Disclaimer: I own it not, nor do I make money from this fic. It's all for fun, and I always put everyone back where I found them, whether that's with J.K. Rowling or the BBC :)
AN: I am so, so sorry for the extremely long wait, please see my profile for the reason as I don't feel like repeating my tale of woe. Although, on the plus side, I actually got this chapter finished, as well as halfway through the next. :)
I'm especially proud of the troll bit this chapter. And I've never really seen anyone dispose of the troll in quite this manner, either. Likely I'm either too busy writing or being netless to have read it, but still. Quite proud of that moment. :)
Once more I've accidentally hijacked something that isn't mine because it sounded cool when I wrote it before I remembered why it did. 'Skydiving to conclusions' was originally conceived by Sarah1281 in her fic 'Oh God Not Again!'. A good, funny read and I highly recommend it.
Love to all you reviewers and readers!
Green and Red
Dear Mum, Dad and Aunt Donna
Things have been busy here. I'm having a brilliant time in classes - except for History and Defence! I suppose Professor Binns can't help being boring, cos he's a ghost, but thanks for the extra History books anyway - we might just pass this class instead of failing due to sleeping through it. Defence has no reason to be so boring and annoying though. Professor Quirrel and his stutter are going to drive me bonkers yet. And...Mum, do you have any idea why I might get occasional flashes of pressure from where we walled off that psychic leech that you won't remove yet? It's only happened when Professor Quirrel's around, so far, but I didn't want to skydive to conclusions and say it's all his fault without getting a second opinion or more data. I know how it annoys you when Dad does that.
My Saturday visits with Professor Dumbledore (and quite often Professor Flitwick) are going brilliantly too. They are SO BRILLIANT when it comes to not only understanding why magic does what it does, but explaining it so that someone of a scientific bent can understand it from their point of view. I really should've written about this part sooner, because Professor Flitwick figured out what I was doing with that light-ball of mine. I'm conjuring neon gas and stimulating it with magic instead of electricity, but since it's conjured the gas goes away immediately on dismissal, so there wasn't any residue for us to detect. And since the light-ball fried the sensors the times we tried to test it, we couldn't figure out what it was doing that way. Apparently the key for him to figure that out was that I could do colours with it, like neon signs - the one that they use a spell for can't do colours. See attached notes for everything I've learnt so far. Anyway, that's one mystery down, only a million more for me to solve!
Aaand, you were all wondering if I was ever going to get a lesson in flying, and we just did this past week, and I can now say that it's brilliant! Except for the fact that poor Neville got a bad broom and crashed - going to have to work on that. His fear of crashing again, not the bad broom, it got removed from the batch. But after he was taken to the hospital wing for his broken wrist, Malfoy was going to take Nev's remembrall and leave it somewhere...so I kinda sneakily made him trip before he could take flight. He broke the school's broom, and I caught the remembrall when it went flying. Nev was thrilled to have it back...Malfoy, not so much. Tried to blame me for the broom breaking, when even the other Slytherins said it was impossible cos I was nowhere near him. Little do they know...
Malfoy's going to be a problem, probably, until I swat him so thoroughly he can't ever get back up again. Thinks he's good enough to be a feared nemesis - watch me laugh myself sick. After flying class, he tried to challenge me at dinner to a duel at midnight in the trophy room. As if the little poncy p'lerik didn't think that anyone could see the trap in that. Anyway, laughed my arse off for a minute straight, got the entire dinnertime crowd's attention, then thanked him for being so funny with that joke of his. When the useless berk tried to claim his challenge was real and I was a coward, I just announced to the entire hall that a midnight duel in the trophy room was impossible, cos a) I'd be asleep at midnight, 2) it was disrespectful to Mr Filch (the annoying caretaker with a disturbing penchant for speaking longingly of torturing miscreant students), and [iii] that I didn't trust Malfoy to show up at all, as he was cowardly enough to demand a duel at midnight in the first place.
Then I said if he wanted a duel so badly, I'd oblige him anytime before curfew and sat back down to eat. Then he pulled his wand to try a spell at me right there, and got points off and detention, and Professor Snape looked murderous. Probably because Malfoy was so lacking in cunning as to not only fail to succeed in pulling off a cunning plot, but was stupid enough to try something when everyone was watching. Sooo, Malfoy's in trouble. And an idiot, but I already knew that. Now the rest of the school does too, hah! I was tempted to laugh again when Prof. McGonagall came down on him like a very heavy thing, but I have a tentative truce with Prof. Snape, and didn't want to spoil it.
