The blonde woman was walking down the sidewalk, avoiding eye contact with the passersby, her expression showing her irritation with life in general. She thought she needed a drink. She noticed a pub up ahead and made her way towards the doors. As she pushed open the door she quickly considered if she had any muggle money as she walked into the pub as she had left her frustrations with the magical world behind for the afternoon, As she looked into her hand bag she noted she had her debit card from Gringotts, and hoped that the establishment took what the muggles called plastic. She noted on the door a decal that indicated they accepted major credit cards and made her way to the bar. Once she obtained the ordered glass of wine she turned and looked around the pub. It seemed like any other pub she had visited before, small groups around tables sipping beer or wine, several noisy people playing darts in the corner, nothing remarkable at all. Then her gaze went back to a booth in a darkened corner, and she realized that there was a magical aura in the area preventing muggles from noticing whomever was there. Her interest was piqued. Why would a magical person be sitting in the corner of a muggle pub? She had a brief thought to ignore the person in the corner and she started to turn back to the bar. She stopped herself and pushed away the thought to not venture into the corner and she became determined to investigate who was sitting in the corner of the pub.
She cautiously made her way towards the corner booth. The dim lighting made it difficult to see who was sitting there. She could make out the shadow of a thin man whose face was partially hidden by a wide-brimmed hat. He had a mug of some beer or ale in front of him and she noted he was following her as she approached. She sat down across from him at the small table as she noted the glare from his green eyes that seemed to shine despite the darkness.
"I don't recall asking you to join me here," growled the man.
"You're quite right, you did not, Potter," she replied icily. "If you're waiting for someone, I'll leave, but as it stands, I was curious to discover a wizard sitting in this muggle pub, and I wanted to see who was here and why."
There was a pause, before Harry replied. "Well, Greengrass, I could ask the same of you, and as I was happily enjoying some quality alone time until you decided to walk through the basic wards I placed, I could ask you the same thing. So, care to tell me why you are here and why you decided to grace me with your presence when you must have been able to detect I did not want to be disturbed."
Daphne Greengrass tried to look into Harry Potter's emerald eyes, but the lighting was too dark for her to discern any emotion from them whatsoever. "For being the Gryffindor Golden Boy who slew the might Dark Lord and saved our society, I suspect you're expecting me to drop to my knees and thank you for your wonderful gift to our world. But then, if that's really what you wanted you would have accepted one of the many interview offers from the Daily Prophet last year after the war ended, not to mention then it would also prove Malfoy right."
Harry raised an eyebrow at this comment, and Daphne thought she noted a bemused look on Harry's face in the shadows. "And just what would Draco Malfoy be right about?" asked Harry.
"That you are just a pathetic excuse for an attention seeking prat who has no real skill other than he supposedly survived a killing curse as an infant," answered the blonde, formerly known as the Ice Queen of Slytherin.
Harry carefully put his mug back on the table. Slowly he replied, "So, is that just what Malfoy said? Or was that commonly accepted by your house mates as the truth?"
Daphne realized that she may have over stepped her welcome at this point, then added calmly, "I was merely telling you what Draco would say. Personally, I would like to say 'thank you' for all that you did for our world. Maybe you don't believe me when I say this, but our whole house did not blindly follow the blonde ponce as you called him. Slytherin is the house of cunning, it was not supposed to be full of sheep mindlessly following an egotistical madman who seemed to amass so much power he intimidated everyone." She paused for a minute and continued before Harry could reply. "Well, intimidated everyone but you and Dumbledore."
"Well, Daphne, it is Daphne, isn't it?" asked Harry shyly. "We spent six years together at school and barely spoke to each other, and now we find ourselves sitting in a muggle pub, and you thank me for something I had no choice in participating in? Well, then to you Daphne Greengrass, I say that you are welcome. Most of the magical world may be grateful that Riddle is truly gone forever and not coming back, but I have had to put up with more than anyone's share of grief and hassle over the past 9 years that it seems it is just not worth it."
"You seem awfully bitter, Potter," commented Daphne.
