…ious types.

A whistling shriek pierced the air suddenly and she squealed, leaping about a foot in the air. She spun around, heart thudding in her chest, to locate the noise. A sneak-o-scope. Damn it!

“ Silencio!” she hissed and the noise cut off though the thing continued to flash and spin.

The first bed was Longbottom’s. The Rememberall lying forgotten under the bed was the big tip off. She went to the next bed and found some photos in the dresser: Dean’s bed. The third bed was Weasley’s which meant the one next to it…

YES! There on the dresser was an extra pair of glasses.

She tried them on.

The world was strange and wobbly in Potter-vision.

Blaise plunked down on the floor beside the bed and began first to explore underneath it, pulling out any boxes or papers she could find. Then she looked through backpack that was lying haphazardly to the side, and the chest near the foot of the bed. Finally she began sifting through the drawers.

She wasn’t really looking for something specific, just anything that could provide them with information: letters to Dumbledore, letters from Hermione, notes, photos, maps, envelopes marked ‘do not open: secret plans inside’, anything.

The sound of the door opening caused every hair on her body to stand on end.

She shoved the drawer shut and lurched onto the bed. As swiftly as she could, she hunched over and began to sob into her hands.

“ Parvati?” Ron Weasley’s surprised, slightly irritated voice, “ Parvati what are you doing in here?”

She blubbered something incoherent into her hands.

“ Um…er…do you want me to go get Seamus?” faced with a female in tears, he was instantly stumbling over himself in nervous anxiety.

“ He’s in detention.” She whimpered, wiping her eyes on her sleeves.

The neat little alibi that came next was compliments of Parvati’s hysterics in the middle of Potions.

“ I…its just… I miss Hermione so much.” She wailed the last part and began to sob into her arms again.

“ Yeah…er…we all do…um…”

“ Come sit by me.”

“ Wha?” his eyes darted about as if he were contemplating escape.

“ Come sit by me, Ron, just for a minute.”

“ Um, okay.” He crept over to the bed and sat down on the same side as her but as far as he could possibly get without giving into the urge to plaster himself to the far wall.

She looked up at him with Parvati’s teary eyes, “ You…you can’t tell me anything about Hermione can you?”

Weasley sighed, “ I wish I had something to tell you.”

“ Is…is she still alive?” she asked in a tiny voice.

“ Yes!” he all but barked, “ Dumbledore assured us that she’s alive.” He hesitated then apologized gruffly, “ I’m sorry about yelling at you before, on the train. I kind of snapped.”

Blaise let her breath out in a relieved sigh, “ I was so afraid, you know, because Hermione wouldn’t miss school. Not for anything.”

Weasley looked down at his knees, “ I know what you mean.” He muttered and he sounded sincere.

“ What about Dra… Malfoy? Do you know anything about him?”

Weasley looked at her sharply, “ What about him?”

“ I don’t know.” She scooted closer to him and was amused when he tensed like string pulled taut, “ Its just that Dumbledore tells you and Harry so much and the rest of us are left to just kind of wonder.”

The boy ran a hand through his hair, “ We haven’t even spoken to him all week. I think Harry did for a few minutes the other day. Just long enough to say that Hermione’s okay.”

“ Is Malfoy okay?”

Weasley blinked, “ You know, I don’t know. I didn’t ask. I hope not.” He stared into a middle distance, a cruel snarl curling his mouth, “ I hope Hermione’s got him tied to a wall and is performing the Cruciatus every ten seconds. That’s my plan anyway, if I get my hands on him.”


“ There’s nothing else you can tell me?” she asked carefully, and laid her head against his shoulder, “ You have no idea when…Hermione will be back?”

The physical contact seemed to scramble his brain, “ Look, maybe I should go get Seamus. He might be done with detention by now.” The red-head babbled, starting to pull away.

He was about to bolt.

Damn, this was such a great opportunity but Weasley wasn’t going to go for it. He was obviously uncomfortable around Parvati, didn’t trust her and wouldn’t tell her anything. Honestly, she didn’t blame him. Anyone with any intelligence could see that Parvati couldn’t keep a secret if someone sewed her mouth shut.

Ruefully, she wondered if she could morally justify showing him Parvati’s breasts in order to get him to stay. She discarded the idea. Parvati didn’t have much to show.

Instead she did the next best thing. She slid her knee up on the bed, turning towards him and pressed her mouth to his.

Weasley was instantly doing his best impression of a statue.

She didn’t force it. She simply kissed him slowly, taking a moment to learn the taste of him simply because she was curious, and then sat back down.

“ Thank you.” She said gently.

He stuttered something, cheeks flushed, “ Um..uh..”

“ Thanks for staying to talk to me and making me feel better.”

“ Yeah, great…I…I should go… I should…” his eyes were fixed on her mouth and she realized he wasn’t going anywhere.

Hiding a grin, Blaise tilted her face up and this time Weasley met her halfway. He sort of fell into her, as if he had to make it seem like an accident. His mouth was warm and surprisingly soft. She’d expected him to crush her mouth, to kiss her hard. He was just so big and mean-tempered that she’d expected him to be rough, bruising, maybe even without meaning to be. But right now he seemed content to follow her lead, returning her small, sweet kisses with ones of his own and leaving them both breathless.

Blaise felt a curl of sweetness in her chest that went all the way down to her toes and sent alarm bells clanging in her head in hellish cacophony. This was Ron Weasley, Harry Potter’s trained monkey. She was supposed to be getting him to talk to her. She wasn’t supposed to be enjoying a make-out session with him while sitting on Harry Potter’s bed wearing another girl’s body.

That was just kinky.

She jerked back, a hand going unconsciously to her lips.

Weasley’s eyes were dark and dazed, his lips swollen. His glassy gaze quickly snapped clear as reality reasserted itself and horrified guilt filled his face.

“ Shit..” he stood up quickly, backing away from her, “ Sorry, I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have done that, I... Seamus is my friend. I don’t know how serious you guys are but I’m not going to intrude in his territory.”

She jumped to her feet, “ Ron, its okay. I should apologize. I just…wanted to say thank you.”

