Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter. I wouldn't have ever written such a stupid epilogue.
Summary: Harry overhears a conversation between his two best friends which leaves him in tatters. He then happens to meet a certain Slytherin witch. This story will involve Ron and Ginny bashing. I don't think I'll be bashing Dumbledore in this one though. Unlike my other stories, Hermione will be a key character in this story. Do not expect too much action as my major focus will be on relationships. I've kept the initial pairing as HP/DG but that is subject to change.
An Unexpected Alliance
Both Ronald Weasley and Hermione Granger were seated on the couch in the Common Room as they waited for their friend Harry Potter to show up after another lesson with Albus Dumbledore.
Hermione was reading a book on Runes whereas Ron was fiddling with his chess set. After a little while, he looked at Hermione and blurted out,
"Hey Hermione, can I ask you something?"
She put aside the book she was reading, "Go ahead, Ron."
Ron was a little nervous when he spoke next, "Well, as you know me and Lavender aren't together anymore. I was… well I was wondering whether you would like to take her place or something."
"What do you mean by 'take her place', Ron?"
Ron responded, "Well, you know, you could be my girlfriend and we could snog and all that. I even shagged Lavender once and that was fun. Maybe we can try that too."
Hermione managed to somehow control her emotions after Ron's extremely distasteful proposal, "I don't think so, Ron. I'm sorry."
During her rather awkward rejection, both of them failed to notice that their raven haired friend, Harry Potter had entered the Common Room and was now listening in on their conversation.
Ron was stunned by her response. He had expected her to say yes and was looking forward to a snogging session on the couch, "Why the hell not? The whole year you have spent pining after me. You were jealous of me and Lavender. You also asked me to Slughorn's Christmas party and you also released those stupid birds on me when you thought I was making out with Lavender. You have finally got your chance now, so why don't you want to take it? "
Hermione chose to remain calm, and it was taking a lot internal struggle on her part to do so, "Yes, at the beginning of the year I had thought that your were potential boyfriend material. You were the only guy who was showing any interest in me, and I thought that we could give it a shot. However, based on what's transpired this year, I don't think we can be together in that way, Ron. It was foolish of me to think that I would ever be compatible with someone like you."
Ron was rather angry now, "It's because of Krum, isn't it? Ginny told me you snogged him. Did you shag him as well then? You don't think I would be 'compatible' enough in the sack?"
Hermione jumped up from the couch and it looked as if she was about to slap Ron, "What is wrong with you, Ron? I always knew you were mean, but I never expected you to say such hurtful things. I never even kissed Krum, you git!"
Harry had heard enough. He was about to interfere when he heard Ron say, "It's Harry then, isn't it? Even though he is with Ginny, you have your sights set on him, don't you?"
Harry realized that for some reason he found himself eagerly awaiting Hermione's response. He knew that he shouldn't be eavesdropping on his friend's conversation, but he couldn't help himself.
Hermione snapped, "Oh come off it, Ron. We both know that Ginny is with Harry just for the sake of his fame. That was pretty evident after we caught Ginny snogging Seamus in that broom closet. Everyone other than Harry knows that she really is a…"
"Don't talk about my sister like that!" Ron interrupted her before she could say the word. He then added "And that didn't answer my question. This is about Harry, isn't it?"
Hermione let out a small huff, "My relationship with Harry is none of your business, Ron!"
Ron felt another surge of jealousy as he spoke again, "I knew it! It's always about bloody Harry. He has everything that he wants. Money, fame, girls…"
Hermione interrupted him, "He also has a death sentence hanging over his head, you idiot. Girls may be willing to be with him for a short term, but do you really think any girl will get into a long term relationship with him once she knows the risks? The odds are stacked against him."
"Why should he care about long term? He still gets to snog and shag whoever he wants." replied Ron, proving yet again that he had the emotional range of a teaspoon.
Hermione had lost her patience now. "You're incorrigible!" she screamed before stomping away to her dormitory, leaving a confused Ron Weasley wondering about what she meant by 'incorrigible'.
Ron was unsure whether to be happy or to be sad. He was sad that he wouldn't be doing any snogging tonight. He was also happy that Hermione hadn't snogged Krum and didn't want to snog Harry either. In his confused state of mind, he decided that perhaps some food would help. He suddenly remembered a box of Chocolate Frogs that way lying in his trunk, and darted off to his dormitory.
Harry Potter was speechless. He was stunned after what he had heard.
