Disclaimer: This is a work of fan fiction. I own nothing of the HP universe. The only thing I can lay claim to is the plot, the original characters and some made up spells. This is written for my own enjoyment and hopefully yours as well.
Chapter 1 – Correspondence and Company
It was the first weekend of July and most people were inside their houses with fans and air conditioners running to help keep the heat away. The summer had so far been unusually hot and dry, but that had not kept a certain resident of number four Privet Drive idle. At the orders of his aunt and uncle, Harry Potter had been outside everyday from just after sun up to just before sun down, watering and taking care of the lawn and garden. Harry was rather proud of what he had accomplished in the two weeks that he had been home from school. He was also rather glad to have something to do. It kept his thoughts away from the horrible events that he had witnessed and been a part of in the graveyard at the end of the Tri-wizard Tournament.
At the moment though, he was sitting on a rather large rock that he had painfully maneuvered into place. His aunt had seen it at a home and garden center and thought that it would be a marvelous centerpiece in her garden. Harry grudgingly admitted that it did look rather striking. Veins of quarts and other sparkly minerals crisscrossed the surface of the rock making for a dazzling display when the sun hit it.
But what had his attention right then was the large regal looking grey owl perched in the tree over head with a letter tied to its leg. Harry had never seen this owl before and was curious as to who it was from. The only owls that had ever been by were the ones with his school letters and either Errol or Pig from the Weasleys. Sirius had sent fancy looking birds, but letters from him had stopped lately.
Getting up, Harry reached out and untied the letter from the owl and began to read.
I know that what Dumbledore (you) said about You-know-who's return at the feast is true and that the Daily Prophet is just spewing lies fed to them by Fudge. My family is not what you would call 'Light', but it is not exactly 'Dark' either. They have been approached by his people and have so far been able to turn them down, but I don't know for how much longer they'll be able to.
We've never really talked much at Hogwarts. You being in Gryffindor and me being in Slytherin doesn't make things any easier. Your perceptions of those in Slytherin have been influenced by many different people, but I hope that you can look past that and see me for who I am. You know that not all of his followers have been from Slytherin.
I don't really know why I'm writing to you. I don't expect you to write back, but it would be nice. I think that you might like someone to talk to as well. I hope that you are having a good summer so far and that you are keeping out of the heat.
P.S. Don't let the initials fool you. Gregory can barely string two sentences together, and I doubt he could write something this long.
Finishing, Harry gave the owl a rather confused look before rereading the letter and trying to figure out who had sent it. His first thought had been Gregory Goyle when he saw how it was signed, but the post-script got rid of that idea. Also, the writing looked rather feminine too.
"There's Malfoy, Crabbe, Goyle, Nott and Zabini in my year, but none of them would write this, and the initials don't match," Harry muttered to himself as he tried to figure out who the letter was from. "Also, there's Parkinson, Bulstrode, Davis and Greengrass.."
As he said the last name, something seemed to click. Harry was sure now of who had sent the letter, but he was surprised too. Daphne Greengrass was a rather attractive Slytherin girl in his year with dark hair, but he had never seen her hanging around with Pansy and Draco's crowd. Curious as to why she had written, Harry went inside the house and up to his room where he grabbed a pen, a notebook and an owl treat. Bringing them back outside, he sat back down on the rock and began writing.
A tapping at the window woke her from a restless sleep. Wearing only a light nightshirt in Slytherin green and silver that reached to mid-thigh, the black haired green eyed girl of almost fifteen made her way to the window and opened it, allowing her large grey owl into her room. Her eyes widened and all thoughts of sleep left her when she saw the letter tied to her owl's leg.
She quickly freed the letter and after giving her owl a treat, went back to her bed and sat on it while she looked at the piece of paper in her hand. It wasn't parchment like she had sent, but rather lined white muggle paper that appeared to have been torn out of a notebook. Unfolding it, she began to read.
To say I was surprised to receive a letter from you would be a bit of an understatement. As you said, we've never really talked outside of classes that we share, and even that hasn't been much. Also, what would people say if they saw a Gryffindor and a Slytherin talking? It would be the end of the world!