“ Yeah, I know. Its my fault. I… I gotta get Harry’s bag. I’ll see you later.”

Her heart stopped as he took a step around the bed towards the incriminating mess she’d left of Harry’s drawer.

She panicked.

“ Weasley wait!” she cried out before she could stop herself.

He froze.

Oh Merlin.

His eyes remained locked downward on Harry’s drawer as he took in the mess of papers scattered on the floor and caught halfway in and out of the drawer. Maybe she could have explained that away. Maybe she could have professed innocence.

But she’d called him Weasley.

Stupid mistake! Stupid idiot. It was his fault! He’d messed with her head!

Very slowly she took two steps backwards toward the door.

“ Harry’s drawer is a mess.” Weasley’s voice halted her. It was calm and even and not at all threatening, the violence was a deep undertone, it wasn’t something she could hear, it was something she could feel,“You weren’t sitting on Seamus’ bed. You were sitting on Harry’s.” he said conversationally. Brown eyes turned to her, deceptively mild, “ You kept asking about Malfoy…and you called me Weasley.”

She had absolutely no idea what to say to that. That was okay since she seemed to have lost her voice anyway.

“ Where’s Lavender?” he asked pleasantly.

“ Huh?” Oh, brilliant rebuff Zambini.

“ Where’s Lavender? How come she’s not with you? Lavender is always with you. And she’d definitely be here if you were crying.” His voice took on a hard edge at the end, a growling timber working it way out of his throat.

She took another step back, then another.

Something caught his eye and she remembered the sneak-o-scope she’d left flashing and whirring on what must have been Seamus’ dresser. His eyes slid back to her with dark certainty and hard accusation.

“ You’re not Parvati. Who are you?” He took a step towards her and she took another back, “ You’re using Polyjuice potion.” He observed and confusion spread over his features, “ But that takes a month to brew. How did you make it already?”

It was her turn to be shocked, “ How…?”

“ Oh, I know all about Polyjuice potion. Harry and I have used it exactly the same way you’re using it now.” He grinned coldly at her look of disbelief, “ Sure, ask Malfoy about it. If you two get a chance to talk before we kill him, that is.”

There it was, the confession! They did have Draco!

Blaise bolted.

“Locomotor mortis.”

She screamed as the jet of sparks barely missed her, the heat of the spell fluffing her hair with static electricity. Weasley cursed loudly.

“ Stupefy!”

She darted through the door just ahead of the spell. It hit the back, slamming the door closed and shoving her into the hallway wall. Dizzily she spun and dashed for the stairs.

The door was thrown open and Weasley was right behind her, “ Stupefy!”

The sparks whizzed past her ear.

A group of fourth year boys meandered up the stairs and froze when they saw Ron Weasley chasing Parvati Patil through the boy’s dorm hallway.

“ Stop her! Stop her!” shouted Ron.

The boys only stared at him, rendered stupid in their confusion.

Blaise slammed them out of the way and careened down the stairs.

“ You idiots, stop her!”

“ What’s going on? Why’re you chasing Parvati?” she heard one of the boys ask.

Blaise stopped running a good distance down the stairs. She pulled her wand and waited. Weasley lurched onto the stairwell and then realized his mistake. Standing on the narrow stairs with nowhere to go but up or down, he was the perfect target.

“Petrificus Totalus.” She shouted and hit him dead on.

She could hear him screaming and cursing as she pounded the rest of the way down the stairs. It wouldn’t last long, that is if the fourth years knew ‘finite incantatum’ which every fourth year with an ounce of self-preservation did.

Weasley was still screaming for someone to stop her but the sounds were muffled by the time she reached the Common Room. The watchdog and the Prefect boy looked at her in surprise but did nothing to stop her as she bolted through the room and out through the painting.

She didn’t stop running until she reached a Slytherin safe-haven on the other side of the castle and nearly got herself jumped by Icarus Cinder and two of his friends.

“ Its me you idiot!” she shouted and bopped him on the head.

She was there for an hour before Icarus came back and reported that Pansy was in Snape’s office and that Millicent, Crabbe, Goyle, and a handful of others were in the infirmary.

At the same time that Blaise was drinking her Polyjuice potion, Pansy Parkinson was crouched under the bleachers of the Quidditch Pitch waiting for the Gryffindors to finish practice.

“ We’ll hit them on two fronts at the same time.” She told Blaise earlier that morning, “ We have to make this count because once they’re on guard it will be a lot harder to hit them a second time.”

She watched them fly, absently noting strengths and weakness and filing them away for later consideration. As evening fell the team came back to earth and meandered to the Gryffindor equipment and locker rooms. Pansy followed them, keeping a careful distance.

Natalie McDonald and Ginny Weasley were the first to finish up and leave, scampering off after calling goodbyes into the boy’s locker room while the boys screamed back at them to keep out. Bryce Heathcliff left next, followed closely by Ron Weasley.

“ Okay. I’ll meet you there, Harry. I’ll go grab our stuff.” The red-head called before jogging away.

Pansy restrained herself from rubbing her hands together in wicked glee. That left only the Wonder Boy and Drew Mello. Careless of them. They really should have left Potter with a better bodyguard.

Pansy signaled her comrades and drew her wand.

This was too easy.

She slipped into the equipment room followed by Crabbe, Goyle, Millicent, Rodney, Idane and Sky.

Her first thought had been to take Potter in his Head Boy quarters but he was never there and there was also the little matter of his password which he only ever used after performing an anti-listening charm.

No, this was so much better. A small enclosure away from the school with only Potter, that boy and seven Slytherins and no one to hear them no matter how much noise they made. Perfect.

The main door opened into the equipment room. The locker rooms were off to each side. Girls to the left, boys to the right. Through the locker room door was a tile corridor. The left side longer than the right which cut off abruptly and opened into the showers. The longer left side ended near the far wall and on the other side were the lockers.

Drew Mello was stepping out of the shower when they came upon him, a towel around his skinny waist. Pansy knew him as the new Gryffindor chaser. A third year, small and fast with a good throwing arm. Rumor was he was being trained to replace Potter.

