Categories > Books > Harry Potter > Cage and Key

Jet Black and Carmine Red

by faromir 0 reviews

chapt 16

Category: Harry Potter - Rating: G - Genres: Drama,Romance - Characters: Harry,Hermione,Ron - Warnings: [!!] - Published: 2015-05-11 - 8663 words

Disclaimer: The Harry Potter Universe and all the characters belong to J.K. Rowling.
Harry sat at the smoothly polished round table again and pushed his now empty plate away, thinking how the way toward the Club had been filled with little whispers and stares as he passed groups of students.
He heard only a few words but he heard enough to get the general gist of it. Potter and Greengrass, that was all he had managed to make out of their hushed whispers as he stepped past them on his way to the extensively detailed door of the Club with Hermione.
Hearing those two words in the same sentence spoke volumes for him. It had also happened the day after Daphne came to him with the news of Nott approaching and bothering her. Nott had probably been the cause that it had spread so suddenly in spite at them.
Not that it mattered all that much anyway, it was much too late already to be really bothersome, soon they would be standing in front of the other student to teach them the dances, proving to them on their own terms; that they’re willingly organizing this.
Slughorn clapped in his hands once for attention. “Alright then! Now that everyone has eaten their fill of tonight’s dishes, we can start discussing the progress of the party!”
Harry turned to Daphne having no clue as to what the current state of said progress actually was, causing some guilt to strike him at having been of little help to her, much like he had been useless to Hermione with the invitations around Gryffindor, but reasoned that soon he could start doing his own part with the supplementary lessons approaching them.
Daphne straightened a bit in her seat as all attention turned to her, having been the leading figurehead from the start. “I’m happy to inform you that everyone has returned with their share of the invitation list to me. Most of the people who were invited have agreed to come, their accompanying dates too of course will have to be listed when they are known to make sure that none of them are on your ‘black list.’”
Harry briefly pondered what kind of people were on the ‘black list’ of Slughorn and soon reasoned that it would be students with Death Eaters in their families.
Like Dumbledore had said to him when he first met Slughorn in his house; ‘Horace likes his comfort’.
Slughorn wanted to be successful and wealthy but without any kind of danger attached to it, which Harry found a bit hypocritical since Slughorn openly wanted to associate himself with him. He either didn’t realize this or thought it outweighed the cons.
“Wonderful! Absolutely wonderful how things are moving along! Everyone has been invited as per schedule and a total of six instructors have already been appointed last time being; Hestia, Flora, Blaise, Cormac, Harry and yourself.” Slughorn said satisfied with the current state.
“But I expected no less for I have already reserved the east wing on the sixth floor for the coming month; to give all of you a suitable location to accompany the students you will be teaching. I suggest making a schedule so that those coming know of the time, date and location.”
“We will, Horace, and thank you for saving us the trouble of having to find something ourselves.” Daphne said inclining her head respectfully.
He smiled merrily. “Think nothing of it. The hall is without use anyway.”
“Now, are there any issues or things worth noting?” He asked looking around the table to each of them. Nodding to himself when none of them had anything to note.
“Good, then please continue making plans while Harry and I go for a little chat.” Slughorn said standing up giving him a little clap on the shoulder when he passed.
He shrugged at the questioning looks he got from everyone around the table, indicating that he didn’t know what this was about and moved to follow the potions Professor as the group started conversing about the best possible schedule setup.
They moved some distance away from the rest to stand in the dim light one of the large windows covering the walls gave.
“Is something wrong?” Harry asked a bit suspicious for his reasons, wondering why Slughorn pulled him aside from the group.
“Oh no, nothing to worry about m’boy, you are in no kind of trouble whatsoever!” Slughorn said chuckling lightly, mistaking his look for worry. “I merely wanted to ask how things are going along for you, Harry. You see your partner; Daphne came to me two weeks ago to ask for a room, saying that your dancing moves were a bit rusty and needed some practice with her to get back into shape.”
Harry glanced to Daphne at the table seeing her in a light argument with Hermione, likely about everyone’s rosters. “Uh, yeah ‘rusty’, definitely needing a bit of practice to get back into it.” He said a bit sarcastically at how downplayed the issue probably had been presented to Slughorn.
Slughorn took no notice of the sarcasm and nodded in agreement. “Exactly! I also gave Daphne the magical instruments to help in that regard. Besides; dancing without music is quite dull, right?”
“It is and helped me a lot during the practice, I should be able to perform and instruct the dances without problem now.” He said nodding truthfully this time.
“That’s good to hear, for I wanted to ask whether or not you’ve had sufficient time to rekindle your experience with them before the supplementary lessons started, but it seems that there is no problem there.” Slughorn said jovially, idly twirling his moustache with his index finger.
“But quite the magical set isn’t it? I got it during one of my visits to the minister of France, met this eccentric chap during one of the conferences there. The man collected a wide variety of creatures and trinkets from all around the magical world. Managed to trade my embalmed Grindylow for the whole set. Quite the deal if I do say no myself.” Slughorn continued proudly as he stared of into memories of the past.
