Title: Distorting Enemy Lines
Rating: M for Mansecks
Disclaimer: I merely play and twist JK's creations to my own liking. I don't actually own anything other than the plot.
Warnings: AR (this story was planned years before the sixth and seventh books were written, so please disregard everything that doesn't match what it should), gay (in the form of Harry/Draco and Draco/Harry), possible slow updates (for this, I am truly sorry, but I tend to be a busy person who enjoys juggling many stories in multiple fandoms, so it can't be helped), and many clichés (the biggest reason in my putting off writing this had to be the fact that it contains so many fandom clichés that it hurts. I'll do my best to keep things interesting regardless).
Author's Notes: As I'm writing this AN, I must warn everyone now that the first 5-10 chapters are going to be pulled out of my ass. I had an idea for the story and decided I hated it and now I'm not too sure what to do. But! I do like what I have planned for the rest of the story, so that will hopefully give me a direction to head to.
With that said, I hope everyone enjoys!
Hermione Granger hurried down the corridor, not quite running, but not really moving slow enough for it to be called walking. This would be the third time this month she had gotten so caught up in her reading assignments that she was late for a Prefect meeting and seeing as how she was the Head Girl, setting such an example for all the other students was just downright embarrassing.
Not to mention the fact that Draco Malfoy would have yet another field day digging into her tardiness by dropping several obvious hints that she was unsuitable for her position and that he should probably start turning in nominations for someone else to do the job.
"Well, well, well, look who decided to finally join us. I know Christmas is almost upon us and with this being the last meeting before we break for holidays, not much will be covered, but really, Granger, as Head Girl you should be setting a good example by not making a habit of your tardiness. Unless, of course, you actually have more important things to do that would explain why you can't make it on time to our meetings…?"
She could practically hear that sneer questioning her dedication as she gave up trying to look somewhat dignified in her rush and broke into a flat-out run around the last corner to the designated classroom.
Doing her best not to look completely out of breath as she slipped quietly through the door, she was unable to stop the wince as all eyes immediately turned to take in her belated presence. Seeing no point in remaining silent in the back of the room as she had planned, she cleared her throat and headed to her rightful place at the head of the crowd behind the empty teacher's desk.
"Sorry I'm late…again," she apologized. "What have I missed?"
"Nothing, seeing as how we haven't started yet," Ernie Macmillan, one of the Hufflepuff Prefects answered as everyone merely shifted to attention in their seats, eager to get this meeting over with so they could head back to their rooms to finish packing.
Blinking in confusion, Hermione cast a glance over at the cuckoo clock on the far wall then down at her watch. Both times informed her it was thirteen minutes past the meeting's designated starting time.
"We've been waiting for both you and Malfoy to show," Ernie went on to explain at the Head Girl's obvious befuddlement.
"Malfoy?" Hermione echoed. "We're waiting on Malfoy? Why isn't he here yet?"
"He's in detention."
Heads turned to Slytherin Prefect Pansy Parkinson, who was lazily flipping through the meeting's previous minutes in search of anything noteworthy to be brought up for this round.
"What?" Hermione frowned. "Again?"
"Doesn't that make this the sixth function he's missed because of detention?" one younger Ravenclaw whispered.
"Yes! And I got stuck escorting those orchestra students from Salem by myself because of it last time!" another complained.
"Yeah, but that was because he had a black eye and a busted lip, wasn't it?"
"But didn't he give Harry two left feet in retaliation?"
"Alright, can we please focus on the meeting?" Hermione called out, trying to bring back a bit of order to the room.
"It was hardly his fault!" Pansy argued. "Maybe if Potter was kept on a leash or something we wouldn't be having these problems!"
"Yeah? I got a better idea. You put a gag on Malfoy so he'll stop provoking Harry and we can call it even."
Hermione's mouth fell open. "RON! That's not helping the-"
Anything more she meant to say was cut off by the sudden eruption of noise as just about all the Slytherins present jumped up to defend their beloved prince as the Gryffindors did the same. Really now, just because Malfoy was absent didn't mean the 'no snide remarks' rule became obsolete.
