The Next Morning Hermione P.O.V

Honestly I didn't feel like talking to Ron over what had happened last night, but I needed to find out if he knew anything about what happened last night to have Lindsay leave the Yule ball so early. She left the room early this morning and I didn't get a chance to ask her. Ginny tried asking Neville where she was, but he wouldn't say anything but look cross. If I'm going to find out I should talk to all our friends, even if one of them spoils everything.

"Hello Harry…Ron." I say to them as I take a seat at our usual table.

"Hey Hermione, Is there something on your mind?" Harry asks her.

"Some things more than others." I look distinctly at Ron. "Do happen to know why Lindsay would leave the ball so early? Or why Neville would be so cross?" I had a good idea of what it could be, but wondered if the guys may have had different observations than I had of last night's activities.

"Neville? Cross? Are you sure he just didn't have stomachache?" I shouldn't have asked Harry all he noticed at the ball was Cho dancing with Cedric.

"Yes, Harry. According to Ginny he was cross at the ball after Lindsay left. And she did not look too happy either when she left."

"Well maybe he was just upset that she had to leave early because she could have had a stomachache." Then Ron started to make this face like he wasn't sure he should say anything, but probably should. "Ron? Do you know something?" He takes a deep breath before answering.

"Yeah, I was out in the hall getting some air. Those dress robes are really stuffy and smell like mothballs. While I was out there I couldn't help but over hear some talking. It started to get louder as I went around the corner and there was Neville and Lindsay. They were arguing over something, both really steamed over something and well…Lindsay just sort of…walked away."

"Do you think they broke up?" I ask.

"Was probably just a squabble and nothing more than that." Harry said not too worried. I wasn't sure about the argument being just a squabble, but I was sure that it had something to do with that stupid dare slash bet Lindsay agreed to. Honestly you would hope a princess would have more common sense than to put her word on something so juvenile.

"Hhhey Lindsay." Ron motioned to her as she made her way over towards us.

"Hey Ron, Hermione, Harry." Her tone was rather bland and she sat down with far more attention to proper poise than how she usually did. Her whole body was stiff in a mannerly sort of way. She then made a plate and began to eat. She started to relax a little more while eating.

"So um how was the Yule Ball?" Really Ron? You really had to ask that?

"You were there Ron, why don't you tell me?" Stabbing a piece of ham as she spoke causing a few gulps as the platter clanged to the sound of metal against metal.

"Well my…my experience was…um…you going to finish those eggs Harry?" Ron's only means of defense right now.

"I was planning to Ron, but I think you can have it."

"Well Ron, are you going to tell us more about your night?" To stiffen his defense Ron started to gorge on the eggs. "No? Alright then. Harry do you have anything to say? You don't either. I know you do Hermione, tell us about your whole night dancing with Viktor Krump." Why do I feel like I am stepping into a minefield? "Oh go on, go on. I want to hear about something good that happened last night." I looked up to see Anthony and prayed that he could get the message to change the conversation.

"Did something bad happen last night?" Bad timing Anthony, bad timing!

"What makes you think that Anthony?"

"Then why are you making the same face as Tarrant does when he's about to speak like a Scotsman?"

"Oh I don't know why. Maybe it's just a look. I'm fine really. Perfectly fine."

"What happened?" He asked. A smidge on the blunt side.

"I told you already nothing."

"You are a horrible liar Lindsay and you're scaring people. Just look at Ron he just ate a button."

"I just ate a what?" Ron says looking at his plate.

"Your shirt button fell into the eggs as you were eating. I was going to warn you, but…you ate it before I could. Don't make too big a deal out of it you'll get your button back…eventually." Ron looks as if the button was ready to be retrieved now. "Heading the conversation back to you, Lindsay. Why so much pent up hostility?"

"I'm not hostile. Hermione am I hostile?" I suppose now is the best time to speak in plain truth and not out of awkward nerves.

"Have you seen the bottom of your plate? It's covered with knife marks. And that was just from you." Looking at the plate and then back at everyone else she decides to let go of this mirage she conceived.

