Chapter 5: Acquaintances

A/N: Reviewers have said that Astoria and Tracey are interesting characters, so what better way to put them on display then like this? This is going to be an interesting lunch. And there may be action later in the chapter, or maybe in the next chapter, depending how long I make this one. I shan't say anymore.

Three Slytherins and a Gryffindor descended into the basement of Hogwarts, none of them making much conversation.

"Potter, where the hell are we going? This leads to the Hufflepuff dorms." Astoria said, displeased on principle. Daphne glared at her sister, and Tracey rolled her eyes at both of them.

"We are heading towards the kitchen, actually. I… have a man on the inside" Harry chuckled. Even Astoria looked curious at that. Soon after arriving at the painting and tickling the pear, Harry led them into a room as massive as the Great Hall, with elves bustling everywhere and kitchenware floating around. At one end there was a huge fireplace. Before they could look at anything closely, however, there was a pop and Dobby the house elf immediately latched on to Harry's leg, already uttering praises.

"Harry Potter sir is visiting Dobby. Harry Potter is the greatest wizard ever! Dobby wishes Harry Potter would take Dobby to be his elf. Dobby wishes nothing more than to work for Harry Potter sir!" The little elf spoke very fast.

"Uh… Well… Do you really want to?"

"Oh yes Harry Potter sir, Dobby be doing anything to work for kind and noble wizard like Harry Potter."

"Well, Hermione's not around to criticize. How would I… accept you as my elf?" Astoria, Daphne, and Tracey could only look on in astonishment as Harry Potter gained a house elf.

"Harry Potter is needing only to say so, and Dobby be doing the rest," Dobby nodded his head and his ears flapped.

"Alright. I accept Dobby as my house elf." Dobby snapped his fingers, and a tendril of magic arced quickly between them, leaving Harry feeling roughly the same as before. As Dobby began to feel his change in allegiance, tears sprang to his huge eyes and he began to cry.

"Dobby is having greatest master ever, Master Harry Potter sir! Dobby be doing anything Master Harry Potter sir needs!" The Slytherins looked on in amusement and shock as the elf babbled.

"Er, that's great Dobby, I think I'd like you to keep working here until I need you to do something else." Dobby's ears flapped as he once again nodded his assent vigorously. "For now though, my friends and I need some lunch. Can you get us something in the Room of Requirement? WAIT, don't leave! Can you pop us there first?"

"Dobby is taking Master Harry Potter Sir and his friends to Come and Go Room now." A short pop later, they stood on the seventh floor, looking around.

"Uh, Potter, where are we?" This time it was Daphne who asked, but she was lacking her sister's malice.

"Oh! Uh, we're on the seventh floor, that right there is Barnabus the Barmy, and behind this wall here is the Come and Go Room, or the Room of Requirement-"

"THIS is where it is? Where Dumbledore's Army was held?" Daphne interrupted.

"Yeah. Not a lot of people know about it, but it's dead useful, and I figured, if you three have trusted me this far," Harry says, glancing at Astoria, who had predictably pursed her lips, "then it's only fair that I give a little back. What you do is, you walk up and down the hall three times while thinking of the kind of room you need, and the Room becomes exactly what you need." The girls stared in wonder as The Boy-Who-Lived paced in front of a bare wall, and in complete astonishment as a magnificent door seemingly melted into place on the wall.

"You all look like you thought I was lying or something?" Harry outright laughed and waved them in. "Come on, I think you'll like it in here."

In the Gryffindor common room, the two youngest members of the Weasley clan were having a tête-à-tête.

"He came to Hogsmeade with me, but it wasn't the same Harry, Ron!"

"What are you talking about? He's always been the same Harry."

"No, he was… different. More confident, and he didn't let me choose where we went and what we did. And he was flirty, and I just wasn't used to it at all…"

"You're right, he's not usually like that. He's usually always saying all of his 'oh I wish I had parents instead of money' crud."

"Ron! He's… well, all right, he's like that, yeah. Anyway, so we went to Scrivenshaft's, and he flirted with the counter help!"

"Harry? Harry would never do that. Hell, Harry can't even properly talk to a girl. Are you sure you're not just over-reacting?"