Fortunately, everyone was too lazy to stand up from their seats so all fighting was kept to a verbal level as Hermione simply added to the din, doing her best to shut everyone up by yelling out, "Would you all please settle down? The sooner you all be quiet the sooner we can – oh, for mercy's sake, come on, people! Grow up!"
This naturally was not heard over several well-placed insults and accusations, each one growing more and more ridiculous.
It wasn't until Draco Malfoy was accused of turning poor Timmy into a newt ("Isn't that right, Timmy!" followed by a hesitant "N-no?" from the boy in question, only to be defied with a "Nonsense! You're just lucky you got better!") that Hermione finally decided to take more drastic measures.
The initial bang and flickering lights wasn't enough to completely stop all arguments, but the shrilling scream that grew in volume and pitch as the racket refused to die down was.
Hands over their ears, the mob returned their attention to the front of the room where the Head Girl patiently waited until she had everyone's undivided attention before waving her wand to put a stop to the Flickering Banshee incantation.
"Really now," Hermione began, the tone in her voice now more than enough to ensure the current silence was kept. "The start of every year we go through a fight like this and get lectured. The only difference to this year is that rather than getting over ourselves and behave like proper Prefects for the rest of the year, we keep falling back on the habit every time Harry and Malfoy go off and decide to land themselves in detention together! Ah! Not one word, Ron! Not one bloody word!"
Rather than going ahead with saying whatever it was he was about to say, Ron Weasley snapped his mouth shut with a pout and slouched low in his seat. Several other students who looked like they wanted to say something as well took one look at the dark glare on Hermione's face and decided it best to simply follow Ron's example and try to hide themselves behind their desks.
"I'd tell you all to grow up, but seeing as how that never works, I'm going to have to find a more permanent solution to this problem before we break for today."
Several wary glances were exchanged.
Taking a moment to massage her temples and let the Gryffindors and Slytherins squirm uncomfortably in their seats, Hermione sighed and decided to momentarily move on. "Pansy, anything important from the last meeting?"
"There was still some lingering concern over the creeping vines that had been fed a bit of tampered Firewhiskey on the castle's north wall; some students are still reporting that the branches snake out to steal their drinks when the eat near it," Pansy reported dutifully, instantly putting aside all differences in favor of becoming the temporary center of attention.
"Professor Sprout said she should have the plant weaned off its new alcoholic urges by the time Holidays are over, so we can ignore that," Hermione dismissed. "What are the minutes for this meeting?"
"Just the standard rules and procedures for getting the students down to the train, on the train, riding the train, and off the train without hexing anyone in the process."
Hermione nodded, noticing the small packets of paper everyone had before them. "Okay, everyone should already have a general idea of what to do, but for the newer Prefects it's the same as the beginning of the year, only backwards. One Prefect between every three carriages and no riding on the roofs as an excuse to better watch over the line. I'm serious, it's been done before and the professors weren't very happy when they found out!
"Your packets should contain your specific duties in greater detail, so be sure to read through them before you go using the paper to practice your origami and whatnot."
Feeling assured that everyone would take at least a moment at some point to read or at least glance through the packets before the day was over, she moved on.
"How many students do we have staying behind this year?"
Various numbers were called out as different Prefects listed off what information they had managed to gather from their Houses.
"Okay, so that's…three for Ravenclaw, two for Gryffindor, none for…Slytherin was it? And two for…" Hermione frowned at the official sign up list for the students who intended to stay. "Jackie, you said Ruth Vintari was planning on staying? Her name's not on the list. Make sure she informs Professor Sprout as soon as possible so the notice can be sent to her parents before tonight is over so they know things are in order."
At Jackie's confirming nod, Hermione put the list aside and sat down, steepling her fingers and pressing them to her chin in thought. "Now to solve the problem of putting an end to these petty arguments we're always having."
The Prefects once again took to shifting nervously in their seats. One lone Hufflepuff was brave enough to raise her hand.
