~ Draco and Hermione ~
"The world isn't split into good people and Death Eaters.
We've all got both light and dark inside us.
What matters is the part we choose to act on.
That's who we really are."
Disclaimer: All Harry Potter characters and settings belong to J.K Rowling.
When the Care of Magical Creatures class concluded, Ron offered to help Hagrid take the unicorns back into the forest in the hopes that maybe he will get to pat one at the last moment. Harry decided to head back to the Common Room alone, having no desire to see anymore unicorns as he was constantly reminded of Voldemort. He walked to the top of the hill in the Hogwart's grounds, and laughed as he watched the unicorns dodge and avoid Ron. Pansy was walking up the hill towards him, giggling as the largest unicorn was still following her. Hagrid said it'd give up when it got closer to Hogwarts, as unicorns avoided buildings even more than people. Sure enough, it stopped on the hill and neighed as Pansy waved to it, before it bolted with dizzying speed back to the forest. Harry quickly continued walking, hoping that she hadn't seen him and cursing himself for even paying attention to her in the first place.
He couldn't help himself, her snide single-worded question simply warranted a response. It wasn't like he could ignore her.
"Of what?" Harry asked, turning and walking backwards to look at her.
"You didn't get to touch any unicorns," she said with a smug smile.
"I didn't want to anyway," he answered. There was a pause as she raised an eyebrow, as though in disbelief.
"Yeah, right. Everyone loves unicorns, why wouldn't you want to pat one?"
"Some people don't like them," Harry blurted out, unable to rid his mind of Voldemort. He realized that he probably sounded strange to Pansy, and went on, "and so I think unicorns should be left alone."
"You're saying you don't like unicorns?" asked Pansy with a perplexed, almost horrified expression, as though this was worst than anything else about him.
"No not me, someone else-"
"No-one, it doesn't matter. Why are you even talking to me?" Harry snapped in annoyance, turning around and walking straight again. She went on, unrelenting.
"Maybe because we're walking the same way to the common room," said Pansy sardonically.
"Go a different way then."
"How about you do that?"
"I was walking this way first."
"I better not walk the same way as 'The Boy Who Lived', since he's so much more important than everyone else," Pansy mocked him with as much sarcasm that she could muster. Harry felt a flicker of anger surge through him as he stopped in his tracks and turned around to glare at her.
"You say that like I chose to be who I am - I'm famous because my parents were murdered when I was a kid, that's not something I'm proud of or that I think makes me important," Harry spat furiously, surprising even himself by the sudden outburst. Pansy stopped and hesitated, opened her mouth, closed it, went slightly red and then blurted out, "I was just joking."
"Hilarious. Now I know why everyone likes you so much," Harry said jadedly. He kept walking and Pansy followed.
"I don't care what people think of me, so there's that. And you're not famous just because of your parents, you're famous because you, well, defeated him," said Pansy, sounding surprisingly genuine. She quickly went on, "it was a joke."
"His name is Voldemort, you shouldn't be afraid to say it, after all you were on his side," Harry said over his shoulder.
"Wait - what? I've never claimed to be on his side, and you shouldn't say his name," Pansy hissed in a quieter tone, as she rushed to move beside him.
"You hate muggle borns and Gryffindor's, you were associated with Death Eaters, you're a Slytherin; it's fairly obvious what side you were on - or should I say, are still on," said Harry, looking sideways at her. He was surprised by the glare she gave him.
"I was not associated with Death Eaters, my parents are not-"
"You were Malfoy's girlfriend, he was a Death Eater-"
"I was his girlfriend for like a month in our third year, we've always been best friends, and his father forced him into it. He never wanted to be one, so how about you stop being a - a judgmental git!" said Pansy rather breathlessly. Harry stopped walking again, another surge of unexplainable emotion causing his blood to boil as he opened his mouth to retort.
"Oh, you did not just call me judgmental. You, you cannot call anyone judgmental. You are the epitome of what a judgmental person is. Next time you call my closest friend a mudblood, take a long hard look at yourself," said Harry venomously.
