Categories > Books > Harry Potter > Cage and Key

Entity and Detention

by faromir 0 reviews

chapt 9

Category: Harry Potter - Rating: G - Genres: Drama,Romance - Characters: Harry,Hermione,Ron - Warnings: [!!] - Published: 2015-05-11 - 5995 words

Disclaimer: The Harry Potter Universe and all the characters belong to J.K. Rowling.
Harry stood in the unused classroom again, he had gone to train again after separating from Ron and Hermione in the hallway, intending to make his Bone-Breaking Curse perfect.
It had, however, been much more than perfect; the same spell and effort that previously broke of chunks from the pillar now promptly broke it in two.
The first time he had been surprised and passed it off, suspecting the pillar to have been improperly repaired, he mended it again, inspecting it for any cracks and imperfections beforehand.
He had cast the spell again receiving the same result, making his excitement rise significantly.
He started casting the spell again and again, feeling as though he was dreaming with the surreal progress he had made, the pillar that previously would have remained standing now raptured throughout its entire width, breaking before the strength he was exerting.
Harry felt enjoyment as he began to fill his session with destroying pillars, one after the other, thrilled by his sudden empowerment, he didn't bother to find out why it had happened, too distracted by his own display of success. It must have been out of his hard efforts. His dedication and continued exhaustion of magical reserves had enhanced his core!
The increase in strength felt fantastic, nearly double the power of what he was used to surged through his arm, and out of his wand, reproducing the same result without failure. He would surely become strong enough if he continued like this, becoming strong enough to keep everyone from harm!
However he had noticed one small thing that actually did feel differently in a negative way: less comfortable, less friendly and less cooperative; his Holly wand. He hadn't noticed during the start of the training, but he began to as the evening went on.
It wasn't anything considerable or influencing. More like a shoe that suddenly didn't fit as well as it used to. It puzzled him as he looked inquisitively at his wand, looking for any damage or change to it.
He tried again after finding none. The pillar broke in two from the force and his wand tugged in the same way as moments before; slightly uncomfortable. He looked at it again, puzzled as to why it felt this way all of a sudden.
He pushed the thoughts away, it wasn't anything major, it still felt plenty warm and friendly. He dispelled his Silencing Charm and started packing his parchments back into his bag again.
It's probably become late again, I should start heading back to the common room; good thing I brought my cloak this time.
Harry swung his cloak over himself and opened the door of his classroom, the empty hallway greeting him, the cloudy night sky shrouding the moon and corridor in darkness, the only light source being the few candles again on the walls.
He thought that he saw a door move some way in the distance, but it must have been a trick of the shadows from the flickering candles, making shadows dance.
He made his way to the Gryffindor tower, coming across a patrolling McGonagall, easily passing her unnoticed under his invisibility cloak.
Harry stuffed his cloak back into his bag again a short distance before the portrait of the Fat Lady, ignoring her complaints about being late again and entering the hole into the common room, it hadn't been overly late, plenty of students still talked and lounged casually in the room.
He wondered how Luna was doing as he walked forward through the other students. He had hardly seen her since the train ride. Did people still pick on her? They better not be, otherwise he'll make sure to convince said people of their wrongdoings.
Harry neared the corner where he, Ron and Hermione sat most of the times.
Neville was playing Exploding Snap with Seamus, both of them enjoying their game as they talked and laughed. Glancing at another corner he saw Dean and Ginny engaged in what seemed to be a light conversation as they sat close to each other holding hands, were they a thing? Since when?
He was proven right as he saw Hermione and Ron seated at the table, another empty chair positioned with them. One that they kept open for him as they awaited his return.
They were seated next to each other, not overly so like Ginny and Dean had been, but closer than normally. Hermione was busying herself by helping Ron with his homework, explaining things in detail and careful instructions, Ron actually seemed to try and listen to her, as his face was set in confusion rather than his usual behavior of ignorance.
