A/N:This is a little one-shot set at Harry's fifth year. Enjoy!
Harry ignored him, but Draco Malfoy was never discouraged by the silence of his target. He continued with a gleeful voice "Missing your pet oaf, Potter?"
Ron, sensing Harry's temper, grabbed his arm tightly and said in a low voice. "Ignore him, mate. He's not worth it."
"Ten points from Gryffindor, Weasley. Talking in my class is not allowed." Snape's silky voice came from behind them.
Harry turned, furious. "And what about him?" pointing to Draco, who wasn't even trying to hide his smirk. Snape replied in a dangerous voice "Fifty points from Gryffindor, Potter. And I think sitting at the back doesn't do good to you. Go sit over there beside Greengrass. Weasley will move with Zabini. You shall seat there for the rest of the term."
Furious, he stormed to the blonde girl and roughly said "Budge up there, Greengrass." Daphne Greengrass raised a thin eyebrow and moved a tiny bit. Frustrated, he slammed down his books on the table and sat down. The blonde turned towards him.
"Keep that temper to yourself, Potter. You'll behave yourself or you will find yourself in so much trouble that you'll wish you never came across my shadow." With that, she turned back to her work and ignored him completely.
"Yeah, I'm scared shitless. I shudder to think what troubles I'll be in." Harry muttered sarcastically. Luckily, she didn't hear or ignored it totally. Great, he thought. Get rid of the wanker Malfoy and end up with a great bitch. Sighing, he squinted to see the instructions on the board. The potion was supposed to be done in pairs, which meant he had to work together with Greengrass. Taking a few deep breaths to calm himself, he spoke quietly, "Greengrass?" She nodded a little to show that she was listening, not bothering to even look at him. "We need to work together for this potion." Once again she simply nodded. Harry closed his eyes.
This was going to be a long class.
One would presume that the potion would be disastrous, given that the potionmakers barely communicated with each other. Surprisingly, however, the potion was near to perfect. It had the characteristic smell of onions, the smoke rose like a shiny mist, as described in the book. The only fault was the colour which was blood red instead of crimson. Harry was reasonably pleased with himself. Without being held back by Ron, or Hermione trying to do everything for him, he felt he wasn't that bad in potions. If they had a different teacher, he was sure that he could manage an O in the upcoming OWLs. When Snape came in front of them to examine their potion, he stirred and smelled it, and finally announced "Twenty points to Slytherin, Miss Greengrass. But next time I expect you to allow Potter here to contribute to the potions. I know he will be more of a hindrance than anything else, but unfortunately I have to mark his progress too." Harry expected her to say that he actually did half of the work, but the Slytherin just nodded and said "Yes Professor."
As Snape went to another bench, Harry rounded on her, but she held up a finger to stop him before he could open his mouth. "Save it Potter, you're not my friend and defending your intelligence wouldn't do good for me in Professor Snape's books." Harry looked hard at her for a moment, and then asked "what would you do if I was your friend?" The question took her totally off-guard and she stared at him for a few seconds. Then, in a strange voice, she replied "I don't know Potter." With that, she picked up her bag and went away without another glance.
At lunch, Ron was loudly abusing Snape for making him sit 'with that slimy Slytherin bastard'. Harry did not know anything about Blaise, so he asked Ron what've Blaise done to him. Ron looked confused. "What do you mean?" Harry rephrased his question. "Has he done anything to you?" Ron thought for a moment and then answered that he didn't do anything. "So why do you call him a slimy bastard?" Ron looked at him like he was talking to a five year old. "Because he's in Slytherin, Harry." he said the words like that was the most obvious answer in the world. Hermione, who was listening nearby, had a deep scowl. Harry had an idea about what she was thinking, but he really didn't want to fight with Ron so he kept quiet. Harry knew that Ron fancied Hermione. He suspected Ron just lost his chance with Gryffindor's resident bookworm.
Later that evening he was in Umbridge's office to serve detention and despite having to cut his own hands over and over again, he was bored. Unable to find any other topic to hold some serious mental debate, he began pondering on the look Greengrass gave when she said she didn't know what she would've done if he were her friend. She looked oddly vulnerable; her cold aloofness seemed to crack, like he had struck a nerve with her. He didn't even know why he asked that. She was a true Slytherin, standing only for herself and those close to her. Sneaky, cunning.