"Next time you call my closest friend a Death Eater, take a long hard look at yourself. Not all Slytherin's are Death Eaters or Death Eater supporters-"
"Fine, Malfoy was forced into it, maybe he isn't so bad. That's beside the point, the point is you hate muggle borns and Gryffindor's. For no reason. That's what makes you, directly or indirectly I don't really care, a supporter of Death Eaters or at least a supporter of what they believe in," said Harry, as though that concluded the argument.
"I don't hate mudbloods anymore than you hate Death Eaters and Slytherin's. I can't help what I was brought up to believe anymore than you can, so don't try to make me out to be some sort of villain. I don't hate Gryffindor's, I don't hate you, but you're starting to make me want to," said Pansy. There was a pause, and she realized that she was breathing rather heavily and they were standing far too close. The air around them seemed like it was electric, but not exactly in a good way.
"You want to know the difference between us?" asked Harry, glaring deep into her eyes.
"Enlighten me," she snarled.
"I hate Death Eaters because they've killed the people I love. I hate most Slytherins, because they've bullied my friends. You hate muggle borns for absolutely no good reason."
"This is all about Granger, isn't it? Alright, I'll say it: I don't hate her because of her blood status, I just dislike her, her personality, and I'm not going to apologize for who I do and don't like. And if you know anything about history, you would know that muggles persecuted magical folk for centuries, can you even comprehend the number of innocent girls burnt at the stake in the Middle Ages? It's not just blind hatred, there are reasons, that's what my parents taught me," Pansy tried to explain, for some strange reason hoping that he would understand where she was coming from.
"Good for you Parkinson, you know your history. History. The past. Do you see muggles with torches and pitchforks running around burning little girls right now? No, because burning people, and discrimination in general for that matter, is against muggle law," Harry snapped.
"No, it's because the little girls come here to this miserable old castle, or Durmstrang, or wherever else. Why do you think the wizarding world is hidden by magic, Potter? Hmm? Fear and persecution, that's why. Muggles are the dangerous ones, if I walked down a muggle street doing magic they'd lock me up like an animal-"
"That's not true, you've never even spoken to a muggle, you don't know anything about them!" Harry said in exacerbation.
"You're right, I've never spoken to one, never even been near one. My parents never let me, and to be honest they scare me to death. I hear they have pieces of metal that can kill you from miles away with just the pull of a finger, they have things that can blow up entire countries? How is that even possible?"
Harry nearly started to explain to her what a bomb was, but then saw the fear in her eyes. Real, genuine fear which was no doubt created by stories told to her as a child, caused by a lifetime of misunderstanding. But at the same time, he kind of saw where she was coming from. He wouldn't dare walk up to muggles and show them real magic, it just wasn't something a wizard did because you could never know how they would react. Guns and bombs in many ways were far more dangerous than wands. There were lots of reasons wizarding society was hidden, the main one being muggles. There was a long silence in which he hesitated to answer, and Pansy took a deep breath to calm herself.
"Alright, fine. Most muggles are dangerous, I'll give you that. Not bad or evil, just dangerous. So why hate muggle borns? Why hate the muggle parents who send their kids to learn magic, why hate muggle parents who spend years upon years trying to understand and accept their magical children and the magical world?" Harry questioned her.
"Well - I ... I don't know. My parents think if you're pure-blood you have more magic in you, and that it's not fair that muggle borns should be allowed to practice magic if their ancestors hunted and killed magical people," Pansy stated, though for the first time her voice was tainted with uncertainty about what she was saying.
"It's not fair for muggle borns to be denied the one thing that pure-bloods cherish: magic. It's not fair that they should be scorned for the family they were born into," said Harry.
"Well you scorn me for being a Slytherin, and a Death Eater supporter even though I'm not," Pansy countered defensively.
"No, I scorn you because you bully my best friend and you are prejudiced towards people I like. Those are the only reasons. I take back what I said about you being on the Death Eater side, that's not really the point I was trying to make..." Harry trailed off, unsure of what to say next. There was an awkward silence as they glanced at each other and looked away, rather shocked at everything that had been said and the strange understanding which had formed. Pansy glanced up and down the empty hallway, biting her lip, worry etched into her face.
