Disclaimer: Do we need this anymore:-D After several years, I think we know that this is my fake-o HP world, and could not hold even a little birthday candle to real HP and JKR.
A/N: Well, is my face red! I've had most of this written since last year, but I forgot that I'd written it, so I kept putting it off. Oopsies. Anyway, I apologize for the delay, life is busy and hectic. Thanks, as always, for the reviews. I read them all! I hope you all enjoy HBP, here's to hoping that no one wonderful gets killed off!
The next morning, Draco woke up to Hermione poking him in the head.
"Get of me, you great lout, you're squashing my feet!" she squealed.
He laughed at her and looked in mock innocence, "I was only trying to keep them warm."
She narrowed her eyes at him, "Very funny, Malfoy. So, what happened? I told you to wake me up!"
"I tried, but you attacked me and dragged me on to the sofa with you!"
"So, what happened?"
"Well, Professor Snape said that he thought that it would have happened eventually, but that I should try to find out exactly how much the Slytherins know, as far as what went on the night my father died. So, I was thinking that maybe you could ask Potter to use the Invisibility Cloak so I could wear it into the Slytherin Common Room to try to get some information?"
"I think YOU can ask Harry that."
"Mione, come on, he won't-"
"You'll never know unless you try!"
"Well, what am I supposed to do? Walk up to him in the Great Hall and say 'Oy, Potter, mind if I borrow that Invisibility Cloak of yours?' right in front of the entire school?"
Hermione pursed her lips, "No, I suppose not. Fine, I'll ask him, but I'm going to tell him what you're planning to do with it."
"That's fine," he gave her a peck on the forehead, "Thank you."
Hermione felt a tingly sensation where his lips had touched her skin, and felt sad all over again. Without thinking, she reached up and touched her forehead.
"Sorry, did I spit on you?"
"No… it's just that…. I don't know."
He furrowed his brows, "What is it?"
Hermione shrugged sadly, "I just miss you, that's all."
"I miss you, too. I've been with Mum a lot, but with N.E.W.Ts coming up, I'll be around here more often. Maybe I'll even help you study for Potions."
"Ha! Right Malfoy, the only thing you're good for is a half-rate Jelly Legs Jinx!"
"Tut tut, don't forget Serpensortia! Though I didn't get much use out of that one after I found out Potter could just tell the damn snake to bite me instead."
"Aww, poor Slythies are jealous of Harry's Parseltongue!"
Draco rolled his eyes at her. "That'll do, Granger," he said with a smile, "I'm off to get ready, I'll see you this afternoon? Double Potions!"
"Oh frabjous day," she replied sarcastically.
"Nothing, nothing, it's a Muggle thing. I'll see you later!"
Hermione dressed quickly, so she could see the boys before they left for breakfast. She entered the Gryffindor Common Room as a few third years, who had slept the blissful sleep of students not preparing for end-of-term exams, were trickling down. A few of them smiled at Hermione and said hello. After five minutes, she decided to head up to Ron and Harry's room to see if she'd missed them.
When she got to the door she heard voices and knocked. A voice, still think from sleep, told her to come in. Harry was tiredly pulling on his socks and giving Ron, who was still in bed, the occasional zap with his wand. Dean was sniggering at the half-asleep redhead who was mumbling in a daze.
"Muuuummmm… jus' make Ginny do it, 'm tired."
Dean and Harry seemed perfectly content with laughing at Ron until their first lesson, so Hermione felt it was time to step in.
"Oh, for heaven's sake!" she exclaimed as she marched over to Ron. "Ronald Bilius Weasley, you get up this moment, you foolish git!"
Ron opened one eye to glance up at Hermione. He thought for a moment, then plopped his head back on the pillow.
"Nuh uh, you're not my mum."
Hermione glared at him, while the other boys howled with laughter.
"Get up now, I mean it! We're going to miss breakfast."
"Unnngghhhh, I'm not eating."
Hermione looked at Harry, confused. "Ron? Not eating? Is he sick?"
Harry, laughing so hard now that he was crying, wiped his eyes and composed himself long enough to respond. "Well, our mate Ron here seems to be suffering the after-effects of drinking all the Butterbeer that Fred and George sent him in one sitting, pffft…" he trailed off into more gales of laughter.
"Well, that's not funny! He could be sick and get in to trouble! How many bottles did they send? Ten? Fifteen? This isn't very good."
Dean and Harry were now positively beside themselves, Dean choked out "Haha, oh no, they sent three bottles! Good old Ron here can hold his Butterbeer about as well as that House Elf Twinky!"
