With enemies like these, who needs friends?
"There you go again, you spoiled brat! Go and take your money somewhere else for once. God!". Ron turned away and stormed down the corridor.
Harry sighed. Sometimes it was difficult to believe that Ron was not a child anymore. Everyone had hoped that his tantrums would grow rarer as puberty passed, but so far, they had just got worse.
Well, going back to the dormitory is out, then, Harry thought. And since Hermione had started crushing on Ron, she had started to side with him, even when he was obviously just throwing a fit.
That didn't leave many possibilities. If Harry visited Hagrid, he would just start asking questions where the other two were. The Quidditch pitch was off-limits too, with the Slytherins currently practising there.
The library!, Harry thought. As long as Hermione is off to calm down Ron, no one is going to be there on a sunny afternoon.
He made his way quietly across the floors of Hogwarts, deliberately dodging the more populated areas. Everyone needs some peace and quiet once in a while, right?
Finding the library as empty as he had hoped, he gave a quick nod to Madam Pince. Instead of heading for one of the Golden Trio's usual tables near the sunny windows, he strolled along into a more desolate section he hadn't been in before. Grabbing one harmless looking book, he read the title Elixirs of Nobility: Genealogy and Fertility potions.
That would explain it. For Potions essays, Harry would mostly rely on Hermione's notes. At least, you wouldn't fall asleep reading them like with most potion books. Shoving the thoughts of his wayward friend aside, he went further and further into the Potions section. Apparently most students shunned the subject as much as he did, most of the shelves slowly dusting over from neglect.
This will do brilliantly, Harry thought as he found some reading niches that could be curtained off with thick and lush ivy felt curtains.
Whisking aside a half-closed curtain, he went to sit down on the half-round bench. Only then did he discover that he was not alone. On the other side of the wooden table sat a wide-eyed blond student sporting the Slytherin green and silver, stifling a gasp at being so harshly ripped from her reverie.
"Bloody hell, Potter, give a girl some warning", she promptly whispered, a hand raised to her heart.
Harry's eyes tightened. Daphne Greengrass, he thought. One of Malfoy's lackeys, and always has been. He edged away from her on the bench.
"What are you doing here, Greengrass?", he asked.
Having recovered from the shock, Daphne looked him up and down and concluded: "Apparently the same as you. Hiding from your...friends, are you?." The acerbic tone was not lost on Harry.
"What do you mean?", Harry retorted confusedly.
"Well, that berk Weasley has been yelling even more then usual. When even the Slytherins start to notice something like that in the Great Hall, there's got to be rumours starting, you know?"
Harry was surprised. "Why do you pay any kind of attention to the Gryffindors? I thought all Slytherins hated our guts?"
"I'm not denying that. But knowledge is power, and angry people like Weasley are usually easy to rile up, bribe, or something like that. For us snakes, that's right down our alley."
Harry could see what she meant. "But why do you have to hide from him, he probably doesn't even know who you are?"
Daphne snorted. "I'm not hiding from him, dimwit. I...have my own friends to avoid." She looked to the folded hands in her lap.
Harry's features softened. Throwing a look outside the alcove, he said softly: "Well, then let's hide together, shall we?".
Seeing her nod, he drew the curtain closed completely, leaving only light to shine through the top and bottom of their cocoon-like enclosure.
Daphne fetched her wand, and before Harry's survival instinct could kick in to make him do the same, she had faced the curtain and muttered two privacy spells.
"Those will hold for about an hour.", she said. "An old family secret of mine...dead useful and necessary in Slytherin."
In the dim light, Harry felt a lot more safe and secluded from the outside world. Meanwhile, he could see a lot less of his partner-in-hiding. He edged closer. "Let's put both our wands down, shall we?", he asked of her.
"You don't trust me.", she stated. "Well, why should you, anyway." Laying down her wand on the table, the tip facing herself, she had made the first move.
Harry was suspicious, but followed in suit. "You don't act like your reputation would suggest. Aren't you working for Malfoy?"
Daphne fidgeted. "I don't...but I did. The Malfoys and the Greengrasses are affiliated and have been for generations. The only reason I haven't been bartered off as his wife-to-be was that the Parkinsons are more loaded than my family."
Harry shook his head in disbelief. Sometimes, the wizarding world was just too backwards for him to understand.
"So since age eleven, I was told to keep up the good relations with the Malfoys, going around with his gang of thugs, pointing fingers and shouting insults." Daphne rattled off distraughtly.
"I loathed every second of it. My parents are allied with the Malfoys for the political influence, not that blood purity nonsense. Or well, they were." Her lips curved upward, but her smile didn't reach her eyes. "For better or worse, our families are now on neutral ground. Apparently, supporting Voldemort
again have finally made my father see the light, and call of relations."
Harry was impressed. He hadn't learned much about pureblood politics from the Weasley clan, but at least the light side had one less enemy now...and maybe even one more ally.
"So now you're public enemy number one in Slytherin.", he reasoned.
"Freedom at the price of losing all your friends", she trilled. "It sounds sappy, but that's exactly what happened. You see, I have all the more reason to be here than you.", she harrumphed. She gave him a playful shove towards the curtain. He bulked at her playfulness, and stayed just where was.
"You're taking this surprisingly well", he remarked. "If I lost all my friends, I would be...depressed for a week."
"Well, you have to see it my way: They weren't really my friends by choice in the first place. I just happened to get along with them OK. And hey, when do you ever get a chance to start fresh from scratch. It might be a great opportunity to find friends that were off-limits before...especially across House borders." She raised her eyebrow suggestively.
Harry blushed. Surely she wasn't trying to flirt with her ex-mortal-enemy?
"You know, if I suddenly turn up with a Slytherin ...friend, I'm going to be ostracised as badly as you were? And also...", he gave her an obvious once-over, resting his eyes at the more obvious of her curves, "...if I turn up with the most beautiful of the snakes on my arm, there's going to rumours about the two of us. And you don't really want to face all of those, do you?". He wiggled his eyebrows. "I can imagine them right now: 'Parselmouth finds green grass snake!' and the likes."
Daphne grinned. "Well, it would do some good for house unity, and shake everyone up a bit. I can't even remember the last Gryffindor-Slytherin friendship, not to mention...anything more.", she said looking away blushing.
"So how about it...shall we keep hiding here or teach them all a lesson?", Harry asked.
In answer, Daphne grabbed her wand and undid her privacy spells, handing him his own wand, the back end towards him. "Hiding doesn't solve any problems." She stood up, Harry shortly behind her.
"Problems are only solved by actions", she said, grabbing his hand and interlocking their fingers.
Dragging Harry behind her, reluctant, but sporting a Cheshire-like grin, she sauntered towards the exit of the library.
Bringing them to a halt just in front of the great doors, she turned towards him. Before he could crash into her, she had leaned on the balls of her feet and gave him a peck on the lips. "Let's show them."