Categories > Books > Harry Potter > I, Alone
Chapter 7– The Potions Master
Severus Snape did not have a happy life. The Potions Master of Hogwarts sat at the head table glaring, alternately, between the students seated before him and his food. Lunch, much as the students, was the same as always. Unappealing to say the least. After a decade of eating and teaching at Hogwarts they had both become routine rather than something he enjoyed doing. He found teaching to be tedious at best and bothersome at worst. The best part of his day was after classes when he could brew his own droughts and potions within the privacy of his own quarters.
This year though was different from the previous one or at least he suspected it would be. The dark clothed Professor was both looking forward to as well as dreading his afternoon class which accounted for his foul mood. Taking another bite of the tasteless fare before him his dark eyes glanced towards his own House table only to note a certain absence. Her son is not there, he thought silently to himself, taking comfort in the fact that he wouldn't have to look upon the boy who was the spitting image of his most hated rival. Mechanically chewing his food his mind wandered back to distant memories that happened far from Hogwarts and the man he was today.
Born of a Pureblood witch and a muggle father Severus himself was considered a half-blood. As a child he learned early on that his parent's marriage was not a happy one. His father, Tobias Snape, drank excessively while being happy with nothing in life. His mother, Eileen Snape, often left for weeks at a time to her relatives, the Prince family. Neither parent seemed to care that they had a child. The young boy was often neglected and left to fend for himself. As a child he also learned something else, that he was different than other children.
The young Severus had the ability to do wondrous things with merely a thought or a slight gesture. At the age of six he could grow flowers with a wave of his hand or call items to him just by thinking of them. To his young mind it was all very magical. He had as yet no idea that his mother was awitch and that he had inherited her special abilities making him a wizard. He only knew that he was different…better, than others. It wasn't till later years that he took his blood status as well as his mother's surname and coined his own nickname, 'The Half-Blood Prince'.
Knowing he was different he could no longer see the other children in the neighborhood as the same as himself. They were not the same as he was as they could not make flowers fly or capture the light of the sun and hold it in their hands. He was special. He was something they most certainly were not. They were beneath him for the simple fact that they were…ordinary.
He was a child with a new toy…a new magical toy and like any child with a new toy he wished to play with it. If there was one thing about Spinner's End, a shabby suburb of Cokeworth, it was that there were plenty of abandoned and dilapidated buildings. These proved to be perfect places for the small boy to hide away and see just what his new found abilities could do. Hiding in such a manner also saved him from other dangers such as the roving bands of bullies that always seem to frequent such rundown neighborhoods.
Coming from a very poor family he did not have the newest of clothes or the best of shoes. In fact he usually looked rather shabby as one primary teacher was once overheard to comment upon his general appearance. His clothes were so mismatched as to almost appear as if it were on purpose. The older boys were always quick to pick upon him when there were no adults about. Even when there were teachers present he had been branded a klutz for the sheer fact of the number of times he seemed to trip over his own feet. In reality it was not his feet that caused the tripping but rather those who took joy in tormenting him.
The young Severus had a certain look about him. He was not well fed, though one could hardly say he was malnourished. The half-blood child spent a great deal of time inside reading which gave him a very pale complexion which many often mistook for ill health or a weakness…in later years to their own misfortune. There was just something about the child that the larger boys couldn't resist. His thinness, aloofness and manner of dress just seemed to scream 'bully me'to them. It was like chum in the water to the circling sharks…, irresistible.
It was on a certain summer's day, no different than many others, in his seventh year along the muddy river that flowed sluggishly not far from Spinner's End that the young boy's life changed. The local bullies had dragged him down to the water's edge for a bit of play time as they put it. Tired of being their wiping boy the young wizard had grown angry and the largest of the three bullies suddenly found himself flying through the air and landing with a loud splash in the river. The startling fact for all those present was that no one had apparently laid a hand on the large boy. His comrades called from the bank of the river encouraging him to swim to shore as the boy thrashed about in the muddy water.
The water was not excessively deep where the boy landed nor was the current strong enough to even pull the bully along the river's path. Severus stood and watched as the larger boy struggled and was unable to bring his head above the water to draw a lung full of air. It was at this time that the most amazing of things happened. A small figure in a yellow floral print summer dress dashed past the three boy on the bank and plunged into the water to the drowning boys rescue. The girl's blazing red hair blew in the summer breeze giving it the appearance of having a life all its own. All three boys on the bank found themselves suddenly gobsmacked by the interloper's actions.
Severus was so stunned by the petite girl's appearance that he forgot to hold the boy under the water and the girl was able to drag the drenched and gasping bully to shore. That feat alone was amazing considering the size difference between the two. The scrawny half-blood nearly gasped aloud when the girl looked up and glared at him with smoldering green eyes for a long moment before turning her withering gaze upon the other two boys in turn.
"What is wrong with you?" the girl yelled at the three boys standing there in stunned silence. "Couldn't you see he was drowning?Why didn't you go in after him?" the young redhead scolded them sternly as if she were an adult speaking to children much younger than herself. All three boys dropped their heads and stared at their feet. "Are you all daft or something?"
"Lily," called an apprehensive voice behind Severus,"we should be going. Mother is going to be quite cross with you for getting your dress all dirty as well as wet." Turning his head the young wizard saw another girl standing not far away with dark hair, a rather long neck and a disapproving demeanor as she regarded the entire scene, especially the four boys around her sister.
"Yes, Petunia," the wet girl, whose name was apparently Lily, replied even as she made her way towards her sister. "I suspect he'll be alright once he's had a bit to catch his breath," she paused to tell Severus, thinking him a friend of the boy who had been in the water.
"T…thanks," Severus stammered in way of reply as the small girl continued on. "Who…who are you?" he enquired in amesmerized tone of voice as he turned about, his words stopping her in her tracks as she turned back to face him again.
The girl, who he guessed to be close to his own age smiled at him, her green eyes alight with something he had never seen before. "Lily Evens. That is my older sister, Petunia," the small redhead replied."We just recently moved to the area. I hope that we all shall be friends."
"I think I should rather like that," Severus replied somehow, still entranced by the petite girl's sparkling green eyes and bubbly personality. A strange warmth of feelings, which he couldn't place a name to, seemed to well up within his chest. Being unfamiliar with the concept of love or what it felt like to be loved he had no way of knowing that he had just lost his heart to the small slender girl before him at that time.
