Disclaimer: I do not own any aspect of the HP Universe.

Chapter Fifty-Eight

Something important? Are you kidding?

She's not a thing, she's not my a racing broom

or-or a Chocolate Frog Card

She's a human being.

You all are insane!

Astoria nervously picked at her fingernails as she waited for her Head of House to arrive. She had been called to the Headmasters office and she still had no idea why. She was told only that everything would be explained to her once Professor Snape arrived. She had been trying to recall if she had done anything to make someone mad enough they would tell Dumbledore about it, nothing came to mind. Yes she spread gossip and much of it she knew wasn't the truth but so did a lot of girls in her house.

At the sound of the Headmasters office door skimming open against the stone floor she turned to see not only Her Head of House but Draco entered as well. Had he told Snape she had done something to him, or his pet mudblood? She hadn't, at least not recently. Plus she had done him a favor in telling him about the Deville brother. Then again, she wasn't entirely sure he even believed her.

Professor Snape gave her a soft smile, which was very unlike him. She couldn't recall ever seeing him smile before. Draco on the other hand, seemed to be avoiding looking at her all together. He let out a long sigh and sat down in the chair beside her, though his gaze continued to stray away from her.

"Now, Ms. Greengrass," Dumbledore began, his blue eyes soft and understanding though his tone was quite serious. "The reason you are here is because Draco mentioned to Professor Snape that you came to him with some very disturbing information while visiting him in the Hospital Wing a couple of days ago, is that true?

Astoria nodded, "Yes sir." Okay now she understood what was going on. "You mean about the DeViles brothers, right?"

Dumbledore nodded in affirmation. "I am curious, why did you not go straight to Professor Snape?"

Astoria dropped her head while she thought of how she was going to answer that. She went to Draco because she was trying to get his appreciation, his attention. Of course she wouldn't dare tell the Headmaster that. Slowly she looked back up at the renowned wizard. "I suppose because my first thought was of Draco. He is my friend. I knew he would believe me, or I hoped he would." She then looked over at Draco who finally brought his eyes to meet hers.

"I believed you. You wouldn't have a reason to lie about something like this."

Astoria sighed and looked to over to Snape. "I'm sorry sir, I should have gone to you straight away."

"Be that as it may," Severus said, "You did go to someone which prompted an investigation. After a lengthy conversation with the DeViles brothers we have found your claims to be true."

"They were going to order one of their house-elfs to sneak in with the Hogwarts kitchen elfs and have them to poison or food." Draco told her.

Astoria could help but gasp. That was horrible.

The DeViles brothers had of course denied any wrongdoing when confronted by Professor Dumbledore, however after a private chat with Severus they admitted, without the use of truth serum or Legitmacy, to their plot. Draco didn't know what Severus had done to convince them to tell the truth, weather it was blackmail, or threats, or something darker, which while he may have been fighting for the light deep down he knew Severus was quite capable and willing to use whatever means necessary to get what he needed or wanted, just as any good Slytherin would do.

He seriously doubted the Deviles brother simply had a troubled conscious and came clean because they felt guilty.

"They've been expelled," Severus explained, "though because of their young age and the fact that they had not yet attempted to commit the crime, they will not go to Azkaban."

"Oh. Do-do they know I was then one who told?" Suddenly the Slytherin third-year was very nervous. It could cause serious problems for her and her family if they did.

"They do not. Your part in this has remained anonymous, only the people in this room know." Dumbledore explained.

Astoria took a sign of relief.

"While I would very well like to give you an award for Special Services to the School, because of the circumstances and your anonymity in the situation I cannot." Albus told the girl, "What I will do however is give Slytherin 500 points and promise you that if you continue to maintain your grades at their high standard then Severus will be happy to award you Prefect in your fifth year."

Astoria's eyes widened in shock and gratitude. No one had ever cared to do anything like this for her before. She wouldn't be modest and say she didn't deserve it, she pretty much saved their lives, but the fact that they actually cared enough to reward her and not just sweep it all quietly under the rug, that was saying something.

"Really, sir? Prefect."