But, because we've never talked, I don't really know anything about you except for what I have seen at school. I've seen that you don't normally hang around with Pansy and Draco and their crowd. I think I've seen you with the other girl in our year.. Tracy, I think ..and she's a lot like you with who she hangs around with. Must make for an interesting dorm.
As for my perceptions of Slytherins, well, I think everyone knows that I don't like Draco and his bunch. As for the rest, well, I don't know. The children of Death Eaters who want to follow in their parent's footsteps.. I don't think I'd like them much either. Other than that, I'm a lot less biased then I was when I was eleven and just sorted. (There's a story there, but not until I know you better.)
That being said, I would like to get to know you better and would like it if you would write back. I learned more about you and also what's happening in the wizarding world from your letter than I have from my friends who seem to have forgotten to write me.
My summer so far has been fine, I guess. I've been working in the garden here all day, every day since I got back. It helps keep my mind off of other things. How about you? How has your summer been?
Hoping to hear from you soon,
Blinking, Daphne set the letter down on the bed in front of her and reviewed what she had just read in her mind. She had not really expected him to write back, and if he did, she wasn't expecting anything like this. It seemed there was more to Harry Potter than she knew or guessed.
Taking the letter with her to her desk Daphne sat down. With a small smile, she began to write back to Harry.
Sunday morning found Harry back outside working in the garden again. He didn't know what else his aunt wanted him to do. There were no weeds left anywhere in the garden or on the lawn, all of the hedges were neatly trimmed, the soil had been fertilized and he watered everything twice a day despite the nation-wide water restrictions. Luckily, he could sit behind the hedge and have at least some shade from the scorching sun.
A faint noise in the tree above him caught his attention. Looking up, Harry was pleased to see Daphne's owl sitting on the lowest branch with a letter tied to its leg again. Jumping up, Harry retrieved the letter and gave the owl a treat that he had brought out with him this morning. Sitting back down, Harry started to read.
So it seems that there is more to you than I knew. I was surprised when Apollo (my owl) returned last night with a letter from you. Surprised and happy. You've always seemed so quiet and you tend to keep to your self, so I didn't really know what to expect. It seems that the only people you are yourself around are Ron and Hermione.
You've been working outside all day, every day since we got home from school? In this heat? Are you crazy or do you not have a choice? I know you live with muggles (relatives I think), and there are rumors that they aren't the nicest muggles either.
My summer so far has been rather boring. My family does business in both the wizarding world and the muggle world, so we do have a few nice muggle things.. like a swimming pool. I've been spending most days outside in the pool and sunning myself. So when we get back to school, we should both have nice suntans. Also, I've been working on my summer homework. I want to get it all finished before the end of the month so that I don't have to worry about it. Have you done any of yours? And I guess you can't practice any magic where you are either. That has to be no fun at all.
Tracy has been over a few times, along with a few friends from Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff. I know you're laughing now and thinking that Slytherins and Hufflepuffs can't be friends, but let me assure you that we can. I'm even on speaking terms with most of the Gryffindor girls in our year if you can believe it.
Oh, and yes, things are interesting in our dorm. There is a line drawn down the center. Tracy and I are on one side and Pansy and Millicent are on the other. We try not to talk to each other much. At least Tracy is there and we can keep each other company.
Please write back. I'm expecting another pleasant late night wake-up call from you again.
Smiling and blushing a bit as he finished the letter, Harry quickly reached into the ratty backpack that he had hidden under the hedge. Pulling out the notebook and pen, he started on his reply while he let his imagination draw images of Daphne in her sleep-wear.
Daphne was sitting up in her bed reading while waiting for her owl Apollo to return with a letter from Harry. She had nothing much planned for the next day so she could afford to sleep a bit later than usual.
The arithmancy book that she had been reading was quickly set aside as her owl flew in through the open window and landed gently on her bed. Giving it a quick pet and an owl treat, Daphne untied the letter attached to its leg and hastily unfolded it so that she could read what Harry had to say.
