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I'd lie to apologise to everyone for not updating sooner but I had a death in the family, please forgive me (:.

Disclaimer:
Not mine, still. Oh, and the whole meditation, thought process, Animagus stuff comes from Silvernatasha’s The Importance of Ancient Runes, I was not smart enough to come up with that all by myself. Indulge me a bit with Fiorelli’s explanation, we really don’t know much about self-transfiguration so I’m making it up as I go, I hope you all like it.



November passed largely without incident. Students and staff alike were settling in for an exceptionally snowy winter, Quidditch season was well underway and the students had enjoyed a couple trips to Hogsmeade. Hermione had fallen into a comfortable routine—efficiently balancing her coursework, Head Girl duties, planning of upcoming events with Draco, her friends, and her boyfriend. Ron and Draco had developed a rather domestic relationship. Harry and Pansy were still alternating between unfettered hate and unadulterated lust, though Hermione still had a general sense of unease when he was around, sometimes his words and looks conveyed a little more than their comfortable friendship. As yet, Hermione had dealt with this by completely ignoring it, but she was not sure exactly how long that would last. The relationship with Blaise had offered her closure on one thing, that recurring need for more from Harry had waned. Its time—if it ever had one—had come and gone.
The one surprise was that the Wizengamot had pushed Pansy’s claim back to spring, claiming that they were busy with lingering prosecutions from the War. There was rumor that she would drop the suit if she could get a public apology by all involved parties, but so far, that was just an unsubstantiated rumor. Hermione hoped that it would work out. The students had overwhelmingly supported Ginny’s idea of a student tribunal and Draco and Hermione were nearly done working out the kinks on it. It was their hope that Pansy would be willing to submit her grievance to the school, McGonagall had hinted at her support of that idea, largely because she did not want to have to grant traveling passes to so many of the students at the same time. By the New Year, the tribunal would likely be ready and underway.

The push for Inter-House unity was going better than Hermione expected. The Costume Ball had opened a few doors—the following morning McGonagall announced that seating no longer needed to be by House affiliation at breakfast and lunch. It took a few weeks for students to move about comfortably, but finally they were. The first few days McGonagall made reminder announcements at each meal to no effect, the students just sat in their usual spots looking a bit intimidated. Hermione was worrying that Ron’s idea would never come into fruition when at the start of breakfast on Day 5 of McGonagall’s campaign, Neville abruptly stood and walked determinably, though nervously, to the Hufflepuff table and invited Susan Bones to join him for breakfast.

Since then more and more students were moving about for the first two meals of the day. The workload had also increased with the impending NEWTs, Hermione had even convinced Ron and Harry to start preparing early—though she was pretty sure that Ron’s newfound inclination towards studying resulted from Draco’s insistence that NEWTs be taken seriously. In the afternoons and evenings it was not unusual to find her in the library sharing a large table with Ron, Draco, Harry and Blaise. Occasionally, Pansy would come by, though it seemed that the purpose of this was largely to antagonize Harry. This only served to increase a growing tension which always accompanied Harry’s presence. His anger with Blaise had not ebbed, though Harry did manage to keep it under wraps well enough.

There had been no repeats of the fireworks between Hermione and Blaise, nor had there been a repeat of the Halloween incident. Blaise seemed perfectly happy to let his confession fall by the wayside. While peace was nice, Hermione felt more distant from the enigmatic boy than she had in the beginning. All passion had drained from their relationship, both good and bad. Physically they did what was necessary to keep up the façade—hand holding, quick hello and goodbye kisses—but that was it. Emotionally, she felt a void between them. Blaise was quick to point out that their arrangement was working quite well. They had become an accepted couple to the students and even the faculty. Hermione suspected that once people realized that she was the Fallen Angel at Halloween, the female population of Hogwarts were able to more readily accept the very handsome boy’s attraction to her, as if she were some kind of cow before she showed a little leg. Ironically, it was Blaise’s actions at Halloween that precipitated the gulf between them. But they appeared content to outsiders—and that was all that mattered, was it not?

She as on her way to her Seminar, Blaise dutifully in tow, clasping her hand as they made small talk about Fiorelli’s warning that this would be the class that changed their lives permanently.

