Harry paced nervously as he watched the clock upon the wall. She should have been back by now. The portrait hole opened and he and Ron looked expectantly. It was only Neville.
“Where is she?” Ron asked, fiddling with his wand. The portrait hole opened once more and this time Hermione raced towards them. There was a triumphant look upon her face, and also she had a face of someone who had to tell Harry something.
“How did it go?” Harry asked immediately when Hermione reached them. Hermione pulled a large bag full of jingling coins and handed it to Harry.
“I almost got caught,” she said breathlessly. Harry and Ron’s eyes widened.
“By who?” They both asked in unison.
“Professor Lupin! He was with Veronica!” Hermione exclaimed and looked at Harry.
“Remus and Veronica?”
“Yes… I apparated from the Ministry to Diagon Alley right outside of Gringotts. I moved as quickly as I could and raced up the steps. I had no trouble getting the money, but on my way out I bumped into them. It was a good thing I had my hood on and my traveling cloak covering the Hogwarts uniform! Anyway, I heard Lupin say it was all part of the lawsuit and that the Ministry needed something. I didn’t stay long enough to hear anything else because I needed to apparate back to where I should have gone in the first place. I just thought odd that Veronica was there, especially since you hadn’t mentioned anything about it,” Hermione said as she sat down on the couch.
Harry frowned. Veronica had said that she was going to be busy this morning, but Harry had assumed that it was school related. Why was Remus with her?
“She told me she was going to be busy… but she didn’t say what,” Harry sat down, the pouch of gold still in his hands. Ron nudged Harry, and Harry hid the pouch as Neville approached them.
“Harry, I thought you might want to know that Veronica and Malfoy had a confrontation down in the Entrance Hall just a few minutes ago,” Neville said and Harry looked incredulous.
“I don’t know… I was coming from the green houses, and Veronica was walking in with Professor Lupin. She stopped to talk to some of her friends who were heading to the Great Hall and Professor Lupin left. Then Malfoy showed up and they started arguing. Malfoy pulled out his wand and hexed her. He got her good, but before anyone could retaliate, Professor Lupin disarmed him. They’ve taken Veronica to the Hospital Wing, and I think Malfoy went to the Headmaster’s office. I think he’s going to be expelled,” Neville said and Harry was already halfway to the Portrait Hole. Ron and Hermione were after him. They raced down to the Hospital Wing and found Professor Lupin waiting for them.
“How is she?” Harry asked as he reached Lupin.
“She’ll be fine. She just suffered a few bruises on her hip when she fell,” Lupin said placing a hand on Harry before he could go in. “She’s with Dumbledore right now.”
Harry wanted desperately to ask why she was in Diagon Alley with him, but then he would have to explain how he knew that. Harry didn’t want to get Hermione into trouble, especially since she had managed to pull the whole thing off without a hitch.
After several minutes, Dumbledore came out and allowed Harry to go visit Veronica. She was sitting on her bed, tying on her shoes.
“Hey, I’ve just heard,” he said as he reached her and kissed on the cheek.
“I’m all right. That idiot didn’t do anything too drastic,” she said and grinned at him.
“Why were you and Malfoy arguing?” Harry asked feeling a bit deceived. He didn’t want to accuse Veronica of anything.
“I got a letter this morning…” she said pulling a letter out of her pocket. “After Professor Dumbledore told me the truth about my mum, I’ve been looking into her and her family,” she said and looked to Harry. “I inquired about her at the Ministry, and I guess this whole thing has led to my lawyer finding out that my mum was the surviving heir of her father’s estate, since her sister and parents had died. I informed the Ministry of her death, but she didn’t have a will. So my counsel started looking into it, and she found out that everything in my mum’s family estate reverted back to an earlier will that my Grandfather Regulus had when he had been single that left to his cousing Pollux, who was Narcissa's grandgather. Anyway, my lawyer adviced me to start a petition to get what is rightfully mine. Narcissa is taking me to court to keep me from getting anything from them. Well, the letter I got this morning said that I’ve won the lawsuit and the Malfoy’s have been ordered to give me back everything they had gained from mum’s estate. I had to go to Gringotts to open a larger vault, and to sign some documents. That’s why Malfoy and I argued.
Professor Dumbledore explained to me that Malfoy’s dad is in prison, and that when Malfoy turned 17 next year he would be controlling the Malfoy fortune. I guess Malfoy isn’t happy that I’m taking a huge chunk of his fortune…” Veronica said and couldn’t help but grin.
Harry felt relieved, although in the back of his mind he didn’t like the fact that Veronica had been looking into her family and had yet failed to mention a single thing about it. Harry wondered if Veronica was looking into anything about her father.
