Well, this is the sequel to "Take the tiger by the tail". You have to read that to understand this. The only thing I can promise at the moment is slower but regular updates. I promise I will not abandon this but for that I need a little encouragement.

This chapter was betaed by Laura but for the time being if you notice any mistakes, please point them out.

Warnings: This chapter. None. As the other chapters go…we'll see. But the rating is R for the overall fic not this chapter alone. This is HP/DM slash. If you don't like it, move on. As for Mpreg…still thinking.

Disclaimer: I'm just doing this for fun. Only the plot is mine. The rest belong to JKR.

Summery: What would you do to win back the person you …er…like even if he's a down right bastard at times? Where will Harry even have the time to do such a thing, with school work, hunting down horcuxes and fighting bad guys? Not to mention your own personal DADA teacher who has every reason to want you dead.

Chapter 1: Back to school.

"Harry," said Hermione coming up from behind him as he walked towards the compartment door. "Where are you going?"

"Oh," said Harry, pausing in mid-stride before he reached the compartment door. "I just want to…go to the loo."

"Really, Harry," said Hermione in a knowing tone. "You know he's not on the train. You checked for him twice already. Just give it a rest. We're almost there now; don't you think it's time you changed in to your robes?"

"All right," said Harry, his shoulders slumping resignedly. "I'll just…"

"No," she said standing up. "You change here with Ron. I'll be in the other compartment with Ginny and Luna."

Harry slumped back into his seat, his shoulders curved in a defeated pose. "I know he said he won't be on the train but …" he said.

"Don't you worry, mate," said Ron heartily. "He'll be there when we get to Hogwarts. You know he has all that paper work to sort out."

"I know," Harry said running his hand through his hair thinking, of a way to change the subject. "I just…I know it's been only two and a half weeks but I do miss him and I made such a terrible blunder."

"We all did," Ron said softly, and Harry looked at his friend for the first time. Although Hermione remained relatively unchanged, Ron and Ginny had changed a lot in the past two weeks. All the Weasley had, after discovering that Percy was a Death Eater and Mrs. Weasley had been passing on information to him about the Order.

Ron had lost weight, which made him look taller. His hair looked duller and his cheeks were gaunt. Even his funny comments were somewhat forced. Sometimes he flinched when people looked at him too closely, something the old Ron would have never done. Even Ginny, who was usually a spitfire, was quiet and subdued.

In comparison, Harry looked the same, if not a little tired from all the cleaning he and Dobby had done around the house, when he had not been at Godric's Hollow looking over the remains of his parents house and their grave. He was tired and was prone to dizzy spells, but as far as he was concerned it was noting new to worry about. After all his life's goals were short termed; live long enough to kill the Dark Lord.

"Well at least there are plenty of empty compartments," Ron said with false cheer.

"Yes," said Harry. "Almost one for each person." It was true. Although the seventh year students returning had been relatively undiminished in number, the war had discouraged many families from sending their children to school. The train was almost empty of first year students. "It'll be a miracle if we get more than three new students per house this year," Harry added, unthinking.

"Can't be all bad," Ron said determinedly. "Who wants to run around with midgets? And we might even get rooms of our own. But Fred and George were hoping for more business when they opened their new shop in Hogsmead."

"You wish," Harry said with a faint grin.

"Honestly, you two," snapped Hermione coming in again. "You still haven't changed. You'd better make a move, unless you want to make a fashion statement appearing in muggle clothes."

"Well, Snape won't be there to take points off," said Ron optimistically. "It can't be that bad." There was no way Snape would return to school, since he was wanted by the Ministry, but after the last Death Eater attack at Grimmuld Place, his position in the inner circle was also compromised. There was no technique for discovering just exactly what had happened after Lucius Malfoy had been captured. Snape had been in charge of his questioning, which would have given away his position as a loyal order member. When Percy Weasely had finally helped him escape, Lucius had attacked the Order Headquarters in an attempt to, as far as they could tell, capture Harry. Though there were several guesses, no one knew for sure whom Lucius might have told of Snape's role as his questioner before his re-capture.