Yup, truce with Prof. Snape. Because I went into a tirade one class period about not paying attention to what one was doing in a dangerous class (Seriously, it's as dangerous or moreso than chemistry if you get something wrong.) The melted cauldrons and explosions are quite fun though, and if I could determine how to replicate some of the better booms safely...well, anyway. Truce with Professor Snape, mostly cos of that, but I think partly cos of his correspondence with you, Mum.
Oh yes, last bit of interesting - got bored when I couldn't sleep, went roaming the school, and found a Cerberus guarding a trapdoor in the forbidden section of the castle. He's seriously awesome, but he's tethered somehow...or else he's trained enough to not attack if someone doesn't go in. Wonder where they found him...and yes, I know, I've already got Quaiz and Hedwig, I don't want a three headed puppy for Christmas. The upkeep when he got beyond puppy size would be horrendous. But still, seriously cool to see, and I bet he's Hagrid's. Only someone as big as he is would keep a three headed dog that stands fifteen hands high at the shoulder.
Anyway, that's all the news from here - write back soon and let me know what the three of you have gotten up to! And Mum, let Dad take you with him and Aunt Donna sometime - it's not all life-threatening occurrences with him. It just seems that way.
PS - Dad? Have you had a chance to figure out what went wrong with the mobile this time?
PPS - Aunt Donna, could you please send more of those death-by-chocolate brownies? We're out of chocolate frogs, and the upper years are being a bit testy about getting us more from Hogsmeade. I suppose I could always buy with owl order...but your brownies are so much better than animated chocolate. So...please?
As pleased as I am to see you've been attending your studies, both curricular and extra, must you leave out important information? Times and frequency of the pressure from the psychic leech would help immensely. And while the notes of your extra-curricular studies are much appreciated, more detail would be even more so. And why must you become more and more like your father? Honestly, deliberately going where you were told there was something dangerous just to see what it was...JUST like your father!
At any rate, yes, the truce you have with Professor Snape is quite likely only possible because of the opening said correspondence gave me to explain you to him. Although your diatribe on the importance of paying attention in potions class likely cemented the point I'd been attempting to make to him. Apparently your birth father was an horrible person to Severus while they were attending school, and he - Severus, I mean - holds grudges as well as I do and was presuming you would be just like your birth father. Hopefully now he will see you as your own person-
Hah! Stole the letter and managed to get away - don't have long though, Harry, sorry. Keep on discovering who you're going to be, but I think you really ought to tell us who Hagrid is...and just why were you exploring the castle late at night without your friends? Didn't you think they might want to see a brilliant three-headed dog too? And I'm beginning to think that a mobile is just too small to stand up to such high-energy fields as permeate your school, though I won't know for sure until one or both of us manage to get up there and scan the area. Have to see if Hedwig will drop some beacons for us to use to get a TARDIS up there...or actually more likely your mother, who's just now found me and wants the letter back, so rather than make her angrier than she already is, I'll just close out my part. Lots of love, and keep learning and having fun! Dad.
...wretched idiot. Why I put up with him...well, at any rate. Three-headed dog - kindly take photographs and, if it can be managed safely, a sample. You may not wish one for a Christmas present, but I wish to determine just how such an animal can exist, much less sustain and reproduce itself. BUT DO NOT PUT YOURSELF AT RISK! I can live without a sample of a new species far easier than I can tolerate yourself being injured to indulge me. And yes, having seen just how large Hagrid is, I agree that it is likely his.
It's your aunt Donna now - your dad said something stupid, again, and your mum's shouting at him. Again. Honestly, and people confuse me and him for being a couple...they ought to see these two acting just like a divorced or separated couple. Only been one person so far who didn't think we were a couple, and he thought your dad and I were brother and sister. Which we might as well be - he's loads more than just my best mate ever, now. But not a romantic interest! He's way too skinny for one, and he never shuts up...
Anyway, we've been to another planet, in the future, and the Ood are lovely. Even if they do look like Cthulhu spawn, what with the tentacles where mouths should be, and their brains in their hands...too weird for words, really. But absolutely lovely people no matter how weird they are to simple old me. It was brilliant, helping them be free from centuries of oppression and slavery! And yes, I can make you lot more brownies...I'll send a triple-batch, and you four can be all smug and tell the upper years to piss off. No buying you treats from the village, no getting homemade goodies in trade. I do love those shrink-boxes we found...right. They've stopped shouting, and they're probably glaring at each other, so I'll give the letter back to your mum now to head off extra grudge-holding. Love, Aunt Donna.
