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A Lesson in Sociology by Lucawindmover

Format: Novella
Chapters: 18
Word Count: 34,295
Status: WIP

Rating: 15+
Warnings: Mild Language, Mild Violence, Scenes of a Mild Sexual Nature, Sensitive Topic/Issue/Theme

Genres: Humor, Mystery, Romance
Characters: Harry, Ron, Hermione, Neville, Luna, Draco, Ginny
Pairings:

First Published: 05/11/2006
Last Chapter: 06/24/2007
Last Updated: 06/24/2007

Summary:






Someone has sent letters to six students in Hogwarts, inviting them to partake in a sociology experement. None of them, however, are prepared to be locked in a magic-barring room... A/N: You'll notice no pairings stated, that's because I don't want to ruin the tale....


Chapter 1: Harry's Letter
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A Lesson in Sociology
Lucawindmover

Chapter One: Harry’s Letter



Dear Mr. Harry Potter,

We are pleased to inform you that you have been chosen as one of few to participate in a sociology experiment to take place at Hogwarts this year. You will be required to participate in the study for a grade. You are asked, however, to use the greatest discretion. The other students are not to be aware of the study, in order to preserve the scientific method required for the experiment. Please report to room 407 in the southern tower at 7:00 pm, tonight, for further instructions. You may only bring your backpack.

Thank you for your cooperation,
Professor G.H.

Harry sighed and folded the parchment, placing it in the pocket of his robes. He wasn’t sure what to think of this letter but, seeing as it was signed by a teacher, although one he didn’t know, and he was sure to fail if he didn’t attend the meeting, he had resigned himself to the fact that he would soon be trudging up the stairs of the southern tower.

He looked down at his watch and realized it was half-passed six, and decided that since he had never been in the southern tower, he should leave early. He passed Ron in the common room, who promptly asked where he was going.

“I have to go to the library. I need a couple of books for that stupid potions essay,” Harry lied, hoping that Ron wouldn’t be interested in going with him. He used Ron’s least favor subject as a deterrent.

Ron just groaned from his place on the couch. He and Dean Thomas had been engaged in a game of wizard’s chess. “Man, I still have to work on that. Where’s Hermione? She should be here for me to copy from.”

Harry glanced around. “I don’t know. Maybe she’s in the library. If I see her there, I’ll send her here to help you. The library is closing soon anyway,” Harry grinned. “Though I’m sure she would stay there all night if they’d let her.”

Ron chuckled and went back to his game of chess with Dean, who was doing rather poorly, to Ron’s obvious delight.

Harry ducked through the portrait hole, thankful that Ron hadn’t been more persistent. The halls were mostly empty, only a few students walking in groups were heading back to their common rooms from dinner in the Great Hall. Harry wasn’t noticed among them as he made his way to the southern tower.

It seemed an eternity later to Harry, who had to climb nearly four hundred stairs to make it to room 407. The door was closed. Harry, panting slightly, didn’t know whether he should knock or just go in. He finally decided, after catching his breath, to knock first.

He knocked and waited. And waited. And waited. After a couple of minutes, he realized he must be early and decided to go ahead in.

The room was dark. Harry pulled his wand out to light the room but as soon as he did, the door slammed shut and the light came on. Harry turned to look at the door but it had vanished.

“What is going on here!” Harry shouted at the blank wall where the door had been only seconds ago. Now there was only cold, gray stone barring his exit. A burning anxiety began to churn in his belly as the realization that the door was gone hit him like a ton of bricks.

“Harry, did you get a letter too?”

He turned at the familiar voice to see Hermione Granger, sitting on a bed in the corner of the room, legs crossed. Just hearing her voice and seeing her there, safe, seemed to calm the knots in his stomach.

“Hermione, so this is where you’ve gotten to. Ron asked about you before I came up here. Where are we? And what happened to the door?” Harry asked, pointing at the wall.

“I’m not sure, Harry. All I know is I came here early, in hopes of impressing the professor. But when I came in, the room was dark. As soon as I took out my wand, the door flew shut and the light came on and I was stuck,” Hermione said and gulped. “And that’s not the worst part.”

Harry walked away from the wall and neared the bed she was sitting on, staring at her incredulously. “Well, what’s the worst part?” he asked, the anxious roiling in his belly trying furiously to take over.

Hermione pointed her wand toward a white pillow on the bed and said, “Wingardium Leviosa.”

Nothing happened.

“I don’t think our wands will work in here,” Hermione answered before putting her wand back in her robes. She looked rather defeated.

Harry tried his wand with the same effect. “Well, isn’t that just great,” he muttered, slinging his backpack on the floor by the bed and plopping down next to Hermione. He tucked his wand into his pocket and sighed. Even though they seemed to be trapped without the use of magic, they didn’t seem to be in any amount of danger. His nervousness felt as if it were falling down a notch.

For the first time, he looked around the room to take in their surroundings. The room mostly consisted of three full-sized beds covered in dark blue bedding and white pillows. There was a fireplace on one wall and two doors on another wall.

“Hey, where do those doors go?” Harry asked, getting up to inspect them.

“Well, one is to a bathroom and the other is an empty cupboard,” Hermione responded, looking down at her hands. She was picking at her fingernails. Harry knew she only did that when she was nervous.

He opened the first door and, sure enough, it was a small bathroom. It had a toilet, a sink, and a tub with no shower. There were no windows. In fact, Harry noticed that the main room had no windows or mirrors either. There weren’t any paintings on the walls, or tapestries. This was strange to Harry, for surely it was the only room in the entire castle that didn’t have windows or wall hangings.

Harry shut the bathroom door and opened the smaller door next to it. It was a tiny cupboard, completely empty. There were a few bare shelves but nothing else.

Harry closed this door as well and wandered back to the bed. “I wonder how long it will be before anyone else gets here,” Harry said, laying back across the bed. His legs dangled off one end and his head dangled off the other. He had a perfect upside-down view of the wall where the door out should have been.

“Well,” Hermione replied, pulling her knees up to her chest, “I guess it should be any time now. I mean, it’s already nearly seven. That’s what time my letter said to be here.”

“Yeah, mine too,” Harry said quietly.

Suddenly, a door appeared out of nowhere. Before Harry could shout at the person entering to not close the door, it was closed and too late. Ginny Weasley stared around the room in shock, as if she were not quite sure how she had ended up where she was.


~~~~*~~~~

A/N: So, who else is going to get stuck in the room? And how are they going to get out? Oh, and just WHO is this Professor G.H.? All these questions and more will be answered in the following chapters. I think you’ll all be pleasantly surprised…..**

Disclaimer: I don’t own anything. J.K. Rowling is the genius behind Harry Potter and those things related to Harry Potter. I just enjoy tormenting the wonderful characters she has created for us.

**This chapter has been revised. You are currently reading the second revision. Thanks and please review.


Chapter 2: Ginny's Backpack
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A Lesson in Sociology

Chapter Two: Ginny’s Backpack


Ginny couldn’t believe her luck. Independent studies were usually only extended to seventh year students. She was only a fifth year. ‘Finally’, she thought to herself, ‘Someone has noticed my talents!’ She had been waiting for years for an opportunity to showcase her skills. She wasn’t clear on what she would have to do for this sociology experiment, but she was sure this meeting would clear things up.

She trudged up the four hundred stairs of the southern tower, giddy with anticipation. She was silently berating herself, however, for cutting her time so close. She wouldn’t have been so late if her obnoxious brother had let her leave in peace. Ron was always sure she was sneaking off to snog one guy or another. It didn’t seem to matter to Ron that she really didn’t have any interest in any of the boys she was accused of snogging, but she supposed that it was just the older brother in him.

After taking a moment to catch her breath, she opened the door to room 407. The room was dark. Ginny pulled out her wand to light the room but as soon as she did, the door slammed shut and the light came on. Ginny turned to look at the door but it had vanished.

Ginny whipped around to see Hermione sitting on a bed, her knees to her chest, and Harry, sprawled out on his back over the same bed. “What is going on here?!” she shouted, sure that this was just some joke.

Harry rolled over on his stomach, looking across the room to her. She noticed that he and Hermione were sitting on one of three beds, the one farthest from where Ginny stood. Just past them were two doors. To Ginny’s left was a fireplace. Other than this, the room was empty.

Ginny placed her hands on her hips. “Well, is someone going to answer me?”

Harry cleared his throat. “We don’t really know what’s going on. Hermione and I both got letters telling us to be here at seven, and here we are. Trapped in this room.”

“Trapped? You can’t be serious,” Ginny said, moving away from the wall and sitting on the middle of the three beds.

Hermione nodded. “And that isn’t the worst part.”

Ginny eyed her suspiciously. “Well then, what is the worst part?”

Harry pulled his wand out of his robes and pointed it at his backpack. “Wingardium Leviosa.”

Nothing happened.

“Our wands don’t work in here,” Hermione said quietly, picking a stray piece of lint from the bottom hem of her robes. Ginny seemed to remember that Hermione only noticed such things as lint when she was nervous.

Ginny pulled her wand out and tried the same charm with the same effect. “Well, that’s just great,” she mumbled. She tossed her backpack on the bed beside her and sighed. “At least there’s a bed for each of us,” she noted, scanning the room. “What are those doors?”

“Don’t bother getting up,” Harry answered, for Ginny had been about to investigate. “They’re just a bathroom and an empty cupboard.”

Ginny frowned and pulled her legs up on the bed and crossed them. She leaned back on her hands, her back facing the empty wall where a door had been only moments before. “Well, now what?”

She watched as Hermione leaned back against the wall. The beds had no headboards or footboards. “I suppose if there is anyone else coming, they’ll be here soon.”

Ginny furrowed her brow. “Why would there be anyone else coming? I mean, there are only three beds.”

As the words left her mouth, the three heard a door open and close behind Ginny. This happened so quickly that no one had time to shout about closing the door. Neville Longbottom looked at the wall in confusion. Ginny watched as he laid both of his hands against the wall, one still holding his wand. “What is going on here?” they heard him whisper.

Ginny smiled. At least she hadn’t been the only one caught unawares. “So, Neville, you got a letter too?”

Neville whirled around, a look of surprise on his face to see that he wasn’t alone. “What is going on here? Where is the door?”

Ginny motioned for Neville to take a seat on the bed next to her as they explained to him the situation. Neville looked very pale when he found out that their wands wouldn’t work. He tried the same charm on a pillow before placing his wand inside his robes. He lowered his backpack to the floor by his feet, but his eyes never left it. Ginny thought he must be in shock.

For a few moments, the room was quiet. The only noise came from the crackling of the fireplace. Ginny had been in the room for nearly half an hour now, and she noticed that the logs hadn’t burned down at all. ‘Perhaps they’re charmed to never go out,’ she thought to herself. She had seen it done plenty of times.

“Do you think someone will come looking for us?” she finally asked, breaking the silence.

Neville shifted uncomfortably on the bed next to her. She watched as Harry rolled over on his back again, staring at the ceiling. “I don’t know. I didn’t tell anyone about the letter because it told me not to. Did any of you tell anyone?”

Ginny looked at Neville, who shook his head. Hermione held her head down, dejectedly. ‘Well, that answers that question,’ Ginny thought. She hadn’t told anyone either. They all seem incredibly naïve to her at the moment. Each had received a letter signed by a teacher they didn’t know and followed the instructions without question. “I can’t believe how dumb we are.”

Harry sat up and stretched his arms over his head. “I’ll be right back,” he said and he went into the bathroom and closed the door.

A moment later, Ginny, Hermione and Neville heard a fair amount of cursing.

“What is it, Harry?” Ginny called without leaving the bed.

“And it gets worse! The door doesn’t lock!” Harry shouted back through the closed door.

Ginny groaned. She had grown up in a house without locks on the doors. A bathroom just needed locks, in her opinion. “Well, we won’t come in. I promise.”

Hermione slouched down in the bed and pulled a pillow over her face. Ginny could tell she was trying not to hear what Harry was doing in the bathroom. Ginny, however, having grown up with as many brothers as she had, could hear the tell-tale tinkle coming from the bathroom and knew exactly what he was doing.

‘Great,’ she thought, ‘even less privacy than at home.’

“What we need is a distraction,” Ginny said as she unbuttoned her backpack and began digging around loudly.

“Do you have any books in there?” Asked a muffled Hermione.

Ginny grinned. She had expected that. “Nope, no books. But I think I have a deck for exploding snap,” she said. “Ah, ha. Here it is.”

Hermione pulled her head out from under the pillow as Harry came back into the room, his cheeks pink. He could tell they had heard him. “Is that exploding snap?” He asked, trying to direct attention to anything but himself.

“Yeah, let’s move over to the floor so we can all play properly,” Ginny suggested, grabbing her backpack and taking a seat on the floor near the fireplace. The others followed suit, though leaving their backpacks where they were. Ginny propped hers up against the wall and turned back to the others to deal the cards.

Ten minutes later and halfway through the card game, the wall suddenly became a door again, but they were taken by surprise and didn’t get to say anything about not closing the door. The person coming in didn’t see Ginny’s backpack and tripped over it, sprawling face first on the bare stone floor.

“Ugggg, what is going on here?” Draco Malfoy asked, lifting himself up on his hands and looking around the room. “What are YOU doing here!?” He promptly shouted at the four Gryffindors while trying to disentangle his feet from the straps of Ginny’s backpack.

“I believe we could ask you the same question, Malfoy,” Ginny replied coolly, yanking her backpack out of his grips. Ginny noticed Harry, Hermione, and Neville had all gone very quiet and very tense.

Draco pulled out his wand to curse them and nothing happened. He tried a different curse and still nothing happened. “What is going on here? Someone had better explain and quickly. Which of you tricked me into coming here?”

Ginny sighed. Of course he would think this was all just a trick. “Look Malfoy, the four of us were lured up here under the pretenses that we were to participate in some sociology experiment. Our wands won’t work, the door keeps disappearing, and none of us told anyone where we were going. So, unless you have some bright idea about how to get us OUT of this situation, it may be better for you if you just shut your mouth.”

Draco narrowed his eyes. “I will not tolerate being told what to do by an insignificant little blood traitor like yourself. You and your goody-goody little friends can just throw yourselves in that fire and rid the world of your incessant stupidity. I am NOT going to sit here quietly, locked up in a room with Mudblood over there so you can just--”

But the rest of that sentence was never heard for as soon as the word “mudblood” left his lips, Ginny’s backpack swung up to his face and connected hard against his perfect jaw.

Ginny stood over Draco, who was now laid out on the floor and looking up at Ginny with terror on his face. “Now you listen here, Malfoy, none of us are happy about this situation either. Especially now that we are trapped in this room with you. You will sit quietly. You will not insult anyone. And you will not cause me to do this again. Do you understand me? Because you won‘t get another warning.”

Draco nodded dumbly, eyes wide. A small bit of blood began to trickle down his chin from a busted lip. Ginny rolled her eyes and went to the bathroom to retrieve a wet wash cloth. When she returned, however, she found that he was unconscious.

Ginny turned on Harry who threw his hands up in the air. “What did you do to him?”

Harry shook his head innocently. “Ginny, we didn’t do anything. He wiped his lip and saw the blood and passed out. I swear I didn’t touch him.”

The door surprised them all again, and shut with a loud bang, jarring Draco from his unconscious state. Luna Lovegood, reading an upside-down copy of the Quibbler, promptly tripped over Draco’s legs and landed in the middle of the exploding snap game.

A loud pop came from the empty cupboard. Neville, being the closest to the closet, stood up and opened the door. He turned back to the rest of them, holding a piece of parchment.

“What does it say, Neville?” Ginny asked anxiously.

“It says that we’ve all arrived,” Neville answered, looking up from the paper.


~~~~*~~~~

A/N: So, they have all arrived. But for what? Will they figure out who G.H. is? Will they find a way to leave the room? And what will they do about sleeping arrangements? Keep reading and I promise it will keep getting better!**

Disclaimer: I don’t own anything. J.K. Rowling is the genius behind Harry Potter and those things related to Harry Potter. I just enjoy tormenting the wonderful characters she has created for us.

**This chapter has been revised. You are currently reading the second revision. Thanks and please review.


Chapter 3: Neville's Parchment
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A Lesson in Sociology

Chapter Three: Neville’s Parchment


Neville’s heart jumped into his throat as he watched Luna Lovegood appear in the room and promptly fall into the middle of their card game with her head in his lap. He gulped and blushed, unable to move.

“Thank you Neville,” Luna said as she sat up, straightening her robes. “If you hadn’t been there I would have hit my head on the floor.”

Neville, unsure how to reply, just nodded. He looked around and took in the chaos now in the room.

Luna was sitting in the middle of a stack of cards with Hermione asking her if she was alright. Harry had jumped up from the floor at the sound of the door closing and was now watching Ginny and Draco. Draco had just started to stir from his unconscious state while Ginny stood over him, wet rag in one hand and backpack in the other. Generally, no one was taking notice of him again, which was how he liked life best.

Neville heard a loud pop from the cupboard and, being the closest to it, decided to investigate so that he wouldn’t have to talk to Luna again just yet. She made him nervous.

He opened the cupboard door to see a roll of parchment laying on an otherwise empty shelf. He took the parchment and unrolled it to reveal a letter written to them.

“What does it say, Neville?” Ginny asked, dropping the wet washcloth in Draco’s lap and turning her back to him. Neville’s hands went sweaty as he realized everyone now had their attention on him.

“Well,” Neville started, “It says that we’ve all arrived.”

Neville looked up to see four sets of eyes on him. Draco, however, was looking at the fire and obviously trying very hard not to pass out again. He was holding the washcloth to his lip and looking miserable, for which Neville was very thankful. ‘Well at least someone is worse off then me right now,’ he thought as he turned his eyes back to the parchment in his hands.

“Come on Neville, read it to us,” Harry spoke up, stepping around Luna and Hermione, who were still sitting in the floor.

Neville cleared his throat and shakily began reading.

“Congratulations students, you have all arrived. The experiment will now begin. You will be confined to this room for the next six weeks and will have to figure out how to coexist with the people who are now your roommates,” Neville gulped as he heard a collective gasp from his new roommates. “Food and supplies will be delivered to you via this cupboard but there is no way to escape through it. The fire will die out at ten every night and be relit at six every morning. Thank you for your participation.”

Neville stopped reading but was afraid to look up. He read the parchment in his head another two times before he dared. When he finally did, he was glad he had waited.

Hermione and Luna just stared at him as if he were speaking another language. Ginny was looking down at Draco, who had passed out again. Harry came around the ends of the beds and took the parchment from Neville, reading it to himself several times before handing it back.

“Well, I’m not sure what we’re going to do now,” Harry said, lending a hand to each Hermione and Luna. Neville watched as the two girls got up from the floor to sit down on the middle bed, facing him.

“I suppose our wands don’t work, do they?” Luna asked, sticking hers behind her right ear without even trying it.

“That’d be correct,” Ginny answered. Neville saw that she had bent down to Draco and was cleaning the blood off of his face.

The idea of it confused him though. Hadn’t she just been the one to give him the bloody lip? And now here she was, leaning over him and cleaning his wound while he was knocked out. “Ginny, what are you doing?” Neville asked, unable to let it go.

Ginny sat back and pushed a strand of red hair from her forehead with the back of her hand. “Well, if he wakes up and sees blood, he’ll just pass out again. I thought I’d just get rid of it for him,” she said and finished removing the blood from his chin.

“Oh, but he’s so much more pleasant when he’s unconscious,” Harry said, rolling his eyes and grinning. Neville had been thinking the same thing.

“Yes, while I’m sure we’d all agree on that, we should all be present to discuss what we’re going to do. And though I know no one really cares what Malfoy has to say, he’s now one of our roommates and he really should be conscious for this,” Hermione said. Neville thought she finally had started sounding like herself. He did notice, however, that she twirled a piece of her hair around her finger as she spoke. He assumed it was just a nervous habit.