I'll be honest with you. My mind is trying to imagine what you looked like when you woke up. I'm sorry if that offends you, but that last sentence in your letter was rather.. er.. provoking.
The muggles (my relatives, so I've been told, but somehow don't believe) have me working outside making their lawn and garden look good. They figure that since everyone else is conserving water because of the ban, they can use all they want and not hurt anything. In all fairness, I am rather proud of what I've managed to accomplish with only my hands and a few tools.
Homework I try to get done at night when I go up to my room. Usually I end up passed out before I get anything started. But what was that you were saying about DOING MAGIC at home? How in the bloody blazes can you do that and not get into trouble? You have to share that with me. Please! I'd be willing to promise almost anything for that information.
Shameless begging aside, I have also been thinking about you, your friends and that swimming pool you mentioned. That sounds like a brilliant way to keep cool in this heat. Wish there was one around here, although I'd probably not be able to go or would end up drowning if I got in it. Would you believe that the first and only time I've ever been swimming was in the winter during the second task of the Tournament?
Anyways, I had best get back to hiding behind the hedge and pretend to be doing some work. There's really nothing left to do so I've just been sitting outside all day. Getting your letters has made things a lot better and I'm looking forward to the next one. At least there's one person out there who will talk to me. (grin) Even if she is a Slytherin.
Smiling at the letter, Daphne couldn't help the slight blush from spreading as she reread the bit about him imagining what she looked like. Suddenly, with an impish grin, she jumped up off of her bed and raced into her bathroom.
Twenty minutes later, Daphne stood in front of her full length mirror. She had just had a quick shower and was still slightly damp, causing the rather short and thin white night shirt she now wore to cling to her body in a rather revealing way. Striking a seemingly casual pose, she smiled at the mirror and said "Picture."
There was a small flash of light and suddenly there was a medium sized wizarding photograph resting against the mirror's lower frame.
"Perfect," Daphne said with a grin as she picked up the picture and moved to her desk to write her next letter to Harry.
Monday brought a long violent thunderstorm which kept a grateful Harry inside his room for the day. Deciding to make the best of it, he had his homework out and spread across his bed which he was laying on while he read.
A noise caused him to look up from his charms homework and see Daphne's owl Apollo sitting on the back of his chair with an envelope clutched in one of its talons. Getting up quickly, Harry noticed that neither the owl or the envelope were wet. Smiling at the wonders of magic, Harry took the envelope from Apollo and offered it a spot on Hedwig's perch and an owl treat.
Settling himself back on his bed, Harry opened the envelope and pulled out the expected letter along with what appeared to be a picture of Daphne.. in her nightclothes.. after a shower! With a wink and a silent giggle, the Daphne in the picture waved at Harry and blew him a kiss. Shaking his head, Harry set the picture down and turned to the letter.
So now that you've finally stopped drooling all over my picture, let me just say this to you now. It is only for you! If I ever hear anyone else ever so much as mention anything about it, so help me, there will never be any little Potters running around after I get through with you. That being said, I hope you like it. Imagination is only so good. I thought you might like something a bit more real to see. Oh, and no, you imaging that doesn't offend me. I'd be more offended if you didn't.
As for how I can practice magic, well, I'll let you in on a little secret. Wands of under aged witches and wizards have a sort of tracing spell placed on them that can be monitored by the Ministry. These tracing spells expire when we reach the age of seventeen. Now, if you happen to have a parent or relative around who is over seventeen, then their wand can't be monitored. All I've been doing is using my grandmother's wand. She passed away and left her wand to the family. It's fairly compatible and works almost as well as mine.
So that's the secret to doing magic outside of Hogwarts and getting away with it. All pureblood families know this and take advantage of it. Muggleborns and a lot of half-bloods aren't as lucky. I know this might be a bit of a sore topic with you, but if you had your parent's wands, you could do magic at home too. I bet those muggles would like that. As for what you owe me for telling you, well, I can't quite decide. Let's just say that you owe me a favor to be called in at a later date.