Speaking of Slytherins, he resumed an old mental battle with himself about why he hated Slytherins. Voldemort played a big role, of course, and that ferret Malfoy wasn't friendly either, but apart from that? A voice inside his head reminded him that they played dirty to win against Gryffindor in quidditch, and they made life hell for him during the Triwizard tournament and they weren't nice during their second year, when Ginny opened the Chamber of Secrets, either. But another voice reminded him that only the Slytherin quidditch team tormented him (or the other members of Gryffindor quidditch team) along with a few of their hardcore supporters. In fact, the very few Slytherins he actually knew were the only ones to pick on him. The vast majority treated him with complete indifference. He also remembered that during the second and fourth year, students from all the houses were against him. He had to admit that there was a bitter rivalry between Gryffindor and Slytherin, but he couldn't blame them solely on the snakes. His house members started half of the fights.
Umbridge's cough pulled him out of his thoughts. He looked down to see his robes stained with blood that dripped from the table. Umbridge was watching with a sick sort of happiness. Instead of boiling rage, Harry just felt pity at the small woman. He decided to push some buttons.
"Er… Professor Umbridge?"
The toad looked a bit surprised. Harry never spoke during detentions. With her fake sugary voice, she asked him what was it. A bit hesitantly, he started.
"You see Professor, when I was coming here, I overheard some students talking about how they fixed a video camera in your room." As expected, Umbridge didn't know what a video camera was and Harry had to explain how they worked and how they can be hidden inconspicuously. Umbridge looked downright alarmed and urged him to continue. Taking a deep breath (and fighting to keep a straight face) he carried on. "They said that they set up a monitoring device at some hidden place and that device records whatever happens in this room. You see Professor, I am always outcasted in school save for a couple of friends, and if everyone gets to watch me cutting my own hand, I will be laughed at and I don't want to imagine what will happen if this video gets out of Hogwarts." He finished with a shudder and was satisfied to see Umbridge's face turned white. If this supposed video did get out, her carrier and even her whole life would be in serious jeopardy. Harry pushed on a bit more "Professor, what if already got out? Is it too late?" he put on a horrified expression. After stammering incoherently for a while, the toad managed to regain some of her composure and asked Harry about the offending students. If she asked the question the previous day harry would immediately point to Slytherins, but now he didn't feel like doing it. He simply said he didn't know them and didn't look closely. Umbridge dismissed him shortly, but not before informing him that he would continue his detentions not with her, but with Professor McGonagall.
After making sure he was totally out of the toad's sight, Harry jumped in joy and then did a stupid conga dance in the deserted corridors and after finishing a particularly obscene move, he straightened his tie and continued walking towards the Gryffindor tower, feeling happy after a long time.
As Harry expected, all their dorms were searched the very next day. Thanks to Harry's warning (he told no one else. Ron would let the whole school know and Hermione would disapprove), the Weasley twins didn't lose any of their joke products or raw materials, but a lot of explicit magazines were confiscated from the boys dorm and according to Hermione, quite a few girls were caught with love potions and a handful of pleasurable toys. Ron turned beet red at the mention of these toys. He looked like he wanted to know who possessed these objects, but didn't dare to ask Hermione. When they entered the Great Hall, the noise was far above usual, no doubt everyone was discussing about the recent raid of their respective dorms. Before he could mentally clap his own shoulders for causing such a great impact without anyone knowing, Professor McGonagall's voice came from behind him "Come to my office, Potter."
He wondered how much trouble he was in, but the Transfiguration Professor's expression remained unreadable. When they entered her office, she did not waste time on formalities.
"Did you inform Professor Umbridge that a muggle device called a video camera was fixed in her office to spy on her activities?"
Harry knew there was no point in lying with her. He hung down his head and muttered "Yes Professor." "Did you know that muggle devices do not function at Hogwarts?" Now he came to think about it, "Um.. I think I did. I think Hermione mentioned it in last year."
For a long moment she stared at Harry. When he became distinctly uncomfortable, she sighed and announced "Five points from Gryffindor for misleading a teacher, Potter. You may go now." Harry breathed in relief. At least he did not get-
"And take thirty points for Gryffindor for a prank worthy of your father, Potter."