Neville sat down on the bed nearest to the cupboard, the one Harry and Hermione had occupied earlier. Harry sat next to him, watching Ginny trying to rouse Draco. Ginny finally decided to rinse the washcloth in the bathroom sink and then just drop it on his face. Something about the cold, wet cloth finally woke Draco. He sat up looking as if he had just woken from a nightmare. Or woken up to a nightmare, more likely.

Ginny moved over to the center bed and sat next to Luna. The three girls all sat with their legs crossed, their backs to where Draco still laid on the floor.

“I’m still not sure what’s going on here. Isn’t this supposed to be a sociology experiment? I mean, where is the professor?” Luna asked, the fingers of her left hand fiddling with the butterbeer cork necklace she wore. Neville noticed the action but failed in his attempt to smile at it.

“I suppose the experiment is about how we can get along in confinement for six weeks,” Hermione answered, fiddling with her hair again. “And I’ll bet we’ll meet this so-called ‘Professor’ at the end of it.”

“And what are we supposed to do until then? You can’t possibly think I’m going to spend six weeks locked in here with you five, do you?” Draco shouted as he jumped up from the floor. This was not a smart thing for him to do, Neville realized, as it caused the blood to rush to his head and he nearly fell over for the effort.

“I told her he was better off unconscious,” Harry muttered to Neville. Neville smiled weakly and nodded in agreement. It seemed Harry had a knack for voicing Neville’s thoughts.

Hermione turned to him and narrowed her eyes. “Look Malfoy, if you have some terrific idea on how to get out of here, you go right ahead. But seeing as it really looks like we can’t get out, you may as well put a cork in it!”

Luna turned to Draco and smiled, “I have a whole necklace of corks if you would like to borrow one.”

The others fell around the room laughing, despite their situation. Draco glared at Luna, who didn’t seem to realize she’d said something so funny. Neville was suddenly very thankful for Luna’s presence and her ability to lighten the mood without meaning to.

“How are we going to sleep? There are only three beds,” Ginny finally asked when she was finished laughing, wiping tears of merriment from her eyes with the back of her hand.

Neville hadn’t given this any real thought until now. He gulped as he realized that some of them were either going to have to share or sleep on the floor. And considering the floor was cold stone, it was more likely that they would be sharing.

“It looks as if each bed would sleep two people, comfortably,” Hermione started cautiously.

“Oh no! No way!” Draco said, interrupting her. “There is no way I’m sharing a bed with any of you. You have got to be kidding me!”

“Oh like sharing a bed with you would seem pleasant to one of us,” Neville said before realizing he’d even spoken. The others looked at him in disbelief.

“What was that, Longbottom?” Draco, having finally regained his balance, asked menacingly as he came around the ends of the beds to stand next to him.

Neville, sitting at the foot of the bed, thought about his actions for a moment. Draco was here unarmed, unprotected by his cronies, and there were no teachers around. He really wasn’t that intimidating any more. “You heard what I said Malfoy. None of us would really want to share a bed with you, either,” he said, grinning. “You probably kick in your sleep.”

Harry, Hermione, and Ginny found this to be very funny. They each snickered into their hands while Luna just watched the situation, passively.

“You’ve got some nerve, Longbottom,” Draco sneered. “And I suppose you cry out for your mummy, not that it would do you a lot of good.”

Neville didn’t even think about what he was doing until it was done. He grabbed Draco by the neck and slammed him against the wall, moving quicker than anyone suspected he could. Draco’s eyes were bugged out with fright for he’d never seen Neville act this way. Neville couldn’t remember ever having reason to act this way. But he couldn’t stand people talking about his parents. “Never again, Malfoy. Never speak of my parents again. Do you understand?”

Draco nodded the best he could, considering he had hands around his neck. Neville dropped him and then looked down at his own hands, partly satisfied and partly horrified at what he had just done. Neville resumed his place next to Harry and Draco moved over to the empty bed and quietly took a seat. Neville continued to stare at his hands.

Hermione, to Neville’s relief, decided to continue on as if nothing had happened, as opposed to berating Neville for his behavior.

“With there being three of us girls and three of you boys, I don’t know what would be the most proper way to situate ourselves,” Hermione said to Harry.

Harry seemed to think about this for a minute before answering. “Well, my thought is this. I think of you like a sister to me. You and I could share a bed so that Ginny and Luna could share and,” he grimaced, “Neville and Malfoy could share.”

Neville had never wanted to kick Harry so badly as he did at that moment. “Now wait a minute! I think of Hermione like a sister too. Why do I have to share with Malfoy?”

Hermione put a hand up before the argument could progress. “While I’m flattered that I have so many caring brothers in the room, I agree with Harry. Neville, it’s not that I don’t want to sleep with you, it’s just that I would feel more comfortable with Harry, since I know him better.”

Draco burst out laughing while Ginny and Luna giggled softly, trying to look anywhere but at Hermione.

Hermione turned bright red as she realized what she said and how it had sounded. “Oh no, that’s not what I meant! I--”

It was Neville’s turn to interrupt, and in this case, save the day. “Hermione, it’s okay. I knew what you were trying to say,” He sighed and took a deep breath. “And only for you, Hermione, would I ever sleep with Malfoy.”

This shut Draco up and it was the others turn to laugh. Even Neville smiled, mischievously, with his eyes glinting. Draco just turned to face the empty wall, obviously annoyed with their merriment at his expense.

~~~*~~~

A/N: Still no G.H.? Hmmmm, we’ll see about that. In the mean time, how are our little roommates going to handle having only themselves for entertainment? And just wait until the fire goes out at ten…..::insert maniacal laughter here::

Disclaimer: I don’t own anything. J.K. Rowling is the genius behind Harry Potter and those things related to Harry Potter. I just enjoy tormenting the wonderful characters she has created for us.


Chapter 4: Malfoy's Bed
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A Lesson in Sociology

Chapter Four: Malfoy’s Bed


Draco turned his back on the laughter of his “roommates.” He detested the way they found pleasure in his misfortune. Sure, they were all unfortunate to be stuck in this room, but Draco found himself to be the most ill-fated. The others were trapped with people that they liked, at least. He, however, was being forced to bunk down with the very people he loathed most at Hogwarts.

He was seriously regretting paying any attention at all to the letter he had received earlier that day. But he had believed this sociology experiment would be a great way to showcase his skills and earn the respect of his father. Now he sat quietly wishing he had thrown it away and hoping his father never learned of this. At least the weasel isn’t here, he thought to himself, even if weaselette is.

Draco cringed as he thought of Ginny. She had really done a number on his lip and jaw, both of which were seriously throbbing. Neville holding him up by the throat hadn’t helped matters. Draco’s stomach turned over as his hand ventured to his lip, only to come back clean. But who had gotten rid of the blood? Surely when he had passed out the second time there had been blood there.

“Who touched me when I passed out?!” Draco shouted, whipping around to face the others who were chatting amiably about one thing or another.

Ginny, who still had her back to him, answered. “I did. I wiped the blood off your face so you would stop passing out.”

Draco didn’t like the vulnerable feeling this picture gave him. “Well, I didn’t ask for your help. You should keep your filthy blood traitor hands to yourself!”

She turned to face him. He was startled at the frustration in her eyes. He immediately regretted what he said, but couldn’t for the life of him figure out why. “Next time, I won’t help then. But just so that you know, I was the only one who bothered. The others would have just let you pass out. They even suggested it. I thought you might appreciate being conscious. But now I see that you can’t appreciate anything. So surely next time I won’t bother.”

There was an ugly feeling in the pit of Draco’s stomach that he didn’t quite understand. He shrugged it off and leaned back into the pillows of the bed. “I call this bed,” He said quietly.

“Fine. You and Neville can have that one. Luna and I will have this one,” Ginny replied, turning away. Draco heard her take a deep breath and could tell she was trying very hard not to lay into him again.

Hermione stood up and moved next to Harry. “I guess that gives me and Harry this bed.”

The room went incredibly quiet for a few moments. The enormity of the situation seemed to finally hit them all. Draco peeked down at his watch. It was nearly nine already. He glanced around the room and his eyes lit on the bathroom door. He hadn’t had an opportunity, what with being attacked and unconscious, to even look at the room. While the others began a conversation about escape routes, Draco got up and walked over to the bathroom.

He went in and closed the door, thankful for the temporary solitude. The room was quite cramped, however, and he didn’t like the idea of being here for too long. The tub had no shower so they would all have to take baths. He hadn’t taken a proper bath since he was a small child and hated the idea that he would have to do so now. Another thought occurred to him. Where were they to get spare changes of clothes? Surely they weren’t to be expected to wear the same clothes over and over for six weeks.

He came out of the bathroom and caught the tail-end of the current conversation.

“I suppose we’ll have to wait it out and see if they actually keep us here for six weeks,” Ginny was saying. Hermione looked distressed and Draco noticed she was spinning a small silver ring on one of the fingers of her right hand. He hated people’s annoying nervous habits. He was sure he didn’t have any, they would have been a sign of weakness.

“What are we going to do about clothes?” Draco asked, leaning against the closed bathroom door and crossing his arms.

Harry opened his mouth as if to answer but was interrupted by a loud pop from the cupboard. Draco, who had been leaning just inches from the second door, nearly jumped out of his skin at the sound. This provided more entertainment for the others who laughed out loud at his momentary distress.

Ignoring them all, he opened the cupboard to see a neat stack of towels and nightclothes. In between the two stacks was a piece of parchment that Draco pulled out and read aloud, for the benefit of the others.

“Every evening, you will need to place your daytime clothes in the cupboard and take the nightclothes and towels. In the morning, place the nighttime clothes and used towels in the cupboard and they will be replaced with what you need. Thank you for your cooperation,” Draco finished the letter and tossed it in Harry’s lap, as he was the closest to him. “As if we had a choice whether to cooperate or not.”

“Well, I guess that answers that question,” Hermione said quietly. She got up from the bed and came to the closet door. She grabbed the stack of night clothes and began handing them out. Their names were written on the tags.

Draco immediately hated whomever decided to send them their nightclothes. The girls were given dark blue nightshirts that couldn’t have come past the middle of their thighs while the boys were just given a pair of matching dark blue shorts. They were all given matching underclothes as well, though the boys tried not to look as the girls tucked their undergarments where they couldn’t be seen.

Luna looked down at her nightshirt and grimaced. “Isn’t there supposed to be more to them than this? I mean, it’s sorta revealing, isn’t it?”

Draco felt the same way. “I think whomever designed this little ‘sociology experiment’ wanted to make us as uncomfortable as possible. I mean, we’re all out of our elements here, aren’t we?”

“That sounds pretty accurate to me,” Hermione answered. The six of them were quiet for a moment.

“Well,” Neville started, “How do we pick the order of the baths? We haven’t got long before the fire goes out.”

“I imagine it’ll be really dark in here too. I mean, there aren’t any windows. It’ll be completely black,” Ginny said, shivering. Draco got the impression that she didn’t really like the dark.

Harry spoke up. “Well, we should let you girls go first. It’s only polite.”

“Ever the gentleman, Potter,” Draco sneered. He was quickly becoming weary of Harry’s chivalry.

“Well, one of us has to be,” Harry retorted, glaring at Draco. The others were glaring at him too. Why was it he always seemed to have that sort of affect on them?

Draco rolled his eyes and moved back to his bed, tossing his shorts and boxers on his pillow. He now desperately wished he had brought his backpack with something to do. He looked over at the exploding snap cards and decided to pick them up out of the floor. He bent down to do so, vaguely aware of the girls deciding the order of baths. The longer he could busy himself picking up cards, the better off he would be, he supposed. Any time he opened his mouth, he seemed to spur some sort of dispute.

“Hey! Those are mine!” Ginny exclaimed, climbing off of her bed and moving to stand in front of him.

“I can tell, they have to be six generations old,” Draco replied. “And they’re all over the floor. I was just picking them up for you.”

“Since when do you care?” Ginny asked in a quiet voice.

Draco stood up and handed her the deck. “Well, I don’t actually. I was just looking for something to do. It seems every time I open my mouth, someone argues with me and I thought it would be better if I found some way to occupy my time. Next time I won’t bother, to borrow one of your phrases.”

Ginny watched him disbelievingly as he walked back to his bed and laid down, staring at the ceiling. In the mean time, Hermione and Luna had decided an order of bathing that put Draco at the end of the list, at no surprise to him. Hermione went into the bathroom first and Draco listened to Neville, Harry, and Luna begin to talk about Quidditch. He had his eyes closed, torn between listening to their conversation and noticing the sounds of someone bathing in the little room attached to their prison. For this must be some sort of prison, Draco thought dully. I mean, its perched as far away from everyone else in the building as possible, with no means of escape. What else could it be used for?

“Malfoy, could I interest you in a hand of exploding snap?” Ginny asked quietly from the foot of his bed.

Draco opened his eyes and looked at her curiously. “Why?”

He watched as Ginny shrugged, tossing a fair amount of red hair behind her shoulders. “I don’t feel like talking about Quidditch and you look like you could use some entertainment. Yes or no?”

Draco thought about it for a moment. Under any other circumstances, he definitely wouldn’t dream of doing such a thing. But it was either play with the weaselette, talk Quidditch with golden boy, or lay in his bed listening to mudblood take a bath. He decided to go with the lesser of the evils and sat up, straightening the covers of the bed.

“You want to play there?” Ginny asked, furrowing her brow suspiciously.

“Well, I’m not sitting on the cold stone floor so yes, it’s either here or not at all,” Draco answered, leaning back against the wall with his arms crossed.

Ginny looked as if she were going to walk away for a moment, but eventually sighed and took a seat at the foot of Draco’s bed. Draco sat forward and watched as she dealt out the cards and they began their game.

A few minutes later, Harry seemed to come out of the spell that a good Quidditch conversation usually put him under. He looked up and saw Ginny sitting on Draco’s bed and started shouting at her.

“Ginny! What are you doing!” Harry asked, drawing all eyes on the pair with the cards. Draco laid his cards in his lap and leaned back against the wall. He loved to watch their little dramas unfold.

“I’m playing cards, Harry,” Ginny answered without looking up from her cards. Draco had nearly beaten her and she was obviously trying to find a way to keep that from happening.

Harry jumped up and pointed at Draco. “You’re sitting on Malfoy’s bed!”

Ginny looked at Harry impatiently. Draco got the sense that she didn’t like to be distracted from a competition. “Yes, well it was either that, or not at all,” she said, a smile playing at the corner of her lips. Draco saw her eyes flicker to him for a second and he silently added in his head, to borrow one of your phrases.

“But that’s MALFOY’S BED!” Harry protested, the older brother syndrome breaking out.

Ginny sighed. She had obviously dealt with a lot of overprotective males in her life. “Harry, it’s also Neville’s bed. There isn’t anything contaminated about it. Do I look like I’m in distress?”

Harry just sputtered for a moment, to Draco’s amusement.

Just then, Hermione came out of the bathroom with her hair in a light blue towel. “I found a box of toiletries under the sink. There are enough toothbrushes for all of us.”

Draco turned his eyes from her quickly. Damn that professor, he thought. The short nightshirts were certainly going to make the males uncomfortable. Even though he loathed the mudblood with every ounce of his being, she was still a female and he a male. Certain responses were outside of his control.

Draco saw, though it didn’t comfort him much, that Harry and Neville seemed to be experiencing the same sort of discomfort. Both were looking at the ground, Neville with bright pink cheeks.

“Are we going to finish playing, or are you going to sit there blushing all night?” Ginny asked, pulling his attention back to herself.

Draco glared at her. “I do not blush.”

Ginny rolled her eyes and looked back at her cards. “Whatever you say, Malfoy. I suppose that color in your cheeks is just a natural response to card games then. It’s your turn.”

Draco grumbled under his breath and continued their game. It was certainly going to be a long six weeks.

~~~*~~~

A/N: So the pieces of how they are to function in their confinement are falling into place and tensions are running high. The next chapter will be up soon. Thanks for reading thus far. Please review and thanks to all of you who have reviewed. I won’t keep you waiting long!**

Disclaimer: I don’t own anything. J.K. Rowling is the genius behind Harry Potter and those things related to Harry Potter. I just enjoy tormenting the wonderful characters she has created for us.

**This chapter has been revised. You are currently reading the first revision. Thanks and please review.


Chapter 5: Luna's Observation
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A Lesson in Sociology

Chapter Five: Luna’s Observation


Luna watched the situation in front of her with a passive interest. She was more of an observer than anything else. She liked to study and read. She liked to watch people. Sometimes she got more enjoyment out of watching a situation than interacting in it. For this reason, not many people knew much about her. She seemed a lot strange and a little stand-offish to most people. Sure, in the last year she had come to know Neville, Hermione, Ginny, and Harry fairly well, but she never really fooled herself into thinking that any one of them thought of her as anything more than Loony Lovegood.

With this in mind, Luna decided since they were stuck in this room together, she may as well observe them. She reached down into her backpack which contained, among many other interesting objects, a small notebook she carried with her to jot down scenes of interest around her.

All of the girls had finished taking their baths and Neville was now in the bathroom, having his turn. Hermione and Ginny were busying themselves with brushing each other’s hair on Hermione’s bed and talking pleasantly about the going’s on at the Burrow during their last visit. Harry was sitting by the fire, pretending to read a copy of Quidditch Through the Ages that he had found in his backpack. Luna could tell he was only pretending though because he kept sending scathing glances toward Draco.

Draco was laying on his stomach on his bed with his feet in the air, drawing rude pictures on Neville’s pillowcase with a quill he had taken from Neville’s backpack. The tip of his tongue was poking out of the side of his mouth and Luna figured he must be concentrating. Hermione and Ginny hadn’t noticed but Harry had. Luna could see him straining with ever ounce of his self-control not to take his book across the back of Draco’s head.

Luna found the situation very amusing. Not that she had anything against Neville. She knew he would be furious when he came out and saw his vandalized pillow. But Luna didn’t look at a situation from only one point of view. That was boring. That was what the Daily Prophet was for. She read the Quibbler on a daily basis because it looked at situations from more than one angle. Luna had adopted this habit because it made life more amusing.

Sure, she could be mad at Draco for messing with Neville’s things. But she was more interested in what Draco’s reaction would be when he came out of the bath and Neville had exacted his revenge. For surely Harry and Neville would come up with something.

She was ever the analyzer. What had made him do it in the first place? He knew Neville would get mad and that there was probably going to be some sort of argument when he got out of the bathroom. What was he trying to distract himself from? Perhaps the pretty redhead with the wet hair and short nightshirt?

Luna smiled and began joyfully jotting down the scene in her notebook.

And what about Harry?, Luna thought as her quill scratched across a fresh page, scattering words here and there as her writing took a different turn. Why isn’t he interfering? Usually, he would have defended Neville by now and picked a fight with Malfoy. Was he trying to let Neville step up and fight his own battles? Or maybe he didn’t want to draw attention to himself since he was already bathed and in his nightclothes.

Luna came to the conclusion that both boys were trying very hard not to notice, or be noticed by, the girls with wet hair and short shirts. Though she was a little self-conscious herself, she had decided to climb half under the covers of her bed and forget about it. Everyone else’s discomfort was more evident and more entertaining than her own.

She heard the bathtub begin to drain in the other room and knew Neville would be out before long. Out of the corner of her eye, she could see Draco hastily placing the quill back in Neville’s backpack and turning the pillow upside down. He obviously didn’t want Neville to discover the drawing before he got into the tub.

Draco grabbed his clothes and went to bang on the bathroom door. “Come on Longbottom, I haven’t got all night. The rest of you water hogs have left me with no time. It’s a quarter to ten already!”

Luna thought about this for a moment. Since Draco was the last person to bathe and it wasn’t ten yet, that meant they had all sped through their baths so that he would have time before the lights went out. But of course Draco didn’t see things that way.

