Disclaimer: I own nothing and am making no profit.

Acknowledgments: Onichun and Commiles2003 for the beta work.

The Pure-Blood Princess

Chapter 1

Fifth year was boring. There really wasn't any way around it. I suppose anything would be anti-climatic after the Triwizard Tournament, but it certainly hadn't been fun. Hell, the highlight of it had to have either been the quidditch brawl between the Weasleys and Malfoy or the Weasleys leaving. And I don't give props to Gryffindors often. Especially not those pricks. Usually Potter does something stupid that screws the rest of the school and somehow rewards him. I think he tried this year, but it doesn't seem like anything particularly came of it.

It was almost annoying they'd left. I hadn't managed to get them back for that cruel prank they'd pulled on my sister simply because she had a green tie. She'd cried in her room for nearly a week. One day, I'd get them back. But for now, they got away clean.

The OWLs had been a bit easier than I'd expected. I floundered a bit in defense. But that has to be expected, right? I mean how could anyone in my year, or even the school, have had any type of success? Stupid incompetent teachers. We spent a year on a text that a first year could have read in a month! And past that it was about as outdated as an arranged marriage! Of course, an arranged marriage was probably the only way Umbridge could get laid, so perhaps she just liked antiquated old methods. It doesn't matter, though. The defense grades will be so horrid that there's no possible way she can actually come back for another year. Hopefully her replacement won't be as bad.

Actually, better idea. Hopefully my Defense Against the Dark Arts grade is so bad I don't have to take the class again. Honestly, that's the one thing Umbridge had right. It wasn't like people were just walking down Diagon Alley zapping each other with spells. And I frankly doubt that years of faulty defense training was a major deterrent.

I think I did well enough in my other subjects though. I screwed up some of my runes. Spent too much time on Latin and not enough time on Greek. My potion came out the wrong color, too, but you'll have that from time to time. And I don't particularly care about brewing. Mom's always giving me shit about that. She can't understand why I can be good at baking, and bad at brewing. Well, baking results in yummy food, brewing results in a professor leering at me.

What else is there? Oh, Muggle Studies. That was pretty straight forward. Kind of fun, actually, but I'd never admit that. They have some interesting things. Both my parents are rather progressive. Or so they say. I think they're just fascinated by television. Dad works with Muggles, you see. Our house has to appear like theirs. It has some perks.

It drew some flak when I invited most of my housemates, and everyone in my year, over for a summer party after second year. But after a quick demonstration on how a lot of the stuff worked and they appeared to be charmed. At the very least it was like getting a shiny new toy for a couple of hours. Some of them asked about it later, most didn't. But that's my penance for having two eccentric former Ravenclaw parents.

Astronomy? Boring. I care about as much as my grade in that one as I do the fact that a teacher was attacked by Ministry thugs during the exam.

Transfiguration? Perfect. Easy. Unlike brewing it apparently runs in the family. Mom always said the class was easy to the point of being nearly boring. I have to agree with her. Charms, on the other hand, are useless. They don't work. I don't care what the stupid goblin says. They don't work. It's pure placebo. I'm never taking that stupid class again.

But I was talking about how the fifth year was boring. And it was. What else happened of note? Let me see. There was Potter's blundering romance with Cho Chang. That was fun to watch. Anyone with half a brain could see the inevitable implosion there. She just wanted him because he filled the Diggory void. Chang was strange, though. I often wondered why she was a Ravenclaw. She wasn't that smart. And she wasn't particularly pretty. And she cried way too much. Almost constantly. Suck it up, girl, shit happens. It's been a year since Diggory died, get over it! I really don't understand what boys see in her. They all must just have some strange fascination with Asian girls.

Still, watching Potter attempt to woo her was comical. From what I could tell, Chhang was practically throwing herself at him. Had he been anything near competent he'd have bedded her shortly after Christmas. But Harry Potter is far from competent. He's almost laughably uncomfortable around girls. I'm not sure if I've ever seen him form a coherent, complete sentence to a girl that wasn't Hermione. Really, all I know is that if I were the Gryffindor Patil, well, I'd have cursed him into next week at the Yule Ball. Not that my date was any better. But at least her date has soft pink squishy stuff inside his skull. Well, maybe I'm giving him too much credit.