Harry's jaw dropped as he turned around to see McGonagall giving him a rare smile. That woman never failed to shock him!
They have been working ten minutes when Daphne saw a thin stream of blood flowing from Harry's robes, he didn't seem to notice. "Why is your hand bleeding Potter?" she asked quietly. Surprised, Harry looked down and groaned. In all the excitement, he forgot to put a bandage around his hand. He didn't know any healing spells, so he dressed his hand the muggle way. Looking at the blue eyed witch beside him, he answered "I guess the silver dagger got inside somehow." "If you don't want to tell me, it's okay, but you can't lie to Slytherins that easily Potter."
The most logical response might have been remaining silent, but something told him that this pretty Slytherin wouldn't judge him by what she saw. He simply pulled up his sleeve and showed her the bleeding cut that made his hand look like a crimson mess. She frowned and asked why he didn't clean up, Harry ducked his head and admitted that he couldn't. With a sigh, she muttered a spell and the blood vanished from his hand, leaving the scar bright red against his pale skin. He whispered thanks to her, but he wasn't sure if she heard it.
I must not tell lies. It read.
Daphne looked at him curiously "Why'd you do that to your hand?"
He looked at her indignantly "I didn't do it myself. Umbridge made me do it in her detentions. She has this quill with a red tip that writes with blood instead of ink."
Daphne Greengrass was not unfamiliar with crudeness or torture methods, but a teacher using a blood quill against a student? For Merlin's sake, she created a permanent scar in his skin! And the worst part of it was how easily the boy took the whole thing. He seemed almost ashamed to show a sign of weakness. Pushing the boy's behaviour out of her mind for a moment, she brought up the dodgiest part.
"Why didn't the other Professors protest or anything?" His eyes darkened for a moment.
"I didn't tell this to anyone else and I prefer to keep the knowledge between ourselves please."
She looked at him and nodded before asking "why me?" He decided to be honest with her. "Because I know you wouldn't judge me, unlike everyone else." She nodded carefully. He was right, everyone liked to judge others, but she understood what it meant to be judged and refrained herself from jumping to conclusion about others.
"Can I ask you something, Greengrass?" the look on her face was not much encouraging, but he pushed his luck. "Do you have any real friends?"
Her jaw tightened, her face fell back to an expressionless mask and her eyes became cold. She turned away before saying "My personal life shouldn't bother you, Potter. Now add the mandrake roots before the bell rings." They did not talk for the rest of the class and when they prepared to leave, he murmured "I don't have one either, Greengrass." She pretended not to have heard.
They were sitting in their usual seat, but Snape wasn't there and the rest of the class was filled with faceless students, unimportant, serving as a mere background. They were chatting happily. She told him stories about Astoria and herself when they were young. He listened with an amused look. He told him about his Christmases. How he enjoyed them with his family, how he rode his first broomstick. She was laughing merrily at his words. Then suddenly his face turned to that of Draco Malfoy who leered at her and said in a cackling voice "Be my friend Greengrass? We could have so much fun that you couldn't even imagine!" Everyone was laughing at her. One hand came to reach her-
She woke up with a start. Panting heavily, she looked around for a goblet. Finding none, she pointed her wand at her throat and muttered Aguamenti. The cool water helped to clear her mind. A strange nightmare, she thought. The first part was surprisingly pleasant. She liked the feeling of being carefree, talking about herself to a dear friend. A real friend, she reminded herself. The Potter boy was doing what she has never done in her life, trusting a stranger with a secret. A very big secret. She was definitely a stranger to him and vice versa. She knew she wouldn't give away his secret unless she had no other choice, but he couldn't know that, could he? She could've told that to Pansy Parkinson (the idea was quite unappealing, she admitted) just after he turned around. He shouldn't have trusted her so easily.