Hermione took her seat next to Blaise and pulled out her class materials. Fiorelli was already perched on his desk looking tired. As the remaining few students filtered in, he shut the door and looked at them gravely.

“I cannot possibly, overemphasize the importance of today and the rest of our time together. We are embarking on a dangerous and exciting journey. Today we begin the practical aspects of our—dare I say—previously quite boring, theoretical studies.”

A muted buzz filled the classroom. Hermione exchanged glances with Blaise.

“As you all know, I hand picked each one of you—in each of you I saw the potential to continue your magical evolution in a way that few can master. Not all of you will succeed, do not be disappointed, what we are beginning is for a very select few. In some of you I saw the beginnings of a Metamorphagus and in others an Animagus.” He paused and looked around the room, the anticipation was palpable. “You have each learned basically all we know about these kinds of self-transfiguration and today I will meet with each of you individually to discuss how we will progress further in this journey. Some of you will not be rejoining the class next term. Again, please let me reemphasize the fact that this is through no fault of your own, you should be proud of how far you have come.” Again he paused, scanning the classroom. “While I meet with each of you please work quietly at your table, of course you may talk, I just ask you to keep it down. Thank you.” With that he called the first student and they disappeared into his office.

What did he mean that not everyone would be able to finish the class? How would he know? How would he decide? She looked to Blaise but he was leaning across the table chatting with Theodore Nott. Had Fiorelli not chosen each of them for their potential, what was he saying, that he was wrong? Panic was starting to set in. It was not that she needed to self-transfigure to be a Medi-Witch, but she wanted to. For a horrific moment she wondered if being a Muggleborn would prevent her from continuing, what if it was an inheritable gene of some type. Blaise must have sensed a change in her, and to her surprise he stopped chatting with Theo and leaned over to her.

“Are you okay?”

She nodded. “Yeah.”

He gave her a doubtful look. “I’m not certain I believe that, are you nervous that you won’t be able to continue?”

She gave an almost imperceptible nod.

“Hermione, you know you’ll be fine. You’ve got—much to my personal chagrin—the highest grade in the class.”

“I know.” It would not have been difficult to explain her fears, but she could not bring herself to admit to Blaise that she was worried that being a Muggleborn might hurt her. She wished that Ron or Harry were in class with her, even Draco would be more reassuring. How could she explain to such a vehement blood-purist that this was not about grades? What if her genes kept her out of the class, kept her from achieving such a high form of magic? Would that not just cater to his already prejudiced views? With a glance around the room she realized that she was the only Muggleborn in the class. This did not serve to reassure her further.

“Come on, tell me. What are you suddenly so worried about?” He knew she was hiding something, she could hear it in his tone even more than his words. In fact it was the first time in weeks that he actually acknowledged that she might be feeling something.

“Nothing, Blaise. I’m just being silly.”

He looked at her skeptically but did not say anything else on the matter. “So…”

She waited for more but nothing came, he really did have the emotional depth of a small puddle. Draco was right. “So…what?” She snapped.

“I was just wondering if you and Draco have anything planned for Christmas.” It was obvious that this was an entirely new thought that had just popped in his head, in lieu of trying to get her to discuss her ‘problem’ any more.

“You mean for Inter-House unity?”

“Yeah.”

“We’ve mulled over a couple of things. The votes were pretty inconclusive, so we’re pretty open.”

“I hope it’s not another Ball.”

She tried to swallow her frustration. “Nope. Not another Ball. Thank God for that.” So much for the swallowing.

“I didn’t mean anything. Just that it would get old.”

“Mmm-hmmm.”

“Really though, aren’t you already working on a New Years party?”

He was trying to be nice or at least congenial. “Yes, we are. But it’s not a Ball really.”

“I just meant two big parties right in a row would be a lot.”

“Don’t worry about it. You’re right, it would be.”

Hermione was wondering how long this strained conversation would have to continue when Professor Fiorelli called her name from his office. With a wave to Blaise she walked through the class and up to his office.

“Miss Granger, have a seat.” The professor gestured to a chair across from his desk.

She sat nervously, crossing and uncrossing her legs until she found a comfortable position. Her hands found each other in her lap, her fingers twisting the hem of her jumper.