No, my son, I am not going to go travelling with your father and Donna anytime soon. Currently I would strangle the idiot before we got anywhere. And no, I am not going to discuss our argument, it wasn't at all civilised. As for Professor Quirrel, don't spend more time than necessary for classes around him - in afterthought, I am very uneasy regarding the pressure from that psychic leech, especially if he is the only one it occurs around. So uneasy that if I did not have the sensation that it was necessary to leave it as-is a while longer, I'd remove it at the holidays. Continue the walling-off exercises, and we'll see about doing more to block it off when you come home.
Now for maudlin sentimentality. I miss you inordinately and wish that your father and Hedwig weren't so pigheadedly stubborn about taking beacons up to Hogwarts unless they are absolutely necessary. As they - especially Hedwig - remain adamant in their refusal to do so, I can only send my affection in written words, rather than deliver it in person.
All my love,
PS - We are going to send one last mobile attempt with the brownies Donna is sending - your father, astonishingly enough, had an idea while we were arguing, which is what made us stop. Hopefully this one will work.
PPS - Like your mum said, I had another idea. Hopefully this time it'll work - I really don't want to find out that Hedwig really is as intelligent as she looks when she's perched there and glaring at us. Anyway, text to test it out, then if it survives sending the text, give us a ring, all right? (And yes, your mum is sulking about Hedwig - and it -was- mostly Hedwig - refusing to take beacons up unless this mobile refuses to work. Really quite amusing, watching her glare and pout at an owl.)
Harry glanced at Hedwig when he'd finished reading his letter, and asked. "So, why won't you bring anything but letters and goodies and the occasional mobile?"
Hedwig ruffled her feathers, nipped his ear, then preened his hair. A lot. And after that, she used a wingtip to wipe his chin, even though he didn't have anything on it. He thought about that a minute, then laughed. "Yeah, Mum would take unhealthy advantage of that, wouldn't she?"
Hedwig barked her agreement and leant into the scritching her human was giving her, then hopped off his shoulder, stole a sausage right out from under Weasley's fork, and took flight for the Owlery.
"Your owl bloody well stole my sausage!" Weasley growled.
"Plenty more on the platter," Harry shrugged off the redhead's ire, fed Quaiz a sausage, and returned to his normally scheduled breakfast conversation. "So, looking forward to Charms today?"
"Oh yes," Hermione exclaimed. "We get to learn the levitation charm!"
"Only been wanting to learn that since Trevor pulled another escape-attempt and Professor Flitwick sent him flying around the room," Dean added. "Really looking forward to learning it."
The Halloween feast was interrupted before it could even really begin by Professor Quirrell sprinting into the Great Hall. He ran all the way to the Staff table, clutched it and gasped out to Headmaster Dumbledore, "Troll - in the dungeons - thought you ought to know." He then promptly collapsed in a faint.
During the mass panic from the student body, and while Dumbledore was setting off firecrackers, Harry was staring at Quirrell with narrowed eyes. Something was askew there, but he wasn't quite sure what; the faint was a fake, but there was something else...something he couldn't quite pinpoint. Although it was definitely something to do with the psychic leech attached to his scar. He was concentrating on it so hard that he missed the announcement that the students should return to their common rooms and had to be tugged along by Dean and Neville.
Halfway up the first flight of stairs, he came back to himself and looked at his friends, then the rest of the first-years, safely ensconced in the middle of the Gryffindor pack. Er, pride, since they were supposed to be Lions. "Weasley's not here."
"Never made it to the feast, mate," Dean replied after his own check. "Don't suppose he's still in the toilets, do you?"
"Could be," Neville shrugged. "Fred and George were snickering before Professor Quirrell came running in like that."
"Yes, there's something odd about that," Hermione chimed in. "Not Fred and George, but Professor Quirrell. I'm pretty sure people don't fall that slowly or neatly when collapsing in a faint."