In the Gryffindor fifth year boys' dormitory, Harry Potter was visiting a strange corridor again. By now, he knew that he wouldn't open that door and true to his knowledge, he woke up just as he reached the door. His scar was burning but he learned to ignore the pain. Quietly, he sat up and took in his surroundings. Ron and Neville's snores could be heard clearly. Another heavy breathing meant that Seamus was peacefully asleep. Dean never made a sound while he slept, which was surprising given that he was the heaviest of the group. He thought about his roommates. Seamus was an arse, he thought. He, along with his mother, refused to see that the ministry was covering up Voldemort's return. He hoped that Seamus would come to his senses before it was too late. Dean was in a difficult position. Harry knew that Dean believed him, but he was Seamus' best mate, so he couldn't do anything more than being a peacemaker between the two of them. Neville, who was a lost puppy for the first four years, now seemed to have to transformed to a completely different person altogether. He was fiercely loyal to Harry and he seemed more mature than ever. There was no trace of the forgetful and dim boy in his face and his performance in the DA showed the growth in his confidence. At last there was Ron. He recalled what he said to Daphne Greengrass. He didn't have real friends. Sure, Ron and Hermione were great friends but they didn't know him. They were always there when he needed them, no point denying it, but none of them made the effort to actually know how he lived his childhood, how he spent his summer or what was his favourite ice-cream flavour. He knew almost everything about them. He knew that Ron disliked cottage cheese. He knew that Hermione had a crush on Curt Cobain when she was younger. He knew Hermione was picked on by her classmates in primary school for being a "know-it-all". He knew that Ron loved to spend time with his cousin Mandy Weasley. Hell, he could even predict their words before they actually said it. He knew that Ron wouldn't be as friendly to him if he wasn't the Boy-Who-Lived. He knew Hermione would always want to control him. He knew she had good intentions, but if she couldn't accept him the way he was then she wasn't a real friend. His mind turned to the pretty Slytherin who intrigued him. Yes, she was extremely good looking, and he was sure that she would look beautiful if she smiled. Why was she always so cold to everyone? He have observed her in the Great Hall, she didn't talk much to anyone, she just quietly finished her meal and then left without a glance at anyone else and everyone seemed to be a bit intimidated by her. Apparently, she didn't have any friends in Hogwarts. That should be pretty lonesome, he thought.
He was brought back from his musings by a low grunt from Seamus' bed. The sky was almost beginning to lighten. Deciding not to go back to sleep, he slid off his bed and headed for the common room. To his surprise, however, there was already someone there.
"Ginny?" she looked up and offered him a smile. He sat down beside her.
"Hey Harry. Couldn't sleep?" He shook his headed and muttered "Bad dreams".
"Same here, same here" she said quietly. Harry looked curiously at her. He knew that she had a huge crush on him since her childhood and she couldn't even speak coherently in front of him until this summer, when she treated him just like she treated Hermione. He knew it was extremely rude to ask about it and was immensely grateful that she didn't act that way anymore, but his curiosity got the better of him.
"Can I ask you something, Ginny?" he asked carefully. She nodded in response. Taking a deep breath he started "I know this is very private and embarrassing to both you and me, so I would totally understand if you don't answer me-"
"I know what you are going to ask, Harry." He was a bit surprised. Apparently, the youngest Weasley was smarter than she let on. "You want to know how I manage not to embarrass myself when I'm with you, right?" Harry nodded and she continued "I realized that I had a crush on the 'Boy-Who-Lived', not you. I realized that you didn't need a stupid fan girl like me. Don't bother to deny it Harry, I know how stupid I acted when you were around. Now don't get offended or something, but you are not really my type, Harry. I'm not strong enough to be with you when you need me Harry." She hung her head, ashamed to look at Harry.
He placed a hand in her shoulder and spoke firmly. "Ginny Weasley, look at me. You are not weak. In fact, you are one of the strongest women I know. Don't let anyone tell you that you're weak, you hear me?" she nodded gratefully. His voice became softer now. "I think you understand me better than Ron and Hermione. I'm glad we cleared this up, Ginny. We could be good friends if you like." He smiled gently.
Ginny gave him a watery smile and said "Thank you Harry. I was afraid that we would be always awkward around each other for the rest of our lives." He laughed at this "Can I ask something from you Harry?"
"Sure Gin, ask away." She blushed furiously before speaking.
"When I was younger, I promised myself that my first kiss would be with Harry Potter. I know you don't fancy me and I don't see you that way now, either, but.. you know…"
Harry carefully considered her. He knew he should be wary, but instinct told him that it was harmless and Harry Potter always trusted his instincts. He whispered "It's my first time too, I might be horrible" he saw surprise and laughter in her eyes.