They all heard a muffled Neville shout through the door, “Hold your horses, Malfoy. I haven’t got clothes on yet!”

Draco scowled and leaned against the bathroom door with his arms crossed. Luna looked over to Harry and was surprised to see him smiling. Draco had apparently seen the same thing.

“What are you so smiley about, Potter?” Draco asked, narrowing his eyes.

Harry just shook his head and went back to his book. “Oh, nothing that would matter to you, Malfoy. Just go on pretending like I’m not here.”

Draco’s suspicious glare at Harry brought Luna great amusement as she tried to capture it on paper in words. She was sure Harry was up to something. And if it was what Luna thought it would be, Draco was in for some trouble.

~~~*~~~

A/N: I know that this was short but it was more a setup for the next chapter. It’ll be a couple of days before I can get the next chapter up. Thanks for reading and stay tuned. It’s going to get even better!

Disclaimer: I don’t own anything. J.K. Rowling is the genius behind Harry Potter and those things related to Harry Potter. I just enjoy tormenting the wonderful characters she has created for us.


Chapter 6: Harry's Bright Idea
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A Lesson in Sociology

Chapter Six: Harry’s Bright Idea


Harry smiled to himself as Draco pushed past a flustered Neville and slammed the bathroom door. Neville turned to look at the door, frustration clearly written on his face at having to finish up so hurriedly. Harry closed his book and placed it back in his backpack before standing and moving toward Neville.

“You’d think he’d never shared a bathroom before,” Neville grumbled as he made his way over to his bed. He was blushing furiously at the fact he didn’t have a shirt to wear. Not that he had anything to be embarrassed about, Harry noted. He didn’t have a Quidditch player’s physique but he surely didn’t need to be embarrassed. Harry noticed that the girls were all conveniently looking in other directions as they talked about the Daily Prophet.

Harry intercepted Neville next to his bed. “Neville,” he said quietly so that the girls couldn’t hear. “Malfoy drew something on your pillowcase and I can’t imagine that it’s nice. I wanted to warn you and suggest that payback is in order.” Harry grimaced at the look of annoyance on Neville’s face. Apparently, this wasn’t the first time rude drawings of Neville had surfaced.

Neville turned his pillow over and, sure enough, there was a vulgar drawing of Neville and a broomstick. Neville turned red and Harry could see how angry he was. He dropped his dirty clothes on the floor next to the bed and picked the pillow up to glare at it.

“What makes him think he can get away with things like this?” Neville hissed at Harry, pointing at the offensive drawing.

Harry’s eyes scanned the girls to make sure they hadn’t heard. He caught the words “wedding” and “dress robes” and was pretty sure they hadn’t. “Well, he’s always been able to get away with it before, hasn’t he? The teachers just let him because he’ll cry to his father if they say anything. But anyway, he won’t be able to now. Like I said, I have an idea.”

Harry leaned closer to Neville’s ear and explained what he had in mind. He had to stop himself from laughing at the way Neville’s face lit up at the plan. “But you can’t tell the girls,” Harry finished up. “They’ll try to not let us do it. Especially Hermione. You know how she is about things like this.”

Neville nodded and laid down on his bed, turning the pillow back over. The smug look on his face gave Harry a good feeling, knowing Neville was going to get Draco back for once. Harry looked down at his watch and moved over to the bathroom door. They only had about five minutes before the lights went out. Ginny had already switched over to the bed with Luna and was talking quietly. Harry thought she looked awfully nervous. Hermione was under the covers, watching the fire. Harry banged on the door as he heard the water begin to run out of the tub.

“You’ve got five minutes, Malfoy. The fire’s going to go out,” Harry called through the door.

Harry heard a few mumbled curse words and could tell by the sounds of wet feet on the stone floor, that Draco had gotten out of the tub. It’s now or never, Harry told himself.

“Ginny, Luna, Hermione, have you ever seen a wet ferret?” Harry asked to get their attention. The girls immediately looked over at him at the same time that Harry threw open the bathroom door.

Draco was standing in the middle of the bathroom floor, wearing absolutely nothing. Luckily for him, he had his back to the door. The girls, however, still got a great look at his bare bum before he was able to grab a towel.

“What the hell? Potter!” Draco shouted, though the rest of his words weren’t heard over the squealing of the three teenage girls diving under blankets to shield their eyes.

Harry left the door open and climbed into bed next to Hermione, unable to wipe the smirk off of his face. He could hear Neville across the room, laughing uncontrollably.

“Harry, how could you do that!” Hermione asked, poking her head out from the covers only after she heard Draco slam the bathroom door.

Harry busied himself with sliding under the covers and arranging his pillow. “Hermione, he was drawing rude pictures of Neville on his pillowcase, with his own quill for Merlin’s sake. I mean, something had to be done to bring him down a bit.”

Harry looked at the angry Hermione on his left and sighed. She was taking all the enjoyment out of what he had just done. “No one puts him in his place, Hermione. He runs around, acting any way he wants to and no one does anything.”

“But Harry, that bathroom door is about trust,” Hermione started, sitting up more fully and turning to look at a now lounging Harry. “There are no locks on that door so that we learn to trust one another. And look what you did! The first opportunity that Malfoy has been vulnerable to us and you betray his trust. What does that say about us, Harry? Did you think about that?”

The room went quiet. Neville had stopped laughing and Harry suspected he felt as guilty as Harry did at that moment. Draco came out of the bathroom, eyes narrowed and jaw set. He was obviously furious.

He stopped at the foot of Harry and Hermione’s bed and glared at Harry. “I suppose I deserved that because of one thing or another,” He said, shifting his weight from one foot to the other. “But I’ll have you know, when you get everything that’s coming to you, you’ll wish that it was only a bare ass in front of a few girls.”

Harry didn’t respond to the threat as Draco crossed the room and sat on the edge of the bed he shared with Neville. Harry laid back into his pillows and the fire went out.

~~~*~~~

A/N: Poor Draco, always getting the short end of the stick. This was another short one but I’m sure you’re all going to love the next one. I promise good things will come from this…..**

Disclaimer: I don’t own anything. J.K. Rowling is the genius behind Harry Potter and those things related to Harry Potter. I just enjoy tormenting the wonderful characters she has created for us.

**This chapter has been revised. You are currently reading the first revision. Thanks and please review.


Chapter 7: Ginny's Nightmares
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A Lesson in Sociology

Chapter Seven: Ginny’s Nightmares


Harry’s scream pierced the night and Ginny couldn’t stop running. She knew that if she looked behind her she would see the terrible image of Harry being tortured by You-Know-Who. She ran as quickly as she could but she was stumbling in the dark. Everything around her was dark. She was terribly afraid of the dark. It was so overwhelmingly dark that it invaded even her lungs. It was so overpowering that she felt she couldn’t breathe, that she’d be inhaling the darkness. The gloom was so thick she could feel it pressing in all around her. And in that darkness, she could hear his screaming and knew there was nothing she could do….

She woke from the all-too-familiar dream, panting. And the room was just as dark as it had been in her dream. She knew Luna lay asleep to her right and could hear her breathing, but she couldn’t even see her outline. It was as if Ginny still had her eyes closed.

She slipped out of bed as quietly as she could, intent on not waking anyone. On the floor by her side of the bed was her backpack and the only thing that could make her feel better. She crouched on the floor, between her bed and Neville’s, digging into the bottom of her bag and pulling out a little silver bracelet her father had given her when she was young. Even in the pitch black of the room, she could recognize the feel of the comforting object.

On the bracelet was a small stone, charmed to light up when Ginny rubbed it three times. She did this now and shielded the light so as not to wake the others. She stood up and surveyed the room, now dimly lit with a pale blue glow.

Everyone seemed fast asleep. Harry and Hermione had decided that they should leave the sheet between them, but they both needed to be under the blanket because once the fire went out, the room grew quite chilly. They slept with their backs to each other, Harry facing the wall and Hermione facing Luna. Luna was asleep on her side of the bed on her back, blonde hair fanned out across her pillow. Ginny chanced a glance at Neville and Draco to see that Neville was sleeping with his head at the foot of the bed, trying to be as far away from Draco as possible.

Draco, however, was laying on his back awake, his arms behind his head. He was watching her. She suddenly felt very self-conscious but decided just to ignore him. She grabbed her pillow and moved over to the wall near the fireplace, taking her charmed bracelet with her. She threw the pillow on the floor and sat on it, leaning against the wall and trying to look anywhere but at Draco, who wasn’t trying to hide the fact that he was staring right at her.

She pulled her knees to her chest and pulled her nightshirt over them. This stretched the shirt out a little but that was the least of her worries. At the moment, the silent Draco was the only thing bothering her.

After a few tense minutes of silence, Ginny couldn’t stand it any longer.

“I know you’re awake, Malfoy,” she whispered. She didn’t have to speak very loudly. Her voice traveled well in the silence of the room.

She watched as Draco regarded her for a moment in the silence. After what seemed like ages to Ginny, he slipped out of bed and brought his pillow with him. He dropped it on the floor next to her and sat down. Neither of them said a word and tried to enjoy the comfortable silence for a few minutes.

Draco caught her off guard when he finally spoke. “What are you doing up? And where did you get that bracelet?”

Ginny didn’t want to answer either of those questions. She didn’t want to admit that she had always been afraid of the dark and that her father had given her this as a way to never have to be in the dark. And she certainly didn’t want to tell one of the people she despised that she had been having nightmares. And that no matter what she did, they just wouldn’t go away.

She looked at him and saw that he was gazing off in the shadows cast by her bracelet. “You don’t have to answer if you don’t want to,” he said quietly, being more understanding than Ginny thought he was capable of.

She looked down at the bracelet in her hands. It was too small to fit her anymore, as her father had made it when she was still very young. He hadn’t anticipated that this would be a lifelong fear. The small charm was a moonstone, one of Ginny’s favorites. The light that it gave off was negligible, but in complete darkness seemed quite bright. She sighed and cupped her hand around the stone, dimming the light in the room.

“You’re afraid of the dark, aren’t you,” he asked, turning his gaze on her.

Ginny rolled her eyes. “Gee, what gave that away?”

“How about the fact that you’ve been fretting ever since we found out the fire was going out at ten,” Draco answered.

Ginny narrowed her eyes at him. “You noticed that I was fretting?”

Draco shrugged. “I’m surprised I was the only one who did. You were pretty obvious about it.”

Ginny’s shoulders slumped. “I wasn’t trying to be.”

The silence was thick for a few moments before Draco replied. “There isn’t anything that’s going to get you in here,” he paused. “Well, except for maybe me but I’ve had the chance and haven’t done anything, right?”

Ginny pondered this for a moment. “Are you trying to comfort me?”

Draco turned his eyes away. “I don’t know. Is it working?”

Ginny smiled. “A little.”

She turned her face away from him and looked back across the room. As far as she could tell, their conversation hadn’t woken anyone up yet. She had a terrible fear, all of a sudden, that Harry would wake up and start shouting at her again. It wouldn’t look too innocent to him to see the two of them up in the middle of the night, sitting in the floor. Of course there wasn’t anything going on, but she’d probably have a hard time getting Harry to believe that.

“What was your nightmare about?”

At this, Ginny whipped her head to the left to glare at him. “How did you know I was having a nightmare?”

Draco turned to look at her again. She could barely see his eyes in the darkness but could tell they were on hers. “You were whimpering in your sleep. That’s what woke me up. I thought for sure you’d wake the whole room before it ended.”

Ginny blushed scarlet and was incredibly thankful that the room was too dark for him to notice. Wow, she thought, that’s the first time I’ve ever been thankful for darkness.

“I‘m sorry. I didn‘t mean to wake you,” Ginny said without answering his question.

“Wow, for a minute there, you actually sounded like you cared,” Draco said, sarcastically.

“Whose to say I don’t, Malfoy? Just because you don’t care about other people, doesn’t mean I don’t,” She whispered heatedly.

Draco dropped his gaze to his knees. “I care about people,” he said in a rather defeated tone.

Ginny watched him curiously. “Yeah, name one.”

She thought for a moment that he wouldn’t answer. But he proved her wrong. “I care about my mother.”

“We all care about our mothers, Malfoy. That’s why I get so angry when you insult my family,” Ginny said impatiently.

Draco was quiet. Ginny regretted her harsh tone with him but she knew he had needed to hear it. No one ever put their foot down with him.

“I think whoever the professor is did something to this room,” Draco said after a few minutes of silence. “I didn’t used to care what someone else thought of me. Why is it I feel like it matters what you think?”

Whatever Ginny was expecting, it wasn’t that. “I don’t know Draco. Maybe there’s a human side inside you after all. You just have yet to get acquainted with it.”

Draco pulled his eyes up from his knees and looked at her again. “Why did you call me that?”

“Call you what?”

Draco looked away. “You called me Draco. Usually you call me Malfoy.”

Ginny blushed. She hadn’t even noticed. “I don’t know. Maybe it’s your human side getting to me.”

They didn’t talk much after this. Both of them sat quietly, thoughts to themselves. After a while, Ginny yawned loudly and Draco snickered.

“You should go back to bed,” he said quietly.

“Well, then you should too. Give your human side a break,” Ginny teased, standing up and grabbing her pillow. She moved over to her side of the bed and slipped under the covers as quietly as she could manage. Before she turned out the light, she thought she saw Draco rubbing at his eyes.

~~~*~~~


A/N: Okay, so wasn’t that worth the wait and the short chapters? I have a lot more to come. I wanted this to be a well rounded story for all the characters but Ginny and Draco are trying to take over. Don’t worry, though, we have some incredible action coming soon! Stay tuned!**

Disclaimer: I don’t own anything. J.K. Rowling is the genius behind Harry Potter and those things related to Harry Potter. I just enjoy tormenting the wonderful characters she has created for us.

**This chapter has been revised. You are currently reading the first revision. Thanks and please review.


Chapter 8: Neville's Discomfort
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A/N: Before I begin, I would like to thank all of you who have given me reviews! It really helps the process along. Feel free to ask me questions and give me ideas because this story is really writing itself. I start out with the name of a chapter and before I know it, it’s written. Really, several times I have started out to write one thing and something else just came out and fell into place. Perfect example: Malfoy’s Bed. I didn’t do that chapter on purpose but it’s my favorite so far. So, if you have any suggestions to what I could include, don’t be afraid to drop me a hint in a review. I promise to give you credit for great ideas. Nothing is out of the question in this story. I mean, it isn’t even the end of the first night yet and see how many chapters we have so far?! Thanks again. You guys rock!

~~~*~~~


A Lesson in Sociology

Chapter Eight: Neville’s Discomfort


Neville was startled awake by a quiet whispering in the darkness. He opened his eyes and was surprised to find that he was able to see. The room was bathed in a pale blue light, though Neville couldn’t see where it was coming from. Most of his mind was still asleep and longed for his body to follow. A wisp of conversation, however, caused him to awake more fully.

“I don’t know Draco. Maybe there’s a human side inside you after all. You just have yet to get acquainted with it.”

“Why did you call me that?”

“Call you what?”

“You called me Draco. Usually you call me Malfoy.”

“I don’t know. Maybe it’s your human side getting to me.”

Neville longed to roll over and get a better look at the pair on the floor, talking in the night. He knew, though, that if he were do to so, he could end up waking the whole room and causing a bit of trouble. He would roll over, Draco would notice him looking at them, a fair amount of shouting would ensue, and Ginny would probably never forgive him in the end. Neville knew she didn’t like drawing attention to herself any more than was necessary.

He wrestled with his discomfort for a few more moments while the silence continued. Finally he heard Ginny yawn, Draco make a smart remark, and then Ginny moving to her bed. Since Neville slept on the side of the bed next to Ginny’s side of the bed, he decided to pretend he was asleep to avoid awkward questions. He felt terrible that he had been eavesdropping on their conversation. He hadn’t meant to. He had just woken up in the middle of it.

Wait a minute, Neville thought to himself as he became more awake. What was Ginny doing up in the middle of the night, talking to Malfoy, no less? Surely someone should have been supervising their fraternization. He could have taken advantage of her in the dark!

But it wasn’t dark, was it? How had Ginny caused it to be light?

Just as Neville began to ponder this, the light went out and Neville assumed that Ginny must now be in bed and tucked away. He opened his eyes, searching the room in vain. Without Ginny’s light, there was no point in opening his eyes because absolutely nothing could be seen. He waited for Draco to come back to bed and even scooted farther to the side of the bed so they wouldn’t accidentally touch in the darkness.

But Draco took his time coming back to bed. Neville was just beginning to wonder if he was going to return at all when he finally felt Draco tug back the covers and crawl in beside him.

Neville, his mind trying to defy his body, began to slip back to sleep. He couldn’t help but wonder what their conversation had been about. Malfoy was the enemy, wasn’t he? He was the antagonist, the trouble-maker. Ginny had been sitting there talking to him as if he were a friend. Was this the point of the room, to see one another in a different light? But why did she call him Draco?

As Neville began to drift back into sleep, he was vaguely aware of a creeping guilt gnawing at his stomach.

~*~

Neville hit the floor with a loud thud. It took him a moment to figure out what had happened. Hadn’t he closed his eyes only a moment ago? He rolled over on his back and looked up, seeing the ceiling. The fire had been lit and the room looked much as it had last night, before the fire had went out. In fact, because there were no windows in the room, it seemed exactly as if no time had passed at all.

And to Neville, it felt as if no time had passed. Surely he had just fallen back to sleep.

I fell out of bed? Neville asked himself. He groaned and sat up, rubbing his head where it had hit the floor. He had apparently taken his pillow with him because it too was on the floor.

“It’s about time, Longbottom. Did you have a nice fall?” Draco asked, holding his side of the blanket. From where Neville sat in the floor, it was obvious to him that Draco had pulled the blanket out from around Neville, causing him to fall out of the bed. Neville rubbed his eyes, refusing to answer. He was disoriented.

“I swear, it felt like I never fell asleep,” Neville mumbled, trying to stifle a yawn.

“You know, Malfoy, there are more pleasant ways of waking a person,” Hermione said from the other side of the room, yawning herself.

Neville glanced in her direction and saw Harry. His hair stuck up in all directions and was much more messy, if possible, than it was during the day. Harry smirked in Draco’s direction.

“Yeah, but who would describe Malfoy as ‘pleasant’?” Harry joked, running his fingers through his hair to get it to lay flat. He didn’t succeed but it wasn’t for a lack of trying.

Hermione grinned in her sleepy state, seemingly too tired to give it much thought. This was the most calm Neville had seen her since he had entered the room. She was sitting with the blanket in her lap, still rubbing her eyes. Neville thought she looked beautiful, first thing in the morning, with her hair wild and her cheeks still flushed from sleep. He shook the thought from his head. Neville stood up from the floor and stretched his arms over his head, forgetting that he wasn’t wearing a shirt. After a loud yawn and a sigh, he seemed remember and noticed that all three girls were now blushing.

Neville fought a blush himself. Serves them right for looking, he thought to himself, embarrassed. Ginny and Hermione had looked away, but Luna had continued her observing stare. It made him uncomfortable. He shifted slightly under her gaze, wishing she would look somewhere else.

He had never been so happy to hear Draco’s nasty tone as he felt at that moment.

“Well, we’re all up. What now?” Draco asked, throwing their blanket on the bed in a heap. Neville noticed that Draco’s eyes were red and puffy, probably from lack of sleep. “How do we get breakfast? Just ask for it and it pops up in the cupboard?”

At this there was a loud pop in the cupboard and Neville figured Draco was right, though he hated to admit it, and that it probably was breakfast. Anxious to move from Luna’s scrutinizing gaze, he shuffled past the ends of the beds and to the closet before Harry, who was closest, could even get out of bed. Harry, he noticed, looked as if he’d had a terrible night’s sleep. He guessed Harry was feeling guilty about exposing Draco, whether he would ever admit it or not. Neville had been feeling a little guilty himself. That is, until he realized that it was Draco who had knocked him out of bed.