Harry looked at her eyes closely, noticing for the first time just how blue they were. Almost violet, and he considered how so many of the boys back at Hogwarts would drool over the thought of staring into those very eyes. "Well, maybe I am a little bitter, or maybe I'm just feeling a little sorry for myself today, but that's my problem. I came here to spend some quality time, alone, with only a pint, and then you walk in. So, I have no need to apologize to you for my mood if it is less than pleasant and perhaps a little self serving."
Daphne laughed at the young man sitting across from her.
Harry began to get annoyed with the company. "And what is so funny now, Greengrass?" His voice took on a harder edge as he emphasized her last name, after briefly trying to be friendly by calling her by her first name just a moment before.
"I am not laughing at you, Potter," sighed Daphne. "I just find it ironic that the first conversation I ever have with the Boy Who Lived, the Vanquisher of Voldemort, he is wanting to do nothing more than cry over a beer in a muggle pub. And before you get mad at me, I am not in any way implying that you don't have your reasons to be irritable. I just figured that you had your life all sorted out. You've killed the most dangerous wizard in generations, you have the perfect little girl friend in the Weaslette, and you have all of the fame anyone could ask for. So what could be upsetting you? The little lady off for a Quidditch match with the Harpies and you can't see her for a few days?"
"Are you always this much fun to be around?" complained Harry. "Not that it's any of your business, but the Weaslette, as you so delicately described Ginevra Molly Weasley, youngest chaser for the Hollyhead Harpies in their history, is no longer my girlfriend."
Daphne blushed slightly and then stopped herself from making any further rash comments. After taking a deep breath she spoke again to Harry. "Well, perhaps if I can get my foot out of my mouth we can start this conversation again. You're right, it is not my place to pry or criticize. I just figured that you of all people would have their life all settled with everything you could ever ask for."
Harry scoffed at that notion. "Where were you during the first six years of Hogwarts? Nothing ever went right for me it seemed."
Daphne scoffed in reply, "Nothing? You're the one who survived multiple attacks form Voldemort if the rumours are to be believed. That is something going right."
There was an awkward silence which Daphne interrupted. "Are all of those stories about you true? The troll? The basilisk? The dementors?"
Harry stared back at her silently for a minute. "As I do not know what exactly you heard, I cannot tell you what was merely rumours and what was the truth. But I doubt you would want to be bored by the details of my mundane life. And besides, all of this sulking in a corner and not being left alone has left me hungry. So, I think I am just going to head out of here."
Harry started to get up and leave. He was startled by a gentle hand grasping his wrist. He turned to look at Daphne, as she spoke, "Actually, I'd love to hear what really happened to you and around you while we were in school. Heck, I'd even buy you dinner if you would be willing to tell me the story."
Harry pulled his arm away from her hand. "I don't think I really am in the mood for discussing this in some muggle restaurant, and I really have no desire to be seen in any magical establishment with anyone. I really am sick of all of the press and attention. So, maybe I'll just head on my way."
Daphne tried one more time, "How about take out? We could go back to my flat. No prying eyes, no listening ears. Well, none besides mine."
"Why Miss Greengrass, if I didn't know better I might think that the Ice Queen is trying to take advantage of me and my emotional state," Harry said with a grin. He sat himself down at the end of the table and looked deeply into her eyes. He thought how easily he could let himself get lost in those eyes. He shook his head to clear his thoughts. "We were barely even acquaintances for six years, never spoke to each other, and we run into each other in a muggle pub. I think I'll probably end up regretting ever running into you tonight, but, and no offence mind you, I didn't have anything else on my schedule for tonight, so why not? Pizza and beer? Fish and chips? Chinese?"
"Have you ever had any good fish and chips for take out?" asked Daphne with a grin. "Chinese might be safest. We could share a bottle of wine, or grab some beer if you would prefer?"
Harry gave a wry smile, "Hey, it's on you, so we can share your wine. Where to?"
The two young people made their exit from the pub. An hour later Harry found himself sitting in a simple flat in muggle London eating Chinese food with the Ice Princess of Slytherin and sipping wine, then he began to laugh.
"What is so funny, Harry" asked Daphne.
Harry raised an eyebrow as he was still not used to her using his first name.