"Uhm, since this whole Gryffindor slash Slytherin debacle doesn't really concern the rest of us, can we leave?"
Hermione took a breath, fully ready to dismiss the Hufflepuffs and Ravenclaws as suggested, but then abruptly changed her mind. "No. I need unbiased witnesses in case of the very likely event of things getting out of hand. Ernie, you're in charge of taking notes."
Scowling as her duties were so easily ripped away from her, Pansy passed back the scroll of parchment.
"If you don't feel as if this will concern you, feel free to take the time now to read or reread the packets on the detailed procedures for getting the students to the train safely. No one will be leaving until we reach a solution everyone agrees on," the Head Girl ordered.
"What if we agree to buy Harry a leash if they gag Malfoy?" a sixth year Gryffindor asked jokingly, causing chuckles to ripple about.
"Only if you buy Potter a collar to go with it," another Slytherin teased.
"Make it a ball gag and throw a blindfold on Malfoy and we'll consider it!"
"NO, we will not be considering it!" Ron erupted, feeling mildly disgusted at the mental images currently assaulting his brain.
"Look, we ALL agree that the main source of these skirmishes are because of Harry's and Malfoy's inability to get along, correct?" Hermione interrupted before everyone's trail of thinking fell completely into the gutter. At the nodding of heads, she continued, "Then all we really need to do is find a way to make them get along or at least act civilly until the year is over!"
Feeling rather proud of her idea, Hermione was a bit thrown at the blank stares she was now receiving.
"Granger…you do recall that they've been at each other's throats since the day they met, right?" Pansy asked slowly. "Under what possible conditions could they ever be convinced to stop their constant pissing contests for anyone's sake but their own?"
"They just got off on the wrong foot is all," Hermione reasoned.
"For the past seven years?" Not even Ron was buying it.
"What if we approached them with some sort of reward system?" a Ravenclaw offered.
"And what? Give them a cookie for each time they're civil to one another? I really don't see that happening," Ernie snorted, scribbling down the idea regardless.
"I like cookies," one portrait randomly spoke up from its position under the cuckoo clock.
"Besides, Draco's already Head Boy and has all the power he could want from this school," Pansy put in. "Plus he could easily buy ten of whatever else you were to offer him."
"Well, then what about a punishment system?" Hermione asked.
"Hey, that's a good idea! And then every time they fight, they get detention and House points taken away!" a fifth-year Slytherin piped up enthusiastically.
The heavy sarcasm was not missed.
Resisting the urge to roll her eyes, Hermione explained. "I mean we sit them down and explain to them the more dire consequences of their actions. If this keeps up, I'm sure the teachers are going to take action and maybe even revoke Malfoy's Head Boy status!"
"Why is Draco the only one getting punished in this punishment system?"
"Because he's Head Boy and should therefore know better than to start fights that are going to get his ass landed in detention," an anonymous voice spoke up.
Once again, the room erupted in shouts at the injustice of it all, making Hermione want to hit her head against the table. Repeatedly.
"Alright, ALRIGHT!" she shouted. "See, this is exactly what I mean! Everyone's so quick to defend either Harry or Malfoy that we Prefects, the very elites of this school, are reduced to yelling and arguing like a bunch of opposing spectators at a quidditch game or something. Can't you all see what they're fights are doing to us? We need to bring back some level of integrity to Hogwarts or things might just continue to spiral out of control even after they've graduated and moved on!"
Okay, so maybe she was exaggerating a bit, but really, the fights were starting to get a little out of hand and she was really getting sick of being the one having to deal with and moderate them. The less Malfoy was in detention, the more he would be here at the Prefect meetings and other functions like he was supposed to, and the less chance there would be of the Slytherins being needlessly sour and the Gryffindors pouring salt into the wounds.
Unwittingly, the memory of Harry's and Malfoy's first detention of the year flashed through Hermoine's mind, causing her to shudder. It happened to fall on a Hogsmeade weekend and for some reason, every last Slytherin believed it to be entirely Harry's fault (which it might have been if Hermione were to be completely honest with herself).
