Disclaimer: I don't own Harry Potter.
Harry pursed his lips as he made it through the portrait hole. He was used to the occasional glance sent his way whenever his presence was made known in a room. He didn't like his fame, but that didn't mean he was ignorant of it. However what he was witnessing right now, this wasn't simple glances. This was outright staring, if not looks of fear and even loathing. People of all years were cautiously staring at him, most moving out of the way of the paths they expected him to take in the common room before he even made a move. He could already tell with the way that the Gryffindor tower was acting, it was going to be a long and lonely year. Or at least so her thought.
"Harry!" was a loud cry her heard from a distinct female voice, before hearing a rather loud thud on the ground sound in the otherwise silent room. Not even seconds later he was nearly tackled to the ground from the side as a bushy haired girl crashed into him in a giant and startling hug.
It took Harry a couple moments to shake off the startled and unexpected welcoming before he could even properly return the hug. "Umm... Hermione..." Harry addressed awkwardly as the weight of stares in the room suddenly felt all the more heavier realizing his friend would end up being guilty by association.
Hermione looked up with glistening eyes, almost as if she was about to shed a few tears, but despite that she had a bright smile on her face.
"Perhaps we should go outside..." Harry said a bit awkwardly avoiding the piercing gazes shot his way from Gryffindor's around him.
Within moments the two were outside the portrait hole, Harry idly noted that Cedric had long since left. 'Good' Harry thought to himself dryly. He didn't want the Hufflepuff to ask someone else coming into the common room to give him another apology or something ridiculous. It became apparent to Harry that Hufflepuff loyalty extended onto to their house, not the school united.
So now here he stood awkwardly across from Hermione, leaning against the stone railing while she opted to stand in the walk way before him.
"The Killing Curse Harry?" Hermione finally spoke out after what felt like ages of silence between the two.
Harry suddenly felt defensive crossing his arms over his chest as he looked stared at the bushy haired girl. He was in no mood for lectures from her when she never gave him her support in the first place. "Not like I had many options... Hermione." He retorted back, adding the name at the end solidifying his resolve behind the statement. "My friends were too busy having temper tantrums to want to help me when my life was on the line. Sorry if I didn't live up to your expectations when I turned dark magic." Harry said, his green eyes glowing in the dimly lit stairway.
Hermione's cheeks went red at his words, "Harry, its not like that at all, and you know it." Hermione said sternly as she placed her hands on her hips leaning forward a bit with a glare. It may have been rather intimidating if it weren't for the fact that he was slightly taller than Hermione.
Harry rolled his eyes, "Of course not." He said bitterly, suddenly regretting stepping out of the common room for this conversation.
"Come off it Harry, I was a-"
"Always what? Always gone Hermione? Where were you when I needed your damn help in this tournament?" Harry questioned loudly, finally fed up with his friend whom had a tendency to be bossy. He wasn't going to have any of it.
"Where was I?" Hermione questioned in a breath before pausing and giving a weak look to Harry. "Harry, I was always here... where were you?" Hermione asked with a sad face.
Harry opened his mouth for a moment before closing it as he let her words wash over him, recalling back to the day he intended to ask for their help.
Harry sat quietly in the shade under a tree as Neville waded through the shallow waters before him excavating plants. Harry had been just doing his best to relax in the company of a friend. Neville was the only person that would give him the time of day in the Gryffindor House without calling him a liar, or bombarding him with questions on how he put his name in the goblet. In essence, calling him a liar without actually saying it.
Harry peered behind him with a raised eyebrow as he caught sight of Neville giving a large wave to presumably someone off in the distance. Harry turned behind him trying to catch sight of who he was waving to. It didn't take long to catch sight of the trio slowly making their way over. Hermione and Ron appeared to be in an intense argument, Hermione nearly tripping over a stray stone in her path as she continued to lay words into Ron. Ginny apparently was doing a good job of sticking out of the argument, instead taking the time to send looks his way. Often with a big smile.
