New New Author Notes: I haven't touched any Harry Potter fanfic in years for two primary reasons: I was thoroughly disgusted by both the seventh book and the fact that the paragraph breaks on this story vanished for a second time. I had decided to simply let these old stories rot and hope people forgot about them, but I have continued to receive reviews asking me to fix the formatting. Additionally, I have recently found a rekindled interest in the fandom due in no small part to the one thing I did like about Deathly Hollows: the portrayal of the Malfoys. Therefore, I have decided to attempt to fix these stories, correcting not only the format but changing various elements around to make them more compatible with cannon (though this story still remains AU after GoF). 12/18/10
Old Author Notes (which I have decided to retain verbatim from the original post of this story because they put the story into context): I have been a member of for a long time now, but I was having trouble uploading stories. I finally figured it out, so, even though this is my first story posted here, it is not the first story I've ever written. It is not a true allegory about what has been happening at recently, because the story continues far beyond what has already happened; plus, being unaware of 's motives, I had to make something up. Other than that, however, most of the characters and various other story elements represent some aspect of this conflict (Extra points if you can figure out what the blood flavor beans symbolize!).
Disclaimer: I case you haven't figured it out by now, I don't own any of this; it all belongs to J.K. Rowling and Warner Brothers.
They're Called Every Flavor Beans for a Reason
Harry Potter was surrounded by friends, and not just friends, but also classmates, house mates, acquaintances, people he barely knew, and even an old rival or two (case in point: Draco Malfoy and company).
Harry, although he often shied away from his fame and the accompanying publicity, was rather happy in this incidence because he was not the center of attention, but merely the organizer of what the student body of Hogwarts had dubbed the BBEFBSG, or Bernie Bott's Every Flavor Beans Study Group. (The study group part was Hermione's idea, to make their organization seem more legitimate to the teachers. Dumbledore, of course, knew exactly what they were doing, and found it rather amusing.)
The BBEFBSG's main activities were, unsurprisingly, the trading and discussing of Bernie Bott's Every Flavor Beans. Harry had started the group about two years ago when he had noticed some of his dorm mates trading flavors they didn't like for flavors they either liked or hadn't tried before. What they traded for varied greatly, depending on their own personal tastes, but everyone involved enjoyed being able to come to a place where they could interact with fellow bean lovers and enhance their bean-eating experience.
At first, everything had gone well, and everyone seemed to have a good time. The group had even improved inter-house relations when Draco Malfoy had decided (and Crabbe and Goyle had of course agreed) that his love of beans was greater than his hatred of Gryffindors. Ron had objected to letting him join, but Hermione had argued that the BBEFBSG was equal opportunity, and Harry had agreed. In hindsight, Harry's seemed the correct decision, because Draco had brought to the group new, exciting, and sometimes shocking bean flavors that he specially ordered from exotic locales.
Not everyone enjoyed these beans, but many did, and Harry was happy. Of course, BBEFBSG had its share of problems, from establishing and upholding rules of conduct, to having to find new and larger places to meet. There were, of course, minor disagreements every now and then, and the occasional misunderstandings; and after a while, Harry started to notice that some members, who really didn't like certain beans, sometimes got very upset when they got those beans by accident.
It got to the point where some of them, led by the Hufflepuff Ernie Macmillan, had threatened to quit and/or complain to the professors if Harry didn't do something about it. Harry had been quite upset, of course, and with Hermione's help had made an identification key for the beans based on color that they now displayed at all their meetings. Everyone had agreed that it was a good idea, and Draco had even helped them identify some of the more extreme flavors that only he brought to the meetings. And for a while, the problem seemed solved.
But as Dumbledore had discovered in Harry's first year, some of the Extreme beans (as Draco liked to call them) like earwax, had colors almost identical to some of the more pleasant flavors, like toffee. Again Ernie and others had complained, and Harry and Hermione had set on the idea of separating the Extreme bean traders from the others, by designating the Slytherin table (it had been Draco's choice) as the only place where those beans could be. The Hufflepuff table had been designated for those (like Ernie and Neville) who only liked the beans that tasted like candy, the Gryffindor table was only for food-flavored beans, and the Ravenclaw table was for any non-Extreme beans. And, as before, it looked like the problem had been solved.