The kid’s jaw fell open, eyes huge as he stared at the seven Slytherins closing in on him.

“ Harry!” the boy shouted.

“ Silencio.” Pansy hissed.

“ Obdormio.” Idane whispered.

Drew made a choking sound as his voice was stolen away by Pansy’s spell and then his eyes rolled up as Idane’s spell caught him and he crumpled bonelessly to the floor, fast asleep.

“ Drew?” Harry called from the back lockers.

“ Harry!” Sky called back, grinning when everyone hissed at him to shut up.

There was a shuffling sound, the metal clang of a locker and then the Golden Boy himself walked around the corner fully dressed, hair still damp. He saw them and, later Pansy would have to grudgingly admit that she had seriously underestimated him, he didn’t freeze, he didn’t hesitate, his eyes met Pansy’s, his brain registered what he was seeing and he threw himself backwards, behind the tile wall.

“ Get him!” Pansy yelled.

Crabbe and Goyle charged after him.

Around a blind corner, Pansy realized a second too late.

“ No wait!” she yelped but it was already done.

“ Accio wands!” came Potter’s voice and then on the heels of that, “Consisto.”

Just like that, Crabbe and Goyle were wandless and frozen in place.

“ Finite Incantatum.” Idane countered, jerking around the corner, freeing the two even while using them as human shields.

They could hear Potter’s running footsteps.

“ He’s going around. You guys go straight ahead. We’ll go this way, through the lockers.” Idane snarled.

Pansy fought a brief wave of irritation at having the sixth year suddenly take over. But the orders were sound so she said nothing as he, Crabbe and Goyle ran down the aisle of lockers.

Pansy and the others ran ahead and Potter burst out in front of them. He saw them and tried to lurch back the other direction, to use the lockers as protection from incoming spells, but Idane and the others came around the corner at his back. He was boxed in.

Pansy grinned evilly.

Potter’s head whipped back and forth as he tried to watch them all. There was a snarl on his face but he seemed otherwise calm. Pansy was becoming more impressed with each passing moment.

“ Drop the wands, Potter,” she purred, “If you surrender now we won’t have to hurt you.”

Potter’s eyes narrowed, “Valde Nitor.”

Light flashed, light so brilliant that they all screamed. Pansy slapped her hands over her tearing eyes, pain searing behind her eyelids. She could hear the others yelling and stumbling.

Something hit her with enough force to send her slamming into the floor, nearly knocking the breath from her lungs and she realized Potter had just bulldozed her.

“ GET HIM, GET HIM, GET HIM!” she shrieked.

She could hear stomping and scrambling. Opening her eyes she tried to see through the spots that were now overflowing her field of vision.

“ Rodney’s going after him,” She heard Sky say, “ He didn’t get the full force of the blast.”

“ Stupefy!” Rodney yelled, “ Stupefy!”

But he might as well have been as blind as the rest of them for all he could aim. Pansy scrambled up, groping for the dark, bleary lump that was Sky and hauling him up as well.

“ He’s coming back this way!” Crabbe shouted.

Pansy determinedly rubbed at her eyes, blinking away most of the spots, and took off after her allies. Crabbe headed Potter off before he could reach the main exit. The Boy-Who-Lived changed directions and went running for the back door down the hallway past the showers.

Potter hit the door at a dead run and then let out a scream of pain and rage as the door refused to give. They heard him cursing as he tried to open it. The door refused to open even when Potter used three different unlocking charms on it.

He turned to face them, panting.

He’d trapped himself, the moron. If he had stayed in the open he might have had a chance to reach the main door, now he had no chance at all. They filled the hallway, growling.

“ Come on, Potter, I just want to have a little talk.” Pansy drew a liquid-filled vile from her robes, and dangled it tauntingly before him, “ I’ve got something for you.”

He slammed his shoulder into the door again.

“ Nowhere to run now. And you won’t catch us off guard again.”

Potter grinned and slowly stepped away from the door, “ Then give me your best shot, Parkinson.” He mocked, “The only spells you know are the ones Malfoy taught you for the bedroom.”


“ Crucio!” she screamed and the others let fly their own curses.

“ REVERTO!” Potter bellowed.

Every spell they cast came flying back at them, and in the narrow hallway there was no way to avoid them. The force of it blasted them all out of the hallway with horrific power.

They flew through the air, all of them, and smashed into the cold tile, actually cracking it with the strength of their landing. Pansy was lucky, she landed on the large, fleshy mass of Crabbe and rolled off of him with nothing more serious than scrambled brains and a whip lash.

She lay on the floor, utterly dazed. Her head felt funny, all floaty and spinney and light, and .

Something grabbed her roughly by the collar and hauled her up.

She gulped as she found herself face to face with an incredibly pissed off Harry Potter.

Two of them.

He reached into her robes and patted around until he found the vile. He pulled it out and examined it.

“ What’s this, Parkinson? You said it was for me?” he hissed, “ Well, I guess its for you now.”

He brought the vile to his mouth and tugged the cork out with his teeth, spitting it across the room.

“ Open up.” The vile was shoved against her dry lips.

“Impedimenta.” A voice croaked.

The spell grazed Potter’s foot and he yelped. Pansy shoved away from him and grabbed onto the wall to keep from falling.

“ Run, Pansy!” Sky cried weakly.

Her mind clumsily tried to work through the repercussions of abandoning her allies but she quickly realized that Sky was right. Potter had kicked their collective Slytherin asses, her wand was gone, and if she didn’t get out of there, she was going to be drinking Veritaserum. He wouldn’t use it on the others, somehow she was sure, that liquid was all for her.

Pansy staggered upright, scrabbling to hold onto her center of balance, and bolted for the door. Potter shouted something after her.

“ Stupefy!” she heard her loyal Button yell hoarsely.

Pansy tore out of the locker room and back towards school grounds. At first she thought Sky might have successfully stopped Potter from following but then she heard the heavy pounding thud of his footsteps and redoubled her speed, breath wheezing in her throat.