At least Ron was comforted by the knowledge that his mother had not told anyone of Snape's position as a spy for the Order. She had been mislead; not vindictive.

Hermione grunted, and then went out the compartment with a huff. "Do hurry up," she said turning around. "We have to get a carriage that leaves early."

"She's just a little stressed," Ron said apologetically taking his t-shirt off.

"Why, because of NEWTs?" Harry guessed.

"No," said Ron putting on a Hogwarts shirt followed by a robe that was a little too small for him. "Because she didn't get her Head Girl badge."

"Oh," said Harry, who'd forgotten about that. He pulled off his t-shirt and was about to put on his shirt when a wave of dizziness swept off him. He staggered, catching the edge of the seat and sat down abruptly.

"You ok mate?" said Ron concerned. "You're all right now, aren't you?"

"I'm doing better than Scrimgeour," he said with a grimace, as the lingering effects of the slight poisoning he had undergone was repressed for the moment. "I don't get these ….attacks any more."

"Well," said Ron after making sure Harry was safely seated. "Get dressed then."

"I'm not even sure if I want to go back," Harry confessed. "I mean, the first thing people ask me now is whether Ginny is pregnant or not. Even Neville asked me that." Thanks to Rita Skeeter, everyone now assumed Harry was a sex maniac. More innuendos to add to his reputation.

"But Ginny's in the same boat as you are, if not worse," Ron pointed out. "They're saying you dumped her so we can have a threesome. Maybe if you faint all over the place, they'll think it's you who got knocked up."

"Wonder what Hermione will think of that," Harry said once he had slipped his robe over his head. It was crumpled and smelled musty, having lain neglected at the bottom of his truck for the duration of the holidays. He had, he also noticed, grown slightly so that his wrists stuck out. "This is as ready as I'll ever get," he said. "Now all I have to do is win Draco back."

"How are you going to do that?" Ron asked.

"Remus suggested I woo him back," Harry said. "I don't know, I was thinking of…"

"Flowers, chocolates and candle lit dinners," Ron said with a smile. Harry blushed but held his gaze.

"I'll have to get him to talk to me properly before anything else," he said.

"It's not going to work," Ron said.

"Why not?" Harry asked genuinely curios.

"He's not a girl. You're too used to hanging around girls and even that might not work with Ginny. He's not some queer who's going to give you a limp wrested slap, then fall into your arms the moment you give him a dozen red roses."

"Ron," said Harry shocked. "I didn't know you had it in you."

"I'm a guy," he said. "So are you. Think like one, not like some love sick idiot out to win a stupid Hufflepuff. You have to win back THE Draco Malfoy. Don't envy you at all there, mate.

----break----

"He's not here," said Harry looking around agitated.

"Well, I do wish they'd get the sorting over with," Hermione complained. "What's taking them so long?"

"Probably trying to find all the Teachers," Ron said with a snigger. Which was true. It was not only the absence of Dumbledore that was making the Table on the raised platform empty. Slughorn had disappeared one day, taking all his equipment and books. With Snape missing, the table looked strangely empty. Even Hagrids' bulk did not make up for the lack of three people. However, Harry's concern over the absence of Draco was distracting him from the lack of Dumbledore on the Teachers table. He had the entire holidays to get used to the idea that he was coming back to a changed school.

"Lupin will be here by tomorrow," Hermione said distractedly. "I mean Professor Lupin. I suppose we'll have to get used to calling him that." They did not know whether he was coming back as DADA professor or as the potions master.

"I do wish they'd hurry up," Ron grumbled. "I'm hungry."

"Oh, they're starting," said Dean when Ginny hurriedly got up from next to Seamus and moved to sit next to Neville.

"What was that all about?" Ron asked.