So that's where Harry was now; sitting at the Gryffindor table with Ron, Hermione, and various others, enjoying the camaraderie that being around people with similar interests could bring. "Try this one, Ron," he said, offering him a dark red bean, "Draco says it's a burgundy bean. You know, the wine?"
"It's from Malfoy? Are you sure it' safe?" Ron looked at the bean suspiciously. Harry looked annoyed. He was frankly getting sick of Ron's attitude towards Draco.
"Come on, Ron; it's good."
Ron shrugged and bit into the end of the bean. "Yuck!"
Harry was disappointed. "You don't like it?"
Ron shook his head vigorously. "Ugh, no! This should be confined to the Slytherin table!"
"But it's a food flavored bean, Ron, that means it's allowed here."
"Well, it shouldn't be; it's gross. Plus it's from Malfoy; I don't trust it."
"But I like them, and so do lots of other people. You like them, don't you, Hermione?"
Hermione looked up from her book 'A History of Bernie Bott's Every Flavor Beans' and replied, "Not really, but they are a food bean, and they are allowed at this table. If I wanted to play it really safe, I'd be at the Hufflepuff table."
"But when you go to the Hufflepuff table, you can't get steak or buttered toast beans."
"That's what playing it safe means, Ron," Hermione answered, "We can't have a table just for the beans you like; people have different tastes. If you don't want to get any you don't like, you also won't be able to get some you do like."
"Well, I think you are both being too buddy-buddy with Malfoy; I'm going to the Hufflepuff table for a while," and with that, he stalked off in a snit.
Harry looked upset; he really didn't like it when Ron was mad at him, so Hermione tried to comfort him. "He'll get over it, Harry. I think it's really great that we can get along with Malfoy now. It makes potions class so much easier, and it's just nice to be able to get along with our classmates."
Harry sighed, "I guess you're right."
Harry and Hermione looked towards the Slytherin table. Ernie Macmillan was stomping away from it, looking mad. "That was so disgusting, Malfoy!" He yelled.
Draco rolled his eyes. "If you don't like Extreme beans stay away from the Slytherin table, Macmillan."
"But it's the only place to get blood flavored beans! It's not my fault they look just like those… things!"
Draco just shook his head and turned away from the enraged Hufflepuff. Ernie, not wanting to be ignored, stalked over to Harry and started to complain. Again.
"Harry, Malfoy just gave me a tropical frog flavored bean. It was disgusting!"
Harry shrugged. "You were at the Slytherin table; he's allowed to have Extreme beans there."
"But I can't get blood flavored beans anywhere else! Plus, first years sometimes screw up and bring Extreme beans to other tables."
"Well, if you want to take the risk getting blood flavored beans, that's your business, but I thought we had fixed the first year problem. We just explain the system to them, and they don't usually do it again."
"It shouldn't happen at all!"
"Well, um, maybe we can just be careful to explain the system really well the first time."
"That's not good enough! I think we should ban some of the Extreme beans. I mean, who likes vomit flavored beans?"
"Draco does. And some other people; they like the thrill of not knowing exactly what they're going to get. New experiences, and all that."
"Oh, so you're Malfoy's little servant, now are you?"
"No! But he has the right to trade the beans he wants."
"And I have the right not to be offended by his gross beans. I'm not saying he can't be here; I'm just saying he shouldn't be allowed to expose people to flavors they don't like."
"He's not doing that on purpose. He thought to whole table thing was a good idea. As long as you don't go to the Slytherin table, you won't get the really gross beans."
Ernie snorted. "You don't care about us! You just want to get in good with Malfoy 'cause he's rich and popular!"