Neville opened the closet door and frowned. It was breakfast, alright. But breakfast was not going to be a pleasant experience.

~~~*~~~

A/N: So I said most of what I wanted to add there at the beginning. What’s for breakfast, you might ask? How about Draco’s point of view and not nearly enough food? Told you more than I should have, you’ll have to wait and see…..lol! **

Disclaimer: I don’t own anything. J.K. Rowling is the genius behind Harry Potter and those things related to Harry Potter. I just enjoy tormenting the wonderful characters she has created for us.

**This chapter has been revised. You are currently reading the second revision. Thanks and please review.



Chapter 9: Draco's Breakfast
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A Lesson in Sociology

Chapter Nine: Draco’s Breakfast


Draco’s empty stomach grumbled as he watched Neville opening the closet door. He just knew there would be breakfast in there. He hadn’t eaten much at dinner the night before because, though he was loathe to admit it, he had been quite nervous about the sociology experiment and the letter he had received about it. ‘Now I know better,’ he thought to himself. ‘I should have tossed that stupid letter in the bin for all the trouble it’s caused me.’

He was beginning to get impatient because Neville was just standing there in the doorway to the closet. “Damn it, Longbottom! What’s taking you?” he asked, crossing his arms over his chest. He sent a scathing glare in Neville’s direction.

“There must be some sort of mistake,” Neville said quietly, pulling a tray out of the closet. He carried it to the center bed and placed it on the foot, causing Ginny and Luna to sit up and out of the way.

The tray held five glasses of pumpkin juice and five bowls with lids covering the contents. Each lid had a name on it, none of which said Draco Malfoy.

“Now hold on just one bloody minute! Where’s my breakfast?” Draco shouted, rounding the foot of his bed and taking stock of the tray. “Why haven’t I got a bowl?”

“Maybe because you’re a prat and the professor knows it. Maybe you’re finally getting your comeuppance,” Harry replied. He reached over and took the bowl labeled “Harry Potter” and opened the lid. The bowl was full of oatmeal with slices of fresh strawberries scattered across the surface. Draco stared longingly at them, strawberries being his favorite. ‘Damn that stupid professor,’ he thought angrily.

He pushed Neville to the side, causing him to stumble backwards. Draco grabbed the bowl closest to him, which happened to be Luna’s, and popped open the lid. Inside he saw a bowl full of rolling maggots and rotted meat. He dropped it on the tray and staggered back a few feet, quelling the urge to retch in the floor. “What the hell was that?” He exclaimed, pointing at the bowl.

Ginny leaned forward and looked into the bowl and then at him, confused. “It’s just oatmeal, Malfoy. Surely you’ve seen oatmeal before?”

Draco winced inwardly as she called him Malfoy. Wasn’t it just a few hours ago, it seemed, that she had called him Draco and spoken softly to him in the dark? What had changed in such a small amount of time? ‘Yes, well, two can play at that game.’

“It was most certainly NOT oatmeal that I just saw. When I picked up the bowl, there were maggots in it. It was disgusting,” Draco said, shuddering at the memory of what he had seen.

Hermione rose from her bed and looked over the breakfast. She picked up Luna’s bowl and hastily dropped it. Then she lifted her own bowl, cautiously, and peered inside. She sighed in relief and looked over to Draco.

“It seems the bowls have been charmed,” she started. “If anyone other than the intended recipient of the bowl touches it, the food appears as something not edible. And while I think the image of maggots is probably just an illusion, it would certainly be enough to keep a person from eating it.”

Draco rolled his eyes. “Well isn’t that just peachy. What am I supposed to eat? This isn’t fair!”

It seemed that no one had an answer for him. They each took their own bowls and reluctantly began eating. Draco stormed over to the closet and ripped the door open to see a roll of parchment Neville must have missed when taking out the tray.

Draco pulled out the parchment and read it aloud, interrupting the others’ breakfast.

“As you may have noticed, the eating arrangement has been designed to make you work together. Each meal will consist of five bowls of food, rotating the person missing the meal. Either this person will have nothing to eat or he or she will have to share with the others. The only way for sharing to work is for someone to feed the left out participant. If the person without a meal touches the bowl or spoon, the food will become inedible. However, if the recipient of the bowl feeds the other, the food will remain what it is. It is up to you do decide the best way to proceed. You have been given all the information you need. Thank you for your participation.”

Harry and Neville both looked at their bowls in astonishment, unsure of how to react at the thought that the bowls could turn into anything were someone else to touch them.

“Wow, that’s brilliant. How perfectly awful of the professor to think something like this up,” Hermione said quietly, holding her own bowl a little closer to herself. She gulped audibly and nervously glanced at each of her roommates.

Draco looked over at Luna to see that she hadn’t even slowed her eating as he read the parchment. She had nearly finished off the entire bowl. Ginny was the only one who hadn’t touched her food. Her bowl still sat on the tray. She was staring at him intensely, as if she wanted to say something and didn’t want to say it at the same time.

“Take a picture, Weasley, it’ll last longer,” Draco sneered. He threw the parchment in the floor and stomped over to his bed, angrily. He wasn’t about to eat after anyone, especially not any of these people. For goodness sakes, he wasn’t going to get all primitive because of this stupid predicament. If he had to wait until lunch, so be it.

“Malfoy, did you want some of my oatmeal?” Ginny asked quietly. Draco heard Harry sputter and Hermione gasp. Apparently they thought she was being far too nice to him, but she ignored them.

Draco slouched down on his bed, throwing his arms behind his head before turning to look at her. He had been laying in this position last night when he had discovered that she was awake. “I’m not hungry.”

But even as he said it, his stomach growled loudly and gave him away. Ginny cocked an eyebrow at him and he rolled his eyes at her.

“Ginny, you can not give him your breakfast!” Harry shouted, jumping up from the bed where he had been sitting next to Hermione. Hermione was giving her a look that said exactly what Harry was saying. Ginny turned and glared at them, crossly.

“Well, no one else is offering. We can’t just let him go hungry. What are we, savages?” Ginny said with venom. Draco’s heart skipped a beat. Why was she taking up for him one minute and calling him Malfoy the next? He decided then and there that he would never understand her.

‘Not that I want to understand her,’ he thought, shaking his head. ‘What is she to me anyway, nothing but a filthy little blood-traitor. And here she is, sticking up for me. She has a lot to learn.’

“I don’t need your charity, Weasley,” Draco spat. “I’ve never needed it before and I don’t need it now. You may be used to handouts but I won’t stoop to that, thanks.”

Ginny stared at him, disbelievingly. She shook her head and began eating her oatmeal.

Draco rolled over and faced the wall, not wanting to watch the others eating what he couldn’t have. He was furious. Who did she think she was, offering him her meal?

“What are we going to do for six weeks?” he heard Neville ask between bite of oatmeal. “I mean, we can only play chess and cards so many times before it gets old, right?”

“I have a few back copies of the Quibbler, and a few books, but nothing really to occupy us,” Luna said. Draco heard her set her bowl back on the tray. She must have already finished her meal.

“I have a few muggle magazines from my Muggle Studies class. They’re really very interesting,” Ginny said around a mouthful of her breakfast. Draco wanted to strangle her for her lack of manners. ‘But where would she have learned manners,’ he thought. ‘Definitely not at the pigsty she calls home.’ He seriously doubted that anything “muggle” would be interesting.

“I have a snitch in my backpack,” Harry said. “If all else fails, we could let it lose in here and chase it on foot.”

Draco groaned. This was going to be a terribly long six weeks. They had nothing interesting to do at all. And he hadn’t even brought his backpack, a fact which he was highly regretting at this point. Draco zoned out a little while the others finished breakfast. They were chatting about this and that, the things in their backpacks and whatnot, and Draco had no interest in the idle chatter.

Before he knew it, there was another pop in the closet and Draco seriously hoped someone else was going to get it because he really didn’t feel like getting up. He supposed he was feeling sorry for himself, which he usually didn’t do, but he didn’t care at this point.

“Our day clothes have arrived,” Luna announced. Draco sat up and turned to see the blonde handing out stacks of clothes from the closet. He grimaced as he was handed his, a light blue tank top and dark blue shorts that would barely hang past the middle of his thighs.

The girls, he noticed, were in a similar situation with light blue sundresses too short for their liking. ‘This whole situation is utterly ridiculous,’ Draco thought. ‘We aren’t supposed to be in a situation like this. This isn’t supposed to be happening! We’re supposed to be in classes, doing homework, practicing Quidditch, wearing decent robes, ANYTHING but this!’

Draco promptly rose to his feet and made his way to the bathroom. “Since I took the last bath, I get to change first,” he snapped and slammed the bathroom door closed. He changed quickly, nervous that Harry would open the door on him again. He brushed his teeth and when he had finished, he left the bathroom and threw his nightclothes in the closet to be taken away. He felt very awkward because his new shorts were a lot shorter than his night shorts had been. He kept tugging them down but with no luck. They just wouldn’t get any longer.

A few minutes later, nearly everyone was in the same uncomfortable situation he was in and that made him feel better as he laid back in his bed. Luna sat in her freshly made bed, reading the Quibbler. Harry and Neville were engaged in a game of Wizard’s Chess. Hermione, of course, was pouring over the books she had collected from their various backpacks. Ginny had yet to leave the bathroom.

And when she did, Draco caught his breath in spite of himself. She was beautiful. The pale blue of her sundress really suited her and caused her copper hair to look as if it were glowing. Her cheeks were pink, he assumed from washing her face. He watched her out of the corner of his eye as she tucked a loose strand of hair behind her right ear. She tossed her clothes in the closet and shut the door. There was a pop and they knew their old clothes had left them. She sat down on the foot of Hermione’s bed, carefully arranging her legs so as not to show any more of herself than was necessary. They soon were busy talking about the books spread out over the bed. It wasn’t long before their conversation began to bore him.

But for some ungodly reason, Draco found he didn’t want to take his eyes off of her. He knew he couldn’t watch her much longer without drawing attention so he decided to try and occupy himself. He sat up in his bed and stretched before laying on his stomach, head at the foot of the bed. He looked down at the chess game being played by Potter and Longbottom.

“I play the winner,” he said softly.

Harry and Neville both turned their attention to him, and then to one another and shrugged. Draco supposed the professor would consider this a step in the right direction, though he himself thought it was just another step toward unending doom.

~~~*~~~

A/N: Thank you so much for your reviews. Sorry that the last few chapters have taken a bit to get up. I hope you like this one. And for those of you wondering where Hermione’s point of view is, I have my reasons for not showing you her thoughts yet. Hang in there and all will be explained. What’s going to happen next? Well, Luna’s point of view and lunch. That’s all I can say….hehehe!**

Thanks to dim at best for picking out my typos! You leave great reviews. You should all read her story “Weasley is our Queen.” It’s very engaging and well worth the time is takes to read. Thanks for your great reviews. I hope you keep reading!

Disclaimer: I don’t own anything. J.K. Rowling is the genius behind Harry Potter and those things related to Harry Potter. I just enjoy tormenting the wonderful characters she has created for us.

**This chapter has been revised. You are currently reading the second revision. Thanks and please review.



Chapter 10: Luna's Morning
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A Lesson in Sociology

Chapter Ten: Luna’s Morning


The rest of the morning crawled on without much incident, much to Luna’s initial dismay. She thoroughly enjoyed watching her roommates squirm and didn’t have much to write about when they were calmly sitting on their own. She had already been through all the volumes of The Quibbler in her backpack, and she wasn’t very interested in reading through the textbooks. Besides, Hermione had taken them all anyway.

Hermione spent much of the morning reading through all of the textbooks she had been able to pilfer from her friends’ backpacks. She seemed to fret terribly because they were missing classes and thought that if she were at least studying, even if she couldn’t use magic, then she wouldn’t be falling too far behind. She made herself lesson plans and assigned herself essays and reading. Harry and Ginny had just shaken their heads at her, knowing well her inability to leave off school work. Luna found it interesting that Hermione liked to tap her quill against her lips when she was reading. Luna did the same thing when she was nervous in a test.

Ginny found knitting in Hermione’s backpack and decided to work on that. Mrs. Weasley had always been an excellent knitter, though she used magic to do most of the work. Ginny was struggling with knitting by hand, but decided that it would do her good to know how to knit without her wand. She sat quietly with Hermione on Hermione’s bed, looping the dark green yarn over the needles, continuously. Luna thought she might be making a sock, or maybe a badly formed hat. Or it really could have been the arm of a sweater. Whatever she was making, Ginny’s knitting was leaving a lot to be desired.

The boys had played more chess than Luna thought was humanly possible within the space of a few hours. They even decided to keep a score of how many times they beat one another. Neville roped Luna into being their scorekeeper and writing down who beat who. Luna didn’t mind really. In fact, she enjoyed laying on the foot of Neville’s bed, watching match after match.

So far, Harry had beaten Neville twice, Neville had beaten Harry once, and Draco had beaten them both twice. Miraculously, in the seven games of chess that had occurred since breakfast, there had not been the first incident between Harry and Draco. This surprised Luna. She believed it surprised the boys as well. She figured it was because they didn’t need to talk much to play chess. They argued when they talked, but when they didn’t have to talk, they didn’t feel it necessary to argue. The three boys would just sit on the floor, silently pondering the chess board and possible moves of the pieces. There were usually long moments of quiet in between moves, in which the only sounds to be heard were Ginny’s knitting needles clacking and Hermione’s quill scraping against parchment.

It was during one of these still moments that Luna decided to slide down to the floor and sit next to Neville. She shifted awkwardly since sitting on the floor was difficult in her short dress. She hadn’t given the idea much thought before she moved and was now thinking it would have been better for her to have stayed on the bed, laying on her stomach. ‘Well it’s too late now,’ Luna thought with a sigh, for surely the boys would notice if she changed her mind and got back up on the bed.

“Were you getting uncomfortable up there?” Neville asked quietly, inclining his head toward hers. He didn’t want to disturb Harry’s thinking. Harry and Draco were sitting with the chess board between them, both studying it intently.

Luna shook her head. “No, not terribly. But my arms were starting to fall asleep. You know, I’ve read that when your arms fall asleep, it means snoggleracks are sure to visit you in your sleep. When was the last time you saw one?”

Luna watched curiously as Neville shrugged. He didn’t seem to have any idea what she was talking about. ‘Oh well,’ she thought. ‘That wouldn’t be the first time.’

“I’m not sure I’ve ever seen one. Aren’t they supposed to be invisible?” Neville replied. Luna could see an unsure grin tugging at the corner of his mouth. ‘He’s cute when he does that,’ she thought before answering.

“It depends on who you talk to,” Luna said. “My father spoke with a witch who claims the one who visited her was blue. I’ve never seen a blue one but my father seems to believe her.”

Neville chuckled at this, making Luna grin as well.

“Shut it, Longbottom. I have to concentrate!” Draco snarled. Apparently, Harry had Draco in a difficult situation for the first time in all the games they had played against one another. Harry leaned back on his hands with a conceited grin.

Draco’s face suddenly lit up. “Aha!” he said, moving a piece on the board. “Check and mate. I do believe that gives me another point!” And with that, Draco stood and stretched.

“What? How--” Harry stuttered, searching the board desperately for a way out of what Draco had called checkmate. He soon found, however, that Draco had beaten him again.

Luna picked up her score sheet and marked another point for Draco. “Wow, Malfoy, undefeated. And on an empty stomach, too.”

She looked up to see Draco scowling down at her. “Yes well, lunch is just around the corner and you better believe I won’t be sharing a single bite of mine with any of you.”

Luna shrugged. Draco’s scornful diatribe did nothing to her good mood. Neville seemed to have a way of making her morning, just by talking with her about something she knew about. ‘But wait a sec, how did he know about snoggleracks?’

“Neville, where did you hear about snoggleracks?” Luna asked as Draco turned and went back to the chess set. He and Harry were setting up for another match. Harry wanted badly to redeem himself.

Luna watched as Neville’s cheeks grew warm in front of her very eyes. He mumbled something unintelligible while looking down at his fingers.

“What was that?”

Neville cleared his throat. “I, uh, read it in last month’s Quibbler. I took out a subscription last year.”

Luna was surprised, though by all means, she shouldn’t have been. Half the student body had taken out subscriptions last year, the moment Professor Umbridge deemed it “banned.” For some reason, however, the fact that Neville was now subscribed to her father’s magazine really flattered her. Something in her belly did a flip.

‘Did you read the part where Minelus Thogg claimed to have been attacked by two of them?’ was what Luna was going to say next. However, somewhere along the way, the wrong thing came out. “Why did you decide to do that?”

It came out before she even thought about it, and sounded harsher than she wanted it to. She cringed at the sound of her own voice and blushed, turning her gaze away from him and down to the score sheet in her hands.

There was a long silence between them. Luna tried really hard to look up to the game of chess being played, or to Ginny’s ill-formed knitting, or even Hermione’s twitching as she read. But she couldn’t do any of it. ‘Why am I feeling all nervous and anxious like this?’ Luna asked herself. ‘I don’t do this sort of thing.’

“I guess,” Neville started, “it’s because I wanted to know what you were talking about. I, uh, got tired of not understanding half of what you’d say in conversation,” he paused, taking a deep breath. “I guess I just wanted to be able to have something to talk to you about.”

Luna looked to him at this, trying desperately to keep her heart from leaping out of her throat. Neville was still looking at his fingers, cheeks flaming red at this point. He glanced at her from the corner of his eye and gave her a nervous smile.

Luna smiled back at him happily. “Thank you Neville. You’re one of the only people I know who have actually made an attempt to know me. You don’t know how much that means to me.”

