Confrontation with Ginny and other 2/3rds of trio and a Prophecy revealed.
Hermione sat at the Gryffindor table in the Great Hall in silent contemplation. This is something that she had found herself doing a lot this year, and now the year was almost over. Tomorrow, she would get onto the Hogwart's Express with the destination of home. She had missed her parents horribly as the year drew closer and closer to an end. She found herself thinking about them as a prelude to drifting off to sleep each night.
Hermione Granger had to face facts. She loved being a witch. It was something that made her uniquely herself. She loved being at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry as it, in part, helped shape, mold and define who she was as both a woman and a witch. She made her very first and best friends at Hogwarts, she reaffirmed to herself. However, Hermione had to rationalized, finally, that she hadn't been much of a very best friend to at least one of the two boys in her life, Harry James Potter.
There really wasn't much that she could do about that at the moment. Harry had told her over and over again that Malfoy was up to something, however, his complaints about the intentions of the Blonde Ferret-resembling Slytherin went unanswered and therefore there was no pursuit by the Trio. Hermione had all but abandoned her friend and for the lowest of reasons, Snape's sixth year potions book. She had spent sixth year rather bitter and cold towards Harry and for all intents and purposes nagged her once very best friend to the point to where he wanted to do anything else and to do it outside of being within her presence.
She had tried to talk to him after the Headmaster's funeral, but all she received were half-muttered acknowledgements of her existence and a complete lack of participation in anything that resembled a cognitive attempt to maintain the conversation and to her disappointment the speech which she had spent all evening rehearsing for just that moment went unused. Finally, after seeing that Harry hadn't paid attention to anything that she had said, she fell back into the familiar behavior of feeling put off, and it angered her.
It angered her even now that she couldn't get a hold of her resentment of him. She couldn't even identify why it was there and what she could do to move past it. It angered her further that Ronald, her boyfriend, had no inclination about this resentment; or if he did, he didn't seem to need nor want to seek her help to get past it. Ronald had been fine with the fact that Harry wasn't around much as it allowed him the opportunity to get to know Hermione more so that he had the previous five years.
Ronald had done nothing more than kiss her, however he had been rather enthusiastic about it and she was pleased with his, if not sloppy, attempts at making it a pleasing experience. Of course they still fought; argued and bickered throughout the year, because that had been the dynamic of there relationship and what had caused her to not only notice him as a person, but realize that if he could be this passionate about his arguments then perhaps the thought of Ronald in more amorous setting might just prove fruitful.
Finally, that was what had won in the end. Ronald in blind self-debate about his feelings for Hermione finally plucked up what little courage that he did have and with his huge wounded Gryffindor pride made that leap of faith and planted one on her, but good. They had been together ever since, and while they still argued constantly it was less aggressive and accompanied by sessions of advanced snogging.
Now, here she was, sitting at the Gryffindor table, pushing around the mashed potatoes that accompanied her Shepherd's Pie, deep in thought. She found, now that she was dating Ronald formally, that this would be her quiet time. If she didn't ask questions while at the dinner table, Ronald didn't mind as his favorite pastime, his truest passion in what made his life his and nobody else's, was sitting at the table, eating.
It was at this point that she noticed that Marietta Edgecombe got up from the Ravenclaw table, gave her a glare that would normally left her unaffected, but in retrospect, she did feel that the reason for the animosity was her punishment for revealing the existence of the DA to Professor Umbridge.
She allowed her eyes to follow the Ravenclaw as she walked towards the massive doors that provided entry to the Great Hall. That's when she saw them, Harry and Luna in a passionate embrace. She couldn't believe her eyes and hoped that no one else would see them, but as they broke slowly apart, she couldn't quite come to terms with the look that was in Harry's eyes as he gazed lovingly into the eyes of Luna Lovegood.
At first it was the shock of the whole situation. Of course, she remembered that Harry had taken Luna to Professor Slughorn's party. That combined with the admission from Ginny that she had used the Amortentia potion because she could see that Harry would have easily ended up with Luna. He had never been mean towards Luna. The word Loony, to describe her never came out of his mouth and Hermione was of the firm contention that Harry never even thought the word when talking about his friend. She was that, his friend and Harry James Potter was almost completely Hufflepuff when it came to his friends.
That had been Hermione's brief refuge. She didn't understand what the big deal was, but then she saw it. His eyes, his smile radiated in them to such an extent that it was undeniable. Harry James Potter, her very best friend had never in the time that she knew him been this deliriously happy. Not even flying compared to the look he had in his eyes at the moment he pulled back from that kiss he had shared at the entry-way to the Great Hall.