"I didn't come up with all this stuff. I don't really know what to believe. But I don't have much choice, if I didn't hate mudbloods or at least say I did, my parents would disown me, no Slytherin would talk to me, I'd have nothing. Every other house hates me and hates Slytherin, I can't just 'change', or whatever... and besides, some Slytherins really are good people. Draco is a good person. My parents are good people - they might have beliefs that I sometimes question, but I love them because they're family, they're blood, and I do what they say because that's how it is. If the Death Eaters ever came back, my parents would support them, because if they didn't they'd be considered traitors. You're right, I probably would be 'on the Death Eater side', because they'd kill my parents if I didn't support them, and I don't know anything else. I can't trust anyone outside of Slytherin, who would accept me? Don't you see?" Pansy said, becoming breathless and confused the more she spoke. Harry stood there in stunned silence, staring at her as though she were a different person. Where on earth had all of that come from?
"I don't know. I shouldn't have said all this. D-don't tell anyone I said any of this, I-I actually really shouldn't have said anything-" she continued sounding panic-stricken as she hurried past him to walk away. Harry stared at her as she walked away, utterly confused at her reaction to her own openness, before springing into action and following her.
"That actually made some sense, why are you acting like it's a bad thing?" Harry asked from a few feet behind her. She didn't respond and just kept walking as fast as she could towards their common room.
"Keep your voice down, Merlin Potter!" she hissed as she spun on her heels. "Everything I just said was bad, forget I said any of it! Y-you're a blood traitor and I shouldn't be talking to you."
When the Teaching Trainee meeting finished, Hermione made her way towards the Eighth Year dormitory from the staff room alone. Neville and Professor Sprout had gone down to the Greenhouses, and Draco went with Snape to the Potions classroom. Hermione assumed it was because they were practical subjects, and both Professors probably had their notes and equipment in the classrooms. Professor McGonagall had everything she needed in the staff room already, and so that's where she told Hermione all the necessary information. It was quite simple really: for the first two months of the year, Hermione was to study first, second and third year Transfiguration content and sit in on one of Professor McGonagall's classes at least once a week. At the end of the two month period she would undergo an exam based on first, second and third year content, and additionally be marked by Professor McGonagall and a Ministry worker on her ability to teach first, second and third year Transfiguration in a practical classroom setting.
"And after all that which I'm sure you'll do just fine in, you'll be qualified to teach first, second and third years for the rest of the year. At that point you will share classes with me, and if you wish you can take over all the first to third year classes. However you only need a total of thirty hours teaching experience to fulfill the program's requirements, and after that I would advise that you focus on studying for your NEWTs instead," Professor McGonagall finished, smiling slightly at Hermione's ecstatic excitement.
"And what about fourth to seventh years?" asked Hermione quickly.
"Oh, that's right - during the summer holidays there will be a second examination, which will test you on fourth to seventh year Transfiguration content. Then in the first week of school next year, you will again be marked by myself and a Ministry worker on your ability to teach senior classes. If you pass all that, you'll be teaching all of my classes while I focus on Headmistress duties. You won't be a fully qualified Transfiguration Professor until you have 400 hours of teaching experience, which you'll get throughout the year from teaching full time."
Hermione reflected on all of this, her body coursing with enthusiasm as she practically skipped towards the Common Room. She planned on sending an owl to her parents that night, asking them to send her all of her first to third year notes, so she could start revising them straight away, not that she would really need to. She pretty much still had every spell, incantation and hand movement memorized off by heart.
"What the hell is a Forgetfulness Potion?" asked Draco. Snape looked at him dully.
"Are you serious?"
"Yes I'm serious, it was probably like seven years ago!"
"Your first year final examination involved brewing a Forgetfulness Potion, a beginners level potion. If you honestly need to revise how to make it, I worry for the future generations of Hogwarts Potions students-" said Snape, sounding astonished.
"Whatever," Draco spat in annoyance, "so I learn all this crap, do a test on it in two months, get watched teaching first, second and third year classes, then I'm good to go?"
"Not quite. You'll be qualified to teach first, second and third year classes, which means you'll be allowed to share mine. You'll only be getting classes I let you teach, which means you'll get the classes I hate-" Snape drawled with a smirk as he said this.
"Fantastic, you're making it sound like so much fun," said Draco sarcastically.