“Don’t worry Miss Granger; you are not one of the students who won’t be staying with us.”

An audible sigh of relief escaped her mouth, to which she blushed lightly. “I’m sorry Professor.”

He leaned over on his elbows. “You were concerned?”

She nodded.

“Why is that?” He was watching her with his washed-out brown gaze. His eyes looked much older than he did, like they had lived through more than the rest of him.

“I…I was thinking that maybe because I’m a Muggleborn…”

He nodded. “What would make you think this Miss Granger? Surely the propaganda machine has not wheedled its way into your fine mind?”

Another light blush. “No. Not that, it’s just that we still don’t know why some witches and wizards can do it and others can’t, and it had never occurred to me to research the issue further. All the Animagi and the one Metamorphagus I know aren’t Muggleborns.”

“I will admit, it is rare…but then again so are Muggleborns. You feared it was genetic, I’m guessing?

She nodded again.

“There are many schools of thought on it, which you might find to make interesting study when you go on to Trinity.” He paused. Apparently all the Professors knew where she was going upon graduation. “The theory I was studying when I left the States was that it is directly related to magical typology. You’re familiar with the concept?”

“Yes, that each witch and wizard has a unique construct of magical potential within themselves, giving us our predilections towards certain subjects.”

“Precisely. It is my theory that there are some people who are predestined towards self-transfiguration, due to their innate skill level. And that there are reciprocal abilities in other disciplines, though I must say that I find myself much more entranced by the different levels of Transfiguration. The individuals that can achieve this level of magic are quite special and very rare, of course there are exceptions to the rule, some seemingly untalented wizards which achieve this, but I personally suspect that Dark magic is at play in those situations.”

Hermione thought back to the Marauders—specifically Wormtail, hadn’t everyone said that he was nowhere near as talented as James and Sirius.

“I also believe that they type of animal an Animagus can turn to, or how far a Metamorphagus can go in changing themselves has everything to do with that innate skill level.”

“Really? So like the bigger the animal the bigger the skill?” She was thinking of Wormtail again.

“Actually no. Some people can change into non-mammal formations, a difference lost on most individuals educated only in magic, but—for example—to be able to change into something cold-blooded, or a flying mammal, or even a water-bound mammal, is truly remarkable. It is these witches and wizards who are truly the most fascinating to me.”

“Oh, wow. I didn’t even realize that. You mean some people can turn into lizards or dolphins?”

“Yes, as well as birds.”

“Wow.”

“Indeed.” He offered her a smile. “Tell me Miss Granger, do you have any thoughts on what you are?”

“Well, I don’t think I’m a Metamorphagus. Tonks…er, my friend, well, she’d always been able to make small changes in herself without training. I don’t think I have that.”

“That’s very astute and correct. Most people who are capable of metamorphosis have early indicators. You are correct in your self-evaluation as well. Surely you remember the rigorous testing I put you all through?”

“Yes sir.”

“Some of us can see the potential in others, I happen to have this ability, most of you probably blew off the interview section of the testing, thinking I was just curious as to your personality and resolve, which is somewhat true. But more than that I was using a variety of Leglimancy to discern your potential.”

“Oh. Really?”

He smiled again. “I must say Miss Granger, none of my other students seem so interested in my methods, they just want to know what I see in them.”

She grinned. “I’ve always been like this.”

“So I hear. You will be pleased to know that I have perceived a very strong magical inclination towards very complex self-transfiguration in you. One matched only by another student who happens to be in this class. You two will face the most difficulty transfiguring, if my senses are correct, but that which you will be able to achieve will far surpass your colleagues.”

“What is that?” She could not help her curiosity.

“I hate to seem coy, but I’m not actually going to tell you what I sense, I do not want to taint your vision when you get it, I am only warning you.”

“Who is the other person?”

“I will tell you after class Miss Granger. And unless you have any questions I must get to the next student.”

She had a million questions, but none that she could actually form into a sentence. She bid him thanks and exited as he called for the next student.

Blaise was the last student to be called and he returned with a shit-eating grin on his face, probably one much like her own.

“Good news?”

“Yeah.” He was beaming and she doubted that he was aware of it. He did not elaborate further because Fiorelli reappeared.