With a slight tilt of her head she turned and continued on to her waiting sister before the both of them left together. Severus stared after them till they were gone from sight around a corner. He couldn't help but feel that he had witnessed something magical once again only this time it was in the form of a petite girl. One thing he knew for certain was that he most certainly wanted to see her again! It would be many years yet till he realized just how much he loved the little redhead named Lily. Sadly that knowledge would come too late to save her life.
The Potions Master of Hogwarts was broken from his reminiscing upon feeling the ring on his right hand grow warm, signaling that the Headmaster wished to see him. Having lost his appetite due to thinking of Lily, the head of Slytherin House rose and quickly made his way from the great hall and to the Headmasters office. It wasn't the thought of the girl that had cost him his appetite but rather the remembrance that she was no longer alive due to his own actions. Guilt was one of the best appetite suppressants there ever was. "You wished to see me, Headmaster?" he asked once past the gargoyle statue, up the stairs and through the door.
"Ah Severus," Albus Dumbledore said with a welcoming smile."I hope I did not disturb your meal?" The aged wizard was seated at his desk with several scrolls laid out before him in a sort of haphazard arrangement. The Headmaster's ever present lemon drop bowl was present and as the lid was already removed the Potion's Master surmised that the room's owner had already been into the somewhat sour candies.
"I had just finished," Severus replied, figuring it was close enough to the truth that it really didn't matter. The potions professor absently wondered how large of a dent the Headmaster had put into the candy bowl. The larger the dent the more troubling the information about to be imparted, he figured.
Albus motioned to a vacant chair which sat before his desk and waited for his Potions Master to be seated before he continued. "I called you here so that I might enquire into the progress of the potions I requested from you during the summer break."
"They are coming along nicely, Headmaster," Severus replied a bit confused by the enquiry. When they had first spoken of the potions it was with the understanding that they would not be needed till the following summer break. "They should be ready on time as requested." The plan was to set a trap for Voldemort over the next summer break when all the students would be gone from the school. Neither man currently in the room believed the Dark Lord was gone for good.
"Alas, I fear we no longer have the time to wait, my friend," Albus said in a weary voice as he tossed the latest edition of the Daily Prophet towards his friend, which landed on the desk directly before the Potion's Master who looked down and saw the front page article.
Gringotts' Break-In Latest
"Investigations continue into the break-in at Gringotts on 31 July, widely believed to be the work of Dark wizards or witches unknown. Gringotts goblins today insisted that nothing had been taken. The vault that was searched had in fact been emptied the same day. "But we're not telling you what was in there, so keep your noses out if you know what's good for you," said a Gringotts spokesgoblin this afternoon."
Severus quickly read the article over and it only took a moment for him to understand what the Headmaster had meant. "You can't possibly think of bringing it here at a time like this!" he exclaimed in disbelief.
In way of answer Albus reached into his robes and withdrew areddish, multi-faceted stone which rested comfortably in the palm of one hand and set the Philosopher's Stone upon the desktop between them. "It would seem that we do not have nearly the amount of time I had hoped we'd have. If he can reach within even Gringotts then there is no safer place in all of Britain than within these walls."
"I am surprised that the Flamel's even allowed you to take it," the Potion's Master stated without removing his eyes from the stone before him. The stone had many abilities, among them being the Elixir of Life which is what they were counting on the Dark Lord wanting it for. Should Voldemort obtain the stone he would be able to return and would be near immortal.
"Once I explained the circumstances to Nicolas and Perenelle they were quick to see the wisdom in having the stone brought here," Albus explained. "Neither really wanted to be drawn into the conflict we both know is coming, my friend. If nothing else, with long age comes a greater understanding of how to pick and choose ones battles," the Headmaster stated with a small twinkle in his eyes.
"Then you mean to follow through with your plan?" Severus enquired finally looking up and meeting the gaze of the wizard across from him only to see the aged wizard nod slightly. "What of the students?Would you place them all at risk? You know as well as I do that he would think nothing of merely killing them all to obtain what he wants. The risk is too great, Headmaster."
"I am well aware of his lack of compassion for human life, be it young or old," Albus replied, the twinkle disappearing once more from his eyes as he reached out and fiddled with the stone with one hand. "I do not however think that he will attempt to reach the stone while everyone is here. No, I suspect he will wait till the holidays when few students remain and fewer staff are present to stop him," the Headmaster explained his reasoning. "He has few resources and it will be easier to slip in afollower or two to retrieve it for him at that time."
Severus thought over the man's words for several long moments and could find little fault with them. It would be well like the Dark Lord to slip in, collect the prize and slip out again with no one the wiser. Severus was certain that the Dark Lord would take great pleasure in being able to pull off a stunt such as that directly beneath the Headmasters nose. "It does seem the sort of thing he would attempt," he grudgingly had to admit.
Albus nodded, having already determined this and hence having been certain that his Potions Master would come to the same conclusion and follow his lead. "This is why I shall need those draughts sooner than we had planned."
"I should be able to have them done by the time the student's leave for the holidays, though just barely," he added. "What of the others?" he enquired.
"Hagrid already has his guardian in place," Albus replied,"hence the warning for everyone to stay away from the third floor corridor."
"Are you certain it was wise to announce that, Headmaster?" Severus asked. "There are certain students, the Weasley twins come to mind, who might see that as a challenge. There are certain to be those who go seeking whatever is there."
Albus chuckled softly, the twinkle returning to his glacier blue eyes for the moment. "I am quite certain that once they open the door and see Hagrid's pet, he is fairly hard to miss after all, they will lose what little interest they have for the matter. I doubt they will think past the fact that Fluffy is the hideous death awaiting them and that he might actually be guarding something of importance. No, I feel certain they will simply believe we are housing an extraordinary animal for the time being."
"Professor Sprout's Devil's snare is coming along nicely though that may be due to it being in a cold and dark place, which is where it grows best," the Headmaster continued with thoughtfully. "Pomona has assured me that it will be ready in time though. The only problem she confided was that it would not be a full or as mature as she would have wished for it to be. Still, it shall have to suffice."
"Professor McGonagall is placing the final touches on her chess set as I understand it. I suspect that like you, she is none too happy with this turn of events," Albus offered as he leaned forward and secured a lemon drop before sitting back and popping the sour confection into his mouth. "Lemon drop?" he offered only to see the Potions Master decline with a shake of his head.
"What of Flitwick's contribution," Severus asked."I thought he had something prepared as well."
"Yes, our Charm's instructor was very helpful and quite ingenious if I do say so myself, in regards to his piece." Albus chuckled thinking of the key and the feat of flying that would have to take place to pass that particular test. The fact that the keys were all charmed to resist any and all forms of summoning ensured that whoever it was would need to be an accomplished flyer. "He is ready to go whenever we're ready," Albus assured the man seated across from him. The Headmaster himself had enchanted the door the key was for to be as resistant as possible to the highest forms of magic.