Hermione Granger felt a pang of jealous, but not for Luna or for Harry, but at having a love like that in her life. It was instantly clear and obvious by the look in both of their eyes that they were in love with one another. She had Ron, of course, but to look at Harry as he looks at Luna she could see the peace, the happiness and the utter bliss in his eyes. She didn't have that with Ronald Weasley, and so at that moment she began to question him.
Hermione knew what love was and is. She had lived with her parents for eleven years and eleven months and twelve days in their daily presence and the one thing that you had to know about her parents was that they were deeply, hopelessly heads over heels in love with one another and to Hermione's shock and horror had been completely and utterly depressed when she learned; not only how to cast a silencing spell but the fact that underage witches were not permitted to perform magic away from school until they reached the age of seventeen.
She was brought out of her musing by a shriek, and when she looked up towards the direction from where said shriek came, she saw Ginevra Molly Weasley staring where Hermione's own had just vacated. She saw the look of horror, and sadness that quickly turned towards that of bitter revenge. She quickly brushed off her robes, stood up, and quickly took her wand in her hand.
"Bloody hell!" Ron said loudly but as Hermione checked him, his eyes were looking wearily at his own sister. The look of confusion muddled in his crisp blue eyes until he saw, the couple in the entry-way split apart. He watched as Harry Potter and Luna Lovegood walked with idiot-love looks on their faces with slight enflamed lips from their obvious snogging. He started to get up, but felt Hermione's hand embrace his should, beckoning him not to move.
"Stupefy!" The short anger-enraged redhead shouted and Hermione watched in horror as the beam made straight for Luna. Luckily, however, Harry saw the redhead from the corner of his eyes, lunged for Luna and pulled her out of the way, but unfortunately the moment caused the two to crash to the floor.
"HARRY JAMES POTTER WHAT THE BLOODY HELL DO YOU THINK THAT YOU'RE DOING WITH THAT... THAT SCARLET WOMAN!!!" Ginny ranted.
It was at this point that Harry realized that he had landed rather unceremoniously atop his new girlfriend, and while she was warm and squishy up underneath him, when he looked into her eyes he found a fire burning brightly behind her eyes. So much anger in one person that was just waiting, wanting, to be released was inside the very girl he loved. Quickly, he grabbed her chin, and forced her to look up into his eyes. When she did this, the anger slowly ebbed away until she was calm and rational again.
"I'm not scarlet, I'm a blonde." Luna said monotonely, before looking at the shorter angry redhead. A smirk formed on her lips before she finished her response. "Scarlet is a tone of red, which, and should all present cast a vote, due to your actions and usage of Amortentia; a love potion, Miss Weasley, you would qualify and quantify that title much more easily than I."
"Listen..." Ginny started, but was immediately cut off by Luna.
"I think that we've done enough listening to you, if you don't mind. I think that it's you who should do some listening. You, Ronald, and yes Hermione as well needs to do some listening. Listen to other people. Listen to them and then ask questions. Talk to them," She said looking directly towards Hermione this time, "Not down to them. It's much easier that way to get to know someone, you know. How do you quantify a fifteen month old baby into the Hero of the Wizarding world? What does any fifteen month old know about magic anyhow? He doesn't, and didn't yet you, Ginevra have idolized him from a very... very young age. We all know that the Potters were well thought of in the community and well respected as well. Harry is a person, but you were so enamored with your thoughts of a white knight that the person himself be damned. He could have been a poof." She said and everyone in the hall gasped at the thought of this. "I assure you he is not that, but any case you just don't listen. You didn't try to listen. You never listen, and had you had plucked up what you know of Gryffindor courage you may have actually gotten to know Harry, and put your whole Boy-who-lived to rest. Harry is a good and kind boy, whom I will tell you now is the ONLY one whom I know of who hasn't referred to me as LOONY..." She paused her head lurched upward and her voice became that of the ether. "THE ONE WHO WAS CHOSEN SHALL HAVE TO CHOOSE HIS ALLIES... THE BATTLE FOR A MEANS TO AN END DRAWS NEAR...THE DARKNESS LIES IN FIVE PARTS RIPPED FROM THE LORD. THESE PIECES MUST BE GATHERED AND COLLECTED INTACT... THESE PIECES DEVOURED BEFORE THE DARKNESS CONSUMES US ALL... THE ONE WHO WAS CHOSEN SHALL HAVE TO CHOOSE HIS ALLIES..." Luna finished before collapsing to the ground, falling into Harry's arms. He looked down as his now unconscious girlfriend. His eyes were glistening with tears which unfortunately for his so called friends they mistook for heart break and sorrow.