She had actually reached the school building when Potter caught her. She shrieked as he grabbed her, whirling her around and slamming her into the wall. She lashed out at him and clawed his face. He recoiled, yelling in pain and grabbed her hand, twisting it, forcing it down.

“ What the hell is going on here? Potter, release Miss Parkinson at once!” Snape was running towards them, robes flying.

Potter’s hand stopped twisting her wrist just short of agonizing pain.

Relief flooded Pansy so sharp and painful that she thought she might faint.

Potter held her against the wall, not easing his grip in the slightest and she saw him contemplate fighting Snape. There were rumors that he’d done it before. Something about third year, Sirius Black and Dementors.

It was on her lips to shout a warning to her Professor when the boy released her, very slowly.

Pansy shoved him away and ran over to Professor Snape, ducking behind him, fighting the urge to throw her arms around him.

“ Professor, Professor…” she gasped, “ I’m so happy to see you.”

Snape didn’t look at her, he seemed to be locked in a staring contest with Potter.

“ Well Mr. Potter, it seems I have finally caught you in the act. Attacking girls now are we?”

Potter said nothing, only continued to glare at Snape in utter loathing, a look which Snape returned with equal fervor.

“ Miss Parkinson,” Snape began with deadly softness, “Was Mr. Potter trying to…force his person on you?”

“ Yes.” Pansy let out a sob.

“ I see. Potter I think you should accompany me to the Head Master’s office. Miss Parkinson, do you need to see Madam Pomfrey?”

Pansy considered. While having ‘evidence’ of Potter’s ‘sexual harassment’ documented might be extremely entertaining and provide various opportunities for the future, she really needed to clear her allies out of the Gryffindor locker room before Dumbledore heard Potter’s story and sent someone to check it out.

And he would. Pansy had no doubt that she would be paying a visit to the Head Master’s office herself before this was over. She cursed Rodney for getting his stupid self knocked out. If he were here she’d have had him Oblivate Potter and Snape.

She wondered briefly if the Memory Charm would actually work on Snape.

Somehow she doubted it.

“ No, I think I’ll just go back to my room and lay down.”

Snape nodded, “ Come Potter. Miss Parkinson, I hope you feel better. And don’t worry, I’ll see that this depraved half-blood doesn’t bother you again.”

“ Thank you, Professor.”

You’re definitely going to be getting a gift from me this Christmas.

Potter followed Snape without a word. He glanced back once, his eyes promising deadly retribution, and touched his side.

Her eyes widened.

The vile. He still had the vile.


It took an hour.

One hour and it was all over school. The Great Harry Potter had single handedly defeated seven Slytherins.

They had needed medical attention. All of them except Sky. There had been no way for Pansy to haul their bodies out of the locker room. She’d been forced to call for help. Once in the infirmary, Drew Mello was revived and began telling everyone he was attacked by twenty Slytherins and six Death Eaters.

He had been unconscious for the rest, of course, but that didn’t stop him from adding several more outlandish details.

“ The Slytherins and Death Eaters cast spell after spell, even Unforgivables, but Harry just knocked them away with his bare hands. It was amazing!”

Snape was furious with her, fit to tear her apart with his own hands.

“ I don’t care what you do to Potter.” He had shouted, “ But you got caught and your Housemates were injured and the Head Master is probably going to expel you all!” he had taken a deep breath and then hissed lowly, “And if you are expelled then you will have failed not only me and your House, but your other duty as well.”

Her duty.

He was talking about Lucius and Voldemort. She’d promised to protect the kids.

She shivered.

Voldemort did not tolerate failure. Would he come after her if she were expelled?

Word had also gotten around about Blaise’s little adventure, luckily no one knew it had been Blaise and the facts were so mixed up anyway that no one could prove that anything had happened at all.

The Gryffindors were practically rabid with fury. Ten Slytherins were attacked before an emergency assembly was called and they were bustled into the Great Hall half an hour before dinner.

“ This has gone far enough!” Dumbledore’s voice boomed out from the Head table, colder and harder than anyone of them had ever heard it. It silenced them as effectively as if they’d just has their lips jinxed off.

“ This kind of horrid behavior does not befit Hogwarts students and will not be tolerated. For the next week, all extracurricular activities are hereby canceled. There will be no Quidditch practices, no clubs, no study sessions outside those in your Common Rooms. You will attend your classes and return to your Houses. If this behavior continues then the time limit will be extended and even more drastic measures will be taken. I am deeply ashamed of all of you.” The old man sighed heavily before continuing a touch softer.

“You are put into Houses in order to surround you with those who share your strengths and will help you develop them. To surround you with those who share your weaknesses and will help you strengthen them. You are not put into Houses because you share nothing in common with those from other Houses. You are not put into Houses to learn to segregate and separate people into types.

“ You have all been punishing an entire House for something you believe is the work of one or two people. I have told you before and I will tell you one last time: no one knows the truth behind Mr. Malfoy and Miss Granger’s disappearance. It is ridiculous and futile for you, either of you, Slytherin or Gryffindor, to continue this war. It will only bring hatred and pain and serve to stretch the bonds of this school to the breaking point. The next fight, the very next, will end in expulsion for the parties responsible.” He let that sink in for a moment, “ That is all. You may eat your dinners and then head back to your Common Rooms.”

The head of the Slytherin table was practically deserted as Pansy dished up her plate. Blaise sat beside her, curiously subdued, probably brooding over her own failure. Had she cared to look, Pansy would have seen Blaise’s gaze flicking to the Gryffindor table and Ron Weasley.

The rest of the seats were empty around them. None of the younger ones dared sit in the spot of Pansy’s court, even when the usual occupants weren’t around to complain about it.

She had just finished and started to rise, telling Blaise that she would meet her back at the Common Room, when Snape touched her shoulder.

“ The Head Master wishes to see you.” His voice was biting.

Pansy gulped, “ Do me a favor and make sure everyone gets back to the Common Room, please. Everyone I trust to do it is in the infirmary.”

Snape inclined his head, “ They are my students, Miss Parkinson, you need not remind me of my duty when you have so baldly deserted yours.”