Of course, it was fantastic that he stupidly got himself banned from quidditch. I still think we'd stomp them if we actually fielded the best possible team. But maybe the quality of broom does trump the quality of player. I don't know. I'm not a sports fan. I've actually never flown on a broom, and I have next to no interest in doing so.

What else happened? Well there was that whole bit over Christmas where one of my girlfriends asked about going all the way with her boyfriend. It got a bit annoying, really. See she started to ask, like she really wanted an opinion. But she had no interest in an opinion. She was just bragging to us that she was going to have sex. As I said, bit annoying.

Somewhere worked in there was the whole Harry Potter interview in the Quibbler. That was rather amusing. Although, I couldn't help but wonder if Potter knew just how petty it made him seem. Even I had to admit, his ability to ignore the Skeeter articles was impressive. But to respond with a Skeeter article against people he was knowingly at odds with. Well, it seemed that the Boy-Who-Lived was no longer taking the high road.

And then there was that whole Inquisition. Or whatever the hell they called themselves. That was strange. Handy, but strange. I will be the first to admit it is rather fun to be able to do whatever you want, despite not actually joining. But how dumb does a teacher have to be to assume that's going to accomplish anything. I'd almost feel bad for Potter if he wasn't such a prick. I'll at least empathize that it must be fairly annoying to have something out to get you every hear. I just wish something would actually succeed.

Still, fifth year was over. I was glad for it. Two to go. Maybe one if my Dad would let me drop out and do something more fun. Muggles go to school forever. And some of them just start teaching what they went to school for. That would be fun. Their wars are more interesting, too. Many of my housemates would love the class if they took the time to take it. We spent a week on what the Muggles refer to as The Great War. They're incredible at coming up with ways for killing themselves. Ruthless, too.

They come up with fantastic excuses for wars too. I suppose they have more things to fight for than the Wizarding World does. But there's certainly a self-righteous vibe of knowing what's right going through their stuff. Fighting over land and political theory, though, doesn't seem that much different than fighting over blood status.

And no matter what anyone tells you, I was not crying at any point when I read All Quiet on the Western Front or The Things They Carried. That's a heinous lie spread by my obnoxious friend. I mean, it's not like it's heartbreaking when O'Brien lets you into his fictional truth about men and wars, and admits that certain stories were truly his. I, uh. Yea, the inquisition. That's what I was thinking about. They'd screwed something up last night, but I hadn't bothered to figure out what it was yet.

But I figured I probably should. You learned quickly in my house that it was always better to know what was going on. It made it easier to make plans and figure out ways around things. And that was essential.

I didn't bother getting dressed before walking up the stairs that led to the common room. Almost the entire house was gathered in the common room. I noticed an open spot on the couch and plopped myself down in it with a lazy, early-morning yawn. The common room was a bit creepy. Something about it always just felt strange. But you grew accustomed to the skulls by your second year. That, or you had a breakdown thinking they were watching you. I'm serious. I've seen it. Although it may have just been the pressures of the NEWTs.

"What's up?" I asked, looking at the relatively somber faces. I got a few angry glances, but Draco Malfoy just held up a piece of paper.

"He's back," he sounded giddy. I yawned again. Draco wasn't a bad looking boy, but he rubbed me the wrong way. He had it all though. Charm, money, manners, and the looks. He'd probably be quite a bit better off if he didn't focus so much on trying to irritate Potter. The silly boy was too young to realize he could probably just charm the pants off of some of Potter's closer friends and irritate his rival through much more subtle means. For example, the youngest Weasley would be a fantastic target.

"Who's back?" I asked with another yawn. I ran a hand through my slightly greasy morning hair and winced a little at the thought of not showering or changing. But on the positive side, you had smell to worse than Crabbe and Goyle before anyone would notice, so I was good for a while. I hated the greasy hair feeling though

"The Dark Lord," Draco said solemnly. Usually he just said that the Dark Lord would return. Frankly, I didn't find that to be such a great thing. I mean I'm young, I'll be sixteen in August, but even I know full scale societal war doesn't often lead to the best of times for most people.