The changes in his environment felt strange, the time he had missed from training and researching had alienated him a bit from the daily happenings and changes of his house, making him feel like he was standing in his own separate common room.
They looked up and smiled as he seated himself with them, Ron asking him if he wanted to play some chess later on and Hermione offering her help to finish his homework more quickly.
Harry felt himself smile as he answered each of them, already feeling more at ease.
For tonight he would skip his research and allow himself to be selfish by spending more time with his friends, tomorrow he'll redouble his efforts in return. He couldn't have both; sacrifices had to be made. He was just making sure that this time around; it would be him doing the paying.
It was the best, and least he could do for everyone.
Absolute silence surrounded him as he found himself standing in an endlessly stretching whiteness, no orientation point except for a black cage in the distance, a humanoid shape inside of it. not giving him any indication that he had seen Harry in the vast nothingness around them.
It took him some time but he started to remember the last time he had been here; at the beginning of his year. The dream had been short and vague, quickly forgotten as Harry dived in his whirlwind of activities and events.
A few seconds passed as he mulled things over before he started moving towards the cage in the distance.
The walk only took a few minutes but felt like an eternity. There was no horizon, no left from right no up from down, the small journey only served to be disorientating as he didn't see any ground to step on. The cage in the distance being his only point of direction as he continued, which slowly grew in size as he closed in on it with each step.
He stopped; the cage standing an arm's length away from him, being quick to note that the entity had changed in appearance from the last time he had seen it.
Its build and length no longer was that of an eleven year old, like it had been last time, it was taller and a bit broader; looking to be thirteen years old. Its facial features seemed to have become more defined; showing eye and nose sockets with a few lines that defined his jaw and cheeks in the structure of a young male.
The other and most defining aspect was the same as his skin was pitch black with embers and smoke trailing from its smoldering body.
"Had a good evening Harry?"
Harry's attention quickly shifted to its face in surprise. It hadn't been able to talk last time. The voice was a mixture of someone his age coupled with a hollow undertone, making it sound dark and friendly at the same time.
It had also given a very human greeting, even sounding casual, as if he wasn't speaking to Harry from his imprisoned position.
"…Yes..I did." He answered slowly, apprehensive of the whole situation.
"That's good Harry, enjoyment is something we need besides our hard work." It responded airily.
Silence descended on them as nothing else was said.
Harry's mind was more confused than McLaggen had been from Hermione's Confundo. This dream was just too weird to be real, what is this place? Who or what was this thing before him? Was it even possible to have a dream like this two times?
"I see your internal confusion Harry, and can assure you that this is no dream, illusion or hallucination." The entity said, after reading his evident confusion.
"Then what is this?" Harry asked, beginning his first question.
"This, Harry. Is reality. A space you yourself created for our meeting." It said, explaining little.
"Who or what are you?" Harry asked, repeating his question from the first time they met.
"I am you, your guide and salvation. But above that; I am a part of yourself you have not accepted yet."
"Is that why you are in a cage? Because I haven't accepted you?" He asked, inspecting the cage with his eyes from where he stood.
The bars were thick and black, each shaft, corner, spike and flat surface of the cage was decorated with inscriptions and little drawings, which would have made just about anything beautiful had it not been used for a jail.
"Yes, Harry."
"And now you want me to release you, just like you wanted me to last time? Use the key and open the cage?" Harry questioned, gesturing to the cabinet which held the intricate key a few meters away from them.
"I admit that I may have acted a bit impatiently last time we met. It would be the quickest way of releasing me, yes." It admitted in a simple demeanor.
"There are others then?" Harry questioned after hearing him mention it would be the quickest way, indicating multiple approaches.
"There are, one is to release me physically by using the lock and key. The other is emotionally, by accepting my help and recognizing my existence as a part of you." It said, his smoldering body and expressionless face giving away little signs as to what his goals and intentions were.
"Well forget the key, you are staying in the cage, you look a bit too suspicious for my liking." Harry said flatly.