"Well yeah, usually it's a boneless thud to the ground, and falling backwards, not falling almost gracefully on one's face. Now if I could just get the rest of what's bothering me about him to come to the surface...well, anyway!" As the group rounded a corner to go down a hallway, he nudged his group of friends out to the side of the mass of students, then dragged them all into the alcove behind a suit of armour. "You lot can go catch up if you want to, I've got to go find Weasley and get him back to the common room. I know he's a toe-rag, and a bit of a useless tit," he continued as his friends - especially Hermione - protested, "but we'd all feel horrible if he took a wrong turn and ran into that troll."
"He'd likely get along with it just fine, the stupid berk," Hermione muttered, but stayed with Harry along with Dean and Neville. As Harry looked at all three of them, they shrugged.
Neville said, "Well, I don't want to feel bad for him. Not to mention the amount of trouble you'd get in..." He trailed off as Dean pretty much finished his thought.
"You're more than a bit of a trouble magnet. Someone - or someones - level-headed has to be around to keep you safe." Dean smirked a bit, and shrugged at Neville apologetically.
"So - all four of us then?" Harry stared at his friends for a moment, then an enormous grin stretched over his face, a similar grin to his father's - both of them, actually, had his birth father ever been in that sort of situation. "Right then, let's start looking for the ginger prat. Second floor toilets first then, since he went running off after Charms?"
"Sounds like a plan," Dean nodded as they all headed off, wands drawn. "Wonder how the troll got in though? Aren't they supposed to be really stupid?"
"That's why Weasley would get along fine with it," Hermione huffed, still stinging from being called a nightmare earlier that day when all she'd been doing was trying to help the ginger prat. "Still, the castle's supposed to be protected, so someone would have had to have let it in past all of the security."
"Peeves, maybe? Troll couldn't hurt a poltergeist, so he might think it was funny." Neville puffed along at the rear of the group, still in poor shape as compared to the rest of his friends, though he'd much improved since he'd started playing footie with them.
"Maaaybe," Harry frowned and motioned for everyone to get behind a statue of a griffin, just in time as Snape went hurrying past mere seconds after Neville had squeezed in. Harry peeked out after Snape had gone by and frowned as he realised the man was headed for the third floor. "But with the way Professor Snape's rushing for the third floor, I'm willing to bet it was let in as a distraction for someone to go find out what's down that trapdoor that Cerberus is guarding."
"I still want to know who keeps a bloody great dog like that, and whose bright idea it was to keep it in a school behind a door that an overachieving first-year could unlock," Dean said. "No offence, Hermione, but most of us just don't obsessively study ahead like you and Harry."
Mollified before she could really get upset, Hermione just huffed a little, glad that she could - if not get them all to study ahead - at least get her friends to study the assigned work. Then she ran into Harry, who'd stopped abruptly. "What...?"
Then the three of them saw what had made Harry stop. Twelve feet of troll was standing there in the hall, and Hermione almost gagged as the reek pouring off it reached the four of them. Dean and Neville were frantically pulling their jumpers up over their noses, but Harry just stood there with his nose wrinkled at the stench, lips curled in a grimace of disgust. He'd smelled worse, after all, though usually that was sewers. Then he frowned, because the troll was moving toward the very toilets they'd come to check. "Please go in the girls' toilet, please go in the girls' toilet," he muttered, over and over as it slowly ambled to the doors, massive club dragging behind it.
All four of them held their breaths as the troll paused at the door to the boys' toilet, then let their breaths out in a sigh of relief as the huge manky thing moved on to the girls' toilet and went inside. Harry counted to five, then ran forward, carefully pulled the door quietly shut, then locked it with a quick burst of wandless magic. As his friends quietly cheered, he darted over to the boys' toilet, opened it, then quietly called out. "Weasley! If you're in there you need to get out fast! There's a troll in the school - more specifically, in the girls' toilet next door - and we've got to get out of here before it tries to get out!"
"Pull the other one, Potter! A troll, in Hogwarts?" Weasley snorted as he came out of the stall - the Loose Bowels hex he'd mysteriously been hit with earlier having finally worn off - and rolled his eyes when he saw the Boy who Lived to Reject his Friendship standing in the door. Ignoring the warning, he went to the sinks to wash his hands.
"Oh I know you're dense, but surely you can't be -that- stupid!" Harry was ready to scream in frustration, but then there a roar from the girls' toilet, accompanied by the smashing of porcelain and splintering of wood. "See - or rather, hear? Troll. Right next door. I think hygiene can wait, don't you?"