"For real?" I said, trying to sound happy. My parents hadn't particularly been involved in the first war. They'd been rather focused on their careers. A little too focused, perhaps, and it was quite the surprise when they realized they'd have another person to provide for less than a year after the wedding. They'd been busy. Honestly, I wasn't sure which side my parents would be on. They hadn't raised me to be as bigoted as most Pure Bloods were. I'd discovered that rather quickly at Hogwarts. And while my father worked with Muggles, and enjoyed some of their gadgets, he did think he was better than them. Of course, that total bigotry could have been just Malfoy and his little entourage. Ever since second year he'd been allowed to do nearly whatever he liked.

"Of course for real," he stared back at the paper. "They even have pictures." I rolled my eyes and tried to get a look at the paper he was admiring. I probably shouldn't have rolled my eyes like that. I'm sure someone saw my reaction. But it only mattered that Draco didn't. None of his little group would comment if he didn't. And frankly, with the way he was looking at the pictures of the Dark Lord in the paper, I could have been dressed up in the skimpiest harem girl costume in existence and dancing on a pole in front of him and he likely wouldn't notice.

"Let me see," I said after regaining my composure. Draco didn't look quite ready to give up his copy of the paper. I wondered if he'd frame it. Thankfully, one of the older students handed me his copy. I skimmed it. It couldn't be for real. The paper claimed Harry Potter led a small group of students into the ministry to attempt to retrieve something, where they were ambushed by Death Eaters. I couldn't help but wonder why the Ministry was so poorly guarded at night that a bunch of kids could sneak in, and be ambushed by some escaped felons.

Eventually, both the Dark Lord and Albus Dumbledore showed up and fought in the atrium, which resulted in massive amounts of property damage, which would almost assuredly come out of the taxpayers' vault. Once some ministry officials started to arrive, the Dark Lord fled. There was a list of captured Death Eaters at the end of the article. They had already been shipped off to Azkaban. I couldn't help but wonder why the response had taken so long too. Seemed like ministry guards should have arrived long before Dumbledore and Minister Fudge. Were they really so unprepared after the years of peace? That seemed like a particularly bad start for the unsuspecting good guys.

"I don't mean to be a bitch or anything," I said after a moment of scanning the article. "But it appears quite a few of your parents are heading to jail." My comment drew a few chuckles from some of the students. Including Draco.

"Mother wrote me this morning. The group of Death Eaters never made it to Azkaban. Such a shame the Ministry forgot to report about that," Draco said. I nodded a little bit. Really a poor start for the so called good guys.

"Fancy that," I said dryly, drawing more laughs from my housemates. I stared down at the animated picture of the Dark Lord turning toward the cameraman before fleeing the Ministry. It sent a chill down my spine. I didn't want to be part of a war. I wanted to have my own, happy life doing things I enjoyed. Maybe I wouldn't have to be involved. That would be for the best. Regardless, I handed the paper back to the older boy who'd offered it to me and stood up. I took a moment to fix the strap on the tank-top that served as my pajama shirt and shrugged as nonchalantly as I could.

"Well. Good news is always the best way to start off a day. But I'm going to go shower while you stay gathered around the paper. I'm surprised you're not off taunting Potter, to be honest, Draco." I said, stretching a bit as I stood up. I knew some of the boys were watching me rather intently. I liked it.

"I'm sure he's surrounded by Dumbledore today. Didn't fancy a run in with that. I'll bide my time," Draco said with a nod that indicated it was the best possible plan. I couldn't help but wonder how many of the other Slytherins could see through his words. Maybe we were just all so jaded that we always assumed everyone was lying. No. That's too harsh. It's not like we spend every waking moment of every day trying to one up each other. And it's not that we aren't friends. We are just teenage students, after all. We have just as many petty rivalries as the rest of the school. In the end, we're really just more calculating, or cautious, than the rest of the student body.

"Well best of luck with that. I'll see you all in a bit," I said and ducked back out of the common room toward the girls' dorms.

"Can I join you in the shower, Daphne?" one of the boys called after me. It was embarrassing, but expected. After all, you have to be able to receive suggestive comments if you make them. I could feel the blood rising to my face so I made a point to not turn around when I commented.