"Emotionally it is then Harry." Was the simple response, no doubt in the creeping voice, merely stating a fact, reminding Harry why his presence felt uncomfortable. It felt as if he was talking to an adult in a child's body, it didn't match.
"You seem pretty confident in yourself." Harry said, thinking out loud.
"Because I know that you will seek me out, I can help you." It stated again, no smug or haughtiness in his voice and demeanor.
"Help me with what?" Harry questioned, already having a faint idea.
"Don't act ignorant harry, I am you; I know what you've been through, I know what you fear and what you desire; You fear for your friends, you fear loss and you fear guilt. You desire strength, you desire answers, and you desire love."
"I can help you with those, for with time I will show, and prove that everything I do; is for you." It finished explained, Harry having grown more uncomfortable after each word struck a nerve inside him, being spot on and confirming things he himself hadn't realized about himself yet.
"What could you possibly do for me then? Your just something in my mind." He asked, quickly recovering and focusing back on him.
"Am I? Well its fine if you want to define me as such, as long as you accept it. It's the same as I said before Harry; I will be your guide and salvation. A guide to lead you through important choices and salvation to offer you the means of passing them." It said, taking a step forward in his cage.
"Doing so would mean I accept help from you, besides, I have no need of you." He said, unconvinced of his words.
"So be it Harry, just remember that I will be here should you require answers and support that nobody else can give you. Difficult times lay ahead, you'll see that I'll be on your side when nobody else is, I'll build you new bridges when all others have burned down, and I'll tell you the truth when everyone else lies to you." It said, speaking in the same confidence again.
"I can do things on my own. I'll find my own means and answers. I don't need the help of something as suspicious as you." Harry said, hoping to make it clear.
"You refer to your successes in training, you feel confident through your recent breakthroughs." The entity spoke, giving the reasons Harry felt confidence from.
"Yeah I do, I can improve on my own." Harry spoke boldly.
"Improvement is possible on your own Harry, but surely you won't pass of your recent achievements as simple effort, such leaps are not possible by any normal means." It spoke again, slightly sarcastic.
Harry halted for a moment, forced to see the unnatural leap in strength he had attained. "..You mean to tell me that you were involved then? Did you cause those illusions during my training and in the hallway? Are you a source of power?" He fired off when the thoughts ran through his mind.
"I merely provided you with the incentive you needed, a little push in the right direction. It proved to be affective as It worked like a charm. You were able to cast the spell because of my help, Harry. Soon after were we also able to take the magical potency of a Dark artifact for ourselves in the hallway." He spoke in a neutral tone.
The confession of being the cause of his illusions during his training did little to ease Harry's suspicion. But he continued, wanting to know more.
"What Dark artifact? How were you..I..or we, able to absorb it?" he asked, confused as to who was responsible.
"We, Harry, we were able to. And telling you would reveal crucial information. I cannot tell you without helping you at the same time. I believe this to be against your wishes." He spoke, clasping his hands behind his back in a patient pose.
Harry tensed a bit, the entity was making him curious on purpose for he was sorely tempted to ask, but he refrained from doing so, convincing himself that he didn't need to know.
"You could just be something from my imagination after all; you haven't revealed any information that was completely out of my own knowledge yet." Harry lightly taunted, hoping him to reveal things by himself.
"I take no insult to such words, I will prove myself to you with the right time and opportunity. I have everything you seek, Harry, all you have to do…is ask."
The scene soon distorted and vanished completely as he awoke with a gasp, the ceiling of the dorms having replaced the white abyss.
He wasn't sweaty, he didn't have a headache and his heart didn't hammer in his chest; there was no indication that it had been a bad or straining experience whatsoever. It was as if he had awoken from a completely normal dream, but he knew better than that.
For Harry Potter did not have ordinary dreams.
Harry walked in a slow pace, reluctant and dreary, for he was on his way to Horace Slughorn's office to serve his detention which had originally been with Snape. He idly wondered if detention with Snape would have been better, at least it would have ended after tonight. Slughorn was surely going to question every day on his agenda and fish for appointments.