Hermione had a difficult time suppressing a smile. "Her name is Winky Dean. For heaven's sakes Ron, just get dressed, I have Pepperup Potion in my room, I'll grab some for you in a minute, if you meet me in the Common Room."
Ron nodded groggily as Dean collected his bag and left, still snorting. Hermione shut the door behind him and turned to Harry.
"Harry, would it be all right if Draco borrowed your Invisibility Cloak?"
"Hmm, what for?"
Hermione sighed, "Well, he needs to go in to the Slytherin Common Room with it on to sort of… try to find out how much they know about him. If it's just stuff about me or if they know anything about Voldemort."
Harry nodded, "Sure, that'll be fine, as long as he takes care of it. I've had that for years and I don't want some…"
"Thanks Harry," Hermione cut him off, "I really appreciate it a lot."
Hermione took the Cloak from Harry and ran to her room to get the potion for Ron. They soon set off for the Great Hall.
Luckily, after eating some breakfast Ron felt better. Though, throughout the day Dean and Harry could help mentioning the Butterbeer incident every two minutes.
The Gryffindors, already tired from a long day of N.E.W.T. drilling walked into Potions apprehensively. As they took their seats, the looked up at the board on which Professor Snape had written their assignment. Hermione was surprised and concerned, as she'd never seen the name of the potion before. Her attention was diverted when Neville gasped loudly.
"What's wrong, Neville?" she asked him.
Neville looked stunned, "Xylemious Serum!"
"Er, yes, Neville, I can read. Is there a problem with the potion?"
"It's just… it's… I mean, it's just that… I can make Xylemious Serum! I've done it loads of times!" he said in an awed whisper.
Hermione was impressed. "Wow, Neville! That must be a really advanced potion! I've never even heard of it. What's it for?"
"Well, it's for repairing the xylem in plants! Ever since Gran let me have a small greenhouse after fifth year, I've been making it. I'm a bit clumsy and I'd knock my plants over and damage the stems, so I learned how to make this! I can't believe we're actually going to be making a potion I know!"
Hermione grinned and the other Gryffindors, who had been distracted by Neville's story started laughing.
"I do recall Professor Snape saying something about wearing Gryffindor colors if Neville makes a potion correctly!" Ron exclaimed.
Neville laughed nervously, "I'd settle for a passing grade, mate!"
The class hushed as Professor Snape swept in and set out the ingredients they'd need for the potion. The class set to work. The Gryffindors, for what would probably be the first and last time, were mimicking Neville instead of Hermione. She felt very proud of Neville, who'd been working so hard for so long. This potion was just what he needed to boost his confidence.
When the class was almost over, Snape cleared his throat and all of the students looked up from their cauldrons.
"I have taken it upon myself to borrow a plant from the greenhouses to test this serum on. I hope your potions are of adequate quality, as I understand this plant is rather important."
With a malicious smile, Professor Snape brought out a familiar-looking plant.
Neville gasped audibly, "My Mimbulus mimbeltonia! What… what?"
Snape looking at Neville innocently, "Ah, yes Mr. Longbottom, I do hope you don't mind me borrowing this. In fact, I think you should be the test subject."
Neville's face was red with rage, but it suddenly went white as Snape zapped the plant with a jolt of light from his wand. The plant suddenly had a smoking, gaping hole in its side.
The Slytherins laughed cruelly and Neville, fighting tears, brought his serum forward.
"Looks like the fool's plant is in about as good of a condition as his parents" Pansy whispered loudly.
Snape took Neville's potion and glanced it over. "Oddly enough, Longbottom's potion looks like it should, for once. That is not, however, a testament to its effectiveness. I hope you weren't too attached to this little weed of yours, Longbottom."
Snape put a dropper full of the serum into the plant's pot. The whole class held its breath.
Then, with a hearty creaking noise, the hole in the plant began to reconstruct as the Gryffindors cheered loudly. Snape had a sour look on his face. He looked sharply at Hermione.
"Your work again, Miss Granger?"
"No sir. I had actually never heard of this potion before class today. That was all Neville's work. You should ask Professor Sprout if you believe him incapable. I had no hand in Neville's success."
Snape looked at Neville appraisingly. He oddly seemed to believe that Hermione was telling the truth. He gave a curt nod and dismissed the class.
When they'd gotten sufficiently far out of the dungeons, the Gryffindors burst into another cheer for Neville, who looked like he'd reached a point in his life where he could die happy.
"It was like, I knew I'd done it before, so I knew I could do it that time! Do you know what I mean?" Neville asked Harry.
Harry looked at Hermione and smiled, remembering his first Patronus, "Yeah, Neville, I think I do know what you mean."