"Harry..." Hermione started but when she caught his eyes she stopped dead to right. She found that she just couldn't muster a single solitary word as the words would be meaningless.
"Listen mate..." Ron too had attempted and failed as his Avada-colored eyes locked with him as well. He felt the judgment there and felt that the sentence pronounced wasn't in his favor.
"The chosen one will have to choose. Did you hear her?" He asked at almost a whisper.
"Yes, I did." Ginny said quickly, the bitterness still present in her voice.
"Well, I bloody well didn't choose you so leave me alone. If I never ever have to have words with you again and I live to be two hundred years old I would color myself a happy person. If your mother or your father has condoned your behavior in what you attempted to do to me this year then the same goes for them, as well." He said with a finality in his voice that meant he didn't want a response.
"HARRY JAMES POTTER HOW DARE YOU!" Hermione just managed to blurt out with a complete speech already prepared.
"Listen, Hermione, I have been your friend for six years. I've usually listened to whatever it was that you wanted or intended to say but now is really not the time."
"Now is the perfect time, now that you seem to be cutting off your friends..."
"She wasn't my friend. Friends don't poison one another with potions to make them act ways which they normally wouldn't, now, do they Hermione."
"No, there's no continuation here. You need to make a choice, yourself. You stand with a boyfriend and his family. Hell, they may even be your family some day if things go well for you. They are not my family. You see, Tom Riddle went through with some real effort in killing off my family and I'm it, the last of the line of Potter. You have been my very best friend for six years Hermione and you need to decide if it's salvageable. After this year, I honestly don't know if it is." He finished as he felt Luna began to stir. He looked down at the girl he held and smiled softly at her.
"Um, what happened?" She managed to say rather meekly.
"You gave a prophecy." He said, "are you feeling ok, luv?"
Smiling at the nickname, she only nodded and allowed him to help her up. They sat down at the Ravenclaw table, which annoyed Cho Chang so much that she stood up, and ran from the hall, still very upset after his actions the previous year. They ate rather quickly without so much as a word from anyone else at the table. Every now and then Harry would look over at some of the other tables. He received smiles from Susan Bones and Hannah Abbott.
An utterly brilliant thought came to his mind, especially with the display that both Luna and he had put on. After moments of mulling it over in his mind, weighing the pros of having his own organization much like the Order of the Phoenix or the Death Eaters, minus the murder, rape and pillaging, he leaned into Luna.
"It's a brilliant idea Harry, but I think at this point in time it might be best for us to train first. I am of the firm belief that the DA will back you in whatever you do, as long as we can back it up." She said firmly. Harry looked at her for a moment and at that very moment, missed her airy way that she normally looked at the world; and at that, he frowned.
"What's wrong my love."
"Luna, I'm sorry, I understand that you haven't shown me nearly all of what you are but at the same time I'm feeling a little conflicted. I like you for you, and I hope that you understand that, but right now you're showing me sides of you that I didn't know existed. So often you've really seemed carefree..."
"Harry, I am, but as of late there are things that are happening to you that are absolutely breaking my heart. You're a sweet boy." She broke off tears breaking the rims of her eyes and she dropped her gaze of him. She couldn't do it. It was hurting her too much to even look at him. "I'm sorry. You have to understand that I've kept myself away from a lot of people and well..." She choked up for a moment. "Ronald has always been the worst Harry. He didn't have to try. He just did it naturally without effort and without thinking. When I came here, I was so scared. This is where my mum came and because what she was. Don't get me wrong, Harry, I loved and do love my mum, but she was experimenting with things..." She looked taken aback for a moment realizing that she might have said too much. She might have given away too much about that but then realized that she hadn't said anything at all. Her mum's secret was safe. No harm would come. She looked up at him now. His eyes were brimming themselves with unshed tears. She could see that her pain was something that he could not touch and with the knowledge of it was breaking him now. This wasn't supposed to happen. 'Why? Why did he care so much about such an insignificant girl.' She wondered to herself.
She was shocked when his hands came up and cupped her face. He realized his thumbs to gently caress her checks and at the same time took the opportunity to gently wipe away the tears from them. They were children, with a budding romance that was already months delayed due to the efforts of one Ginevra Molly Weasley, and while neither Harry nor Luna had even the care to do anything about it they realized that there was something between them that didn't register with the others. He really, truly and honestly cared about her.
Harry wanted nothing more than to go away and being with Luna no matter where her father and her went. He wanted desperately to be out of Hogwarts and out of Number four on the move with the excitement of the Snorkack hunt. It would be amazing to find something that the wizarding world didn't know and didn't believe existed before.