"Not a chance," I replied, without even bothering to identify who had asked the question. There was some more laughter as I made the way back down the stairs. I grabbed a uniform, thankful that I'd get a two month reprieve from it soon, and ducked into the showers.

I spent a rather inordinate amount of time just letting the water run over my body. It was relaxing and it helped me think. I'm always the girl with the plan. Usually my friends don't even realize I had the plan. But both my parents insisted that proper planning was the key to success, and I'd taken those lessons to heart at a very young age. Of course, in hindsight, it was ironic considering how I was unplanned. I hadn't asked them about Astoria.

But my plan had not included the return of a Dark Lord. Sure, Draco had talked about it annoyingly often. Especially during the second year, and the start of this year. He'd actually commented, rather proudly, that Potter's version of the events in the Graveyard were the truth. The Dark Lord had murdered Cedric Diggory, and Potter had barely escaped with his life. My housemates were very enthralled with the story.

But still, some of us thought it was fiction. Yes, it served rather well as an explanation for what had happened at the end of the tournament. Something that still to this day no one has bothered to explain to me. And I'm certainly not holding my breath. Yet why would the Dark Lord let Potter leave? There had to be something more to it than Draco knew. It was useless to speculate.

Draco's constant insistence that the Dark Lord would return bordered on psychopathic. I'd always had an 'I'll believe it when I see it' mentality, simply because that made his words easier to tolerate. I'd assumed many of my housemates felt the same, but I'd never actually asked.

Pansy was the exception. She believed everything Draco said, and often brought up many of the same topics when they were studying. Again, it was easier to just nod and agree and assume you'd never have to be faced with the problem. Unfortunately, when you saw the problem on the front page of the paper, you realized that something will have to be done.

I took a moment to find some soap and wash myself slowly. I closed my eyes and let my mind wander for a bit. I knew coming up with a plan would take longer than a shower even without breaks anyway, so I didn't feel bad. When I was done I grabbed a nearby bottle. Judging from the weight of it in my hand, I was lucky that I was going home soon. It always seemed to take too long to get your own personal beauty products at school. I inhaled the vanilla scented shampoo before washing my hair. The washing took longer than it should have. I knew I needed to think about getting some of it lopped off.

But once that was done I had no choice, well other than getting out of the wonderfully warm shower, but to go back to thinking about my plan. Originally it had seemed so easy. My parents were both successful in medicine. They had enough money from my mother's parents to live rather comfortably but had both made quite a bit more. They'd done what they had always wanted to do, and had always wanted me to do the same.

I was going to finish my time at Hogwarts and then try to get into one of those Muggle schools and pursue History or Law. I wanted to be a solicitor. And, like my father, I thought it would be something I could do in both the Magical and Muggle world. It would probably be really easy to make a killing off the Muggles, too. I'd just have to be careful with magic.

I was sure there would be people that would think I was strange for doing that, but it was what I wanted to do. And it really paved the way for a position as a magical judge, or in magical politics. At the very least it was experience others wouldn't have.

But if the Dark Lord was back, I doubted he'd take kindly to a Slytherin prancing off to Muggle school to learn about Muggle things. I couldn't help but idly wonder if they'd look over my transcripts, too. I doubted it. I couldn't help but find it funny to imagine the Dark Lord seeing a bunch of Slytherins getting the highest grades in Muggle Studies. In the end, though, I knew I'd have to hope the war would be over by the time that came. But the first war lasted eleven years. If the Dark Lord was really back, it would probably be a pipe dream for it to be all over in two.

I couldn't come up with anything else that I should do. That was frustrating, but I knew I'd think of something in time. It was always best to not make hasty decisions before having all of the information you may need. That's how plans backfired. The absolute best I could come up with was going home and trying to enjoy my summer holiday. My parents would likely provide the best bit of support they could, and I'd have the better part of two months to come up with a better plan for my future.

After I finished showering I quickly toweled off while looking in the bathroom mirror. I liked to think I was pretty. But I'd have preferred Tracey's dark hair to my own dirty blonde. I'd have also preferred Pansy's icy blue eyes to my own hazel ones. I'm not a particularly big girl, either. I stopped growing and really just filled out through the fourth year. But I liked my body, and, boys seemed quite happy with my features, so I didn't really have anything to complain about in that department. I also think I have just a great little smirk. It's fantastic for getting people to do what I want.