"Okay. Neville and I had pretty bad fight last night and I think he wants to break up with me. So I am a little on edge about it and still miffed about the fight."

"What? Why would he want to break up with you?"

"He thinks I have a thing for Malfoy. Because of the bet's terms he feels that it was a preset up thing and not to mention that I took it a little too far with giving my word."

"I told you that dare was a bad idea!" She covered her ears before answering me.

"Thank you I know. You don't have to screech it in my ear!"

"Dare? What dare?" Anthony asks perplexed and alarmed.

"Before the Yule Ball there was this unofficial party that all of us went to. Where we played a game of truth or dare. You know the one where you spin the bottle and whoever it lands on you ask them truth or dare. Well Draco Malfoy spun the bottle it landed on me and I picked dare which ended up becoming a bet that if Harry takes first place in the second part of the tournament then Draco has to be nice to everybody for a year, if Cedric should take first place then I have to spend the summer with him and his family and I gave my word to fulfill it."

"You gave your word on a game of Truth or Dare?" Anthony I could tell was having the difficult time of not wanting to laugh at the absurd notion.

"Okay I now realize how stupid it is to have done that!"

"Yes and don't count on your parents getting you out of this." He states taking a long drink from his glass of juice.

"We could have asked her parents to get her out of this?" Harry asks. I almost felt like asking because I felt like I should have thought of that. It was so simple. Or did I and not just say it? Doesn't matter right now.

"He just said that her parents couldn't get her out of it." I tell him.

"I didn't say they couldn't. She's too young for her word to be taken to the fullest extent of the law, but her father upon hearing that she used it on a game of Truth or Dare will see to it that she follows it. In order to teach her a lesson about the weight of her word and the consequences that follow such dealings." He said this in the way a sibling would in order to mock another for their idiocy.

"Look we need to look on the bright side of things. Harry could get first place in the next tournament. He already figured out the clue, didn't he? You did say that weeks ago didn't you?" All eyes turned to Harry who did not say anything.

"About that…"

"You have no clue don't you." A simply no was Harry's response which triggered Lindsay to slam her head on the table. The poor table is suffering so much abuse today.

"Harry the challenge is two days away!"

"Gee I hadn't noticed Hermione."

"Well this is defiantly a team I would bet my savings on." Anthony said as he took a bite out of an apple.

"Shut it Anthony." Mutters Lindsay with her face down on the table.

"Lindsay." Her head darts up as do the rest of us to see Neville behind us, well behind Lindsay more specifically. "Can we talk in private?"

"Are you sure you want to talk to me?"

"Please, we need to talk." Lindsay debated with herself before nodding and getting up to follow him to where ever it was they were going to have this talk. They didn't look back to see if anyone was going to follow them. No matter how much I wanted to see if this was going to be bad I stayed behind. I was going to find out sooner or later. Looking up from his apple Anthony was the first to say something.

"Now that was not a good sign." We questioned him on why that wasn't a good sign. I took it as perhaps a way towards making up. "There are a few phrases that a guy has when it comes to girlfriends and the word talk. If a guy asks his girlfriend can we talk it's a sign that a guy wants to sort things out with his girlfriend."

"That must be what Neville meant." I said ready to defend Neville as the forgiving type. Harry and Ron pretended feign interest and looked around rather awkwardly.

"No, it is not what he meant. Can we talk in private and we NEED to talk. Combined those two sentences add up to one meaning. … Neville is going to break up with Lindsay. Talk in private, away from people so he won't embarrass her in front of everyone and Need to talk, means it is something bigger than trying to sort out a few problems."

"What makes you so sure that is going to happen?"

"I'm a guy who has used those lines before in previous break ups and I could tell by how somber he was in his attitude. Now don't look at me like that Hermione. It's not as if I enjoy being the bearer of bad news as I too am hoping to be proven wrong at least this time I would like to be wrong."

Narrator POV Neville and Lindsay

"Do you remember this place?" Neville said indicating to the area they had stopped at after leaving the Great Hall. Lindsay moved about the area like a gentle wind through the stone pillars.

"I do. It's where you found me when I was upset that day."