"Well, I'm not going to give up! I'm going to make you ban those beans!" and without giving Harry a chance to reply, he withdrew to the Hufflepuff table.
Harry put his head in his hands and sighed heavily. It was not turning out to be a good day.
"I think Ernie is right," Ron said to Harry the next morning at breakfast. Harry was startled; it was the first time Ron had spoken to him at all since their fight yesterday.
"What do you mean?"
"I think you should ban some of the Extreme beans. It's your club, after all. If you don't like them, why do we have to have them?"
"Whether I like them on not is irrelevant; the purpose of the club was to allow anyone who wants to trade beans to do so with lots of other people."
"But lots of people don't like Malfoy's beans."
"But some people do. They're called Every Flavor beans for a reason; we should allow every flavor."
"But people keep getting beans they don't like."
"People's tastes are different. Even if we banned the Extreme beans, we'd still have the burgundy ones you don't like, and the pomegranate ones I don't like. But that's why it's fun; if all the beans were 'safe' it would be boring."
Ron flushed angrily. "I think you're just sucking up the Malfoy, like Ernie said."
"What! Why would I suck up to Malfoy?"
"I don't know, but you obviously are, since you aren't listening to anyone else's opinion."
"I am listening to you Ron; I just think that Draco's beans should be allowed."
"So it's Draco, now is it? Well, if he's your new best friend, you obviously don't need me!" Ron slammed his glass of pumpkin juice onto the table, spilling it all over Harry, before charging out of the Great Hall. He didn't look back. Harry stared after him in shock, until he became aware of Hermione wiping the pumpkin juice off his face.
"He'll get over it, Harry. Just stick to your guns for a week or two, and he'll come back and apologize."
Harry looked sad. "He stayed mad at me for weeks and weeks back in fourth year. And he was even worse to you in third year."
"That was a year ago, Harry. He'll be more mature this time."
"How do you know? I mean, what if he never comes back? He's my best friend, Herm; I need him."
Hermione looked him straight in the eyes. "I know you do; but it's not an equal friendship if he makes your decisions for you. Just do the right thing and it will all work out in the end."
Harry sighed. "I'm not so sure."
After three weeks Ron still showed no sign of letting up. He wouldn't even talk to Harry during Quidditch practice, and since Ron was now a keeper on the team, it was making practice very difficult. Ernie was being even more of a pest than usual, and since Harry didn't really have anyone to confide in (Hermione was not quite as sympathetic as he would like) it was really wearing on him.
Finally, one night, he came to a decision. During the club meeting that night, he climbed on to the Gryffindor table and yelled out, "Everyone! Everyone! I would like to make an announcement!" When everyone had stopped talking and turned their attention to him, Harry continued. "Despite the separate table system we have set up, some people have continued to complain about being exposed to Extreme beans. This has caused a great deal of conflict within the club, and so I have decided that we are going to ban some Extreme bean flavors."
Some of the people at the Hufflepuff table cheered, but many people protested. Draco was, by far, the loudest. "That's stupid! Why would you do that? If people don't want to try Extreme beans they should stay away from the Slytherin table!"
Many people, especially those at the Slytherin table, applauded. Harry sighed. "That's not the problem. Some new members, especially first years, sometimes bring Extreme beans to other tables by accident."
"Then we have to make sure that everyone understands the system. There, problem solved."
"But sometimes people forget, and other people get beans they don't like."
"Big deal! They're just jelly beans, not bubotuber pus! Why are you punishing us for the actions of others?"
"Because that's the only way to make it safe."
Draco snorted. "Safe? They're not supposed to be safe! They are called every flavor beans for a reason! If you want to be safe, eat chocolate frogs, or start your own bean club! Life isn't safe; get used to it!"
There was more cheering, and even Hermione applauded. Harry sighed again, and looked at Ron, who appeared unmoved. "I'm sorry; it has to be this way," he said, regretfully.