At this, Neville grinned, ignoring the fact that he was blushing like a fool. Yes, Neville had definitely made her morning.

~~~*~~~

A/N: I know that took longer than usual but I have been working on a few challenges I signed up for. If you’re interested, they’re in my story called “When Plotbunnies Attack.” Those of you who are writers should know exactly what I mean. Sometimes an idea strikes and you HAVE to write it! Anyway, I hope you stay tuned because it’s only getting better from here. The next chapter includes the first pair to feed each other….can you guess who it’s going to be? Hehehehe, we’ll have to wait and see!

Also, anyone who is interested in being signed up for an email announcement of updates, please PM me on the forums with your email address or go to my author‘s page for my Myspace address and message me there. I’d love to start an email list so just let me know.

Disclaimer: I don’t own anything. J.K. Rowling is the genius behind Harry Potter and those things related to Harry Potter. I just enjoy tormenting the wonderful characters she has created for us.


Chapter 11: Harry's Discovery
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A Lesson in Sociology

Chapter 10: Harry’s Discovery


Harry tried desperately to suppress a grin. He had finally done it. He had finally beaten Malfoy at this bloody chess game. Draco had his brow furrowed and stared murderously at the chess board, unwilling to admit defeat. But Harry had done it at long last. “I believe that’s a point for me, Malfoy. There’s no way out of this one,” Harry said contentedly, leaning back on his hands and finally letting his grin break free.

Draco scowled. “You’re right. Well, I guess it was about time. I’ve been showing you my best tricks all morning. You were bound to pick one or two of them up eventually,” Draco drawled as he began to reset the board. Harry heard Draco’s stomach give a tremendous growl and instantly Harry felt guilty. He didn’t like Draco, and he probably would never like Draco. But he did feel badly at the thought of being hungry and knowing everyone else had eaten.

‘It’s alright though,’ Harry thought to himself as he stood and stretched. Sitting hunched over the board had given him a sore neck and upper back. ’Before long it’ll be time for lunch and he’ll get to eat. I can’t let myself get all soft on him now.’

They had played chess all morning. Most of the matches were between he and Draco. Neville had stopped trying after Draco beat him the last time. Neville, he noticed, didn’t seem to mind. He and Luna had moved onto Neville’s bed and were looking over a copy of the Quibbler. It seemed that Luna was explaining something to him in earnest, as she was pointing at different pictures and bits of the article. Neville, Harry saw, seemed to be more focused on Luna. He stared steadily at Luna’s face, never looking once at the article though he nodded occasionally at what she was saying. Harry wasn’t sure if Luna noticed this at all, but he decided it would be best to keep his little discovery to himself. He didn’t wasn’t to embarrass either of them.

“Are you ready for another match?” Draco’s voice said from behind him. Harry turned and sighed. He was beginning to tire of chess for the morning.

“Maybe later, Malfoy. I have to give my brain a rest,” Harry replied, moving over to sit on the end of Luna’s bed. His own bed was full as Hermione still had books spread across it. He noticed Ginny’s knitting was beginning to take shape. He thought she must be making a scarf…or maybe a leg warmer.

“I thought so. You don’t usually have to think much, do you?” Draco said, clearing the chess set and putting it back in the box to which it belonged.

Harry rolled his eyes at the jibe, refusing to dignify it with a response. He laid back on the bed and yawned though he wasn’t tired. His watch read nearly noon though it still felt like no time had passed since they had arrived. He wished there was at least a small window in the room. He needed some way to see time passing outside of where they were.

“Hermione, you’ve read ’Hogwarts, A History’ about a hundred times. Does it mention this room in there?” Harry asked, raising up on his elbows and looking at her. Hermione’s eyes never left text she had been reading.

“Hmmm, what was that Harry?” she asked, distractedly.

Harry sat up, drawing Hermione’s attention to him. “I asked if you had ever read anything about this room in ‘Hogwarts, A History’?”

Hermione’s eyes darted back to her text, nervously, before she answered. “Um, I feel like it might have been mentioned in the chapter about windowless rooms. But that wasn’t a very interesting chapter so I didn’t read it as many times as some of the others,” she answered vaguely. She went back to her book and began hurriedly jotting a few notes on a piece of parchment.

Harry could tell she was leaving something out. ‘But why would she do that?’ he asked himself, running a hand through his messy hair. Before he could say anything to her about it though, there was a pop from the cupboard. Draco practically leapt from the floor to get to the closet first, knowing lunch was probably waiting for him. He was right. Harry watched as Draco pulled a heavy tray out of the closet and placed in on the foot of the bed, next to Harry. The smells were delicious and Harry realized for the first time how hungry he had gotten since the oatmeal at breakfast. There were five covered plates on the tray, as there had been five bowls that morning, and each were labeled with their names. Harry, he found, was the person skipping lunch.

Harry groaned and laid back on the bed, not wanting to watch as the others moved to collect their plates. Ginny, Luna, and Neville each grabbed theirs and moved over to the floor to eat. Draco took his to his bed, since Luna and Neville had vacated the premises. Harry looked up in time to see Hermione lifting the lid on her plate.

Harry saw a most wonderful lunch spread mocking him. There were baked chicken breasts, mashed potatoes with a creamy gravy, seasoned green beans, and a couple of buttered rolls. That with a glass of deliciously cold milk begged to be eaten. Harry’s stomach gave an audible growl and as he sighed.

“Harry, can you help me eat this? There’s no way I can finish this whole plate by myself,” Hermione commented as she lifted her plate. Harry sat up and scooted into the pillows on the bed to allow Hermione to place her plate between them. Harry’s mouth was practically watering at the food before him.

“You don’t mind sharing? You’ll have to feed me you know,” Harry said. He was suddenly a little self-conscious. He heard Draco snicker from the next bed.

“Of course I don’t mind Harry. I would feel terrible if I let you go hungry,” Hermione answered, pulling a fork and knife out of their cloth napkin wrapping.

Draco huffed. “You didn’t seem to feel so terrible about letting me go hungry,” he said as he cut his chicken breast into pieces.

Hermione held her chin a little higher as she made ready to eat. “Yes well, Harry doesn’t go around calling me ‘mudblood’ either. I guess that makes a difference.”

“Oh, sweet little Potter, your knight in shining armor,” Draco teased before taking a mouthful of food. At this, Hermione blushed but dutifully ignored him. She filled her fork with a chunk of chicken and held it out for Harry to eat.

Unexpectedly, Harry found that his palms had gone sweaty. His eyes met Hermione’s and a jolt, like electricity, shot down his spine. ‘What is going on with me? It’s just Hermione and a bite of chicken.’

He let Hermione put the fork in his mouth. He chewed the chicken and watched as she filled the fork with a bite for herself. He noticed that she didn’t wipe the fork off though. ‘She really doesn’t mind eating after me,’ he though. Hermione had always struck him as someone who wouldn’t want to swap spit with anyone. But then he wasn’t just anyone, was he? He was one of her best friends. If there was anyone she would swap spit with, surely it would be him. He nearly smiled at the thought.

‘No!’ his brain yelled at him as he shook his head violently. ‘This is Hermione. No such thoughts will be thought about Hermione!’

“Harry, are you alright?” Hermione asked, puzzled at his strange behavior. The fork in her hand dangled loosely as she raised an eyebrow at him.

Harry finished swallowing before he answered. “Oh yeah, I’m fine. I just bit into a fatty piece, that’s all.”

Hermione shook her head and scooped a forkful of potatoes up for Harry. Harry sighed and took the bite, keeping his eyes closed so as not to accidentally meet hers again.

The nervousness Harry had felt in the beginning began to wane as Hermione continued to feed him and herself. They didn’t talk much, for which Harry was thankful. He could just imagine trying to talk and then getting a fork in his mouth the moment he opened it. Instead, Harry listened to the others in the floor, talking about one thing or another.

Apparently, Ginny and Draco were arguing about chess.

“What do you mean? A girl can play chess just as well as a guy. What does being a girl have anything to do with it?” Ginny demanded.

Draco took a long swallow of milk before he replied from his place in bed. “I just mean to say that females are too distracted to play chess well.”

Harry, though he couldn’t see Ginny from where he sat, could imagine how red her face was getting. While she could be patient when she had to, Harry knew she could have a vicious temper as well. Being treated differently just because she was a girl was one of her pet peeves. Growing up with only brothers, she had always been teased for being a girl, as if she could help it. She usually proved to them that being a girl didn’t mean she was less of a person. And while they did usually underestimate her, they also usually paid for it in the end.

“Distracted!?” Ginny scoffed. “You think we’re distracted. I’ll have you know, Malfoy, that I could kick your sorry butt in chess any day. We’ll see who’s distracted then!”

Draco folded his napkin and laid it on his now empty plate. Harry watched, in between mouthfuls, as Draco strolled across the room and left his dishes in the cupboard. He then nodded at Ginny. “Fine then. I didn’t want to have to disgrace you in front of everyone but since you’ve called me out, we’ll play. Set it up, if you know how, but don’t expect me to go easy on you just because you’re a girl.”

Harry swallowed a last bite of green beans and moved to help Hermione clean up the plate and glass. However, when he touched the plate, the remnants of food became dark and thick, like congealed blood. Harry dropped the plate immediately.

Hermione’s eyes shot to his. “Harry, are you alright? Did it still change, even though it was just crumbs?”

Harry nodded. “Yeah, it was blood. Sorry, but I don’t think I’ll be much help with clean-up.”

She just shrugged and gathered up the plate and utensils, along with the tray the food had arrived on, and placed it all in the cupboard. Harry watched her walk from the bed to the closet in agony. He grimaced at the thought of having to sleep with her in the same bed again. Last night, he had gotten hardly any rest. Any time she bumped against him, he would wake up sharply, cursing his luck at being born a male.

He wasn’t sure when he had begun to notice her in this light. Sure, he had always known she was a girl. He wasn’t as dense as Ron had been in fourth year. But for some reason, it had never occurred to him what that could mean to their friendship. Harry was certain, however, that this must be some sort of side-effect of being in such close quarters under such strange conditions.

‘Five weeks and six days to go,’ a voice in the back of Harry’s mind muttered. Harry groaned and moved to the foot of Luna’s bed to watch the chess match between Draco and Ginny.

~~~*~~~

And the plot thickens….(maniacal laughter)! I hope you guys like this chapter. I know it’s been taking a while because I’ve been writing other stories as well. I hope you guys are reading those too, while waiting for this story to be updated…hint hint! Thanks for all the great reviews. I hope to get plenty more! So we think we know what’s going to happen in the next chapter right? Ginny’s thoughts and a chess game…….that’s all you get!

Ps: The title of this chapter was Harry’s Discovery. Which discovery do you think I was referring to when I named it? Just something to think about as you review!

Disclaimer: I don’t own anything. J.K. Rowling is the genius behind Harry Potter and those things related to Harry Potter. I just enjoy tormenting the wonderful characters she has created for us.




Chapter 12: Ginny's Triumph
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A/N: I just want to apologize for the lateness of this chapter. I broke my thumb in a sliding van door (mumblegrumble) and it’s been very difficult to type and impossible to hold a pen. I hope you all forgive me! It’s healing well so perhaps the next chapter won’t take so long. So here’s this one…hope you enjoy!


A Lesson in Sociology

Chapter 12: Ginny’s Triumph


Ginny grinned. She knew that Draco was underestimating her, most males did, even Harry and Ron. ‘Well, especially Ron,’ Ginny thought to herself. She could remember countless occasions at home where she had kicked his bum in a multitude of activities. Chess was something he had bested her in every time, though. But she took defeat well, and memorized many of his tricks and strategies. If there was anyone who could beat Malfoy, she would be the one.

Draco seated himself on the floor across from her, double checking that she had properly set the board. Ginny rolled her eyes when Draco seemed reasonably satisfied with the job she had done. She glanced to her right and noticed that Harry was laying with his head at the foot of her bed while Luna and Neville laid next to each other on Neville’s bed. Ginny smiled inwardly at the sight of the pair nervously shifting next to one another. Hermione, she noticed, had her nose back in a book on her own bed. Ginny thought Harry looked a little relieved.

“Well, at least you know how to set the board. You’ve impressed me already, I figured you were bluffing,” Draco said with a smirk and moved his first piece. The game had begun.

Ginny was a thinker when it came to chess. She liked to analyze the whole board and every possible move before she so much as touched a piece. She had noticed Draco doing the same thing in an earlier match and figured that this would probably be a very long game. After another few minutes, she made her move and the game began to pick up.

She was right to think the game would be a long one. An hour later, neither player had lost more than three pieces and their observers had grown tired of watching. Harry had laid back on the bed and fallen asleep. Luna had moved over to read with Hermione while Neville played a game of Solitaire with a deck of muggle cards.

Ginny could tell by Draco’s nervous twitching that she was impressing him indeed. She couldn’t have played chess against Ron for years without picking up a few things. She had obviously proved her skill thus far. They bantered back and forth with their pieces, losing only another few in the passing hour and not conversing much in the process. Ginny knew it would be time for dinner before they ever finished their game.

They were intensely concentrated on one another. There were a few instances when Ginny would look up from the board only to find Draco watching her face. As soon as they made eye contact, however, they would both jerk their eyes back down to the board. Ginny found herself watching him too, though. She was excited by the fiery determination in his steel gray eyes as he contemplated what move was best to make. Occasionally, he caught her looking at him the way she caught him looking at her, with the same reaction from both.

It was another twenty minutes later when Ginny saw the move she was destined to make. She hid her excitement well, bluffing frustration and moving a few pieces to make a trap for Draco. And to her delight, Draco moved right in for it. She watched the glint in his eyes as he said “Check.”

Ginny took a deep breath, thankful that he had not seen through her façade, and moved her final piece into place. She watched as realization slowly moved across Draco’s delicate features.

“Checkmate.”

Draco examined the board, shaking his head. When he finally looked up at her, he was surprised to find her staring back at him. He slowly extended his hand for her to shake, which she took without hesitation.

“Though I am loathe to admit defeat, you played well. I’m impressed, Weasley,” Draco said with an uncommon sincerity.

Ginny smiled, reluctant to let go of his hand. “I thank you Malfoy. I must say, you played well also. I’ll bet you would give Ron a run for his money.”

Draco withdrew his hand and snickered. “As if he had money to run for.”

All the color drained from Ginny’s face as she pursed her lips. They had just spent two and a half hours getting along and being pleasant. And with just a few words, Draco had managed to rip her good mood right from her body. She jumped up, kicking the board into his lap, and moved swiftly to the only private place they had: the bathroom.

She fumed silently to herself. ’Why do I let him get to me? Why is it he can say so few words and infuriate me so totally? Man, I have got to stop letting him in!’

Ginny plopped down on the toilet and propped her feet up on the edge of the tub. Sigh released a tremendous sigh and laid her head down on her knees. She knew that she needed to count. She had begun the habit of counting when she was angry ages ago, when she was nine. She had gotten into too many losing battles with her older brothers and figured she needed a way to tame her temper. So she began with one hundred and counted backwards to one. Usually, she was calm by the time she finished.

She had just gotten down to forty-something when she heard a knock on the door. “Ginny, can I come in?” Hermione’s voice sounded from the other side of the door.

Ginny rolled her eyes and lifted her head from her knees. She hadn’t realized that her feet were falling asleep in this position. “I guess,” she responded.

The unlocked door creaked open and Hermione poked her head into the bathroom. Upon seeing Ginny crouched over in defeat, she quickly let herself in and shut the door behind her. “Ginny, what happened? I saw you shaking hands with Malfoy and then kick the chess set into his lap and storm off. I figured Malfoy must have said something to you but he just shrugs when I ask him,” Hermione said. She moved over to sit on the side of the bathtub, across from Ginny. The bathroom was so small that their knees were nearly bumping.

Ginny smirked. “You mean and Harry hasn’t killed him yet?”

Hermione smiled as well. “Harry’s still asleep, actually. And it’s a good thing too. He’d have jumped all over him at your reaction.”

“Well him being asleep would explain why it’s still so quiet in there,” Ginny said before sighing again.

“But really, what did he say this time?” Hermione asked, concern evident in her voice.

Ginny looked down at her fingers. “It wasn’t even anything that bad. I don’t know why it bothered me so much. I mean, he makes cracks about my family being poor all the time. I don’t know why this one was any different. Usually, I just let the stupid comments slide off my back. I don’t even dignify them. I don’t know what’s wrong with me, Hermione.”

Hermione thought on this for a few moments before answering. “I think I know what it is.”

Ginny’s eyes jerked up to meet Hermione’s. “And what’s that?”

Hermione cleared her throat. “Well, you just spent the whole afternoon being pleasant. You know, almost like friends. And then he made that comment and it wasn’t like Malfoy was making it, it was like a friend was saying it,” Hermione paused for a second. “Does that make any sense?”

Ginny nodded. “Yeah, but when did I start thinking of Draco as a friend?”

“How about the same time you started thinking of him as Draco?” Hermione said, raising an eyebrow.

Ginny laughed and stood up. “Yeah, probably,” she said and grabbed Hermione’s hand and pulled her up as well. “Come on, let’s go knit or something. I’m having the urge to ties stuff in knots.”

Hermione laughed as well and the pair left the bathroom smiling.

~~*~~

Ginny did a very good job of ignoring Draco for the rest of the evening. She sat on the bed with Hermione, knitting and chatting amiably while Draco laid in his bed, scowling. She wasn’t about to admit to him that he had bothered her as much as he had. She was determined not to let him in again.

She was surprised, however, when dinner arrived. Her dinner didn’t come with the rest and she resigned herself to having to be fed by someone. She felt really happy though, when everyone offered to share their lasagna with her. Everyone but Draco, that is.

She shared with Harry in the end, sitting on the floor across from him with her back to the wall. She hated sitting that way, because it gave her an unobstructed view of Draco, laying in his bed with his plate on his stomach. She really hated how her eyes continuously darted to him, for what reason she wasn’t sure. But there was something about him that was so distracting to her that she had to be prompted by Harry several times to remember to take a bite from him.
“Ginny, where is your head? Earth to Ginny, take this bite, would you?” Harry said, finally beginning to lose his patience with her.

Ginny, who had been watching Draco out of the corner of her eye, jerked back to attention and Harry sighed. “I’m sorry Harry, I don’t know what’s wrong with me.”

Ginny took the bite that Harry offered and looked down in her lap as she chewed. She could feel her cheeks threatening to blush, but she held it back as much as she could. She felt like Harry could read her mind, and it made her feel sick for a moment. If anyone, especially Harry, could see the thoughts she had been thinking about Draco, they would tear her limb from limb. Hermione had been understanding about Ginny thinking of Draco as a friend, but she didn’t think anyone else would be.

When had she begun to think that though? It was this time, just the day before, when she had nailed Draco across the jaw with her backpack. And now she was thinking of him as a friend?

‘It had to be last night, when he kept me company after my nightmare,’ she thought. He had been just what she needed: someone quiet without too many questions, someone who wouldn’t pity her and make her feel like a child. She had never thought Draco was capable of such action, but he had proved her wrong last night.

Perhaps that was what was bothering her so much. He had been the perfect companion last night, and then his same old self during the day. ‘I guess no one changes overnight,’ she mused, smiling to herself.

“Ginny, seriously, if you don’t eat this bite I’m going to eat it myself!”

Ginny shook her head to get her bearings. “Sorry Harry, what was that?” she asked innocently, pulling herself from her thoughts.

Harry grinned and popped the bite in his mouth, much to her protest. “Harry, I thought you were supposed to be the nice one!”

He choked on his food at the accusation before swallowing. “Hey, I am nice! You’re just not paying attention.”

Ginny grabbed Harry’s hand holding the fork and used it to pile another bite of lasagna on his fork. She pulled Harry’s hand up to her mouth and took her bite, chewing in triumph at the look on Harry’s face.

~~*~~

A/N: Okay, so I know that wasn’t the greatest chapter ever. But I promise the next chapter is going to be my favorite yet. It was writing this transitional chapter that was so hard for me. That and a broken thumb really put this one behind, and I’m just really thankful for those of you who stuck in there and waited for me. You guys rock. The next chapter shouldn’t take as long because it’s one that I’ve been anticipating writing for a few chapters now. What’s going to happen? Well, it’s Draco’s point of view……and that’s about all you’re going to get!

Disclaimer: I don’t own anything. J.K. Rowling is the genius behind Harry Potter and those things related to Harry Potter. I just enjoy tormenting the wonderful characters she has created for us.



Chapter 13: Neville's Mistake
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A/N: I had a typo at the end of the last chapter. This one, obviously, is Neville’s story, not Draco’s. For those of you really looking forward to some Draco thoughts, they are for sure in the next chapter. But I just typed it out wrong before. I’m sure you’ll like this chapter anyway, just please don’t be mad for the misinformation! I love you all.


A Lesson in Sociology

Chapter 13: Neville’s Mistake


Neville winced slightly at the temperature of the bath water as he lowered himself into the tub. He sighed contentedly and leaned back into the water, savoring the relaxation that the hot water brought about. He also enjoyed the calming sensation of the steam on the exposed bits of his body.

After dinner, he had volunteered to take the last bath. Since they had been forced to rush so much the night before, they started off the baths earlier tonight. Each had taken their turns, and their time, but left Neville plenty of time to relax. He still had half an hour before the lights would go out.

He closed his eyes against the flickering of the gas lamp above the toilet and instantly he pictured the face of Luna Lovegood. He smiled involuntarily, sinking a little lower in the steamy water. He couldn’t help but smile when he thought of her. It didn’t matter to him that she was a fifth year. It didn’t matter to him that she was a Ravenclaw. Luna was the only girl who made his heart hammer as quickly as it did now.

