The Importance of inter-House Unity
Disclaimer: This story is based on characters and situations created and owned by JK Rowling, various publishers including but not limited to Bloomsbury Books, Scholastic Books and Raincoast Books, and Warner Bros. Inc. No money is being made and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended.
A/N: A great and huge 'thank you' belongs to FlairVerona, Madame Tibbles and Noesnifunifa– Beta Readers extraordinaire! I feel like your help has really improved the quality of the story and thank you very, very much for your help, support and kindness. In other words: You ROCK! The most enthusiastic virtual hugs to you :D
Oh, know the perils, read the signs,
The warning history shows,
For our Hogwarts is in danger
From external, deadly foes
And we must unite inside her
Or we'll crumble from within… OotP, P.186, British Edition
"Open it! Open it! Open it!" Ginny Weasley's excited voice filled the Gryffindor girls' dormitory as the energetic redhead jumped up and down on Hermione's bed. "Come on! What are you waiting for?"
Hermione, not sharing her friend's enthusiasm in the least, rolled her eyes and warily picked up the envelope once again. It looked innocent enough, she thought and sighed. Intellectually, Hermione knew perfectly well that bringing unity to the Houses of Hogwarts was – now more than ever – incredibly important, but honestly! It couldn't have come at a worse time! Besides the growing threat of Voldemort's rise to power and the quest for the missing Horcruxes, there were N.E.W.T.s to consider! She did not have the time to go around and play 'Get-to-Know-You' with the other Houses right now. Besides, Hermione thought with a smirk, she already had good contact with the other Houses through Dumbledore's Army. Perhaps - in a swift movement the envelope was suddenly ripped from her hands.
The redhead grinned mischievously at Hermione. "I'm dying of curiosity here, Hermione. Who knows? This envelope could hold the name of your one true love!"
Hermione snorted in a very unladylike fashion. "I sincerely doubt that."
"You never know. Perhaps it holds the name of some tall, dark and mysterious Ravenclaw? Or perhaps a sweet, passionate Hufflepuff?"
"Ginny, please," Hermione laughed, "We're only going to interview each other, hand in our assignments and that's it. There's no torrid love affair planned. Besides…"
"Yes. There are N.E.W.T.s to consider!" Ginny said in an uncannily accurate impression of Hermione which made both girls laugh. "Really now," the youngest Weasley smiled, "I think it's about getting into touch with people from the other Houses. It'll be more than just interviewing each other. It's about – well – getting to know each other. As people. And individuals. It's exciting, come to think of it."
"That's easy for you to say. You and Luna are already great friends!"
Ginny nodded solemnly. "Which also rules out all those torrid love affair possibilities. But you, my dear Hermione, let's see what fate has in store for you!" Happily, Ginny ripped open Hermione's envelope and looked at the card inside. Her smile faded. She blinked.
Hermione raised an eyebrow. "Ginny? Who is it?"
Ginny blinked again. And frowned. "Have you ever heard of a Theodore Nott?"
"NO!" A shriek tore through the silence that usually filled the Slytherin common room and sent Millicent Bulstrode's cat scurrying for cover. "I will not, most definitely NOT be partnered with that…that..!" Pansy Parkinson gesticulated wildly as words failed her. Millicent's cat hissed softly from beneath a couch, securely hidden behind the skinny legs of one Theodore Nott.
"Problem, Pansy?" the dark-haired youth inquired with a hint of a smile as he picked up the trembling cat and started scratching its ears. Pansy whirled around to face him and the cat pressed itself deeper into the security of Theo's warm stomach.
"Problem? They want me to…to…This abomination!"
Theo, who had clearly no idea what the girl was talking about, nodded in silent understanding. "Let your emotions out. Don't keep them bottled up inside."
Pansy, having lost some of her furious momentum, pouted. "Theo!"
She rolled her eyes. "Nott!"
Theo grinned. "Parkinson!"
Pansy threw up her hands in frustration. "Merlin, you boys are so immature."
"Says Miss 'Let's throw a temper tantrum'. Very mature, Pansy," Theo kept petting the cat, seemingly at peace with the world. "So, who has got you so excited?"
Pansy's eyes narrowed suspiciously. "I am not excited, Nott. I am furious. I won't cooperate. I won't! I won't even talk to him."
Theo nodded once more since it seemed like the most sensible thing to do at the moment. "You'll use sign language then?"
Pansy sat down heavily next to him and gave him a sharp slap on the shoulder. "This isn't funny," she sniffed. "It's tragic."
"Of course it is. Now, who are you partnered up with? If it's so bad perhaps we can switch partners?"
Pansy sighed, the weight of the world obviously heavy on her shoulders. "Who do you have?"
Pansy's eyes widened. "Hermione Granger?"
"No," Theo replied in a deadpan voice, "Harry Granger." He rolled his eyes and crossed his arms in annoyance. "Of course it's Hermione Granger. How many other Grangers do we have in our year?"
"Well," Pansy suddenly smiled and patted Theo's cheek, "I feel better now. I mean, if you can put up with Know-It-All-Granger, then I can put up with the Weasel-boy, right?"
Theo gave her a dubious look. He had never mentioned that he was willing to put up with Granger.
Feedback isn't expected but very much appreciated :)