"Do you remember why you were upset that day?" Biting her lip she answered yes, she did remember why she was upset that day. "It was Malfoy. He hurt you that day with a kiss and he'll hurt you again and this time it will be worse than just an unwanted kiss."

Lindsay said nothing as Neville took a breath before going on. She just leaned against the cold stone pillar and listened to him continue.

"Lindsay…I know he will hurt you, but I want you…that is to say I need you to know something. It is something that may possibly hurt you now."

"What if I already can tell what it is?"

"Before you take a plunge you need to hear all that I have to say. I don't like the idea that I am hurting you especially here where I found you hurt from what Malfoy had done to you. But…but I need to be honest with you as well as myself and this was the place where things really started for us as well and... I guess it just felt like the only place I could talk to you about this." Am I the only one confused here?

"I feel that I need to think some things through about us before anything definitive could be said. I can't tell for certain if I do love you in the way that I should. Of course I will always find you attractive and I do hold feelings for you, but I'm not sure that it is truly that of being in love with you…. I'm not really explaining myself well am I?"

"I have to admit that I am lost on how you are going about this but the point you are making is clear. You want to break up at least temporarily." A lone tear finds its way down my cheek only to be wiped away by Neville's pocket square. "Be honest with me about one thing it has to do with the stupid bet of mine with Malfoy."

"Not in the way you think. I don't feel that bad about you taking the bet because I know you didn't have any underlying motive dealing with him. You just really don't like losing to him and your faith in Harry's abilities as a friend help blind you from the details. It was more from…something else. I just can't explain it that well yet when I'm not sure what it is exactly."

"Will you ever be able to tell me why or will be one of those things you will always keep to yourself?"

"Next year. Right when we get back from summer break. I will tell you about it then and together the two of us will decide if this relationship is worth pursuing."

"Can we make one promise to each other that no matter what the outcome of the decision that day we won't end it…badly. We won't become the couple that is going to be at each other's throats. We'll be cordial to each other."

"And that we will work our way back to being friends?" I nod and he puts his hand out for me to shake. "It's a deal."

"Just one last thing before we shake on it. Why did you choose this place when it already has a sad memory for me?" Neville looked away for a second as if the scene of the past had replayed in front of him.

"Because it was here that same day I found you crying, after comforting you that I had the guts to ask you out to Hogsmeade. But that was when you were vulnerable and not as you are normally. I want to try when we are both acting when someone hasn't hurt us."

A parting was soon underway after the handshake one went one way and the other another way till they both realized they just went the wrong way and switched routes. A slow trek of single tears graced the princess's cheeks while the rest of her face attempted neutrality. It wasn't till she reached her dorm room that she cried into her pillow and tried to make herself laugh about how much of a cliché it was. To have your first break up and cry into a pillow, but that lead into more sobbing and feelings of loss. Loss at not just the fact that love sucks, but at the fact that she wasn't even sure that they had even broken up. It seemed like it was going to be a break up, it had the feelings of a break up and yet it wasn't a break up. The relationship was on hold. On hold till the next school year begins. Now that she thought about it what did that even mean? Did it mean that she and he were allowed to look at other people? That they just weren't going to act like a couple for some time? Or was it just a way to ease the pain till the final break up day? It made no sense!

Hermione entered the room just as a flying projectile went sailing past her nose. Startled she turned to the assailant to find a friend with tear streaked and puffy eyes. She picked up the pillow and brought it back sitting down next to her friend.

"Do you need to beat the pillow up?" She says holding it out to her.

"I don't think I'm at that stage yet." Lindsay began to play with the tassel of a hat that came from somewhere in the Nordic countries.

"How about a gorge fest on snack foods that are defiantly not good for us and watching a movie with that crystal ball of yours?"

"Can it be a movie like Jaws? Or Gremlins? Something kind of dark?" Something that wouldn't bring her mind to love or she could get distracted by sympathy for the scary creature being hunted.

"I can sort of see why you would want to watch something like those ones, so sure. I'll grab the emergency candy I keep under my bed."