Harry returned the smile, and set down Neville's book he was formerly browsing through. He stood up quickly and took a couple steps towards his friends. However he noticed that the moment he did so was also the moment Hermione and Ron were meeting the climax of their argument.
"Come on Hermione it will be quick, can't you just tell him for me?" Ron said trying his best to be quiet in his annoyance all the while sending glares Harry's way.
"Honestly Ronald! I'm not an owl! The whole point of us coming down here was so you two could make up, and so you could apologize!" Hermione berated with a withering stare.
"Me apologize, why do I have to apologize?" Ron questioned stubbornly. "Can't you just tell him so we can go?" Ron finished, looking away from the green eyed Potter not far from him.
Hermione's gaze slowly fell as she shook her head. She looked down with a sigh, "Ron, he's your. And you're the one who found out. You should be the one to tell him. I don't want to get in the middle of this." Hermione then took to walking back toward the castle, not sparing a glance back towards the two boys whom were her best friends. She had a feeling they would work it out.
Ginny took a deep breath before following after Hermione. Although not before walking past her brother simply uttering, "Don't be a prat." before continuing her stride.
Harry and Ron stood across from each other for what seemed to be ages, neither of them saying a thing. Whether it be for pride, or simply being stubborn. Neither addressed the other with words, and as such they both never got anything accomplished.
Minutes later Ron pursed his lips and shook his head downward in a growl, "Nah..." he muttered under his breath. 'Hermione can tell Mr. Eternal Glory' Ron thought to himself as he clenched his fists as he walked off.
Harry came back to reality, and not a moment had passed. Harry's eyes narrowed as he recalled what he had overheard from his friends that way. They may have thought he was out of earshot perhaps. But they were wrong. Harry took a few seconds before rolling his eyes at the girl before him. "I was alone... mostly." He added the last part as an afterthought as his mind drifted to a certain blonde haired blue eyed Slytherin from his memory.
"Mostly?" Hermione pried with a raised eyebrow.
Harry leaned back down against the railing in silence as he took a look around his surroundings as he thought about telling Hermione the truth. He didn't need 'Gryffindor befriending Slytherin's' to be added to his ever lengthening list of reasons to isolate him to be spread around the school.
"The day before the tournament Daphne Greengrass offered me her help," Harry took a pause gauging the bushy haired girl's reaction. "and I accepted." he finished.
Hermione did a double take at the name, an action that surprised Harry. Then in a bit of a distasteful tone, which only served to increase Harry's surprise, Hermione spoke "Her?" she said in astonishment. "Daphne Greengrass from Slytherin?" she asked again incredulously.
Harry groaned to himself, "Yes." he muttered in frustration, prepared for a Gryffindor and Slytherin feud speech.
"How the he..." Hermione caught herself and regained her composure. "How did she even help you Harry? Honestly, I bet you don't even know a thing about her." Hermione began entering her own little lecture mode. She didn't even wait for Harry's response before beginning. "She is merely average in Defense Against the Dark Arts. In fact, she is probably even below average. I imagine she is terrible at Care of Magical Creatures because she transferred out of the class after the first couple of days into Ancient Runes and Arithmancy. Both subjects I would call her a genius in. It's a bit amazing really. I have tried and tried to upstage her, yet she is always a step ahead of me. She is even working on seventh year in both subjects like some sort of prod-"
Harry zoned out as Hermione went on a bit of a rant barely listening to what she was saying. He lost his focus the moment she said Daphne was below average in Defense Against the Dark Arts, and failed Care of Magical Creatures. She seemed to have no trouble teaching him a few spells.
"But honestly beyond that, in the standard curriculum she is once again an average student, if not below average student. Why did you take her help?" She finally questioned in a rather condescending voice, catching her breath from the rant.
Harry stared back at Hermione with a raised eyebrow, "Well I didn't have much of a choice." he snapped back, which made Hermione flinch.
"Right..." she said a bit uncomfortably, suddenly finding an odd interest in her feet. "Never mind then. So do you know why she wanted to help you?"