During dinner, Hermione caught Draco's eye briefly and gave him a look, hoping he'd know to return to their room after eating. After promising everyone that she'd come to the Common Room for further celebration of Neville's success, she dashed back to her chamber.
After about 10 minutes of waiting in their Common Room, Hermione finally heard Draco's portrait hole open and he appeared.
"Did you get it, then?" he asked.
"Yup, Harry said to be careful, but I told him it was safe with you."
"Right. I've got to take it now while people are still going back to the dungeon, so I can sneak in undetected." He put the cloak over his shoulders and smiled Hermione, "A floating head. I vaguely remember seeing that one time."
Hermione laughed, "Ah, the good old days. OK, get on then, good luck!"
He gave her a small kiss on the forehead and quickly left the room.
Draco made his way quickly to the dungeons. Luckily, just as he arrived, a group of second years were going through the entrance. He quietly went through behind him. Looking around, he spotted Pansy and her friends huddled around a table. Checking that he was covered completely, he went over.
Millicent was talking, "…but Pansy, can't you just…"
"Shut UP Millicent! I'm not going to say anything with all these people around. Just wait for a bit."
The others sighed disappointedly while Pansy directed the conversation back to the N.E.W.T.s. Draco listened to his classmates discuss the finer points of Transfiguration for what seemed like hours, until Pansy finally decided the coast was clear enough.
"So, I was talking to Maria in the fire before that Mudblood Granger interrupted. Apparently she and Draco have been involved since they went on that stupid trip to Italy. Now, this isn't news to any of us, but she said that she thinks that Draco somehow ran afoul of the Dark Lord and that's why his mother is here."
"Did she say what happened?" Blaise asked
"No, she overheard her father talking to someone one night and Draco's name came up, but she didn't hear much of anything. But she's pretty sure something's wrong, which is why the Dark Lord has been contacting all of us. He wants people on the ground at Hogwarts. I think something big is going to happen."
"Oh, right!" Millicent suddenly exclaimed.
"Oh right what?" Pansy asked snottily.
"I forgot to tell you. I was serving detention for stupid McGonagall in Madame Pomfrey's office and I heard her talking to someone about that new Gryffindor. Said she'd had some sort of premonition or something about the Dark Lord at Hogwarts."
"You fool! Why didn't you tell us this sooner? Do you know what this means? Something's going to happen soon. I knew he wouldn't be initiating us all for nothing. Something soon."
The Slytherins all smiled evilly at this prospect.
Millicent, shoveling crisps into her mouth said, "Hopefully during exams, then we won't have to take them."
"Bullstrode, are you always so thick? After the Dark Lord gains power, no one will care how many bloody N.E.W.T.s we've got," Goyle said.
Pansy looked haughtily at them, "Lucky for the both of you, I suppose. Right, let's go up to bed then, I don't want anyone getting suspicious."
After Draco was sure they were all gone, he quickly exited through his portrait hole into his chamber. He sighed wearily and brought his homework into the Common Room to wait for Hermione.
She's been enjoying a night of raucous fun in Gryffindor Tower. Someone had transfigured a cushion into a Snape doll, which they'd taken turns charming into different red and gold ensembles. Neville's was the most successful, giving Snape ringlets and a frilly red dress with a gold apron that would fit a very fussy seven-year-old girl. After laughing herself into a tired stupor, Hermione bid goodnight to all of her friends who were also beginning to look a bit drowsy.
She returned to the Common Room as Draco was starting to nod off. He looked up with a start when she entered.
"How'd it go?"
He sighed, "Well, they know more than we thought, but less than we feared. They don't know what happened with Voldemort, but they know something happened. They also know about Maya's premonition, but no details. And they don't know about me… well, what happens to me."
Hermione nodded. "Well, luckily we still know more than they do and we can use that to our advantage. I think you should try to go into the Slytherin Common Room a few times a week to keep tabs on them."
"I think that's a good idea. I hope Potter doesn't mind, I'll need to borrow this for a while. Although he can get it from you if he needs it to do something that anyone else would be punished for doing."
Hermione rolled her eyes, "I'm going to ignore that remark."
Draco smiled lightly, "Thanks, I think that's probably a good course of action."
Hermione stood up and stretched, "Right, bed time. We've both had a long day."
"I'm surprised Weasley or Potter didn't say anything about Snape wearing Gryffindor plaid after Longbottom made that potion today."
"Ha! I was impressed with them! It's ok, we still got the second-best thing tonight."
"What's that supposed to mean, Granger?"
"That, Malfoy, is a Gryffindor thing. You wouldn't understand."