"Well, if we are comfortable enough to be sharing take out in my flat, I suppose I can be polite enough to use your first name," she added in response to his look.
"I was just thinking what my former housemates would think if they knew I was here with you, the Ice Queen, a Slytherin snake, sitting in your apartment eating Chinese," Harry mused. "I suppose Ron would warn me that you must be trying to poison me to get revenge for killing the Dark Lord and causing the Death Eaters to experience their defeat."
"Like I said earlier, we were not all followers of He Who Must Not Be Named," Daphne sighed. "Speaking of Ron, what happened with you two? I thought you two were always together? Or was it you and his sister's relationship that split the two of you apart?"
"You are full of questions tonight," commented Harry. "I thought we came here for you to hear of the adventures of Harry Potter, and his amazingly twisted time at Hogwarts. Now you want to pry into my personal life?"
"Sorry, Harry, I was just wondering," answered Daphne with a slight look of concern on her face. "It's just that for all of those years at school, it was always the three of you together in everything. You, the Weasel and the Bookworm."
Harry was irritated by her last comment and he felt the hair on the back of his neck begin to bristle. "They have names, you know, even though most everyone from your house refused to use them." Harry did not hide his disgust with the apparent disrespect implied in her comment.
Daphne realized how her words had hurt Harry. She stiffened with his harsh tone and then she sat back in the large cushioned chair and she apologized with a sigh. "Really Harry, I truly meant no harm. The Gryffindor trio of you, Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger. What happened to you all after the war?" She watched Harry as he slowly let his tension release with a long slow breath. Daphne understood that she must have touched a nerve by bringing up the trio, or their demise.
Harry looked over at the stunning blonde witch sitting across from him and he saw her expression of concern. He silently accepted her apology as he quietly added, "That is perhaps a story for another evening, and may be easier told after telling you the true stories of my first six years at Hogwarts."
Daphne simply nodded in response. After another awkward silence, she spoke to Harry again. "I am sorry; it just seems really strange, sitting here in my flat, with you, the Boy-Who-Lived, having dinner. It is not how I thought my day would end up, and now I fear I'm starting to sound like one your many fan girls you had back in school."
Harry was surprised. "Fan girls? I had fan girls?"
Daphne smirked in disbelief. "Surely you can't be serious. You really had no idea you had your own fan club at Hogwarts?"
Harry blushed slightly, "Well after our fourth year, I though most people outside of Gryffindor hated me. Then when I lead the DA during fifth year, I wasn't so sure; some of the students came because they wanted to hear of my adventures, some came because they heard I could cast a patronus charm. I was surprised so many were interested, despite how awful the DADA was that year."
Daphne curled her legs underneath her on the chair she was sitting on. "Enough distractions already, so tell me what really happened with you at school." Daphne took another sip from her glass of wine.
Harry sighed and then he began with telling her about the experience with the troll that he and Ron fought to save Hermione. Then he told of their finding the Philosopher's Stone and his fight with Quirrell and Voldemort. He then went on to describe his adventures from second year, the flying car – which she had heard about, Hermione solving the clues that led him to find the Chamber of Secrets and confronting Tom Riddle and the basilisk. She laughed when she heard about Guilderoy Lockhart and his obliviating himself with Ron's broken wand. Daphne asked to look at the scar on Harry's arm from the basilisk fang. Harry then continued with the stories from third year, discovering that Sirius Black was his godfather, that he was innocent of betraying his parents and how they tried to capture Peter Pettigrew who was hiding as Ron's rat. He told her about his patronus chasing away the dementors to save his godfather.
Daphne interrupted his story telling at this time. "How many dementors were there? Someone said there were over a hundred when first heard the story."
Harry stood up and stretched and walked around the room while he answered her. "Honestly, I really wasn't interested in counting, the dementors were getting ready to kiss Sirius and I cast my patronus. It could have been a hundred. There were over a hundred guarding the school that year."
Daphne noted how dashing he appeared, standing there with his hair grown longer, hanging down to his shoulders, wearing his dragon hide boots, a dark green t-shirt and dark pants. He had removed his dragon hide cloak when he entered the flat. She shook her head to stop her mind from racing to thoughts she knew she shouldn't be having at this time. Mentally she cursed herself for starting to react like one of those accursed fan girls. She hoped that Harry didn't notice the slight flushing in her cheeks.