Harry was going to be quick to say 'Does she need a reason to help me?' but before he even formed a word, he knew the truth. Yes... she needed a reason to help him. A Slytherin doesn't simply help a Gryffindor out of the kindness of their hearts. The house rivalries have made that sort of situation impossible. "She wants to use me." Harry began. However before he could continue any further, Hermione cut in with her eyes wide.
"Use you! How are you going to let her use you when you know she is doing it Harry?" she asked in a panic.
Harry had a small smile tug at his lips as he recalled his conversations with the Slytherin not that long ago. "It doesn't matter Hermione." He began, holding up a hand to make her hold on with her response. "I'm using her too." Harry finished letting the reality of the situation sink in. He could understand a Slytherin using someone for their own gains. Yet he was using someone for his own gains. He never expected that.
"She taught you an unforgivable curse Harry..." Hermione said weakly, changing the subject off of her friend's questionable arrangement. "Those are illegal for a reason."
Harry took pause for a moment before chuckling a bit. He realized he had said those exact same words to Daphne not that long ago. "Hermione why is the killing curse illegal?"
Hermione was mildly taken aback by the question before stating, "It is illegal because throughout history countless wizards and witches have gone on murdering sprees with the curse, a curse that is unable to be blocked and instantly kills the victim."
Harry grinned further at her response that mirrored his own, "Hermione think of a gun." Harry said, knowing his muggleborn friend would understand the example he was going to give. "A gun is a weapon. A weapon that can be used for an act of violence. If someone decided to go on a killing spree with a gun, does that make guns bad? Should all guns be outlawed for the actions of a single person? Or should we be able to tell the difference between a tool, and those that put the tool to use?"
Silence reigned between the two as they stared at each other. Almost as if the unstoppable force was trying to batter its way against the immovable object. Hermione was the first one to cave. With a sigh and a shake of the head she said, "Harry... if you need help, I'll always be here for you. You are my best friend. I can't tell you who to be friends with. All I can ask is that before you turn to dark magic, let us try and figure something else out first." Hermione gave a light smile toward her friend after her statement, gently placing her hand on his arm before moving back toward the common room.
"But it isn't really 'Dark' magic now is it Hermione?" Harry grinned a bit cheekily, realizing his friend didn't have a come back for his reasoning behind the killing curse.
Hermione frowned at Harry, pausing her stride at the portrait hole. "I didn't say that Harry. All magic costs something. The ones that are labeled dark are not for their uses, and what they do. But they are labeled dark because of the cost required to use them. That... that is what makes the unforgivable curses unforgivable. They 'cost' Harry." she at that point she retreated to the common room.
Harry was left alone, with a heavy wand, and a suffocating feeling surrounding him at the reminder.
Harry awoke with a start, a cold sweat running down his face as he had just escaped the memory of casting the killing curse on the dragon that opposed him. The suffocating feeling that overcame him, and surrounded him whenever he thought about it. The constant thought in the back of his mind telling him that the curse wasn't that bad. The part of himself that enjoyed it.
Harry rushed through his morning routine, with the addition of splashing cold water on his face to wake himself up completely. He didn't want to appear "off" in front of anyone in his common room. Although he knew that ever since his conversation with Hermione, he hadn't been able to stop replaying it over and over in his head.
Harry quickly made his way to the Great Hall. Fully intent with having a very early breakfast so that he could disappear somewhere away from the general school population. Not even moments later, Harry stood before the empty great hall with a sigh of relief. Food lined the tables even if it was still very early morning, barely even light out. However the food was kept fresh by typical charms utilized on the trays.
Harry's relief however was short lived as a hand was gently placed on his shoulder, "Now this is a surprise Potter. I was expecting to have to find you at least after lunch, I never took you as a morning person." a female voice sounded. A voice Harry knew all too well after the past few days.