“Thank you all for your patience today. As I alluded to at the beginning of the semester, there will be no final. The work we have done is far too advanced to require such a thing from you. The students who will not be rejoining us, please do not be concerned, you’re grades will not suffer.” He stopped and scanned the room. “For the rest of you, I’m ending the term a week early. Though I will want to set up individual appointments with over the next week.” He waved his wands and small guidebooks appeared before each of them. “This book is essential, and I want you to read it before our meetings, this book will detail the proper meditation procedures to first find your Animagus form—for those of you who are Animagi—and to later being the process. Admittedly those few of you who are Metamorphagi do not have quite the battle initially that the Animagus students do, but I do not want you to use this as an excuse to slack off. I will be owling each of you to set up a time for our meeting. You are dismissed.” As some students began packing others rushed out of the room looking morose. Hermione thought she spotted about four students who she guessed would not be returning.

Fiorelli’s voice rang out again. “Miss Granger and Mr. Zabini, please stay after a few minutes if you don’t mind.”

Shocked, Hermione turned to Blaise, who looked just as shocked as he was.

Fiorelli laughed when he saw them. “I thought for sure you two would have figured it out by now.”

Hermione was embarrassed that she and her boyfriend had not exchanged their exciting news. What did that say about them?

“I told you both that I sense something very special in you, something that will be quite difficult to handle, but together I think you will both do quite well. The reason that I wanted to talk to you separately is that—as you will read in your books—the recommended process for the meditations and practice work is to do it alone, so as to concentrate better. For you two I am going to make my own recommendation, given what I see in each of you I think it would be to work together on this. You will need one another’s support more so than the other students.”

Hermione and Blaise exchanged glances and then looked back to Fiorelli.

“I realize that you two are in a relationship of sorts…” He gave them an appraising look. “I am willing to secure a place for you two to work together uninterrupted, but you can not take advantage of this privilege.”

Hermione spoke first. “We would not dream of it Professor.”

He let out a laugh. “I don’t know that I’d go that far Miss Granger, your assurances that you will use the time working on your Animagus forms is enough for me.”

She blushed furiously and Blaise let a small smirk cross his lips before he spoke. “Of course Professor.”

“Also, for the meetings I requested, I would like you two to meet with me together, so please look at your schedules and get back to me with some times that would be convenient.”

--

Hermione was distracted for the remainder of the week. She and Blaise got back to Fiorelli with a few times for meetings the following week. She and Draco finished their planning for Christmas and New Year related events. And it was her job to make the announcement, Draco declared that she owed him that much since he had done the job before when she was busy with her emotional break down. After arguing with his categorization of her previous emotional state she started planning her announcement. McGonagall advised her to make the announcement before dinner.

Everyone was seated for dinner and chatting animatedly with their table mates when McGonagall announced that the Head Girl and Boy had an announcement to make. Hermione crossed the Hall and stood at the front of the room with Draco at her side. Draco appeared to be dropping winks to Ron while Hermione tried to compose herself.

“Hello, everyone. After the success of the Costume Ball Draco and I are instituting a few more activities to take place over the holiday break.” The Hall quieted immediately. She felt a pair of blue eyes staring at her from the Slytherin table; she glanced over at Blaise who gave her an encouraging smile. With a deep breath she continued. “We will be having a series of events to get everyone in the holiday spirit. We will have a number of friendly competitions—not all between Houses, that will be announced daily, just check your message boards in your Common Rooms. Also, we will be having our traditional Christmas Tea on Christmas Day. In addition to this, immediately following the Tea we will have a holiday concert organized by Professor Flitwick, if you are interested please stop by his office or drop him an owl.” She paused again and Flitwick gave a hearty wave to the students. “Finally, on New Years Eve we will be having a lock-in. The lock-in is mandatory. And all students staying behind for the holidays will have to participate.” Draco warned her that she would probably have to explain the concept of a lock-in and judging from the students looks he was correct. “A lock-in is basically a big party.” She heard a few cheers erupt from the Gryffindor table. “You will have to sign into the Great Hall after dinner and we will have essentially a huge slumber party to ring in the New Year. There will be music, food, drinks and dancing.” She stopped and turned to Draco.