"I still do not feel that it is wise to have that beast within the room with nothing more between it and the students than adoor," Severus stated once again to press home his concerns. "Should one of them gain entrance without realizing what was there the results would most certainly be less than pleasant, Headmaster. Should word get out that the beast if there I doubt that the Board of Governors would look kindly upon it."
"I am well aware of your concerns, my friend," Albus replied calmly. "It would take a witch or wizard of exceptional ability to unlock that door." The Headmaster held up one hand to forestall the professor retort he saw coming. "However, if it will make you rest easier, I shall see to it that the door is hidden as well so that none of the students may accidently encounter it."
Severus nodded stiffly at the older wizard's words, realizing that was probably the best he was going to be able to achieve. Over the course of the last decade he had learned that once Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore had made up his mind there was nothing to be done but to go along with it and hope for the best. "If you'll excuse me, Headmaster? I have a class to attend to," the Potions Master said as he stood and prepared to leave.
"Severus," Albus said in a soft and caring manner,"will you be alright?"
The dark haired wizard turned to regard the Headmaster with aschooled expression that betrayed no emotions what so ever."Certainly," he stated, the word itself clipped and near toneless before he turned and proceeded towards the door.
"Perhaps it is important to remember," Albus offered up, his words causing the other man to pause with his hand upon the doorknob,"as much as young Harry may resemble his father and be James' son he is also Lily's child as well and bears her eyes." The Headmaster could do little more than sigh remorsefully as the Hogwarts' Potions Master left the room without another word.
Slipping into the boys' dormitory Harry made his way to the small desk next to his bed and quickly exchanged his The Standard Book of Spells book for his copy of Magical Drafts and Potions by Arsenius Jigger. Taking a seat, his hand retrieved an apple from within his robes which he absently bit into as he started to read over the chapter for today's Potion's class once again. He had already read the chapter several times and could nearly recite the components for the boil removing cream they would be making from memory without looking at the book.
I've really been looking forward to this class, Harry thought to himself as the corners of his mouth curved upwards in a grin. Taking ingredients and mixing them together to make something other than what you start out with is a bit like cooking, he told himself silently as he took another bite of the apple in his hand, mechanically chewing without actually tasting the fruit. He wasn't used to eating much more than an apple or its equivalent for lunch and sometimes dinner. Routines are a hard thing to break, especially when learned over the course of an entire life.
As a young child he had been placed in charge of cooking for the Dursleys. As soon as he was tall enough to see over the rim of a pan upon the burner his aunt lost no time in shedding the cooking responsibilities to her nephew. There had been several times at first where the small child had burnt himself from inexperience...scars he bore to this day upon his forearms as well as a rather nasty one on his chest from spilled hot grease. Instead of finding cooking a chore Harry had quickly come to love it. The prospect of combining ingredients to make something that not only tasted great but was also filling as well a wholesome was as close to magic as he could get at that early age. Anything more magical and it fell into the realm of 'freakiness' and would earn him a beating.
Uncle Vernon and Dudley never once complained about my cooking, he reminded himself, taking pride in that fact. Harry realized that it was strange to want the praise of those that treated him the worst but that's just how it was. He didn't even begin to understand it but had figured it was just easier to go along with it rather than sort it all out. The quickest way to make either of them happy was with good food. A happy uncle and cousin meant fewer beatings for me.When he got right down to it, praise was praise and something he very seldom ever received from anyone.
It wasn't long till Harry's simple lunch was finished and he put his things away. The young wizard stood and, after pushing his chair in, shouldered his backpack and walked from the dormitory. On his way through the empty common room he paused long enough to drop the apple core into a waste bin before slipping out the door and heading along the Dungeon corridor. The lunch period was only half over so he wasn't surprised not to see anyone else in the hallways.
Following the map from the student handbook, Harry quickly found the correct classroom. Looking inside he wasn't surprised to see that he was the first there. "Seems to be a pattern," he mumbled aloud under his breath, referring to his always being first to class. The notable exception being his first Transfiguration class, which he planned to correct the next time he attended the class. He rather enjoyed arriving early as it allowed him to gather his thoughts and prepare.
The classroom itself was rather dim. There were small rectangular windows set high up upon the walls near the ceiling that allowed a measure of day light to filter in. The only other lighting was provided by the scattering of lit candles about the room. The front of the classroom was the furthest from the door and was situated upon an elevated section of flooring. Harry presumed this was so that all the students seated in the class would be able to see and hear the professor.
Making his way to the front of the class he moved along the seats, taking the fourth one in and placing himself in the center of the front row or as near as one could get. Each row held two work benches which sat three people each. After removing his text book from his bag along with his quill, ink well and parchment he hung his backpack from the back of his chair and then seated himself. As there was still some time before the class actually began he reached behind himself and extracted the book the Headmaster had given him concerning Accidental Magic. Opening the book before him he started to read.
Harry wasn't certain just how long he had been reading as he found himself rather absorbed by the contents of the book, but he realized suddenly that he was no longer alone. Glancing up he caught a billow of black robes out the corner of his eye as Professor Snape stormed to the front of the classroom and the waiting desk there, before seating himself behind it. Harry thought the Professor looked very much like an advancing storm cloud with the way his black robs billowed out behind him as he went.
"A little early aren't you, Mr. Potter," Snape asked in a slow drawl as he took the seat behind his desk and began shuffling papers and moving items about. From the man's actions one would have thought that someone had rearranged his entire desk in his absence.
"Perhaps, Professor," Harry replied a bit nervously."I just wanted to make certain I wasn't late or missed anything. I've been looking forward to this class since I first read about it over a month ago," the young wizard confessed in an embarrassed rush before he could stop himself.
"Fascinating," Snape replied in a monotone voice without a hint of the usual excitement one who expect to hear when using such a word."And why would that be?" the Potions Master went on to ask as he read over a paper before him.
"Well," Harry began only to quickly lick his lips nervously, "I've not been much good at anything all my life. A spot of weeding, a bit of cleaning here and there but not much else as my family tells it," he explained. "Cooking is the one thing I seem to be able to do rather well, Sir."
"There'll be no flambé or soup stock made in this class, Potter!" Severus snapped off irritated by the boy's reply. Potion brewing was an exacting science. To compare it to cooking was like comparing Leonardo De Vinci to finger painting as far as Severus was concerned.
