The only excuse I can offer here for my lateness is that a third of the last two months were spent at computer science camps (and that doesn't even excuse the remaining thirds). Sorry. :P Also, I'm not sure if I've mentioned that the characters are considerably OOC. Apologies. More apologies for the Ron bashing, too. It's not because I hate Ron, it's just how this panned out. What else...? Oh, apologies++ for the sometimes inappropriate horny and/or random content. (this was written while I wasn't entirely sane, and I'm a lazy person who rarely edits)

~ Ness

Glisseo - Chapter 3

She can see that they're utterly focussed on the duel. Their eyes are tracking the other's movements, and were Tonks more graceful, it could have been seen as a dance. If not them, the lights striking out seem to be engaging in a passionate dance. It is pretty and highly engaging. Both make no sounds, not even a grunt for if they feel the strong impact of a poorly defended spell.

After at least ten minutes of stunning duelling, Tonks is disarmed when Snape unleashes Glisseo while she's standing on the stairs which extend from the stage (where the teachers' table normally sits) to the floor. She slips, and falls rather ungracefully onto the ground. Snape casts Expelliarmus, and Tonks has lost her first duel of the course.

And of course, they clap. They haven't seen a duel like that before.

"Elegance is not a dispensable luxury but a quality that decides between success and failure," Snape notes.

He proffers his hand to Tonks, so that she can get up more easily, but she vigorously shakes her head and quickly (but unsteadily) pulls herself off the floor. Once she's up, she casts a counter to Glisseo and the stairs are looking as if they were never transfigured. The two turn to the class, some open-mouthed in awe and some blank, contemplative and going over what they saw in their head.

Tonks is talking. "So, guys, what did you notice about the duel?"

Potter doesn't bother putting his hand up. He goes straight into it. "Well, quite frankly, you lost."

At Tonks's quirked eyebrow, he moves on. "Firstly, you maintained eye contact with the person you were casting the spell on. Secondly, you were completely focussed on casting the spell or charm, as well as blocking those sent at you. Thirdly, you were as quiet as possible."

Tonks nods, and begins to speak. "Good, Potter, you got the gist of it. In non-verbal spell casting, you need to focus on the spell that you want to cast, and force all your intent behind it – so that it actually executes the way you intend it to. Hence, you can't afford to have distractions – sounds, even. You shouldn't make sounds while casting non-verbally. Lastly, the thing you wouldn't be able to notice unless you were a Legilimens –" she throws a quick look at Snape, who returns the look with a scowl.

Well, at least that affirmed her suspicions about Snape.

"- is that just about everyone who casts non-verbal spells shout it in their head. Of course, this won't help when facing a Legilimens, but let's just ignore that. We'll cover that later. So, yes – when casting non-verbal charms, think or shout the spell name in your head. It's a hard habit to curb should you train to face a Legilimens non-verbally, but for just about all other purposes, it's more than fine."

Snape is seen agreeing with Tonks's little speech. He comes closer to them now, all their backs against the walls as if they were bound there with super-glue. It's his turn to speak, his body language seems to indicate, Hermione notices, through observation of body-language. And so he does.

"Split up into pairs. There should be no one left out, as attendance is...alright for this lesson." The Potter boy sidles up to her.

"Hey, Granger," he smiles, the smile barely touching the corners of his lips. It's indubitably a forced smile, which only hurts to see.

"Hermione, not Granger," she blurts out, then turns red not long after. What'd driven her to allow him to call her Hermione? Well. Granger wasn't that nice a name, and it's not as if everyone who calls her Hermione is her friend. Harry Potter nods, and offers her a hand to get help her stand up.

"I can get up myself, thank you very much," she spits, somewhat disgusted by his chivalrous actions, which imply that she is a weakling. He nods again, in acquiescence, and turns to face Tonks and Snape, standing out the front. Hermione gets up and stiffly moves beside him, though keeping a safe distance such that he will not be able to accidentally touch her. If he did…well, she might accidentally touch him back. And that would be disastrous.

"Now, what I first want you all to do is to practice casting Lumos silently. So, do what you'd normally do, but state or shout the incantation in your head. Try and make yourself really want this to happen, and then cast the spell in your head and with your wand. I'll give you twenty minutes to do this. I don't expect you all to be able to do it, but that's ok – it'll just help us gauge the speed at which we go through this course. Now, start," Tonks instructs. With a smile, she waves her wand and Lumos lights up the end of her wand.

Merlin, it looks effortless, Hermione thinks despondently. As she watches those around her attempt to cast the spell, she decides to have a shot at the spell.