He translated that to her with the caresses. He wanted her to know that he believed in her and anything that she wanted to do was more fun than anything that he had ever done in his short life. It was true, of course, and that was because outside of Hogwarts he had done nothing whatsoever but what his relatives had command to be done. He was a broken spirit and she was a free one that he so wanted to be with that it hurt with the knowledge that he would have to return. He would have to be there, again, in the smallest bedroom. He would have to deal with the cast off clothing and would have to deal with the fact that the only family that he had ever known didn't give a rat's ass about boy.
He thought about it now and knew that at home that was his name. Harry didn't exist at Number Four. Harry never existed. It was always, constantly and eternally boy or freak. Harry realized with utter humility that he really hadn't known his own name until his first teacher had told him. She had read the note that his teacher had found attached to his shirt.
Harry James Potter. Who was that? He looked around the room with eager anticipation on find out who this boy was, but when he looked he found every eye on him. He cocked his head to the side as if silently looking for confirmation, and when the teacher looked at him rather oddly he just accepted Harry in the place of Boy/Freak.
That had been the very first time that he questioned everything. He question why his aunt had back-handed him when he accidentally had called her mum instead of Aunt Petunia. She was full of rage and anger when she had done that, but Harry had rationalized that she wasn't really looking at him. The few and far between times that Aunt Petunia had taken the time to discipline him was when he had slipped up, otherwise it had been uncle Vernon, whom had taken to dishing out his punishment with such overzealous joy.
Harry felt his head hit the table in resignation. He didn't have it in him to do anything than what had been expected of him. It was how he was raised, to serve them. They would tolerate nothing less than for Harry to be completely subservient to their every need. They had looked forward to it with an evil glint in each of their eyes as to what to do with the boy.
He would be made to work, now, even more so than in the past, Harry had rationalized. There would be no escape, and in the thought of that he came to understand that in some way this was his Aunt Petunia's doing more so than anyone else.
He had recognized it early one when he had a bout of wandless magic that she had wanted to be like him so much. He may have even had the ability to gleam it off of her surface memories that she had been so jealous of her sister later in life, but when the year after Lily had left for school came and went without Petunia receiving the same letter as her sister is when Petunia became bitter. She had grown jealous to the point of fanaticism.
Petunia hadn't hated her sister at the conclusion of her first year, but had been full of questions. There was such eagerness in her that it was almost palpable. Lily saw this, of course, and had missed her best friend in her little sister so much so that she hadn't spared a single detail.
When that letter never materialized, however, the eagerness melted away to nothingness over time. They had still been close at first, however, that slowly; over time, melted away into a burning hostility that was never resolved. Harry didn't know any of this until he felt the hostility manifest itself.
"You, Harry, are my love, until you decide to do something that would change that back into what it had been before. Stop beating yourself up over this, and that. It will only lead towards more questions that you cannot and would not want answered. She's been horrible to you..." She was immediately cut off.
"How can you..." and then in like she cut him off as well.
"Harry, I know I have Seer blood in me, otherwise I couldn't see what I do. I will teach you all that I can, but in the interim..."
"I'll have to be patient." He said with an utter finality that she had to question, but when looking into his eyes found a resolve there that she hadn't seen before. Harry was an enigma, even to her. He was a nice and sweet boy whom, on a whim, had asked her on a date that, today, she had berated him upon because that date didn't have it's natural conclusion, which for her, even involved being walked to the entry-way which would have eventually led to her common room.
She wanted him more than anything because with having him led to a normalcy that she had never known before. Not that she didn't know existed, because she did; she was a Ravenclaw after all, but that she had never been led there. She had never been put into the position where a boy had actually liked her.
He had been different, she had eventually come to the conclusion. She had expected the resentment because he had befriended Ronald, after all. What she didn't expect was that Ronald, as much as he had proved to be in the past, wasn't the leader of their crew. He had, in fact, been a very subservient follower of Harry James Potter, and that led her to her assumption that with being with Ron, at least his influence of Harry would be enough so that she would have to keep up the false pretenses. That had been a missed assumption on her part entirely.
They sat at the Ravenclaw table, now, in complete and utter silence. They looked at one another when the food had been taken away. In fact, the two of them had clearly expected either Ron or Hermione to make another appearance, and with that another plead to come to reason. Fortunately that never came because, both, Harry and Luna were clearly already there. There was no reason for doing anything different. Their paths had already been set, and for the first time for their own actions.
Luna looked towards him now with a waiting that would be forever, but when she looked into his eyes; she knew, that her answer was only moments away. He had a resolve there again; but with that, a question that had burned within him that he almost had failed to ask it until he looked into her eyes as well.
