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 “Harry, I…”

“Don’t worry about it,” Harry interrupted, sweeping a cloak out of his bag. “Get under here, I like to have some privacy.”

It was his invisibility cloak. I grinned to myself but tried not to let my excitement appear on my face as I pulled the cloak over myself and Harry slipped under next to me. I shot him a grin and he smiled back wearily. We carried on walking, heading out towards the forest.

“Why did you help me Harry?” I asked eventually, as we moved away from the castle. He sighed and I could tell he was wrestling with himself.

“Hermione’s not herself at the moment,” Harry replied sadly, pulling the cloak off us as we sat on the grass. “And you don’t deserve to be treated like she’s been treating you. Ron’s right, she’s pinning all their problems on you. I figured I owed you one as well, I’ve been a bit harsh towards you as well.”

“Thanks Harry,” I replied, smiling softly at him. “I guess I could’ve made things easier for everyone but I never realised how bitchy Hogwarts could be.”

“It’s a school,” Harry pointed out. “A magical school yes, but still a school. Gossip rules every school and Hogwarts is no different.”

“I hate it,” I confessed. The truth was it made me so…angry and depressed. It sucked away my life. “I preferred it when it was just me and dad.”

Harry hugged me gently, and I felt like sobbing. Hogwarts ground me down, beat me to a pulp and for once, I finally felt as though there was nothing worth staying at Hogwarts for. Harry held me for a few minutes whilst I sobbed and I hated myself.

“Sorry Harry,” I groaned, pulling myself off him. “I’m not a crier generally, I can’t remember the last time I sobbed like this. But it just… it’s so damn stressful you know? I mean there’s Malfoy, who wants to murder me every time I glance at him; Hermione wants my guts on a platter; Dean was a real prick to me; my dad won’t talk to me anymore. What’s the damn point of it Harry? I was fine learning magic with my dad but I had to blunder into Hogwarts, thinking that meeting you would make my life so much better!”

“Lucy,” Harry interrupted, looking into my eyes. “Hogwarts can be a tough place, but it can be amazing as well. You’ve had some great moments, you just need to hold onto the good and get rid of the bad. I’m going to talk to Hermione and you need to talk to your dad, rebuild that bridge. As for Malfoy, well, there’s nothing we can do about Malfoy, but you’ve already proved you can duel, so I doubt he’ll be too eager to pick a fight.”

“Thanks Harry, you have no idea how much that means…” I smiled tearfully.

“I guess we all need a helping hand when we first join,” Harry grinned. “You’ve got Neville, he’s a good guy. You two make a cute couple.”

I shot Harry a look of pure horror.

“Harry!” I gasped. “He’s too…Neville! He’s a good guy but he’d be the worst boyfriend in history!”

“Okay, okay,” Harry grinned, rubbing my shoulder. “I know when to take a hint. I guess the male population isn’t what it used to be.”

“Tell me about it,” I giggled. “I wish I’d stayed with my muggle boyfriend Steve. He may not have known magic, but boy was he magical.”

“You and he…” Harry began.

“God no!” I cried, almost laughing. “But we did everything but. And he’s such a great guy, I just wish I could’ve brought him with me. As good as Hogwarts is, it’s lacking in flair.”

“It’s a boring school of magic?” Harry chuckled.

“That’s not what I meant,” I chuckled. “I just meant it needs more romance.”

“It’s still recovering,” Harry explained. “People need time to get over the Second Wizarding War. Ron and Hermione need time.”

“Thanks Harry,” I smiled. “You’re a terrific guy.”

“Don’t worry about it, we all need some time with a friend just to relax if we want to make it out of Hogwarts sane,” Harry replied. “Hang in there Lucy, you know where I am if you need me.”

“Harry,” I asked, the idea coming into my head. “What do you know about The Movement?”

He flinched when I mentioned it and then hurriedly tried to cover it up.

“Movement? What movement?”

“Harry don’t bullshit me.”

“No. Sorry. The Movement are a team of Death Eaters still fighting after the 2nd war. Some of them are just out for revenge, some believe they can resurrect Voldie. Hell, some are just fighting for power. But they’re dangerous and we can’t pin them down. The Order, or what’s left of it anyway, think they’ll attack me and those close to me.”

“McGonagall thinks I’m a target. But they can’t infiltrate Hogwarts surely?”

“Honestly Luce? I don’t know what they’re capable of…”

I think that it took this conversation to really convince me how great a person Harry Potter truly was. And he was right. Yes, my time at Hogwarts had been bumpy, but I had to focus on the positives and stick by the people that mattered most. And I knew that everyone needed a good cry every now and again. But it also made me more alert than ever about the dangers outside the walls of Hogwarts and how I’d gotten myself into deep shit. Again.