Draco had noticed the look Harry had given Ron. "Oh I see, whenever there's conflict the Slytherins are automatically wrong, is that it? Whatever Weasley say goes, hunh? Well, I'm not going to take this! I'm leaving and I'm taking my beans with me!" And with that, Draco marched from the hall.
Several other people went with him, including Seamus Finnigan. Crabbe and Goyle of course went, but they cast longing glances back at the club. They'd had a lot of fun, but what Draco said went, including them.
Harry sighed again and put his head in his hands. He hadn't wanted this, but he needed Ron. Composing himself, he drew out a sheet of parchment and called for everyone's attention again. "Okay, now we need to decide which beans to ban."
Many people shouted out answers, but only Neville politely raised his hand. Harry, glad that someone finally seemed to be acting sane, told everyone to shut up so Neville could make his suggestion. "Uh, how about all the Extreme beans. I mean, I don't think you can just pick and choose flavors, everyone would have a different opinion."
Harry nodded, Neville was probably right. "But wait!" Ernie objected, "What about the blood flavored beans?"
"Draco was the only one who could get those," Hermione broke in, "When he left, so did they." She seemed rather put out with Harry, and especially Ernie, at the moment.
Harry worried that she might leave like Draco had. But she didn't; she just sat, glaring at Ernie. For his part, Ernie just said, "Oh," and shut up. He had obviously not considered that he might not be able to get the beans he liked anymore.
"Does anyone else have any suggestions?" Harry asked. Some people shared glances or shook their heads, but most just stared at Harry blankly. "All right then, from now on no Extreme beans are allowed in this club. You can eat the ones you already have here, but don't bring in any more."
Harry looked form face to face, trying to gage people's reactions. Some looked happy, some looked mad, and many looked as if they didn't care. Hermione, well, Hermione looked disappointed, like Dumbledore had when Harry and Ron had crashed the Weasley's car into the whomping willow. And Harry felt almost as bad now as he had then. "Well, uh, I guess that's it." With that, he got off the table and sat down.
"Good show, Harry," Ron said, clamping him on the shoulder as if the past three weeks had never happened. "Glad to see you remember what really matters." Harry nodded and smiled weakly.
After a while, he realized he wasn't really having all that much fun, and he excused himself to go to bed. He lay awake for what seemed like hours replaying the meeting in his head, wondering if he could have done anything different. He didn't think he could have; he really couldn't have borne to have Ron mad at him anymore. And anyway, it was his club. If he wanted to ban certain flavors that was his prerogative. Of course, he hadn't really wanted to ban those flavors, but that was beside the point. Eventually, he fell asleep still feeling quite conflicted.
"Watch where you're going, Potter!" Malfoy snarled.
"Sorry," Harry replied meekly. He still felt bad about the beans. In fact, he had been so distracted thinking about it that he had bumped into Draco without even seeing him.
"Sure you are," Malfoy snorted. He turned to walk away.
"You know, I wish you'd come back to the club," Harry called after him. "It's not as much fun without you."
Draco turned and regarded him for a moment. "Can I bring all the Extreme beans?"
Harry blushed and looked away. "I'm afraid not."
Draco scowled. "Then I and my beans don't want anything to do with you or your stupid club." He then swept down the hall with a dramatic, Snape-like, swirl of his cloak, and Harry would be willing to bet that he had the scowl to match.
"You think I'm an idiot, don't you?" Harry asked Hermione. He had found her at her regular table in the library.
"Of course not, I just think you made a mistake." Hermione wasn't looking at him, she just kept flipping the pages of her book.
"What could I have done, Herm? It hurt having Ron not speak to me. And, well, it's my club, I should be able to do whatever I want with it."
Hermione put her book down and looked at him. "You're right, it is your club. But you have to admit, it's unfair to give people something and then take it away. And you didn't even give people a chance to express their views."
"But Ernie has been doing nothing but expressing his views; that's what started this whole thing!"
"So you changed the rules because of Ernie?"
"No, I changed them because of Ron. But Ron wouldn't have been so stubborn if Ernie hadn't butted in."