A very pale Ron Weasley nodded, and didn't even bother shutting off the tap, much less drying his hands before joining Harry at the door. The rest of his friends were there too, and all three of them were eyeing the door to the girls' toilet with quite a lot of worry at the sounds of smashing and roaring. All five of them jumped when the troll's club impacted the door, and Harry smacked his head with his hand.
"Just couldn't stay distracted another minute, could it? Right, long way 'round, come on! Allons-y!" He shoved everyone down the hall, and once they were all running, he took off to join them - just as the door cracked and the troll started to shove it's way out of the girls' toilet. "RUN!" he shouted as he caught up.
The five children ran down the hall, four of them barely repressing the desperate need to scream in fright as they needed their breath to keep up the pace. It was only after they'd gone up another staircase and around several corners that Hermione realised what Harry was up to.
"Ha-Harry, this is one of the ways to the forbidden corridor!"
"Yup!" Harry grinned, a mad grin that anyone who knew his dad would recognise immediately. Then he opened an abandoned classroom and shoved his friends and Weasley inside. "Now, you lot stay here since you're all out of breath. Just be very quiet and it should be all over soon. Me, I'm gonna wait and lead the troll right to that awesome Cerberus."
"Cerberus?!" Weasley squeaked. "That's what's in the forbidden corridor?
"Yup!" Harry was still grinning even as he pulled the door shut and used his wandless magic to lock the door and wipe away the scents of his friends. Then he stood there and waited for the troll, and as it started thundering down the hall toward him, took off running again. It chased him, not even stopping at the classroom, and he kept on running with that mad grin on his face, knowing his parents were going to ground him so hard he'd probably be grounded well into summer...yet he had to do it.
When he cornered neatly into the forbidden corridor, he was astonished to see Professor Snape limp out of the dog's room. Still didn't stop him from shouting "Leave the door open, troll right behind me!"
"You idiotic imbecile! Potter, fifty points from-" Snape was interrupted by the roar of the troll, and stepped to the side. He grabbed Potter by the collar, just as the brat was about to run into the room and pulled him to the side, both of them watching as the troll couldn't stop in time and ran right into the room.
To make the fight fair, before Professor Snape could shut the door Harry wandlessly yanked the club out of the troll's hands and into the corridor, and slumped in relief and exhaustion as the door slammed shut and numerous locking spells were applied to it.
"Wow, those were comprehensive, sir." Harry smiled up at the professor and hoped he hadn't ruined the truce they'd had.
"Quite," Snape snapped. "Now, you imbecilic little dunderhead, what, precisely, is so difficult to comprehend about the order to return to your common room?"
"Well, aside from the fact that Weasley was missing and was in the loo right next to the one the troll destroyed while we were fetching him, nothing at all sir. Oh, we need to stop on the way back and let them out...I kinda locked them in so they wouldn't get hurt." Harry was still grinning happily, and was far more relaxed than any child who'd just run from a troll should be.
"Oh, and I found out about the Cerberus cos I don't sleep as much as everyone else, and well...if the Headmaster really wanted to keep students out, then he shouldn't tell us about painful death lurking behind doors in the castle. Anyone with any curiosity at all, that's the first place they're going to go. So I was bored and I went and peeked, and he's awesome, and frankly I'm surprised I held out a month before going to look."
Having run out of breath, Harry sucked in a big one before continuing. "So, naturally, I figured since it was chasing me anyway, I'd set up a troll vs Cerberus cage match to keep it out of the way till the professors could find it." Harry bit his lip as the roaring and snarling from inside the room diminished, then ceased. "Hope he's okay, he's pretty awesome for a scary, three-headed guard dog."
"And what gave you that particular impression, you blithering idiot?" Snape sneered as he unlocked the door and peeked in. "Well. Well, well, well." Harry peeked in around the professor's arm, and made an appreciative 'ewww' noise. The troll was ripped to pieces, and the three heads were each contentedly gnawing on either an arm or a leg.
"Oh, sorry, you asked a question, didn't you," Harry said as he withdrew so Snape could shut and lock the door again. "Well, 'course he's a guard dog, he's there so that no one can get to that trapdoor under him without him getting them first. Oh, and sir, you're bleeding, so if you could conjure up some bandages, I can wrap you up till you can see Madam Pomfrey."
"Observant little nincompoop," Snape glared at the brat who he thought had finally started acting like James Potter, until he'd offered to help with his leg, and swished his wand to wrap his leg in bandages as he snarled. "Why are you still smiling?"
