Chapter beta: Dani
Chapter translator: Aivy with help from Sophie and NoX
“Leave us!” I demanded from our companions, which they did immediately. Shortly after we had left Snape’s rooms, I pulled Draco into an alcove. I knew the things Snape had divulged so disrespectfully had hurt him, even though he‘d never admit it. But I couldn‘t be mad at Snape; it was still one of the most harmless things he could have stolen from my mind.
This time I placed him against the wall and he leaned back and braced himself against it. I stepped in front of him, grabbing his hips, and he put his arms around my shoulders and looked at me with an unreadable expression, not showing any emotions.
“Draco…” I wanted to begin justifying myself, but he put a finger on my lips, thus shutting me up gently and shook his head. I followed his wish and remained silent until he was ready and started to speak.
“Hermione, I knew that Potter was important to you, but so much? I mean, I think you don’t say that often, do you?” The words came very quiet, thoughtful and maybe a bit melancholic from him, though I couldn’t hear any hint of an accusation.
“No, you are right. I’ve never before said it to anyone, except now to Harry … And no, not even to my parents, I somehow always got around it…” I admitted openly, albeit somewhat shocked myself, and sighed.
“Could you say it to me as well?” he asked me suddenly, his tone of voice difficult to determine. He was not looking at my face, his gaze fixed on the dark distance of the corridor.
“I'm cautious in this regard, I do not want to rush things. If I knew where you stand... Harry did say it first too! But I want to be careful here…” I tried to explain to him gently.
“Where I stand? Well, I’m a Malfoy. I don’t wear my heart on my sleeve like your hero Potter!” he said without any emotion, still not looking at me. This conversation wasn’t easy, for both of us.
“Then this time I should be the one to muster the lion’s courage, right?” I mused softly and he nodded curtly to me, so I pulled his head to me and he went with the motion, leaning over to me and I paused until I could look deep into his eyes.
“I need you very much, Draco! You are my stronghold, I belong to you!” I breathed so softly that I almost did not hear it, looking at him imploringly and he returned my gaze. It was difficult for me to vocalise these intimate and trusting words. I noticed a flash in those beautiful, grey eyes and I think I knew what it meant although he kept silent. Then I plucked up the courage and continued talking.
“And I truly don’t see you as a brother and you are already family for me, aren’t you?” I summed up further, now more determined, still holding his face cupped in my hands.
I could witness how he fought with himself.
“Hermione, it means so much to me that you are giving me the honor to hear those words out of your mouth. I thank you!” he replied starchily. Wasn’t that beautiful? A Malfoy, right up to the white tips of his hair. Sweet, how difficult it was for him to share this intimacy with me. Here he was very different from Harry.
Abruptly, he straightened his posture and freed himself brusquely from my grasp. He now stood proudly in front of me, grabbing both hands of mine and pulling them to his chest, and looked at me insistently.
“I’ve never said this to anyone before! You understand? Never...No one...“ he urgently tried to make it clear to me, before he took a deep breath and confessed hoarsely:
“I need you, Hermione! And an alcove is surely not the right place for this, but it was the perfect time to tell you,” he declared firmly with a happy smile.
“Oh, Draco!” I jumped happily at him and he caught me as if I weighed nothing and lifted me on his hands. I was honored that he had found this strength for me; that was so - I do not know if it was romantic, but my heart beat faster because of it. Meanwhile, he pulled my hood over my head and carried me towards Slytherin. I would spend the night with Draco today.
“You won’t hear it often, Hermione. I don’t think I could do it!” He looked at me solemnly and I knew that I didn’t need to. It had meant more to me than saying it every time, and after all, I did have a difficult time vocalising it as well.
“I know, Draco, but you don’t have to!” I excused him, snuggling into his strong arms that brought me safely to our destination.
I was floating with happiness, partly because of the fact he didn’t insist that I do it myself for he obviously understood how hard it was for me, and that he carried me in his arms. I knew I would never forget the expressions of those Slytherins who had seen Draco carrying me through their common room into his private chamber.