“It is.” Harry said tentatively, thinking back on his encounter with the aggravating creatures at the Triwizard Tournament, wondering why anyone would ever want to have an embalmed Grindylow on one of their shelves.
“But let’s leave that for another time, I’m getting completely off track again.” Slughorn said waving his hands at the invisible memories that distracted him.
Slughorn let out a short sigh; one of longing and bliss as he pulled him into an one armed hug. “You see Harry, I’ve noticed something beautiful quite some time ago and will do my best to help the both of you cultivate it.”
“Something… beautiful? Sir, what are you talking about?” He asked in utter confusion. He wasn’t unhappy at the change of subject but was clueless on his introduction of whatever it was they just started talking about.
“It’s Slughorn or Horace, Harry, and no need to be shy! This is beautiful like a Veela in its appearance, alluring in its appeal like a mermaid in the water, and delicate like the Twilight flower which only grows in the darkest of woods! A once in a lifetime opportunity, a change on the course of fate itself.”
“Slughorn, I don’t-“ He tried to interject.
“-It’s a perfect match, a girl like her with a person like you. Even an two eyed Cyclops could see what’s going on, I knew so for a long time.” Slughorn continued passionately, making Harry feel more stupid than the Cyclops he was talking about for not seeing the apparent obvious.
“But that’s no reason to take it easy, this is something gradual and mutual which needs to be cultivated tactfully.” Slughorn said in an encouraging tone and fatherly squeeze. “But do not worry, Harry! I’m here to help.”
Harry seriously began to doubt whether or not Slughorn had traded some of his marbles along with the Grindylow and opted to keep quiet in response.
Slughorn released him from the arm lock and grasped each of his shoulders instead for a face to face position at an arm’s length. “From what I have understood, you and Daphne are going together to the party because it only seemed logical to do so, right?”
“Uhm yes, it only seemed natural since we agreed to practice, organize and instruct together.” Harry said slowly before something clicked. “Wait, have you been talking about Daphne and me the whole time? Is that what you meant?”
Slughorn laughed loudly clapping him a few times on his shoulders, rocking his body with each hit and turning more than a few heads from the table in the back at the sound. “Yes of course, Harry! good one, good one!”
Harry was only spared a brief moment to collect his racing thoughts as the potions Professor calmed down from his laughter.
Harry glanced to her at the table. Something between him and Daphne? Surely he didn’t mean.. Daphne simply liked to joke and laugh with him. She did it because it was amusing to her, because that was just how she was around him. that’s all, she couldn’t possibly like him in a romantic way… Someone like her? She who was born and raised in another world? The princess in the tower, and a unique flower between the masses of flawed imitations?
No, couldn’t be the case.. He was raised in an unloving home, would be the plant that vainly tried to climb her tower on its walls, and could only shine his moonlight on her petals from a distance in hopes of affecting her growth. How would he live up to it all and fit in at the same time? He couldn’t even begin to imagine what her home looked like.
He was happy with her presence and fortunate with her help, he didn’t want to risk changing that. What if it turned out to be incorrect because they all misread her playful behavior for seriousness? That would make for quite the embarrassing and damaging mistake; one he didn’t want to make.
“But let’s stay on topic, Harry. This means that you didn’t have to ask her right? It just happened, no events transpired, no deep looks were given and no actual words being spoken? ” Slughorn asked after recovering.
“No uh, I didn’t, what are you trying to say?’ Harry asked still very much in thought.
Slughorn gained a look of understanding and sympathy before responding. “I’m saying that a fair lady such as Daphne would probably like, and at the very least appreciate it; if you were to formally ask her to go with you, regardless of the fact that you two already are.”
Harry slowly nodded. “..I’m sure she would.”
“Precisely, Harry! Make it chivalrous, make it special, and if you aren’t able to do those things.. You make it genuine, put that above all! Be direct, watch your body language and look her into the eyes.” Slughorn said in an experienced and encouraging tone.
“I… yeah, thanks.” Harry said uncertainly, feeling strange at receiving this kind of advice from Slughorn and the thought of the entire situation with Daphne.
“You’re welcome, come see me if you need any help or advice again. Now the others at the table have likely reached some sort of conclusion by now. Let’s rejoin them and hear about it.” He said looking satisfied while gesturing to the people at the table with his arm.
A minute later Harry seated himself between Hermione and Daphne again, with Slughorn opposite from him on the other side of the table as usual.
“What was that about, Harry? If you can talk about it that is.” Neville asked leaning across the table toward him, voicing the same questions Hermione and Daphne had by the looks of it.
Harry started opening his mouth but was saved from replying as Slughorn voice rang out.
“So has any conclusion regarding the rosters been reached while I and Harry were gone?” He asked putting his hands on the wooden table.
Daphne turned to him and nodded in confirmation. “We have; Wednesday and Saturday evening prove to be the best periods for all Houses, while still being spread apart in the course of the week so that there isn’t too much downtime. We will also make and pass around notes as to inform everyone invited about this, after which we will begin with our first lesson on Wednesday next week.”