I dressed fairly quickly, not bothering with the tie, before heading back into the dorm to find some shoes and socks to pull on. I was digging through my trunk for them when I heard my dorm mates enter. I sat on my bed and pulled the knee high socks on as Millicent led Tracy up.

"Where's Pansy?" I asked as I threw a pair of shoes on.

"Doing her rounds with Draco," Millicent said. "She said she'd meet us at lunch."

"Right, well. Shall we?" I asked as I stood up.

"Wait," Tracey said. She looked at me for a moment before she asked. "You didn't seem particularly excited about the return of the Dark Lord."

"Is that a problem?" I asked.

"Of course not," Millicent responded calmly. Tracy gave her a quick look that indicated she didn't quite agree with that statement, but I chose not to comment.

"Well then I don't think it's something we need to talk about," I said carefully.

"I disagree," Tracy said. "Your parents weren't involved in the first war. And they aren't Slytherins." She was right. I gazed around for a moment, looking up at the see-through ceiling of the dormitory. It had been built under the lake and the ceiling was actually the bottom of the lake. It had been charmed so we could see through it, but from the other side it appeared to be a normal lake bottom. It didn't have the best visibility, but on very nice days you could see some fish swimming around through the plants. I rather liked just watching. After a moment, though I formulated my response.

"Weren't Slytherins," I corrected. "It's not like you write your house down on paperwork after your graduate. It's just where you live for seven years." That was actually what my mother told me when I wrote saying I hadn't been sorted into her old house. Tracey crossed her arms across her chest as I said it. Thankfully, Millicent spoke before Tracey.

"Yes, we understand that. But a vast majority of your housemates do have parents that will be in the war and it will become difficult if you do not support them."

"Why wouldn't I support them? They're my friends," I said simply.

"Who will your parents support?" Tracey asked.

"I have no idea. But I can't control their actions, either way," I said. Millicent looked over at Tracey who just sighed.

"You do have a point there. I just thought you'd be happier to hear the news," she said.

"Honestly, Tracey, I don't understand why anyone is happy." The other two girls gasped and tried to speak but I just kept going. "No listen. I mean I get the politics. But people die in wars. Wars destroy whole societies and I don't know about you, but I'd rather have the biggest worry of my post Hogwarts day be what groceries I need to pick up on the way home, rather than if my friends or family will be killed that night. You probably think that's selfish of me."

"I don't," Millicent said. "I think we'd all rather be safe".

"Yes. But this is for the greater good of the society," Tracey said. "I trust you'll at least support your friends, knowing we would gladly do the same for you."

"Of course," I replied with an honest smile. "But can we go to lunch now? I'm famished."

"Me too," Millicent added. Tracey, the skinniest and lightest eater of the three of us just rolled her eyes.

"Fine," she said. Her tone was stern but we've had this joke conversation before. We walked out and back up into the common room. It was nearly deserted by now. A few younger students, including Astoria, were playing a game of Gobstones in the corner. I debated going over and talking to her, but I didn't have anything particularly important to say. So instead I just allowed myself to be led out of the common room by Tracey and Millicent.

We walked slowly out of the dungeon and meandered our way through the hallways until we made it to the Great Hall. It was probably about eleven. A tad early for lunch, but with the term being over the school was typically lenient on designated meal times.

We wandered over toward the Slytherin table. I do have to admit, it was nice having the hall all decked out in green and silver, even if the only reason we won the house competition was because we could unfairly take away Gryffindor points. I caught a quick glimpse of Dumbledore out of the corner of my eye. I'm surprised he even allowed it. The quidditch loss was still a little disappointing though.

I was happily surprised that breakfast options were still available, so I grabbed some toast, a couple of sausages and a few fried eggs before commencing to stuff my face. Millicent grabbed some sort of sandwich and Tracy made herself a salad.

Pansy joined us a few minutes later. She decided to turn my toast into her lunch, but I didn't object.

"How were the rounds?" I asked. I'd have liked to be the female prefect, but unfortunately that wasn't to be.

"Fine. Typical end of the year stuff, mostly. Some seventh year Gryffindors got a bit catty, but Flitwick showed up and settled that," she said. It wasn't surprising, after the Inquisitorial Squad.