Harry then sat down as he told of his experiences fourth year.
"You really didn't enter your own name into the Goblet of Fire, then?" she asked tentatively.
"Of course not, but obviously no one in Hufflepuff or Slytherin believed me. I think Cedric eventually did believe me, though," Harry answered flatly. "Who would want to face a dragon? Or fight of mermen in the Black Lake, or…" his voice trailed off as he remembered the third task.
Daphne noted his hesitancy, and she quietly asked, "Would you tell me what happened in the maze? No one really spoke about it, other than You-Know-Who cam back and supposedly killed Cedric, although that toad claimed you must have killed him."
Harry fought back the tears as he remembered that night. Wiping his eyes he began to answer her. "Well, you may remember that there was the maze set up on the Quidditch pitch. There were various obstacles, creatures, we had to get past. Cedric and I arrived at the center of the pitch together, having helped each other get past one of the creatures. We grabbed the cup together, to finish in a tie, but it was a port key. Our DADA professor was not Mad Eye Moody that year, but a known Death Eater, Barty Crouch Jr., who had escaped from Azkaban. He set up the whole tournament to end with me winning the cup. We were transported to a graveyard in Little Hangleton. Peter Pettigrew was waiting to perform a ritual to bring Voldemort back into a new body, and they needed my blood for the ritual. Pettigrew killed Cedric as we arrived. I was stunned and chained to a gravestone. They performed the ritual…." Harry paused as his voice cracked. He wondered why he was telling all of this to Greengrass, a former classmate whom he had never really spoken to before today, and a Slytherin. Harry held his head in his hands as he considered everything that was happening. He had been having a miserable week, went to drown his sorrows over a beer in a muggle pub and he encounters her. He was feeling confused, but he was oddly comforted in sharing all of this with someone, with her. He looked up when he felt her hand his shoulder. He looked up into her dark blue eyes and he was startled by the compassion and beauty he saw at once. He turned to look away.
Daphne had never felt so much compassion for another person in all of her life. She had wondered how she ended up inviting a boy, no a young man, over to her flat. And of all the people, it was Harry freaking Potter. And she was hearing his first hand account of all of his previous struggles while at Hogwarts. She could tell he was not embellishing any of his tales, if anything he was down playing what he had done. She could tell he wasn't telling her these stories to boast, but that it seemed almost cathartic for him to share all of this with someone, with her. She was amazed with everything he had to deal with and he had only gotten to the end of their fourth year in school, they were both still fourteen when these events were occurring. Finally she broke herself from her internal pondering of Harry's stories, and she noted the awkward silence in the room.
She reached forward for the bottle of wine, "Hey lets fill up our glasses before you continue," she spoke softly as she removed her hand from his shoulder.
"Sure," answered Harry as he reached for his glass. After taking another sip of the blush wine, he coughed once as he began again. "Well, the ritual began, part of which was adding some of my blood, Wormtail, the name for Pettigrew, he cut my arm." Harry showed the thin scar where his forearm had been sliced. "Right, and then the ritual brought him back. And then he released me from where I was chained. He had called his loyal Death Eaters to return, including Lucious Malfoy, and Crabbe and Goyle's fathers. Then he, Riddle, attacked me with the cruciatus curse, and then he allowed me my wand to duel him. Our wands locked as he tried to cast the avada kedavra curse at me, again. Some really strange stuff happened. I was able to break the contact with his wand and then I grabbed Cedric and summoned the port key, and I was brought back to Hogwarts holding on to Cedric's body."
"So," commented Daphne with a sigh and another large sip of wine, "that's how your fourth year ended, then?"
Harry scoffed again. "Hardly, Barty Crouch, Jr. took me from there, still pretending to be Moody. He knew something went wrong as I was still alive, so he brought me to his office and tried to kill me there. Some of the professors rescued me, and then Fudge, ever the incompetent idiot had Barty junior kissed by dementors before the DMLE could even question him. More convenient for him as then he was able to deny everything that Dumbledore and I had to say about Voldemort's return."