"I'll grab the crystal ball and mystic eggs." (Mystic eggs are a popular treat from the Goblin City. They come in three colors gold, silver and copper. The gold eggs contain a marshmallow, vanilla caramel like custard. The silver eggs contain tropical fruit taffy and whipped cream type pudding. The copper eggs chocolate, raspberry and clotted cream type jelly) "Do you think we should get some treats from the Great Hall?"

"I'll get Ginny and we'll gather some up. You stay here and get the movie ready. We won't be long." Hermione said as she was about to head out the door. She took a moment to look back at her love torn friend.

"You okay to stay by yourself for a while?"

"I think I could use just a smidge more time to myself. Besides you're coming back with cupcakes so that's something I'm going to need soon."

"All right. See you in jiffy."

The next day in potions class.

It didn't take long for the whole school to know about the breakup of Neville and Lindsay or for everyone to have their own version of what it was that went down. Some said it was because Neville is secretly the over jealous type and disliked it when his girlfriend so much as looked at another guy. Some said that like old stories about the fae being fickle hearted was true and that she dumped him because he bored her. These were but small rumors that circulated as most knew what really happened. They just broke up and neither of them wanted to talk about it. This left the students plenty of ideas to play around with because the truth wasn't juicy enough. The only benefit seemed to be that Lindsay and Neville's relationship status hadn't been sighted in Rita's columns yet.

"Are you sure you are feeling better?" Ginny asks Lindsay while they are walking down the hall.

"(sigh) "It doesn't matter if I am or not. I can't miss the tournament."

"Still you should feel at least up to it. It's not like you know who is going to be in ze spitting range." Celesta pointed out.

"Right now I just want to get this over with and hope Harry wins above all else." Lindsay then broke away from her friends to head to the zone where she was to enter the lake. She took out an ancient family heirloom and clipped it on the shoulder of her shirt. Knowing that the water would be freezing at first she took the plunge and immediately regretted it. Her words were repeated saying, cold, it's cold. Till the heirloom's effects came underway. Then the water felt warmer. Her legs were gone in place of a long and flexible tail, her hands were webbed and her breathing could now be done by the gills on her neck. A second later and the transformed student swam forth into the designated game zone. Almost getting attacked by the mermaids who lived in the lake till they realized that she was an official then they let her pass through. Careful she swam about the vegetation coming close enough to the platform that the contestants were standing upon. Underwater she couldn't hear the sound of the starter, but she could sense and see the splashes of the competitors as they hit the water. Already three of them were having no trouble with adapting to the environment of the challenge. But one of them was jerking about in the water. She looked closer at the person and found that it was Harry who was having difficulties. If he was having trouble breathing than she would have to take him to the surface and that would get him disqualified. The other option was worse because he would drown. Something she did not wish to have on her conscious.

Her fears were put to rest when she saw that the results of the jerking were actually a response to his trick for the water challenge. Apparently he found a fishy form as well. Seeing that her assistance wasn't needed at this time Lindsay swam off to track down the progress of the others. Tall grasses greeted her as she followed Fleur. The French girl wasn't that had to find since she decided on a pale blue swimsuit that allowed her to pop from the dark green of the vegetation the seemed to breathe in the underwater currents. I stopped to view as someone else came into the forest. She couldn't see who it clearly. But they were moving fast. In fact She was certain that there is actually more than one over there…. What just touched me?! Her thoughts screamed at her. She saw nothing and nobody next to her tail.

'That actually doesn't sooth my mind to find nothing there. I would rather have seen something even a stray piece of netting brushing against my tail. With nothing there it could be someone circling me as prey.' Startled she moves in order to stir her mind back towards the job and found that Fleur was being ambushed and not faring well. There wasn't much chance that she was going to get past the weird little lake creatures surrounding her nasty things with tiny horns and tentacles that seemed to rip at flesh. With a strong flick of her tail she sped past the creatures while taking hold of Fleur. Two of the mermaids she had run into earlier came over towards them. One kept the creatures at bay, she now remembered were called grindylows, and the other took Fleur to the platform.