"He just wants to know if what Rita Skeeter wrote about Harry was true," Ginny said looking red. "They all seemed to think Harry spent his holidays alternatively shagging all of us."

"How dare they…" spluttered Ron sitting straighter.

"Not now, Ron," said Hermione when the red head looked as if he was about to get up and punch someone. "We'll start our orgy when we get back to the Common room," she added loudly making all those nearby jump with guilt. "Don't you people have anything else to talk about…honestly…?"

"Hem, hem," the clearing of the throat followed by the appearance of a toad like female with the sorting hat and it's stool made them all turn around and look with horror.

"I don't believe it," said Ron as Harry growled in anger.

"I told you she's here acting as deputy headmistress," Hermione said. "At least she won't be teaching DADA this time. She's just over looking the management of the school."

"Now little girls and boys," Umbridge said and Harry tried hard not to jump out of the bench and strangle her. "I'll call your names and you can come and sit on this stool…

"At least McGonagall looks murderous, too," Ginny observed. "May we'll have an all out cat fight this time."

"Why isn't there a song this year?" Harry asked.

"Wait, "said Hermione. "It's just started." And true to its form the Sorting Hat opened the slit on its side and launched into a song….

"You have all gathered in troubled times…"

The doors to the Great hall were pushed opened and two figures appeared at the doorway, distracting everyone from the song. Harry squinted through his glasses wondering who was arriving late for the Sorting.

"If you are as brave as a lion then you're…"

"Harry," said Hermione urgently. "That's Malfoy."

There was a shuffle in the rows as everyone recognized who had arrived late, and the Slytherins gave a faint cheer as their unofficial leader appeared. The Hat went on singing, but no one was the least interested in it.

Harry gulped as Draco came into view. He was dressed in school robes which, unlike Harry's, were neatly pressed and new. They were draped over his shoulders casually; open in the front so everyone could see that he was wearing dark green robes underneath. He looked like a wizard through and through. He passed the tables without looked in either direction until he reached his usual seat. Only Crabbe was there, Goyle having transferred out to some small European Wizarding school. As he sat, the second person who had also walked in took the vacant seat to the left.

Harry was sure that everyone was drilling holes through the two latecomers' skulls for his staring to become obvious. However, he gave a gasp of surprise when the second person took off his traveling cloak. It was Blaise Zabini. He turned around as if unaware of all the attention they were getting and started to speak to Draco in a low voice. Everyone was looking at the two Slytherins, ignoring the Sorting Hat which was singing. The Hat looked a little grumpy at being ignored.

"All of you will have something special

To offer this school in times of need

As one you must unite to fight your foe"

………

"He's touching him," Harry said scandalized as Zabini kept a casual hand on the blonde's shoulder.

"Harry, you touch Ron all the time," Hermione said comfortingly as the first name was called.

"Allgreen, Gavin"

"Not like that," Ron hissed back as Zabini pushed back a strand of stray hair from Draco's forehead with his left hand, letting it linger a little.

"If it's any consolation, Pansy looks jealous, too," Ginny said and it was true. Pansy looked as if someone had told her she had been in a coma, put on fifty pounds and missed her birthday and Christmas on the top of it.

"But…" said Harry, his insides withering, when…another body plunked down next to him. There was enough space in the table for them to move around but the new addition made him flinch.

"Hello, Ron-Ron," said Lavender in a low voice, so as not to interfere with the sorting, drawling a little, as if very satisfied with herself. "How are you?"

"What do you want?" Ginny said spitefully.

"Just checking," Lavender said with a grin, while her eyes lingered on Ginny's mid-riff.

"No," said Ginny through gritted teeth. "I'm not pregnant."

"How's your mother?" Lavender asked in a smooth voice. "I hear she's going to be released from St. Mungo soon. You must be soooo looking forward to that."

"Lavender," said Harry trying hard not to hit her on the head with an empty plate. "What are you doing here?"