"Until the end of fifth year, when you fought him at the ministry in front of that whole crowd, including Fudge," Daphne continued for him.
Harry acknowledged her comments and then he went on to explain his being attacked by the dementors over the summer before fifth year, being brought up on charges by the ministry for under aged magic use and then the while horror of fifth year with Umbridge and her blood quill and the detentions. Daphne had heard of the DA, and she had hoped that she could have been involved as she realized that the students who were attending the classes with Harry were actually learning skills which most of the Slytherins all missed out on due to their refusal to work with Harry or anyone from Gryffindor.
Harry recounted the trip to the ministry to try and rescue his godfather, and explained how it was all a trap to get Harry to get the prophecy for Voldemort. He even explained how the prophecy had indicated one of them had to kill the other. He told of the battles with the Death Eaters, of Sirius being sent through the veil, of Hermione's injury, of Neville's strength in fighting magically. And then he told her of his personal battle with Voldemort.
"You fought him five times in your life by the end of our fifth year in school?" she exclaimed.
"Well, that's if you count when I was just over 1 year old and he killed my parents. It's not like I really did anything to fight him them," Harry added sheepishly.
Daphne just stared at the young man in front of her, amazed by his tales of adventure and near death experiences. "So, sixth year, that seems to have been less eventful, up until Dumbledore died."
Harry laughed at that idea. "Uneventful? Other than Draco trying to kill Dumbledore several times, and then the battle with the Death Eaters that Draco allowed into the school." Harry paused, as he decided not to tell her anything about the horcruxes. "And no, Draco did not kill Dumbledore, Snape did. But Dumbledore knew he was going to do it, he told Snape to do it."
Daphne was shocked at this statement despite all of the other fantastic tales she had heard that night. "Dumbledore wanted Snape to kill him? I didn't realize he was that daft!"
"He was dying," said Harry.
"What? Who was dying?" asked as still surprised Daphne.
"Dumbledore, he had been cursed by a dark object," Harry added, and he decided he did not need to give any more information. "I was there, I saw Draco disarm the headmaster, and then he couldn't do it, Draco could not bring himself to kill, at least not Dumbledore. Snape had taken an unbreakable vow to help Draco with his mission to kill Dumbledore. He was dying, and he wanted Snape to be the one to kill him, not Draco."
"But Snape was working for Voldemort!" she exclaimed.
"Yeah," added Harry, "Or so everyone was supposed to think. Even Riddle thought he was loyal to him and he had no idea he was a spy for Dumbledore. He did not give any information to the Dark Lord that Dumbledore didn't know was being given to him." Harry worried he had said too much. "Very few people know the truth about that night, or why it happened that way."
Daphne continued to be puzzled. "But why?"
"It's a very long story, and one I really can not tell in full," Harry said simply.
"Then what did you do during what was supposed to be our seventh year? You never showed up at school until the battle. People said you had fled the country, that you were afraid."
"I, or rather we, Hermione and Ron and I, we were busy, getting ready to face Voldemort. Or at least they were helping me get ready so I could face Voldemort. Which I was able to do at the final battle, or as some call it, the Battle of Hogwarts," said Harry and then he turned away from Daphne.
"I remember the battle well, most of the students were involved, well, there were some Slytherins who fought with the Death Eaters, but many of fought with you or worked to protect the younger students." Daphne paused and then she continued slowly. "I was there, in the back of the crowd when he had Hagrid carry your body into the courtyard. He declared that you were dead. Then he attacked Longbottom, and then the snake was killed and you had disappeared. How did you fake your death like that? I always wondered how you fooled him."
Harry did not turn to face her. "I didn't. I died in the forbidden forest that night."
Daphne thought she had heard plenty of fantastic stories already, and now she wondered if she heard him correctly. "Wait, you're dead? But you sure seem plenty alive to me now. This isn't funny Potter."
"I am not dead," said Harry calmly. "I said I died in the forbidden forest. But obviously, I did not stay dead for very long. I was quite alive the entire time that Hagrid carried me from the forest to the school. But I could not let Riddle know that at the time. It still came down to the battle of him against me, but his snake had to be killed before I could fight him."