Lindsay POV

Following the trails to where the others were heading. The first to grab their 'treasure that was stolen' was Krump with his shark head. Harry was already there but I suppose he wasn't sure if he was supposed to take Hermoine or Ron. Now that Krump has taken Hermoine, he can grab Ron and go. If he hurries he can beat Cedric. He starts to do that but looks over at Fleur's little sister who was waiting for someone that wouldn't be able to come for her. Harry takes both of them and with the mermaids not interfering he is able to. I follow close behind him as he swims slower with two bodies to carry. Once we get over the sea kelp trouble started up with those little monsters attacking Harry in gang formation. Causing wounds to his body and the scent of blood to pollute the water around us. Fear wished to eclipse my judgment so that I would flee. But duty kept me from doing anything. Even helping Harry. If I help him then he will be disqualified on the spot. Harry released the two and they managed to float away without the grindylows coming after them. Harry was there target.

Narrator POV

Lindsay circled the scene moving quicker to get better angles on what was going on. Harry in his struggles did not notice that she was doing so instead his mind was screaming for both air and a way to get rid of the grindylows.

As his body was being pushed closer to the sandy bed a spell managed to escape his lips startling the dark creatures and forcing them to flee for their lives. It scared them so much so that they didn't even take note of the strange mermaid impersonator in their way. They would bump into her and then take back to swimming away into the safety of the kelp. Harry still wasn't out of the woods yet. With lack of air now depleted far more than before due to his spell his body was wearing down. He had to think of something soon or else he will die he thought.

Not that Lindsay would allow it to happen. She decided enough was enough she was going to grab Harry and take him to the surface herself. Even if it did mean that he was going to be disqualified. She swam in. Her arm reaching out to grasp him through the tall sea grasses when a burst of bubbles pushed her out of the way. She shifted her body into a rolling tumble that brought her out of the grass and gave her a clear view of Harry sky rocketing out of the water. She followed suit and just as they both came to the surface Harry went flying into the air only to land on a platform. He had made it! Dumbledoore called for all of the judges to come together and motioned for Lindsay to come over.

"Your highness, your honest report of the events." Dumbledore commands. Judging by the use of the word honest and how he said your highness instead of Ms. King. Lindsay had a feeling that he had seen everything that had happened underwater. Even though he couldn't have done such a feat, at least to her knowledge he couldn't have been able to. "We are waiting your highness."

"To start off each of the contestants of the Triwizard tournament played with honor and nobility. There was not a dirty trick among them. Fleur was the only one that I did have to take out of the test, due to fear of the grindylows causing her far more harm than should be allowed. Cedric did well with the bubble headed charm and tried to encourage the others in the test, Krump also displayed great knowledge and braver. But Potter behaved in a way most noble. Two of the stolen treasures are good friends of his and from the beginning he was going them both. Even with the threat of the mermaid's weapons at his throat, he did not wish to leave either of them. Krump came and took one of them as she was his stolen treasure. When Potter saw that Ron and Fleur's sister were the only ones left and with no one coming for the child he took her as well." A pause formed in her throat and all looked to her awaiting the next bit of news for her to spout. Eventually words did find their way to her voice box, even if she almost wished to keep them from doing so. "You should know that there was an incident with the grindylows that I admit I almost aided Potter to get away from them. But he did get himself out of the mess and finish before the ending bell." One of the judges was quick to pick up the factoid of her almost giving aid to Potter.

"When you say that you almost aided Potter, did you touch him perhaps give him a spell boost?" He asks this in hopes that she will admit to something that wasn't true so the his own gamble will come out on top.