"So you changed the rules because of one member's views while disregarding the opinion of others because he had influence with Ron? That doesn't seem very fair. Either you make all the rules, or the members make the rules. But it's not fair to listen to some and not others."
Harry ran a hand through his hair. "I know, I know. I just wanted people to be happy."
"You can't make everybody happy, Harry, and in trying to do so, you're only making yourself miserable."
Harry thought for a minute. "You're right. But the only way I see of not being miserable is to just accept that we can't have Extreme beans anymore. If Draco wants them, he can start his own club. Thanks, Herm, I feel better." Harry smiled at her and left.
Hermione sighed. "That's not what I meant."
Harry turned at the sound of his name. "Hi, Megan," he replied.
Megan Jones had grown up to be quite pretty in the past few years, and Harry had been known, on occasion, to blush for no reason at all while gazing at her. They had only spoken directly to each other a few times, but she was a member of BBEFBSG, and he had seen her often, sitting at the Hufflepuff table.
Right now, she was smiling at Harry brilliantly, as she asked, "I was wondering if it would be possible to ban some other bean flavors from the BBEFBSG."
"What do you mean? Why?"
"Well," she continued, twirling her hair around one finger in a flirtatious manner, "I accidentally got a liver flavored bean the other day, and it was very upsetting to me."
Harry didn't know what to say. He really didn't want to ban liver flavored beans, but he didn't want to say no to Megan either. He was starting to feel kind of funny around her, almost like he had around Cho Chang, but even more so.
"Um, why don't I bring it up at the next meeting and we can vote in it?" Harry felt kind of faint with the way Megan smiled at him then.
"Thank you!" she squealed, "I knew after you were willing to get rid of those awful Extreme beans, you'd listen to me!" She gave him a peck on the cheek before running off. Harry brought a hand up to where she had kissed him, dazed. It had felt nice. But then why did he feel as if he had done something terrible?
At the next meeting of the BBEFBSG, Harry again climbed onto the Gryffindor table with a sheet of parchment, and called for everyone's attention.
"Everyone, it has come to my attention that certain people are still being exposed to beans they find offensive." Megan Jones smiled sweetly at Harry as he said this. Hermione shook her head, looking rather fed up with the whole situation; but as Harry was busy gazing at Megan, he didn't notice. "I therefore feel that it would be a good idea to for the club to consider banning some non-Extreme flavors."
Over the din that erupted then, Harry shouted, "If people would raise their hands to suggest flavors to ban, we can vote on them on a flavor by flavor basis!"
At this comment, several members looked disgusted and walked out. Several others, including Megan, raised their hands, but most just stared at Harry blankly. Hermione looked disapproving when Harry called on Megan first, smiling goofily. "I think we should ban liver flavored beans," the Hufflepuff said sweetly.
Harry nodded and wrote it down on his piece of parchment. Harry called on Neville next, who wanted to get rid of the bark, smoke, and spinach beans. Over the course of about half and hour, Harry took so many banning nominations he had to get another sheet of parchment. The voting itself took another hour and a half, and they ended up eliminating about a quarter of the nominees, including paper, bark, leaf, fuzz, Brussels sprout, licorice, smoke, chive, heather, lemon rind, ink, clay, leather, clove, acorn, dust, sweat, pollen, plastic, sand, granite, sea water, thistle, lard, pig's feet, egg plant, raisins, and sauerkraut.
During the course of the voting, another half dozen members had gotten up and left, looking upset. Megan had flounced out in a huff when liver had not been banned, and Harry was starting to feel like he had started something disastrous. But Ron, who was happy that all four of his suggestions had been banned, seemed quite thrilled; and as long as Ron was happy, Harry decided that he would be happy too.
"Harry, can we vote on eliminating cherry beans?'
"Cherry, are you nutters? We need to get rid of oyster!"
"I want to vote on liver beans again!"
"How about grass?"
"I want acorn beans back!"