Slughorn briefly lifted his glass to them in a small toast and took a sip before speaking. “Marvelous! All of you, you’ve once again shown me that it had been the right choice to trust you with this. The lessons for the coming month will be planned out with this, but should anything troubling arise meanwhile, feel free to come speak with me.”
“That concludes it for tonight again, you may freely go whenever you want. Daphne, could you show me the rosters and list of invited people again?” Slughorn asked after which Blaise silently stood up from his chair and left for the door, having evidently little reasons to stay any longer now that the important topics had been discussed.
“Sure.” Daphne responded taking parchments with her as she left her seat to take Blaise’s now vacant one beside Slughorn.
The others at the table remained seated and began conversing with each other while Harry nudged Hermione for attention.
“Hm? What is it, Harry?” Hermione asked curiously after she turned to him.
“I, uh, was wondering.” He said tentatively, realizing that he should probably have thought his exact question through.
“Yes?” She patiently asked.
“Well.” He said beginning over. “The conversation with Slughorn just now was about formally asking Daphne to the ball with me, since it kind of went automatically for us. He said that she would probably appreciate it if I were to do that.”
“And you want to hear from me what I think about that? Also being a girl and all?” She asked in confirmation, looking glad that he was asking guidance from her again.
“Yeah, for example; would you have liked it if Ron had asked you a bit more.. romantically? Genuinely?” He asked noticing that the words ‘Ron’ and ‘romantically’ tasted very weird in one sentence. “I mean it’s been quite some time ago, but it more or less happened because you two got angry at each other and blurted it out.”
She sighed at the memory and nodded. “Slughorn is right, Harry. I would have liked it more in pretty much any other way, but don’t tell Ron that.”
“In what kind of way would you have preferred it, Hermione? Humorous, Chivalrous, plain, grand?” He asked listing various things of possibility.
“I, uh, would probably like it most if I were to be asked in private. Yes privacy is the most important thing to have, Harry, after that would be the location, and the way itself I were to be asked.” Hermione replied starting off a bit slowly at having to answer the personal question.
He nodded. “Private I can understand, but what do you mean with the location and the way you were to be asked?”
She fidgeted a bit at giving details but continued nonetheless. “Well it would be nice if the location was besides being private; also new and charming to look at, but searching for such a location might be a bit much. It’ll be fine if you stick with privacy and the way you ask.” She said trying to reassure him that he didn’t have to rent off a whole country or something like that, which Harry slightly doubted with Daphne being the case here.
He nodded in response, when he had asked Cho for the Yule ball they had been in the snowy clock tower which had been nice to look at in the snow, and not to mention; private.
“And the last thing? The way I were to ask it?”
“Well I would like it if it were done in a serious and convincing way, not in some light tone or the attitude of joking matter. I would want to know that this is what he too really wants and feels.” Hermione answered truthfully, forgetting her reserve for a second in the moment of her thoughts.
“That part probably went wrong with Cho..” Harry murmured softy to himself. I probably didn’t sound all that confident and convincing either when I asked Cho.
“But don’t forget that most of that is just my personal taste, Harry. For example; someone else might like it in a light tone, like when Angelina was asked by Fred for the Yule Ball, it was simple and friendly. I can only say that there are only some guidelines to keep in mind, since there are no written answers to blatantly copy over.” She said giving him a look, referring to his and Ron’s homework habits.
He groaned. “Why so complicated.. Well thanks anyway, Hermione, it will probably help when I decide to think of something.”
“When? Not if?” She asked noticing his words. “It’s not like you have to, you know that, right?”
“I know.” He said agreeing with her, seeing Daphne brush a blonde lock of hair behind her ear as she pointed at various things on the parchments for Slughorn to see. He might not be some high standing prestigious guy or Prince Charming on a white horse, but he would try his best so that he could give her his best.
“I simply want to. Not out of obligation or duty, but because she would like it.”
“I see.” Hermione said smiling as she followed his line of vision. “Ask me anytime if you need a second opinion again.”
“I will.” He said returned the smile, grateful for her insight.
“Say, Harry, how have those practice lessons been going for you with Daphne?” Neville asked joining the conversation.
“They.. helped, I know the dances required, I’ll be able to teach them just fine next week.” He answered not even knowing where to begin explaining all the events that happen before and after the actual dancing.
“Really? That sure is fast.” Neville said in admiration. “No doubt that I’ll be needing every single lesson in the coming month.”
“Harry picks up things really quickly if he puts his mind to it.” Hermione said to Neville in a half complaint half compliment.
“Guys, guys.” He said holding his hands up in a stopping gesture at the compliments. “It isn’t all that good or special.”
“Yes it is.” He heard Daphne’s voice speak out beside him, having finished business with Slughorn and joined her seat beside him again.
She scooted her chair toward him until they nearly collided and grinned devilishly at him, causing more than few alarm signs to start ringing in his head.