"That sucks," I said. "Where's Draco?"

"He went to mail a response to his mother," Pansy replied. "He'll probably join us shortly."

"Cool," I said. I grabbed some more toast to replace the pieces Pansy stole. I ate one slowly, having finished with the rest of my meal. A few minutes later Draco did walk into the Great Hall. He sat next to Pansy and gave her a quick peck on the cheek before he stole the remaining piece of toast she had. She stole the one piece I had left and I grabbed another from the plate nearby.

"Potter looks pretty beat up," Tracey commented as she gazed across at the Gryffindor table. I looked over and saw him sitting at the Gryffindor table next to Ginny Weasley and Dean Thomas. He did look rather battered and bruised. But he also looked like someone just killed a puppy in front of him. If I cared about him, I'd almost be sad. But I didn't.

"Where's his usual cohorts?" I asked.

"Both in the hospital. Weasley appears to be okay. Pomfrey thinks he has a head injury, I resisted the urge to comment that he really was just that dumb. Granger she wouldn't comment on. Apparently she's not in the best of shape."

"That's scary," Millicent said. Draco just nodded. If I had to guess, I'd say he was happy about it, but a little struck by mortality. But that's just an assumption. I don't know anything about death so I'm likely not the one who should comment.

"Shame they made it out of the ministry," Tracy said callously from across the table.

"Yep. I'll take our final prefect log to Professor Snape, Pansy. I need to talk to him anyway," Draco said.

"Awesome, thanks Draco," Pansy replied. Her boyfriend finished his last piece of toast.

"Well, ladies," he said as he stood. "If you'll excuse me, I'll see you at the feast."

"Later, Draco," I said as the other girls exchanged their own farewell with him. I saw the little blonde Ravenclaw Potter seemed fond of leave out of the corner of my eye. She was looking at a slip of paper as she left and looked rather confused. Harry stood and followed her out. I couldn't help but think that they would make an interesting, albeit annoying, couple.

I took a moment to finish my last bit of toast. Conversations continued around me, Millicent and Pansy were discussing their OWLs. Tracey commented on occasion as well. They were back to being students. Interesting how the news of the Dark Lord's return could only dominate their conversations for so long. Of course, none of them really wanted to get caught talking of it too freely in public. That could have very negative consequences. After a few minutes I was tired of the conversation.

"I should go pack," I said.

"Why? You have all night after the feast," Tracy asked.

"I never feel like packing after the feast. Usually just want to laze around and feel fat. Besides, the last three years Astoria has come crying that she needed help. I may as well get it done so I don't have to rush in the morning," I explained.

"I'll join you," Millicent said. I nodded to her and we left Pansy and Tracey to their breakfast. We sauntered through the castle until we finally reached the dungeons. Millicent gave the password and we walked in. Astoria was still playing Gobstones with her friends.

"Don't forget to pack, Astoria!" I said over the general noise in the common room. More students were hanging around now.

"I won't sis!" she yelled back.

"You better not. I'm not helping you last minute again," I lied as Millicent and I stepped back into the dormitory. We packed in silence. There wasn't really much to talk about. Packing never really took me very long. I'm a fairly organized person so it usually was just making sure I had all my clothing and books arranged neatly enough. Followed by making sure all of my hygienic supplies were accounted for. I left them in a small bag at the top of my trunk for use tomorrow morning, along with a change of casual summer clothing for the train ride, and pajamas for tonight.

Millicent was a bit of a mess, throwing clothing all over and trying to come up with some sort of organization, so I wandered over to her bed and started folding the clothing she tossed out.

"Thanks," she said as she noticed I was organizing her stuff.

"No problem," I said. "Packing sucks."

"Yea, never takes you long though," she commented. I just shrugged and folded one of her shirts neatly to top off a pile of clothing.

"Naturally gifted, I guess," I responded. Millicent just rolled her eyes and we packed in silence.

The feast wasn't really anything special. Dumbledore gave another speech about unity and dark times ahead. I have to admit, it was somewhat interesting. But I'm a sucker for good speeches. I think it would have been amazing to hear Churchill during the Second World War, but that's just me. Of course, I also had to admit, dark purely depending on your perspective. Most of the people around me certainly didn't look like they expected dark times ahead. It also probably doesn't help that I got bored halfway through and stopped listening.