"Oh, me," she said, looking innocent. "Came to get a good view of my brother being sorted." She gestured towards a small boy who had just then put the Hat on. The Hat paused for a moment and shouted "Ravenclaw."

"Ok," said Hermione snapping. "Now he's sorted, get lost."

"Language," said Lavender pretending to look shocked. "Is that hormones speaking? I do have a home pregnancy test kit with me."

"I'll tell you now," said Hermione angrily. "None of us are pregnant with Harry's baby, thank you very much." The entire hall froze, including Umbridge who was in the act of calling the next student. McGonagall looked up, her mouth open in a perfect 'o' and the then the entire hall tittered. Hermione ducked, looking mortified, but Harry's eyes were fixed on Draco's whose face remained blank.

Draco looked up once sharply when Hermione had spoken, and then looked down again ignoring Pansy's attempt to gain his attention.

"Well," said Umbridge. "We're down to letter 'c' now."

"Nice," said Lavender with a smirk as the sorting continued. "So, I hear the great Weasleys are not that respected at the Ministry any more."

"Shut up," Ron said furiously. Percy's betrayal was not that well known, since they had managed to keep it out of the paper but Lavender had been in touch with the Ministry during the holidays and did know what was happening.

"What do you want," Harry asked warily. She was hinting away at ruining the Weasleys reputation and he was sure she was after something.

"Oh, nothing," the annoying girl said. "Just that you let me into your…"

"Harry," said Hermione as she poked Harry on the side over Lavender's shoulder.

"I'm not going to agree to anything," Harry said to her hurriedly, knowing that Hermione was always worried over his understanding of the situation.

"Not that," said Hermione trying hard to arrange her words in to a meaningful sentence without altering Lavender. "Pay attention."

"What," said Harry looking up at the kid to be sorted, a pale waif of a girl with soft blond hair in pigtails, who was shaking with fear. Her eyes were too big for her small oval face, and even from across the Great Hall he could see that her eyes were dark blue. "What's her name?" he asked thinking it was important. Someone he should know.

"Err…Cybele… Dougall," Hermione said. "But that's not it…look…"

"Hufflepuff," the Hat called.

"Oh, great," Ron groaned. "They've got one already and we haven't got any at all."

"No, I mean…" Hermione said in a low, frustrated whisper when Lavender interrupted.

"What in the world is wrong with Malfoy?" she asked rather loudly and everyone sitting at the Gryffindor table and few from the Hufflepuff table turned around to look at the Prince of Slytherin.

Harry turned so fast he was sure he would have to admit himself to the hospital wing for whiplash. And what he saw made him almost stand up and run to the Slytherin table. The blond looked pale as if he had seen a ghost and his eyes; even from the distance was shining with unshed tears as he stared at the girl. The little girl, unaware of the drama playing around her walked towards the table and tried to sit in a space between two second years. She sat stiffly, been the first to be sorted into Hufflepuff, obviously terrified of moving, her fingers clutching the table in a death grip. Draco stared at the girl until the constant staring made her uneasy to the point that she shifted a little, nervously. He said something to Zabini in a low voice which made the dark haired boy look up sharply towards the girl, then whisper something to the student next to him. The message was passed on until it reached Cybele. The girl looked up, somewhat startled, straight at Draco. Draco nodded once before returning to his previous conversation.

Once the exchange was over with, Draco looked around, probably aware that he was causing quite a stir by picking up one of the first years. Pansy did not even bother to hide her feeling; she looked as if she might explode any moment.

"So he's going to pick on younger girls is he?" Lavender scoffed. "Typical, picking a blond kid. Malfoys did have a weakness for blonds. Must remind him of his mother, heard she died during the holidays."

"Shut up," snarled Ginny while Harry looked at the scene blankly. The rest of the new comers were being sorted and the Gryffindors were cheering as their table was filled with kids. Even Ron, who was not that lenient towards the first year additions, was clapping alone with the rest.

"Why, jealous?" Lavender taunted. "Did you think you'd be able to get him now that Harry's dumped you? After all, from what I hear he swings both ways and is superb in bed."