Daphne leaned toward Hermione and Neville before whispering seriously to them. “Especially considering that he’s been trying to grope my bum half the time of it.”
Neville’s jaw fell open and Hermione blushed at the images she got while he himself had both of their reactions combined.
“Please don’t listen to her she’s just messing around, isn’t that right, Daphne?” He said glaring lightly at her.
“I guess so.” She replied shrugging before casually speaking to them again as she twirled a lock of hair around her index finger. “He didn’t actually do so but I’ve felt his fingers glide across my back, in search of-“
“-Seriously now, Daphne!” He interjected before she could finish her sentence again, the damage however, was already done as his two companions looked torn between belief, disbelief and humor.
“Fine, fine I admit. It was only a joke.” Daphne replied in a bored tone, rolling her eyes.
“Thank you..” He said sighing.
Daphne leaned forward again with Neville and Hermione doing the same in a mixture of curiosity and apprehension. “I rather meant that he was trying to undress me with his eyes, you should’ve seen his eyes roam all ov-“
“-OK! Enough!” He shouted not caring that the others around the table briefly stopped conversing at his outburst. Luckily Slughorn quickly resumed his story of whatever item he had managed to obtain somewhere distant to the others.
“Geez, Harry, no need to get all aggressive. That’s no attitude to take around a lady.” Daphne said grinning at getting a rise out of him.
“Sometimes..” He grumbled as he dragged the palm of his hand across his face. Why was he planning to go through all kinds of efforts for her again?
“You two are strange.” Neville said dryly, laughing a bit at the show.
“And you haven’t even seen anything yet.” He said before chuckling along with him, remembering their previous action filled meeting with wands and ropes.
Hermione gave a small laugh with them, and Harry was happy to note that it didn’t seem all that forced anymore like it had been in the past regarding Daphne.
“Harry.” He heard Daphne call out.
“Yes?” He said looking up and back to her.
“So fast and alert already.” She said looking shocked. “Maybe I should start trying to do it in my mind next time and see what happens.” She continued, looking thoughtful as she leaned forward, resting her elbows on the table.
He rolled his eyes. “Stop trying to embarrass me already or I’ll start ignoring you, what is it?”
She raised an eyebrow at the challenge but continued nonetheless. “I wanted to ask you what kind of robe and mask preference you would have for the masquerade.”
He frowned in thought. “Why would you want to know that?”
“Because I’ll be getting you your robes, duh. Or rather the people at the shop will, I’ll simply arrange in what kind of look and style they will be.” She explained as if talking about the weather.
“Oh, well thank you for the gesture but I already have some good ones, the mask will also be taken care of by the Weasley twins.” He said slightly uncomfortable at having robes made for him through her.
She looked at him for a second before speaking. “Where did you buy them, how old are they and what colour?”
“Uuh, at Madam Malkin’s, they’re from fourth year and they’re black and white, not really robes either, more like a tuxedo.” He said confused by her questions but answering regardless.
“Denied.” She said smiling sweetly, not even taking one second to think about it.
He sputtered at the harsh denial and helplessly looked at his friends who looked no better off at understanding her.
“Why?” He finally asked.
Daphne looked like he was daft. “They’re from a mediocre shop, two years old and completely the wrong style, we’ll be getting them from Ellen’s Elegant Robes.”
“I don’t think there is anything wrong with Madam Malkin’s and two years isn’t that long, they’ll fit just fine.” He said frowning, not knowing or remembering where he had seen the likely high class and expensive shop in Diagon Alley.
“I’m just saying that it’s the wrong shop for us, we will be going to a specialized one naturally. Besides you’ve grown quite a bit since fourth year, I did too. Lastly the fact still remains that the style of your current attire would be completely out of tone. No you will have to use new ones, just leave that to me, that way we can also have coordinating robes.” Daphne listed off, having none of his reasoning.
He turned to Neville. “Coordinating robes? Meaning like, a pair or something?”
“Yeah, it isn’t that unusual or strange, Harry. It is simply a small symbol to show people that they’re together at the party, in either a formal way or you know.. together-together kind of way.” Neville said emphasizing the last part by interlacing his fingers in a grip.
“Ah.” Harry said in understanding.
“So.” Daphne piped up. “Now that you understand that and can start cooperating with me; what colour would you prefer for your robes?”
He was at a loss for a moment before replying. ”I don’t know, something normal; Black and white?”
“Almost. The correct answer was jet black and carmine red so that we have something powerful and different.” She replied in a fake apologetic tone.
“I thought that you were asking about my preference..” He said incredulously.
“I did.” She said sweetly. “Doesn’t mean I will do anything with it.”
He sighed knowing that this could go on for a long time with the same result in the end. “Fine do whatever you want, I do want to see them before the party however, so that I can always fall back on my standard from the Yule Ball if you decide to come up with some weird getup.”
“Good!” She said happily, bringing her hands together, probably having only heard the ‘Fine’ part.
“As for the masks we-“
“-I won’t change that bit however, I have already made a promise with Ron and Hermione about those, you can however, join us.” He said resolutely.