Malfoy probably shouldn't have been smirking during the speech. But of course that may have had something to do with how Pansy was rubbing his leg, and not the actual words of the headmaster.

I wasn't particularly hungry when the food finally showed up. But I picked a few things that looked tasty enough and picked at them for the remainder of the meal. My parents would have been rather irritated with me if they were present. I did eat my vegetables, though!

And of course, it happened right at the end of the meal. Astoria wound up beside me and smiled cutely up at me.

"Daphne?" she asked carefully. "Will you please help me pack after dinner? I'm really sorry I lost track of time playing Gobstones." I really wanted to say no and to make her do it herself. But then she'd just whine to mom and dad. And it really wouldn't take me long.

"Fine," I said. "But I'm not helping you unpack at home. And I'm saying right now that I'm not helping you pack next year." I tried to sound as stern as I could, but I'm sure I didn't succeed. She just smiled and gave me a quick hug before moving back to her friends.

"It's funny how you're whipped by your sister," Tracey said. I just rolled my eyes.

"Yea she's a bit of a princess," I commented. "It's just easier than dealing with Mom and Dad whining that I didn't help her."

"She does sort of walk all over you, though," Millicent added.

"Oh hardly," I replied. "She doesn't ask for much."

"But you do it when she does," Draco pointed out.

"If you had a brother, I'm sure you'd help him pack and give answers on his homework," I replied as snottily as I could.

"Probably not," Draco said. And I'll be honest. I didn't think he was lying. But regardless the feast ended soon and we moved as a house back toward the dungeons. I immediately ducked into the younger girls' dorm and attempted to supervise Astoria packing. Of course, she moved too slowly so I wound up just doing most of it for her. She thanked me profusely though, and said I was the best big sister ever, so it was worth it.

After I joined my friends in the common room. The conversation had shifted back to more usual topics. Most fifth years were focusing on what classes they'd have to take next year, assuming their OWLs were good enough. There was some speculation as to who the new defense professor would be too. Nothing out of the ordinary was named. Vincent joked that if he was really back, the Dark Lord would probably be the best man for the job. But only he and Gregory laughed at that. I couldn't help but wonder if he'd spent the whole day waiting to make that comment.

One by one my housemates started to drift off to bed. I'd slept the latest, by far, and wasn't particularly tired. Eventually, it was down to just me, Draco and Pansy in the common room. But after another moment they decided they should do one last night patrol. I'm sure they did very little actual patrolling.

I sat alone for a few minutes and again tried to think of just what my own plan should be. I was starting to see why some people could be annoyed by such organization. When things deviated from your set path it got a bit irritating. I just grew frustrated sitting and thinking so I decided to venture off to bed.

Once there I simply sat and stared up at the lake. I have to admit, the lake view is fantastic during the day. But it has an incredible problem at night time. It's just a dark black abyss. I knew if I stared out at it long enough I'd eventually feel like I was falling into it. And that wasn't something I was really looking forward to. So to avoid it I just rolled onto my side and curled up into the blanket. I imagined some mysterious, sexy boyfriend was holding me and eventually forced myself to sleep.

The next morning came. I didn't feel quite as rested as I probably should have. But that will happen when you force yourself to sleep too much in a short period of time. I rose before the rest of the fifth years and showered quickly, changing into the same uniform I wore the day before, except this time I did put the tie on.

I had plenty of time to kill before I had to get to the train home, so I grabbed one of the books I was supposed to read for next year in Muggle studies and wandered down to the Great Hall for an early Breakfast. I was one of the only students there. I sat at a far corner of the Slytherin table and looked around. A few puffs and a solitary Ravenclaw were also eating. After a moment Potter entered with Granger. I couldn't tell if he looked less beat up than the day before, or if she just looked so terrible that he looked better by association. He did look a tad less despondent than he had yesterday, though.

They both noticed I was staring though, so I just quickly looked back to the book and didn't look up for the duration of my breakfast. I was interested enough in the book that I decided to have another glass of pumpkin juice before returning to the common room.