The kiss was sweet and brief. It didn't speak of love; it spoke of the beginning of a new friendship. Ginny mouthed thanks to him. Harry smirked and asked cheekily "Do I get to feel you up now?"
She laughed and hit his head. "You just wish you prat!" together they laughed and chatted away until Harry pointed out that soon others would come down and might think they were making out or something. Ginny laughed before getting up, giving him a warm hug and then dancing away towards the girl's dormitory. Smiling Harry went back to his own room.
He must have made some noise while entering because Ron asked groggily "Where were you mate? I was worried." He climbed up his bed.
"Yeah, you sound very worried. I was downstairs. Snogging your sister." He added the last part very quietly, but strongly suspected that Ron didn't hear anything at all as his snores filled the room very soon.
He was walking down a crowded corridor. The fifth year Slytherins were getting out of the Charms classroom. He looked for a certain blue eyed girl, but the drawling voice of Draco Malfoy came up from behind him.
"Oh look, here's Potter. Looking for your pet half giant, are you? Maybe you wish he was your father? Pathetic or not, that oaf is certainly alive." Crabbe and Goyle sniggered and Parkinson laughed shrilly. Harry was beyond furious, but he chose his words carefully.
"You know what Malfoy, if I were you, I would prefer Hagrid over your father. At least Hagrid doesn't kiss the robes of a halfblood egomaniac who puts him under the Cruciatus as a greeting."
The blond boy's face contorted in rage and reached for his wand, but Harry's wand was already in his hand. He placed a well placed Tripping Jinx on the ferret and Malfoy's cutting curse went wide from him, directly towards-
"Accio Daphne!" he shouted without thinking, and she flew out of the curse's path straight towards him. He moved aside and caught her in the waist, preventing her from falling down. Surprised by his own reaction, he quickly withdrew his hands from Daphne, who was looking mildly surprised.
Damn! How does she remain so cool after something like that?
"Fifty points from Slytherin, Mr. Malfoy! And detention for a week!" the tiny Professor Flitwick wheezed as he emerged out from the classroom. "Take twenty points for Gryffindor, Mr. Potter. That was some quick thinking you did. Miss Greengrass, are you hurt?" she shook her head. "Then off you go, everyone." Harry turned to leave but was stopped by a voice.
He turned towards her and said, "I just saved you. Right?" she scowled for a moment and nodded. "Then can I ask you to do something for me? Please?" She eyed him warily. She had expected him to wave it off and say it was nothing and that he would've done it for anyone else. She certainly did not expect him to ask her a favour. Suspiciously, she asked "what is it Potter?"
"Call me Harry from now on."
She looked at him for a long moment and then smiled. He thought she would look beautiful if she smiled. He was wrong. She was positively breathtaking. "So why did you call me Green- Daphne?" she smiled again (Merlin! How can someone be so beautiful?) and said in a soft voice "I wanted to thank you for saving me, Harry. But more importantly I wanted to know why you saved me."
He looked away for a moment before answering. "Would you mind terribly if I said I wanted to be your friend?" he expected her to be angry or maybe explain that she would face trouble from her house if they became friends. So he was immensely surprised when she stuck out a hand at him and smiled prettily. He grinned widely and shook it. Two new friends in one day. Not bad Potter. Not bad at all.
At first they talked during their Potions classes. They talked about everything; their childhood, their life at Hogwarts, favourite ice cream flavours, favourite books, what they wanted with life. They began meeting outside classes. They would bring their homework to the library, they would take a walk by the lake, or they would just sit together under a tree and talk. She spilled all her secrets to him, and he did the same to her. He finally understood why she appeared so cold to everyone. No one accepted her the way she was. Everyone wanted her to be the person they wanted to be with. She had to be a gossiper to be with Pansy and Tracey, a follower to be with Draco, a sex slave to be with Blaise or Nott. The Ravenclaws and Hufflepuffs didn't like her because she was The Slytherin Bitch and no Gryffindor would look at a Slytherin with peaceful intentions. Except Harry, that is.
This unusual friendship didn't go smoothly with everyone. Ron had accused him of being friendly with evil snakes. He had been patient with Ron and explained him the fault in his ways. "Tell me why does Malfoy hate Hermione? Because she's a muggleborn, right?" Ron nodded, a bit confused. "So Malfoy doesn't know a thing about Hermione but hates her just because she is, according to him, a mudblood. You don't know anything about Daphne and still you think that she is evil. Why? Just because she is in Slytherin. So basically, what's the difference between you and Malfoy?" with that, he left a gaping Ron to ponder over his actions.