She sees Potter manage the spell on his first go, and she grits her teeth, frustrated at his apparent perfection. Tonks sighs. Snape sneers, stalks over to Potter, and appears to Legilimise him ("Try it without thinking Lumos, boy."). The Boy-Who-Lived scowls, and casts Lumos wordlessly again.

Snape scowls harshly, and dismisses him. "Get out, Potter."

And he does, but not before winking slightly at Hermione. She blushes, and narrows her eyes at him. Slightly contradictory actions, but she can't control her wretched blood flow. Turning her back on him, she begins to practise casting Lumos silently. Of course.

Lumos, she whispers in her mind, trying to feel like she really wanted this to happen. She doesn't feel any magic taking hold in her wand; her wand isn't lighting. It's only your first try, she tells herself, before going for another try.

Lumos, she states firmly in her mind; and frustrated by her first failure, feels an uprising of emotion accompanying her incantation. Still, the wand isn't lighting and she's going to be bloody damned if she can't get the most basic spell to work non-verbally. For Merlin's sake, Potter got it on his first go!

But he's exceptional. You know that, she reminds herself. And he's had so much help.

He's only human, though. If he can do it, I can too, she argues with herself.

Then rightfully, so should the rest of the wizarding population, something in her brain snarks. And very few can, can't they?

Her brain was grasping at straws. So I'm not exceptional if I can't do it.

No, not necessarily, the snarky voice reminds her, you are probably the best witch in your year.

Probably! she panics. But still not the most talented out of everyone, by any means!

"What are you doing there, Granger? Admiring the handiwork of the Founders?" Snape throws an Expelliarmus at her wordlessly. Angered by his narkiness and her own thoughts, she releases a Protego without realising it.

She also doesn't realise that she's doing it silently. Most of the class is suddenly watching as her shield expands around her, flares upon blocking the spell, and disappears. Snape is arching an eyebrow, Tonks is smiling happily. "Well done, Miss -?"

"Granger," Hermione supplies.

"Well done, Miss Granger. See what you did there? It certainly seemed as thought you were angry, and I think this was the reason for which your silent Protego worked. Emotion is certainly a very powerful thing, but I wouldn't rely on it for duelling. But well done. Do you think you understand the feeling of casting a non-verbal spell"?"

She nods, somewhat delighted yet yearning to be able to cast it once again. So maybe she hasn't owned Potter at this new game, but she's cast a non-verbal spell, even if with the aid of emotion. Possibly cheating, really, but at least she knows she's capable of it, right?

A pitiful whining in the back of her mind tells her that she'd really have preferred that happening while Potter was here. She shuts it up by snarling Shut up! at herself.

"Now go back to practising Lumos," Tonks urges, and turns away to pay attention to the other (somewhat more inept) people in her class. Snape follows, but not before glaring at Hermione. He's only really trying to hide his meagre pride in Granger's ability. He's had to hide it a lot with Potter's abilities.

So Hermione resumes trying to cast it, and succeeds five minutes before their twenty minutes are up.

She feels how much she wants to cast the spell, and she can feel her magic dancing inside her. She pushes it into the wand and breathes Lumos in her mind…and the wand tip flares into brightness. Her mind revels in the awesomeness of her achievement (and, once again, wishes Potter was there to see it).

She beams, and Tonks comes over, clapping and gesturing towards the line of seats. "Get it working a few more times until you feel you've got it down pat, then feel free to sit until the next part of the lesson."

The next consecutive tries are all successful and she feels so good…she rides on a magic-induced high. It's completely and utterly and indubitably giddifying. Especially when her Nox works on her first go.

Once the time allotted for Lumos is past, they move onto spells of slightly higher difficulty – like Expelliarmus and Protego. Maybe eighty percent of them had managed Lumos, barely, but with the higher difficulties, they were struggling. Hermione doesn't quite breeze through them, but after a lot of effort and internal cussing she manages them. Tiring from them mental effort expended, she decides to sit down.

She watches gleefully as the others fail, but her glee is slightly dampened by the fact that Potter would wipe them all out, including her, if they were to participate in a duel with him. She has more reading to do, and is delighted when the instructors issue them with Spell-Making: The Basics. Firstly because she's read this one already, and understands the material, although unable to do all the exercises. Secondly, Potter hasn't been issued with a copy of it...maybe he already knew the material. Well, that was damn frustrating.

When she goes to bed, she is still giddy with the drug of success. Just before her mind fades out into sleep, she mindlessly wonders whether Potter liked the look of her form-fitting shirt and jeans.