Naturally it was a mess of people frantically trying to make sure they had all their possessions. I highly doubted the school elves would actually let you lose anything, but they didn't seem to care. I checked up on Astoria just to make sure she had everything, before I went and got my own trunk. Eventually we headed to the train together.

She found a compartment for her friends almost as soon as she boarded. I bought a bag of every-flavored beans and did the same. Tracey and Pansy joined me a few moments later. Followed by Millicent right before the train left.

"Always sad to leave," Pansy said as the train started to move.

"Tell me about it," Tracy commented. "No cute boys for me for two months!"

"There has to be a cute boy somewhere in Birmingham," I said dryly.

"Oh there are plenty. But my parents don't like me to spend too much time out. They claim they miss me," Tracy stated.

"Pity for you. I'll make sure to find twice as many cute ones in London, then," I teased.

"You may want to have a first kiss or a first boyfriend before you round up half of London, Daphne," Pansy responded. Millicent blushed just as much as I had. Tracy dated one of the older beaters for a bit toward the end of the year. We were the two that hadn't. I knew Millicent didn't particularly like the topic. I'd gone on a few dates in the last two years, excluding attending the Yule Ball with Gregory. Mostly the guy had bored me in one way or another, and nothing had come of it.

"They have to be entertaining first," I deadpanned, staring out the window.

"Nah, just cute," Tracey replied. Pansy agreed. After a few more minutes of talking about boys Draco, Vincent and Gregory all showed up.

"We should get our rounds over with," Draco said. Pansy nodded and stood. The two boys joined us in the compartment. I knew they'd stay for a bit until Pansy returned, when they'd join Draco in pestering Potter. At the very least it ended the conversation about boys. Of course, on the downside it ended the conversation in general, as well.

I just started to daydream as the landscape changed. I thought ahead to my next year, and idly wondered if I'd even bother with the NEWTs I knew my parents would both want me to. But they'd also encourage me to follow my dream. They always had. Then again, they may want me at Hogwarts for nothing more than making sure nothing happened to Astoria. Not like anything was likely to happen to her at school.

Eventually, the train pulled into King's Cross station. I gathered my trunk up and said a quick goodbye to my friends before finding Astoria and heading off. Mom and Dad were waiting for us not far off of the platform. Dad smiled fully, both Astoria and looked like him. Same hair and eyes. Mom was next to him, smiling as well. She waved as Astoria pushed her way toward them.

They greeted us with a hug and the usual platitudes. Dad shrunk both our trunks before taking them. We walked to his car. He liked cars. Claimed they were more fun than side-along Apparation or floo. Especially if you didn't have to hurry. I didn't quite believe him, but it was useless to argue. Astoria and I climbed into the back while he loaded our trunks into the boot. She started chatting happily with our parents. I joined in when I felt I had something pertinent to say. None of us brought up the return of the Dark Lord.

But mostly I just thought. Soon, I'd be home, and I'd have two glorious summer months in London with my family. I loved the summer. I'd have to make it a priority to follow the news this time. But, I had two months to come up with a new plan before I'd go back for my sixth year. Something told me that it would be far more interesting than my fifth year.

Author's Note: So, I know I told just about everyone that I had no intention of ever writing a fic with Daphne as the female lead. And I didn't, really. But while writing a scene in QWC I toyed with the idea in my head. Got bored, and decided to screw around with this. In my own defense though, Daphne isn't just 'the female lead' she's 'the lead'. Originally it started as a sort of sequel to Letters, but I decided against revisiting that story. And yes, I know the title is terrible, but it wouldn't be one of my stories if the title didn't suck.

I also wouldn't expect updates on this at any sort of regular pace, and certainly not the breakneck pace at which I finished Letters. Mostly because this started as a brief idea of exploring narration (which annoyed both of my betas) that turned into 7000 words of, well, whatever this is. I have nothing planned past this chapter, and probably won't think too hard about it for a while.

I've taken a rather liberal arts approach to Muggle Studies. I may revisit that at some point, or I may not. It's hard to say what I'm going to do when I literally have no plan for the plot of this.

As always, I hope you enjoy it. The best way to contact me if you're looking for a response is through a PM. I appreciate all the reviews and support that I get.