Harry had entered the next BBEFBSG meeting only to be mobbed with people who either wanted to eliminate more flavors, vote again on previous nominees, or bring back beans that had been outlawed before.
Hermione was sitting on the Gryffindor table with a book in her lap and an I-told-you-so expression on her face. Harry sighed deeply as he climbed onto the Ravenclaw table and yelled for quiet. It took a full five minutes to get everyone calmed down. "I will now be taking nominations for flavors to eliminate," he said tiredly. Ron had bugged him all day for a chance to vote on curry beans, and he just couldn't argue anymore.
After two hours of nominations and voting, there were fifty-eight newly banned flavors, fourteen walk-outs, and at least a dozen shouted arguments. When they were finally finished, Harry looked defeated, and he took the first possible opportunity to run back to Gryffindor tower. Hermione gave Ron a meaningful look, and he red-head dutifully fallowed after him. Ron found Harry in their dorm. The curtains to Harry's four poster were closed and Ron could almost swear that Harry was inside and... crying?
"Hey, mate," Ron said softly, "Are you all right?"
"Yes, go away!" Harry's voice, although muffled, definitely sounded full of tears. Ron didn't know what to say. Why was Harry so upset?
"Come on, Harry, it can't be that bad. Everything's going to be okay."
"I said go away, Ron!" Ron sighed; he was getting rather irritated. Harry was his friend; friends told each other when something was wrong. He pulled the curtain back, rather forcefully, but stopped when he saw Harry. Harry had indeed been crying; his green eyes were bloodshot under his glasses, and the pillow he'd been hugging was soaked.
"I told you to go away and leave me alone!" Harry yelled. He threw the pillow at Ron, missing by a mile, then rolled over, hiding his face.
"Harry," Ron said sadly, "What is wrong? I can't help you if I don't know what the problem is."
"I just wanted everyone to be happy," Harry mourned. "It was so great in the beginning, and now everything is a mess."
Ron was surprised. "You mean the club? It's only jelly beans, mate; nothing to cry about."
Harry glared at him. "What do you mean 'only jelly beans'? You didn't talk to me for three weeks, even during Quidditch, because of those jellybeans!"
Ron looked embarrassed and ran a hand through his hair. "It wasn't really about the jelly beans, mate. It was about you and Hermione being nice to Malfoy."
"But why shouldn't we? He behaved himself and brought lots of great, new beans to the club. And you know he hasn't been mean to us since his father broke with the Voldemort."
Ron shook his head. "But still, it's Malfoy! All my life, I was raised to hate people like Malfoy. And with the way he used to treat us, how can you just be friends with him like nothing ever happened?"
"Because it's over now! Draco is actually an interesting person, and he loves beans as much as I do."
Ron sighed. He still didn't get it, but he'd let it drop for Harry's sake. "But they're still just jelly beans, Harry." Harry shook his head.
"They're not just beans, Ron. They're the first thing I ever shared with a friend."
Harry sighed. "I don't think I ever told you this, Ron, but you are the first friend I ever had. Before you, all the other kids I knew were too afraid of Dudley to even talk to me. But that time on the train, it was so great; I'd never felt that way before. I was so scared, coming to Hogwarts, that life as a wizard would be just as bad, or maybe even worse, than life as a muggle, and being with you and with all that candy showed me that it wasn't. And then later, when it did get bad, with Voldemort or Malfoy, or even when you were mad and refused to talk to me, I always had the beans to remind me that things were still better than if I had never heard of magic. And then, when I found out that other people liked them just as much as I did, and they could even help me improve life in the school, I just got so into it that it became a really important part of my life. I guess that sounds kind of stupid, huh?"
Ron was shocked. He had known that life with the Dursley's was bad, but it had never occurred to him that he was Harry's first friend ever. Eleven years without a friend in the world; that must have been terrible. "It's not stupid, Harry. But maybe things aren't as bad as all that; once people get used to the idea of having certain flavors banned, I'm sure they'll calm down. It'll still be a good club, you'll see."