The dream with the entity hadn't returned for the rest of the week, his fitful nightmares being the only thing that bothered him at night again. He had the feeling that it now was a choice he could make; the choice of either having his usual nightmares or to return to the entity in the abyss.
For now he rather kept away from it, and choose his nightmares.
His research had come to a standstill again, the information that Dumbledore had given seemed to make sense with what he had found beforehand and thought, but the questions that had been left open during their lesson were still unanswered.
He had gone to the Room of Requirements during the day after a moment of inspiration. Having paced three times in front of the room thinking about how he wanted to find information on soul anchoring and Dark spells to learn.
The door had appeared and a small room with a single bookcase stood inside it, for a moment he had cursed at himself, mocking his own stupidity for not having thought of it earlier.
But he was disappointed after looking at the titles of the books; a lot of them were the same ones that already stood in the Restricted Section. Others were vague, dodging and censored, the same was to be said for the Books of Dark spells. The room had merely answered in the best way it could have.
Still, he had found a few of what looked to be older and useful books, and took them with him. it was those last few books that he was currently using for his research and practice.
Practice went on as usual, having planned the week with the use of Charms and older spells, so that he could adjust to his new strength. For the coming time he would try and master a sister variation of the Bone-Breaking Curse namely; Splinter-Bone, spoken as 'Os Festucam', which was one of the few available spells he had found in the books from the Room of Requirements.
He would soon have to either search for new means of getting Dark spells or start working on other areas like Transfiguration and Charms, which served their own good in battle and might also serve him good.
He stopped in front of an expensive looking door with a gleaming nameplate which had 'Horace Slughorn's office' written on it.
He took a deep breath and sighed before knocking three times, having to wait for only a single second as he heard Slughorn call out to him.
"Just a moment m'boy!"
The door swung open and the jovial Professor stood in front of him , smiling broadly as he twirled his moustache. "Please come in Harry, have a seat, we have much to discuss!"
Harry entered the office of the new potions Professor for the first time and took a look around; it showed little allegiance to any house, being coloured in red and brown colours for the majority on its walls and furniture. The walls were decorated with books, posters, gifts, portraits, rare items and autographs from famous witches and wizards, some of which he recognized.
At the back of the office stood his desk, papers neatly stacked upon each other, multiple gadgets decorating it as he saw a spinning clock with five pointers and what looked to be like a miniature solar system, its looping glowing balls representing the planets.
To the left was a fireplace with a few comfortable looking couches and armchairs positioned in front of it. seated in one of them was Greengrass, looking shocked to see him enter the office as the glass that she held delicately in her hand seemed to be frozen to her lips as she probably had just been about to tip it.
"You still going to drink that?" He asked after another moment of seeing her stare at him.
"I-uh-yes." She said, scrambling a bit for words before chugging the glass down, elegance forgotten.
"Now as each of you know, you are here because you are to serve detention, however what students do during said detention is not defined by the school regulations. The teacher may freely choose as to how the time will be spend in those detentions." Slughorn started, feeling the need to justify his actions before continuing as he clasped Harry by the shoulder again.
"Now, Harry, make yourself comfortable and have a seat!" He said guiding Harry towards the armchair Greengrass was sitting him and pushed him down beside her.
Harry had to note here that said chair was spacious for one person but a bit of a tight fit for two people as he immediately felt Greengrass's soft and warm body next to his. His heartrate increased of the sudden physical contact with his partner and he tried to not think too much of it.
He and Greengrass had plenty of close ups during their weeks-months of partnership, especially during potions where the tables were small and everything was positioned close to each other. However those moments were short, unintentional and during other activities such as brewing a potion and fighting ferocious plants. This was anything but those cases and served to it feel very different.
He tried to give her more space by leaning away in a modest and polite way. Which didn't help much in the end as the cushion simply sank both of them in the same direction as she herself made no move to lean towards her own end.