She cringed, suddenly feeling near tears.

“ I don’t see you doing anything to help Draco.” She spat and fled before he could say anything more crushing.

The walk to the Head Master’s office felt like a walk to the gallows. Merlin, she wished Draco was here. He’d be making wisecracks and sauntering down the hall with his head held high as if he were going to be the one expelling someone and not the one going to be expelled. Because if he were here with her, he’d definitely be getting expelled too. He’d see to it. He’d make the whole school pay for expelling her, he’d be a one-man riot in protest of her expulsion.

“ Don’t worry about it, Pan, my dad will get us into Durmstrang. Its gonna be sherry and giggles from now on, just you wait.” He’d say and wriggle his eyebrows at her.

The thought brought a smile to her face.

Let him be okay. Please let him be okay.

Dumbledore was waiting for her, standing behind his desk. He said nothing when she entered, but motioned to the cushioned armchair before him.

She sat down, keeping her gaze stony and expressionless, channeling Millicent as it were.

Dumbledore seemed to try to read past it, his own expression questing and thoughtful.

“ Miss Parkinson.” He said finally, his voice startling as it broke the stillness, “ Would you please tell me in your own words what happened today?”

She said nothing.

It was her only defense. Honestly she had not thought to think up a story to explain why she’d been in the locker room. It wouldn’t have worked anyway, not with six Slytherins in the Gryffindor locker room, all the other Gryffindors with alibis and the Golden Boy’s golden word against her.

When the others woke up, she knew they would give this same response to all questions. Silence.

“ Miss Parkinson…” he began when it was clear she would not speak, “ Do you know why I made you Head Girl?”

She was a bit startled by the question, that was the only reason she answered.

“ Of course I do,” she spat, “ You wished to curry my favor but also to separate me from my House by giving me my own quarters. You knew I couldn’t control Slytherin as well if I didn’t actually stay with them.”

The old man looked genuinely startled, then he sat back and pondered her words.

“ No…” he said at last, “ I don’t believe that was my original intention but it sounds mighty crafty. I wish I had thought of it.”

She goggled at him.

“ I made you Head Girl, Miss Parkinson, because you take your responsibility towards your House very seriously. You want to protect them, you want to help them become strong and cunning adults. I believe it is your direct influence that caused Mr. Malfoy to take his responsibility as head of Slytherin more seriously instead of just using that power for personal gain. As Head Girl, I had hoped you would show that same level of care and responsibility towards the rest of the school. That is the job of the Head Girl.” He paused to let that soak in.

Pansy felt taken off guard but then she frowned and decided that it all meant the same thing in the end.

“ What you did today,” his voice became grave, “ Was not simply a fight or a childish confrontation. You participated in a group assault in which Unforgiveables were cast.”

Pansy went rigid, fingers clenching the arms of the chair.

How did he know? Could he prove it? She had been sure to erase her last spell. But what if he had some other means?

He wasn’t just talking about expulsion, he was talking about Azkaban!

“ Normally, I would say that this is grounds for immediate expulsion.” He paused, “ But I don’t think these are normal times and I do not believe that you are a normal girl. We are going to need you, Miss Parkinson, and all your gifts to protect this school and, soon, to protect wizard society. You hold a great deal of influence and power, you are very determined and courageous girl, I would not waste that for anything.”

Her head was whirling. What was he saying? So she wasn’t to be expelled? But he was talking as if he thought they were on the same side.

That doesn’t matter! Let him think we’re all friends here!

“ But I cannot allow things to continue as they have been this past week. Rein in your House, Miss Parkinson. Stop the petty violence and focus on learning your lessons. Harry does not have what you seek.”

You would say that, you old fake! You can pretend to be my friend all you want, I know the truth.

She nodded, showing nothing of what she felt.

“ You may go.”

She was halfway to the door when she stopped, “ I will not stop searching for Draco.” She threatened over her shoulder.

“ None of us will.” The old man replied.

Slytherin House was gathered together in the Common Room when she entered. Blaise stood at the front with Idane and a bruised Millicent.

All eyes turned to her as one, questioning.

She couldn’t help but smirk, “ I have received a reprieve.”

A roar of triumph went up.

She waved the response away, “ Don’t be so happy. Today was a miserable failure.” She stalked up to the front.

Idane moved grudgingly aside for her and she thought again that she was going to have to keep an eye on him.

“ Don’t look so disappointed,” she whispered to him, eyes dark with challenge, “ It would have been your ass out the door with mine.”

“ I know that.” He snapped.

“ Good.” She turned back to her House, “I’d like to note for the record that I never declared open season on Gryffindors. I don’t know what got into the lot of you that you thought you could just go in and start eating them up, especially when some of us have younger siblings in Gryffindor.”

There were scattered cries of agreement.

“Alright! We Slytherins are flexible. Its time for some subtlety. So, new rules. No fighting. I don’t care if you get jumped by six Gryffindors, you won’t fight back. If the only people getting hurt are Slytherins, if Pomfrey has records of it, then we can bring in the Ministry and get old Dumblefuck fired. The only exception is if Potter himself or one of his cronies is after you. If that happens, run, don’t get caught, get the hell out of there. If he catches you, fight like mad. All of you have information, no matter how insignificant it may seem, and Potter now has a vial of Veritaserum. If Potter has his way, someone in this House will be drinking that vile. DO NOT GET CAUGHT!”

“ But Pansy!” someone yelled, “ Does this mean we’ve given up on getting Draco back?”

“ Are you nuts?” Pansy screamed back, “This is a very minor set back. We’re going to play it cool for awhile. I didn’t say ‘follow all school rules and be sweet little angels’. I said don’t fight. I don’t care what else you guys do. Do it. Just don’t get caught. Now, fifth through seventh years, up to my room, we need some new strategy.”


Neville Longbottom pressed his back to the wall, his stomach a big unhappy well of hopeless resignation.

Not only was he out after curfew but four sixth year Slytherins and two fifth years had happened upon him and were now closing in on him, snickering and calling names.