"And then over the summer break there will be another examination based on fourth to seventh year content which you'll have to pass. And the first week of next year you'll get tested on your ability to teach senior classes. Then you'll be 'good to go'," Snape finished.
"Alright, and so for these first to third year classes I can take away House points and give detentions right?" asked Draco, smiling wickedly.
"You can, but those powers are a privilege - if you abuse them they will be taken away. You only need a total of thirty hours of first to third year teaching experience, and once you've gotten all those hours, I can also take away your ability to teach classes. Understood?" Snape said, his voice taking on that tone which told you he was being serious.
"Loud and clear. Are we done?" asked Draco. Before replying, Snape opened up one of his desk drawers, pulled out a parchment booklet and dropped it in front of Draco.
"This outlines everything you need to know for the first to third year exam: all the potions, ingredients and what you'll be teaching. But it's only an outline, you'll need to study it yourself, so find your old Potions textbooks," said Snape. Draco picked up the booklet, noticed that the parchment was fresh and realized that Snape must have recently written the entire thing just for him.
"Thanks," Draco said awkwardly as he stood up.
"Don't mention it. Literally, don't show Minerva because there are hints in there too," said Snape, causing Draco to chuckle as he left the classroom.
"Well, well, well, look who it is," came a voice from behind him, causing Draco to jump slightly as he turned around. Hermione burst out laughing at his reaction, and he hid a smile as he checked to make sure nobody was around. The dungeon corridors were extremely dark, and he could only see her under faint torchlight when she got closer.
"That's my line, Granger, if you say it again you better watch your back," Draco said in a pretend threat.
"Oh really? Well you better watch your back, because if I catch you here at night I'll scare you again," Hermione mocked in amusement.
"We'll see about that," said Draco, already plotting the many ways in which he would scare her throughout the rest of the year. She seemed to read his mind and her smile widened slightly. He continued on a more serious note, "about the argument earlier in the Staff Room..."
"The Gryffindor got a weeks worth of the detentions, and the Slytherin just got a long chat with McGonagall about not being violent. I asked her," Hermione explained, knowing that he was still angry about it. He seemed pleased at hearing this.
"I guess I underestimated McGonagall," Draco said, pondering.
"Even if it was unfair, I want you to promise me you won't try and take matters into your own hands. You'll only end up in trouble, Draco-"
"Why do you want me to do nothing?" Draco demanded.
"I don't want you to do nothing, I want you to not get expelled," said Hermione firmly.
"I won't get expelled, don't worry. Also, would you happen to still have your notes for first to third year Potions?" asked Draco casually, smirking as he saw her roll her eyes.
"Meet me at the Owlery after dinner, I'm going to owl my parents and ask them for my notes. If you're lucky, I'll ask for my Potions notes too," said Hermione as she brushed past him and continued walking towards the Common Room. He watched her for a few moments, captivated by the way she flicked her hair over shoulder, by the way she walked, dumbfounded by how gorgeous she was even with her baggy robes on. As his imagination began to run wild, her voice brought him back to reality.
"What are you doing?" Hermione asked curiously, sounding amused.
"What-? Nothing," Draco said, starting to walk as though nothing had happened.
"You looked a little dazed," said Hermione smugly.
"Whatever Granger, how about you just leave me alone so I can go to my Common Room in peace," said Draco jokingly as he walked past her.
"Oh because I'm such a bully," Hermione laughed as she walked beside him.
"Yeah actually, you are-"
"I'll admit to being a bully if you admit what you were thinking about just before," Hermione demanded, but the sound of footsteps coming towards them stopped the conversation there. After two Eighth year Ravenclaw girls, Mandy Brocklehurst and Sue Li passed them in silence, they arrived at the Common Room.
"See you at the Owlery - Dawn," said Hermione, saying the password to the Common Room door and entering.
Hope you enjoyed this chapter! I know the Harry and Pansy scene may come as a shock to some and I know lots of you hate Pansy, but that pairing will be somewhat important to the overall plot later on and it will get better. Plus I like Pansy. :) I've just started another semester of law school so again, updates on my stories will inevitably slow down. However I'm working on my time-management skills and will try my hardest to keep writing and uploading new chapters from now on. Feel free to message me if you have questions, requests, want to chat or even want me to check out some of your stories! :)
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