Harry sighed again. "I guess so. I think I just need some sleep; I'm really tired."
"Yeah, you'll feel better in the morning. G'night, Harry."
Ron was right, in a way; people did calm down. After a while, people stopped walking out, and everyone got used to the idea of periodically voting flavors out of the club. But for some reason, people didn't seem to be having as much fun anymore. The group was now much smaller (they only took up two tables in the Great Hall), and sometimes they ran out of beans to trade. Harry just didn't seem to get as excited about upcoming meetings as he used to.
One day, as he was trying to think of what he could do to improve the club, he walked into the Great Hall to find Hermione standing alone at the Gryffindor table. She appeared to be writing on a large piece of parchment and didn't even look up when he came in.
"Hi, Hermione. What are you doing?" he asked.
"I'm altering our identification key so it only displays the flavors allowed in the club. Ernie Macmillan complained that it was confusing him."
They didn't say anything for a while, as Hermione continued to cross out beans. When she was done, there were barely twenty flavors not crossed out. "Wow," Harry said, "No wonder we've been running out of beans. People have to remove a lot from the packs when they buy them."
"How astute of you to notice," Hermione said, dryly.
Harry blushed and stared at the floor. "I guess I really made a mess of things, hunh?"
"Yes, you did."
"So what do I do about it?"
"I don't know. It's your club, you tell me." Hermione looked rather smug; as if she knew exactly what he should do, but was forcing him to come to his own conclusion.
"I guess I could allow all flavors back in."
"You could," she said in a decidedly non-committal fashion.
"Even Extreme beans."
"That sounds like a good idea."
"But what about all the people who already left? How will I get them to come back?"
"I imagine that if you apologize, it would do wonders."
"Yeah, I guess. But since they left, how will I apologize to them?" Hermione smirked.
"You could make a public announcement in the Great Hall at dinner."
"Hermione! That would be embarrassing! Plus I doubt that the professors would like it."
"Then what do you want to do?"
"I guess I could post announcements on the house bulletin boards, and then explain everything in person at the next meeting."
"That sounds like a plan."
"But of course, we'll need to make another identification key." Hermione smirked again.
Harry gestured to the mutilated key before them. "Because this one is all crossed out!"
Hermione smiled benignly, drew out her wand, and said, "Reverto!" All the marks she had added disappeared, and the key looked just like new.
Harry grinned and hugged her. "Thanks, Hermione! You're a great friend!" He then rushed off to write those announcements, feeling better than he had in months.
Hermione just shook her head and chuckled. "Boys can be so stupid sometimes."
"Everyone, can I have your attention, please!" Harry called out. Almost all of the students who had left the club were back, watching him expectantly.
Unfortunately, Draco, Crabbe, and Goyle were conspicuously absent, along with Hermione. Harry was hesitant to start without her, but he had called all these people here for a reason, and he couldn't keep them waiting just because she hadn't arrived yet. He took a deep breath and began his speech. "First of all, I would like to apologize to all of you. Banning bean flavors was not only wrong and against the whole concept of Bernie Bott's Every Flavor Beans, but the way in which I did it was underhanded and unfair. Even though many people don't like Extreme beans, not to mention other flavors, I discovered that the club just couldn't survive without them. From now on, all bean flavors will be allowed, and we will go back to the identification and table system we had before. To remind you, the Hufflepuff table will have only candy flavored beans, the Gryffindor table will have only food flavored beans, the Ravenclaw table can have any non-Extreme beans, and the Slytherin table can have all flavors of beans."
Many people cheered with Harry's announcement, but some complaints could be heard as well. Not surprisingly, one voice could be heard above all others. "What do you think you are doing, Potter?" Ernie demanded. "You had everything perfect and now you're messing it all up! I don't want to taste bad beans, and you have no right to expose me to them!"
Harry sighed. "If staying away from the Slytherin table does not make you feel safe enough, than the only other solution is for you not to come. They are called Every Flavor beans for a reason, and so we should have every flavor available."