Daphne had tears in her eyes as she was trying to take this story in. "So, when you went off to the forest, you went there to die and Hermione and Ron knew what you had planned and they knew you would come back? Is that what you are saying?"
"They didn't know anything other than I was going to be killed by Riddle. I wasn't even sure that I could survive the forest or the battle. But I knew that there was no other way." Harry still continued to face out the window of her flat, looking into the glare of a street light below.
"But how was that even possible?" asked Daphne.
"I really can't say any more about what really happened to me or to Voldemort. I died, but then I came back. Then I had the opportunity to defeat him and he died. He cannot come back. Not ever. It was finally over for good that night," said Harry.
Daphne walked up behind him. She went to reach out to him, but he spun away form her, as he sensed her approach. He walked to the other side of the room.
Daphne followed him with her eyes, and she wondered to herself why had she gone up to touch him? Why was she getting herself so emotionally involved? Inwardly she cursed herself, for this was not how the Ice Princess was ever supposed to behave. She thought about her nickname, one she eagerly helped perpetuate during her time at Hogwarts. It kept her safe from boys, both within the house of Slytherin and form without. But now she wondered where had it led to for her, other than to be alone in a time when she felt she needed a friend. She looked at Harry who was still turned away from her and she decided to head back to her chair by the small table. As she sat down she picked up the bottle of wine and then poured herself another glass. She asked Harry if he wanted another glass, too, and was slightly surprised when he agreed and came back to join her. As the two started to drink the wine again, they sat in silence for several minutes.
Finally Harry spoke up. "So, Greengrass, why did you enter that pub earlier today? I never suspected that you would be one to venture into muggle London, much less have an apartment here. I shared with you my history; I think it is only fair to hear about you now." He finished his statement with a slight grin to encourage her to open up.
Once again she tucked her legs underneath her as they slid into conversation again as they tried to move on beyond the awkwardness of just a few minutes ago. Daphne forced a smile as looked at the raven haired young man across from her. "Well, you did not tell me why you were in the pub today, so maybe I will only tell you about my history from before today."
The playfulness in her voice caught Harry's attention, and he looked at her with a smile forming on his face. "Right, then why don't you tell me about growing up in a pure blood family. I never even knew about wizards or magic until just before going to Hogwarts our first year. I learned a little about the magical world by spending time visiting Ron's family, but even I quickly understood that they were not in any way typical or exemplary of magical society."
Daphne gave a slight frown, "I forgot that you were raised by muggles, or at least that is the story I heard."
Harry's countenance fell slightly as he briefly contemplated his own childhood that he could remember. "I have no idea what you heard, but I am sure it pales compared to the truth of what my childhood was like. And before you even ask, no, I will definitely not talk about that."
Daphne was startled by his comments. She had heard that he had been raised by non magical relatives, but she could not understand why his tone was so forceful that he clearly indicated that his family life was a taboo subject. She had to avert her eyes from the harshness that she saw in Harry's face so she swirled the wine in her glass a few times, before taking another sip and then looking back towards Harry while trying to avoid eye contact. She began to tell general stories of what it was like to see magic around the house as a little girl. And she shared how was surprised when she found that there were families who had no knowledge of magic, and who also had no ability to use it. She then shared some stories of things her family had done as she was growing up, travelling to parts of Europe, both magical and mundane, playing with friends who would eventually go to school with her. She avoided discussing politics within the wizarding world and she avoided any clear references as to what her father did to support the family, or why they were able to take such elaborate vacations.