He didn’t know who they were but that had never mattered before. He sometimes felt he had the word ‘victim’ scrawled across his forehead in ink that only bullies could read. So you didn’t have to know Neville Longbottom to want to beat him up, you just had to be able to read the ink.

He wasn’t going to fight back.

He’d learned long ago that unless you actually stand a chance of hurting at least one of them, which might make it all worth it, it was best just to take the beating. Because if you fought back they only hit you harder and pounded on you longer.

And if he didn’t fight back, they might not resort to using spells.

He’d rather they broke every bone in his body then they use spells to torment and humiliate him. There was some measure of dignity in a fistfight, even in losing one. Chicks dig black eyes. But there was no dignity at all in being found chained naked to the wall, covered in boils, with an ass growing out of your forehead.

What made him angry, made something in his brain scream that this was completely unfair, was that he had thought he’d grown out of this.

He was seventeen. He hadn’t really been picked on in two years now. This was the sort of crap that happened to a thirteen year old, not someone who had mostly outgrown his clumsiness, not someone who was practically an adult.

Every single one of these kids was younger than him. That was embarrassing.

The growling pack moved in for the kill.

“ Hey,” a low but authoritative voice cut in with all the warmth of a whip crack, “What are you guys doing?”

Millicent Bulstrode frowned as she walked into view. There was a large bruise on the left side of her forehead.

“ We’re just having some fun.” One of the boys said defensively, sounding like a kid whose mommy caught him with his hand in the cookie jar.

Millicent sighed, her usually passive face touched with just a hint of annoyance, “ You heard what Pansy said tonight. She’ll be pissed if I let you do this.”

“ But Millicent…”

“ Get out of here now or I’ll make this a double homicide.”

The boys scrambled.

Neville stayed against the wall, not moving. Millicent’s eyes flicked to him, disgusted, scornful.

“ You’re pathetic, Longbottom, get out of here.” She started back down the hall, following the boys.

Neville wet his lips and stuttered, “ Thanks Milly.”

Millicent went rigid.

Neville flinched.

For a long moment she was perfectly still and then she turned back to him, murder in her eyes.

“ Thanks?” she hissed, stalking towards him, “ Milly?”

“ I…I…I used to call you Milly.” He tried to explain, cringing.

“ I’m not trying to help you, Longbottom. I’m following orders.” She interrupted coldly, her voice still deceptively soft. She was right in front of him now and some part of his brain noted that they were exactly the same height.

“ I just meant…”

Her fist in his stomach cut him off. It was like being kicked by a horse. Well, he’d never actually been kicked by a horse but he thought this might be what it felt like. The air wooshed from his body and his eyes nearly crossed. He gasped for air like a dying fish and would have fallen but Millicent didn’t move. She merely watched him, her gaze empty and expressionless while he half leaned against her shoulder, resting his weight against her while clutching his stomach in agony and gulping air.

“ I’m not your friend.” She said after a long moment, her voice very close to his ear,“ Go back to your House, Gryffindor, go play with your kitty cat friends and stay out of our way because next time no one will stop them.”

She stepped away from him, withdrawing her support, letting him sink to the floor and regarded him coolly before turning on her heel and walking away.

“ Its okay, you know.” He said hoarsely, some part of him cursing him for getting her attention again, “Its okay if you want to hit me.”

“ Longbottom…” she started, warningly.

“ Neville. You always called me Neville…”

“ I’m losing my patience.”

“ I said its okay. I’d rather you hit me then those guys. I know…I know you’ll stop before you hurt me too badly. Those guys…” he shook his head, “ Those guys would kill me on accident. Herd mentality and all that.”

Silence. He concentrated on his breathing, letting his heart slow.

“ I heard what you did.” He said.

“ What did I do?” she asked sarcastically.

“ You and those others attacked Harry.”

“ Is that what we did?” Dark amusement laced her voice.

“ You’re going to get yourself expelled or killed or something. Everything’s getting out of hand. The whole school’s going crazy.”

“ Well gee, if you guys hadn’t kidnapped Draco, this wouldn’t be happening. Too late to whine about it now.”

“ Do you really believe that?” he looked up at her in real surprise but she was still facing the hallway, “ Do you really believe that I or Ron Weasley or even Harry kidnapped Draco? Because I’m telling you right now that Harry is convinced, absolutely convinced, that you and Pansy and Draco kidnapped Hermione.”

“ We never even saw the girl!” she yelled at him, turning to face him with rage burning in her eyes.

“ And I wonder if Harry ever saw Draco that day.”

Confusion and a little uncertainty crossed Millicent’s face.

“ I told him no.” Neville sighed.

“ What?”

“ Harry, I told him I wouldn’t help him wage war on Slytherin. Its all wrong. Slytherin wants to hurt Gryffindor and Gryffindor wants to hurt Slytherin and we’re tearing Hogwarts apart from the inside. I know you listened to the Sorting Hat’s song, Milly, I know you heard.”

She hesitated a moment, “Potter’s a damn Slytherin hater.”

“ Now you’re changing the subject.”

“ Its true.”

Neville nodded, “ Yeah. Sometimes I hate them too. And then I realize it isn’t the Slytherins I hate. It’s You-Know-Who. Harry’s just confused. He’s never met any nice Slytherins.”

“ There’s no such thing.” Millicent snorted.

“ What about Sky?” he smiled at Millicent’s startled expression, “ Sky’s one of the best things to happen to Slytherin in years and you can’t tell me otherwise.”

“ Yeah.” she agreed softly, “He is.”

“There are people who care about you and Sky in Gryffindor. That’s all you need to know.”

Millicent stared at him, at a loss for words. She started to say something once before quickly changing her mind. She settled for a disgusted noise instead and stomped away just slow enough to prove to him that she wasn’t running. This time he didn’t stop her.


“ What now, Harry?” Ginny asked.

“ We protect our House, then we hit them back.”


“ What has happened?” Snape rushed forward to support Dumbledore as the man sank, almost collapsed, into his armchair.

“ I almost had them. I almost…”

“ Malfoy and Granger?”