She frowned. “Harry, there aren’t many places who make them professionally where would you go to let them be made?”
“We agreed that Fred and George; the Weasley twins could help us out with that. They have their own joke shop now and will can probably make some good ones for us. We’ve seen them make all sorts of items in there.” Hermione answered for him in a friendly tone.
“The Weasley twins?” She said sounding unsure and skeptical as she looked from Hermione to him. “How would I know they haven’t made a joke item out of those masks themselves, allowing us to be the first to ‘test’ them?”
“They owe me some favors, I’ll ask of them not to do anything to the masks in return.” He said shrugging, pretty sure that they would comply with his wishes.
She sighed in the same way he had and relented. “Fine but same rule counts for me; I want to see them before the party, so that we could always fall back on mine if it turns out that they’re jinxed with sticking spells. Or whatever it is they would come up with.”
“Sure.” He said equally dismissively at her distrust. “Any preference?”
“Yes. Tell them to make Vizards while artfully bringing in the aspects of a raven within the designs, and have them be twins of course.” She said crossing her arms, a little nettled at revealing her idea.
He rolled his eyes at her specifics. “Not making any promises, but I’ll let them know.”
“… With black and red colours obviously, don’t forget to mention that. Some other colours are fine too but don’t overdo it.” She continued.
“I will and they won’t.”
“.. And with mine being more feminine of the two.” She said unable to keep another one out.
“Yes, Daphne. Anything else?” He drawled, a bit amused at how the list was growing.
“Yes actually, but I won’t strain your memory much more than I already have.” She said sounding quite serious, about what part he wasn’t sure.
“By the way, Neville do you also need a mask from them?” He asked turning to the Longbottom heir.
“Huh? Oh, no thanks Harry. I already have one luckily from the last one I attended some years ago.” He said quickly holding his hands slightly up in declination, having been caught up in watching the banter Harry and Daphne displayed before him and Hermione.
“Suit yourself.” Harry said shrugging. Making a mental note to himself to write a letter to Fred and George later in the evening.
“Harry, Hermione!” Ron said in greeting, looking up from a game of chess in which he had just demolished Dean Thomas.
“He’s all yours Harry, freaking impossible I tell you..” Dean a bit sourly, standing up from his seat across Ron and presumably moving toward some of his other friends elsewhere.
“Hey Ron.” He said grabbing and pulling another chair toward him as he indicated for Hermione to go ahead and seat herself in the now vacant spot Dean left.
“You two are back earlier than normal. Club meetings usually take longer, right?.” Ron asked as he rearranged the chess pieces that had begun to mend themselves from the latest onslaught minutes before.
Harry nodded and was glad that Ron didn’t become agitated anymore whenever the Slug Club was brought up, if only solely for the fact that he was allowed to come to the party with Hermione.
Hermione shrugged as she seated herself beside Ron with a more than friendly smile. “Progress on the party is going smoothly so we didn’t have to discuss everything lengthily.”
“Really, so when will the lessons start?” He asked gaining the slightest reddening on his face before turning back to finishing up the last pieces.
“Next Wednesday and Saturday evening. Same schedule continues for the rest of the remaining week’s up till the party itself.” Harry answered watching as Ron shifted the board into position.
Ron groaned a bit. “All Houses will be there, right?”
“Yes, Ron, all Houses, but that shouldn’t be much of a problem right? We will be practicing together and Harry will instruct us a bit. The others will be busy in much the same way.” Hermione said rolling her eyes.
“Oh, yeah I’ll be practicing with you.” Ron said simply, probably having only heard that part of her answer.
“Yeah, so..” Hermione said trailing off a bit as she didn’t really know how to respond to that.
Harry quickly decided to continue lest they all sit there in the awkward moment they, yet again managed to create. “She’s right, you’ll hardly notice the others.”
Ron seemed to come out of it as he frowned in response. “How is that possible if those stuck up Slytherins strut around all over the place.”
“Because a lot of those stuck up Slytherins aren’t invited in the first place, Ron.” Harry said calmly. indicating that he’ll have a chess match against him by moving one of the pieces on his side.
Ron absentmindedly moved one in response before speaking. “What do you mean? Surely they would be invited right? Being all Pureblood and fancy in their expensive clothes.”
Hermione shook her head for him in denial. “Daphne made up most of the list of people to invite, It seems that those who have ties to Death Eaters or Voldemort are not allowed, regardless of their status.”
“Why? Isn’t Professor Slughorn a Slytherin himself? Wouldn’t he want to invite as much of them as possible?” And why would Greengrass herself be allowed to even lead and organize it all, having a family history like her should leave her also out of it.” Ron said in a confused tone, nearly missing the move Harry made with his Pawn.
“Being a Slytherin and a Death Eater are two different things Ron, we already talked about that. As for Daphne; I don’t really know, my guess is that Slughorn has connections with her parents through either business or the time he used to teach at school here. In any case, he seems to trust them and her in response to whatever reason he has.” He replied a bit exasperated, disappointed that Ron still had a long way to go.