"No, Sir!" Harry stammered in way of reply realizing he had offended the Potions Master in some manner. "I didn't mean to imply that there would be, Sir. Cooking is only similar in that you take ingredients and combine them to make something which is much more than the individual parts themselves. I thought potions would be the same way, is all." The young wizard's words trailed off as he hung his head.
Snape looked up for the first time and stared at the boy for along moment, seeing nothing more than the dark mess of hair at the top of the boys head. /He is Lily's son/, he reminded himself with a silent sigh. "Brewing," Severus offered as he looked down once again at the paper before him though he made no effort to read. "Potioneers do not /cook/, we brew," he explained in a more even tone. "Try to remember that," he said.
Harry's head shot up and a trace of a smile struggled across his lips for a moment. "Yes, Sir," he replied sharply. "I'll see that I do." Before Harry could say anything further the Professor stood and with purposeful strides walked from the classroom.
Harry, not certain what to make of the man's behavior could only shrug to himself and return to the book he had been reading. It was only a few minutes more before other students began to arrive. With a resigned sigh he closed the book and replaced it in his backpack. Picking up his quill he inspected the tip of it before unrolling a new sheet of parchment and dipping the quill in his ink well. It was as he was dipping the tip of the quill that something severely jarred his elbow causing the ink well to topple and spill all over the blank piece of parchment.
"Oh, sorry. Didn't see you there, Potter," said a voice that was becoming all too familiar to the young wizard who turned to look over his right shoulder to see who had bumped his arm. Draco Malfoy stood there with a sneer upon his pale face. "Sometimes it hard to see the things beneath us," he added with a contemptuous grin.
"Perhaps if you weren't walking about with your nose so far up in the air you might be able to see others a bit better," suddenly stated a female voice causing both boys to look to their side. Harry saw Daphne Greengrass with another girl he didn't know who had been the one to make the comment to the young Malfoy. "Something you might want to try sometime," the new girl, also in Slytherin robes, added in an off-handed manner.
"Watch your mouth Davis!" Draco spat, his face turning red with anger. The boy's grey eyes darted towards Daphne and it was clear to see that he bit his tongue on whatever else he wanted to say to the auburn haired Slytherin. Draco huffed and angrily pushed past the two girls to go join Crabbe and Goyle at another table further back in the room.
"Mind if we join you, Harry?" Daphne asked as she hung her backpack on the back of the chair next to his and began removing the items she would need for class before the boy could even answer.
"By the way I'm Tracey Davis," the other girl offered, leaning forward so that she could be seen around her friend. "I apologies for her deplorable sense of manners and not introducing us properly," Tracey said with her dark brown eyes sparkling playfully.
"I was getting to it!" Daphne replied indignantly as she took her seat and arranged her own scroll and book. "Tracey and I have been friends since we were small kids," Daphne explained. "Why I put up with her I'll never understand." Daphne added with a playful grin of her own.
Tracey snorted in a rather unladylike manner. "It's because you love me Dearie and you'd be simply lost without me there to help you."
Harry couldn't help but grin at their antics, realizing that they must be the best of friends to carry on in such a manner. A small part of him couldn't help but wonder what it would be like to have a friend like that."Harry. A pleasure," Harry said, offering a slight nod of his head towards the girl now seated on the other side of Daphne.
"Really!" Tracey exclaimed with an absolutely astonished look upon her face. "You're /The/Harry Potter? The-Boy-Who-Lived!" Harry, completely taken aback by the other girl sat there with much the same look as a deer looking up only to see adescending dragon about to land upon it. One of Tracey's eyes, which were opened as wide as they could go, suddenly closed in a wink at him. "I think everyone knows who you are, Harry," she told him with a humorous grin.
Harry only then noticed that Daphne was struggling hard to hold back the giggles that desperately wished to escape her lips. The-Boy-Who-Lived shook his head in disbelief before asking, "She wouldn't be related to Zabini by any chance would she?" Harry recalled a very similar response from Blaise when he had introduced himself during their History of Magic class.
"Oi, I heard that Potter," came from behind him causing him to look over his shoulder at the dark skinned Slytherin boy who gave him agrin to show he took no offense at the question. "In the Wizarding world we're all related in some manner of another," Blaise offered with a slight shrug.
"Why am I not surprised to see you there?" Harry asked in a resigned tone suddenly realizing that he was supposed to be staying away from them. Glancing back to Daphne and Tracey and then to Blaise once more he quickly realized that they weren't going to leave him alone just because he asked them to.
"Hanging out with you, mate is far more fun than sitting around listening to Malfoy strut about like some prized gaming cock," Blaise said, leaning forward to be better heard. "Besides, I'm starting to enjoy how Davis here can always manage to turn Malfoy a lovely shade of red!" the boy's words left all of them grinning. "Seriously I think McGonagall should give you extra credit for it as I swear it must be some form of Transfiguration or something," he added shooting the auburn haired girl an infectious smile.
"It's a talent I seem to have been born with," Tracey replied as she flounced imaginary hair over one shoulder as hers was currently pulled back into a ponytail. "Some of us are just gifted!"
"Seriously though," Daphne said as she turned to regard the dark haired boy next to her, "we're not just going to leave off. We're Outsiders as Blaise said and so we need to stay together."
Harry regarded the blonde girl with the same pleading look he had in Charm's class. "Please, you really need to stay away. All of you do," he said to her, ignoring the other students coming in as well as the ones that had just taken the seats to his left. "It's not safe to be around me," he added in a quieter tone drawing looks of confusion from the other three Slytherins.
"Ronald hurry up or we're going to be late!" Hermione called up towards the boy's dormitory, uncertain if the redhead could hear her or not. The young Gryffindor witch had been seated at the table in the great hall waiting for her Housemate to finish his third plate of lunch when the boy recalled that he still needed his book for their potions class. The book in question was in his room. This in and of itself wouldn't have presented much of an issue if that hadn't meant a climb to the seventh floor and then all the way down to the Dungeons for the class.
"No need to throw a wobbly, Granger," Ron said as he stepped through the door to the dormitory. "I'm hurrying as quickly as Ican," he offered in his defense as he descended the stairs to the common room for the Gryffindor tower slinging his book bag over his shoulder in the process.
The bushy-haired witch grabbed the boy by the arm and began dragging him towards the porthole. "Honestly Ronald, I don't know why Ibother with you," she said in an aggravated tone as they stepped past the portrait and made their way towards the Grande Stairway.
"Honestly, I've asked myself that a time or two as well," Ron confessed as they started down the stairs. "Why do you keep after me?"