"So, Hermione," Ron probes, "how was the first tutorial lesson?"

Hermione has her nose in the advanced spell-making book she borrowed…literally. She's a bit…very, very sleepy. And maybe a bit inebriated from the magical high she had yesterday…so, maybe a little uninhibited. She grumbles into the musty pages. "It was good," she mutters softly, "and he was very smart."

Ron has his potential-boyfriend-for-Hermione alert on. Her last statement is triggering it. And, oh, Merlin, he's agitated. Honestly, she's…his. Well, he's the only one that she's close to. She's, by rights, his. Time to go all possessive and lovey on her.

The sequence of events was usually as thus: 1. He went possessive and snapped at her. 2. She cried and stopped speaking to him for a time. 3. They eventually made up. And what was apparent to him was that every time they made up, they were that little bit closer than before. He would throw hints at her, stronger than a raging bull –

Eh, wrong idiom.

"Let me guess," he snaps, "you've got a crush on somebody?"

"No," is her answer, "it's not a crush. Why does it matter, anyway? It's not like you're in love with me or something."

Ouch, that hurts.

Ron winces slightly – she's clueless. He's jealous. He's so underappreciated. He's about to mentally bemoan the unfairness of life, when Hermione gives a little snore. She's sleeping. He'll never get to get all possessive on her now...he's just missed his next opportunity to get closer to her.

"For the love of Merlin," he groans out loud.

"...will you please be quiet?" Madam Pince grinds out. He consequently shuts his trap, and decides to play his next tactic...falling asleep next to Hermione. It would be utterly perfect if the guy Hermione was obsessed with came in to see them sleeping next to each other. It was a beautifully evil plan, and easily executable were it not for the fact that he didn't know who Hermione was talking about. Still, that she mentioned he was very smart narrowed the possibilities down quite considerably.

Firstly, there was himself. Secondly, there was most of the Ravenclaw fifth to seventh years, possibly fourth. Thirdly, there were a few seventh years in Slytherin who were suspiciously intelligent. Hufflepuff? Yes, one guy in sixth year. And a few people in Gryffindor – none of which were better than him. Or so he thought.

Why couldn't she see that he, Ronald Bilius Weasley, was the one for her? The fated couple? She would be Hermione Weasley and they would have hot, passionate loving on the fold-out sofa bed. Their children would be adorable little frizzy-haired (ugh, he thinks. Maybe not frizzy.) children, with her dark chocolatey eyes and they would grow up with their mother's incredible intelligence and his manly courage.

Enraptured by his engaging fantasies of him with Hermione, he runs his pale fingers through her bushy hair, wondering how on earth he could grasp her head properly in a kiss.

He accidentally falls asleep and unconsciously whimpers at the thought of his love having hot loving with another man.

Potter walks into the library and sees the whimpering boy next to a peaceful Hermione. He simpers, and goes off to the Restricted Section.

A loud yell awakens Hermione and Ron, and they jump up, startled. A visibly angry Potter stalks out of the library, and Hermione dashes after him. A consequently angry Ron swears, and upon reprimand from Madam Pince, slowly puts their books away. Chasing after his girl is so difficult. But oh, she will be so perfect...he just has to eliminate his main threat first. It would be easy. Come on, he has straight EEs...well, and maybe a few As. That's, like, fucking awesome. His Inner Eye was seeing a dark and difficult path ahead of him, but after sticking with Hermione for so many years, he's expecting some kids out of her at least. He will stop at nothing to get her...well, he might stop if someone threatened to cut off his balls. Man pride and libido and all.

He can imagine trying out his newly plagiarised and modified pick up lines on her. "Your wand isn't the only thing that's 10¾ inches around here," he'd say. And she would blush and fold herself delicately into his strong, manly arms, and her beautiful cleavage would stare at him–

Snape is staring at him, furious, in the library entrance. Fuck, he'd been daydreaming about Hermione while staring at Snape. It's a bloody good thing that he can't read minds. What was it called? – lewillymens. Something like that. Oh, le-willy-mens! Man, he was so witty.

"Something funny, Mr. Weasley?" his Potions teacher enquired, the hint of a snarl riding on his tone. "Probably. You're so infantile that you'll find your own panties funny."

He walks into the Restricted Section. Ron is dumbfounded – hence, has no resulting reply in his own mind. He shrugs, and goes back to sleep, resuming his dreams of blissful baby making with Hermione.

Snape sneers at the sleeping Weasel on his way out.