“I am rather hungry, have you been down for lunch yet?” Veronica asked the group and they shook their heads. The four of them walked together down to the Great Hall. People whispered as they walked back, the news of Malfoy’s and Veronica’s row already had spread throughout the school. Veronica’s classmates came rushing at her when they spotted her entering the Great Hall.
Harry told Veronica she would meet up with her later that afternoon, since it seemed that she wouldn’t be able to be free of her friends. Harry, Ron and Hermione went to the Gryffindor table and sat down. They discovered that somehow the news that Veronica was related to Malfoy and had taken his mum to court had leaked. The next morning, an article appeared in the Daily Prophet about the case. This made Harry nervous. He wondered how long it would take before the truth about Veronica’s lineage would come out. He wondered how many of them would still remain friendly towards her.
Veronica had suddenly become really popular. She no longer was only Harry’s girlfriend, who had attracted a lot of negative feeling from girls, she had landed Malfoy in detention almost every night of the week, and he had been demoted from team captain of the Slytherin Quidditch team. She was also one of the richest Witches in school now; this aggravated Veronica a great deal since she had never flaunted her wealth before. She suddenly had friends all over the place, and she hated it.
Harry led Veronica to the seventh room corridor and grinned. Veronica had said she wanted to go somewhere where she could be at peace, and where she wouldn’t be persecuted by people who suddenly wanted to know everything about her.
“What’s here?” Veronica asked puzzled as she looked about. One wall was bare, while the other had the portrait of some trolls in Tutu's.
“Walk past this wall three times and think of a place where you want to be at peace,” Harry said and Veronica looked at him skeptically. Then closed her eyes and couldn't at first think of anywhere. She walked in front of the wall, and gasped when she opened her eyes. A door had appeared in the blank wall.
Harry opened it for her, and he looked with interest into the room that had materialized. Veronica entered and felt tears come into her eyes. Harry closed the door behind him, and stood next to her.
“Where are we?” Harry asked noticing the nostalgia in Veronica’s eyes.
“This was my mother’s favorite room in our house…” Veronica said as she looked about the room. "I couldn't think of anywhere else... I..." she said and became silent taking the room in.
Bookshelves lined the wall on one side; the other three walls were completely covered in windows, with rich golden draperies. Harry was intrigued by the view outside those windows. Large rose gardens spread below. There was a tall hedge that delineated the property line. A lane disappeared on one side of the house and rolled down to wrought iron gates, where a street went by. Harry could see mountains surrounding the small town. He could make out the terracotta roofs of the town. Harry had never seen the room of requirement show a view of outside windows before, and had never thought that it could. This was obviously all created from Veronica’s memory.
“The house burned to the ground when my parents were murdered. I never thought I’d be able to see this again. This is where I go in my dreams, and my mother is always there… playing the piano as she always did,” Veronica said as she walked to the huge black piano in the room. Veronica started at the piano for a moment and sighed. Harry guessed that she had wished to see her mother sitting on the bench. She sat down on the small wooden bench, and gingerly placed her fingers on the keys.
“I haven’t played anything since she died…” she said fingering the keys and feeling the coolness on her fingertips.
“I didn’t know you could play,” Harry said feeling like he was intruding on a very private moment. Veronica smiled at him.
She began to play hesitantly, almost as if she wished to stop herself from doing it. She closed her eyes, and Harry watched as she nimbly stroked the keys. The song was not familiar to Harry, but it was beautiful. He watched in silence as her confidence returned, and felt her emotions pouring out of each note. Suddenly, Veronica slammed her hands on the keys, jolting Harry with the discord of the notes. She buried her face in her hands and wept.
Harry rushed to her and embraced her. “I’m sorry Veronica…” he said feeling guilty for bringing her here.
“Oh God… I miss her so much…” Veronica sobbed onto his shoulder. Harry held her until she no longer cried. He wiped her wet face and Veronica looked up to his vivid green eyes. Harry took her lips into his, and opened his eyes when he felt a certain breeze. He looked around and the room had changed. The windows, books and piano were gone. Now, he was in a lavishly decorated bedroom, and he noticed that he and Veronica were sitting atop a huge four poster bed. She smiled at him.
“You sure we’re safe here? It’s been so long since we’ve been truly alone…” she whispered to his ear and kissed his neck. Harry felt goose bumps rise on his neck and shivered. He took her lips in his, and began to caress her… letting the desires that were rising in him completely overtake him. Veronica moaned as Harry’s hand found the smooth skin under her shirt. Veronica took her robes off, and fiddled with her neck tie. Harry loosened his and slipped it over his head. Veronica was now clad only in her bra and skirt and Harry was fumbling with the clasp of her bra. He jumped slightly as he felt his wristwatch vibrate. He ignored it while Veronica kissed him, as she was pulling his shirt from the restraint of his trousers and began to unbutton it.