Even though it couldn't be proven, Hermione strongly suspected that it was the sixth year Slytherin Prefects who had gone about casting the words 'Potter's Bitch' on the backs of all the Gryffindors they checked off leaving the school grounds. When the prank had been realized, the fifth year Gryffindor Prefects did the same to any Slytherin they came across at Hogsmeade.
Sadly, the Slytherins did not take to having 'Potter's Bitch' etched on their backs nearly as kindly as the Gryffindors did.
Oh, there had been bloodshed that day. Hexes were being cast left and right and just about every Gryffindor and Slytherin returned to school with some sort of odd ailment that required a trip to the Infirmary.
Luckily, no one from town complained so no large-scale teacher involvement was really necessary, but Hermione had been beside herself with barely contained fury when whispers of whom the culprits were reached her ears.
She was fairly certain the Prefects were turning this into some sort of tradition as the line of detentions continued.
"But 'Mione, they've hated each other for seven years," Ron stated, feeling the need to emphasize this point. "No matter what you tell them, they're not going to stop fighting! Nothing short of locking them in a closet together and telling them they can't come out until they're the best of friends is going to work!"
Hermione blinked and suddenly sat straighter in her chair. "Say that again, Ron?"
"I said they've hated each other for seven-"
"No, not that part, the last bit."
"Er…no matter what you tell them, they're not going to stop fighting?" Ron tried.
"No, after that!"
The confused and hesitant look she received made Hermione click her tongue in annoyance. Honestly, wasn't he paying attention to his own words as he said them?
Luckily Ron was saved by Ernie, who seemed to be turning his job as note-taker into a scribe of sorts.
"He said locking them in a closet together and telling them they can't come out until they get along should work," Ernie said helpfully, dipping his quill for more ink.
"Ron, I think you may be on to something," Hermione stated joyfully, a rather scary gleam entering her eyes.
"…I am?" Her enthusiasm was failing to catch on and seemed to frighten the redhead more than anything else.
"Yes! Just think, if they're locked up together they'll HAVE to talk things out and come to terms with their differences! Ron, you're a genius!"
Ron's mouth was left hanging open. "No, I'm not! Hermione, are you MAD? They'll kill each other if we stick them in a closet! And then they'll blast the door down and kill all of us!"
The Slytherins nodded in agreement.
"Then we'll just have to take their wands away beforehand." The logic in which that was said was far too oversimplified for even Ernie's liking, and he looked up to make sure Hermione was in fact the one who said it.
"You're kidding, right?" he asked, his quill no longer moving.
"And make sure they're locked in something bigger than a closet or cupboard…and someplace where nothing can be used as a weapon…and maybe a first aid kit nearby…although that might not do any good since I doubt either of them really know how to use one…"
Glances were once again exchanged between the Gryffindors and Slytherins, and for the first time in the history of ever, they united.
"Granger…I really don't think that's the best solution," Pansy said gently as Ron nodded in agreement.
"Why?" Hermione asked. "Do you have a better idea?"
The silence that followed pretty much said, "no."
"What if we just hit them with Cheering Charms whenever they're within the vicinity of one another?" one Gryffindor asked.
"Seeing one another in pain or peril is the only thing that makes them happy when they're stuck breathing the same air. They'll end up in the Infirmary without fail, laughing at each other if we did that," another Slytherin dismissed.
Not to be deterred, the Gryffindor tried another angle. "Then isn't there some type of potion that can make them get along?"
"Potions that mess with a person's emotions are forbidden outside of Potions class."
The blank stares from the Gryffindors convinced more than one Slytherin to shrug their shoulders at the rule.
"But then again, I don't think any of us see the harm in using such a method to meet an ends."
"Are we really going to stoop so low as to poison our friends' food for our own sake?" Ron asked, not at all comfortable with such an idea.
When put like that, the enthusiasm for the idea died a quick and horrible death.
"Well it's better than locking them in a closet together, isn't it?" Pansy opposed.
"You may think so, but at least the emotions of that outcome will be real and none of us will be wracked with guilt later on," Hermione defended.