“Won’t she get in trouble with her Slytherin friends like that?” He said taking Harry’s pawn out with his own.
“She’s hardly friends with any of them. But she seems to be doing fine for the most part, except for Nott, apparently he’s quite the dork these days.” He responded, moving a piece is answer to his position.
“Anyway.” He said steering back a bit. “It’s largely thanks to Daphne that a lot of people like Malfoy and Nott are outside of it all. Think about that for a moment.”
Harry could see the gears turning in his head and he hoped that at the very least Ron could start seeing Daphne like he did Davis. Meaning; differently from the rest, special and an exception from the majority. It wasn’t much but would be a big help nonetheless in the end.
“And while we’re on the topic of Daphne and her family, I might as well tell you guys about it. Seeing that the both of you will come to know about it sooner or later anyway.” Harry said as the thought came to him.
“What about her family?” Hermione asked with slight suspicion in her voice and curiosity written on her face.
“Yeah.” Ron agreed, moving a piece on the board. “What it is to you?”
Harry briefly glanced around him to see whether or not people were paying attention to them or were within hearing range. Satisfied that the coast was clear he continued. “The Greengrass family have likely managed to join the Order by now. The Davises might also have joined.”
“WHAT! HOW?” Ron shouted jumping up from his seat, sprawling chess pieces all about, ruining their game. Hermione looked equally shocked but held much of her composure.
“Sit down.“ He hissed, yanking Ron down on his seat and looking around to glare at the people who had stopped to watch them, silently telling them to continue with their own business.
“What do you mean they joined the Order, Harry?” Ron said urgently in a half whisper to which Hermione nodded in agreement of the question.
He hurriedly gestured for them to calm down as he started explaining. “It’s mostly my own doing, I’ll explain, just calm down.”
“It started during one of my meetings with Daphne, she explained things about her family and that of Davis. Tracey Davis’s mother is a Muggleborn, with her father being Pureblood. Since her father isn’t very keen on abandoning them, they’ll become a target for Death Eaters sooner or later. Simple as that, Daphne’s and her family apparently aren’t looking forward to living in such a future either.”
Hermione nodded slowly. “I guess the Davis family could manage to join if they’re in such a situation.”
Ron nodded along with her. “The Davis family doesn’t have anything Dark in their history whatsoever. She also doesn’t strike me as the type to do so in secret either.”
“But how did they know about the Order in the first place?.” Hermione asked.
“Oh.” Harry said having to backtrack a bit in his story. “Apparently they were there with us at Hogsmeade when we encountered Mundungus selling Sirius’s belongings, they also heard us talk a bit about the Order.”
“You mean they spied on us.” Ron said accusingly, frowning as he did so.
“Urgh, Yeah they kind of did, but Daphne admitted that it had been mostly her doing, Davis hadn’t been a fan of it.” Harry said at least saving some of the blame from being unjustly put on Davis. “In any case, I vaguely mentioned that my parents had been in a resistance group and after that she put two and two together and told Davis whose family probably approached Dumbledore sometime later.”
“But I might be wrong about the Davis, maybe Dumbledore declined or maybe the Davis themselves still have to approach him. I don’t know since I have yet to hear more from Daphne, but it’s possible.”
“Fine!” Ron exclaimed. “Davis is reasonably trustworthy but the Greengrasses are a completely different side of the coin. They’ve only been neutral in the First Wizarding war. Or so they claim at least.”
“What do you mean?” Harry asked perplexed, noticing that Ron was beginning to let out a flood that had been withheld for some time.
Ron threw his hands up as if it was obvious for everyone to see. “What I mean is that they might as well have lied about that like the Malfoy’s did! At the very least allying themselves by making all kinds of deals with Voldemort behind the scenes during the war!”
“It’s fishy, Harry; first she spies on us, forces herself into your life with her plans, separates us all by using up all your free time and finally uses you to get into the Order so that her parents can spy on ours in return!”
“Ron, calm down, this might simply be one big misunderstanding. I’m sure that Harry could explain.” Hermione said tentatively as she laid her hand on his shoulder to push him back into his seat, giving Harry a look. To which he noticed that she too didn’t look to be all that much on his or Daphne’s side anymore after hearing the new things about her from him and the dubious but dangerous possibilities from Ron.
He sighed as he rubbed between his eyes, feeling a bit of sleepiness left from the past weeks and realizing that he should probably tell them something he didn’t want to, but had to in order for them to see that Daphne was doing positive things for him, not against him.
“I can understand that these things look really doubtful now, even more so than before but it really is just a misunderstanding, Daphne spoke the truth and isn’t deceiving me. No doubt whatsoever there.”
“Feeling isn’t always enough, Harry, the Ministry proved that.” Hermione said gently.
“I know..” He said a bit bitterly, but understanding her argument regardless, remembering how he had rushed to the Ministry to ‘save’ Sirius. Only for it to end in a disaster that could have been avoided entirely by using his head instead of his heart.