"But I don't like Extreme beans!"
"Neither does Dumbledore; he told me so himself. He eats muggle jellybeans instead; maybe you should try it." Ernie stood up, his face flushed with anger.
"You don't have the right to tell me what to do! I've had it with your rules and your disgusting beans! I'm leaving!" Ernie left, fallowed only by Megan Jones.
When they had gone Harry merely muttered, "Good riddance," and sat down. But he still wondered where Hermione and Draco were.
"Bugger off, Granger," Malfoy snapped. "Potter screwed up; Finnigan may be willing to forgive him at the drop of a hat, but I'm not."
Hermione frowned; Draco was being very difficult. "You made mistakes too, you know."
"Me? Potter's the one who was being a prat! He let Weasley pressure him into changing the rules! It wasn't fair!"
"You're right, it wasn't. But It also wasn't very helpful to have you just walk away instead of trying to fix things."
"Potter wouldn't have listened to me! He had his mind made up, and there wasn't anything I could do."
"No, he didn't have his mind made up, or he wouldn't have apologized. He was under a lot of pressure, and he just had to see what it would do to the club to see the error in the suggestion. I waited it out and tried to change things; you ran away the second things got tough. You obviously don't care about the club; I don't know why I'm talking to you now."
"I care!" Draco yelled, "Of course I care! It was the first time I was ever able to be friends with someone who wasn't in Slytherin. That club was very important to me; he had no right to change it!"
"And he's admitting it. He's sorry, and he wants you to come back. Just because he made a mistake, it doesn't mean you can't be friends anymore. He and Ron fight all the time and they always make up."
Draco crossed his arms haughtily, "Well, I happen to believe that if you're friends with someone, you should at least give them a chance to express their opinion."
"You're right, of course; but as you have pointed out many times, Harry's not perfect. He's learned from this, and I don't think he's likely to do it again."
Draco made a growling noise in the back of his throat. It really hadn't been as much fun trading with only a few Extreme bean fanatics. He really had missed the variety of people (and beans) of the BBEFBSG. Finally he looked at Hermione and said, "Fine. He gets one more chance, but if he does something like this again, he's in deep trouble."
Hermione grinned and grabbed Draco's hand, dragging him back to the Great Hall. Crabbe and Goyle fallowed cautiously, wondering what, exactly, Hermione was intending to do with their leader.
Harry was too deeply involved in his conversation with Ron, Terry Boot, and Justin Finch-Fletchley about Draco's French and Italian wine flavored beans to notice when the Slytherin in question was dragged into the Hall by a triumphant Hermione. Draco finally managed to disentangle himself from her and, touching up his hair, sauntered over to the Slytherin table. Hermione watched him go, then hurried over to Harry. She tapped him on the shoulder and whispered, "Look who's here."
Harry smiled when he saw Draco. "Great! Now everything's back to the way it was."
"Well, not exactly. He's still a little mad." Harry frowned.
"I guess that means I have to apologize again, huh?"
Hermione nodded, looking wise. "It would be advisable, yes."
Harry sighed, gathered up his beans, and walked over to where Draco was sitting. "Trade you a chocolate mousse for a burgundy," he said when he got there.
Malfoy leaned back, arched his eyebrow in the official Malfoy Eyebrow-Arch and replied, "Don't you still owe me an apology?"
Harry flushed. "Yes, I do. I'm sorry."
"That's it?" Harry flushed again. "Uh, no. I'm really sorry about letting Ron and Ernie influence how I ran the club, and the way I banned the Extreme beans was unfair and underhanded. I'm sorry, really."
Draco seemed to consider this for a moment. "Do you promise that you won't ever do anything like that again?"
Harry nodded, "Yes, I promise." He extended his hand, like Draco had done on the train five years ago. "Friends?" he asked.
Draco looked at Harry's hand for a moment, and then finally took it in his own, pale hand. "Friends."