I didn't mean to wait this long before updating, but I decided I didn't like the way the story was flowing...only to find out that was the only way it could flow so here we are XD I did find a couple of things I could interupt/re-write, but luckily for you guys this chapter and the next are a matching set.

I hope you guys enjoy this, even though it probably feels like a thought that's been interrupted and I should probably put the first bit with the last chapter but it's too late now!

I still own nothing!

Chapter Sixteen: Like Breakfast

As predicted, all conversation stopped when Harry opened the portrait to the common room, and he found everyone staring at him. Harry pursed his lips, and decided that it would be best for him to head straight up to his dormitory—he didn't want to sit down here and listen to everyone talk about him.

"Wait," Hermione exclaimed, and Harry paused—he hadn't even realized that she was down here and Harry looked to see who she was with. Sure enough, Ron was sitting next to her and he'd missed them both. Hermione was digging through her bag looking for something and Harry walked over to where they were sitting to see what she had that was so important. Finally, she located it and with a huge smile she held out a rolled up magazine to Harry, "I thought you might want this."

Harry took it from her and allowed it to flop open in his hands.

It was a broomstick catalog.

She'd gotten him a broomstick catalog—it was a very Hermione way of saying 'You should keep playing quidditch no matter what anyone says, and also maybe it wouldn't kill you to read a bit more.'

Harry stared at it in surprise and then slowly raised his head to smile at her.

"It's the best I can do," She murmured apologetically, as she picked at the cuff of her robe.

"It's enough," Harry assured her.

Then Harry realized that conversation in the common room had not picked back up, so everyone had just seen their sappy moment—and that was going to make the soul mate rumors pick back up again with a vengeance. Harry looked to Ron to see if this was probably the case and Ron nodded solemnly.

Harry's face was so hot, that he vaguely wondering if he'd caught it on fire, so he quickly excused himself and dashed over to the boy's staircase. As soon as he was out of eyeshot the common room exploded into noise.

Harry groaned and collapsed against the wall of the staircase.

The classroom door finally opened and Harry swung his head over to watch as the students quickly poured out of the potions room. Harry pushed himself to his feet and brushed himself off and something made him freeze in his actions. Harry glanced up and resisted the urge to look away almost immediately. He'd, of course, felt Malfoy glaring fiercely at him, even though the fabric of his robes looked a bit off and was shiny in some places, dull in others.

Malfoy should really just be happy that he still had robes.

Harry still felt a bit odd and he couldn't figure out why…but it was more important to continue spiting Malfoy at this point so he tilted his head in response to Malfoy's glare which only became harsher. Then the Slytherin turned heel and went to catch up with his classmates. Ron and Hermione finally exited and with no small amount of relief, Harry rushed over to them.

"Well…?" Harry said to them, closely watching his friends' faces for any clue of what had passed while he'd been kicked out of the classroom.

"He didn't say anything," Ron said with a shrug, "I guess you're okay?"

Hermione didn't say anything, but she also didn't look like she thought Harry deserved detention. Harry supposed that Malfoy had been getting on her very last nerve as well; with his animated impressions of Harry's near death and his over-dramatic one-man-act of Harry and Hermione's "declaration of true love" that as expected had spread across the school like wildfire—a fitting description if there ever was, Harry thought with a soft laugh.

But this whole thing begged the question of how Snape could stand to pander to Malfoy! Harry just couldn't understand how it could provide the man with any sense of satisfaction! If Harry got on Snape's nerves so much, then it would stand to reason that Malfoy got on his nerves as well, right?


Hermione's voice was soft when she finally said, "You should probably try to control your temper a little better."

"I know," Harry agreed, but he didn't really feel sorry. He supposed he should, considering the damage he could do now. He could have really hurt Malfoy…like really hurt, and Harry was probably lucky that he hadn't. Malfoy may be a little spoiled brat, like Dudley, but Malfoy had a dangerous father, more dangerous than Uncle Vernon could ever be…

"What are you just standing there for, mate?" Ron demanded, lightly punching Harry's shoulder. "Do you want to wait for Snape to come out here?"

Good point. Harry shook his head and the three of them took off quickly down the hallway.

Hermione's quill paused in its scratching once more, and Hermione glanced over at Harry again. Her eyes were narrowed in concern and Harry slid his hands under his glasses to rub at his eyes. It was really difficult to concentrate for some reason, and he felt very strange. Almost as if he'd forgotten something, something really important—like breakfast.

Perhaps he was just hungry…Ron certainly had a habit of getting very odd and morose when hungry. It would stand to reason that Harry should do the same, even if he couldn't ever recall it happening…maybe being at Hogwarts had spoiled him?

When Harry finished rubbing his eyes and resettled his glasses, he found Hermione intently staring at him, her quill resting on parchment. Harry hazarded a glance at Ron and found him sound asleep over his divinations text. No help from him, it seemed.

"You don't seem well," Hermione said finally, "Do you feel sick?"

"I'm fine," Harry replied, "I'm probably just hungry, lunch was a long time ago."

Hermione didn't look satisfied, but she did start to pick up her quill, then she paused and looked back at Harry. Her lips slowly twisted into an even more concerned look, and it made Harry nervous. Had he gone pale or turned a bit green? What was going on?

"Hermione," Harry said slowly, "wha—?"

"I suppose you expected your antics in class to go unpunished?" Snape's voice said from behind him, and Harry nearly felt out his chair from the shock. Heat churned almost painfully through his stomach, and Harry's mouth went dry. Hermione gulped almost audibly, and Harry felt like reminding her that she wasn't even the one in trouble.