"Well," Hermione began a bit uncomfortably, releasing his arm and adjusting the strap to her school bag instead where it hung over her shoulder, "we're friends and that's what friends do isn't it?"
"I reckon so," Ron replied in a serious and thoughtful tone as they slowly worked their way to the fifth floor before having to wait for the stairs to adjust to where they needed to go. "If we're friends then," the redhead said hesitantly, "then tell me about this morning and why you were crying."
"Why should I?" Hermione asked, a bit surprised by his request.
"Friends worry about each other so it would only be right that I should worry about you," Ron told her matter-of-factly. "It's just not right to make a girl cry," he added a bit softer.
Hermione could clearly hear the genuine concern in the young wizard's words. "What happened this morning is between me and Har-," the witch paused catching herself just before saying Harry's name,"between me and the person it was with," she quickly corrected as the stairs snapped into place and they continued on.
"Hagrid?" Ron said with a puzzled expression trying to match a name to the sound he heard her cut off. "You had an issue this morning with Hagrid?"
"No!" Hermione exclaimed vehemently and without hesitation. "I barely know that man, though I should like to," she was quick to say in a thoughtful tone. "I mean how often is it you get to meet a half-giant?"
"He's a bit furry for me," Ron offered making a sour face as he recalled the burly man who had towered above all the first year students the other evening. "Not to mention big…and tall."
"Well of course he is," Hermione replied in a voice of utter disbelief at the boy's words. "What exactly would you expect ahalf-giant to look like?" she enquired as they reached the third floor.
"I don't really know," Ron replied honestly. "I've never really given it much thought."
"Perhaps you should then, Ronald," the witch beside him said in a knowing tone. "You have a brain, just learn to use it before you open your lips to speak. I can only imagine how Hagrid would have felt upon hearing your words!" she said glancing to her side and noticing the chastised expression on the boy's face.
Ron knew she had a valid point and hence he kept his mouth closed and tried to engage his brain as they made the second floor and started down to the first floor. While he wasn't certainly the brightest wizard of his age he also wasn't any slouch at it either. The trouble with the youngest male Weasley was that he seldom engaged his brain before he opened his mouth. He certainly was several steps above Crabbe and Goyle, though some might argue that wasn't much to brag about.
"Harry Potter!" the redhead suddenly exclaimed as they stepped onto the first floor and headed for the entrance to the Dungeons which was where their potions class was being held. "It was Harry Potter," he said again as he had suddenly recalled Hermione watching the Slytherin boy walk from the great hall yesterday at lunch. He hadn't thought much of it at the time but it had managed to stick in his memory somehow. Also, there weren't many names that began with 'Har'which he had clearly heard her start to say.
Hermione sighed heavily, her shoulders rising and falling with the heavy exhalation of air. "Does it really matter, Ronald? Even if it was Harry, that would make it a matter between him and me, I should think," she offered.
"Hermione!" Ron exclaimed, using her first name in his concern for his Housemate. "You can't trust him! He's a snake and they're all evil! Not a good one in the whole lot of them," he stated with a trace of disgust in his voice. The young Weasley boy didn't like the familiarity he heard in his friend's voice when she called the Slytherin boy Harry. As he saw it no Gryffindor should be that friendly to a snake!
"Why can't I trust him?" Hermione suddenly asked in aloud and demanding tone, stopping on the stairs leading down to the Dungeons to turn and glare at the boy with her as her anger got the better of her."He's The-Boy-Who-Lived! He defeated He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named! Just how can he be evil if he did that?"
Ron's eyes grew large in the face of the witch's unexpected anger."He's a snake," he managed to squeak out barely, as if that explained everything. The boy could have sworn that Hermione's hair became bushier as if it were standing out on end as she clenched her fists beside her, growled once in frustration before rolling her eyes and turning to stomp off down the stairs. "Blimey, mental that one is," he softly said aloud to himself.
"I heard that!" came the angry clipped response down the stairs from him causing the redheaded boy to suddenly go a bit pale before he followed after the witch, catching up to her just as she reached the classroom.
Hermione entered the classroom and spotted two open seats at the front of the classroom and quickly made her way towards them. As she turned to slip past Lily Moon who was seated at the end of the table closest to the door she noticed that Ron was still behind her. With an almost resigned sigh she took the farther of the two seats that were empty, allowing Ron to sit between Lily and herself.
The bushy-haired witch took out her book, quill, inkwell and parchment and got ready for class. As she was doing this she couldn't help but hear the conversation next to her.
"Please, you really need to stay away. All of you do," said a voice Hermione instantly recognized. "It's not safe to be around me," she heard Harry say to the Slytherins he was speaking with.
"We're not shoving off that easily, Potter," Daphne Greengrass replied in a tone that left little doubt that she had made up her mind and would not be budged from her decision easily. "I'm not sure the reason that you think you're dangerous to us or that you need to isolate yourself. The fact of the matter is," the young blonde girl continued on not allowing the dark haired wizard a chance to say a word, "you don't understand how things work in Slytherin and if you stay by yourself you'll just get chewed up and spat out."
"Yeah, you need to at least give us a reason," Blaise said from his seat behind Harry.
Hermione's mind raced at a feverish pitch digesting what she had heard. He's afraid of hurting them, she realized. He doesn't want them around him either. Is that why he told me to forget about him? Was he afraid I would get hurt? The young witch pondered what she had learned and couldn't decide what the truth was. A part of her wanted to believe that Harry had sent her away for her own safety. The thought that someone could think of her as enough of a friend to do that on her behalf was just staggering. No one had ever cared for her that much before outside of her own family.
Yet there was still another part of the young girl who was desperately afraid of getting hurt yet again. It had only been that morning that she had been crying her eyes out on her bed because she had thought Harry wanted nothing to do with her. But if he was trying to protect me…. Her thoughts which were spiraling out of control at her revelation suddenly slammed to a halt as with sudden clarity she reasoned out why he had rejected her. He's afraid that the accidental magic will hurt me!Glancing to the side she realized that Harry must be afraid of hurting his housemates as well.
"It's just too dangerous for you to be near me," Harry told his housemates, unaware that the Gryffindor witch seated next to him heard as well.
"Silence!" a commanding voice rang out cutting off any further discussion or thoughts as the Potions Master of Hogwarts stormed into the room with his robes bellowing about him threateningly. "There will be no foolish wand-waving or silly incantations in this class. As such, I don't expect many of you to appreciate the subtle science and exact art that is potion-making. However, for those select few...who possess the predisposition...I can teach you how to bewitch the mind and ensnare the senses. I can tell you how to bottle fame, brew glory, and even put a stopper in death. If you aren't as big a bunch of dunderheads as I usually have to teach."