"Daphne..." He said, silently cursing his luck. It wasn't that he disliked Daphne, or was trying to avoid her specifically. It was simply that he didn't want to be around anyone, particularly people he would have to talk to.
"You know what, never mind." Daphne said as she came into Harry's line of view, giving him a look over. "You look dreadful, I'm guessing you're not a morning person."
True to her word. In Harry's eyes, Daphne looked to be in perfect shape. After getting over his initial surprise from her brunette hair, he noticed her full appearance. She looked as if she had been up for at least a couple hours, her hair was neat, her clothes were together, even light touches of magically make up to bring out her features. 'Not that she really needs it...' Harry thought dryly. He could have been looking at his perfect female counterpart if it weren't for the fact she had blue eyes instead of green.
Harry on the other hand was a mess. His clothes were sloppily thrown together. He still had his bed hair. He looked like he hadn't a decent hour of sleep the entire time if the worn eyes were anything to go by.
Daphne pursed her lips in a small hum, "Alright then well come on then." Daphne drawled with a shake of the head as she lightly pulled Harry along into the Great Hall with her. Harry noted that she was dragging him to the end of the Gryffindor table where the sat the other day. "Did you figure out the clue?" Daphne commented as she left Harry on one side of the table.
Harry looked down at the wood of the table. He didn't want to talk, but he was to nice to tell the girl that helped him that he didn't want to talk. "I haven't looked at it." Harry admitted as he grabbed a near by apple, no longer too focused on the idea of a big breakfast. He was far more interested in a short one that allowed him to leave as soon as possible.
The two sat and ate together in silence for at least a good five minutes, something that Harry was grateful for. It allowed him to think to himself, without being bothered. However all good things must come to and end some time. "Something on you're mind?" Daphne questioned with a raised eyebrow as she watched Harry's thoughts eat away at him before her.
Harry nearly flinched at the question being stirred from his thoughts. "It is just something Hermione told me last night." Harry admitted reluctantly.
Daphne's eyebrows raided briefly before her eyes narrowed. "So you two are still on speaking terms then?" She questioned, keeping her eyes on her food and she poked at it with a fork.
Harry didn't appear to notice her posture as he went on to say, "Yeah. We worked some things out last night." He stated quietly, taking another bite of his apple.
Daphne inwardly groaned at that, but went on anyways, "Well what did she say?"
'They cost Harry...'
"She said you were below average in Defense Against the Dark Arts." Harry blurted out, trying to shake the concept that repeated over and over in his head.
Daphne did a double take as she looked over Harry's features. That couldn't be what gave him a sleepless night. "Okay, and?" she questioned incredulously.
Harry took a deep breath and went with it, "Well why? With what you taught me, you should be better than average. Hell you should probably be better than an average student in general."
Daphne grew momentarily tense for a moment, an action that Harry caught. However she was quick to relax herself and say, "Well I'm sorry to disappoint you Harry. But I'm just an average girl." she said, tossing in a cheeky, yet flirty wink.
Harry snorted in amusement, "Yeah right." He muttered. "Such bullshit..." he muttered even softer as an after thought as he turned away. Although it wasn't quiet enough to get passed Daphne.
"Yep." She quipped as she twirled her finger in her hair, "When you stop the bullshit, so will I."
Harry flushed in embarrassment. Was he really that transparent? Harry pursed his lips, but wasn't going to let her call him on that, "Oh so when I tell you the truth, you will tell me the truth?" He countered rather rudely.
Daphne cocked an eyebrow at the attitude before snapping back, "Isn't that what I just said?"
Harry glared before leaning over the table getting in the former blonde's face, "Fine, after talking to Hermione last night the fact that you are trying to use me really sunk in. I don't know if this 'partnership' is such a good idea anymore!" Harry finished loudly, thankfully there was still no one else in the great hall.
Daphne's gaze faltered a bit as Harry mentioned rethinking their partnership. "Don't pretend you aren't trying to use me as well." She countered back, albeit more softly than Harry.
Harry growled, "Yeah but I'm not the one who is teaching you dark magic."