Ron was still the same old jealous git that he used to be in the fourth year. He wasn't all that surprised by that. He also wasn't surprised to hear that Ginny had been snogging other boys. Their relationship was only a couple of weeks old, but the spark had already gone. Lately, he had found himself wondering why he had even started a relationship with Ginny in the first place.
The main reason for his shocked state of mind was the girl who had always been at his side for the last six years. Hermione thought that he was going to die at the hands of Voldemort. The one person who had accompanied him into every danger didn't believe that he was capable of crossing the final hurdle.
He was on the verge of tears, and he knew that he needed to sit down and evaluate what he had heard. He opened the portrait door and left the Common Room.
As he approached the shore of the Great Lake, he was a little surprised to see that someone was already seated there. As he went a little further, he saw that it was a girl who seemed to be crying with her head in her lap.
He had enough problems of his own to sort out, and thus decided to turn back and head to his dormitory. However, another deep sob made him stop in his tracks. Curiosity got the better of him, and he approached the girl and sat down next to her.
After a while, the girl lifted her head and stared straight at the lake. She hadn't yet realized that Harry was seated next to her. As Harry took a look at her, he recognized who she was. The girl who was crying was none other than Daphne Greengrass, the supposed 'Ice Princess' of Hogwarts. He wasn't sure about what had really got her that title but figured that it was something to do with her aloof and distant attitude. He had never really talked to her, but based on her reputation, he was more than a little surprised to see her crying.
He was lost in his thoughts when she spoke, "What are you doing here, Potter?"
He responded, "I have the same question for you, Greengrass. The last thing I expected was to find a witch sobbing near the Great Lake in the middle of the night."
"Just get lost, Potter." she snapped as she let out another sniff.
Harry was a little taken aback by the venom in her voice. He thought about leaving, but decided that it wouldn't be right. His 'saving people thing' didn't allow him to.
He tried again, "You know, if you want to talk about whatever it is that has you depressed, I'm right here."
She looked at him for a few moments while she pondered over his offer. Harry saw that behind the tears was an exceptionally beautiful face with bright blue eyes.
She responded, "No thanks, Potter. It would be best if you leave me alone."
Harry was surprised, but didn't let it show on his face, "Fine, have it your way," he retorted before getting up and heading towards the castle.
He had only taken a few steps, when he heard her voice, "Potter, wait…"
He turned around and quietly went and sat down next to her again. As soon as he sat down, she asked, "Why should I talk to you, Potter?"
Harry replied, "Because you want to," and then he added with a little bit of a grin, "Also because finding someone to talk to at this time of the night might be a tad bit difficult."
Harry thought he had heard her chuckle, but when he saw her face, it was still expressionless. She had stopped crying, but judging by her look it seemed as if she would break down again.
She spoke in a monotone, "I just got news that my parents are dead, Potter. The Dark Lord killed them."
For the second time that night, Harry Potter found himself to be speechless. He just stared at the girl whose tears had started to fall again. He soon composed himself and realized that he was supposed to comfort the crying girl. However, he was unsure of how to go about it.
He finally decided to express his condolences first, "I'm really sorry to hear that."
She continued sobbing and Harry started feeling extremely uneasy. He wondered what his next step should be. He knew that he needed to say something and asked, "Who was the one who gave you the news? You know, just in case if it may have been a false alarm."
Daphne didn't respond for some time as she was wiping off the tears from her face. When she was done with that, she replied in the same monotone, "It was our house elf, Sadie. She saw them get tortured and killed."
Before she could break down again, he gathered up his courage and put his arm around her shoulders, pulling her closer. She didn't resist and just gave in to his embrace. He had suffered the pain of being an orphan, and knew that this was the right thing to do. He didn't really know the girl well enough, but was certain that she would appreciate it.
They just sat still for a few moments, both of them gazing at the lake. Harry had a question on his mind, but he wasn't sure that whether it would be appropriate to ask, given the current circumstances. After giving it some thought, he decided to ask, "Why did he kill them? What had they done to offend him?"
"They refused to join him, Potter. My parents were always neutral in the war and had no intentions of choosing sides. The Dark Lord didn't like that. So he killed them." she replied.
Harry was surprised at the lack of emotions in her voice. It was evident that she still hadn't gotten over the initial shock. He decided to put forth a suggestion, "I think it would be best if I take you to Dumbledore. He will know what to do. You will get through this, Greengrass"
She responded, "No, I don't want anything to do with Dumbledore. I don't trust him."
Harry tried to convince her, but she wouldn't agree, "I got the news this evening, Potter, and since then I have given my current situation a lot of thought. The best option for me would be to see out the school year and then leave the country."