Harry picked up his quill to jot down what the Professor was saying only to notice that due to Malfoy, his inkwell was empty.
"We can share," Daphne whispered as she set her inkwell between them.
"Thanks," Harry said without lowering his voice to awhisper as he moved the ink stained parchment and empty inkwell aside to make room for a new parchment upon which he could take notes.
"Mr. Potter!" Professor Snape said loud enough to gather the boy's attention. "This year's celebrity," he added with adisparaging drawl. "What would I get if I added powdered root of asphodel to an infusion of wormwood?" Snape snapped off.
The arm of the student to Harry's left went up so fast it startled the boy, causing him to glance in that direction. "Hermione," Harry mouthed in barely a whisper, surprised to see the girl seated next to him. The witches hand was up on the air and waving about frantically, signaling that she knew the answer. Seated next to her was the Ron Weasley, the younger brother of the twins. Harry didn't miss the threatening glare the boy was directing at him and quickly looked away.
Harry thought for a moment as he recalled reading about the items mentioned. "I believe Professor that powdered root of asphodel to an infusion of wormwood is used when making the sleeping potion known as Draught of Living Death," the dark haired wizard replied. Out of the corner of his eye he saw Hermione's hand go down and a frown of disappointment appear upon her face. I must have gotten it right, he surmised by her actions.
The Potions Master wasn't finished though. "Where would you look if I told you I wanted a Bezoar, Mr. Potter?" Snape asked as he walked over to in front of the boy and sat after conjuring a stool. Glancing down and noticing the spilled ink and stained parchment he vanished them with awave of his wand so as to not get any of the spilled ink upon himself.
"I know Professor," Hermione exclaimed as her hand shot up in the air once again.
"I didn't ask you did I, Ms. Granger?" Snape said as his dark beady eyes darted aside to her for a moment. "Five points from Gryffindor for being an insufferable know it all!" The young witch bit her lower lip as her eyes filled with tears at having lost her House points.
"I would look in the stomach of a goat, Professor," Harry quickly said to draw attention away from the witch next to him in the hopes of sparing her any further point deductions.
"And what is it used for?" Snape enquired, his gaze once more returning to the boy who drop his head in thought.
"If I remember correctly it is mostly for counteracting poisons or protecting you from them," Harry offered hesitantly.
"What is the difference between Monkshood and wolfsbane?" Snape asked continuing the line of questioning.
Harry's brow creased as he tried to recall the two. Beside him Hermione's hand once more shot up into the air and quivered frantically in ahopeless attempt to gather the Professor's attention. Try as he might he couldn't recall that there was a difference between the two. "I don't recall, Sir," he finally admitted, "but I believe Granger knows. Perhaps you should ask her," Harry offered only because he really wanted to know the answer now and he believed that would be the easiest way to get it.
"They're just different names for the same thing," the bushy-haired witch blurted out before she could stop herself. "It is also known as Aconite."
"That's twice now you've spoken out of turn, Ms. Granger," Snape snapped at the young witch. "See me tonight at seven for detention!" Heatedly Severus turned back towards Harry only to find himself staring into a pair of green emerald eyes which he hadn't seen in over a decade. The pallid skinned wizard's breath hitched in his throat for a moment as he recalled those eyes surrounded by a mane of vibrant red hair. "You have…" Severus just barely managed to stop himself from telling the boy before him that he had his mother Lily's eyes, "been reading I see," he quickly changed to. "Clearly fame doesn't preclude you from learning it would seem. Five points for Slytherin!"
Snape stood, the conjured chair vanishing as the Potion's Master climbed the three short stairs to the raised area of the flooring. "I hope you all wrote down his answers," he said only to be met by shocked as well as confused expressions from the class. "No? Pity," he intoned softly, indicating his indifference.
For class they were split up into groups to make a simple potion for removing boils. Snape made his way about the classroom as they weighed dried nettles and crushed snake fang, criticizing almost everyone but Harry and Malfoy. The class was brought to a screeching halt when the cauldron Neville Longbottom, Dean Thomas and Seamus Finnigan were using melted away spilling potion all over the Longbottom boy. In no time at all boils began to break out all over Neville's body and Seamus was directed to take him to the Hospital wing for treatment. The remainder of the glass passed without further incident.
Hermione was putting her book away when Harry rushed past behind her and quickly left the classroom. Turning the Gryffindor witch saw both Slytherin girls staring after The-Boy-Who-Lived with concerned expressions."Ron, you go on without me. I'll see you at diner," she told the redhead next to her. Knowing that there was food waiting for him in the great hall was all the incentive the Weasley boy needed. Without a look back he quickly left the classroom.
Daphne zipped up her backpack and lifted it from the back of the chair to slip it over her shoulder when she looked up to find someone waiting to speak to her. "Granger," she said with an arched brow in question.
"Greengrass," Hermione replied in a very businesslike tone of voice with a small nod of her head. "Might I have a word with you in private," the young witch asked, her demeanor slipping slightly to reveal her nervousness.
Daphne regarded the girl speculatively for a long moment before she turned to her Housemates. "You guys go on ahead and I'll see you for diner," she told Tracey and Blaise who both glanced at the Gryffindor but then simply nodded and left.
"Perhaps here wouldn't be the best place," Hermione offered with a glance towards the Potions Master who was seated at his desk reading papers and apparently ignoring them.
Daphne nodded in understanding. "Library?" she suggested suspecting that the other girl would feel that to be a good place to talk openly. Seeing the Gryffindor witch nod in acceptance the blonde turned and lead the way from the classroom. Neither spoke as they made their way to the third floor and along the left corridor, to avoid the most horrible death in the right side corridor.
The two girls entered the library and Hermione quickly stepped forward and took the lead, winding her way through a series of bookshelves and walk ways till she stepped out into an area that held several tables for studying behind which were several rows of empty bookshelves.
"Alright, Granger, what's this all about," Daphne asked, removing her book bag from her shoulder and setting it on top of the nearest table.
Hermione paused but didn't turn to face the Slytherin girl."You know, it's not really you," she said over her shoulder."Harry, I mean," she added to clarify.
Daphne's brow shot up upon hearing Harry's name mentioned."What do you mean?" she enquired, curious as to what the other girl knew that she didn't.
Hermione shrugged noncommittally, her small shoulders rising and falling. "It was right here," the bushy-haired witch said instead."Last night when he turned all those books to pins."