Their conversation continued for some time as more wine was consumed and as they grew more comfortable with each other…
Harry's head ached and throbbed. He tried to open his eyes but the bright light around him made the throbbing worse. A blurry bright light he noted as well. He tried to roll over, and his head throbbed more, so he returned to lying on his back. He tried to open his eyes slightly. The brightness was still painful and still blurry, but not quite as bad as the moment before. He noted his mouth felt dry, and his stomach was angry with him about something. He tried to open his eyes a little more and he looked towards his feet, which felt strangely cold. All he could see in front of himself was a blur of pink. Nothing was making any sense to him at this point, so he decided to shake his head to help himself clear his thoughts. That was a huge mistake he realized. The throbbing only intensified. But the pink blur was still in front of him. "Bloody hell," he muttered to himself, but the words hurt his dry throat. He remembered he needed his glasses. He started to reach around himself, feeling for them blindly, when it finally dawned on him that he was not in his own bed, but lying on a couch somewhere. "Accio eyeglasses," he whispered hoarsely as he held up his right hand. His glasses arrived in his hand and he carefully slid them on to his face.
The world around him came into focus. He noted that the pink blur was a pink blanket that someone had placed on him. "This is not too awkward," he thought to himself, as he tried to remember what had happened last night. He slowly sat himself up, and his bare feet slid on to the cold wooden floor. His head throbbed again, as he wondered if someone had hit him with a bludger the night before. He focused his eyes and he noted three empty wine bottles and some empty Chinese food containers on the table in front of him. He slowly scanned the room around him, when he remembered he had spent the evening with Daphne Greengrass. He held his head in his hands as he heard soft footsteps enter the room.
"Hey Potter, are you alright over there," asked the statuesque blonde who had just entered the room, wrapped in a silk robe.
"Not so loud, Greengrass," pleaded Harry, still holding his head and not looking up.
He heard a soft chuckle. "So, the Boy Who Lived can't drink wine. What a surprise."
Harry looked up slowly and glared at her. "It may have something to do with the several pints I had consumed before you showed up and convinced me to join you here and spill my guts." Harry paused, and then moaned, "speaking of spilling my guts…"
"Not on my rug, you don't, Potter," snapped Daphne. "Wait right there and hold it in for a moment." She quickly returned with a small potion bottle and handed it to Harry who just glared at the bottle.
"If I wanted to curse you, it would have been pretty easy after you passed out last night," she said quietly, "It's just a hangover remedy potion. Trust me, it will help."
Harry silently took the small bottle and downed the contents. The taste was bitter and sour, quite a horrendous combination, but he soon noticed that the throbbing in his head was easing up and his stomach was starting to settle down. Daphne then offered him a large glass of water.
"Here, drink this now, it will help as well," she said kindly.
Harry drank the proffered water, and then sat back, pushing the pink blanket aside. "Cute touch there, Greengrass," he said indicating the blanket with his eyes.
She laughed at him, "But you looked so cute lying there. I pulled off your boots though, as I thought you would be more comfortable without them."
"Oh, yeah, thanks again for that too," he said. After a minute of silence, he spoke softly. "So this is awkward. I never meant to crash at your place. We barely know each other."
Daphne sat down across from him, "I don't know about that Harry," she said with a smile, "we did talk a lot last night, I do feel like I know you now. I kind of wish I had been brave enough to be your friend back when we were at school."
Harry just looked at Daphne quietly before speaking, "Well, my new friend, it sure would have shaken things up, a Gryffindor and a Slytherin as friends. Even my friends would not have accepted you."
Daphne had a look of being hurt on her face, "The noble Gryffindors wouldn't accept a friend of the Gryffindor Golden Boy?"
"Over half of my house didn't believe me when I said I didn't put my own name into the Goblet of Fire, including my supposed best mate, so why would they accept you as a friend? I am sure they would have accused you of putting me under some sort of spell or curse or potion." Harry sighed. "And to think I chose to become a Gryffindor because they were supposed to be so noble and I wouldn't become a Slytherin because I thought Malfoy was a git. And because Hagrid had told me that your house was full of darkness."
Daphne raised an eyebrow at Harry's comments. "The Sorting Hat chooses what house you will go in to, you don't decide for yourself." She then looked at Harry's expression and put her hand to her mouth. She squeaked and then spoke again. "Wait, are you saying the Sorting Hat wanted to put you in Slytherin?"
Harry gave her a smug look. "I told the hat to not put me in Slytherin after it suggested that I would do well there. The hat debated with me about which house I should go to, and then it finally agreed with placing me in Gryffindor, as I requested."