He looked longingly at the couch next to him, only to have his hopes crushed as the Professor seated himself in it, taking such a posture that he covered two seats, which didn't even look all that comfortable to hold.
"Care for a drink Harry? firewhisky, butterbeer, wine?" Slughorn asked, gesturing to the drinks on the table nearby, either mightily oblivious to his state of discomfort or choosing to completely ignore it.
"No thank you professor." He said resolutely keeping his head turned away to avoid making eye contact with his partner as he could practically feel her eyes pry into his back.
"Now, for tonight we will be discussing multiple important things which apply for all of us, but first of all; we will rid ourselves of unnecessary formalities, you may call me Slughorn or Horace. I hope that you will do the same for each other, surely such a thing means little now; you have been close partners for weeks- nearly months now." The potions Professor said, smiling encouragingly.
"Yes..Slughorn." Harry brought out a bit difficult, knowing that it would be another small step towards a lasting connection.
"Of course, Horace." Greengrass said, finding it less difficult to apply the change, already having seen and spoken with Slughorn for extended periods of time during their Club.
"Forgive me for already having dropped such formalities with the both of you beforehand, it happened quite easily and unknowingly after some time you see." Slughorn said as he poured himself a drink.
"No insult was taken, Horace. It can be easily forgotten after our Club meetings and lessons." Greengrass spoke out beside him in a understanding way.
"Indeed it is, and thank you." Slughon replied, taking a sip before suddenly thrusting his finger up as a thought seemingly shot through him, his drink spilling a bit. "Speaking of the Club!"
Harry did his best to restrain himself from groaning out loud, why did you have to say those words, Greengrass? He glanced at her for the first time since he had been seated and saw her smiling innocently at him.
She did that on purpose!
He looked back to see Slughorn lean forward, his belly being squeezed by his legs. "Slug Club, Harry! This is the perfect moment to plan some dates in on which you will be able to come, Daphne will undoubtedly enjoy your company, I can see how well you two can get along!" Slughorn said, smiling.
"Yes, absolutely." He said stiffly, casting the most accusing look at her he could possibly muster, maybe poking her a bit strongly as he rearranged his elbow.
She jerked from the contact to her side, but quickly recovered and acted like nothing had happened, looking smug all the time.
"Let's see, about 2 weeks from now on a Tuesday evening?" Slughorn asked.
"I will likely be busy on my homework from DADA during those days." Harry excused.
"I see, a busy man you are indeed. Wednesday then, Harry?" Slughorn continued.
"Charms lessons and homework that will need to be finished for Transfiguration." Harry excused again.
"How dreadful, Harry, Thursday then?" Slughorn continued undeterred.
"Busy with-" He began only to be cut off by Greengrass.
"-Nothing! He'll be busy with doing nothing at all, he'll be happy to come. The date can be set for the other members, Horace." Greengrass filled in for him, saying all the wrong things.
He silently began jabbing at her again with his elbow, her own arm expertly blocking his strikes.
"Wonderful, I guess that it is only logical for you to know your partners agenda so well!" Slughorn exclaimed, happy about their set date.
"There will be two more Clubs after that, four and six weeks from now on, will Thursdays suffice again?" Slughorn asked excitedly.
"Consider it set in stone, Horace. The same can be said for the Christmas party." Greengrass replied before Harry could open his mouth.
"Fantastic, with those things taken care of we can move on to the next item of discussion, said item has just been mentioned; the Christmas party." Slughorn said, continuing, oblivious to their little battle.
"The Christmas party is about 2 months away now, important people young and old will be coming and things will need to be prepared and set up in an appropriate way for both of them. I myself will easily know what to do for the seniors." Slughorn said, and Harry could practically feel the 'but ' coming.
"But?" Greengrass voiced for him as they had stopped jabbing each other to listen.
"The problem is that I find myself clueless as to what would be more attractive and interesting to the juniors; their daughters and sons, people of your age, not to mention students from Hogwarts itself will be coming with their dates." Slughorn explained to them.
"Aren't there people you could hire?" Harry questioned, surely there were some people for this in the wizarding world.
"There are, but I found myself much more comfortable with the thought of my two best students helping me with this. Not to mention that you are in Hogwarts with your fellow students in the here and now, giving you the best intuition and inspiration for the appropriate choices." Slughorn finished, twirling his moustache as he looked at them hopefully.
Harry quickly opened his mouth to decline, knowing it was a race with Greengrass next to him. "I-"
"-A brilliant idea, Horace!" Greengrass called out through his own declination. "A Gryffindor and Slytherin working together to organize a party that would fit all of the houses and its students."
"Marvelous! I very much appreciate your help, feel free to call me in for a favor should you ever need it!" Slughorn spoke, elated.
"You're welcome, Horace, I'll be giving you updates on the state of progress periodically." Greengrass said, looked quite pleased with herself.
He didn't bother to jab or interject her. He slouched in his side of the chair as he wished that he had been able to serve detention with Snape.
"I'm glad that we were able to work all these things out, for all of us; myself for arrangements of the party, Harry to be able to join us, and Daphne to get Harry to join the Slug Club!" Slughorn cheerfully concluded.
"Sorry what was the last part Slughorn?" Harry asked, looking up at hearing the last part.
"Hm?..Oh, yes, Daphne wanted you join our club meetings for a while now Harry, always asking me whether or not I was able to invite you! Quite endearing is it not?" Slughorn said, laughing a bit at the end.
He turned to Greengrass, her cheeks a bit red. "That so, Greengrass?"
"Now, now, Harry. Have you forgotten the beginning of our conversation? Your partner deserves more." Slughorn reprimanded slightly.
Harry frowned a bit, thinking about what he meant before realizing. "Your right, let me rephrase; is that so, Daphne?" Seeing her lips tug into a small smile as he spoke her name.
"Don't flatter yourself..Harry. I merely wanted my partner for some casual talk. We already got along well enough during our lessons at the time." She deflected, taking the smallest of moments herself to speak his name.
"Now if you excuse me, I have some business to attend to." Slughorn said, standing up.
"What about the rest of our detention?" Harry asked, surprised by his sudden leave.
"The rest of your detention will be about..thinking over your sins for earning said detention! I will return before detention ends, you both are not to move from your seats." Slughorn said, as he cheerfully added ridiculous conditions, and closed the door behind him.
A short silence ensued, and Harry was quickly becoming aware of their proximity again.
"Slughorn is good enough of a person, but I'm not complying to stupid conditions. I'll move to the couch." He said, moving to stand up.
A grip on his robs tugged him back into his side of the seat again. "Don't, Harry. We won't know when he will return. It's a simple condition, nothing major." She pointed out.
"..I guess." Was all he responded with, slowly settling back in, his side getting warmed again by her.
"Is it so bad? I'm I that revolting?" She asked, sounding a bit hurt.
He turned to face her. "Not at all Daphne, you're plenty-" He quickly caught himself and stopped after seeing the look in her eyes...he should have known by now..
"Plenty what Harry?" She asked, still imitating the hurt in her voice and face. Her eyes however shone with amusement, telling him all he needed to know; she was fishing for compliments again.
"Plenty slimy." He finished without remorse. Earning himself an elbow.
"Liar." She said, sour at being discovered.
He smiled slightly before turning more serious. "Had you planned this all along Daphne? That we would both be here for detention?"
"No, I didn't even know you were coming Harry, I simply used the opportunity to have you join, the Clubs aren't that bad you know." She truthfully said.
"And you would have liked me to come then? You could have asked you know." Harry questioned.
"Yes, Harry, I guess I would have enjoyed your company a bit... But your too much of a hardhead to actually listen for once and try it out. Besides a girl such as me shouldn't have to! I'll have you beg the next time." Daphne said, 'hmpfing' a bit at the last part as she raised her chin a bit higher, revealing to him that pride had been the main problem.
"There was no way you would have escaped the Christmas party anyway, might as well come to the Clubs too then, and with us organizing the Christmas party, it will most likely not turn out to be some boring old man party." She said
"Don't be so sure about the organizing Daphne, I have no idea how to go about it. not to mention that you dragged me in without my consent." He spoke a bit accusingly, having not forgotten her stunts.
"Your right, the organizing is something extra I pulled in, you can leave it to me if you want, Tracey would love to help me come up with ideas." She said, amending her actions a little.
"Thanks, you might not think so but I really am busy." Harry said, sinking into thought as he contemplated his schedule with the new appointments. He could always just extend the time of his training and research to catch up on the time that he would be spending at the Club. It would only be for a few days.
She regarded him for a moment, her blue eyes piercing into his own before eventually replying. "Yeah I'm sure you are."
He refocused again after hearing her voice. "However, not to say that I will abandon it completely, we have to keep up appearances for Slughorn. Besides, I'll also feel bad for making two girls do my job for me, so I'll do what I can." He spoke sincerely.
"So honorable, Harry, I'll look forward to our newly expanded partnership." She said in a fake pompous voice.
Any reply he would have made was halted when the door swung open and Horace stepped back in.
"Ah, good to see that detention has been executed as promised." He said as he saw their positions. "Have you contemplated your wrongdoings?" He asked smiling.
"Many lessons were learned, Horace." Daphne said, speaking complete bogus.
"Yes, Slughorn, it was enlightening." Harry spoke, playing along. Had this really been a detention? They hadn't done any work or chore.
"Good, now then, feel free to come to me if you are in need of anything, otherwise I'll see you two at the next Potions lesson." Slughorn said, already looking forward to it.
Harry rose out of the deep armchair first, having been in a more favorable position to do so before hearing Slughorn speak. "Make sure the lady gets out of her seat easily, Harry." He finished in a suggestive tone when Harry was out of the chair.
Harry turned to Daphne, seeing her look up in amusement, offering her hand to him.
He quickly took her hand before the moment took too long, giving Daphne leverage to get up.
Her ego inflated a bit again as he helped her up and released her hand, the little gesture having made her feel special again.
They moved out of his office, giving their last goodbyes as Slughorn closed the door behind them, ending their detention.
They remained standing at his door before Daphne spoke up.
"I'm going back to my common room now, Harry. I promised to help Tracey with the potions assignment. We'll leave the Christmas party for the first Slug Club, plenty of time left there to discuss things, try to come up with some ideas for it until then. I'll do the same, naturally." Daphne said.
"You sure that there will be enough time left to plan the other things? We will already be two weeks in then." He said, wanting to make sure things would work out for all of them.
"Yes, I'll be working on the smaller and more basic preparations beforehand with Tracey." She said, reassuring him.
He nodded, trusting the planning skills of his partner, having experienced plenty of it during their potion brewing. "Make sure you don't do too much without me."
"Don't worry about me, get a good night's rest yourself. You look tired." She said, her sudden words of care and searching look surprising him a bit.
"Must be because I'm a light sleeper, Ron keeps me up most of the night." He said, smiling a bit and waving it off.
"Sure." She said, her expression unchanging. "Be careful, Harry."
"With what? Sleeping?" He said jokingly to her strange reply.
Daphne smiled a bit, but it seemed strained and the light didn't shine in her blue eyes as it always did, telling him that it was forced. "Yes, we all fall down from our bed sometime, don't we?"
"I daresay its quite dangerous, imagine falling from one of the bunk beds here." He said.
She smiled a bit more truthfully now. "Indeed, see you around, Harry." Daphne said, before turning around and started walking towards her common room some stairs downwards.
"Yeah, see you." He said before she had turned around, taking the smallest of moments to glance at the body that had been warming his side during the detention.
He looked away, finding it inappropriate and began thinking about his training and research for tonight as he turned around, and headed towards the unused classrooms.
He had time to catch up on, and efforts to increase.
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