“Listen.. Since the battle at the Ministry, since Sirius died I’ve been having nightmares, a lot more than usual, they’re horrible and completely mess up my sleep. They still bother me and make me dread the moment I have to go to sleep.” He confessed in a defeated tone.
“I-we suspected as much, you still look tired, although not as much as before. Luckily” Hermione said softly in sympathy while Ron got a faraway look on his face in his memories of the battle. “But what has this got to do with Daphne, Harry?”
“Well she’s helping me with Occlumency-”
“-Occlumency!” Ron interrupted sounding incredulous. “Now she is also tearing secrets out of you?”
“She isn’t , Ron!” He said heatedly, getting sick of having to continuously defend an innocent person of false claims.
“She doesn’t invade further than the forefront of my mind, as such she can’t look into my thoughts, memories or feelings. This method works just as good as Snape’s, probably even better as it doesn’t leave me with my head splitting in pain.”
“Why are you taking them?” Hermione said quickly. “A-are you also having visions again of..” She trailed off worriedly while Ron paled a bit. Thinking that he was seeing into Voldemort’s mind again.
He shook his head at them. “No it’s not because of that, it’s for the nightmares. Anyway she told me about a different branch Occlumency can be used for when she learned of my problem.”
“A different kind of Occlumency?” Ron asked frowning, mostly in suspicion rather than confusion of the unknown subject.
“Yes, one that specializes in controlling dreams; Somniamency. I’ve already read a little about it in the book about the Mind Arts she gave me. If I were to learn it, I could control my dreams and keep those nightmares away.”
“Occlumency to ward off dreams? I.. I didn’t know about that.” Hermione admitted, sounding ashamed of not having known about it whereas someone else did.
“That’s great, Harry, but it could still mean it it’s all just an act to win your confidence in her.” Ron said in a much more calm tone, having calmed down a bit after Hermione had silently urged him to.
Harry sighed. “I know it isn’t a waterproof reason or example but I’m only telling about it in the hope to convince you two. She wouldn’t have noticed the causes had she not closely paid attention to me, not to mention that she would never have heard it from me had I detected even a sliver of deceit.”
He continued when they silently thought it over. “You guys should know by now that my judgements in people have been accurate by like.. ninety nine percent.”
“Your right, Harry, I’ll believe in your trust of Daphne.” Hermione said nodding. Likely giving Daphne the benefit of the doubt again only because of the few, but still positive interactions she had experienced with Daphne herself and seen from him.
Harry smiled in relief at her support but felt it falter a bit when Ron spoke.
“Fine, but I’ll watch out for you. In case we hit that one percent.” Ron said giving some ground. To which Harry nodded,
Hopefully Ron would come to see it if he gave Daphne more of a chance. But he guessed that something like this was better than having him storm off without even hearing a word of them.
Maybe just maybe, the hesitant friendliness he shared with Davis prevented him from completely ignoring Harry’s words for Daphne. Somewhere in the back of Ron’s head there might be a little voice telling him that he might be wrong about Daphne, that not everything could be as it seems.
Harry knew that Ron appreciated the Frozen Luck Davis had freely given to him in a sign of goodwill, he still inspected the miniature growth of his ever budding plant every morning in the hope that it would soon bloom and give him that little bit of luck.
“But I still have to bring us back to the subject, Harry. You still haven’t told us how you helped her and her family with joining the Order, you stated it as a fact unlike with the Davis family. What did you do for Dumbledore to accept them?” Hermione asked puzzled at the unanswered question
“Well so far I haven’t heard from her yet that it’s official but we might as well presume it to be. Dumbledore won’t say no.” He said evadingly for they were entering the subject of the Prophecy.
“Dumbledore won’t say no?” She asked sharing a look with Ron. “And you’re absolutely sure about that? Why? How?”
Harry shrugged and made a vague gesture with his hands, knowing that he would have to divert a bit from the truth. “Basically told her some pretty important things the Order is currently protecting. No scratch that, it actually isn’t that important, but Dumbledore will be adamant about keeping it under wraps either way.”
It wasn’t a lie. He did tell her something important that fell under one of the things the Order fought for to protect. But it actually wasn’t that important either, it was the part of the Prophecy that Voldemort already knew about. There was no harm in letting her family know that part, Dumbledore however, would likely take no chances with letting the information out of his sight uncontrolled and thus; would recruit them.
“Are you mad? What did you tell her anyway? You didn’t tell her the location of the headquarters, right?” Ron asked incredulous as he openly gaped at him while Hermione shared an equally shocked look.
“No, nothing like that, I’m not stupid. I told her some info; info she and her family won’t understand, it’s useless information, to them and the enemy.” He said shaking his head.
Hermione edged forward on her seat with a concerned look. “Harry, I don’t like saying this to you but I have to agree with Ron; what were you thinking relaying information from the Order to her? Even if it was in the notion of helping; or even saving her family.”
“You’re telling me I should just have abandoned them then? Abandoned her? Someone who was in need of help and just leave it be despite having the tools to help, so that I can save my own hide?!” He fired off frustrated. What good would having power and resources do if you didn’t use your strength to fight for your loved ones and the materials you had for support and protection?