"I did not touch him nor give him a spell. I know the rules of this tournament and the ones of my position. I do not give favor or lie about such things. I reached out for him that is all. But his spell that he used to propel him out of the water was underway before I could even touch him. If you so doubt what I have told you. I am willing to undergo any truth serum you may have at your disposal. That is if you wish to insult a member of the royal family of the Fae." She rose to hip level out of the water to look into the eyes of the judge who was ready to accuse her. Needless to say the judge was a little surprised to see that her legs were currently in the form of a tail. The other judges did retest her of what she had said. She may not have used the exact same words every time but they still meant the same thing. Harry was not worth disqualifying from the test. They debated amongst themselves for a time. There were some who believed that Cedric should have first place as he was the first to finish. Others were saying that Harry deserved it for saving two people and battling heroically against the grindylows to the point of possible death. Others pointed out that Harry was also close to disqualification and may have been saved only by a spell he thought up in the nick of time. The debates did not last long as a decision came forth. Cedric was to be given first for coming through first and for his use of the bubble head charm. Harry was given second for his bravery and loyalty to his friends. Third was Krumps and fourth belonged to Fleur as she was disqualified due to the grindylows.

Back at the platforms there was a group of three Hogwarts students who were not pleased at Potter gaining second place. The three moved away from the happy cheering spectators since the sounds were giving their leader a headache. They went out behind the platforms getting some air. While there they run into one of their cohorts smoking on a fag.

"Well this is surprising." Blaise said taking a drag and then offering one to Draco. He refused politely before asking what Blaise could be talking about. He indicates over to the smaller platform not far from their own where the princess was sitting with her fin still present as she was brushing out her hair. Looking every bit like a mermaid painting that had been done by a muggle. "Potter placed second therefore he didn't win the competition. She lost her bet to you. I had thought that you would be over the moon at having the princess to yourself all summer."

Malfoy watched her as he legs took back their form. The sudden cold caused her to shiver and almost wish to return to the water for warmth. But her friend the designer came to her side with a towel to drape over her. The two then leave his sight. When his gaze returns to Blaise he notices a certain smile playing on his smug face.

"Tell me Draco in all honesty what is it that you have planned for the princess?" He wished to hear of the dirty things his friend may have had in mind, but Draco just smirks to his friend as he leaves.

There are groups of people walking towards the Great Hall to celebrate the Victory and the end of the Second test. Among those in the group were naturally the contestants chatting with their friends and fellow students. Often these champions were receiving shouts of praise and good jobs from passersby. Only one had nothing to say about this sort of praise. His hand reaches out and lightly taps the shoulder of the one he was seeking out. She turns to him knowing full well what it is he wished to talk about.

"I will keep my end of the bargain. Till then I bide you adieu."

"Not yet your highness." He would be lying if he didn't enjoy her look of annoyance at that moment. "I feel that you should at least be given the formal invitation."

What does he mean by that? Lindsay thought but then it dawned on her as well as Harry who had stayed behind with her, what Malfoy meant by those words.

"Would you Ms. Lindsay King, princess of the Fae do me the honor of spending the summer at my family's home?" This was embarrassing to her as she and he both knew that she had to spend the summer with him because of a bet. However those who were eavesdropping wouldn't know that. To them it would look like the rumors of her leaving Neville for another guy were true. That is if she didn't handle this correctly. Using her most regal tone she answered him thusly.

"I would be rather honored to accept your family's invitation to spending the summer with them. Do to tell them I am grateful for that they thought of such a welcoming invitation." She smiled sweetly and Draco keeping up with a political look followed suit and added a bow for a measure of sugar.

"The honor is of your considering my family's humble invitation. They will be delighted to hear of a person of such prestige gracing our home." He excused himself from her presence and as he passed Potter he couldn't help but express his thanks for what he his part in the bet. "For once Potter you managed to curry my favor, you played your part well."

"I thought that spending my time with my Aunt and Uncle was horrid. To think that you have that to look forward to that for a whole summer. Do you want me and Ron to bust you out of there and go on the lam?"

"I don't know."

"Oh come on who knows it could be a lot of fun." He says sweetening the deal.

"But what if he sics the dogs on us? Or worse what if he tells his father about this?" She says play acting scared. Harry acted as the brave hero and pulled her close.

"Then I guess we would have to flee to France or Ireland no one would expect us in either one. It would also get me away from my Aunt and Uncle. This could be a no lose situation."

"You could be right let's do it! And change our names to Bonnie and Clyde while we're at it." Harry looks confused for a second.

"What about Ron?"

"He'll be And."

Merriemient went into reverse as a discovery made its way into Hogwarts.