It was a crux time, for Harry. He had periodically looked over his shoulder, towards his friends. When he had taken such liberties with the opportunities when they came, they proved fruitful. Hermione always appeared to be deep in thought. However, Ron had always appeared to be hungry. 'Typical Ron,' Harry mused as he watched Ron acquire another left over, not attended to properly, meal that someone had not paid particular attention to due to the show that they had received free of charge due to the show.
That is when Harry decided to pluck up the courage and ask Luna the question that had really been plaguing him. He knew that he had to ask the question. He had to know the answer, because being without her led towards too many complications that he just was not ready to deal with.
He couldn't fathom her spending another night within the structure known as the Ravenclaw domain. He knew that Cho, amongst others, would be waiting; almost salivating with the anticipation of events to come of her return to her own common room.
Harry was just thankful that he had the knowledge that Cho was a seventh year this year. She would not be returning back to Hogwarts next year as this was her final year. But he knew that with the waiting to ask the question that Luna might say no. She might, he rationalized, not want to be with him as much as he wanted so desperately to be with her, and with that knowledge; or so he thought, came trepidation.
"Can you..." He tried but failed miserably. He wanted her to be with him so desperately that he could hardly think of anything which would seem rational and that is what broke him.
"Harry, dear?" She said, almost begging him to pay attention to her, as if he wasn't already.
"Yes?" His question of her begged off what he was going to ask her in utter relief because he felt that he was more than happy to relent to the fates once more.
Unfortunately for Harry, a couple of things happened at that moment, while good, were nothing more than just an interruption that even Luna didn't fore-see.
"Harry, might I have a word?" The honest question came from one person that he, neither expected, nor ever thought would use his first name, Blaise Zabini. The boy was the same that he remembered from Slughorn's party. He was tall, at least the same size as Ron; in fact, however, his darker olive skin combined with the same hazel olive eyes were somewhat of a distraction. He knew Blaise for the man he was, quiet, and that was just, now shattered.
"Zabini." Harry said with utter trepidation, knowing that this conversation could go very wrong or to the less likely of what was suspected, right.
"Harry, I know that we are not friends and have never pretended to be. In fact, the only social interaction that we have had together was at Slughorn's party." He said which alluded towards a continuation of a conversation which was long overdue. "However choices be that as they may..." He began to choke up for a moment being here he might as well be completely naked. "I've never followed Draco or his lot. They're a bit of an embarrassment in the house of Slytherin. Look, I do have an idea of what you are facing and it's not going to be pretty, however, Draco isn't here anymore..." He started but was cut off abruptly by Luna.
"Had he not been there at all I'm sure that you would probably not understand that instead of red and gold that my boyfriend would have been wearing silver and green?" She asked without need of an answer.
"What the bloody hell?" Blaise asked in an almost demanding tone.
"The first person I ever met who was magical was Hagrid, and while he was completely nice made it known to me that any wizard whom had good bad came from Slytherin. Ron reinforced that, as did Malfoy by calling himself superior."
"Malfoy's a git, and to be honest with you I have a feeling that with his father's influence he just managed to get into Hogwarts at all. He's no real talent for anything except potions and that is because he spent every waking moment with Professor Snape. You did know that Severus Snape was Draco Malfoy's godfather did you not." Blaise questioned.
"No, I did not, but thank for you for diatribe, and while I do not mean to be rude I'm afraid that the hour has turned late and we will all be expected to return to our proper Common Rooms." Harry said, almost dismissing Blaise Zambini.
"I'm with you. I thought that you should know. While you probably would not trust Slytherin's given your track record with us..."
"Harry is a Slytherin." Luna all but blurted out.
"WHAT!" All of the remainders were Slytherin and were demanding a full explanation.
"I didn't choose to be Gryffindor for any other reason outside of what Ron and Hagrid had introduced me. I know that..."
"Nobody chooses, it's done for us."
"Blaise, you do realize that if the sorting takes longer than expected that it's very well; rumored at least, that the hat asks you where you would like to go." Luna asked almost bored.
"And where were you supposed to land should you not have interfered?" Blaise asked already knowing the answer?
'Well, we would have been house-mates, I suppose." Harry asked almost recognizing the look of shock that melted away into anger that wasn't directed towards him.
"Mr. Potter, a word please." Harry looked up to the visage of his own head of house. Looking down now, he found his on right hand outstretched beckoning that of the other, whom made him whole. Feeling her fingers outstretched they quickly interlaced, and he looked up. There was a time when the Transfiguration professor had intimidated him, and unfortunately this wasn't one of those time. Taking a deep breath, he looked at Luna, really, and saw the resolve there that was more than enough to make him not worry.
"Lead the way." Harry said plainly.