Draco took step towards the tables. “As you all know, you voted overwhelmingly to institute a Student Tribunal. I am pleased to announce…” He was pacing before the students now, prowling, looking at them significantly. “…that this tribunal will be effective as of the new year. A panel of judges has been selected and jury selection will occur as needed. Keeping with tradition these trials will be open to the public at the judge’s discretion…basically don’t cause problems and you can watch. You can begin submitting your grievances this weekend. Forms will be available in your Common Rooms. Thank you and good night.” They both went back to their tables and Hermione watched as Draco immediately started a conversation with Pansy Parkinson. She took her seat between Harry and Ron and began talking about the lock-in with them and Ginny.

Ginny and Harry seemed to have reached a peaceable separation. The biggest problem facing them was that most people just assumed they would end up back together. It was clear that their relationship was one that could only exist during the War. Hermione thought that Ginny would probably find someone appropriate when she went off to college. Ginny seemed to demand a higher level of maturity than most of the Hogwarts boys had to offer. For now Ginny seemed happy to just enjoy her last two years at Hogwarts, for which Hermione was grateful, she would have hated to see their group ruined by the breakup.

“So tell us Hermione, what are these ‘friendly competitions’?” Ginny was feasting on the homemade rolls which Hermione knew that Dobby had been working on for about two years, before attaining what he called ‘perfection, Miss.’

“Gin, you know I can’t tell you the details.”

Ron looked scandalized. “You and Draco give nothing up. Seriously just what is the benefit of having you two around?”

“Ron!” That was Ginny.

“It’s okay. I know he’s kidding…at least he better be kidding.”

“Of course I am….sort of.” He said around his mouthful of food.

“I’ll tell you this. Some are just fun silly things, but we have one that I think will be pretty interesting. It’s something we tried once before.”

Harry perked up. “Like when before?”

She just smiled at him. “Before.”

“The DA?” Ron asked after swallowing.

Harry and Ginny both shot him looks.

“Okay maybe not.”

Ginny sat in quiet thought. “The Dueling Club from first year?”

“I can’t say, I was just giving you a hint.”

Ron let out an exaggerated sigh. “Now that is just cruel. You can’t tease us and not give something up.”

“Yes I can. Welcome to the perks of being Head Girl. Besides you two will find out at the next Prefect’s meeting, which is only two days away. Draco and I can’t plan all this alone.”

Harry grinned. “So I’m the only one stuck in the dark.”

“Yup.” The three of them said together.

“You know, in some circles I’m considered fairly important, and might even get special treatment.”

Ron laughed and Ginny busied her mouth with another roll. Hermione just giggled. “But Harry, that’s why you love us, we don’t care who you are.”

“I suppose.” He said melodramatically though a grin was tugging at the corners of his mouth.

--

When dinner was over Hermione lagged behind the group to discuss the upcoming meeting with Blaise. They were walking back through the hall together chatting animatedly about their research. Each of them had agreed to read the guidebook through and through as soon as possible, to her surprise Blaise had finished it before her. They were hoping to start their first round of meditation later in the evening; both figured it would be best to go to their first meeting with the Professor with something to discuss. It was the first time she felt genuinely excited around him, she could sense that he felt the same way. Something was sparkling in his eyes, something that she had not glimpsed since Halloween. She had been right when she told Ginny that something was below the surface, it was just that she did not yet know what it was.

Their conversation came to an abrupt halt when familiar voices rang out from a nearby staircase. Hermione recognized Harry’s voice and Blaise recognized something too because he clasped her hand more tightly and took off down the hall with her trailing behind.

Pansy and Harry were having another row near the stairs which led to the dungeons. Hermione had no idea what Harry was doing over there, but there he was. Red faced and angry, he was glaring at an equally vengeful Pansy. There words trailed off when they realized they had an audience.

Harry shot Blaise a glower that could level a whole circle of Death Eaters—nope, no residual anger there. Pansy looked on the verge of spontaneously combusting. All it took was one word from Blaise, a single ‘hey’ and Harry exploded.

“You stay the hell out of this Zabini. It’s none of your damn business.”

Blaise let go of Hermione’s hand. “Stay here.” He grabbed her chin and looked into her eyes. “Don’t move. I mean it.”