Harry argued, "Even if you run away, you will not be safe Greengrass. I am sure that Dumbledore will be able to find you a proper safe-house."
She snorted in response, "I hardly want to run away, Potter. The only reason that I'm leaving the country is so that I can train without any interference. I want to see the world of magic outside Britain. I want to learn so that when I do make a return to Britain I will be capable enough to avenge the death of my parents. I'll make the Dark Lord pay."
Harry had thought she was doing a runner and was quite surprised by the determination in her voice. He questioned, "And how do you plan on taking this revenge?"
"I'll train first and then I'll kill him."
Harry was again stunned by the simplicity of her statement. However, he didn't want her to fight a battle which he knew she'd already lost, "You can't do that, Greengrass. I'm sorry."
She snapped, "You're no one to tell me about what I can or can't do, Potter. I'll have you know that I'm a very capable witch. If I train hard enough, why can't I kill him?"
"Because I am the only one who can."
Daphne's head snapped up from its resting position on Harry's shoulder. He was still holding her and soon found himself staring into her blue eyes. Harry thought about whether he should tell her the prophecy, and decided that there was no reason not to. He recited,
"The one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord approaches ... born to those who have thrice defied him, born as the seventh month dies ... and the Dark Lord will mark him as his equal, but he will have power the Dark Lord knows not ... and either must die at the hand of the other for neither can live while the other survives ... the one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord will be born as the seventh month dies ..."
It didn't take her long to figure out what the prophecy implied. She didn't cry and she didn't even show him any sympathy.
Her only response was, "So, you're actually the Chosen One?"
"Yes, for once the Daily Prophet got it spot on." said Harry with a fake laugh.
Daphne didn't respond while she mulled things over in her mind. Soon she was done, "I want to help."
Harry hesitated on hearing her offer. He knew that Dumbledore wouldn't be too pleased when he found that she knew the prophecy. With a little bit of uncertainty, he replied, "I'm sorry, Greengrass. I don't think you can. I'm getting some help from Dumbledore and I'll also have my other friends…"
Harry paused and then a pained expression came on his face. Daphne who had removed herself from his embrace was about to burst with anger on hearing his rejection. However, she noticed his expression and managed to calm down for a bit. It was clear that something was not right between Potter and his friends.
"You don't sound too convinced about your friends, Potter. Is there a problem?"
Harry was once again faced with a dilemma of how much to tell her. He was already uncomfortable with the idea that he had told the prophecy to someone who he didn't really know. He decided that he would keep his other problems to himself.
He spoke in a rather stiff voice, "No, nothing is wrong."
Daphne was quick to detect his lie. His voice was a dead giveaway, "Oh come off it, Potter. There is no point in being so secretive. If there is a problem, then let me know. I'll try my best to help you sort it out."
When he didn't respond, she continued, "You just comforted me in one of my weakest moments, Potter. The least I can do is help you with your problem and return the favor."
Harry found his resolve crumbling and then finally blurted out, "My supposed girlfriend is cheating on me. Ron is still a childish jealous prat and the person who I value more than anyone else, Hermione thinks that I'm going to die at the hands of Voldemort."
Daphne just said, "Tell me everything."
And Harry did just that, telling her about the conversation that he had overheard. He then told her about the behavior of his two best friends over the last year. Ron had decided to suck face with Lavender Brown and hardly had any time for him. As for Hermione, she had become bitter and distant in the last year, fighting with him over trivial matters such as Potions grades. Ever since he had told them the prophecy, they seemed to have distanced themselves from him. He should have seen it coming.
Daphne listened patiently and attentively. She had always thought of the male Weasley as a jealous, thoughtless prat. Granger's behavior was rather puzzling though. She was also surprised to hear about the female Weasley and her antics. She couldn't help but feel that both her and Harry had lost important people in their lives that day. Her parents were dead and that people who Harry regarded as his family no longer seemed to care for him.
When Harry finished, Daphne gave him a crushing hug. Harry's tale had melted the Ice Princess.
Once Harry had withdrawn from the hug, Daphne spoke up, "You know you can't fight this war alone, Potter. He is too strong."
Harry nodded his acceptance. After a few moments of deliberation he took a decision,
"I'll take all the help that I can get"
(A/N: So what did you think of the start? Where would you like the story to go? What is your preferred pairing?
I would love to know all this and more. Please do review!
I'm also giving the readers an option between shorter chapters with faster updates or longer chapters with slower updates. What's your choice?
As for my other story, "The Power Triangle", the next chapter is still in the works and should be up sooner rather than later.
Thanks for reading!)