The old wizard nodded and smiled at the young Slytherin. "You more then deserve the honor. By speaking up, Ms. Greengrass, you quite literally saved Draco and Professor Snapes lives. We all owe you a great deal."

"I'm proud of you."

Astoria head snapped in the direction of boy she once wanted to marry. "You are?" No one had ever said that before. No even her parents.

"You did the right thing. I thought you would always think of no one but yourself, you proved me wrong and I'm proud of you."

"T-Thanks, Draco."

For the first time since he entered the room, Draco smiled at his wife from a former life. "You can become more then what your parents expect of you, and I think what you did for Professor Snape and I prove that."

What her parents had expected of her was what most pure blood families expected of their daughters, to marry well and produce at least one heir. But what did she want. She never really thought about anything other then what was expected of her, but perhaps Draco had a point.

XXX

Harry very casually sat down beside Draco in Transfiguration; folding his hands and placing them on his desk, he looked his Slytherin friends straight in the eye and said "I'm sorry but I think I'm going to have to kill Crabb."

Draco couldn't help but give a snort of laughter at his friend's rather matter-of-fact reply. "What did he do?"

"He pranked me by levitating a stink bomb into my trouser pocket."

A prominent smirk pulled to the blonds lips, "Did he now?"

"Now normally," Harry went on, "I would most likely just laugh it off as a prank well played, however, he put it in there as I was walking with Ginny up to the Astronomy tower to… um, look at the stars."

"The stars?" Draco rolled his eyes in disbelief. No one took their girlfriend up there just to look at the stars.

"She refused to spend time with me because she was convinced I had horrendous gas issues. She even suggested I may have eaten something bad and said I see the nurse."

Draco was no longer but smirking, but snickering quietly under his breath. Harry may have wanted to kill Crabb, but Draco was actually quite proud of him. His beefy mate wasn't exactly know for his cleverness so that he got one over of Harry was certainly saying something.

"When I came down to the common room this morning, do you know what my girlfriend asked me?" Harry asked his friend.

"No, but please do tell." Draco insisted quite curious as to how this ended.

"She asked me if I was feeling better? And do you know what I did in reply."

Draco shook his head.

"I farted! I let a rip-roaring, juicy one go. Completely on accident mind you but the timing was absolutely horrible. She then grabbed my hand and all but dragged me to the nurses office where she told Madam Pomfrey all about stomach issues. The common room was roaring in laughter as she dragged me out of there!"

No longer able to contain himself Draco let out a full on belly laugh, which needless to say caused quite a few heads to turn in their direction. Harry, who had managed to stay quite calm during the explanation, now had his eyes narrowed and arms crossed firmly over his chest.

"What's so funny?" Ron asked plopping into the seat beside Harry.

"I told Draco I was going to murder Crabb for that prank he pulled and apparently he thinks it hilarious."

Ron snorted as he dropped his Transfiguration book onto the desktop. "It was pretty funny mate. Ginny still think you have some sort of stomach bug."

Harry just rolled his eyes, pulling out his own book. "I am so getting him back."

XXX

The Second Task. It was just a few days away and while Draco had a plan of action and wasn't terribly worried about the outcome, what he was worried about was Hermione. He was almost positive she would be the victim they would drag down into the depths of the Black Lake to rescue and the thought made his stomach turn. She would be safe, at least everyone had been during his past life, but still, that possibility, no matter how small, that she could be harmed in anyway scare him to death.

He considered telling Harry and Hermione, saying he had another one of his prophetic dreams, but in the end he decided againist it. He didn't know how they would react and was afraid one of them, considering actual people were involved, may go to Dumbledore, which in turn would cause question he wasn't ready to answer. In the end he decided to just let it play out but be extra cautious during the task.

Hermione looked up at the sound of the chair besides her scraping against the stone floor. A smile slips to her lips when Draco sat down the scooting the chair closer to her side. "Studying?" he asked though the answer was obvious.

Hermione nodded the replying, "Charms."

"Hum," Draco sighed as he slipped his hand into hers. "Care to take a break."