Hermione approached him in a more logical way. "but Harry, what if this is all an act? What if she is just trying to gain information about you and then pass on to the Death Eaters? Or what if she is setting you up for a kidnap or assault?" Harry threw her own weapon back at her. "I don't know that Hermione. Whatever you said could be true, I wouldn't know anything if she set me up." Hermione looked triumphant but Harry continued on "but how do I know that you aren't setting me up either? What if all these years our friendship was just an act from your part? I wouldn't know. Tell me Hermione, how do you know that I won't harm you for coming between me Daphne and me? How do you know that I didn't lie to you all this time? How do you know that I'm telling the truth about Voldemort returning?" The bushy-haired girl was close to tears. She answered in a small voice "I don't know, Harry. I just believe you." realizing that he was a bit too harsh on her, he smiled and asked "and have I ever done something for you to lose your faith?" she managed a small smile and shook her head. "Have faith, Hermione. A little faith can work wonders." Hermione hugged him tightly and then let him go, dabbing at her eyes.
Unsurprisingly, Ginny supported him wholeheartedly. He was grateful to her for it. She told him that he should do whatever his heart said, instead of listening to others. She also added that she thought Daphne was a nice girl and suggested that a girl as pretty as her shouldn't be kept too longer in the 'friend zone'. "It's really indecent, you know. Just pull her to a broom closet and-" "LALALALA! I can't hear you!" he said loudly, clamping his hands upon his ears. Ginny couldn't stop giggling.
It was mid November when things changed. After spending a pleasant evening beside the lake, they were walking towards the Slytherin common room when they faced Malfoy and his cronies.
With a sneer he said to Daphne "So you are going out with Potter? And here I hoped that you would actually grow some taste and asked me out, clearly not." Harry was going to retort but Daphne squeezed his hand and spoke coldly, "You clearly have a good sense of humor, Malfoy. Have you not noticed that no females, except Parkinson, pays attention to you? And Parkinson isn't too happy either. She regularly claims that you desperately need an Engorgement charm. Maybe you should try to woo Crabbe and Goyle instead. Shouldn't be too hard."
And to add to the insult, Goyle looked seriously at him and said that he was straight and that he was not interested in Draco and left for the common room. Seething in anger, he shouted "You will regret that Greengrass!"
Harry, who had tears from laughing silently, put his wand on Draco's throat and coolly said, "I don't like it when people threaten my girlfriend, Malfoy. You will stay out of her way. To make sure you don't forget, here's a reminder."
A purple light shot at Malfoy's groin and after a moments shock, he screamed and ran away, Crabbe following him.
"What did you do to him?" Daphne asked curiously.
Smirking, he said "Let's say he now needs a really powerful Engorgement charm and leave it at that." Together they laughed for a while and then she looked directly to his eyes. It did funny things to his stomach.
"So,your girlfriend, am I?" she asked with an unreadable expression. His mouth suddenly felt dry.
"Er.. I just said that to shut up Malfoy, I didn't mean anything, honestly."
She took a step towards him and whispered "Didn't you?"
He couldn't think straight. Daphne's beautiful face was inches from his own. He stuttered nervously. "Er.. no… I didn't… I mean I did actually… oh no didn't mean to say that.. oh! To hell with it!" he grabbed her beautiful face and pressed his lips on hers. He saw sparks and fireworks. It was way better than flying, than anything else.
After what seemed an eternity, they broke apart. She looked so damn beautiful with her cheeks flushed and a shy smile on her lips. He spoke in a croaked voice "Er.. that was exceptionally good, but I don't want to push you to-"
"Stop blubbering like an idiot and ask it already." She ordered.
He grinned stupidly and simply asked "Be mine?"
She put up a show of thinking very hard and asked innocently, "And just why might I want to do that?"
He smirked and declared "Because I want to spend my whole life with you. Is that a good enough reason?"
Her eyes widened and then she whispered "Yes. It is a very good reason."
And their lips met again.
A/N: Be sweet and review please? :)