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 I was certain when I woke up that it was going to have a good day. With a new friend by my side, all of a sudden Hogwarts seemed like a much better place to live. Sunday seemed to fly by, as I spent a lot of time practicing Quidditch. I was almost certain Malfoy was watching but I didn’t give a shit, I wasn’t going to let him bully me out of my favourite pass time. Whilst I was in the air, I was aware that Neville was watching and I felt bad. I hadn’t asked him to come with me but he insisted. He was standing with another boy. He was kind of the definition of tall, dark and handsome. Sort of. Not quite. But he was handsome enough, with dark hair, eyes and skin. And he was certainly tall compared to Neville, who was smiling despite the strong wind that day.

“Hey Neville, who’s this?” I asked, flustered but cheerful.

“Dean Thomas, charmed,” he replied, clasping my hand and kissing it. I blushed a little. Neville rolled his eyes and I shot him a sly look that he ignored.

“Lucy Hunt,” I said. “You’re a 7th year Gryffindor as well?”

“Yeah, spent way too much of last year on the run,” he replied, slightly sadly. “So glad to be back at Hogwarts though, it’s not been the same without it.”

“It’s starting to feel like home for me too,” I replied warmly. “I’m really enjoying life here.”

“Well then, I expect I’ll see you soon,” Dean grinned, standing to leave. “Unless you fancy joining us for dinner? Neville figured you might.”

“Yeah, that’d be great,” I replied, winking at Neville behind Dean’s back. Neville had the look of someone who knew this wasn’t a good idea. My guess was Dean had talked him into it. I told Dean to go on ahead and slipped back into line with Neville, linking arms with him. “This wasn’t your idea was it Neville?” I teased.

“Not really,” he admitted. “Dean thought you were good-looking and asked me to introduce you. He’ll probably ask you out some time soon.”

“He’s cute, I might just say yes,” I replied. Neville shot me an incredulous look. I shrugged. “If he’s not as nice as he appears, then no harm done.”

“It’s not that,” Neville replied hesitantly. “It’s just that you’ve been at Hogwarts, for what? A week? And already you’re dating? You don’t even know him!”

“Neville,” I replied reasonably. “I may not be out hunting for a boyfriend but if a cute guy drops into my lap I’m hardly going to turn him down. That’s the whole point of a date, so I can get to know him better. I know you’re looking out for me but I have an older sister, a future brother in law and a dad who’s actually here to do that for me.”

“Okay Lucy,” Neville muttered. “All I’m saying is don’t jump in the deep end until you know how to swim.”

“I can swim perfectly fine thank you Neville,” I replied cheerfully, a spring in my step as we headed back up to the castle.

Neville’s prediction that Dean would ask me out didn’t come at dinner, or afterwards when we spent some time together in the common room. I felt a bit bad for Neville because Dean was controlling the conversation, so he barely got a word in. I tried to pull him in but it got tricky and in the end he went to bed. I promised myself I’d make it up to him and shortly after, headed off to bed myself.

The next day, we had Herbology. Whilst before I had been dreading it, I found myself oddly looking forward to it, as it meant I could make things up to Neville. Dean had dropped it and in a way I was glad, it gave me and Neville something that was almost our own. It seemed silly that after a couple of days Neville and I had our own little things but it was a sign of how fast things were progressing, and the effect Hogwarts had. It forced people to make partnerships fast, or life became hell. Having said that, once you had your friends and relationships, the castle was like your second home, or your first in many cases. It was both an amazing place and a cruel place. That particular lesson, we were working on a plant called a Hred, which bit and scratched with its fierce teeth. Neville was calm, and I hated him for it.

“How the hell can this thing not drive you nuts Neville?” I growled, as I wrestled with two of its five heads. My arms were scratched and bleeding slightly and my hair was not looking its best. Stress, humidity and spray are three things guaranteed to tousle my hair. Right now I had two of them and I was pretty sure some bastard (Hermione) had sprayed shitloads of hairspray in the dorm this morning which would make all three. So yeah, to say it was frizzy would be the understatement of the century. Neville on the other hand, was perfectly calm as he soothingly stroked the other three heads with his left hand, whilst extracting the gum we were supposed to be collecting with his right.