Blaise looked at Harry. “It is my business, she is my friend…” He said, gesturing to Pansy. “And you two are screaming like crazed animals in the middle of an open hall. Just what is the problem?” He directed the last statement to Pansy, who opened her mouth to begin speaking when Harry cut in.

“You know Zabini, I really appreciate your attempts at counseling here, but it’s not necessary. Why don’t you mind your own business and get her out of here.” He pointed to Hermione.

She stepped forward. “Hey, I can take care of myself Harry; no one needs to remove me.”

Blaise threw out an arm catching her before she advanced further and looked down at her. “Hermione, really, remember last time. Just wait one minute.” Hermione took a few steps back to Harry’s astonishment.

“You listen to him, but not me? Bloody hell Hermione, what has gotten into you?”

Pansy was watching the continuing interaction, probably wondering what had happened to her and Harry’s row.

“Nothing’s gotten into me.”

Harry raised his eyes maliciously. “You sure about that?”

Pansy’s mouth dropped open and hung there for a moment before she slapped him. Blaise and Hermione both watched her stunned. “You don’t ever…and I mean ever, talk to a woman like that Potter.”

Hermione just stood silently watching as Harry flushed and brought his hand to cover the fast growing welt on his right cheek. Normally Hermione would have broke in, said something, exclaimed over not needing someone else to defend her, yelled at Pansy for striking Harry, instead she just stood there blankly. Blaise was staring at Pansy, the look of shock permanently plastered on his face.

It was Pansy who spoke again. “I know what you’ve done for the world Potter, and I’m just as appreciative as the next person, but you need to learn to watch your mouth. Being a hero doesn’t give you a free pass to berate, insult, and defame others.”

Harry finally snapped out of it. His words to Hermione momentarily forgotten. “What are you going to do Parkinson, sue me again?”

She laughed at him as she swept her black hair away from her face. “I can’t sue you for insulting her. For Merlin’s sake, think before you speak, I know you’re smarter than that.”

This time Harry, wisely, stayed quiet. Blaise was glaring at him, his eyes sparkling with fury, but he remained quiet. Hermione turned to Pansy. “Thank you, but that was not necessary. Really.”

Pansy actually smiled at her, it was the first time she’d ever seen the girl smile. “Yeah, you’re pretty good with your hands too aren’t you Granger? He deserved it, just like Draco deserved it. We’re even I’d say.”

Hermione wondered if she were witnessing some sort of strange Slytherin bonding ritual. You slap each others best friends and are inextricably linked forever, or something like that. “I suppose. It was a horrible thing to say.” She glared at Harry.

Pansy nodded. “He’s got a bad habit of that. I may not have been raised like you Gryffindors, but where I’m from you never question a woman’s chastity. Ever.”

Hermione tried to smile. This was just all too strange. Blaise had, at some point, grabbed her hand again, and it seemed to be functioning as the outlet for his anger, as he was crushing her fingers with his grip. “Sounds like a good rule, but I can handle him later.” She shot Harry a look indicating that she would, indeed, finish this later.

Pansy smiled again, the effect was quite pretty. “I don’t doubt it.” With a brief goodbye she was gone.

“Blaise, I’m going to talk to Harry now. Why don’t you go talk to Pansy and we’ll meet up later. Okay?”

His features softened when he looked down at her. “But…”

“No buts, just go. I’ll take care of it.”

He looked like he wanted to do anything but leave her alone with Harry, but he did. He placed a chaste kiss on her lips and descended the stairs. She watched him leave and turned back to her friend.

“What is wrong with you Harry? Why would you say something like that to me?”

Harry took a deep breath and sagged against the wall. “I was angry.”

“Yeah, you’ve been doing a lot of that recently. It’s starting to get a bit old.”

“I know. I just….” He fixed his green stare on her. “….I was so mad at her, and then you and Zabini show up, looking all happy together and concerned, then he tells you to stay back and what do you do? You listen to him! What happened to you, you never used to be like that.”

“He asked me to stand back Harry, that’s all. I did. You two looked like you wanted to kill each other, it was a good idea, given what happened last time.”

“But then, when I said it you got mad.”