"No, I swear, Ron, he flirted with her, like he would've asked her out if I wasn't there. Then he wanted to go to some other stores, but I was thirsty, so I made him go to the Three Broomsticks, but it was really full-"

"Oh yeah, I was in there" Ron sniggered.

"Stop interrupting!" Ginny huffed. "Anyway, so it was really full, so I took him to Madam Puddifoot's." Ron's eyes widened.

"No way! That place is so creepy!"

"Well that's when it all went to hell, Ron. He didn't want to go in, something about there being too much pink-"

"Well, I'm with him on that one at least. That place give me jitters just thinking about it."

"I told him we were meant to be together, but he wouldn't listen." Ginny began to sob. "Mum said if I tried harder, he'd realize the truth. But he DIDN'T!" Ginny began to half-heartedly punch her brother in the chest.

"Ginny. Ginny, ow!" Ron tried to hug his sister.

"And I told him," Ginny sniffed, "that I've been waiting for years to get together with him, but he wouldn't l-l-listen!"

"Ssh, I know, I know. Harry's changed, we're not as close as we used to be, he makes me angry all the time. And this, I can't believe he would do this to you. We've both got a few bones to pick with that arse!"

In the Room of Requirement, Dobby had served up a sumptuous meal, and the three Slytherins had loosened up considerably around Harry, even Astoria, as much as could be expected of her. At least she kept the snide remarks to a minimum. The Room's interior was lavishly decorated in both Gryffindor and Slytherin colours, with elegant black furniture lining each wall, and huge banners with the two corresponding house crests hung on opposite walls. A huge window covered the upper half of the wall they were facing. The teens talked about anything and everything for a while. Astoria, finally, after nearly 30 minutes of keeping still and saying nothing, had eaten her fill.

"This had been my greatest pleasure, Potter," she says rolling her eyes, "but I have things I need to get done, so if you'll excuse me." She turned and left without another word.

The remaning three sat in silence for a while. Finally Harry couldn't take it anymore. "Well, at least we know I'm Astoria's favourite!" he joked, wading through the tension. Tracey and Daphne laughed, but Harry could tell that Daphne was less than pleased with her sister's negative attitude. Tracey stood up suddenly after another silence where Harry had begun to stare at the two girls.

"OKAY. I can't take it anymore. Daphne, I've always been straightforward with you. So… what really happened on the train?" Daphne's eyes widened, and she immediately looked to Harry accusingly.

"How could you, Potter! You knew how it would make me look-" she raged at him.

"Actually, Daphne, he didn't tell me anything. I found out by accident, and then I kind of made him confirm what I had overheard. You see, Harry and Malfoy had a little rendezvous in front of our common room."

"Well, we bumped into each other, really, is what happened." Harry added, hoping to defuse the situation. It worked as Daphne forgot about her previous anger and was now looking only interested.

"Right, they ran into each other, and had words… about you. And what he did on the train. And then, uh…" she looked to Harry for the go-ahead to finish her story. Harry nodded and shrugged. "And then they duelled. It was… quite violent, actually." Harry looked downcast at being portrayed as violent, and Tracey became concerned. "Don't get me wrong though Harry, I'm happy you stood up for Daph!" And so she began to explain the details of the duel, and Harry watched her reactions. Her eyes widened when she heard about the massive exchange of knives, and she had to sit down when Tracey described how they had traded Cruciatuses.

"And then he said, 'you've shown me yours, now let me show you mine!' Oh he looked so HOT saying that!" Tracey smiled mischievously at Harry, and he blushed a small amount as he raised an eyebrow at Daphne, who shrugged and smiled slightly as if to apologize for her best friend. Harry, in that moment, decided to a good one over on both girls, and since Tracey had just gotten up to refill her goblet, this was a perfect opportunity. She had to walk right in front of where he was sitting to get to the table, and so on her way back, his wand slid partially into his hand, and he shot a slight tripping jinx at Tracey's leg, managing to produce only a small glow that went unnoticed by either girl. Tracey squealed and automatically reached out to the nearest object to hold on, Harry in this case. He caught her with all the dexterity of the Seeker he was, managing not to grab onto any of her womanly assets as she inadvertently spilled the entirety of her goblet onto his shirt, exactly what he had wanted. Daphne began to laugh hysterically, and Tracey soon joined in. Now, Harry knew he wasn't at all the worst looking bloke, so he stood up, and pulled off his shirt. Tracey and Daphne's laughter died in their throats and they both turned bright red and stared at his exposed torso.