"Unless one of them ends up dead," Ron muttered, shifting lower in his seat.
Hermione scowled and glanced up at the clock. Damn. She didn't want to keep them all here much longer – she had her own belongings to organize and pack.
"Alright, since we can't completely agree on a solution, I'm giving you all a homework assignment for the Holidays. Think of a way that will work. I am not going to let this go. Owl me your ideas and the next time Malfoy and Harry are in detention, we are going to settle this matter once and for all. Do I make myself clear?"
Grumbles and groans were her only responses.
"Good. I call this meeting to a close, then."
The scraping of chairs and the shuffling of papers was heard as everyone stood to leave, glad they could at last return to packing their bags in preparation to head home the day after tomorrow.
Approaching the front desk, Ron sat on its edge as he waited for Hermione to gather up her things.
"Do you seriously want me to think of ways to make Harry and Malfoy become…friends?" he asked, making a face as he forced out the last word, clearly believing that it should never exist in a sentence that Harry and Malfoy were the topics of.
"No, it's fine, Ron," Hermione dismissed easily, handing a few books over to her friend to carry.
Of all the responses he had been expecting, that had not been one of them. "…It is?"
"Yep. Don't worry about it."
It was then that Ron caught that maniacal gleam that was still in Hermione's eyes. "'Mione? What exactly do you have planned?"
"Hm? I'm going to lock those two in the Room of Requirement," was the almost dreamy explanation that caused Ron to stop dead in his tracks.
"Just think, Ron! It's the perfect place! I can lure both Malfoy and Harry there easily enough and the Room will take care of the rest! And the best part is, we can rest assured that the Room won't allow them to actually kill one another! Isn't it perfect?"
The disagreement was ignored.
"I think it would be best if we got this over with sometime tomorrow, don't you agree? This way they can settle things just in time to head home for the holidays and come back with a fresh page. Now let's see, I can get Malfoy by telling him there's a few last minute Head Boy and Girl duties I need to go over with him and you can get Harry by-"
"We?" Ron echoed. "What do you mean 'we'? I'm not about to hand my best friend over to the one bloke our age who won't hesitate in murdering for the sheer sadistic pleasure of it all!"
Hermione frowned as she shut the door to the classroom behind them. "Stop being stupid. Malfoy doesn't have it in him to actually kill anyone."
"And you know this how?"
With a huff, Hermione grabbed Ron's arm and pulled him off to the side, in the entrance of an unlit corridor. "Look, if these detentions continue – which I know they will – then the other Prefects will continue to act completely out of hand, and I can't deal with that by myself. Plus sooner or later one of their detentions is going to interfere with the quidditch game schedule with the sole intention of trying to drill a lesson into their heads that they're never going to learn! Do you really want that, Ron?"
Ron couldn't bring himself to lie. Not to those eyes. "No…But what makes you so certain that they'll learn anything by being locked in a room together all night? I mean, what if they come out fighting worse than before? Or Harry actually kills Malfoy? He'd be a murderer! Or what if they come out not talking to each other at all and…" Ron trailed off, frowning a bit as he realized his arguments weren't actually helping his case.
"Have any of my ideas ever gone horribly wrong?"
Making the very grave mistake of looking at Hermione's face as she said that, Ron felt his pulse quicken as she pulled off that look. He wasn't sure where the hell she had picked it up, but whenever she used it, just about all the males of the Hogwarts student population picked up this odd inability to go against her. Perhaps she was bitten by a veela over summer?
The look intensified.
Ron folded like a house of cards. "You're sure nothing bad will come out of this? And I mean in a truly bad sense, not in a warped…I hate Malfoy sort of sense."
"I have absolute faith in the Room of Requirement. It's never let us down before, has it?" Hermione was unable to stop the grin from spreading across her face. "As long as we're specific in the type of room we need, what's the worst that could happen?"
Ron was unable to keep the thought 'famous last words' from running through his head as he moved to follow the over-confident Head Girl back to their Common Room to execute her plan.