“You weren’t speaking to me, you told Blaise to keep me away. He at least said it to me. You didn’t even have the good grace to do that. You just ordered my boyfriend to ‘get me out of there.’”

Harry winced when she said ‘boyfriend.’ “Is that what it is Harry, you don’t like me having a boyfriend? Don’t like that I took my boyfriend’s advice?” Every time she said the word, Harry grimaced.

“Stop.”

“Stop what? Stop talking about Blaise, stop calling him my boyfriend? Why? He is. You have to get used to it.”

“But why him Hermione?”

“Because we like each other.”

He sighed heavily. “But I don’t understand, what is there to like?”

Hermione shook her head. “I thought you were okay with this. What’s happened?”

“He’s just so possessive of you; you’re like some kind of a trophy to him or something.”

“That’s ridiculous.”

“I just don’t think he really cares about you, Hermione. I think he just wants in your knickers, so he can have something to brag about to his friends.”

The words stung. His words were not exactly true, but they were not exactly untrue either.

“See, I hit a nerve there. What is going on with you two?”

“He’s my boyfriend and you did not hit a nerve. What you said was hurtful and cruel, that’s the only nerve you hit.”

He sighed again. “Look, I’m sorry. I apologize for what I said before, and what I said now. I don’t know what’s going on with me. When I see you with him, something flares up inside of me, I want to…I want to hurt him, I want to wipe that fucking grin off his face.”

She looked over her friend. “Harry, I care about him. I’m happy with him.”

“You say that, but you don’t always look like that. Sometimes I see something, something in you…a sadness, or a regret. You can’t deny it, it’s there. He can’t see through you like I can. I know something is going on.”

“Nothing is going on. It’s a normal relationship, we fight sometimes, we go through down periods. That is all.”

He shook his head but said nothing.

“Why does is matter? What about Pansy? You like her. I know you do. So, who cares about me and Blaise?”

“I do.” He rubbed his face again and grinned a little. “Even though she’s hit me twice now. I don’t know, I just always thought that you and I would…eventually, you know.”

“Get together?”

He just nodded.

She joined him and leaned against the stone wall next to him. “Look, Harry, I did too, for a long time. But it’s not going to happen. At least not here.” She gestured around the halls. “It’s not our time; it might never be our time. And I don’t think that is what you really want anyway; you were fine when I was with Ron.”

Harry turned his body towards her. “That was different.”

“Because it was Ron?”

He shook his head. “Because I knew it wouldn’t last.”

“Huh?”

“I knew about Ron, I mean I didn’t know, but somehow I knew something wasn’t right…not that it’s wrong to be, well, gay, but I just knew it wasn’t going to work.”

She was trying to follow his words. “So you were okay with my relationship with Ron because you didn’t think it would last?” He nodded. “And you aren’t okay with my relationship with Blaise because…you think it will?”

He nodded again.

“But you said all that, about him using me and just wanting to prove something.”

“I know. And I don’t necessarily disbelieve that, but there is something else there, I can see the way he looks at you sometimes and the way you look at him. I don’t necessarily believe that his intentions are honorable, or were honorable, but maybe they are becoming honorable. I don’t know. It’s so confusing; I just know that there is something there, something different.”

“Hmmm.” She did not really have anything to say to that, it was a fairly astute assessment and Harry would probably be shocked to hear the absolute truth.

“Look, I’m sorry Hermione. I’ve been an arse, to you, to Pansy, to Ginny, basically to all women in or out of my life.”

“And…”

“And to Zabini. But I’m fairly sure that he wants to kill me, so I don’t feel so bad about it.” A grin was crossing his lips.

“He doesn’t want to kill you.”

Harry gave her that look. “Okay, maybe he wouldn’t mind if you disappeared forever, but it’s just because of the way you’ve been acting recently.”

“Uh-huh.”

“I think you should apologize.”

He looked incredulous. “To Zabini?”

She smiled. “No. To Pansy. You’re going to blow it, and you know it.”

“Yeah.”



A/N:
Thank you so much for the reviews, I can’t believe how good you all are to me! I appreciate all of your reviews and I take them to heart, so thank you so very much for taking the time to share what you think. And once again I'd like to apologise for not updating soner.

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