Acting as casual as possible, Harry called for Dobby. "Dobby!" The little elf popped into existence directly in front of him. "We've had a little spill, do you think you can clean this and get me another one from my dorm?"

"Dobby be doing that right away, Master Harry Potter Sir!"

"DOBBY! Please just call me Harry, it's making me feel like Dumbledore."

"Yes Master Harry Potter Sir!" Dobby popped away while Harry was still shaking his head in amusement. He turned back around to the girls, and found them still red and still staring at him. He moved closer to the couch they were sitting on.

"Don't you know it's not polite to stare?" Harry chuckled and both girls's eyes' widened dramatically before they began to inspect their shoes meticulously. "I was only joking, keep your shirts on" Harry continued to chuckle. "Or don't." He quirked an eyebrow at them. Daphne, as red as ever, managed to look him in the eye for a second.

"Why, Mr. Potter, that's the second time you've said that to me. I'm beginning to think you do actually want me to take my shirt off." She quirked her own eyebrow right back. Harry committed fully to this "Sirius business" when he replied, getting close enough to whisper.

"I think we should save that until at least the second date, don't you think?" Daphne turned even redder as Dobby popped back into the Room with a clean shirt. "Thank you Dobby" he chirped cheerfully, diverting his attention from the black-haired girl standing redfaced in the middle of the room. Tracey was as surprised as anybody that what she had heard about the Boy-Who-Lived was mostly false. He was not nearly as full of himself as the other Slytherins had said, and obviously not as shy as the rest of the school insisted. It was a pleasant surprise, to say the least.

The night had worn on, so the three decided that it was time to retire for the night. They made their way down to the dungeons, Harry had been adamant on walking them, not wanting them to end up cannon fodder for Malfoy or some other enterprising young Death Eater. Daphne walked into the common room first, a very agreeable fact for Harry's wandering gaze.

As she went in, Tracey tugged his sleeve and whispered to him. "Stay here a second, we need to talk." Harry nodded, but she didn't notice. So he leaned against the wall, and waited. A minute passed. Then five minutes. He was beginning to think that maybe she wasn't coming, when suddenly the door opened, and out came the same blonde Slytherin girl. She leaned against the wall with him for a moment before speaking.

"So when are you going to ask her out?" Harry blinked, and smirked. So this is how it was going to be. Alright.

"What makes you think I want to?"

"I have good ears, Potter. I heard what you said. And even if I hadn't, you pulled that stunt with the shirt just for her." Harry blinked again, surprised that she had seen through it.

"Stunt? What stunt?"

"You tripped me so I'd spill my drink and you'd get to make her blush!" Harry smirked, having formulated the perfect way of wiggling out of this situation.

"How could I have done it? I would've had to cast a spell, and you didn't see a wand or the flash of a spell, did you?"

Tracey's brow furrowed and she looked disappointed. "I guess maybe it was an accident then."

He moved in close to her, almost at kissing distance. "Oh no no, I made it happen alright." He moved a tiny bit closer, feeling her breath on his cheek. "But maybe I did it for you?" He heard Tracey swallow and when she began to turn red, he decided she had had enough. He jumped back to leaning against the wall. "Nah, you were right. I did it for Daphne." Tracey huffed and slapped his arm in relief.

"You great prat!" Harry laughed at her indignant face. "Do it soon, I want to see the explosive romance."

"Don't you think I should take it slow?"

"I don't see why you should," Tracey shrugged. Harry shrugged too.

"Good night, Tracey."

"Good night Harry. You better do it soon, or else I might jump you myself." She grinned, and Harry blinked and then grinned at her retreating back. This whole girls thing isn't nearly as bad as he had thought. Today, some progress. Tomorrow, the world!

A/N: Haha, Harry's finally a bit of a ladies man, like I've always wanted him to be. Don't misunderstand, this is still HPDG. But it's an awesome roundabout way to the HPDG. But it will be goooood when it gets there. Next chapter features excitement. Chapter 6: A Day in the Life.

R&R please and thanks!