WOO! I'm finally back on the fanfiction-writing bandwagon! Sorry last chapter sucked super bad, but I was pressed for time and I really wanted to get it out for you guys so no one would have cause to kill me... but suckage aside, thanks for the reviews!

I actually forgot that I had an account for a few months.. mostly because of school exams and the like... blah de blah blah.. but now it's summer! I can write all I want! Buahaha!

Okay, sorry if I'm somehow offending anyone here, but I don't see the point in detailing what happens day after day when there's so much to be said... so I'm not going to waste time(and chapters) on trivial stuff when there could be ACTION! 'Cause we all know everyone loves a little action now and again, teehee.

Therefore, in accordance(love that phrase) with the above paragraph, this chapter is set a few weeks ahead later than last chapter. Savvy?

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Chapter Twenty: It's A Date

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Ever since Hermoine Granger's parents' discovery of their daughter's extremely high intelligence at the young age of three years, they provided her with puzzle books, some grade school level, all of which were completed in only a few hours' time. Watching their daughter pore over these books astounded Jane and Paul Granger. How could such a small girl be filled with so much brainpower? they asked themselves.

Jane and Paul watched young Hermoine become teenage Hermoine, and while her attitude certainly changed through the years, her intelligence never decreased; in fact, the more she attended school and read challenging books for fun, the more her intelligence increased by the I.Q. point.

And now, thanks to her parents careful preservation of puzzle books in their daughter's bedroom, nothing could possibly irk Hermoine more than not being able to find an answer for any question posed to her.

The present date found her hunched over her teaching desk in her classroom thumbing through the notes she had carefully scrawled on spare parchment while her students slaved over a potion. Words, names, and phrases like locket, basilisk, Kenten, Potter, and vampire plague jumped out at her and spun frantically in her mind, trying to piece themselves together into something resembling logic.

Thus far, they were very unsuccessful.

"Professor Granger? Professor?"

"What, what is it now?" she answered crabbily. The girl called Lisa Kenten stood in front of her, watching her warily.

"Well, what?" Hermoine snapped.

"I.. I just needed to know where the infusion of wormwood was."

Hermoine immedialty felt guilty about mistakenly ignoring her pupils. After all, they were her responsibility... not the scattered pieces of parchment in front of her, although she infinitely felt that was more crucial.

"In the back cupboard, next to the powdered newt. It's a green bottle."

"Thank you, Professor."

Lisa strode to the back cupboard quickly and opened it, not noticing that her Professor was watching her with inquisitive eyes.

That Kenten girl, she's not right, thought Hermoine, Always getting out of my class due to some illness or another, yet she never looks sickly, never looks frail... Yes, something infinitely odd about her.

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Lisa scurried through the halls after second hour Potions class, not caring that she was nearly knocking over her peers in her rush to get to her dormitory for her free hour until lunch.

"Oy, watch it!" yelled a fifth year as Lisa barrelled by, accidently knocking down the fifth year's girlfriend in the process.

"Sorry!" she yelled back, not particularly caring that she pushed someone over.

Lisa finally arrived at her dormitory, only to her dismay to find that two others girls who shared the room were chatting idly in it. Lisa stomped her foot in frustration, then turned around and ran out of the room, much to her peers' amusement.

"Crazy Kenten," they whispered to each other, and giggled loudly.

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Ten minutes later, Lisa found solace in the Astronomy Tower. Since it was still daylight outside of the vast castle, it wasn't currently in use.

She threw her heavy bag down as soon as she stepped foot in the tower, took out her wand and whispered a quiet spell to lock the door behind her, and collapsed on the ground shaking.

The last week had been disastrous. Dumbledore had been in a destructive mood. He arrived back at the castle a week ago, after searching fruitlessly for the Potter kid's parents. He said they had covered their trail smoothly, leaving no clues to seep through the cracks in that mystery.

How lucky for her.

Ever since he'd been back in the castle, Dumbledore had summoned Lisa whenever he felt particularly vengeful. He even woke her in the middle of the night, calling her in a way she couldn't ignore: a ring on her left middle finger sent arrows of pain throughout her entire body when he said a certain spell. What that spell was, she wasn't sure; for all she knew, he created it, and if that was the case, she had no way of escaping the ring's awful summons, for she could not research a countercurse for the spell that bound her to that vicious, awful man.

How did I ever allow myself to be saddled with him? He's so terrible to me! she thought sadly. That dreadful, dreadful man!