Hermione sighed at the apparently difficult question. “No, Harry but even if the information isn’t somehow useful to the enemy, think about the repercussions if things went wrong. Just hypothetically Harry; what if things are as what they seemed to us just moments before and the information was taken from you in a false sense of security? This is also our hide, Harry.”
“It’s not like-“
“-It doesn’t matter whether or not it was important. It’s about the fact that you told somebody else, not what. It may as well have been about something else and you would have relayed it, believing it to be safe with them because they are Daphne’s family.” Hermione continued, ignoring his protests.
“Look can we stop accusing her or her family? I knew what I was doing.” He asked heatedly.
“Could’ve fooled me.” Ron grumbled unhelpfully as Hermione trailed off about it being meant in a hypothetical sense. “You’ve been raving on now but what it is that you told her anyway?” Ron asked.
Harry’s ire instantly doused and he grimaced at what was to come. “You guys are better off not hearing it. Knowing about it won’t help you like Daphne and her family.” It wasn’t a very good excuse and they all knew it. But it was all he could come up with, he felt stuck and tangled as word webs came unhinged.
“Well I wouldn’t know you haven’t even tried by telling us.” Ron said irritated.
Hermione looked a bit hurt at his refusal but continued. “Harry, this has been going on for weeks, we’re your friends...”
“That is exactly why, Hermione. It’s not worth it, just believe me.” He said almost pleadingly. He couldn’t tell them, anything but that…
“Oh, so you can tell Greengrass but not us? After everything that has happened? This is bull, I’m going to bed.” Ron simply said before standing up and walking away up to the stairs. Not shouting, not stomping, and not even fuming. Only sounding to be irritated but Harry knew better than that.
Hermione eyes were downcast as she stared at her interlaced fingers on her lap in silence.
He sighed again and ran a hand through his hair. He hated doing this, it was becoming more and more obvious to them that he was withholding information, in all this time he hadn’t answered one of their questions about the rumored prophecy in the papers, withheld his problem with his nightmares; which they now knew about much later, started Occlumency again in response to his dreams. And now again with the so called information on the Order. It was a good thing he had momentarily stopped his training, lest they also ask more about that.
They weren’t angry, simply disappointed. If he could choose, he would rather have them be angry at him, but what right did he have to want anything of them anyway.
“I’m also going to bed early, I’m quite tired, Harry, I’ll see you tomorrow, just prepare your arguments for when a talk with Professor Dumbledore comes again. He won’t be pleased.” She said softly before standing up much like Ron did and leaving for the stairs to her dorm.
He hunched forward, staring silently at the black king that still lay defeated at his feet on the ground from when Ron had jumped up in shock.
Hermione hadn’t sounded tired, but reacted more like he had failed to answer the simplest of questions after weeks of effort. Ron sounded only a bit irritated but probably hadn’t even managed to summon his anger anymore.
‘Born as the seventh month dies’ that was what he had told Daphne which naturally didn’t make any sense to her. To Ron and Hermione however, especially Hermione; it could, for they might lay the connection from the seventh month to that of his birthday, causing them to realize that it’s about him, which in turn would spring forth even more questions from them. Not to mention that they might link it to the lost Prophecy the Death Eaters lured him in for at the Ministry, it would be a bit of a stretch to link them together but better safe than sorry.
Harry didn’t want them or Daphne to know about the Prophecy; it was unavoidable, grim, and unchangeable. It should be only his destiny to face. Not telling them about it was the only way to keep them safe, even if only for a little bit. He wanted to avoid another Ministry battle from happening again, it was thanks to them that he got out alive but they had nearly paid with their lives to do so.
They would try to help him again if they were to hear the Prophecy, try to follow him again to places that would cost them their lives. He had been lucky, they had been lucky but such blessings would not last. His dreams continuously showed him the future of such endeavors with the horrifying outcome being varied upon each and every time.
He couldn’t face anyone dying again because they had to protect him and the Prophecy. He had already trained and gotten stronger; he could start fighting for their lives too instead of barely managing to keep his own with their help included.
Hopefully Daphne’s parents would honor his request and lend him the book to see, it would surely help him in both his capacity to protect them as well as his research on Voldemort’s anchoring since he had struck a dead end with both of those with only the censored books of Hogwarts being available to use, and he sure as hell didn’t want to ask the entity either.
Harry softly trudged upstairs some time later; he hadn’t been in the mood to interact with anyone else after his… fight with Ron and Hermione, if he could call it that.
He stepped over some clothes that had been thrown on the ground and saw the sleeping silhouette of Ron behind his curtains, having indeed gone early to bed.
He also felt tired and wanted to put it out of his mind, it would probably take some time for Ron and Hermione to come around again. It wasn’t the first time in their years together that disagreements caused them to be apart for some time and likely wouldn’t be the last time either.
Harry glanced at his bed in both dread and longing but decided to put off the inevitable for a little while longer by reading more into the Mind Arts.
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