“Be gentle with it. It senses your volatility. Relax, let it be your friend.”

At that moment, one of the heads broke through my guard and nipped me on the nose. I yelped and punched the head hard, knocking it clean off. It hit Hermione in the face and I winced as Professor Sprout shook her head.

“There’s always one,” I heard her mutter. Neville shrugged nonchalantly and returned to stroking his heads. I swore at him under my breath, only for the other head I had been wrestling with to plunge itself into my neck. I struggled for a minute and then I blacked out…

“I knew you were bad at Herbology but you never said you were THAT bad!” Neville said.

The words I heard when I woke up. No “Omg are you okay?”; no “Jesus we were worried about you!” Nope, I got teased.

“Shut it Neville,” I muttered. “Should’ve taken out the other head whilst I had a chance.”

“If it helps, I convinced Sprout and Pomfrey not to tell your dad you’re here until after you leave,” Neville grinned.

“You’re a fucking angel. Now fuck off unless you plan on giving me food,” I groaned. Yeah I’m really grouchy after I’ve been bitten in the neck by a fucking plant.

“Charming,” Neville muttered, strolling out to give me some peace and quiet.

I was out of the hospital by the evening, though that meant I’d missed both Charms and Transfiguration. And, whilst loads of people could give me the notes, they all told me the same thing.

“If you want to have a clue what you’re doing, speak to Hermione.”

Fantastic… I point blank refused to ask Hermione for help. My pride would not allow it. It would not. It wouldn’t!!


“Yes Hunt?” she asked icily (okay, so my pride had no choice!). “What do you want?”

“I was hoping you’d give me a hand on my Charms and Transfiguration. I think we got off on the wrong foot and you’re the smartest girl in our year,” I replied. How much more of a kiss-up could I be? Still, Hermione softened.

“Well, I guess it couldn’t hurt,” she replied. “One sec while I get my stuff.”

She never came back. As soon as she reached the girls dorms, she found her way blocked by Ron who leaned in for a kiss. I’m unsure what happened next, because I couldn’t hear what on earth they were saying. At first, it seemed that everything was okay, but then you could tell something was wrong. Ron shoved Hermione’s hands away from him and she threw her hands in the air. Whilst it was still difficult to hear what they were saying, their raised voices were drifting over. Harry was standing nearby and I shot him a worried look. At the point where Hermione slapped Ron, Harry intervened, placing a shield charm between the pair. Hermione glowered at him, looking furious. Ron was still reeling slightly.

“You, Ronald Weasley, are damned lucky to have me as a girlfriend!” Hermione screamed. “Don’t forget it!”

And with that she stormed up into the girl’s dorm. Harry turned to Ron but he was already storming upstairs. I walked over and tried to speak to him but he looked at me with a sadness and disappointment in his eyes.

“I know this isn’t your fault Lucy, but those two are really falling apart over you, so if you could just leave us alone for a while, that would be good,” Harry muttered.

That stung. I’m not gonna lie, the second he said that, it stung. I walked away, a weird mixture of crestfallen and a tad nauseous. All I’d wanted my life was to meet Harry Potter, my cousin, but apparently my dream had become his nightmare. Neville called out to me but I didn’t hear, I was already heading up to my dorm, well aware that I wouldn’t get a break there either, as Hermione was probably waiting for me. Joy…

Hermione was too busy crying to notice me sneak into the dorm and get into bed. I was very careful to be up early the next morning and down to breakfast before Hermione was up. Her pale, tear stained face when she appeared suggested I was probably right to escape while I could. Ron glanced at me when I entered and tried to ignore me but Harry was shooting me warning daggers, so I sat down the other end, shortly joined by Neville.

“It’s a shame you’re getting blamed for what’s happening,” he said. “Ron needs to pull himself together and quickly.”

“Thanks Neville, but it’s not going to make me feel any better,” I muttered.

“They’ll come round,” Neville grinned, rubbing my shoulders caringly.

