Harry, Hermione, and Daphne deal with the fall out of being discovered by McGonigal. It isn't fun.
"I never expected I'd have to have this discussion with you, Miss Granger," McGonagall said, continuing the lecture that had been running for at least half an hour. She never raised her voice, but, somehow, a calm McGonagall in a nightgown with rollers in her hair was even more intimidating than an angry McGonagall in class. Malfoy, of course, had not stopped smirking even once. Harry's desire to punch the ferret was growing by the second.
"It's not her fault, Professor," the green-eyed wizard offered. "We-"
"Quiet, Mr. Potter," the professor cut him off. Sighing, she said. "Well, this has gone on long enough, I suppose; fifty points will be deducted from each of your Houses," here, Malfoy's grin dropped. Harry smiled; evidently the prat hadn't expected the penalty to include their House losing points. "And the four of you will have detention tomorrow night."
"Excuse me, Professor," Malfoy asked, his smirk shrinking a little, "I thought you said, 'the four of you?"
"I'm afraid you heard correctly, Mr. Malfoy," the elderly Scottish woman said, turning to face him. "Honorable as you intentions were, you too were caught out of bed. You will join your classmates in detention."
Harry smirked. He wasn't quite ready to forgive the professor for what she did to Hermione, but he could still appreciate this.
The next morning, the Gryffindors and Slytherins made an unpleasant discovery when they went to check on the big hourglasses that kept track of House Points. Not only was Gryffindor fifty points lower and Slytherin down one hundred-fifty, there was a large note which announced who was to blame. Not that it said they were "to blame," of course; that would have been childish. Instead, it read, Due to poor choices, Harry Potter, Draco Malfoy, and Daphne Greengrass of Slytherin along with Hermione Granger of Gryffindor have cost their Houses a great deal and will be serving out detentions as penalty. Let this stand as a warning that no one is above the rules.
Malfoy was giving Harry dirty glances all day, even though he had no reason to. For some reason, most likely involving the phrase "my father," Malfoy was given the least amount of flak for the current catastrophe. Oh, some of the Slytherins were giving him dirty looks, but Harry and Daphne were the ones who were deemed pariahs by the majority of the House. Luckily, it was Saturday, so they didn't have to deal with the others much, but they still had plenty of "disagreements" with their fellow snakes.
Theodore Nott was the absolute worst. They had just returned from Breakfast when Nott confronted them. "What are you two doing here?" he asked.
"We live here, Nott," Daphne said, crossing her arms. "Remember?"
"You think we're gonna let you stay here after you cost us a hundred and fifty points?" Nott asked.
"Malfoy was the one who told McGonagall," Harry tried to point out.
"Malfoy isn't a filthy half-blood or a blood traitor," Nott growled. Whipping out his wand, he threatened them, "why don't you two traitors clear out now, or I'll-"
"You'll do what, pray tell, Mr. Nott?" a cool, cold voice, said emerging from the shadows. Harry and Daphne wheeled around behind themselves, gasping in shock just as much as everyone else. "Is there anything else you wish to say?"
Nott gulped. "No, sir." Harry didn't blame the other boy for his reaction. Snape seemed taller than ever before; his face was chiseled from ice, and his eyes looked like a pair of bottomless black pits that swallowed up anything that dared look into them. Harry wasn't sure whether he took Daphne's hand or she took his.
"Very good," Snape answered. "You've already earned yourself detention for the next week, Mr. Nott. I should hate to have to increase that duration." Turning his head to address the rest of the House, he added, "House Sortings are final. Do not let me hear any more on this matter, understood?" Everyone nodded, some even dared to say, "Yes, sir," or "Yes, Professor." Nodding, Snape swirled his cloak and departed.
Harry was fairly certain the appearance of his favorite teacher was not a lucky coincidence; someone had called for help. The question was, who?
That was a question he wasn't able to ask Severus during the day. Since the three were going to spend the night in detention, they spent most of the day in the Library, working on homework.