Daphne just stared at him for another minute, and after Harry decided he felt uncomfortable enough, he finally spoke up again. "Urm, Daphne, is there somewhere I could, freshen up as it were," he said and glanced at his wrist watch. "I really ought to be getting on, and I really don't want to be any more of an imposition than I have been. After all, I only came over to share some Chinese food and a story or two last night."
Daphne felt hurt. Here she had spent the previous evening with the Gryffindor Golden Boy, perhaps the most eligible wizard in all of England if not Europe, heck he even slept over in her flat, and he wanted to leave. Quickly she regained her Ice Queen mentality as she chided herself over her initial reaction. To be honest with herself, she had entered that pub to drown her own sorrows, and she ended up stumbling upon Harry Potter and somehow ended up almost on a date with him. She still wondered why he was there drinking by himself yesterday afternoon. The last she knew he was dating Ginny Weasley, but apparently that had recently ended, so she surmised he was pining over unrequited love or just wanting to be alone and wallow in his heartbreak and sorrow. It's not like the Harry Potter would actually be interested in her, a Slytherin. Then why was she feeling like a giddy school girl all of a sudden?
"Daphne? Are you still in there?" asked Harry, trying to get her attention. When she looked up at him again, Harry continued. "You seemed to have zoned out there for a couple of minutes. Do you have a spare towel I can use or should I just apparate back to my place? Maybe that would be best anyways."
Daphne shook her head. "No, sorry, I'm here. I don't know what came over me there for a moment," she lied as her inner voice was telling her 'you know darn well what was coming over you right then and there.'
"Yes, spare towels, I can get you one straight away," she added.
She quickly returned and handed Harry a bath towel, a hand towel and a washcloth. She then indicated where the bathroom was and when Harry had entered she slid down into her chair with the large cushions and slammed her palm into her own forehead. "You bloody idiot!" she quietly yelled to herself. "Now he must think you're as loony as that Lovegood girl, or worse." She sat in her chair as she contemplated what could have caused her to drop her icy defenses that she had learned to perfect so well while she was in school. Daphne lost herself as she thought about all they had talked about last night, how Harry had so easily opened up and shared about his experiences at school, how she had opened up about her fondest childhood memories, something she had never done with anyone ever before. Daphne spoke to herself quietly, "He may be cute but you better not be falling for him." However, she had not heard Harry's footsteps as he had walked up behind her.
"Is this a new habit of yours?" he asked, causing her to turn bright red in the face. "Talking to yourself like that?"
Daphne could not believe she had allowed herself to get caught saying that out loud. Trying to regain her composure, she changed the subject. "Didn't you say you had somewhere you needed to get going to this morning?"
"Actually, I did not say any such thing," he answered with a grin. "But I really do need to take care of some minor business in Diagon Alley today. It shouldn't take me too long though." Daphne noted that Harry started to shuffle his feet uncomfortably. "But I don't have any idea what you have planned for today, but I would be free to meet up with you for lunch. Either at Diagon Alley or some muggle place nearby there, if you would prefer. Or not," he added as he suddenly felt that maybe he had misunderstood her musings. His own insecurities started to make him wonder how such a beautiful woman as Daphne Greengrass could ever be interested in him.
Daphne silently told herself not to answer too quickly. "Well, I think that I could easily rearrange my schedule. I could me up with say at about half twelve. We could decide then where to grab a bite to eat."
"Brilliant!" exclaimed Harry with a broad smile. "I'll see you then. And thanks for the wonderful company last night. Other than the hangover this morning I had a great time. So I better be off, and I'll see you later today then."
The two stood in front of each other with a sense of awkwardness like giddy school children who notice that they were caught staring at each other on the play ground.
"So, half twelve then, in front of Gringotts," added Harry.
"Half twelve," repeated Daphne.
Without another word, Harry apparated away from Daphne's flat.
AN: I am not abandoning my other stories, but this plot idea came to my mind and it began to flow. There will be more to come...and more for the Dark Lord Potter as well...
AN 2: Thanks to Tha Golden Boy for the criticism - I have tried to fix some of the issues you mentioned - specifically my error in the name of the cruciatus curse...reviews and comments are welcome and appreciated...