“Thanks Nev,” I smiled, knowing I’d be lost without him.

Hermione cooled off by the end of the day but I was still getting burning lasers in the back of my head every time she saw me. I felt really bad; the last thing I wanted was for Ron and Hermione to break up because of me. I assumed by their reactions that their fight had been over me, and Harry’s speech had pretty much confirmed it. Neville was sweet but by the end of the day I was getting more than just a tad wound up and I almost snapped at him at dinner.

“I’m sorry Neville, I don’t mean to be nasty,” I sighed as he reeled back slightly.

“No I understand,” Neville replied caringly. “You’ve had a rough day or two, you just want a bit of peace and quiet.”

“Why can’t all guys be like you Neville?” I asked, burying my head in my hands.

Unsurprisingly for him, Neville didn’t really have much of an answer to that. Just when I thought I’d been hitting my stride, Hermione had come out of nowhere to ruin it. However, then it hit me. Why should I care what Hermione thought, what she did? I sat up, grinning at Neville who was strangely unnerved.

“What?” he asked worriedly.

“Come on,” I whispered, grabbing him and pulling him out of his seat. I dragged him over to where Dean was sitting and plonked ourselves down.

“Hey Dean,” I said, plonking myself down beside him with Neville following suit.

“Hey Lucy, hey Neville,” he replied, smiling. “Listen Lucy, I’ve been meaning to ask you something.”

“Yes?” I asked, fluttering my eyelids a little. Neville rolled his eyes and I shot him a filthy look.

“7th years are allowed to head down to Hogsmeade sometimes after lessons, with a teacher’s permission,” Dean explained. “I was wondering if you wanted to go for dinner at the Hog’s Head tomorrow night?”

“Why Dean I would love to,” I replied. “I know just the teacher to ask.”

As soon as we were out of Dean’s earshot, Neville rounded on me.

“What was that supposed to be?” he blurted.

“I couldn’t care less about Ron and Hermione’s relationship,” I explained. “I’m not letting them keep me down.”

“And that has to do with Dean because…”

“Look Neville, the last few days with you have been fun, but if I spend every waking moment with you from now until the end of the year, we WILL kill each other. So I’m finding another alternative. You said yourself Dean likes me so I’d be foolish not to encourage him. I just want to have as good a time as possible at Hogwarts, and getting a boyfriend can hardly make that worse.”

“You’re being silly Luce,” Neville retorted. “Jumping on Dean so quickly after getting here.”

“As opposed to what?” I exclaimed. “Turning him down?”

“Look Lucy, I just worry that you need time to settle.”

“Neville, I have settled. Now please let me worry about my love life.”

“If you use the word love loosely,” Neville muttered.

I had told Dean I could get my dad’s permission, as he would do basically anything for me. However, standing outside the door to his office, suddenly I wasn’t so sure. I knocked and he called for me to enter.

“Hey dad, I was after a favour,” I said, giving him my largest puppy dog eyes.

“What is it Lucy?” he asked kindly and I blushed.

“7th years are allowed to go to Hogsmeade in the evenings with the permission of a professor and well, you’re a professor.”

“Why do you want to go to Hogsmeade?” he asked cautiously.

“Dean Thomas asked me on a date at the Hog’s Head tomorrow night,” I blurted, praying that would work. For a moment, there was silence.

“Well…okay then I guess. I didn’t realise you were into dating and such,” he replied quietly.

“Dad, I’m 17. You’d had sex with Lily Evans by my age,” I pointed out.

“Yeah, I just didn’t realise you were… you know. I should have.”

“Dad, I’m still your little girl and I’ve still got my cherry,” I said, putting my hand on his shoulder. “You need to trust me.”

“Of course I do Lucy. Maybe this Dean will be like James was to Amy.”

“Don’t push it dad,” I snorted.


A/N: Hey again guys. Well here it is, Chapter 4. I'm currently hard at work writing Chapter 17 so I've still got a bit of a headstart. Anyway, thank you so much to everyone who's been reading but i could really use a few reviews so i can see what you guys think of the story? :) HP

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