"Hermione, what's wrong?" Harry asked, as he and Daphne approached the table she was sitting at. The bushy-haired witch was bent over the table looking at her open book. To most people, this would have looked like normal "Bookworm Hermione" behavior. But Harry was more observant than most, at least with his loved ones. Hermione wasn't really reading; her eyes were staring flatly at the page, and she looked as though she was trying to hold back tears. "Hermione?" he asked again, placing his hand on her shoulder.
"I'm fine," she said, shaking Harry's hand off.
"No, you're not," Daphne said, sitting down beside her. "Now, tell us what's wrong." When she got no response, Daphne sighed. "Hermione, we're your friends. Let us help you."
"It's Ron," Hermione whispered.
Daphne growled. "Weasley? What did that git do this time?"
"I just got back to the Commonroom from Breakfast," the brunette witch whimpered. "He walked up to me and told me I should leave. I was a no-good bookworm and a traitor to my House. The others agreed with him. He's right," she broke down. "I broke the rules; I cost Gryffindor fifty points; I'm no good; I-"
"Stop it!" Daphne yelled.
Reflexively, Hermione stopped crying and brought her finger up to her lips to "Shush!" her friend.
"Hermione," Harry said, this time wrapping his arms around her from behind, "You didn't do anything wrong." She turned to disagree, but Harry cut her off, "No. It's not. You're a good person; you broke the rules—risked getting in trouble—to help Hagrid. You're a perfect Gryffindor, and anyone who can't see that is blind."
Hermione's already red face turned even redder under her friend's praise. "Thank, Thank you, Harry," she said, then leaned up and kissed him on the cheek.
Daphne felt a twinge of . . . something in her at the sight of Hermione kissing Harry and then seeing the pair of them blush afterwards. Am I . . . jealous? she wondered. After all the effort I'm putting into trying to bring them together, am I seriously jealous? This new relationship might be harder than she thought. Pushing those thoughts aside, she took Hermione's hand and said, "Hermione, I'm sure not everyone feels the same way Ron does. There must be some who don't want to lose you. What about your roommates?"
Hermione sniff-ed. "Parvati followed me up our room when I went to grab my books, asking if I was really thinking about leaving. Lavender," Hermione smiled a little, "Lavender almost stopped me from leaving the Tower. Now that I think about it, a bunch of the older students had pulled Ron off to the side and were talking to him when I came down; I think they were mad at him."
Daphne smiled. "See Hermione, you have supporters in Gryffindor! You have friends."
"You'll always have friends," Harry said, squeezing just a little tighter.
"Come on, brats," Filch called as he led the four students across the Grounds that evening. The old man was carrying a lantern, and, for once, had left his cat behind somewhere in the Castle. "Walking slowly will only waste your own time.
"What are we doing out here?" Malfoy demanded. Harry didn't know whether to be annoyed or amused; Malfoy thought his punishment was undignified: surprise, surprise.
"Detention, you little snot!" Filch spat, leading them over to Hagrid's cabin.
"Are we having detention with Hagrid?" Harry asked. That wouldn't be so bad. Looking over at his snowy-haired Housemate, he smiled at little. Maybe for Malfoy. His smirk greweven b igger as he imagined theponce washing the food bowl of Fang, Hagrid's enormous boarhound.
"No," Filch replied. "You'll be having detention in there," and he pointed towards the Dark Forest.
Author's Notes: Cliffhanger! Sorry, but, like I said up top, doing all this and what goes on in the Dark Forest would be way too long. So, I'm stopping here for now. Hopefully, I've given you a fun little mystery to chew on while you wait.
I hope Daphne's little mental debate was good. I'm trying to keep things realistic (OK, laugh it up; I'm going for realism in a fantasy story), and despite the fact that Daphne's all for the whole polygamy thing, it's going to have it's challenges. That's kind of par for all relationships, no matter how many people are involved.
Also, because I'm too excited about this to not point it out, did any of you like the juxtaposition between the Commonroom scenes? I know I shouldn't be pointing this out to you all, but I liked it a lot, and I just can't get over it. Oh, well.