"You don't understand," Ginny said furiously her voice rising in pitch. Some at the teachers table looked towards then, unable to make out what was being said but realizing that someone was speaking. "Draco's lost a lot more this summer than you can imagine."

"Is that Draco now," Lavender said, her eyes narrowing. "A Death Eater in the family makes strange bed fellows I suppose."

"Just…" said Harry unable to thank Ginny for sticking up for someone whom she obviously did not like very much. He wished Draco wouldn't look so haunted every time he looked at the girl. "…get lost."

"Students," said Professor McGonagall standing up. "I have a few announcements to make. That is, if you could all stay seated and attentive. I'm not going to leave the announcements until after the feast, because I know by then you will be too distracted to listen to me. Now, all of you, this is very important."

Ron started to hiss about his empty stomach, only to be kicked by Ginny and shushed by Hermione. Muttering under his breath, Ron rubbed his ankle while the headmistress continued.

"First of all, Forbidden forest is off limits. No magic in the corridors and a list of banned items will be displayed on each and every notice board. Secondly…"

"Hem, hem," Umbridge said.

"You are here only as an observer," McGonagall said in the same tone, to the annoying woman. "You have no right to bring in new Ministry decrees, give detention to students and give them lifetime bans for anything. Now, as I was saying…"

Umbridge sat down abruptly, much to their delight. Then she stood up and glared right back as if finding her footing. "Now girls and boys, I might not be…"

"It is customary for the Headmistress to speak before other members of staff," McGonagall said through gritted teeth.

"But as you pointed out," giggle "…dear me, Minevera, you just said that, I'm not staff. But you know that should there be a shortage of…"

"We are fine," McGonagall said, staring down at the shorter female.

"Maybe, but I suppose both your new potions and Defense Against Dark Arts professors are late?"

"They'll be here by tomorrow," growled the older female.

"But not in time for tomorrows lessons," Umbridge stated.

"But you cannot teach, you can simply supervise," McGonagall pointed out getting some of her composure back. "Now, let me continue with the announcements for this year as is customary."

"Knew those laws I looked up would have some use," Hermione said gleefully.

"She's also influential," Lavender said. "Remember when you pissed off Rita Skeeter. She got back at you. Just be careful with Umbridge as well."

"What can she do?" Ron said furiously.

"As I was saying," McGonagall said. "Since we are in a state of war, we are making a few adjustments in the school. Since most parents have professed concerns over you, we are making a few exceptions. As long as it does not interfere with your studies, we have decided that it is alright for the parents to drop in on the students occasionally. Not every day, mind you but once a week is acceptable. Only the seventh years will be allowed to go to Hogsmead this year. But the rest are allowed to go if they are accompanied by a senior or by their parents."

"You will also have to move in pairs around the school. It's not a rule but would make all of us feel safe. I have also decided that DADA should be made compulsory for sixth and seventh year students. Even those who are not sitting for that subject for their NEWTs will have to attend the lessons. There will be both practical…" looking towards Umbridge who looked as if she was about to puke "…and theory."

"I expect the seniors to tell their juniors what is expected of them, especially the first years and the prefects in each house will tell them where they are allowed to go and not. This year, we will be practicing certain drills as how to react incase of an emergency within the castle."

"She means another Death Eater attack," Seamus mumbled.

"Something like a fire drill," Hermione observed, while Ron looked at her blankly.

"Now, I have one more announcement to make," she said, a look of distaste appearing on her face. "The naming of the Head boy and Head Girl this year. The Head Boy is …Draco Malfoy…" the Slytherins started to cheer but the Gryffindors were booing.

"How dare they?" said Seamus. "I'm surprised he was let into school at all. I heard he had something to do with the Death Eater attack last term."

"He should be cursed to death," Neville, usually quiet, said. "He probably had the Dark Mark on him."