This time Harry jumped and stumbled backwards falling off the bed when he heard Hermione’s voice. He had inadvertently pushed the button to connect the link.
<i>“Harry? Harry! Are you there?”</i>
Harry pushed the button immediately to cancel the connection, and looked up to see Veronica with an amused, yet puzzled look on her face as she looked at Harry sprawled on the floor. Harry looked at his watch and paled.
“Get dressed! Quick…”
Harry flicked his wand on him and was fully clothed. The room changed and Veronica found herself on top a large cushion. She looked about the room with a wild expression.
“There’s no time to explain! Just do it… and play along please.”
Veronica flicked her wand, and was clothed. Seconds later the door opened and in walked Hannah and Justin.
“Hey Harry!” The pair greeted them and smiled at Veronica. Veronica was looking at Harry questioningly.
“So you did invite her!” Hanna exclaimed.
“Erm, yeah…” Harry stumbled, and Veronica now had her arms crossed. He was lying of course. He had never mentioned anything about the meeting today.
Harry sat next to her. “I am so sorry Veronica… I forgot about the time and to tell you about this…” Harry lied. He had had no intention on telling her about the DA yet, even though the DA had discussed it already.
“What is ‘this’ in any case?”
“It’s a Defense Association where we practice Defense Against the Dark Arts, but we are a secret group and only selected people are members,” Harry tried to explain.
“Harry!” Hermione exclaimed and noticed Veronica sitting next to him. Veronica was distracted at the moment when Cho Chang and Michael Corner came to talk to her. Hermione gave Harry a questioning look, but he waved her off. Hermione walked off, and Harry tried to speak with Veronica again.
As they waited for the rest of the DA to arrive, Hermione approached Harry and Veronica with a parchment and quill. Only after they turned to look at her, did Hermione realize that they had been arguing in quiet tones.
“You need to sign your name,” Hermione said uncomfortable and a bit apologetic and looked to Harry. Hadn’t he explained things to her?
“It’s a list of the members of the DA,” Hermione said and pressed the items forward.
“And who says that I’m a member?” Veronica said icily.
“But you have to sign if you are invited…” Harry said pleadingly.
Veronica snatched the parchment, scribbled her name on it, and then threw it on the floor.
Hermione glared at her. “I suggest that if you want to stay…”
“Oh, did I give the impression I wanted to stay?” Veronica said now glaring at Harry and her.
“So then what are you doing here?” Hermione said irritated, as she picked up the scroll.
Veronica crossed her arms, “Yes Harry, why don’t you tell her what I am doing here?” She said a bit loudly. The other members of the DA were looking at the three of them with apprehension.
“Veronica please…” Harry said pinching the bridge of his nose. The last thing he needed was for her to make a scene here.
“Please what!? When were you planning on telling me?” She shrieked.
“Is not that simple…” Harry began, and Veronica turned around and left the Room of Requirement, Harry hot on her heels.
He grabbed her arm and stopped her out in the hallway.
“Look, I couldn’t tell you until I discussed it with everyone. Everyone in the DA has to agree who becomes a new member, and who doesn’t. And there are other things I needed to explain to you about…”
“I don’t care Harry! You could have explained that to me from the beginning without actually telling me a damn thing about the DA. But you’ve been lying to me. So is this what you do when you come up with those lame excuses why you can’t meet me?”
Harry didn’t know what to say. They both turned to see the door open and Hermione stepped out.
“Mind your own business!” Veronica spat at her.
Hermione ignored her and asked Harry. “Did you warn her?” Harry saw that her wand was in her hands. Harry shook his head at her.
“I said butt out!” Veronica yelled with anger.
“I just wanted to warn you… you cannot tell a soul about our group, unless you want to end up looking like Marietta Edgecomb… you did sign after all,” Hermione said threateningly, although a smirk was on her face. “We’ll be waiting for you Harry…” Hermione said and went back into the room, and Harry groaned.
Veronica’s eyes widened. She looked accusingly at Harry.
“And you let me sign it!?” She shrieked. Harry was about to answer when she slapped him.
“Go back to your stupid group and your f*****g mudblood!”
Harry had been bewildered by her slap, and sudden anger flared in him. He grabbed her by the wrists.
“DON’T YOU EVER CALL HER THAT!” He screamed his face full of rage, and the lights in the corridor flickered. Neither noticed it.
“Let go!” Veronica screamed equally enraged, and Harry seemed to realize he was holding her. He let go of her arms. Veronica whirled around and stormed off.
“Veronica…” Harry called. She turned to face him, her wand pointed at his face.
“You stay away from me! I don’t want you near me ever again!” She screamed and left an astonished Harry looking at her retreating back.
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