Daphne looked affronted, "We already went over this. You even said you don't think it is that dark of magic. You even liked it when you finally used it, I could see it on your face Harry." Daphne said in exasperation.
Harry stopped dead in his prepared comeback as the feeling rushed over him clouding his senses. He knew he probably confused Daphne as he just sat their wide eyed for a good minute and a half. The feeling of the weight of his wand in his pocket, the hairs on the back of his neck sticking up. Every single beat of his heart met with a pulsating fire that flowed throughout his bloodstream.
"Harry." Daphne said with a wave in front of his face.
Harry shook his head snapping back to reality, a cold sweat on his forehead. Harry ran a hand through his hair before letting it roughly flop back onto the table with a dull thud.
"Are you alright?" Daphne questioned in a bit of worry as she observed the boy across from her as she gently clasped one of her hands over his.
Harry nodded his head regaining his breath. "Daphne, you said that all magic costs something. Although you only gave me the vaguest idea of the price for the unforgivable curses. What are their costs?" Harry asked as he looked down at his hands.
Daphne's eyes flash through various levels of worry before recognition flashed across her face, and she settled in a frown. She reached over and cupped the hand she was already holding with her spare. "All magic costs something Harry. What makes a wizard or a witch different from muggles is that they are born with a relatively sizable amount of magical energy. This energy mingles with the life force of every living creature, even muggles. However muggles aren't able to perform magic simply because they wouldn't have enough magical energy to support their bodies if they did." Daphne took a pause to make sure Harry was following her, even though his eyes were downcast.
"Most spells cost in energy, energy taken from this 'magical core' you could say. However some spells... well some magic requires more than that. Whether it be runic symbols in addition to magic. A part of a person, such as their hair. A person's blood... or even their soul." Daphne paused as she saw Harry's head snap up at the last comment. Although he didn't say anything.
"The concept behind magic is an age old alchemical concept Harry. The idea that in order to gain something, first something of equal or greater value must be lost an-"
"Daphne..." Harry finally said cutting her off mid speech. "What do they cost?" Harry asked with a piercing gaze.
Daphne bit her lip for a moment, locking eyes with Harry's gaze before carefully saying, "I told you the first time Harry, they impart their ideals on you."
Harry shook his head, "No, its more than that." Harry said disbelievingly.
Daphne gave a weak smile, "You're right..." she finished as both Daphne and Harry sat staring in each others eyes.
Done with the chapter. Sorry it is a bit later than expected. Right now I am still working out how I want to pace the story. I know what I want to have happen outside of Hogwarts. However inside of Hogwarts, I am still a bit of a loss as to what I want to do, so things are going by a bit slowly. Also as I said at the start I am not going to be bashing characters in the story. So if anyone was expecting an overly prickish Ron or bossy know it all Hermione done to the extreme. Sorry to disappoint. They all have their flaws which will be noted, but they wont be inherently bashed.
Anyways any and all advice for this story is greatly welcomed. Unlike most 12 year old writers on this site who write off criticism as flames. I welcome any and all criticism for the characters, and I am open to any suggestions people have for the story at this point until I get everything worked out.
Magic itself will be looked into extensively in this story as it progresses. And not simply magic relative to the Harry Potter series. The magic that will be referenced(practice is still up and in question) will be but not limited to: Soul magic, Necromancy, Blood Magic, Shamanistic magics, Healing magic, "Dark", "Light", Alchemy, Runic, and probably more over the full course of the story. The idea that magic should cost something to use is one that I have thought over a lot reading HP fanfiction. Yet the authors always just make Harry some badass with a huge magical core, never having a fear of using powerful spells because he is the next merlin. Amirite? They eliminate the whole prospect of psychological effects, physical exhaustion, and mental ramifications that can help flesh out character when they do that. I want to show something more. Any help and ideas are welcome.
Anyways please review, doing a trial by fire right now. Suggestions and help are welcome. My first HP fanfiction after all XD...