“ They are being shielded from me by two powerful forces. One is malignant. The other…the newer one, more neutral, but no less deadly. Still, I almost had them…almost…but then…”

“What? Then what?”

“ They crossed over…”

Next Time: Draco and Hermione become Power Rangers--.Just kidding…Actually that would be kind of cool.

A/N: Someone asked, ‘How did a Slytherin know a Muggle word? Aren’t they all purebloods?’
I figured the answer was no because Harry is a half-blood and the Hat wanted to put him in Slytherin.
The same person asked, ‘wasn’t that a little harsh? Using the n-word?’
I don’t know about anyone else but I think it’s a terrible word.
In this chapter I sort of used it in lieu of Mudblood. Mudblood in the Harry Potter world is a racist term but I have no emotional response to it. I banter it around, its every other word out of Malfoy’s mouth. What I wanted was a bit more feeling for the hatred and bigotry that exists within the HP universe.

My goal was not to disrespect or offend anyone (when I want to offend you, you’ll know it), my goal was not to downplay the seriousness of racism. My goal was to make it more of an issue in this story.

Other Notes:

BlackManor: I guess I should mention where I get my critters from now on. The Frogs are mine, actually came from a nightmare I had as a little kid. The Roc is a gigantic mythological bird from Arabia. It is also frequently a Final Fantasy beastie.
You mentioned the part where Draco is thinking that he likes to terrorize Hermione more than Harry and how that didn’t seem to ring entirely true. You’re right. There are several motivations behind that statement. One being justification of a growing obsession. Two being that Draco’s hatred of Harry stems largely from jealousy and because of that he would never admit that he gives Harry more than a passing scornful thought. Three being the difference between his relationships with Harry and Hermione which I’d like to discuss more but my muse is telling me to shut the hell up and threatening to rip the head off my life-size cardboard cutout of Cloud Strife if I don’t.

Julianne: I’m a California girl. To me, British is a foreign language. It’s like asking me to make my anime fanfic sound more Japanese. I’m aware that this is an inadequacy on my part but I decided when I started this fic that I would much rather portray the feeling and flavor of the character accurately (according to my def’n of accuracy) then have accurate sounding but very bad dialogue. And it would be bad. Very bad. I did some practice British dialogue and reading it was like shoving broken glass in my eyes and pouring on lemon juice while setting myself on fire.

Angel of Wind: A good place to read Roman Holiday…erm.. www.witchfics.org under author name Anna.

Everyone keeps asking if this is going to be D/Hr….*blinks*
So I shall say it once more and then ne’er again. Yes, this is a D/Hr. The story is planned and outlined. I know what’s going to happen next. I’m not going to change my mind in the middle of the story. And for those who say it cannot be done, that it is impossible, I reply: nothing is impossible except licking your own elbow.

Chapter 11: The Only Difference

I don't understand why you don't like me.

Why don't ya like me?

Am I so different from you?

~excerpts from Fear by Disturbed

“ Run faster, Granger. You have to go faster.”

“ I can’t!”

The horizon was beginning to bruise, to bleed red and purple like a violent stain and cast shadows in the long golden grass that brushed their thighs as they ran.

The pale-haired boy with the jagged, blood crusted gash slanting down his cheek, another over his lips, and several more under the slashed robes that covered his chest, cast a hunted look over his shoulder. “ If you don’t go faster then you’re going to die.” He ground out callously.

Hermione shut her eyes, her breath screaming in her throat, and tried to run faster. Sweat ran in rivulets down her back, down her forehead, stinging her eyes. Her legs were burning, her lungs were burning, her feet felt like two swollen, bruised lumps at the end of her legs but she couldn’t stop, not for an instant.

The sun was almost down.

Ahead of them the forest rose like a stronghold, a sanctuary, the trees like an army of sentinels ready to defend them.

“ Havta get there…just gotta…little further." Malfoy gasped.

Something in her foot popped, like a grape bursting, and agony roared up her leg. She shrieked, stumbling, limping.

“ WHAT? WHAT?” Malfoy’s eyes were huge with panic as he whipped his head back and forth, eyes scanning the grass.

“ Nothing!” she sobbed and forced herself to keep running.

“ Come on! Come on! Ah, shit, Granger!” he’d apparently noticed her limping, “ I can’t carry you this time you stupid bitch! RUN!”

The first stars began to appear in the blue dome of the sky, the moon rising, plump and full, over the horizon.

Hermione’s leg hurt ten times worse now. She ran at an awkward limp, pain zinging up her leg with every step.

Somewhere off to her left the grass rustled.

The wind, let it be the wind!

But she knew it wasn’t.

Malfoy looked back, face white, and she knew he’d heard it. He spared her one last glance and she saw him make his decision.

“ Forget this!” He snarled and then he was sprinting, full speed, for the forest, leaving her in his dust.

The despair of the hunted animal rose up, clenching her throat and some part of her just wanted to stop running and get it over with, because she wasn’t going to make it anyway. What was the point?

Something tiny and silver swooped over the grass in a random looping pattern as the last tiny sliver of sun began to disappear over the mountains.

Another patch of grass crackled and swayed and this time Hermione heard a trilling chirp as she passed. It was an adorable sound, one that would make any girl giggle and coo and stop to investigate. If she hadn’t seen for herself what the thing making that sound could do, she probably would have done just that. Instead she found, to her enormous surprise, that she could run faster.

Malfoy had reached the trees, he disappeared inside and she wondered again if this was the last she would see of him.

More grass patches were rustling. More sweet sounding squeaks rising up from the shadows of the tall grass in questioning peeps.

Is someone there? Is someone here with us tonight? Does someone want to play?

Panic and another burst of adrenalin made her forget the pain in her leg completely.

Dozens more zinging silver fireflies, bloated and glowing, swooped in to dance in pattern-less ballets over the grass. The moonlight hit them and they began sparking and humming, making a startling and beautiful light show. A joyful and melodic funeral party.

Hermione sobbed, tears joining the sweat on her cheeks.