She knew the answer to her question, but was reluctant to think it. Every detail of that sad, pitiful story was etched into her mind for however long her life would last. Knowing that she couldn't avoid her horrible past for very long anymore, Lisa threw herself into the memory of the day she met Albus Dumbledore...

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Dirty brick walls glared at her from their ancient stance guarding the inhabitants of buildings. The disgusting, cold ground hurt her bare feet as she padded quckly through the alleys, trying to find a decent place to sleep for the night ahead.

Orphaned at the age of eight by a long dead mother and murdered father, Lisa was left to the streets of London; she had no other family, both of her parents being only children, and her grandparents being dead for years, and Child Services wasn't present in her neighborhood.

Scurrying through the darkening alleys as quickly as she could, Lisa finally spotted an old, decrepit matress that didnt look too filthy with cardboard boxes piled high around it, which looked as though they could provide some shelter for the impending rainstorm that she had heard predicted on a television display.

A crack of thunder boomed overhead, sending Lisa into a full out run towards the matress and its fortress of boxes. She was accosted, however, by a shabbily dressed homeless man brandishing a brown bag.

"Hey, girly, where ya headed? Can I help ya out, girly?" the man asked, but Lisa knew better than to trust him... he reeked of alcohol and grunge.

She tried to ignore him on her mad dash to the matress, but he grabbed her arm and yanked her towards him.

"Now, now, girly, none a'that! I think ya oughta be a nice girly for me..."

Lisa squirmed in him dirty grasp. She swallowed helplessly as he ran his red-rimmed, bloodshot eyes over her very slight frame in what she could only describe as hunger. He reached for her shoulder with his other hand, but she jerked away and scratched his cheek in a mad attempt to flee.

The man became very angry with her then, and once again yanked her back by her arm. "Girly, don' do that," he growled as she struggled in his suddenly strong grasp.

A noise overhead distracted him for a split second, his iron grip relaxed, and she yanked herself away and ran for the main street. Suddenly she felt something heavy hit her square in the back; The force knocked her forward onto her front. She landed clumsily, feeling her wrist smash on impact with the dirty ground.

"Tha's my girly," the man slurred at her as she turned herself around and cowered on the cement and mud beneath her. His shadow fell over Lisa, and she felt herself giving up, and went limp with the pain in her wrist and with fear of the man, felt her eyes go hazy and the edges of her vision go gray.

The a bright, beautiful green light hit the man from behind. He fell forward and landed beside Lisa. She crawled away, but she knew as soon as he fell that the homeless man was dead.

Lisa looked up and saw a new shadow coming towards her, this one of a an elderly man in odd clothing. He held a stick and smiled at her.

"Are you okay, my dear? I'm sorry to frighten you, if I'm doing so..."

She shook her head mutely. Why was this strange man being kind to her?

As if he had read her mind, he said, "I need an... assistant. You seem a perfect candidate. You will be fed, clothed, and taken care of, and then sent to school. Will you help me?"

She nodded again, but what could she offer? She was a penniless, desperate orphan child, nothing special to her name at all.

"You are not nothing special, my dear. I see a beautiful, powerful young woman struggling to get out. What is your name, my dear?"

"Lisa," she muttered with a dry throat and shock.

"Lisa, how pretty. Come with me, Lisa, and you will never be hurt again." She nodded.

An hour later, she sat in a window in a huge, gorgeous castle wearing new, clean clothes with water from her hair from her shower seeping into her shirt. She watched the rain come down, and thought of the dirty city she had left behind, and how her life had been changed forever by that strange elderly man.

His name, he had told her, was Albus Dumbledore.

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"Nothing? You've found nothing?"

"Harry, relax, please," coaxed Draco as he watched the other vampire throw down the Marauder's Map in frustration. "We've only just started."

"Maybe you're not trying," Harry spat back.

"Harry, that's very unfair, and you know it. Now calm down and breathe."

"I don't want to breathe, I just want answers!"

Draco interrupted Harry's oncoming rant from his position at the desk in his spacious room in the dungeons with a simple, "I'm doing the best I can."

Harry groaned and sank into Draco's neatly made up bed. "But I want to see them," he whispered.

"I know, love, but have we gone over all the possibilities?"

"A thousand times," answered Harry as he turned to watch the blonde boy as he gathered the Marauder's Map from its station on the floor. "What else could there posibly be?"

"Maybe they're not truly alive?"

Harry froze, thinking. Of course he had gone over this possibility in his mind, perhaps hundreds of times, but how else could Lily and James Potter have sent a healing locket to their dying son if they were dead? There was no way...

"Vampires can't die from Avada Kedavra, can they, Dray?" Harry asked quietly.