Daphne looked past the girl at all the empty shelves and suddenly realized why there were no books on them. "How could you know that, Granger?" she asked, believing she already knew the answer.
Hermione turned around, her eyes cast to the floor as she played with the cuff of her robe. "I was here with him when it happened," she confessed. "It was all my fault," the young witch's voice broke as she once again fought back tears of guilt at what she believed she had done.
"What…what happened?" Daphne asked taking a step towards the emotional girl. It was clear that whatever transpired the girl before her felt it was her fault. Daphne had only heard that Harry had transfigured abunch of books. She hadn't really asked for any further details as it really hadn't mattered at the time.
"Harry came and spoke with me last night right here. He wanted to know how to do the Transfiguration we had done earlier that day," Hermione explained. "I told him how I did it and what I thought needed to be done. I thought he understood it. I had my match with me so I had him try it."
Tears began sliding down the young witch's cheeks as she told her tale. "I don't know what happened. Maybe he lost his focus or maybe Ididn't explain it correctly but the next thing I knew all the books were turning to pins and Harry," Hermione paused to draw a shuddering breath before she continued, "Harry was standing there and his eyes…they were rolled back into his head! When I touched him he just seemed to collapse and fall to the ground! Now he's afraid to be around anyone as he might hurt them and it's all my fault!" the young girl sobbed.
Daphne quickly crossed to the distraught girl and guided her to achair, pulling one out for herself only after Hermione was seated. "So that's what happened," she said aloud as she reached into her pocket and withdrew a handkerchief before passing it to the still weeping girl who thanked her upon accepting it.
Once Hermione had calmed down a little she continued though she still couldn't lift her head to meet the other girl's eyes. "I went to see him this morning in the Hospital wing," she confessed. "He had a book on the table next to his bed about accidental magic. I'm not sure if that's what happened or if he was just doing some light reading," the young witch said, "But for him to be reading that right after what happened is too much to be coincidence, isn't it?" the bushy-haired witch asked as she looked up with a hopeful expression upon her face.
"If it was accidental magic then it really isn't your fault, Granger," Daphne told Hermione pointedly. "It's not like that is something that can be controlled or predicted after all." The blonde witch sat back and folded her arms across her chest as she thought for a moment."I'm no expert on the subject but if it was accidental then it's really no one's fault, not even Harry's."
"I don't know anything about it really," Hermione said in a tone that clearly indicated she wasn't happy to admit that fact.
Daphne could tell by the other girl's tone that situation would be remedied shortly. "Did…did Harry tell you anything this morning?" Daphne asked hesitantly.
Hermione shook her head. "He just asked me if I had been hurt at all and then told me to stay away from him and that I would do better to forget about him."
Daphne chewed on the inside of her lip for a moment before replying. "Well that would certainly fit with your scenario about being afraid of hurting others. It would also explain why he's pushing me away as well as distancing himself from all his Housemates."
"Harry doesn't strike me as the type that would intentionally hurt others," the Gryffindor witch offered.
"Me either," Daphne had to agree. "I get the impression he would be just the opposite," she continued with as she thought about what she knew of the boy's past. She didn't know if those abused would grow up to abuse others or if they would be the exact opposite. In the case of the dark haired wizard she got the impression that he would never be abusive, though she couldn't explain why she felt that way.
Hermione's shoulders slumped slightly before she asked, "So how do we convince him of that?"
"I don't know, Granger, but I'm open to suggestions," the Slytherin witch responded with.
"Please, call me Hermione. You've seen me bawling my eyes out after all," the first year Gryffindor said.
Daphne smiled and held out her hand to the other girl. "My friends call me Daphne," she said as Hermione accepted the offered hand and shook it. The young witch found it hard to believe that she would actually be making friends with a Gryffindor. If it wasn't for Harry we probably would have never spoken to each other, she silently mused as the girl seated across from her shook her hand."I'll let you know if I come up with anything."
"I'll do the same," Hermione said as a watery smile appeared on her face. She had merely wished to tell the Slytherin girl what she knew and had never guessed that she would find in Daphne Greengrass a new friend. "I'm almost in here every night studying….if you ever want to study together," Hermione offered hesitantly.
Daphne smiled, her blue eyes sparkling warmly as she was certain she had made the correct decision in extending a hand to Hermione. "I think I would like that, Hermione." The Gryffindor's answer smile was just as bright and welcoming as her own.
Hermione Granger found herself back in the Dungeons and outside the door of the Potions classroom precisely at seven o'clock. Lifting a small hand she knocked upon the door, opening it only after hearing 'Enter' called from within. Stepping inside the room she turned to address the only other person within the room. "I'm here for my detention, Professor," she said bravely.
"Ms. Granger. Right on time," Snape offered with a small sneer. "I am glad to see you at least know how to tell time correctly even if you can't seem to follow instructions and remain silent in class."
"I'm sorry, Professor. It shalln't happen again," she assured him.
The look upon the Potion Master's face clearly indicated that he didn't believe her, however he chose not to pursue the matter. "Tonight you will be assisting in preparing ingredients," he informed her. With awave of his wand directions for the proper preparation of spider legs, snake eyes and rat entrails appeared upon the blackboard. "You'll find everything you need over there," he told her pointing to a table that was off to one side. "I shall return in an hour to inspect your work," he said as he left the room. "I hope I won't find it lacking," he said in a tone that indicated there would be consequences if that were the case.
Hermione approached the table which faced away from the door and couldn't help but shiver in disgust at the piles of dead spiders and rats as well as a pile of dismembered snake heads located there. Behind her she heard the classroom door open and assumed it was the Potions Master come back to insure she had started. She quickly donned an apron that had been set there for her and reached for the first rat with a shaking hand.
"Right, then. So which do you fancy?" asked a voice directly beside her that she recognized yet startled her none the less. The young witched turned and nearly gasped at seeing Harry Potter standing beside her with an apron on. "I think I might be better at the rats than the spiders," he offered with a straight face.
"Harry? What are you doing here?" Hermione asked in ashocked and confused tone of voice.
Harry shrugged slightly, a guilty expression crossing his face."It was my fault that you got detention so I thought I should come as well," he explained. "Besides, can't let you have all the fun," he added with a grin as he reached out and grasped the rat she had been about to take.
"What if Professor Snape comes back?" the young witch asked in a worried tone, turning to regard the classroom door briefly for amoment before turning back to stare at the young wizard beside her.