The Gryffindor smiled at her Slytherin boyfriend. "I suppose a short break would be fine," She answered pulling her hand from his so she could close her book and put it in her rucksack.

Being the gentleman that he was, Draco took his girlfriends bag and placed it over his shoulder. Once again taking her hand they stood and left the library. "So I was thinking," Draco said as they walked down the stone corridor, "That I should write you parents."

Hermione's eyes widened and shook her head, "I don't know if that's a good idea." Hermione thought it was best to give her parents, particularly her dad, to sort out the fact that their little girl has boyfriend. Draco writing him defending their relationship would no doubt only stir up the hornet's nest so to speak. Her dad was the type of person who didn't react well to criticism, no matter how gently it was given to him. He was one of those types of people who always had to be right. She knew, in time he would realize that the situation wasn't as bad as he was making it out to be and it would all work out in the end. It was best to just leave it alone for the time being.

"Why?" The blond asked as they began to ascend the stairs.

"It's just better to wait. When I go back for Easter Holiday I'm sure everything will have smoothed over. He just needs some time to wrap his heard around the idea of his little girl having a boyfriend."

"I don't know, Hermione, maybe I should write him, explain my intentions. Perhaps it will give him peace of mind."

Draco had been a parent and while he had never raised a little girl he understood where Mr. Granger was coming from and thought a letter might help him come to terms with their relationship.

"No, please Draco, just let it be."

Draco relented through reluctantly, "Alright, but I still think it would help." Draco pulled her hand to his lips and kissed it. "I love you."

"I love you too, Dragon." As their eyes locked, their feet stop and soon after found a quiet corner where Hermione's short break turned into a twenty-minuet snog.

XXX

The day of the second task had come and Draco was more nervous then he could remember being in a long time. Next to him Harry was scanning the crowd looking for Ginny, she and Hermione were nowhere in sight. Draco however new exactly where they were, not above in the stands but below deep in the depth of the Black Lake.

"I'm sure she's near by Harry," Draco reassured his friend.

"I don't see her anywhere." He sighed as he looked down at his fisted hand, which held a wad of Gillyweed.

"Have you tried that stuff out?" Draco asked in a whisper doing his best to revert his attention from his missing girlfriend.

Harry shook his head, "No. I probably should have though. What if this stuff permanently turns me into some sort of fish-man."

Despite Harry serious expression Draco couldn't help but laugh, "I think you'll be fine."

"Easy for you to say," Harry mumbled.

It was at that moment Draco noticed Bagman suddenly appear beside Harry, whispering something into his ear. He also notices, Percy Weasley, who was close behind seemed to be trying, and not very stealthy, to hear what Bagman was saying to Harry. In response to whatever Bagman asked, Harry nodded and said, "Yeah". The older wizard then gave Harry's shoulder a quick squeeze before returning to the judge's table. Percy followed quickly behind.

"Everything okay," Draco asked Harry who suddenly looked quite pale."

"Harry snorted and shrugged, "Not really but there's not like there's much I can do about it. I just want this to be over with."

"Yeah, me too. Hey. Harry, we really didn't talk about this," Draco said in a whispered voice, "But I think we should stick together, don't you."

Harry nodded, "Most definitely."

Bagman's voice suddenly boomed across the stands as he announced, "Well all our Champions are ready for the second task, which will start on my whistle. They have precisely and hour to recover what has been taken from them. On the count of three, then. One…two…three!"

At the sound of the whistle all four contestants jumped into the cold, murky water.

Draco immediately produced the bubble head charm then turning to his friend who had clasped his hands around his neck as gills formed just below his ears. It wasn't long before Harry truly was a fish-man. Draco swam up to his mate and motioned for them to get going, however just as they set off Draco felt to slimy hand grasp around his ankle.

Bloody grindylow Draco mentally hissed. Draco reached for his wand but before he could cast a spell Harry, with a quick "Relashio". He was surprised that instead a series of sparks shooting form his wand , jets of coiling watched streamed out pelting the menacing grindylow.

"Thanks!" Draco mouthed, as the creature scurried off into the depths.