"Well... I'm not sure," mused Draco, his hand running through his hair in his usual concentration pose. "I've never really had the urge to ask my father what happens when I die. A bit morbid, you see."

Harry scowled. "Dray, be serious. Your parents are alive and kicking; I don't know where mine are." Draco dropped the small smirk from his lips, feeling dismayed.

"Has Hermoine thought of anything? She's the genius in this operation."

Shaking his head slowly from side to side, Harry said softly, "If she has, she hasn't told me anything."

As if on cue, a clipped knocking sounded on Draco's portrait entrance. A medieval princess walked into the room through another frame, clearly disgruntles at being rapped across the face by a visitor.

"Master Draco, there's a very impatient witch waiting to come inside," she said in a melodic voice.

"Yes, let her in, Helene," allowed Draco.

A second later, Hermoine bustled into the room, her face flushed from running and her eyes dancing with excitement. "Lisa Kenten!" she said in a hurried voice.

Draco raised his eyebrows while Harry tilted his head to the side. "Excuse me?" he said.

"I know who she is!"

"And you're not telling everything what you know right this very second why?" roared Harry in surprise as he jumped up from his perch on Draco's bed and raced to Hermoine's form by the portrait entrance.

"Who is she and why is she involved with anything?"

Hermoine stode around Harry and sat on Draco's bed in the spot Harry had just vacated, gazing up at Harry with shining eyes. Drawing a deep, slow breath, she began her silioquy.

"Lisa Kenten is eleven years old. She's in Gryffindor, and she always misses breakfast. She's in my first class of the day with the Hufflepuffs, and is constantly scheming ways to get out of my class. Whenever she stays for the duration of the lesson, shes exits my room in a hurry and positively runs to a place that's yet unknown to me."

Draco looked thoughtful, his eyebrows knitted together and his eyes cloudy. Harry looked the opposite, his mouth agape and his eyes sharply green.

"What about the part that's involved with me? She's connected to that basilisk, I know it!" he shouted.

"You don't need to shout, Harry! I just told you what I know; forgive me if it's not exactly what you wanted," Hermoine retorted.

"At least this gives us a foundation to start with, love," Draco said in part to try and smoothe Harry's ruffled feathers and in part to calm his own frazzled nerves. "This is better than nothing."

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"Hello, Hermoine!"

The witch in question looked up in surprise, then relaxed: it was only Neville who beckoned her from her seat at the Gryffindor table.

"Hello, Nev! How are you today?"

Neville beamed at being addressed so directly by Hermoine. "I'm doing fantastic, as it happens. I was planning on something very important today, you see."

Hermoine raised her eyebrows in invitation for Neville to continue. He obliged, saying,"I was planning to ask this girl I know to Hogsmeade with me this afternoon."

Professor Granger covered her mouth with her hands in shock. "Neville, where is this confidence coming from?" she said in mock fear.

"I figure it's time to stop being a child and grow up; no more hiding from my problems," replied Neville easily. Hermoine noticed his round cheeks were slightly flushed, as if he had been running - or he was nervous. She decided it was the latter.

"Are you, er, anxious about anything, Nev?"

He wrung his hands and studied his feet with fascination as he said in a rush that was hardly decipherable," Will you be the girl who comes to Hogsmeade with me?"

Hermoine felt her heart beat a bit faster, but queried, "What was that?"

Neville heaved a big sigh and looked Hermoine in the eye. "Will you accompany me to Hogsmeade tonight, Hermoine?"

Her heart stopped, then sped up, as if it thought its end was near and wanted to get a life's worth of heartbeats in a minute or less. She dropped the book she had been re-reading and picked it up clumsily. She stammered, " Oh, er, well I... er, sure, it sounds fun..."

Hermoine's heart sank as she saw Neville's bright, innocent smile. "Oh, that's exactly what I wanted to hear!" Stammering and all? thought Hermoine mutinously. "Can we meet here in the Great Hall around five? Is that okay?"

She nodded weakly. "Yes, that sounds fine," she said in a voice barely above a whisper as she fiddled with the cover of her book. "Perfectly fine."

Neville offered her one last smile, and wandered away towards the doors that led to the rest of Hogwarts, a new spring in his step. Hermoine groaned. What have I done?

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I started this chapter sometime in June, but here I am in August, finishing it two days(not even!) before school is set to start again. Therefore, I ahve no clue as to when the next chapter will be finished, or even started. I can promise you this, though: You won't be disappointed!

Review; I've missed seeing all the lovely things you guys send me! )