"Then I'll tell him the same thing I told you just now," Harry said. "What's he going to do, give me detention?" Harry asked causing them both to chuckle slightly.
"He said he would be back in an hour," Hermione offered. She couldn't believe that Harry had come to spend her detention with her. He's only doing this as he felt it was the right thing to do, she kept telling herself. Still, a part of her added his presence here with her belief that he had sent her away for her own protection and arrived at the belief that just maybe Harry could possibly be a friend. If I can just figure out how to get him past his fear of hurting others, she thought, realizing that would be easier said than done.
Harry nodded in understanding as he picked up a knife and sliced open the stiff rat to get to its entrails. Hermione watched in disbelief for amoment before picking up another knife and starting to remove the legs from the dead spiders. They both worked in silence for a while as they concentrated on the task at hand. Harry proved very adept with the rats, his years at cleaning chickens for cooking coming in handy. Hermione proved to be equally skilled with the spider legs once she got past being disgusted by the creatures. Sadly neither of them were proficient at removing the eyes from the snakes without squishing them.
"I best be going," Harry said as he realized that the hour was nearly up. "I wouldn't want Professor Snape to give you an additional detention on account of me," Harry said suddenly worried that very thing might happen if his presence was discovered.
"Thanks, Harry," Hermione softly said, feeling the same warmth within her chest she had felt before when she thought that Harry and her could be friends. The young witch had to fight with herself to keep from reaching out and hugging the wizard next to her. She vividly recalled how Harry had shied away from her touch earlier that morning and didn't want to scare him away. Take it nice and slow, Granger, she mentally schooled herself.
"This doesn't change anything, Granger," Harry told her matter-of-factly as he removed his apron and hung it up. "You need to stay away from me. It's not safe for you to be around me."
Hermione simply nodded without turning around so Harry never saw the slight blush upon her cheeks at his words. He really was trying to protect me!
Harry left the potions room more confused than when he had first entered it. He had gone to the Slytherin commons room after class to work on his homework. Fortunately for him it appeared that Draco and his entourage had gone to eat diner in the great hall which allowed him time to complete everything he needed to.
Once finished the young wizard had made his way to the great hall and grabbed a small bit of food for himself as well. Once again he sat at the end of the table away from everyone else. Glancing about he noticed that the other 'Outsiders'weren't present. Harry figured they had eaten and were probably off doing their homework as he had done. Slipping two apples into his robes, one for breakfast the other for lunch, he quickly glanced about to ensure no one had seen him filch the food. As he had done previously, Harry quickly stood and with his head down made his way from the great hall.
It was as he was making his way back from dinner that his feet seemed to lead him to the potions class. Harry realized that he felt guilty for mentioning Hermione during class which resulted in her receiving detention. It was that inner guilt that brought him to share detention with her even when the Potions Master wasn't present. Though they had hardly spoken to each other he had to admit that he had enjoyed spending the time with her. It wasn't often that he was around someone who didn't want to harm him or who didn't expect something from him. It was an unusual feeling to enjoy time with someone else…the last time was atop a moving train car with Daphne. This new feeling, enjoying another's company was what had the young wizard confused.
Walking down the hallways after departing Hermione, his feet took him past the entrance to the Slytherin common room and to the stairs leading to the first floor. Just as it was his guilt which brought him to the Potions classroom a similar guilt now led him to the third floor of Hogwarts and the doors leading to the Library. What's the worst she can do? he silently asked himself as he took a deep breath and pushed his way through the doors and started walking down the aisle way leading to the front desk.
"YOU!" suddenly screeched a shrill voice. "Get Out!" Madam Pince screamed as she descended upon Harry like a vulture upon its prey as he neared the front desk. "I'll not tolerate the likes of you within my library," she declared as her fingers twitch, wishing to draw her wand and hex the boy before her to within an inch of his life.
Harry had survived countless tirades from his aunt of this nature and had long ago learned that like a storm, sometimes you had to let it blow itself out before you could get a word in edgewise. The young wizard simply stood there with his gaze cast down to the ground and waited for the gale to blow past. Well, he at least hoped it would blow over.
Irma Pince ranted and raved for many long minutes. Harry began to suspect that the woman could even give Aunt Petunia a run for her money."What are you still doing here, Mr. Potter?" Madam Pince asked in ascathing tone after pausing to draw breath once again. "Didn't I tell you to leave this instant?"
"Yes, Ma'am," Harry finally said without looking up at the angry Librarian. "I wanted first to apologize for my actions. It was never my intent to damage any of your books," Harry tendered his apology in a remorseful tone of voice. "I have always loved and respected books. They have often been there to comfort me when I needed it the most," he told her truthfully recalling all the times he had lost himself in a good story after a particularly harsh beating. "If there is anything I can do to make amends for what happened I would of course be more than happy to do so."
The irate woman seemed to calm slightly at his heartfelt words of regret. Cocking her head to one side, much as a bird might do, she eyed him skeptically for several long moments as if weighing not only his words but also himself. "The Headmaster said it was a case of accidental magic," the Librarian said thoughtfully after several long moments. "Perhaps there is something you can do to help."
Over the course of the next hour Harry found himself untransfiguring as many books as he could. Once Madam Pince had showed him how to do it, the process was fairly simple. Harry changed a group of pins back into the books they had been and then placed them on a cart which he then used to wheel them over to the shelves they were to go on. Madam Pince would later return to properly organize them.
Harry was upon a ladder he needed to use to reach the top shelves and had turned to climb down so that he could get the next book when he suddenly found it thrust before him. Glancing past the offered book his eyes meet a pair of soft brown eyes which sat over a warm and friendly smile."Hermione?" Harry said, his brow creasing in confusion.
"You looked like you could use some help, Harry," the young witch said in way of reply as she wiggled the offered book before him once more. Harry took the book and climbed partway back up the ladder in order to put the book on the shelf before turning around and accepting the next one from her. "I finished my detention and decided to come and see if there was anything I could do to help with the books," she added as she continued to feed him books from the cart. "I honestly didn't expect to see you here."
"Thanks," Harry finally said after several more books had made their way to the top shelf. Harry was both surprised and slightly pleased by the appearance of the young witch. He still was greatly concerned about his magic and the possibility that he could hurt Hermione, Daphne or the others yet a part of him that longed for companionship couldn't be fully ignored.
Hermione passed him the next book before replying with, "This doesn't change anything Potter," in a matter-of-fact tone of voice just as he had done down in the Potions classroom. Harry couldn't help but grin, her voice nearly an identical imitation of his own had been, as he slipped the book into place.
Sign up to rate and review this story