Grabbing a clean wash cloth and sitting forward, Neville began lathering up and thinking of the first time he spoke to the quirky blonde. They had been on their way back to school on the Hogwarts Express. Neville had been showing Harry his Mimbulus mimbletonia when it sprayed the compartment with stinksap. He had hoped to impress Luna with his amazing herbology skills. Instead, he had made himself look like a fool. But despite this, Luna had still spoken to him afterward. She hadn’t run away screaming in disgust as he had expected.

But she had laughed a lot, laughed at Ron’s jokes. She had stared at Ron a lot, too. Neville had believed for the longest time that perhaps Luna fancied Ron. After spending time with Luna throughout the course of the school year, what with DA meetings and Hogsmeade trips, Neville began to see that it wasn’t Luna who fancied Ron, but perhaps Hermione. He never said anything to either of them because he hadn’t wanted to embarrass them. Mostly he was just glad that Luna didn’t like Ron because that would give him a chance to move in. Well, if he could find the courage to do so.

The courage to speak to Luna of his feelings for her never seemed available. He was a Gryffindor, for goodness sakes. Surely he should just be able to summon up the nerve to talk to the girl. But most of the time, he just blushed and mumbled and went on his way.

Being trapped in this room was giving him some courage, however. There was simply no where to run. The farthest he could get from his roommates was this bathroom, and he could still hear most of what was going on in the adjoining room.

Neville sighed and began to wash his hair. Luna was a mystery to most people. They thought she was a bit off, to put it nicely. ‘I think she’s amazing, not like another girl in the world,’ he thought as he rinsed off and pulled the plug in the drain. He stood and ran his fingers through his dripping hair, trying to wring out the excess water before he grabbed his towel.

His towel!

He had left his towel, and his night clothes, laying on the foot of his bed. He had not even really thought about them on his way to his bath. Draco had been giving him a hard time about one thing or another, so he had been distracted.

Now, as he stood in the tub, nude and wet with all his bathwater drained away, he couldn’t help but feel incredibly embarrassed and exposed. “Because someone is going to have to bring me my clothes. I can not go out there like this!”

Neville took a deep breath and began to work up the ability to call out to the other room. ‘Harry would surely bring them in here. I’ve dressed in front of him before so I wouldn’t have to be too embarrassed,’ Neville thought, trying to devise some sort of plan to get his clothes without everyone knowing he had forgotten them in the first place.

Just as he was about to call out to the other room, there was a knock on the door. Neville instantly crouched down in the tub, trying to be as inconspicuous as possible, though it wasn’t working too well.

“Uh, yeah?” he answered.

Luna’s voice sounded through the door, “Neville? You’re naked. You forgot your clothes and towel out here.”

Neville blushed and rolled his eyes. “Yes, I know I’m naked. I need to have those.”

“I’ll bring them in and set them on the toilet. I’ll keep my eyes closed,” Luna replied.

Before Neville had a moment to protest, Luna opened the door just far enough for her to slip in. Neville began to sputter incoherently but Luna ignored him. She made her way, eyes closed, the few steps it took to get to the toilet and back. He kept his eyes on hers the entire time, and she kept them shut like she said she would. She dropped the clothes on the toilet, though they fell off into the floor since she couldn’t see where she dropped them, and left as quickly as she had come in. She shut the door and then through it said “You’re welcome.”

At these words, Neville released a breath he hadn’t realized he had been holding. He leaned out of the tub and grabbed his dark blue towel from the floor and began to dry off.

“That was so embarrassing,” he muttered to himself as he pulled on his boxers and night shorts. He looked up in the steamy mirror and saw just how flushed his face had become. Shaking his head, he pulled his toothbrush out of the holder by the sink and began to brush his teeth.

‘What if she peeked?’ he thought. ‘I mean, I watched her the whole time and I don’t think she would have, but what if she did? She could have seen me naked!’

Neville choked at this thought and spat his toothpaste out in the sink. That was not a thought he wanted in his head right now. It was embarrassing enough that he had left his clothes and towel where Malfoy could get to them, it was worse to think that the girl he had a crush on could have seen him naked.

“Well, we learn from our mistakes,” he said out loud as he put up his toothbrush and gathered his dirty clothes and towel from the floor. Just as he put his hand on the doorknob, the lights went out.

The small bathroom was plunged into complete darkness. It felt to Neville as if someone had glued his eyes shut. He sighed and opened the door, aware of the fact that he would now have to find his way to his bed with no sight.

“Neville, are you okay in there? The lights went out,” Hermione asked as Neville opened the door and felt his way to the handle of the cupboard. He still had to deposit his dirty clothes before he could go to bed.

He laughed. “Yeah, I kinda figured that’s what happened, since it got all dark,” he said closing the closet door and hearing the usual pop.

He heard Harry chuckle near him. “Neville, was that sarcasm? Ha, I didn’t think you had it in you.”

Neville smiled in the darkness and felt forward until he found the end of Harry and Hermione’s bed.

“Ah! Neville, was that you?” Hermione squeaked.

Neville had grabbed a hold of her foot in his quest for their bed. He let go of her quickly, and put his hands on the mattress, not wanting to lose his place. “Yeah, that was me. Sorry, I can’t see at all.”

“Well, non of us can, Longbottom. That’s what happens when the lights go out,” Draco snarled from the other side of the room. His comment, while it crawled on Neville’s nerves, gave him more of an idea of how far he had to go to get to his own bed.

He inched across the floor, holding on to Harry and Hermione’s bed until the last second, while reaching out blindly for Ginny and Luna’s bed. He was afraid of over-reaching for their bed, though. He didn’t want to grab on to Luna by accident. He was embarrassed enough from her bringing him his clothes. He didn’t think he could survive another mortifying event just yet.

When Neville’s hands hit mattress, he sighed in relief and continued on his way. It was as he rounded the edge of the bed, however, that he stumbled upon a problem.

Ginny was kneeling down on the floor between his bed and hers, trying to find her backpack under her bed. As Neville came around the side, he tripped over Ginny and the pair of them promptly fell over into the floor.

Ginny squealed as Neville’s weight came crashing down on her. Both of them were terribly disoriented because of the totality of the darkness. It took him a minute to notice the nature of how he now had Ginny pinned to the floor. When he realized that he was pressing down on her, her chest heaving, her light breath on his cheek, his elbows on either side of her head…he froze.

He couldn’t help it. His mind screamed at him to get up but his body would not respond. Well, it was responding, but just not in a way he was comfortable with. This was the closest he had ever been to any girl. For goodness sakes, he couldn’t see her but he knew her lips had to be directly under his. What was he doing? He was stuck!

“Neville, are you alright? Did you trip?” Luna’s voice sounded from above him. She must have been leaning over the side of the bed. She would have known that Ginny was down there, even if no one else did.

Neville cleared his throat and came to his senses, pushing up from the floor and climbing up on his bed as quickly as he could. “Uh, yeah,” he answered, his voice cracking a little. “Yeah, I’m fine. I just tripped on Ginny. Sorry bout that Gin, couldn’t see you, you know.”

“That’s okay, Neville. I know you didn’t mean it,” Ginny answered, her voice a little shaky.

Neville pulled down the covers and crawled under them, knowing he had to be blushing scarlet. He was more thankful for the darkness right now than he thought he could ever be. He laid back on his pillow and his brain began to race in a thousand directions.

Why had Ginny Weasley made him feel that way? She was just Ginny, everyone’s little sister. She was sweat and powerful, she was hard-headed and thoughtful. But she had never made him feel…this way…before. ‘It had to just be the position we were in,’ he told himself as he settled a bit lower in the blankets. He was feeling very uncomfortable, the effects of their little tumble still lingering. He could still feel the warmth of her breath on his cheek, the swell of her breasts pressed up against him, the soft skin of her legs touching his. He rubbed his eyes with the palms of his hands, trying to rid himself of these thoughts.

‘How about the guilty feeling, huh? Where’d that come from?’

The second Luna’s voice sounded out in the darkness, Neville felt as if he had betrayed her. He hadn’t really, he had just fallen on a girl in the darkness and felt the normal male responses to such an incident. He had true and wonderful feelings for Luna. He had never even realized that he could be attracted to Ginny.

Was he attracted to Ginny? Or was it just the propinquity of the situation causing his body to react, without consulting his brain.

He groaned out loud, frustrated beyond belief at the complicated thoughts in his head.

Draco kicked out at him, hitting him in the shoulder. “Would you shut it, Longbottom? Some of us are trying to sleep, you know.”

Neville didn’t bother answering. He just sighed and rolled on his side, facing away from Draco and staring off into oblivion.

‘I’m never taking last bath again,’ Neville thought, willing his brain to quiet down so that he might be able to get a bit of rest.

~~~*~~~

A/N: So, hmmmm, right? Well, Draco’s thoughts, and invariably Ginny’s, will be revealed in the next chapter. So perhaps before long we’ll see where this new development puts us. Can’t wait to hear what you guys have to say. Please review so I know what I’m doing right and what I’m doing wrong.

Disclaimer: I don’t own anything. J.K. Rowling is the genius behind Harry Potter and those things related to Harry Potter. I just enjoy tormenting the wonderful characters she has created for us.


Chapter 14: Draco's Understanding
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A Lesson in Sociology
Lucawindmover

Chapter 14: Draco’s Understanding


Draco reached forward, his fingertips were nearly touching the hypnotizing Golden Snitch. It was right there, just beyond his reach. He leaned forward on his broomstick, inching a little closer to the object dancing outside of his range of motion. Suddenly, a pulse ran through the stadium. It was a heartbeat sound, reverberating through everything and everyone. Draco felt as if it were his own heart about to burst out of his chest. He looked around and realized that everything had nearly frozen. The others on their brooms were moving in slow motion as if nothing were happening. Draco turned his eyes to the Golden Snitch and could see it’s wings flapping like a humming bird slowed down.

‘What is going on here?’ he thought, listening to the muted sounds around him. He heard something he couldn’t place at first, a noise like a whimper.

Whimper? Who was whimpering?

He looked down into the stands and saw a blur of faces. In the center of the blur he saw one face clearly.

Ginny Weasley.

Perhaps it was just her red hair making her more visible in the crowd, or the fact that she was seemingly the only one to be watching him. Draco looked at her carefully, trying to figure out what was making her different from the rest of the spectators. Then it dawned on him.

She was the only other one not moving in slow motion.

He flew down a little lower, the Quidditch match forgotten for the moment, and saw the trail of salty tears pouring down her cheeks. She was the one who was whimpering. She stared directly at him, making an eye contact that was impossible for him to break. She looked fierce despite the fact that the tears were still coming steadily, and Draco knew that somehow he was the cause of the look in her eyes.

She mouthed something, but Draco didn’t understand. In an instant, time whirled back to normal and he was hit by a bludger in the back of the head.

~~~*~~~

Draco jerked awake. He had been having one of the most disturbing dreams he could ever remember having. He was panting slightly, and felt most definitely like he had been hit with a bludger. He figured it was because the dream had felt so real, and he had actually tensed up hard when he thought he had been hit.

He silently cursed himself for letting something as silly as a dream get him so worked up. It was after this that he realized what it was that had woken him.

Ginny was in the next bed, whimpering in her sleep. She must have been having another nightmare because he could hear her shuffling in the blankets as she had done the night before.

‘Ah, so that’s what prompted my dream,’ Draco mused. He closed his eyes but knew that he wouldn’t fall back asleep until she either quit whimpering, or woke herself up. He was hoping she’d pick one or the other shortly because he was terribly cranky when he didn’t get much sleep, not that the average person would notice the difference.

He tucked his hands behind his head and sighed. He wished he could see her. If he could, he’d just go over there and shake her awake, maybe tell her to quit being so annoying and sleep quietly for once. Then maybe he’d be able to get a little sleep in this god-forsaken room.

It was only a few moments later when Ginny gasped and Draco realized she must be awake. The room was suddenly filled with the dim blue light again as Ginny had rubbed at her bracelet. He closed his eyes quickly, hoping that she wouldn’t see that he was awake. He didn’t really want to have a repeat of the previous night. He was still frustrated at her for not speaking to him since the chess match.

‘I don’t even know what I did this time,’ he thought angrily. She had just kicked the board into his lap and stalked off to the bathroom. By the time she came out, she was ignoring him, despite his attempt to draw her into conversation, or even to just catch her eye.

He inched one eye open just a tad to see what she was up to now. She had grabbed her pillow and was heading back to her place on the floor, at no surprise to Draco. He couldn’t figure out why she would want to do that though. Why did she seem to feel more safe sitting in the floor in the middle of the night than she did in her own bed?

‘Perhaps it’s because the nightmares haunt her in bed, but not when she’s sitting in the floor,’ Draco rationalized. He could almost identify with her about the nightmares, for he counted the dream he had just awoken from to be just that, a nightmare.

He watched as she dropped the pillow next to the wall and lowered herself down to it, pulling her nightshirt over her knees as she had the night before. She chanced a glance in his direction and he closed his eye as quickly as he could, still trying to pretend to be asleep. When he did, however, he missed the smirk that spread on her face.

“I know you’re awake, Draco,” she whispered in the quiet after a few moments.

Draco grimaced inwardly. He continued to feign sleep, not quite ready to face her after the dream he had endured. He knew, however, that she wouldn’t buy it and finally sighed.

He sat up in the bed and grabbed his pillow, moving to his place next to her, much in the same way he had the night before. “It’s your fault you know,” he said after he had gotten settled.

Ginny shot a curious glance at him. “What’s my fault?”

“That I’m awake. It’s your fault. You were having nightmares again, weren’t you?” Draco asked.

She paused and looked down at her fingers before answering. “Yes, I was.”

The room was quiet for a few moments. Draco distinctly heard Harry snort loudly in his sleep. He wanted nothing more to laugh out loud at that moment, but didn’t dare in fear of waking anyone else. Were he to be found sitting in the dark, in the floor, with Ginny, the consequences would certainly be dire. He saw Harry’s wrath at Ginny just sitting on his bed, in the middle of the evening, with everyone else awake and the lights on. He dreaded to think of what he would be like if he woke now.

“Are you ever going to tell me what they’re about?” he asked.

Ginny looked at him incredulously. “What, and have you use it against me for the rest of my life? I don’t think so.”

“What makes you think I’d do that?” Draco asked softly, more softly than he had meant to. He couldn’t understand why his feelings had just been hurt. She was right. Well, had it been anyone else, she would have been right. But right now, he had no desire to treat her like he did everyone else, and that thought disturbed him.

She placed a finger on her chin and looked up at the ceiling. Draco knew she was about to make a very sarcastic remark and she proved his thinking right. “Hmmm, let’s see here Draco. How about we go with past performance as an answer.”

Draco nodded. “Fair enough. Fair enough. You win this round.”

Ginny smirked. “I win every round, certainly you’ve realized that by now.”

“Answer something for me,” Draco said in a serious tone that grabbed Ginny’s attention.

“Hmmm?” Ginny responded.

“Why do you call me Draco at night, and Malfoy during the day?”

Draco watched as Ginny closed her eyes and leaned her head back against the wall. He was afraid, for a moment, that she wouldn’t answer.

“I’m not sure, really. You’re different when it’s just us. You’re ‘human’ I guess,” she said with a playful grin, but then she sighed. “And during the day, you say hurtful things and remind me that you’re still the same Malfoy that you’ve always been. I don’t even think you realize what you’re saying sometimes, because you’re so used to saying it.”

At this, Draco hung his head. So that’s why she had stopped talking to him today. He must have said something that offended her. That’s why he had the dream about her, he felt guilty.

Guilt was not something he was used to feeling. He had no idea how to cope with it. He was not in the habit of apologizing either, and didn’t think now was any time to start. So he decided to chance the subject.

“What was your dream about. I promise, you can trust me,” he said, turning his gaze on her.

Ginny laughed softly. He liked it when she laughed like that, though he shook the thought from his head because it confused him.

“Yeah, I trust you about as far as I can throw you, Draco.”

Draco’s mouth twisted up in a mischievous grin. “Throw me, huh?”

The smile melted slowly off of Ginny’s face as she saw the glint in Draco’s eyes. “Yes, throw you. Why are you looking at me like that?”

Draco suddenly jumped up and sat down on Ginny. This forced her knees to pop free from her nightshirt and lay flat as he made himself comfortable in her lap.

“Draco, what are you doing!?” Ginny hissed, trying desperately to push him off of her.

He crossed his arms and looked her in the eye, defiantly. “Throw me.”

“What?”

“You heard me, I want you to throw me.”

“You can’t be serious.”

“I most certainly am. I want to see how far you can trust me.”

Ginny crossed her arms as well and matched his defiant look. They sat this way for a few moments, staring each other in the eye. It was a battle of wills. He knew that she couldn’t throw him, and that he was probably starting to make her feet go numb. But he wasn’t about to back down, and apparently, neither was she.

“I dream about Harry mostly, being killed my You-Know-Who. Other times it’s about Tom Riddle, in the Chamber of Secrets. They’re terrifying dreams and I can’t escape them,” Ginny turned her eyes away from his and looked down to the floor, her hands falling to her sides. “I’ve not told anyone about them. I didn’t want anyone to know.”

Draco slid off of Ginny’s lap and back to his pillow. He didn’t know what to say. He felt like he should say something friendly and comforting, but he didn’t know how to. He wasn’t used to being comforting, or even wanting to be comforting.

Ginny laughed at the silence, a laugh that had no joy or happiness to it. It was a dry laugh and one that Draco disliked immediately. “I’m sure that’ll bring a great laugh around the Slytherin common room. One of the brave Gryffindors, not only afraid of the dark but also having nightmares about You-Know-Who.”

Draco peered at her in the semi-light. She looked genuinely disappointed in herself. That bothered him in ways he didn’t want to admit.

“No one else will ever know about what you’ve told me here tonight.”

Ginny turned her eyes to his and for once, he could tell that she didn’t doubt him. There was trust there, something he was very unused to seeing. She chanced a smile and Draco’s heart flipped.

For some reason, he was instantly angry with himself. He was making himself vulnerable, he just knew it. Perhaps she had some sort of hidden agenda and was working for Harry’s purposes. She was smart enough to pull it off. He new that she was a habitué of the library and had a very mean bat-bogey hex. Surely she was capable, but was that what she was doing?

It was as if Ginny could read his thoughts, and for a moment Draco thought perhaps she was skilled in Legilimency.

“Harry didn’t put me up to this you know,” Ginny said. She maintained his eye contact ask she spoke. “I wouldn’t do that sort of thing. I don’t know what’s going on here. And I don’t know why I’m starting to trust you, or why I’m starting to see myself being friends with you,” she paused, brushing a stray hair from her eye. “But I do. And I won’t question your motives if you won’t question mine.”

At this, she stuck out her right hand to him. “Shake?”

He only hesitated for a second, and then took her hand in his. Her hands felt so little in his own, and they were callused from real work. He gripped it tightly and shook her hand, a light blush creeping into his cheeks.