"Be terribly remiss of you, sir," Harry replied, and was pleased that his voice didn't crack from his anxiety.

Snape was silent for a moment before replying, "Indeed."

Harry continued to look at Hermione, who seemed frozen as if Snape were a basilisk and she'd been petrified…again.

This went on long enough for Harry to become extremely uncomfortable so he asked, "Detention?"

"I should say so," Snape agreed.

"With Filch?"

"I don't think Mr. Filch would be able to provide the correction needed for this situation, Potter," Snape replied smoothly, "You'll report to my office immediately following dinner."

Harry fought down a groan, but was almost hoping that this would be a normal detention. Surely Snape couldn't continue being weird about...well, everything forever.

"Yes, sir," Harry sighed, and Hermione became un-petrified and lifted from her seat a little—clearly to follow Snape's exit before she spoke again.

"He didn't take points," Hermione commented.

"He must be going soft in his old age," Harry replied, rolling his eyes. "He'll probably take plenty during detention—he always does."

"Except recently," Hermione murmured, and her renewed suspicions of Harry's detentions made Harry a bit fidgety, "What are you even doing in detentions?"

During the long string of paternity tests, she'd been really bothersome with her questions about his detentions. Harry hoped that she wouldn't start up with that again, things were already difficult to explain.

"The usual," Harry replied in an easy tone. In fact, to his own ears he sounded completely unconcerned and he couldn't help but be surprised by how easily these lies were coming out of his mouth. "Scrubbing cauldrons, preparing all the really nasty ingredients for classes…anything unpleasant Snape can come up with."

In fact, it almost seemed as though someone else was controlling his mouth. He felt really guilty in that moment and hoped that it wouldn't show up on his face and ruin the expert lies he'd just told…On the other hand, Harry knew the only way to stop the lies would be to tell the truth, and just thinking of telling another person the truth…it…

"You're going white," Hermione said in sudden concern, jumping up out of her chair to push her hand against Harry's forehead, "Are you sure you're all right?"

Well, that's what thinking of telling the truth did to Harry.

Harry didn't feel much better by the time dinner rolled around, and he kept thinking back to what happened in potions class. Remembering setting fire to Malfoy's robes made Harry feel a bit sick to his stomach, and Harry couldn't figure out why. Maybe it was because he now had to see Snape, one-on-one, again?

No, it couldn't be just that. Maybe he felt bad because he'd come so close to hurting another person really badly? He, honestly, could have killed Malfoy if things had been different—Harry wasn't a murderer.

He wasn't.

And he'd promised Lupin he would try to not hurt people, and he'd almost done that exact thing. Maybe he wasn't fit to be around people anymore, maybe he needed to go live in a cave far away. It wasn't as though he had to worry about freezing to death. Or he could go live with dragons, with Charlie, Harry would probably get on with them quite well.

But the strange sheen that Malfoy's robes had after Harry had set fire to them… That sheen was wrong. It was really wrong, and that made Harry feel even worse and he nearly had to spit out the food he'd been chewing on.

Hermione's cool fingers grabbed onto his wrist and Harry's vision focused on something in the great hall for the first time that night. He'd been so caught up in thinking about Malfoy, fire, and burnt robes that he'd completely stopped paying attention to his surroundings.

"I don't think you should go to detention tonight," Hermione said firmly, each word calm and measured as if she'd put a lot of thought into them.

Harry shook his head and immediately regretted doing so. He forced himself to speak, "I have to."

He sounded terrible.

"You sound awful," Hermione informed him. "You look like you're about to pass out."

"She's right," Ron chimed in helpfully, "I'm surprised you haven't, actually."

"If you don't want me to go to detention then maybe you shouldn't be focused on keeping me conscious. You know I'd have to be in mortal peril for Snape to let me miss a detention," Harry replied.

Hermione removed her hand from his wrist and chewed on her bottom lip. Harry suddenly realized that his lips were extremely chapped and his mouth felt really dry—cotton mouth, he'd heard that phrase before, and that seemed like the right phrase to describe it.

Harry rested his head on his hands, and again his thoughts quickly returned to the incident in potions.

What was going on? Everything seemed so strange.

"Come on Harry," Hermione said suddenly and there were cold hands pulling him up from his place at the table. "We're going, now."

"I haven't finished dinner," Harry protested weakly. "And I've got detention, and Malfoy's robes are still on fire—"

"What was that, Potter?"

Harry's thought process froze and he realized what he'd said, but he couldn't really figure out why he'd said it. And it was really hard to concentrate now that he could feel Snape glaring at him, it made his skin crawl and grow even more feverish. Besides, there was no way Malfoy's robes could still be on fire, maybe his reminisces had seemed so realistic that he'd momentarily believed it. That made no sense.

"As you can see, Professor," Hermione declared. Her voice rang clear, like a bell, and it managed to cut through all the other noise in Harry's head. Harry wished he could sound that confident and assertive when talking to Snape. "He's completely delirious and needs to go to the hospital wing."

Harry turned around and leaned back against the table so that he could see the expression on Snape's face. He was intently studying Harry, and maybe he believed Hermione, but he didn't want to say it. Harry really couldn't tell, and that was probably for the best—he didn't really want to be an expert on divining Snape's facial expressions.

Though if he could, then he would likely be able to stop making up his divinations homework. Even though, with Ron's encouragement, Harry was still using his dreams as "predictions."

"I know a faked ailment when I see it," Snape scoffed, but Harry could feel Snape's eyes intently study him, "detention, now, Potter."

That's it for now! I'll update sooner next time XD