kill you.
I must beg of you to understand how vital these lessons are. Remember, the one thing that Voldemort will never understand is the power of love and friendship. I hope that you might now have some new light in that sense.
Harry stared at the letter, rereading it.
Yes, he did remember. He remembered all too well. Everything. The damp air…the stone floor. The feeling of utter helplessness as Voldemort slowly tried to strangle him. The exploding pain in his head. He definitely remembered.
"Is it morning already?" Draco moaned from the bed, grabbing Hermione's pillow and plopping it over his face.
"Rise and shine," Harry smiled, stuffing the letter into his pocket, determined to forget about it for now. "Classes start in about an hour and we still have to head down for breakfast."
"And we need a group picture," Hermione said, exiting from her room with a muggle camera. "Hurry up and go get dressed," she ordered the Slytherin.
"Why do we need more pictures?" Draco asked, still lying with the pillow on his face. "Don't we have enough?"
"We do. But I just want one last picture that won't move…that way I can keep it in my room at home and none of my neighbors will freak out."
"Fine," Draco grumbled, sleepily stumbling out of the bed and into his room, the door closing with a soft click.
While waiting for Draco to get dressed (both Gryffindors knew that this process could take a very long time), Hermione combed the room over, looking for misplaced articles to pack back in the trunks. Harry lounged on the couch with Butterscotch, scratching the dog between his ears.
"Are you going to miss this, Harry?" Hermione asked, straightening up from looking beneath one of the chairs.
Harry didn't ask her to clarify what 'this' was. He knew. "How could I not?"
The girl smiled and sat down on the couch next to him, Butterscotch picking his head up to give her a kiss on the cheek. "I wish it would never end. That we could stay here forever."
"You mean you like Divination that much?"
Hermione chucked a pillow at him. "You know that's not what I meant."
Harry gave a sheepish grin. "I know."
"It's just…everything worked out somehow. We made a lot of new friends, you got a girlfriend, Snape isn't as scary as we used to think he was, and we don't have as many enemies. I mean, sure, we've had our tumbles during the class, but that's to be expected, right? I'll just…I'm really going to miss this. Coming back to our own little home after classes and just hanging out. You, me, and Draco. It's like we formed our own little group for this part of the year. And now that we're leaving…there isn't going to be the three of us anymore."
"You say that like we'll never see him again. We still have Draco in two of our classes, they'll be Hogsmeade trips, and Quidditch games, and…" Harry paused, his green eyes lighting up. "Quidditch! Quidditch is back! Hermione, it's back!" he cried, jumping off the couch with his fist in the air.
"It'll start up again in February…it's only October, Harry," Hermione pointed out.
"I know. But we still have to get teams together and practice maneuvers, and work on positioning, and…" Harry trailed off, a grin stretching from ear to ear on his face.
"This year's match will be different though," Draco announced, leaning against his doorframe. "Because I'm going to be the one to catch the Snitch."
"No you're not! I will!"
"Not this year."
"I always catch it!"
"Not this time."
"I will catch it!"
"No you won't."
"Yes I will!"
"No you won't!"
"I think that's enough," Hermione said stepping between both boys, who were now within strangling distance of the other.
"Yes I will!"
"No you won't!"
"He started it," Draco and Harry accused each other at the same time.
"You both did. Harry, go sit on the couch. Draco, sit next to him but leave the middle spot open. Straighten up your robes- Harry, your tie is crooked. I'll go get the camera."
"I'm not going to go easy on you," Harry stated, sitting on the couch.
"But this year…let's play fair, okay?"
"Fine by me."
"Are both of you ready?" Hermione asked, exiting from her room with a normal, muggle camera in hand. "I really want this picture to turn out nice."
"Butterscotch, stay," Harry ordered, looking at his puppy on the chair. The Golden Retriever whined but stayed put, tail thumping on the armrest.
Hermione plopped herself down between both boys and put the camera on a pile of books on the table in front of them. "It's going to take automatically. So smile nice when you see the red light."
A second later, a bright flash went off and Hermione scooped up her camera, both Harry and Draco rubbing their eyes furiously from the light. "Time to head down to breakfast," she said cheerily, trying to mask the weight that had settled on her shoulders. This would be the last time that they'd all go down together.
"Just let me say good bye first," Harry said, scooping Butterscotch into his arms. "McGonagall should be coming to collect him later today- and since we won't be able to get back in…well, I'm going to miss him."
After the puppy had been passed around the three teenagers, Draco even handing over one of his shoes for the dog to chew on, the three linked arms, Hermione in the middle with Draco on her right and Harry on her left.
Stepping out of the room, the trio turned to say good bye to their portrait. "We'll make sure to visit often," Hermione said, noticing the tear streaked face and running white face paint. "Don't worry- next year you'll have company again."
"It was a pleasure getting to meet you all," the jester sniffled, blowing his nose in a large, spotted handkerchief. "Good day to you, my lady. My lords," he said, bowing to each.
"Bye, Leviculus," Harry and Draco chorused. "We will stop by, don't worry," Harry promised.
Setting off down the corridor, the three turned their backs to their old home, never to go in it again. But hey! Breakfast was just down the hall.
"You guys hungry?" Hermione asked, blinking back tears and unconsciously tightening her grip on Draco's hand.
"That's good to hear," she grinned. "Because Harry? We have Care of Magical Creaturesthird hour…and I think we're going to need our strength."
Draco snickered. "I don't have to go till tomorrow."
By now, they were standing on the threshold of the Great Hall, students once more sitting at their house tables. "Guess this is it," Hermione murmured. "Now…now, it's over."
"Hey," Draco said, voice unnaturally gentle. "We can see each other at any time. Things are just going to be a…little different from now on."
"I liked the way things were."
"MIONE! HARRY!" Ron called, waving his arms wildly.
"DRACO! OVER HERE!" Pansy yelled, standing on the bench.
"Go on," Draco said, releasing Hermione's hand. "Your friends are calling you."
"Promise me one thing," she said, turning to face him and taking both of his hands in hers. "That no matter what, we'll always be friends."
"Promise," Draco smiled, teetering back as Hermione gave him a hug, his arms wrapping hesitantly around her.
Harry smirked as he and Hermione headed over to the Gryffindor table a few minutes later, Draco going for Slytherin's.
Friends? By the time he was done with them, they wouldn't be friends.
They'd be something much more.
:gasps: And the first chapter of OST is up! Yay! As a reminder, if you haven't voted on the last chapter of PC for the poll, please go back and do that now.
As always, please do leave a review. I'd love to see who's still here and reading PC's sequel! From what I got between reviews, e-mails, chatroom messages, Aim/Yahoo messenger, Neopets, and DA, over 300 of you should be reading this...I highly doubt each and every one of you will show though...let's see if you can prove me wrong.
And a note. I am not certain yet if I'll be updating weekly. I might move it to every two weeks to a month. With work, school, and all of my activities, my year is going to be a lot busier then last.
Lastly, some shameless self advertising. XD If you're into X-men Evo. and like Pietro or Kurt, Dying Inside would love to hear from you! Taiho Kuroshi is a fic set with the events of HBP focusing on Draco and Mione. Like angst? Go read. :D And lastly, if you like very angsty and dark HP fics, Black is Our World is getting lonely. I do plan on updating it soon. :smile: