Categories > Books > Harry Potter > Cage and Key

Compatibility and Insomnia

by faromir 0 reviews

chapt 12

Category: Harry Potter - Rating: G - Genres: Drama,Romance - Characters: Harry,Hermione,Ron - Warnings: [!!] - Published: 2015-05-11 - 8592 words

Disclaimer: The Harry Potter Universe and all the characters belong to J.K. Rowling.
"A masquerade instead of the normal party?" Ron asked perplexed, looking at each of them from his seat in the common room.
"Yes, Ron, little more than a month from now." Said Hermione.
"But, how the hell I'm I supposed to see who's Slytherin then?" He asked, scandalized at not being able to recognize who would be from which House.
"That's the point Ron, besides I think you can agree now that not all of them are so bad, right? Have you forgotten Davis's rare gift of goodwill to you from the Herbology lesson?" Harry asked, looking pointedly.
"I haven't, but Davis is an exception…she's okay." Ron said, leaning back in his chair, frowning in thought.
Harry sighed, at least glad that Ron was booking some kind of success with Davis, maybe the whole of Slytherin was a bit much to ask of him within the timespan that had passed up till now.
"Anyway, robes are fine, but the three of us will be in need of those masks now." Ron said, sulkily at the prospect of purchasing the presumably expansive masks.
"Maybe Fred and George could help us out with that, they could create something like that right?" Harry asked, having seen enough of the different kind of things the twins could make.
"They'll probably give us troll morphing masks, or something along those lines." Ron said, not trusting his brothers to produce anything normal, and with good reason.
"I can call in a favor from them, if we need to be sure that nothing will happen to the masks." Harry said, knowing they would respect his wishes after being their financial support.
"You mean the gold you gave them?" Hermione asked.
"Yup." He said, curtly, not really expanding upon his answer, knowing that they knew the story already.
"I guess that the masks are taken care of then." Ron said, satisfied that their masks would be safe to wear without the fear of being exposed to any side effects.
"Got any idea who you are going to take with you, Harry? I guess Cho is a no, things didn't go down all that well, did they." Ron asked, a bit crudely.
"No, things didn't." Harry said, thinking about how communications between them had faded into nothingness. "But I actually have more than just an idea, for I have a date already."
"You do?!" Asked both Hermione and Ron at the same time.
He leaned back a bit at their outburst. He knew he had been bad with his attempts at the Yule ball but..
"Yeah..I'm going with Daphne." He said, slowly.
"Her again?!" Ron exclaimed, while Hermione looked to be holding back the same words.
"Yes, her." He said, frowning at him for the disrespectful tone Ron addressed Daphne with. "We became one of the dance instructors in the supplementary dance lessons that will be held, as well as public representatives of the party itself."
"So, what? She forced you into it again?" Ron questioned.
"She did in a way, but I'm not completely against it, I was mostly upset about having to give the dance lessons, and I was clear in expressing that, Ron." Harry said.
"Which gives no guarantee that she won't do it again." Ron pressed.
"That's how things sometimes go, I appreciate your concern, Ron, but she has no evil intentions." Harry said, exasperated.
"She's…okay, Ron, just like Davis is." Hermione said, a bit slowly, helping Harry convince him.
"As long as you're fine with it, Harry, expect the rumor mill to start spinning before the party even starts though, being in the open with her as public representatives and instructors will do that. This is something freely chosen, unlike the school lessons." He said, giving a final warning, looking conflicted as Hermione had defended Daphne this time around.
"I know." He said, glad that Ron was giving Daphne more thought. "I guess you will also be in need of them, right?"
"Of what?" Ron asked, oblivious as to what Harry meant.
"The dance lessons Ron, you may be Pureblood, but I don't think you go to balls all that often. Hermione will also be in need of them." He said, giving Ron a look.
"Oh yeah, you're right. Better sign me up too.." Ron said, sheepishly.
"I'll be going now though, we agreed to meet up at seven." He said, rising from his chair.
Harry arrived at the empty classroom Slughorn had reserved for them, and moved to wait for Daphne's arrival, growing a bit dazed as he monotonously waited, his eyes slowly beginning to fall shut.
He regained focus when he began to hear music, the silence in the corridor making the damped sound more prominent. He turned towards the door, leaning closer to it, and recognizing it to be the source of the sound.
He opened the door and stepped inside, hearing a violin and cello play music that was likely appropriate to the dances they would be doing.
He looked to see where the sound came from and saw the instruments he had recognized with his ears. In the left corner of the room stood a violin and cello, their bows moving freely in the air without human aid, producing music for them.
He saw Daphne in the back using her wand to stack chairs and benches on top of each other, to create an open space in the room for them to use.
"Hey, you could have let me known that you were already inside, Daphne." Harry said to her making her turn around after hearing him speak up.
"Oh, hello, Harry. I wanted to set things up in advance." Daphne said, turning around after hearing his voice.
"Shouldn't the lady arrive after the man?" He asked, seeing that half of the classroom had already been moved by her.
"Don't complain. I'll have plenty of opportunities to make you wait in the future." Daphne said in response, levitating another table aside.
"Who gave you those instruments? Or are they yours?" Harry asked, motioning to the equipment in the corner, while drawing his reluctant wand and started moving the tables aside to help her speed things up.
"Horace gave them, he was happy to help. Dancing with music will help us out, right?" She asked.
"Probably; it will help with remembering the rhythm." He said, truthfully.
They continued stacking up chairs and tables for the next few minutes leaving them with an open area, the music luckily filling up much of the empty feeling the room now left behind.
"Let's begin, Harry. Take your robe off, they'll hinder our sight, It will help us focus on our position and footwork. We can leave the robes for when the actual ball arrives." Daphne said, removing her own robe, and throwing it over a chair as she talked. Revealing her sweater, knee socks and skirt from underneath her robes.
"Something wrong?" She asked sweetly, looking amused. "It doesn't look weird right? I guess you haven't seen me that much without any kind of robe."
"No, uh.. It looks good." He said, after she made a little twirl, glad that he managed to make it sound normal.
"Oh, good. I nearly doubted myself for a moment there." Daphne said, smiling, while coming over to him.
"Yeah, right." He said, dryly at her blatant lie.
"You will do any lady good by complimenting them at the right time, Harry." She said, placidly, as she stopped in front of him.
"What, I can't compliment them anytime?" He said, looking a bit apprehensively as she reached out to his robes, undoing the joints. Making him regret not having removed his robes himself, as her hands doing it felt strange and distracting.
"Of course not, it will come over as cheap and ordinary otherwise, words lose meaning if you overuse them." Daphne said, sliding off his robes and throwing them over her own on the chair.
"Good to know, I'll make sure to remember it in the future." He said, as the music momentarily stopped, the song having ended.
"Then I'll be following your progress closely, Harry. Can't send you off into the wide world without knowing the basics." Daphne said in feigned concern.
"Now..We will start with the Waltz. The waltz is a smooth, progressive ballroom and folk dance, performed primarily in closed position." Daphne began.
"Closed positions?" Harry asked, only having a vague idea as to what it meant, judging by the words.
"It's a dance category in which partners are in close proximity to each other using either body contact or body support." Daphne explained easily, finding nothing wrong with it.
"I see..will all the dances be like that?" He asked, apprehensive.
"No, we will also learn the Quickstep which is elegant and smooth, with the movement of the dance being fast and powerfully flowing. It is suitable for both formal and informal events." Daphne answered. "But it's a dance we will save for last, we will focus on the slower ones first."
"I'll let you lead, so I can adapt to your mistakes." Daphne said, holding her arms out.
"Wait." He said, kneeling down to her feet.
"Harry, I know that you find my legs really enchanting but-"
"Oh, get off your pedestal already." He said, feeling his cheeks warm up a bit as he pulled his wand out.
He tapped each of her shoes. Using slight Transfiguration to turn the tip of the material into a harder variant.
He stood back up again, her face quickly turning from confusion, and curiosity to a warm smile, as she noticed her protected toes.
"That should keep your feet safe from the incoming onslaught." He said, smiling back, glad that the idea came to him.
"An ingenious idea, Harry." She said, her eyes gleaming, before lifting her arms in a pose that said enough to him.
He placed one hand on her back, while she draped her arm over his shoulder and neck. He clasped her free hand that was in the air, the skin of her hand feeling pleasant in his.
She took a step closer to him, decreasing their already small proximity to each other, the warmth he felt during the detention, and the flowery scent he smelled from her hair making themselves known again to him.
"Your hand, Harry." She calmly said, and he knew what she probably meant, for his hand likely wasn't meant to go higher.
He slid his hand down her back. "Like this?" He asked, glad that they were currently looking over each other's shoulders.
"Lower." She said, softly, making him swallow, before sliding his hand down to her lower back, her body arching a bit as he did so.
"Perfect." She breathed in such a way that his heartbeat quickened a bit.
They briefly held this position, and he felt his body relax somewhat, with his face clearing itself of its blush. She briefly cleared her throat and leaned back a bit so that they were facing each other again.
"Let's begin, Harry. Step forward with your left foot." She said, evenly.
He did as she had told him and stepped forward with his left foot, her movements following, the music hesitantly starting again.
"Step diagonally with your right foot. This should place your feet roughly a shoulder's-width apart."
He performed the next step, her feet having moved with his when he did so.
"Step together, so that both feet are together again."
He did so again and laughed a bit as he noticed how the music played and stopped with each of their systematical steps, making it sound broken and rudely interrupted.
"The instruments he gave us are for practicing, playing with our tempo and movements so that we always move on the rhythm, at least it works that way if there is only one pair present. It will play continuously otherwise." She said, laughing softly with him. "Now, step back with your right foot."
"Step diagonally with your left foot this time." Daphne said, to which he repeated the earlier step with his other foot.
"Step together again, now we are back to the starting position. Let's repeat this for some time."
They moved for a while like this, practicing the basic steps, their movements getting jumbled sometimes when he stepped on her toes, being new to the movements, as well as momentary lapses of concentration creeping in on him from being tired.
Still it only serving to invoke hilarity as it didn't hurt her and the music began screeching until they properly recovered the pacing.
He soon began to feel more relaxed despite their closeness, her scent pleasant, and warmth welcome in the slight chill of the classroom.
"So, how is your flower coming along, Daphne?" He asked, knowing that talking would help against the fatigue, and feeling brave enough to have some conversation now, as the steps were easing into him.
"It's still a small stem now, I think it will become a beautiful flower once it blooms, it seems to be made out of glass or crystals, being translucent and giving reflections in every colour when hit by the sunlight." Daphne replied, sounding excited.
"That sounds very pretty indeed." He said, surprised that it had such an appearance.
"And, jealous already? Are you sure that you don't fancy wearing a flower in your hair with a spring in your step?" She asked, grinning as she repeated his words from their Herbology lesson at the time.
"No, I still don't fancy it, I'm sure that it will fit you better." He said, grinning back.
"Yes, who knows, it might grow into something befitting of my name." Daphne said, proudly.
"How so?" He asked, wondering what she meant.
"Daphne is a plant species. They are noted for their scented flowers and poisonous berries. It might grow into something similar." She said, smiling at the thought of the frozen plant adapting to her.
"You better be careful whenever I offer you some berries, Harry." She said, a devilish look on her face.
"I'll add it to my list of things to watch out for." He replied, thinking about how the scented part had already proven itself.
"Add under arm turns. Step back before guiding me under." She said, after a while of him correctly following the steps.
He stepped back, raised his arm and gave her a single spin, Daphne's face set in a dazzling smile as her hair and skirt fanning out around her, briefly mesmerizing him in the moment.
They returned to each other again and resumed their pacing.
"Brilliant!" She said still beaming.
He smiled back widely at Daphne, upbeat by her contagious presence.
"Say, Daphne." He began, a bit more serious.
"Yes, Harry?" She asked, contently.
"Do you.. no, could you tell me about your family?" He asked, suddenly wondering who her parents were, whether or not she had siblings, and curious about the background she grew up in.
"Want to know more about the mysterious and beautiful Daphne Greengrass hmm?" She asked haughtily.
"Yes, please tell me, being from above and beyond." Harry said with a deadpanned tone, amused inside.
"I guess peasants have a right to know." She said, feigning a sign of annoyance after he gave her another twirl.
"Let's make this a moment to stop for a moment, Harry, it's steady, but movement nonetheless." Daphne said, her breathing having quickened throughout the dancing.
He nodded, also feeling ready for a break, his body feeling colder after they separated, noting how the setting sun casted a red hue through the windows, and into the classroom.
They seated themselves on the edge of the large windows that ran around one side of the classroom, each of them on one corner of the window, facing each as they rested their backs against the wall.
"You know quite some things about me, Harry, and I know little about you. It's almost unfair of you to ask this of me, for I know that you won't answer mine." Daphne said, turning more serious.
"But I will tell you regardless of my inner snake saying that I should demand things of you. I know that won't help me, or you in any way. You'll keep your silence even more by doing that." She said, looking wistfully at him.
"I will trust you, like how you trusted me on the night where you could have made me take an oath. I will answer your questions in the hope that soon, or somewhere in the future, you will answer my questions regarding your own past." She said softly, her face set in a gentle expression.
Harry watched as she hugged her legs to her chest, the warm light of the setting sun making her hair shine golden and skin glow again.
He opened his mouth, feeling like he could spill his whole life out to her. "I..When..Sorry, I."
But no useful words came out, before completely clamping up and lapsing into silence.
She laughed softly at his jumbled words. "I said soon, not right now. But I thank you for your effort in trying to form coherent words."
He cleared his throat, getting rid of the vice that had taken hold of his vocal cords. "Your family, what's your family like?"
"I have my father; Alberic, he's a business man, but a good one at hearth, despite his upbringing from my grandparents." Daphne began.
"Your grandparents upbringing? What about it?" Harry asked, confused as to what she meant.
"My grandparents and all their predecessors had joined the Dark side, mostly in ideals but sometimes participating in war too. My father was raised with the same ideals by them of course. But he had been a pacifist from the start of his life. Having more interest in what he could create from behind his chair with a few galleons in his hand, than with his wand. He never took over much of the Dark Arts my grandparents were interested in." Daphne said, looking downcast as she talked about her grandparents.
Harry listened attentively to her story but momentarily fell in thought when she mentioned her older family members holding interest in the Dark Arts. Did they have special books, otherwise unavailable? Uncensored, with useful information?
But he kept the thoughts for another time and continued to give her his full attention as she continued.
"However, my father holds an even greater passion in potions than business, often having told me stories when I was a kid about potions going awry for their makers, causing them to end up in hilarious situations, and forms through their own mistakes." Daphne said, smiling fondly at the memories that were brought up.
"We often messed around with our potions at home; just some harmless stuff, always telling me things about each ingredient we used, whether it be facts or stories. You might have heard already, but we owe some apothecaries, he enjoys his work very much, as you can imagine."
"..Yes I think I did actually, from Slughorn at the start of the year during one of the times he invited me to the Slug Club, he mentioned 'the charming Greengrass' having a chain of apothecaries in their family." He said, thinking back to the vague memory where Slughorn mentioned it.
"Seems like Horace was right about multiple things then." Daphne said, smiling, confirming Slughorn's claims.
"And your mother?" He asked.
"My mother's name is Avelina, she owned a small apothecary in Knockturn Alley. Business didn't go very well however, she wasn't the best with connections, which are important if you need customers, and ingredients. Things went better for her after she met my father though; better for both of them actually. My father consequently gained the chance to move out by helping my mother's shop flourish with his economic insight in return for money, allowing him to sustain himself."
"This was the start of the withering relationship between my father and his parents, my parents soon fell in love during their partnership and sought to marry. My mother's side however, was not very high on standing and money, Pureblood, but not special, nor did they have history in the Dark Arts, and the wizarding wars. "
"My parents married despite the strained relationship between their families, and continued their apothecary to what it is now." She said, fingering the material of her skirt between her fingers.
"Your father wasn't disowned then? I, uh, hear that sometimes can happen." Harry asked, thinking about Sirius's family.
"My grandparents were unsatisfied with the marriage, and my father's declination of the Dark Arts, but always thought that he would become interested someday. Thing is that simply didn't happen. Besides, they didn't have any other heirs to pass the family on to, they were too proud to let their family line end there." Daphne said.
"I hardly knew them though, they died when I was small, Astoria hadn't even been born yet at the time. Father told me that things had become especially strained between them in the end."
"And the grandparents from your mother's side?" Harry asked, wondering about the other side.
"Alive and well, nothing special about them, luckily. I could go on about them too, but let's keep that for another time, you probably have one more question about my family so I better keep things within bounds." She said, sliding down from the window.
"Care to continue, Harry?" She said, looking back at him, ready for more.
"Yeah." he said, putting his feet on the ground again and moving to the center of the room with her, flicking some of the candles alight in the room with his wand, as the sun had sunk considerably during their conversation, leaving the classroom a bit dark.
"You have a sister right? You mentioned Astoria not being born yet when you were young." He said, pretty sure he had heard correctly. Their arms sliding back into position with the music starting again, as they started moving around the room.
"You're right, Astoria Greengrass is my younger sister, she's in third year now, quite short for her age, with brown eyes and hair. Competitive personality, with a pinch of humor, she always shows off her marks when they are better than what I got in my year at the time. She holds little interest in potions, having more talent in Charms." Daphne aid, giving a description of her younger sister.
"What's it like, having a sibling?" He asked in a distracted tone, only half aware that he had said it out loud, as he wondered what it would be like to have siblings.
"Bothersome, aggrevating, irritating, comforting, encouraging. We fight one day, and laugh the next. It's a routine." She said after coming out of her twirl.
"I see, I guess it's the same for multiple people then. The siblings at the Burrow can be described with the same words." He said, smiling a bit as he thought about the chaotic house.
"The Burrow?" Daphne asked, confused what he meant.
"It's the house of the Weasley's, I stay with them every summer." Harry said, answering her.
"Every summer?" Daphne asked, a bit surprised, to which he nodded.
"Not much fun at your own home then?" She said in a softer tone.
"No..Not much fun." Harry said, trying to keep the slight smile on his face.
"I see, that's a bummer." Daphne simply said, choosing not to push the subject, making him feel grateful.
"Let's twist and turn through the room, Harry. Repeat the same steps with more strength and speed, give us momentum in the movements, I'll easily move with you." She said, encouragingly.
He did as she told him, holding her supportively and making his steps lengthier. Finding her steps quickly adjusting to his tempo.
"What other dances will I be learning?" Harry asked, as they moved around the room, finding flow and rhythm.
"The Slow Foxtrot, Viennese Waltz, and as you already knew; Quickstep." She said, answering.
"I'm correct in saying that the Foxtrot and Viennese Waltz you mentioned are slower dances, with the Quickstep being the fastest out of them?" He asked, wanting to confirm his reasoning.
"Yes, The foxtrot is a smooth, progressive dance characterized by long, continuous flowing movements. The Viennese Waltz is a rotary dance where the dancers are constantly turning around each other, it's a dance we can add some things into. The quickstep is another variant of the standard ballroom dances. The movement of the dance is fast and powerful." She said, briefly explaining each of them.
"But more about those will come later, Let's think about the Waltz first." She said, both of them putting more effort in their steps.
He spun her again before pulling her back, quickly sliding them back into position and resuming.
"You're really easy to dance with, Daphne. I had studied the dance for the Yule ball, but you always seem to know where I'm going to go. It's fluent and easy, do you have a lot of experience?" He asked, remembering his dance with Parvati to feel differently.
She grinned devilishly and brought her lips close to his ear.
"I guess it's just our compatibility, Harry." She whispered much too suggestively, her hot breath blowing over his ear with her words. Making his face feel like a fireplace as heat surged through his head. He completely lost his footing, disconnected with her shortly afterwards as they fell down, feet and legs clashing in ways that wouldn't work out for anyone.
They each fell back on their butts, the hard floor unforgiving to their buttocks.
"Please don't do that again, ever." He said, a hand on his now painful tailbone, his face still burning.
Daphne was now on her back however, holding her stomach, as laughter he had never heard from her before filled the empty classroom, pure and uncontrollable. "Y-your r-r-eaction, was t-the be-est."
"Stop messing with me, it's not funny." He said, despite smiling himself.
"N-never." She managed to get out.
"..You're so silly sometimes." He said, as laughter began to rise up from within him at the sight of her. slowly feeling his heavy and sluggish body grow lighter.
She rolled on her side, legs coming up as her stomach began to hurt from laughing, a tear falling down her face.
They continued this for a while before it died down, snorting a few times near the end.
"I love it.. expect more soon, Harry." She said, coming to a sitting position, the look on her face making promises.
"Should I start running?" He asked, half joking, half serious. Standing up, and offering her his hand.
"No use, I'll shout a few embarrassing words, and I'll have you immobilized more easily than a stunner ever could." She said, grasping his hand, using it to get back up again on her feet.
"You must be the strangest girl I've ever met." He said, finding no other words to describe everything up to this point. From the point of running into her on the train, to her shenanigans, boastful nature, and shameless devising.
"Wrong choice of words, Harry, let me help you, for example; exceptional, remarkable, extraordinary, or phenomenal." Daphne said, counting a few on her fingers.
"I think I'll settle for bizarre." He said, nodding at his own choice.
"Fine, remember them for next time then." Said, huffing, turning her head away, looking back at him from the corner of her eye with a slight smile.
"You're impossible." He sighed, shaking his head.
"I guess you're possible then." Daphne replied, proud at her senseless wordplay.
A moment of silence briefly fell and Harry noticed how dark it was outside.
"We should wrap things up, Daphne. It's becoming late." He said, making her look outside surprised, as if noticing the dark sky outside for the first time.
"Hmm? Oh, yes. You're right." She said, sounding slightly disappointed. "You know the Waltz now in any case, let's continue to dance a little for the next few days to imprint it on your memory before starting on the next one."
"Yeah, probably a good idea." He said, holding the door open, letting her out of the classroom, her walk more of a strut than anything else.
"Sweet dreams, Harry. See you soon." She said, before turning away, likely going back to her common room.
"Likewise, Daphne." He said back, grimacing a bit at the thought of dreaming again.
"Uhm, what?" He asked having lapsed for a moment, missing half the sentence she had said.
"I said, what do you think we should do now?" She asked, looking inquisitively at him, indicating towards their potion.
"Add the ground Unicorn juice, and stir until it becomes purple." He guessed, blinking his eyes to clear up the blur that had briefly swept over his vision.
"No, Harry, we went over this ages ago. If they ask for grounded parts they really do need them altogether, not only to the juice to try and speed things up. That might have worked in other cases, but not here, we also need to wait with stirring until it turns green." She said, reminding him of a mistake he had made weeks ago.
"Oh right, I forgot." He said, shaking off the fatigue, and regaining his focus again on their potions assignment. The recent lessons were making less sense to him these days.
Harry inwardly cursed in his mind, he was beginning to make more mistakes, likely because of his sleep shortage, but he couldn't help it. He had so much to do with little time, sleep had to be exchanged for productivity.
Any sleep he did manage to get was sometimes ruined however, by his nightmares occasionally showing themselves, making him reluctant to go to sleep in the first place, unsure about what would await him if he were to close his eyes.
He had already been tired before, but things were adding up while the amount of free time he had available stayed the same. Other classes were drooping much like this one was, as lethargy would settle in from time to time.
He had occasionally thought about going to Madam Pomfrey and ask her for Dreamless sleep potions, but decided otherwise as he thought about the consequences. She would likely tell Dumbledore about his problems, not to mention that Dreamless sleep potions are far from the perfect solution, causing only more problems than solving if used for prolonged periods of time.
Hermione always made sure he went upstairs with Ron, but these efforts were unknowingly proven pointless, as he moved back out with his invisibility cloak when everyone slept, onwards to the Restricted Section in search of more accurate information on the Dark Arts.
So far he had mostly come across examples rather than clear explanations, telling symbolic and cryptic stories of figures in the past meeting their end, due to the corruption of their own well meant intentions and morals, leading them down towards the dark.
It had probably been the reason why he hadn't noticed them in the beginning, having skimmed through them, thinking the short stories to be introductions, and background to the Dark Arts rather than messages of actual danger.
A few other books had been more specific, telling much the same like Daphne had, saying that the Arts brought forth the risk of addiction to them. But Harry knew that it was a chance, not an inevitability. People like Moody used the same spells, and while the crazed Auror wasn't the most sane example, he was however; a very righteous one.
It seemed that some people either had the affinity to it physically, or became obsessed by it on a psychological level, both cases serving to infect the other sooner or later.
"Harry, you're adding too much stewed Mandrake!" Daphne called out, pulling him out of his musings, and back into their lesson, seeing that their potions had turned baby blue.
"Sorry, my bad. I lost it for a moment there. It probably shouldn't be blue then?" He said, quickly putting the Mandrake away.
"No, turquoise is the colour we are looking for." Daphne said, getting irked at the increase of mistakes he was making.
"Switch places with me, you get stuff prepared while I try to see if we can salvage it somehow." She said, moving to stand behind the cauldron.
"You got anything to say, or explain, Harry?" She asked, hinting none too subtly.
"I thought you would wait patiently?" He said, concentrating on the Chimaera leaves, so that he wouldn't cut himself while preparing them.
"And I will, you can easily tell me about your current problems without explaining any past experiences attached to it." She said, finding a loophole. "The past is something set in stone, there for you to deal with it. But this is about now, something we can still work on to better the outcome or situation."
"Sorry to disappoint you then, because I'm fine, Daphne." He said, dismissively.
"Yeah, sure, and Professor Snape would be delighted to smother you in his loving embrace." She said, sarcastically, forcefully stirring the potion, the bubbling liquid rising to dangerous levels as she did so.
He cringed at the thought of Snape coming even remotely close to him, and grew a bit nervous as he saw their potion threaten to spill with every stir.
"I think that Slughorn would be more willing to do such things than Snape, with him hating my guts and all." He said, wishing to banish the mental images already.
"You called for me?" Slughorn said, appearing behind them again, nearly making him drop his knife while some of Daphne's potion sloshed over the edge, as she had made a jerking movement from the sudden voice behind her.
"No, Horace. We didn't." Daphne said, in a calm voice that took some effort from her.
"Really? I could've sworn that I.. Well never mind that, how is the brewing coming along I-oh." He said, lapsing as he saw their potion, looking well below their usual quality. "This must be a first, What's wrong? Are some of my ingredients afoul?"
"No, Horace. It's just that Harry, likely had a bad night's sleep." Daphne said, giving him an accusing glance.
"How dreadful." Slughorn said, in a softer tone, thankfully being somewhat discreet, before taking a closer look at him. "Your partner is right, Harry, you look ready to fall under the effects of the Sleeping Draught! You should get a good night's rest after this."
"Thank you for your concern, Slughorn, and my apologies." He said, quickly wanting to close the subject, before it became a show again.
"Don't worry too much about the preparations, m'boy. It'll work out." Slughorn said, thinking that he had been worrying about the party.
"You two don't take this too heavily, better luck next time!" He said, moving past them to check other cauldrons.
Their usual banter was quite dim during the remainder of the lesson, Daphne looking like she was waiting for him to admit his problems. But he didn't, and the lesson ended with a potion that was passible, but not very good.
Guilt inducing memories flashed before his eyes, mixed with fearfull ones from the previous years; The Ministry, the cold and wet Chamber of Secrets, attacking Mr. Weasley, Cedric's lifeless body, the rattling breath of the Dementors, and Sirius's body arching gracefully through the archway; disappearing.
The visions suddenly stopped. "Sirius!" He heard himself call out in a mumble, jarring awake from the movements that gently rocked his body awake.
He shot for his wand, stopping halfway as he took in his surroundings, surprise at his location replacing for worry as he realized that he had fallen asleep in the library in the afternoon, having called out his godfather's name in his abrupt awakening.
He felt warm hands slide off his shoulders, making him look up from his seated position to his side where he saw the worried and curious face of Daphne lean down towards him.
"Had a bad dream, Harry?" She asked, giving no indication that she had heard him.
His eyes quickly shifted around them, seeing that other students had kept their distance from him, and hadn't noticed anything thus far.
"I, uh. Transfiguration assignment was rather boring, I must have fallen asleep halfway through." He said, forcing a shaky smile on his face.
"Sure, problem is that you actually have Potions in front of you, plus you have only a few lines written down." Daphne pointed out, no humor in her remark.
He looked down to the parchment he had been sleeping on, seeing that she was right, his jumbled mind having come up with an awful excuse in his haste to explain himself. "Oh.'re right, I guess I'm still sleeping."
Daphne's face took on a knowing look as she pulled out a chair and sat down next to him, moving closer to decrease the distance between them.
"I've seen, and heard enough signs, Harry. I don't know what things you precisely went through, but you are obviously having nightmares during the night, strong enough to haunt you immediately after falling asleep again, if what happened just now was any indication to that."
"I'm fine, Daphne. I simply fell asleep and happened to have an unpleasant dream, you're imagining things that aren't there."
"Dugbog shite, Harry!" she hissed, gripping his arm, making him look up as he was reminded of the first time they spoke with each other on the train ride.
"People don't just fall asleep after writing four lines of text in a public place, your performances also have decreased in every aspect." She said in a hushed tone, her eyes blazing.
He looked back to his blank assignment, willing it to give him the answers he needed to get out of his situation. "You are overthinking things, you only thought me to be better than before. The lessons have increased in difficulty, and my results slightly dropped in response."
"No, Harry. It's become especially noticeable; you have rings under your eyes, mistakes you make during our dancing are from your sleep muddled coordination, your reaction to catching the vines in Herbology is considerably slower, and during potions you make mistakes you normally wouldn't have made, had you been able to clearly use your mind." She said listing off multiple things she had noticed.
"Daphne, I'm not-"
"Please, Harry." She said, begging him, looking solicitously, while the grip on his arm tightening a bit.
He became silent for a moment, before continuing. "So what if I'm a little bit tired. I can handle this."
"Don't think yourself to be Merlin and Morgana combined. No one can carry all of their burdens alone." She said, frowning at him.
"You don't have to tell me the contents, Harry. not like this. Please just acknowledge it, you don't have to tell me anything else, just admit that you are having this problem. Don't lock these things inside you, there is no need for you to do so." She said, the grip on his arm and her tone having turned softer as she spoke.
She continued when he kept silent, staring at his parchment, unable to look her into the eye. "I can help you, Harry. I know some things about Occlumency, let me teach you to control your dreams. It's not the hardest thing you can learn with from it."
He looked back at her, surprised that she knew it, but even more surprised that the entity had been right in its advice, Occlumency could be used to ward certain dreams off. Could there be other things it might be correct about, now or in the future?
He soon focused back on Daphne however, seeing that she had been waiting for his reply.
"What about my memories, Daphne. I don't-no I can't show them to you, or anyone else for that matter." He said, thinking about his lessons with Snape and both the dangerous, and traumatic memories he held inside him.
"You think I would lower myself to assaulting your most sensitive memories?" She asked, looking insulted.
Her reaction, quickly struck him with guilt. This was the girl that was currently keeping a big secret for him, the girl he had gotten to know over the past months, the girl who told much about herself without him returning the favor. How could he have expected her to be willing to do those awful things to him…
"No, you wouldn't. I'm sorry, I…I don't know what I had been thinking." He said, ashamed.
"I already told you, Harry. I won't force it out of you. Please tell me when you can, and want to." She said, holding true to her word of leaving his past alone.
"Yeah." Was all he managed, unsure how to respond after having insulted her intentions.
"You admit it then? You are having trouble with sleeping because of your nightmares?" She asked, wanting confirmation.
"Yes." He said, with a soft sigh.
"..If I were to do this, how would we go about it?" He asked, turning hypothetical.
She smiled a bit after his acknowledgement, before answering him. "We'll begin by explaining you the basic's and fundamentals. I will also give you my book I have on the arts of the mind, so that you can read it for yourself while performing small exercises with it. Which hopefully show that you have the aptitude to lean it."
She waited for his response, and he nodded in return, gesturing for her to continue.
"We will learn you some simple and basic Occlumency shields if things turn out positive. I will focus on memories that are unimportant to you during this, something mundane like our class lessons. Things will be up to you after you have the basic shields."
"Only basic shields? Don't I need stronger ones?" He asked, confused as to why they would stop at basic and simple shields.
"No, Harry. because Occlumency, with its mental shielding is the main branch of the mind arts, and is used to protect yourself from Legilimency; attacks from outside. It's useless for the things you are looking for. Strong armor can't protect you from something already inside of you." Daphne said, revealing a while other side of Occlumency to him.
"Occlumency has multiple forms? Why should I learn to shield in the first place then? If this form is practically useless to me, I might as well skip it altogether." He said, still wanting to learn Occlumency if he had the chance to, but wondering why it seemed necessary in the first place, was it a requirement?
"Not forms, but branches. You will need to have basic knowledge, and experience from the main branch, in order to use the derivative forms, which each serve a different purpose." She said, clarifying his misconception.
"I see, what subsection of Occlumency am I looking for then?" He asked, curious as to what derivative he was looking for.
"Somniamency, if I remember correctly; the art of controlling your subconscious, thoughts, and dreams." She said, looking to have a little trouble remembering it, looking with furrowed eyebrows at her hands on the table as she thought about it.
"How do I go about learning it?" He asked.
"I don't know, Harry... It's one of the reasons why I will be lending you my book, I'm nothing special, below average even at Occlumency, I haven't memorized the whole book and Somniamency is something I never learned, nor spend much thought on. I'm afraid that the information, and methods in my book is all that you have available to learn it." She said, looking disappointed at leaving him with little help in the area.
"It's okay, you're helping me out a lot already." He said, softly.
"Good. See that it wasn't so hard, right? We might even have a solution on our hands already by talking things out, you didn't even have to give me any details." She said, encouragingly.
"Don't lay your problems in front of yourself, Harry. Lay them in front of us, there is nothing that we can't work out. Mark my words." Daphne said, confidently. Her eyes looking into his for a prolonged period of time, willing him to understand the weight of her words.
Harry nodded, managing to smile a bit, her words helping him. It felt nice, lifting a little bit of the weight that had been on his shoulders, and having come to a possible solution.
"Sure, Daphne." He said, still feeling mixed, despite his answer to her.
"Yeah you bet, Harry. Your debt to me is steadily building up isn't it?" Daphne said, playfully nudging him when she saw him smile again.
"Oh really, please do tell what 'debts' I owe you then." He said, questioningly.
"Well, you lost in our Herbology bet, I told you a lot about myself, I just proved myself to be the solution to your problem, I arranged a wonderful party for us in the future, AND allowed gloomy you, to take the wonderful me, to said party." She said, boastfully, listing off the things on her fingers.
He smiled, and shook his head at her in disbelief. "You're right about Herbology and being a help just now, but you mostly talk about yourself, rather than me asking, the party was shoved in my agenda by a certain someone, and you rather forced me to take you to said party." He said, listing off his own things to her.
She feigned a long drawn out sigh. "You fret too much about the details, Harry. I do what's good for you." She said, shamelessly.
He laughed a bit. "In a remarkable way, yes." He said, using one of the words she had given him as an example.
"I see that you are applying previous lessons, nothing wrong with your memory, luckily. It would be a downright shame if I had to repeat myself to you." Daphne said, haughtily, looking satisfied.
"Sure..By the way, where is Davis?" He asked, looking behind her, as if expecting her friend to jump out from behind a bookshelf.
"Asking for a girl with one in front of you, Harry? Maybe I should take back what I said about your memory, it seems that you are doing only half the job." She said, feigning disappointment.
"Jealous snob." He said, feeling brave, nearly snorting with amusement as he saw her recoil, her mouth falling open a bit, not having expected his response.
"You dare? I'll have you for that, Harry. You just wait." She said, quickly turning to grin in the same devilish way again, causing a bit of anxiety to rise up inside of him.
"Anyway, back to your friend, Davis.." He said, wanting to change their subject before she concocted a plan.
"She is in Astronomy class, along with your friend; Granger. And being on the subject of your friends, where is Weasley? Surely he isn't attending other classes" She asked, skeptical at the idea of Ron taking more lessons than necessary.
"No, he probably would rather pukes slugs than take more classes. Ron is on the Quidditch field with Ginny and the rest of the team, seems that they found a hole in their roster and are using it for an extra training." He said, explaining Ron's absence.
"Ah, Quidditch. You don't play it anymore, do you." She said, making it more of a statement than question.
"No, I don't, I mainly did it for the thrill of flying anyway." He said, thinking about having the earth far beneath his feet, away from everyone and everything. The business and problems of the world unable to reach him.
"Planning to go flying again sometime?" She asked, leaning forward, and resting her head on her hands.
"I will when I find some time for it." He said, wistfully.
"You should make some time for it then." She said, simply.
"Daphne, It's not-" He began, exasperated.
"-It's not what, harry? Not possible? Don't blabber nonsense. It's all up to you to decide how you invest your time." She said, interrupting him.
"It's not that simple." Harry said, stressing his words.
"Why not? Explain it to me otherwise, because to me it rather seems that you are forcing it upon yourself. Its fine if you want to defend your friends, but you don't have to sacrifice yourself in the process." Daphne said, not understanding his fervent race for progress.
He opened his mouth to retort but waited for a moment, he couldn't really blame her for thinking like she did, the knowledge she had on the situation was incomplete to say the least, being unaware of the exact events that had transpired throughout his school years, and only believing that there was a chance of Voldemort focusing on him again, while they remained safe and sound inside the school's premises.
"You're right, I'll make some time free for it someday." He said, already knowing that he likely wasn't going to.
"Good, because I'll lend you a hand otherwise; placing your bum on that broom and gently pushing you off the stands." Daphne said, smirking.
"I'm perfectly fine with taking off by myself, thank you very much." Harry said, the image strangely vivid in his mind. "But back to the time investment; when will we start with the Occlumency?"
"..Tomorrow night, we can do it after our dancing practices from now on." She said, after being silent for a moment as she thought about it.
"Anything I should prepare or bring with me?" Harry asked. Thinking to be perfect for now, this way he wouldn't have to tell Ron and Hermione, he could solve it before the need would arise.
"Maybe a prodding stick so I can keep you awake." She jibed, halfheartedly at him.
"I'll manage without." He said, a bit sourly.
"Tomorrow, same time and location then. Now, how about we speed some things up for your Potions essay, Harry? I still have some time before my DADA starts." She said, taking his parchment and quill before he could even answer her.
He watched her work on his nearly blank essay. Writing down pointers as to where he should look, and what he should question. Her brows furrowing a bit from time to time as she worked ardently, the quill quickly running out of ink a she wrote, forcing her to dip it in the pot again, before continuing.
A lock of hair escaped from behind her ear, and fell down her face, giving him the strangest urge to place it back.
He wondered how her hair felt, it seemed a lot softer and lighter than his own, while still seeming different to Ginny's thin, and Hermione's bushy hair.
She absentmindedly began twirling the lock around her index finger, playing with it as she worked. Only adding more to his curiosity of discovering the feeling himself. Did it have the velvety feeling he thought it would have?
How did it manage to glow in a near golden hue when the sunlight would shine upon it? Was she using some kind of spell or potion? It almost seemed too elegant to occur naturally, but at the same time he couldn't imagine Daphne using magical enhancements on herself, someone as boastful as her would simply find it insulting to use such illusions upon herself.
In the end he just concluded it to be.…exceptional.
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