What Bravery Is

Fair Lady (4/4)

Author's Note: The end of this particular piece.

Daphne Greengrass had never done an unselfish thing in her life. It was simply not the way she operated. She had to be selfish. If she wasn't going to take care of herself, no one else was going to; not her handsome halfwit of a High Pureblood father (wherever he was), not the beautiful, aristocratic Muggle mother he'd abandoned so long ago (for whom Daphne was naught but an unpleasant reminder amidst her new normal family.) There was no one to care, so Daphne cared for no one but herself.

She had to be selfish to survive, especially in Slytherin House, where everyone knew the shame of her illegitimate half-blood birth. They wouldn't have liked her, anyway, had her parentage not been so scandalous; even at eleven, she was a bitter, angry, and unloved little girl, brought up in a house where she was denied nothing but the attention and love lavished on her younger half-siblings. The normal ones.

She was beautiful and talented and liked by no one, least of all by those she called housemates. Even Seamus Finnigan, who was pulling her into empty classrooms to bunch up her skirt and make a bruised-up mess of her neck with his mouth (she left the marks there; it was masochistically pleasing to hear Pansy and Millicent gossip loudly on how she was probably fucking the Headmaster, or else she'd have been tossed out long ago, what with her dirty-blooded upbringing), he didn't like her either.

Minerva McGonagall refused her outright when she approached the Gryffindor Head of House for private Animagus tutoring in the dark of Hogwarts under the Carrows. 'I haven't the time,' was the reply, but what that really meant was 'Not for a Slytherin.'

It was weeks later when the Alecto Carrow came barrelling into the Transfiguration classroom, bellowing about some round of rebellion involving some graffiti about Dumbledore's Army, no doubt perpetrated by a Gryffindor.

She'd been in the process of rounding up the Gryffindors (she was eyeing Seamus Finnigan in particular, in Neville Longbottom's absence) when Daphne, seated by herself in the front of the Slytherin side, coolly and bitingly confessed to the entire affair.

Alecto dragged her by her beautiful long hair all the way down to the dungeons. The Carrows almost didn't believe her for a while ("Even those DA mudblood-lovers won't have you, you wretch," Alecto hissed at her) but Daphne managed to convince them, through her characteristic condescension and haughty eye-rolls (it got harder to pull them off with any aplomb, after a few minutes of torture under their wands, but she managed quite well) that it had seemed to her the best way to infuriate them.

In the end, they tortured her to unconsciousness and left her in the hallway to be found by Slughorn's first year potions class.

Seamus was impressed with her; he thinks she did it for him, that her lies were meant to accept blame for something she knew he'd done because she cared. The next time she pushed him into the empty Charms classroom for another shag, he was so gentle with her that she straightened her clothes halfway through and stalked off in confusion.

He said thank you, the next time he managed to get her alone (she'd been avoiding him, making it difficult) and he kissed her so nicely, like she was a sweet normal girl that he liked, not some cold, bitter Slytherin he shagged because she was beautiful and she let him. Daphne almost didn't mind, because it reminded her of dreams she'd had where mothers loved you and fathers didn't regret your shameful existence as a youthful indiscretion and boys were princes who petted your hair and kissed you like were their fair lady and not a whore.

Seamus said she'd been brave and that he was proud of that. Weeks ago, Daphne would have laughingly told him that the only reason she'd put on such a show was to impress McGonagall into giving her the Animagus tutoring she wanted so badly, how it had worked and how she had fooled him and everyone else.

But Daphne just kept her mouth shut, went to the extra Transfiguration lessons she'd paid so dearly for on the floor of Alecto's office, and let Seamus believe that she was worth something.

Yes, another of my random pairings. I love exploring new places. Daphne and Seamus will go on. I'm already working on another oneshot for them. In any case, I hope you've enjoyed What Bravery Is. I'd like to thank my loyal reviewers, who've been sticking with me and reviewing every chapter. I cannot even fully convey how wonderful it is to hear what you think, and I truly, deeply appreciate every minute you spend writing them. 3