One of the sweet little questioning peeps suddenly rose to a triumphant shriek and something, something warm and heavy but still hidden in the tall grass, shot past her feet. She screamed and stumbled, her eyes darting over to follow the zigzag line of billowing grass as it sped away…then turned and came rocketing back towards her.

The other chitters rose to ominous trills, crooning as they picked up the scent of prey.

She was twenty feet from the trees.

Two more things blasted past her, one in front, one behind. She cried out but kept running.

I’ll make it! I’ll make it!

The first one was back, it smashed into her, twining right between her legs like Crookshanks sometimes did when he was saying hello, and she pitched forward, shrieking, as teeth and claws sank into her leg. She rolled over, kicking and screaming as the black blurr began to savage her. She could hear the others rushing in for the kill.

Light spilled over her and she saw the thing in full for the first time. It might have been a rabbit, some horrible mockery of a rabbit, except it was huge, the size of a cocker spaniel at least. Its pink eyes were giant and swollen, like grapefruits, beneath long erect ears. It had the same square jutting front teeth as a rabbit and a host of fangs to go along with them. Its fur was golden but patchy, dark veiny skin showing through. Its claws were monsterous and its tail wasn’t the powder puff of a bunny but the long pink stubble-skinned tail of a rat.

She had never even heard of anything like this before. For one wild moment she entertained the notion that the rabbits she had cooked and eaten were back for revenge.

Then she realized where the light was coming from.

It hadn’t even registered in her brain until this moment. All of her being was focused on this creature and the fact that it was going to kill her and then she heard someone screaming besides herself.


Draco was back, a burning torch in his hand. Flames were sprouting up in the field. He was setting the grass on fire.

The monsters snarled and rose up on their haunches, baring their teeth at this threat. Some of them lunged forward to attack him.

“ Malfoy what are you doing?” she screamed.

He swung the torch and the rabbit-things scattered in confused alarm. It was obvious that these creatures were used to being the top of the food chain. They didn’t know what to do when their food fought back.

Hermione scrambled backwards ungracefully, pulling herself across the grass towards the forest while the creatures were distracted.

Malfoy didn’t even look at her, he swung the torch again and there were squeals of agony. Hermione saw one of the rabbit-things bounding away with fur afire, kicking and twisting in the air with each bounce.

“ Malfoy stop!” Hermione shrieked, teeth chattering as shock began to set in, “ The whole field will catch fire!”

“ Exactly! I’m gonna burn this shit-hole to the ground! I’m gonna roast all these fuzzy bastards to death!” he had a manic glint in his eyes, he meant it.

“ But the forest will catch too! It’ll burn with us inside it!”

He wasn’t listening, “ You like that, you little bastard?” he screamed as one of the more persistent monsters snarled and hissed at him.

The flames were all over, speeding through the grass, eager, greedy, throwing orange light around them and shadows in the trees.

“ Malfoy, I’m bleeding badly.” It came out a moan.

Strangely enough, that seemed to get through. She saw him hesitate.

“ Do you honestly think I give a fuck, Granger?”

But he retreated back into the trees, keeping his weapon out in front of him. The rabbit-monsters watched from further out, now still and nearly invisible in the grass except for their giant glowing eyes.

Hermione coughed as she inhaled the smoke from the burning grass.

“ The fire!”

“ Its too late now.” He snarled.

The dry field was perfect for the flames, the sparks Malfoy set were now full-fledged grass fires. The entire meadow was lighting up, well on its way to becoming an inferno.

“ We have to get out of here.” She covered her mouth, coughing.

She braced herself against a tree and pulled herself to her feet just as Malfoy passed. He grabbed her roughly with his free hand, looping his arm around her waist and wrenching her against him. She grabbed onto him with a gasp, hooking an arm around his neck as he hauled her further into the trees.

“ Wait! Wait!”

“ What?” he snarled, breath panting.

“ Get out the hazel. We have a better chance, if we find water.”

He didn’t question her, just jerked to a halt, nearly throwing her away from him and ripped out his small silk bag. She leaned against a tree, breath shuddering, trying to ignore the blood pouring down her leg, while he groped around to pull out her backpack. The hazel branch hung tied to the side as always. He fumbled with the knot, his fingers shaky, before ripping the branch off in violent frustration and throwing it at her.

She barely caught it, juggling it before clutching it to her breast.

He stuffed her bag back into the pouch and grabbed her wrist, roughly looping her arm over his neck again and ignoring her cry of pain while he did so.

“ This way.” She told him.

They stumbled along through the pitch-black forest as best they could. Hermione murmuring directions occasionally.

It took her some time to realize that the smell of smoke had faded to nonexistent. The air had cooled considerably and the insects around them continued to chirp and buzz and the animals continued to go about their business when by all rights they should have been panicking and fleeing from the approaching fire.

“ Malfoy…”

“ What now?” he snapped.

“ I think…I think its okay. We can slow down.”

He shook his head but stopped wrenching on her so hard, “ You’ve never traveled at night. We gotta keep moving for now.”

She wondered, with a chill, what exactly he knew, or had seen, that made him so grimly determined to press on. Their uneventful nights spent inside their protective circles had dulled her fear of the dark. She had begun to believe that the forest at night wasn’t so different at all from the forest during the day. Perhaps she’d been wrong.

They eventually did find water. It seemed to be a river, though to her it seemed too quiet. She couldn’t tell just how big it was, their torch didn’t shed enough light to be able to see the other side.

Hermione was sniffing the air, searching for some telltale sign of taint without even realizing it, as she pulled away from Malfoy and started towards the shallows, her mouth so parched it hurt. Malfoy grabbed her wrist and wrenched her back, causing her to yelp sharply in pain.

“ Shut up!” his hand tightened in warning.

“ What are you doing?” she gasped in surprise, wrenching her hand from his grasp and cradling it to her chest.

“ You don’t just go wandering into water when you can’t see what’s in it!” His gaze darted up and down the visible shoreline, his body tense with caution.

He was completely right of course. If she weren’t so exhausted she would have thought of it herself. She found herself arguing anyway.

“ Its just a stream.”

“ Yeah and that back the… Продолжение »
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