“You have a deal, Ginny.”

~~~*~~~

A/N: So you love me and hate me right now, I know. I just hope you love me enough to keep reading…lol! I want to thank everyone who has reviewed and stuck with me, particularly my friend Jessamina, who reviews everything I write always! If there are any H/Hr shippers out there looking for a good story, hit her up and read “What the Heart Wants.” It’s a great story.

Anywho, please read some of my other new stories if you get a chance. We’re going to get a little more information from our Professor in the next chapter, and a little insight to how Luna’s feeling these days. Stay tuned!

Disclaimer: I don’t own anything. J.K. Rowling is the genius behind Harry Potter and those things related to Harry Potter. I just enjoy tormenting the wonderful characters she has created for us.

Chapter 15: Luna's Answers
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A Lesson in Sociology
Lucawindmover

Chapter 15: Luna’s Questions


The morning began much as the morning before had, too swiftly to those who had been asleep. Luna yawned and stretched under her warm covers as the fire lit itself. Beside her, Ginny rolled over on her stomach and pulled her pillow over her head, muttering something about it being too early. Luna smiled softly, figuring Ginny must have been bothered by valiganting snobules in her sleep. And if they had, at least they hadn’t bothered her too, for Luna felt quite well rested.

She sat up and stretched again, reveling in the feeling of lengthening her muscles first thing in the morning. She looked around the room to take in the sights of her roommates waking up. Draco, like Ginny, had simply rolled over and pulled his covers over his head. Neville seemed to be trying to do the same thing but Draco had a better grip on the blankets and Neville just couldn’t get them to stretch far enough. He resigned himself to the fact that he wasn’t going to win and settled for following Ginny’s suit and just hid under his pillow. On Luna’s other side, Hermione had already climbed out of bed and headed to the bathroom. Harry was sitting up and rubbing both of his eyes with his hands. His hair was in a mad disarray, not too different from the usual, and his cheek still had creases from the cover of his pillow.

There was a pop in the cupboard, and since no one else moved to get it, Luna slid out of bed. The stone floor was nearly unbearably cold as she walked over to the closet to retrieve what she thought would be breakfast.

She was wrong.

In the cupboard were a set of six notebooks and a long roll of parchment. Luna pulled out the parchment and began to read it to herself. She had made it half way through the sheet when Harry realized where he was for the first time.

“Is that breakfast already?” Harry asked, pulling his pillow into his lap.

Luna shook her head. “No, this is our first assignment, or so it says. Here, let me pass out the notebooks while we wait for Hermione,” Luna said and she carried the notebooks, each labeled with one of their names, to their prospective owners.

“It is to bloody early for this!” Draco cried from under the covers as Luna deposited his notebook on his rear.

Luna handed Neville his notebook for he had pulled his head from under his pillow at the sound of her voice. She flushed slightly at the grin on his face. “Yes, and while I agree, the Professor’s note said we’ll have no breakfast until the deed is done.”

She gave Harry his and sat down on her side of her bed, prodding Ginny in the side with her notebook. Ginny stirred quickly, as she was very ticklish, and groaned. “Come on Ginny, time for a lesson.”

“A lesson? What have I missed?” Hermione asked as she came from the bathroom. Her cheeks were bright pink and Luna guessed she had washed her face to wake herself up.

Harry chuckled and tossed his pillow at her. “Nothing yet, don’t fret. Just take this notebook and sit down. Luna’s going to read us the parchment.”

Hermione picked Harry’s pillow up from the floor and tossed it back at him. She grinned as she sat down beside him on their bed and picked up the notebook with her name on it.

Luna cleared her throat before she began to read. “Good morning, participants. Today you will have your first of many assignments. In order to earn your breakfast, you must each take the following quiz. This ten question quiz will be used to test your level of assertiveness. One participant will need to read the questions out loud while the others write their answers in their books. At the end of the quiz, the books will calculate your score and you will need to read it’s response to your fellow participants. Please note that these books will know if you have not read their analysis aloud to the others so if you wish to have any meals today, you will comply. When the test is complete, please place all of your notebooks back in the cupboard and your breakfast will arrive. Thank you for your cooperation.”

“You know, it’s bloody brilliant how this so-called professor thanks us for our cooperation every time. He doesn’t give us a lot of choices, does he? ‘Do this or else you don’t get a meal, but oh yeah, thanks for cooperating.’ That just grates my nerves!” Draco complained, finally pulling his head from his covers and sitting up.

Ginny and Neville both laughed. “You make a decent point there, Malfoy,” Neville said in agreement.

“Does anyone else want to read the questions, or have I been volunteered?” Luna asked, looking up from the parchment. No one else jumped at the idea and Luna figured it was just as well.

“Were there any quills in the cupboard or are we supposed to answer these questions in blood?” Draco said, flipping to the first page of his book.

Hermione, being closest to the closet, check and found a small box holding six self-inking quills and quickly passed them out.

“Are you ready?” Luna asked before she started. She heard sounds of agreement, though some were rather hesitant, and began.

“All questions will be answered with one of the following: almost never, rarely, sometimes, quite often, or most of the time. Question one: I avoid dealing with situations involving confrontation,” Luna said and looked up from the parchment to see her roommates jotting their answers. She leaned forward and put her answer, sometimes, on the first page of her book.

Draco grumbled. “This is so stupid. What is the point of it anyway?”

“I guess we’ll find out when the books tally our scores,” Hermione answered, looking to Luna for the next question.

Luna asked and answered another five questions, all of which were nearly the same question, just rephrased. “Question six: Opinionated people make me uncomfortable.”

Luna could see Neville out of the corner of her eye. He was squirming a little, and had been since the beginning of the quiz. She had a sneaking suspicion that Neville wouldn’t be found to be very assertive at all. It didn’t matter to her, but it seemed to make him nervous. She knew that he wasn’t going to want to read his results out loud.

“Opinionated people, what a load of dung. If I was afraid of opinionated people, I’d have died being in the same room with you all,” Draco complained.

Ginny laughed. “I suppose you have no opinions then, do you Malfoy?”

Luna saw the look that passed between the two, but didn’t comment on it.

“Well, weaselette, as a matter of fact--”

“If you two don’t quit, we’ll never get breakfast and I’m getting hungry,” Harry interjected. He glared at Draco who just smirked at him in return. Ginny had to stifle a laugh, which was not lost upon Luna.

Luna continued and they answered another few questions. When she finally asked the last one, they all breathed a sigh of relief. They had been boring questions and had taken longer than it should have, due to the running commentary provided by Draco.

“Well, I guess the notebooks will do the rest,” Luna said, rolling the parchment and looking down at her page. The answers had begun to swirl around and new letters were beginning to appear. After a moment, everything she had written had turned in to a whole new paragraph for her to read out loud. “Who wants to go first?”

Luna looked up, and to no one’s surprise, there weren’t any volunteers. She sighed and began to read her paragraph. “According to your results on the Assertiveness Test, you seem to be doing relatively well in standing up for yourself. In most day-to-day situations, you possess the necessary skills and inner-confidence to tell others what you need, think or want. There may be the occasional moment, however, when you find yourself hesitating to declare your view on things. Why not take some steps to improve your ability to stand up for yourself, since you've already mastered the basics? You have nothing to lose, but plenty to gain.”

Draco scoffed. “Ha, a notebook could tell you that from answering just a few stupid questions? This is so ridiculous.”

“Why don’t you read yours next then, Malfoy?” Luna commented. She looked down at her answer again, amused at how closely the quiz had pinned her. She had never really thought about being assertive, or not being assertive. She just was who she was, regardless.

Draco glared in her direction, but she didn’t notice as her eyes were still on her own answer. When she heard him start to read his, she pulled her eyes away. “According to your results on the Assertiveness Test, you are doing quite well in the assertiveness department. Somewhere along the line, you developed the necessary skills and self-confidence to stand your ground, whether it's with family, friends, or colleagues at work or school. You know that you deserve respect from others, and the way you behave encourages others to treat you accordingly. As long as you show as much respect for others as you expect in return, you are on the right track.”

Draco paused. “Well, that sums it up pretty well now, doesn’t it?” he said, haughtily.

“Um, Malfoy, did you miss that part at the end then? About respecting others in return?” Hermione asked, one eyebrow raised. Luna had been thinking the same thing, but Hermione had beaten her to the punch.

Draco rolled his eyes. “Yeah, well what does a piece of paper know anyway.”

Luna could hear Harry’s stomach growl from the bed next to her. He interrupted Hermione and Draco’s argument to go ahead and read his answer as well. His gave the same answer as Luna’s had. Hermione’s and Ginny’s were the same as well. They were still all read aloud, however, because they all really wanted breakfast at this point. The only person who hadn’t yet read their answer was Neville.

Luna looked to Neville, who looked as if he wished he could disappear. “Come on, Neville. After you finish reading yours we’ll be able to have some food.”

Neville sighed. Luna hated the pained look on his face and wished like anything she could do something to make it go away. He finally just smiled a weak smile at Luna and read his. “According to your results on the test, you seem to lack the level of assertiveness needed to effectively stand up for yourself in day-to-day situations. There may be a number of reasons you avoid expressing your opinions and needs to others, including a lack of self-confidence and fear of stepping on other's toes. Regardless of the causes of your low assertiveness, you should be encouraged by the fact that you can learn to be more assertive. Work on building our skills and you will certainly see a big pay-off in the long-term.”

Draco hopped up from the bed and moved around the room, collecting the notebooks. “Great, now we know what we already knew. Lets chuck these things in the cupboard so that we can have breakfast, shall we?”

Neville gave up his notebook without a fight, but looked incredibly distracted. While the others broke into a conversation about the quizzes and what else they were likely to be asked about, Luna moved over to sit next to Neville on his bed.

“You know, it’s just a quiz right?” Luna said, trying to think of something to say.

Neville looked up to her, his cheeks turning a little pink. “You probably think I’m really dumb for worrying about it, don’t you?”

“Of course not, Neville. How could I think that you’re dumb? Besides, what does that quiz really know anyway? I mean, you stood up to Draco very well in our first day here. I seem to remember you holding him up by his neck against the wall, and I’d say it would take someone assertive to that sort of thing,” Luna said. She smiled and took one of Neville’s hands in her own. She blushed lightly and squeezed his fingers. Neville smiled in return, closing his other hand over hers.

Luna could feel her heart beginning to race a little, and her mind went blank of all thoughts except Neville. He was such a sweet boy, just a little misunderstood. But then again, weren’t they all?

The pair was interrupted by the arrival of breakfast. This time they were served eggs and bacon with pumpkin juice, and Luna was the person to be fed.

“I’ll share with you,” Neville said quietly, refusing to let go of Luna’s hand regardless of how many people had now noticed and were blatantly staring at them.

Luna couldn’t wipe the happy grin from her face.


~~~*~~~

A/N: It was quite a wait, I know. I’m not going to make excuses, just going to ask that you bear with me. Thanks so much for the fantastic reviews that I’ve received. Perhaps the next chapter will answer a lot of questions for you. Next up we have Hermione’s first chapter…stay tuned!
~Luca

Disclaimer: I don’t own anything. J.K. Rowling is the genius behind Harry Potter and those things related to Harry Potter. I just enjoy tormenting the wonderful characters she has created for us.




Chapter 16: Hermione's Secrets
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A Lesson in Sociology
Lucawindmover

Chapter 16: Hermione’s Secret


Two days.

Two entire days had passed and Hermione Granger felt like she was about to lose her mind. Her patience was wearing very thin. It had been two days since their first assignment from the professor. Two days filled with one assignment after another, one threat against their food after another, and one pointless argument over the uselessness of the quizzes after another. Hermione didn’t know how much more of it she could stand.

This evening had been no different than the morning had, or the evening before that, or the morning before that. They were in a seemingly endless cycle of arguing about things they had no control over.

Or so they were being led to believe.

“I’m telling you, there has to be something we are supposed to get from these,” Ginny commented in regards to their last quiz on Personal Hygiene.

Draco scoffed. He was sitting in the floor and playing a game of chess against Harry. It was Harry’s turn so Draco turned his attention to Ginny. “There is no reason why I would need to know the grooming habits of anyone else in this room, thanks.”

Hermione fought to keep her face straight. She, for one, was thankful to know that her fellow roommates were clean people. She didn’t think she could sleep in a bed with someone who didn’t bathe regularly. She knew for sure that she couldn’t sleep next to someone who didn’t brush their teeth because morning breath was bad enough without having to add unbrushed teeth into the mix.

On this though, Hermione’s eyes strayed to Harry who was deep in thought, pondering his move. If she had been able to chose who she woke up next to, out of the people she had been provided, she had decided Harry would have had to have been the best choice. He brushed his teeth and bathed, didn’t steal the covers, and usually stayed on his side of the bed.

Usually.

Hermione shook her head, banishing the memory of the night before. She turned the page of her book and tried diligently to pay attention to the words before her. After a few minutes, however, she found that the sounds of the room had once again begun creeping in.

“If you wanted to know what my future ambitions are, just ask me. That’s all I’m saying. Don’t ask me fifteen questions dancing around the subject, just to decide something I could have just said in the beginning,” Draco complained. Harry made his move and Draco trailed away from his train of though.

“I have to say, I agree with Malfoy,” Harry said, leaning back on his hands and giving Draco a chance to assess the latest move.

At this, Hermione peered over the top of her book.

“But don’t you guys think maybe we’re missing something?” Ginny asked, looking to Neville and Luna for support. Hermione’s stomach did a flip at Ginny’s suggestion.

Neville and Luna were once again laying together on Neville’s bed, both on their stomachs, pouring over a copy of the Quibbler. Neville shrugged. Luna, who was on the edge next to Ginny, just smiled.

“Of course we’re missing something,” she said, and then went back to reading with Neville.

Ginny just stared at her incredulously before turning her attention on Hermione. “And you have been awfully quiet about this whole thing, haven’t you?”

Hermione looked back down at her book to avoid making eye contact with Ginny. She couldn’t lie very well while maintaining eye contact. “Surely they’re just a series of personality assessments. Why do you think there’s something else to them?”

“Because, Hermione, they don’t make any sense!” Ginny shouted, finally starting to loose her cool about the situation. She threw her arms up in the air in frustration.

It was nothing to get mad about. And in any other circumstance, Hermione was sure that Ginny would not be shouting. But they had now been in this room for five days and patience was wearing a little thin all across the board. Hermione took a deep breath before saying anything, in an attempt to prepare herself for what she was about to say.

“Well, Ginny, have you stopped to think that perhaps the Professor is able to see what we’re doing in here? Have you thought that maybe each of our assignments and sleeping arrangements and eating schedules might be planned based on our actions in the room thus far? Have you thought that perhaps the Professor is actually doing a ‘Sociology Experiment’ and putting us in the most uncomfortable situations possible to test our personalities? Of course there is a reason for these ridiculous quizzes. You think he’s getting enjoyment from sending us useless assignments just to hear us complain about them? Just get over it already!”

Hermione clamped a hand to her mouth. That was not what she had wanted to say. She had wanted to say that Ginny was right and that they should think about this logically, which had been her argument for the last two days. But somewhere into that thought, Hermione became frustrated at the state that the room had moved into and before she knew what was happening she had said more than she meant to say.

Harry and Draco had abandoned their game of chess and were now staring intently at Hermione. Ginny’s mouth was hanging open. Neville sat up in bed to look at her and Luna was still reading her magazine as though nothing out of the ordinary had just occurred.

“You know something,” Ginny said quietly, narrowing her eyes.

Hermione picked her book up and looked at the words before her, not seeing any of them. “That’s ridiculous.”

“Ridiculous? Ridiculous!” Ginny said, her voice rising. “Ridiculous is the six of us stranded in this room with no exit. Ridiculous is having to feed one another so that once of us doesn’t go hungry. Ridiculous is having to share beds, take baths, wear uncomfortable clothes, and not be able to use our wands! What’s ridiculous is the fact that you know something about why we’re here and you aren’t telling us!” Ginny shouted. “That, Hermione, is what is ridiculous.”

With that, Ginny marched off to the bathroom and slammed the door. She needed a moment or two to cool off.

Hermione stared at the bathroom door with wide eyes. She had dreaded this moment. She knew that she would have to confess at one time or another but she had hoped it would be later in their six week stay. She had never planned to tell her secrets this soon into the experiment. She sighed and closed her eyes. The professor would just have to understand.

“Hermione, I think it’s time you told us what you know,” Harry said quietly, looking at the floor. Hermione glanced at him and found that she couldn’t even look at him, not after lying to him all week.

~~*~~

Hermione was sitting in the library, taking notes on a text for an Arithmancy essay when an owl swooped in and dropped a letter on her book. Hermione wasn’t in the habit of receiving letters in the middle of the day, and the library wasn’t in the habit of allowing owls in, so she was a bit perplexed by the letter lying before her. She turned it over and saw that it was addressed to her in beautifully flowing script that she was unable to recognize. She knew it wouldn’t have been from Harry or Ron, and definitely not from Hagrid, so she assumed it was from a teacher.

She opened the letter and read through it’s contents, much as the other students in the experiment had. Only Hermione was given more information than the others. And not just information, but instructions.

Hermione had been the person to set the room up and place wand-muting charms on the room. She had been the one to make the walls appear to not have windows, to take the lock from the bathroom door, and to help make the cupboard function as a teleportation device. Hermione had also helped the professor charm the ceiling in the main room to look like a ceiling, when it was actually a thick pane of glass to that they could be observed. The bathroom ceiling was just a ceiling, in order to protect their privacy. But only Hermione knew these things.

And only Hermione knew who the professor was, a fact that she was unable to reveal to her roommates. Not just because she had been asked not to, but because her memory had been modified to remember everything except the name of the professor. She knew that the professor was a person that she knew and trusted, and she was fairly certain he was male, but she couldn’t remember a name or description.

This is the reason, when she sat down to write the letters to the others, she signed her own initials.

Five days ago, she had been instructed to make sure she was the first person in the room, in order to charm the door to disappear. Once she had done so, the charm was activated to make her wand unable to function and she could no longer back out. She knew, better than anyone else, that there was no way out.

~~*~~

“Hermione, what is it that you know?” Ginny asked calmly. A few minutes in the bathroom had helped her patience immensely.

Her roommates had gathered around the bed and were now watching her closely, hoping to get some knowledge about the bizarre situation they had all been subject to for nearly a week. Hermione sighed.

She told them.

Hermione talked for nearly a half an hour without any interruption. She could see, at several points, that one roommate of hers or another seemed likely to pounce on her, but no one did. When she was finally finished with her story, she took a deep breath, closed her eyes, and waited for someone else to talk.

It was quiet for a few moments before anyone else spoke. That was quite a lot of information to take in all at once. Hermione had done her best to keep her mouth shut and she was wishing terribly that she had done just that. But there was no going back now, they all knew the truth.

Harry finally broke the silence. “Hermione, why didn’t you tell us any of this sooner?”

“I wasn’t supposed to tell you at all. I was hoping to be able to get through the whole six weeks without having to say anything. We see how well that worked,” Hermione answered.

“And you’re sure you can’t remember who the professor is?” Luna asked.

“Positive. It’s remarkable that I remember that my memory was modified. Most people are oblivious to the fact that their memories have been altered,” Hermione said. She didn’t really like all of this scrutiny.

“Leave it to a mud blood to get us all into this,” Draco said under his breath. He crossed the room and threw himself on his bed, facing away from them.

Hermione looked down at her hands. Had she really gotten them into this situation? She had received the first letter after all. Perhaps it really was her fault that they were all trapped here for another five weeks and a couple of days. The Professor had singled her out, but was being friends with her the reason the others were trapped here as well? Hermione shook the thought from her head nearly as quickly as it had appeared. Malfoy was not her friend, thus there was a flaw with her theory.

“Malfoy, that was uncalled for,” Ginny said, sitting next to Hermione and putting her arm around the other girl. Hermione was thankful to have Ginny on her side rather than against her, as she had been just a few moments ago.

“Uncalled for? She’s the one who got us into this!” Draco spat, sitting up and pointing at Hermione.

Ginny shook her head. “I meant your language was uncalled for. Why do you insist on calling her that?”

“What, mud blood?” Draco asked, a genuinely confused look on his face. “That’s what she is, isn’t she?”

“No. There is nothing dirty about her blood,” Ginny responded.

Hermione stood. “Let’s not do this right now, shall we?”

Draco and Ginny glared at one another but didn’t say anything else. Hermione went to the bathroom, closing the door behind her and leaning on it.

She listened for a moment as Ginny and Draco continued their argument. She heard Harry’s voice as well, defending her, and it made her stomach lurch as memories of the previous night flooded over her.

She’d been having the most wonderful dream. She and her family were on a sunny beach, lying on the warm sand and staring out at the lapping waves. Hermione stretched on her towel and rolled on her side, happy to feel the heat of the sun on her back.