"The Daily Prophet said it was a lie," Dean interjected, having ordered a copy of the paper during his holidays.

"You know it's a lie," said Neville. "Remember all the lies it said about Harry…right Harry?"

Harry did not say a word in case he betrayed himself. If Draco was going to be Headboy, he was happy for his boyfriend…ex-boyfriend.

"And the Head Girl is…" (Hermione squeezed Harry's hand) "…Susan Bones."

The Hufflepuffs were cheering but the rest of the school was silent all of whom were looking at Hermione with equally stunned expressions.

--------------

"Malfoy, wait up," Harry said hurrying towards the students who were hastening towards the dungeon.

"What is it," said Zabini who turned around abruptly.

"I want to talk to…" said Harry trying to catch Draco's eye only he kept his attention on the girl, Cybele and would not look up.

"Potter," said Zabini taking a grip of Harry's upper arm and pushing him to a niche in the wall. When Harry turned around to confront the dark haired boy, he realized they were hidden from view from the rest of the students. "Leave him alone."

"I don't…what gives you the right to…" Harry spluttered.

"He doesn't want to speak to you, or see you or have anything to do with you. If you know what's best for you, do stay away."

"But…"

"For Merlin's sake even if you can't understand that, quit trying to get him into trouble. His position in his house is precarious at best. You'll jeopardize it, and he knows it. He just wants you to leave him alone."

"Why can't he tell me that himself?" Harry demanded feeling lost.

"Because he doesn't want to do anything with you," Zabini spat. "Let alone speak to you."

"But..." Harry was floundering in deep water. "Did he say that?"

"Yes," said Zabini. "He told me to give you this." He pulled out a necklace with a teardrop pendant. "Said it was something you'd understand."

Harry looked at it, lying on his palm and swallowed. It had been what he'd bought Ginny long ago and when he'd asked her about it, she had said she'd lost it. "I…what's with the kid?" he asked weakly.

"The girl," said Zabini. "I don't get it myself. Draco gets wacky every time he sees a blond kid. At first he just …" Zabini drifted off, unwilling to continue. "…now he sort of adopts them."

--------------------

"Harry," said Hermione hurrying towards him with Ron. "There you are. Let's go to the common room."

"Ok," he said in a dazed manner.

"Where did you go mate?" Ron asked. "The moment the feast was over, you simply disappeared."

"I just had to talk to someone I knew," he said.

"What did he say?" Ginny asked.

"He…"

"Mr. Potter," said Professor McGonagall approaching them. "I want a word with you in my office now."

"Sure," he said. "See you guys in the Common Room."

"Miss. Granger," said Umbridge appearing. "A word with you in my office."

"Now," said Hermione bristling.

"Now," confirmed Umbridge and the bushy haired girl left leaving the two Weasleys standing alone in a sea of people.

------------------------------------------------------------------------

A/N- I try to use original character as much as possible and when I use new characters I try to use them minimally and not name them most of the time. However, this is seventh year and I cannot get away without introducing a few new comers.

#Cybele - Also known as Kybele and Magna Mater and the Mother of the Gods, the worship of this goddess spread throughout the Roman Empire. Originally Phrygian, she was a goddess of caverns, of the Earth in its primitive state; worshipped on mountain tops. She ruled over wild beasts, and was also a bee goddess. Her festival came first on the Roman calendar. Along with her consort, the vegetation god Attis, Cybele was worshipped in wild, emotional, bloody, orgiastic, cathartic ceremonies.

Cybele was the goddess of nature and fertility. Because Cybele presided over mountains and fortresses, her crown was in the form of a city wall. The cult of Cybele was directed by eunuch priests called Corybantes, who led the faithful in orgiastic rites accompanied by wild cries and the frenzied music of flutes, drums, and cymbals. Her annual spring festival celebrated the death and resurrection of her beloved Attis.

Her Greek mythology counterpart was Rhea.

From Encyclopedia Mythica™

http/ also the name on an Asteroid