And on the topic of swimming, let's just say that I have an idea. My mother works for the Ministry in the Department of Regulation and Control of Magical Transportation. What that means, is that it is rather easy for her to create portkeys. Now, let's just imagine that one was sent to you by owl accompanying a letter from me. Let's also imagine that it would arrive tomorrow. If you happened to be wearing suitable swimming attire, I'm sure that some private swimming lessons could be arranged with a rather attractive instructor. And lastly, let's imagine that the portkey could be used to return you to your home at the end of the day.
Now I'm off to bed. I've stayed up long enough writing to a bloody Gryffindor as it is. See you soon hopefully.
Grinning, Harry pushed his homework aside to make room for his notepad. Placing the picture of Daphne beside it, he looked at it until the Daphne in the picture started to blush and pointed imperiously at the notepad. Grinning even more, Harry winked at the picture and got to work writing his reply.
It had been a busier day than Daphne had planned on. First she had to help her father out in the family greenhouses until mid-afternoon. Then Tracy had come over to spend the night and they had spent the remainder of the day working on their homework. Tracy had commented a few times on how distracted Daphne seemed as the hour got later. Just before dinner her mother had returned home from work. Daphne had proceeded to wheedle her mother into making her a small two-way portkey to their home that she could send to Harry with her next letter.
Late that night, as Daphne and Tracy lay on the bed talking and giggling about things, Daphne's owl flew in through the open window and landed on the bed's headboard. Grinning, Daphne hurried to untie the letter as Tracy just watched her friend with a curious expression on her face.
I'm sorry if this letter is a bit late in getting to you, but I have a very flirty and distracting picture lying on my bed beside my notepad. It's rather hard to concentrate with the witch in the picture looking like she does and doing what she is. Thank you and you are right.. much better than imagination. Although, I bet the real thing is even more so.
One word about the portkey idea. Brilliant! I hope that the shorts I wore for the second task will be appropriate enough attire. The rest of my clothing is, well.. not so nice. I hope that it's sunny and hot tomorrow. I don't think swimming (well, learning to swim) in the rain would be too great.
As for my parent's wands, I don't even know if they survived that night or were destroyed. The only thing of theirs that I have is a cloak that belonged to my father. Mind you, it is a rather useful cloak. I'll bring it tomorrow to show you. It can be a bit of a touchy subject with me, but it depends on who brings it up and how they go about doing it. Do you know how I could find out if there is anything of theirs left? What would I have to do in order to get it back?
On a lighter note, I did manage to get some of my charms homework finished today. But then a most pleasant interruption arrived and completely got me off track. I don't know if I'll go back to doing my charms homework or just look at the beautiful girl in the picture. Did you know that when she blushes, it spreads down below her neck? I wonder just how far down it goes? Maybe I'll have to try and find out if I ever meet her in person.
I'll end it here. Homework to do, picture of a beautiful girl to admire. You know how it is.
Impatiently waiting to see you tomorrow,
A blushing and smiling Daphne turned to Tracy who was staring at the name of the person who sent the letter.
"Harry who?" asked Tracy. "And why is he telling you about a picture of some girl that he has?"
"Harry is a boy in our year at Hogwarts," Daphne replied with a grin at her friend. "As for the picture, it's alright because I sent it to him."
"The only boy in our year with the first name Harry has the last name of Potter," Tracy said somewhat jokingly. "There is no way that you are exchanging letters with Gryffindor's golden boy."
Daphne just smiled as she grabbed the small silver ring her mother had turned into a portkey off of the bedside table and literally bounced off of the bed and over to the desk.
"There's no way it's Harry Potter," Tracy continued. "It can't be."
"If you want, you can stay around tomorrow and help with the swimming lessons," said Daphne as she began to write. "Just try not to think of him as 'Gryffindor's golden boy' and things will be alright."
"Morgana and Merlin," Tracy swore. "You sent him a picture Daph?"
Daphne's answer was an impish smile.