But her back was actually warm. Hermione pulled herself from her sleep slowly, not realizing what was different in the room, causing her to wake. After a moment, she realized what it was. Harry, in his sleep, had rolled toward her and pulled her close to him with his arm wrapped around her protectively. He was warm and comfortable, and Hermione snuggled closer to him without thinking. Harry tightened his hold on her, snuggling his face into the back of her neck. A pleasant tingle ran down Hermione’s spine, finally bringing her fully awake. She stiffened suddenly, waking Harry as well. They scrambled away from one another quickly, both apologizing for their strange situation.

Hermione sighed and rubbed her eyes. She hadn’t fallen back to sleep after that, no matter how hard she tried. She had been afraid that she would wake up in his arms again. While she had thoroughly enjoyed the few moment spent in Harry’s embrace, she was appalled by her own actions and the stirrings of doubt they had caused. She had no idea how Harry felt about the situation. She did not have the courage to ask him yet.

~~~*~~~

A/N: Didn’t I tell you it was going to be an important chapter? Well, the following chapters will be important too, for we have to see what they’ll do with their newly imparted information. Hermione’s chapters will be regular now, as she’s given us all the information she had been hiding…or has she? If you would like to be added to my email update list, please email me at lucawindmover@yahoo.com with the subject “update me.” Thanks for your continued support.

Disclaimer: I don’t own anything. J.K. Rowling is the genius behind Harry Potter and those things related to Harry Potter. I just enjoy tormenting the wonderful characters she has created for us.





Chapter 17: Harry's Indecision
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A Lesson in Sociology
Lucawindmover

Chapter Seventeen: Harry Indecision


Everyone was unusually quiet. A few uncomfortable hours had passed since Hermione had come out of the bathroom, and no one felt much like talking. The tension in the room was nearly unbearable. Everyone just laid in their beds, staring up at the not-ceiling, silently contemplating the information they had received and what it could possibly mean. Harry wanted nothing more than to leave this room, although he knew that Hermione probably wanted to leave it more than anyone else.

Harry was furious. Here was Hermione, his best friend, keeping secrets from him. Important secrets. He knew that she didn’t always tell him everything. She was a girl, after all, and he probably didn’t want her to share everything. He knew that she hadn’t told him about going to the Yule Ball with Viktor Krum, she hadn’t told him the answers the Transfiguration quiz (though she had helped him study for it), but she had never kept something from him as important as this before. He was furious.

He felt betrayed. He knew that she hadn’t done it on purpose to hurt his feelings, but they were hurt feelings none-the-less. He knew he would forgive her though. He was pretty sure he already had. It didn’t mean he couldn’t still be angry at her for a little while longer. He knew she deserved it, and he knew that Hermione knew it too. Part of him felt badly about the whole situation, felt sympathy for what Hermione must be going through at the moment, what with all her friends angry with her and stuck in a room with them, and possibly stuck due to her own misjudgments. It was this part of him that groaned inwardly when he thought of her because it invariably led to him thinking about the previous night.

He groaned inwardly…again.

He thought he might just never sleep again. Something about waking up in the wee hours of the morning with his arms around his best friend while feelings of warmth, and dare he think it…passion…were stirring within him kind of made him want to just never again fall asleep within an arm’s distance of her. He was pretty sure she never fell back to sleep after waking to that either. They had both pretended to fall back asleep and sleep soundly, and both pretended nothing unusual had happened, that nothing potentially friendship-altering had just occurred, and neither of them had yet been able to raise the nerve to talk to one another about it.

Harry was jerked from his train of thought by the silence of the room finally being broken.

"I wonder if the ceiling is actually just a ceiling, and we’re being bluffed into thinking that it isn’t a ceiling," Luna said, continuing to stare at the space above her.

Everyone in the room was laying this way, with their arms under their heads, just staring up as if they were star-gazing or watching the clouds roll by. For an instance, Harry felt like laughing. This was the first time he had ever seen them all be compelled to behave in the same manner.

"That’s an interesting theory," Ginny said. "But it would mean that the professor had gotten one over on Hermione. But you know, if you think about it, we think her memory was modified once, it very well could have been modified multiple times and she has been led to believe that it was only once. There’s no telling what is really going on here."

Harry felt Hermione stir uncomfortably. It was obvious to him that she hadn’t thought anything about that until this moment.

"Does anyone even know what sociology is?" Neville asked the room collectively.

"Well, the technical definition-" Hermione started.

"Ha!" Draco interrupted. "Leave it to the ‘muggle born’ to know the answer," he said, emphasizing the words ‘muggle born’ while glancing furtively at Ginny, who ignored him. He was obviously trying to make up to her the fact that they had argued so vehemently about the subject earlier, but Ginny was stubborn and wouldn’t be taken in that easily. Harry noticed this with a certain amount of satisfaction.

Hermione cleared her throat. "Like I was saying, Neville, the definition says that sociology is the science of social relations, organization, and change."

"Hermione, you sound like a textbook, which I guess is no surprise," Harry said. He felt her bristle at the remark and it didn’t make him as happy as he had hoped it would.

"And it doesn’t really explain it very well, does it?" Neville responded.

The room seemed to give a collective sigh as they all continued to look toward the ceiling.

"How do we even know that this is a ‘sociology experiment’? I mean, we just have to take this professor’s word for it that it’s the reason we’re here. But what if we’re here for some other reason and the experiment is just some sort of cover? And what if we aren’t let out of here in six weeks, for that matter. Everything we’ve been told could be a lie," Draco said reflectively.

Harry’s head was buzzing. It wasn’t like Draco to bring up a good point, but Harry had to admit that this really was a good point. They had no evidence that what the professor had told them was the truth. But on the other hand, they had no evidence to the contrary either. Harry’s mind swam in indecision. Either way, they should be in the room for at least another five weeks. He figured they’d just have to wait and see.

"HEY YOU UP THERE!!"

Harry and Hermione both jumped. Draco had his hands cupped around his mouth and was yelling at the ceiling. Harry was inclined to tell him to can it, but then again he felt very much like yelling at the not-ceiling himself.

"Hey! If you’re up there, Mr. I-don’t-want-to-be-seen, leave us alone! Just let us out! Seriously, what good is this?! I’ll bet you aren’t even up there and you’re just off somewhere laughing because you know we’ll be yelling at the ceiling!!"

"Um, Malfoy, you’re the only one yelling," Ginny said, sitting up on her elbows and looking over at him.

To Harry, it seemed as if Draco had just changed the mood of the room dramatically. He wanted to laugh at the poor sod yelling at the ceiling. He wanted to BE the poor sod yelling at the ceiling. He didn’t know what he wanted really. But something he never expected to find was that he was grateful to Draco for anything.

"Well, Miss Weasel, why don’t you have a go? It isn’t like it will do much good," Draco replied. He crossed his arms and glared skyward.

"HEY MR. PROFESSOR!!" Ginny started. Luna burst out laughing and Ginny couldn’t finish.

"YOU SHOULD GO BOIL AN EGG!!" Neville shouted with a grin.

"Boil an egg? Seriously? That’s your line, boil an egg," Draco asked, sitting up and looking at Neville in disbelief.

Neville just shrugged and Harry couldn’t help but laugh.

"CEILING!! COME DOWN HERE AND LET ME GIVE YOU A PIECE OF MY MIND!!" Harry added.

"Yeah, what little he can spare!" Draco taunted.

Even Hermione was at least smiling by this point. Harry looked at her and had to turn away quickly so the part of him that couldn’t help but think of her would just have to quit.

He didn’t want to think about anything at the moment. He didn’t want to think about Hermione, didn’t want to think about sociology, didn’t want to think about professors, or feeding each other, or silly quizzes, or no locks on the bathroom doors, or especially the about the thought that someone might be taking advantage of them and watching them from above. He didn’t want to think about the fact that, despite all the anger and frustration and hatred he’d been building up toward Draco all these years, he’d begun to appreciate his presence in the room from time to time. He couldn’t decide how he felt about any of this and decided just to not decide and not think about it. This seemed logical to him for the moment.

"COME DOWN HERE! WE’LL TEACH YOU A LESSON OR TWO!!" Luna shouted. Neville found the idea of teaching a professor something to be incredibly ludicrous and laughed himself into the floor.

In reality, none of this would have been very funny at all under normal circumstances. But Harry had to admit, these were not normal circumstances and thus he was inclined to laugh just as hard when Neville fell in the floor and nearly followed his actions.

Through all of this, there was a pop in the cupboard and Hermione got up from the bed to get it. Harry wiped tears of merriment from his eyes and watched her go. Actually, he tried very hard not to watch her go but found he was unable to do that.

"Well, here’s dinner," Hermione said, pulling the tray from the shelf. "And there’s no instructions. No parchment of any kind."

"So what if the ceiling is just a ceiling then, and we’ve been yelling at an inanimate object?" Luna said, moving over to get her plate.

"Well, that makes us all pretty silly then, doesn’t it?" Ginny said, still grinning. She didn’t seem to care one way or the other if she were being silly.

Harry looked at all of the plates of pot roast. Hermione didn’t have one. For some reason, she looked sad, as if she was sure no one was going to want to share with her since she had betrayed them all.

Harry sighed. This was going to be hard for him.

"Hermione, did you want some of this?" Harry asked, refusing to make eye contact with his best friend.


~~~*~~~

A/N: I know that it’s been a very long time since I’ve updated. I’ve been moving, divorcing, getting a new job, and mostly just completely out of juice. But I’m coming back around and I may have just rediscovered my train of thought. I hope this and the following chapters are up to your standards. Please let me know. Thank you all for hanging in there. 

Also, anyone interested in an email update please let me know at lucawindmover@yahoo.com. But NO SPAM, I will delete you.

Disclaimer: I don’t own anything. J.K. Rowling is the genius behind Harry Potter and those things related to Harry Potter. I just enjoy tormenting the wonderful characters she has created for us.

 

Chapter 18: Ginny's Left Foot
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A Lesson in Sociology
Lucawindmover

Chapter Eighteen: Ginny’s Left Foot


Ginny couldn’t move. She was momentarily frozen with pain. Her foot throbbed terribly and she could not believe her luck. On all the nights she could stub her foot, it had to be the one night when everyone else was still asleep after her nightmares. She stood, trembling, at the end of her bed, silently cursing herself for hitting the leg of Neville and Draco’s bed with her big toe. She knocked the bed pretty hard and was fairly certain that Draco was now only pretending to be asleep. Neville, blessedly, had not even flinched. He was an incredibly heavy sleeper.

Despite this, however, she hobbled over to her favorite place on the floor and sat down to examine her foot. She hissed slightly at the sight of her nail peeling back a little with blood trickling down her foot in a steady stream. She closed her eyes, wishing she were anywhere but here.

"What did you do?"

Ginny opened her eyes to see Draco sliding down the wall to sit on the floor next to her. His hair was still tousled from sleep. She could tell he had been genuinely asleep just before she moved his bed across the room.

"Something stupid," Ginny muttered, shifting a little.

Draco smirked and rubbed sleep out of his right eye with his knuckles. "Well, I’d expected at least that."

Ginny rolled her eyes. "I hit my toe on your bed. But don’t look at it. You’ll probably pass out."

Draco crossed his arms and narrowed his eyes. "I‘ll take it you‘re bleeding then."

Before Ginny could answer, Draco stood up and went to the bathroom, making sure to leave a wide berth around her foot. Ginny was glad, once again, for the semi-darkness of the room because she found herself blushing with embarrassment.

"Stupid left foot," Ginny grumbled as if her foot had kicked the bed on purpose. She suddenly wished she had brought her pillow. The floor was cold and hard on her butt-bone, leaving it numb. She knew she was going to be all kinds of sore in the morning, between her bleeding foot and bruised rear. Draco, however, had remembered to bring his. She grabbed it and slide it under her, wondering how long it would take him to notice.

Draco came back out of the bathroom with a wet cloth. He tossed it in her lap and resumed his seat. "Here," he said, "Clean that stuff up, will you?"

Ginny sighed. She had originally considered thanking him, but figured her thanks would be wasted here. She had not yet entirely forgiven him for their argument earlier, despite his attempts to reconcile. She wasn’t convinced he’d gotten the point.

"You didn’t have to soak the thing. Now my shirt is wet."

Draco just huffed and looked off in another direction. "That’s the last time I do you any favors."

"You didn’t do it for me. You just wanted to make sure I didn’t track blood all over the room," Ginny said and leaned down to begin cleaning her foot. Her toe hurt really badly, but it wasn’t bleeding much any more. She wiped up the few drops that hit the floor and held then held pressure on her toe. This made her want to scream but she wasn’t about to show any more of her weaknesses to Draco.

"What happened to make you afraid of blood?" Ginny asked quietly.

The question was met with a long silence. Ginny berated herself internally for even asking. She knew he wouldn’t answer. She didn’t even know why she wanted to know. It wasn’t any of her business and she knew it. But the thought of knowing a few of his secrets was just too enticing for her to pass up the opportunity. The secret would at least make her feel that they were even, since he knew about her nightmares. It was worth a try.

"Why do you want to know? So you can run off and tell Golden Boy and have a good laugh?" Draco said, turning her eyes back on her with a glare. Ginny noticed he was in a particularly foul mood. He hadn’t seemed it when he first woke up. She figured it was the blood comment.

"I guess that shows how well you know me then, doesn’t it?" Ginny paused. "Unlike some people I know, I do not prey on other people’s weaknesses."

"I suppose I’m the ‘some people’ then, aren’t I?" Draco sneered.

Ginny furrowed her brow and turned her head to see his face. He was looking at the floor as if it were covered in vomit, entirely disgusted by something she couldn‘t see. She suddenly wanted to touch his face, his hair, his shoulder, just something, just anything to jolt him out of this disturbing attitude.

"Are you going to tell me what’s wrong with you, or make me guess?" Ginny asked gently.

"What is it with you? Okay, so you know what? You got under my skin today, I‘ll admit it. You made me want to apologize for things that I shouldn’t have to apologize for. I’m frustrated with you and it makes me mad. Just leave it alone," Draco hissed.

Ginny looked up toward the beds to make sure he hadn’t woken any one else up. This was not the answer she was expecting. He hadn’t said anything about the blood. In truth, the blood-thing wasn’t even what was making him upset. She sighed as she realized that he had been trying all day to make it up to her for their argument and she had ignored him. He had actually been putting himself out there and she left him hanging.

"Draco, look I’m sorry okay. You hurt Hermione’s feelings with the ‘mud blood this’ and ‘mud blood that’. I’m a little stubborn sometimes and-"

"A little stubborn? You think?" he said, raising an eyebrow.

Ginny laughed softly. "Okay so I’m a lot stubborn, most of the time."

Draco shook his head. "I’m not looking for your sympathy. I’m not looking for you to be sorry for anything. It’s just, well," he sighed. Ginny watched him glaring at the floor as he tried to put his thoughts into words. "Think about it this way. Think about the way that you were raised. Everything you were taught, the way your family behaved, that was normal to you. It was all you knew. Now, imagine coming to school and finding out that maybe being kind and smart and brave was all frowned upon. Imagine that everything you thought was normal was something negative. What do you do? Change? Stay how you are because you were taught that how you are is what is right? Think about it for a moment, will you?"

Ginny didn’t know what to say. She had never thought to put herself in his shoes. She always thought he was just mean, just a little evil. She had always figured it was entirely his own fault. ‘Wait a minute,’ she thought to herself, ‘was he calling her kind, smart, and brave?’

"Not to say that I put all the blame on my parents, don’t get me wrong. Once I started school and saw a different side of things, I could have changed. But I chose not too. So far anyway," Draco turned and smirked at her. "And you people are trying to do something about that, aren’t you?"

Ginny’s stomach flipped at his smile. Sure, it seemed a little sarcastic, but it was leaps and bounds better than his anger just a few moments ago. "Draco, I don’t think you’re evil, just rough around the edges."

Draco laughed at this. Ginny joined him.

A pleasant silence fell over them as they each explored their own thoughts. The pain in Ginny’s foot had reduced to a dull ache, one she figured she would have to deal with for a few days at least. She settled back against the wall and was intensely aware of how close Draco was sitting next to her. His bare arm kept brushing against the sleeve of her nightshirt and it sent tingles through her. She hated and loved the feeling at the same time. She hated it because this was Draco Malfoy, son of her family’s sworn enemy. But she loved it because this was Draco, her new friend, the incredibly complicated boy who drove her completely nuts like no one else ever had.

"Hey! Did you? You did!" Draco said, pulling Ginny out of her train of thought.

Ginny startled. "What? I did what?"

"You took my pillow. Your bum is on the place where I lay my head!"

Ginny laughed. "Took you long enough to notice."

Draco grabbed the edge of the pillow and tried to pull it out from under her, with little success. The pillow, with Ginny on top, just slid across the floor and moved closer to him. Ginny laughed and Draco pulled harder, causing Ginny to topple off of the pillow and into his lap. Ginny continued to laugh as Draco attempted to move her off of him.

Neither of them seemed to realize just how much noise they were making because they suddenly froze as someone started to move in their bed.

Draco clapped his hand over Ginny’s mouth. She turned off her light and she and Draco tried not to even breathe. She was still half in Draco’s lap. He was holding on to her tightly to keep her from moving, though as far as she could tell it was to keep her from breathing as well.

The sound of voices could be heard in the darkness, just whispers, but voices none-the-less.

"Harry!" they heard Hermione say. "Harry, move over. This has got to stop happening."

They heard more movement and waited a couple of heart-stopping minutes before there was a reply.

"I’m really sorry Hermione. I don’t know what’s come over me. I don’t mean to keep doing that," Harry said quietly.

Thoughts flew by in Ginny’s mind. What in the world was going on between Harry and Hermione. They had opted to sleep in the same bed because they were such close friends, but Ginny was now wondering if there was a different reason. In the times that she had been awake in the night she had never heard or seen anything out of the ordinary from the pair, but that didn’t mean something wasn’t happening while she was asleep. In fact, they had now proved that something was happening when she wasn’t awake.

She could feel Draco thinking something similar, if it is possible to feel someone think something. As close as she was to Draco at the moment, she figured it was possible. Her right cheek was pressed against his chest and between her own thudding heartbeat and his so close to her, she couldn’t make out the rest of what was said between Harry and Hermione. When the room had been silent for a good ten minutes or so, Draco released her and pushed her slowly off of him with trembling hands.

Ginny had just been about to say something when she felt Draco put a finger on her face. He was obviously trying to put a finger on her mouth to keep her from talking and missed, but she got the message. They would have to talk about it another time. Neither of them were sure whether Harry and Hermione had fallen back to sleep or not. It wasn’t worth the risk to try and talk about it now.

He grabbed her hand and helped her up silently. They edged around the room very slowly and made it to his bed. It was better than just walking across the room and running into the wrong bed. Ginny held Draco’s pillow out to him and he jerked it away. She figured if it were light he would have been smirking. She moved over to her bed and climbed in as quietly as possible, making it sound as if she were just turning over and not just returning to bed.

The room seemed too quiet at this point. She could hear Neville slightly snoring, but that was it. Hermione and Harry were too still, causing Ginny to believe that there was no way that they had fallen back to sleep. Whatever had just happened over there was a mystery to her, and one she pondered for over an hour while she waited for sleep to come.

~~~*~~~

A/N: I promised another update and here you are! So, a few interesting details revealed….I’m looking forward to writing the next chapter, though it may be two weeks before it’s up. Keep looking for my other stories too, though, because SOMETHING will always be updated on Sundays from now on. Thank you guys for all the read and reviews.

Disclaimer: I don’t own anything. J.K. Rowling is the genius behind Harry Potter and those things related to Harry Potter. I just enjoy tormenting the wonderful characters she has created for us.

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