Harry nodded and the two friends set off in search of their missing item; or so Harry though that was what they were searching for. He had thought maybe they took his broomstick or maybe the photo album of his parents. That was probably the most precious thing he owned.

Draco had always been a strong swimmer however he had only swam in pools. He had always known what lives in the Black lake, there were numerous books on the subject but to see it first hand was certainly something. Aside form the grindylows, which were nasty, ugly and mean-tempered creatures, they saw several types of fish, and some interesting plant life. He had yet to see a mermaid or the Giant Squid. The real issue was that Draco honestly had no idea where to do. He hadn't done this before and really had no idea which way to go. He tried a 'point me' but it didn't seem to be working.

"How's it going?"

Draco's head whipped around to see Moaning Mertyl, a silly little grin on her translucent face.

Harry shrugged and tried to reply, but nothing came out. Mertyl giggled and said, "You'll want to try over there," she said pointing, "I wont come with you…I don't like them much, they always chase me when I get to close…"

Harry gave her a thumbs up to show his thanks and off he went, Draco following closely behind.

Draco will never forget the terrified look on Harrys face when he saw Ginny's seemingly lifeless body dangling in the murky water. Tethered to the ground by a thick rope and guarded by pitchfork carrying Mermaids. After shaking off the shock, Harry copied Draco who had gone to untie Hermione. All of the other 'prisoners' were still there so it seemed Draco and Harry had been the first to arrive.

"What about the others?" Harry mouth to Draco as he took Ginny into his arms.

It was at that very moment that a petite figure caught Draco's Peripheral vision. It was the girl from Beaubaxtons.

Taking Hermione's hand Draco began to swim toward the surface. Harry quickly got the hint and did the same.

XXX

As soon as they reached the surface both Hermione and Ginny took in a deep breath of air, Harry had pulled Ginny into a fierce hug while Draco smiled up at his girl and asked if she was okay?

"I think so. Cold," She said with a shiver.

"You did it, Draco!"

Draco looked up to see his two good mates, Crabb and Goyle, each with a towel in hand. Crabb put it over Draco's shoulder and Goyle handed the other to Hermione.

Goyle grinned and added, "Theo owes me 5 galleons."

Draco just laughed and shook his head. During his first life time he had actually bet 10 galleons that Potter would come in dead last and another 5 that he wouldn't make it out alive. Looking back, he knew he had made the bet based on nothing more then his hatred for The-Boy-Who-Lived, it was a seriously stupid move. Of course he did a lot of stupid things back then.

As they waited for the final two Champions to return and Harry had fully recovered as his time as a man-fish, the young Gryffindor decided that he needed to, and very loudly, voice his opinion about what exactly he thought of the important 'item' they made them retrieve. Draco, too had thought, even during his first life time, that involving innocent people, no matter the precautions taken, was not the best idea. Accidents do happen, even with the best of intentions.

"Are you people out of your bloody minds!" He had yelled his emerald eyes a lit with a fury as he exploded at Bagman, Professor Dumbledore and the other judges. "You said you took something important for us to retrieve, somethingimportant? Are you kidding? She's not a thing, she's not my a racing broom or-or a Chocolate Frog card. She's a human being. You all are insane!"

"Harry," Dumbledore spoke softly, placing a gentle hand on his shoulder, "she was perfectly safe, they all were."

Harry didn't reply but just shook his head as he took out his wand and placed a warming charm on his girlfriend and then on himself. Draco, then did the same thing to himself and Hermione.

Several moments later Krum surfaced with one of his good friends and then Aimee, the French girl with the boy she had taken to the ball. They had all made it in under the hour mark, Draco had come in first, followed seconds later by Harry, then Krum and then Aimee.

Harry didn't say a word after his rant, not even after he was declared second place! He simply took Ginny by the hand and marched back to the castle, refusing any questions or pictures by reporters.

XXX

A/N: Yes I know, it's been forever. Sorry. I ended up hurting my wrist pretty badly and eventually having surgery, so I was out of commission for a while, but I'm back. Hope you enjoy the chapter I tried to make it extra long for you all!