"Because you sound just like my mum when she's scolding my dad, sir. It reminds me of home," Harry sighed, then leant down to rub his ankle. He'd apparently managed to twist it on the way to the Cerberus' room, and just hadn't noticed till the adrenalin wore off.
"Indeed," Snape smirked most alarmingly. "I daresay I should inform her of her son's reckless behaviour in our next bout of correspondence." To avoid accusations of neglect, he brushed Potter's hand out of the way and used the same spell to wrap the ankle in bandages for support.
"Oh craznit," Harry groaned. Without Professor Snape telling Mum, he could have possibly managed to babble his way out of a grounding. Now? Not a chance. "...wonder if I can convince her that everything I'm gonna get for being out of bounds is bad enough punishment? Oh, and thanks for that." Harry smiled at Snape for the quite nice thought of wrapping his ankle. It'd be better by morning, but it was still nice of the professor. Which hopefully meant the truce was still standing.
"Knowing mothers, Mister Potter, I daresay you're going to wish to stay in the castle for the holidays. Or wish you had," Snape shepherded his deceased nemesis' odd son down the halls back to the room he'd left his friends in. There they met the Headmaster, Professor McGonagall, and Professor Quirrel.
"Ah, Severus. I see you've located the other erring student. We were just about to let the others out of this classroom," The Headmaster gave Harry a subtle but significant glance, then waved his wand at the door.
Harry, shielded from Professor Quirrel's view by Professor Snape, gestured to unlock the door, and it banged open as all his friends plus Weasley tried to barge out to rescue him, barely stopping in time to avoid running into the group of adults.
"Hi guys," Harry chirped cheerfully. "Everything's all right now." Or rather, everything would be if he hadn't been tackled nearly off his feet by a tearful Hermione.
"Oh Harry, how could you?" Hermione sniffed, then started crying as she held tight to him, not minding that he had the usual boy awkwardness about what to do with a crying girl.
Harry tentatively hugged Hermione and murmured. "Had to, sorry for worrying you."
"Worry?" Hermione pulled back from the hug and, going from tears to anger in a heartbeat, slapped Harry on the arm. "I wouldn't have had to worry if you hadn't shut us in that classroom!"
"Well yeah," Harry admitted, rubbing the back of his neck, and pretended he hadn't noticed the slap and wasn't worried about finding a bruise on his bicep later. "But the rest of you were having a hard time keeping up, and it really would've sucked to have gone to rescue Weasley only to have the troll hurt you all anyway."
"Quite so, Mister Potter," Dumbledore agreed, then became more serious. "We will be having a talk with all of you-" He paused, interrupted by Ron Weasley's growling stomach, followed by Neville's. "-tomorrow. Now, off to your tower, all five of you. I believe the house elves have sent the feast up to each common room."
The children sighed in relief and, with Professor McGonagall shepherding them, made it back to the Tower. Once they returned, the kids managed to evade notice while they got food, then went to an out of the way corner. Which is when they noticed that Weasley had stuck to them like a shadow.
"Something we can do for you, Weasley?" Harry asked as he sat down on a cushion.
"Yeah, there is," Ron said, while stood there with his drink and food. "Why did you come looking for me when you don't even like me?"
Harry shrugged and sipped his pumpkin juice and wished he'd asked the elves for some tea. "Because it was the right thing to do. Really scary thing to do, and I'm gonna get scolded but good when my parents find out...but it doesn't really matter, because it was the right thing to do. They," He waved his goblet at his friends. "Wanted to make sure I didn't get creamed by the troll while doing the right thing."
"Oh. Er, y'know...thanks. And...sorry for not believing you. About the troll, y'know," Weasley said, then turned around to amble off, only to almost run into Neville.
"Oh just pick a cushion and sit, Weasley. There's no free furniture out there tonight...too much going on." Neville brushed past him and sat on a cushion by Harry, leaving one open between him and Dean, because Hermione was sitting so close to Harry - to make sure he didn't run off again - she was practically sat in his lap.
It wasn't a new friendship...but it might be the start of one, depending on what the future held.
A/N - Lookit, I just got Ron started on the road to being a decent human being! There's nothing like a troll to wake you up to smell the future. Or lack of one. And, despite the end of the chapter, this is not a Harry/Hermione. He's still ELEVEN and not even thinking about romance in any form. (Well, other than still trying to get his mum and dad together properly. ;) She's just freaked out because her first real friend and only real intellectual competition just about got himself killed. :P