We headed back up to the castle, me remarkably more cheerful than when we left. By this point in his life, Harry could pretty much come and go as he pleased, he was never caught leaving the castle afterwards, especially with his cloak and Marauders Map. We returned to the common room without any chance of mishap. Harry grinned at me and then we entered the common room. At which point all my cheeriness and goodwill plummeted. Kate and Dean were snogging. In full view. Now I was not jealous and I didn’t want Dean for myself, but I was pissed off, because I knew exactly what would happen. Poor Kate would fall head over heels and then Dean would screw her over. I was wondering at what point I’d become so damn cynical about life at Hogwarts and guys in general. Harry raised his eyebrow and I shrugged. I turned away from the pair before they made me sick, only to see Zara and Neville in a similar position. Jesus Christ, if I was still keeping score, testosterone would be miles out in front. I groaned and headed up to my room, wondering which of the idiots I would slap first in the morning…

Maybe I was a bit hasty in my decision to storm off to bed. Oh well, I had a nice sleep that night and I was in a kind of alright mood in the morning. I woke up nice and early and headed down to breakfast after checking in with the reflection. Neville was sitting alone at the Gryffindor table, which was mainly empty. I sat down beside him, shooting him a questioning look as he shrivelled into himself.

“Nev? Want to explain what happened last night?” I asked. My voice was gentle but there was a clear edge to it.

“So I got with Zara, why does it matter?” he mumbled.

“Because you’re two of my best friends and the last thing I need is you two suddenly being really awkward around each other.”

“What makes you think things will be awkward?” Neville protested weakly.

“Neville, no offence but you were born awkward,” I snorted, causing him to shrink even further. “Come on Neville, talk to me.”

“Okay Lucy, I really like her okay?” Neville blurted. “She’s really pretty so I made a stupid mistake and I just kissed her!”

“What happened?” I asked, my voice laced with care.

“I kissed her. She didn’t stop me but afterwards she just looked at me like I was a freak or something. Then she ran upstairs and I haven’t seen her since. What the fuck have I done Lucy?”

Now you see why kisses are such a bad thing. They ruin friendships. And I end up picking up the flak, just like Neville did and would do for me. That’s how our friendship works. And I don’t mind. Not one bit. But I feel awful for him, especially because Zara’s a good friend as well. This is one hell of a mess we’ve gotten into. Now all I needed was a cataclysmic Dean Thomas sized hole in Kate’s heart and everything’s peachy. Hopefully said hole would wait until I could patch up these two idiots. Or, as chances would probably be, not.

“Neville, I’ll talk to her,” I sighed, standing up to head back to the common room.

“No, just stay with me please Luce,” Neville sounded pathetic but I imagined I wasn’t much better when I was sobbing into Harry’s shoulder. I nodded and sat back down, rubbing his arm gently as he refused to eat his breakfast.

As I left the Great Hall to head to the library (I had a free first and I assumed I’d meet either Zara or Kate there, the pair had dodged breakfast, as had Dean), I noticed something out of the corner of my eye. Malfoy. Every urge in my body told me to ignore him that it was not my battle to fight. But I couldn’t. He was up to no good, I was sure of it. His usual swagger was replaced by a stealthy crawl as he crept towards the corridors to the dungeons. I watched him out the corner of my eye, blending into my surrounding students so he didn’t notice me. I grabbed Harry as he passed and hissed into his ear:

“Malfoy’s up to no good, let me borrow your cloak.”

Harry shot me an inquisitive look but eventually handed over his cloak, which I slipped under and followed Malfoy into the dungeons. I kept as low and as quiet as possible, trying not to get too close to Malfoy in case he spotted me (he had previous experience of the cloak after all). He seemed oblivious to my presence, so I hurried after him, down the deep winding staircase that led down to Slughorn’s classroom. I figured he wasn’t headed for the Slytherin common room, which was in the other direction and the fact that Goyle wasn’t snooping around made me even more suspicious. I followed quietly and Malfoy spun round. I froze on the spot, not daring to move. My wand was clutched close to my chest and I breathed as lightly as I could, even though my heart was pumping like a jackhammer.

“Goyle? Is the coast clear?” Malfoy hissed.

There was a grunt from a passing 1st year. Polyjuice, they used that before, Harry told me. I swore inwardly but Malfoy didn’t notice me and carried on, into Slughorn’s classroom itself, even though Sluggy himself was nowhere to be seen. I raced after him, able to slip through the door before it closed behind him. I hid in the corner of the room, watching as Malfoy brewed a potion. He murmured strange incantations, before casting a silencing charm on the area around him and his potion. Merlin, he certainly didn’t want to take any chances… I tried to move closer, but even then I couldn’t hear what Malfoy was saying, though his face was animated and he seemed annoyed. He kicked the cauldron and the potion spiralled out of it. I caught a glimpse of a face in the green liquid before it showered the room. I ducked behind a table and managed to avoid being exposed. I watched as Malfoy left and heaved a huge sigh of relief. I sat under the cloak for a few minutes before slipping out, heading off to find Harry…

“You’re sure about this?”

“100% Harry. Draco sneaks off to make some potion, obviously to have a secret conversation he doesn’t want overhead and then I see a masked figure in said potion. There’s only one explanation: he’s working with the Movement.”

“We can’t just make assumptions Lucy!” Harry groaned. “Nobody will believe you, except me and probably Ron.”

“Then we need some proof. Good thing you have expertise in this area, right Harry?” I coaxed. Harry groaned.

“Lucy, even if I wanted to help, I wouldn’t know where to start.”

“Start by keeping tabs on Malfoy, that’s what your map’s for right?”

Reluctantly agreeing, Harry turned back to his food, though in truth, neither of us was particularly hungry anymore…

A/N: Hi again guys, thanks for reading and please please please leave a review. I've nearly finished writing this story and trust me, it ends with a bang... HP

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