We made love with indescribable gentleness and passion; it was a wonderful night. If someone had told me until recently that I would quietly confess my feelings to Draco Malfoy and that said pure-blooded Draco Malfoy, would also confess his own to me, the Mudblood Granger, I would have committed myself of my own accord.
But so much had changed since this summer. We had to realise how similar we were, that we had made a killer pit out of our hearts a long time ago. And as unbelievable as it sounded, I felt so well and understood by Draco and so connected with him that it just felt right what we were doing right now.
When I left him at five o'clock in the morning, much to my chagrin, to sneak back into the tower and meet Harry in the common room just before six o'clock, melancholy came over me. I did not want to leave him, I did not want to pretend that I did not have contact with him, I hated more and more the necessity to hide, to ... deny ourselves. But fate left us no choice and so I went, hooded as always, and sneaked away.
Harry made me speechless, because when I entered the common room ready for the run, a chipper Harry already waited for me, grinning broadly in pleasant anticipation.
“You meant that seriously? I mean, I'm happy ... but I would have thought …” I was a bit confused and so I stammered, though I was really happy that he was true to his word.
“That I won’t get my lazy ass out of bed? Well, you thought wrong,” he grinned impishly, looking cuddly-cute in his cheekiness.
“Come on! That's so nice of you,” I laughed freely and started into a great day. After the run, on the way back to the tower, I informed Harry about yesterday’s success.
“Oh, that reminds me, I have good news: From now on I’ll teach you in Occlumency every Tuesday. I passed Snape’s test!” I smiled like a Cheshire Cat. I was really, really relieved because now I knew for sure that I would never again need to be frightened of Dumbledore again!
“Hermione, thank you, for everything you do for me. I can only guess that it hasn’t been a cakewalk. Did he push you very hard? I cannot think of anything worse than how he ruthlessly dug in my mind! And the pain, it felt like my brain would first fry and then explode. And afterwards I felt way more vulnerable than I did before,” he explained, stricken, and I had to smirk. Snape had been ruthless with me as well, considering where he had had his hands. What would Harry say when he’d do the same with him? The mental picture entertained me immensely.
“I think we have a more fundamental problem. It's not the ability to close your mind that hinders you, it's your hate for Professor Snape. And I don’t know how to tell you, but I don’t find him as distasteful as you do!” I said with determination. I would never be able to tell him that I had shared the joys of the flesh with Snape if the way he had just turned his face into a grimace in disgust was any indication. Thus, Snape came to my mind and the fact that I had not even thought about my experience with him yet.
Oh man, was I relieved that Snape hadn’t managed to bring down my walls. He had fought with more than just unfair means. When his fingers had settled on my lips, I had been startled and was distracted momentarily but I had quickly regained my mental strength. Then, when he had grabbed my breast, I had been a little disgruntled, but I also acknowledged the tactic behind it. A Dark Lord wouldn’t ask me nicely to get to my secrets, instead he would rather use the Cruciatus, and Snape, well, he had tried to draw me out with sexual advances.
He had surely thought, that this act, him touching me in such an intimate way despite me being together with Draco, would unsettle me enough that I would lower my walls out of pure shock. That he had already possessed all of me had been of great help to keep myself calm in this situation. I had known why he did it and I hate to admit, but I had no problems with being touched by Snape. I felt no shyness nor shame for this, so he hadn’t really been able to get a reaction out of me.
But then, as he had started to attack my knee, I hadn’t known how far he would go and that’s where I had gotten a little unsettled, as I had clearly been able to see, that he was losing his self-control a bit right then. After all, he didn’t know anything about me being Minna and here he had been, having a go with his student Hermione Granger. Therefore I had been getting restless and my walls had begun to crumble, a hole opening up in said wall, which I struggled to uphold under his constant mental assault. As it took a lot out of me to keep it up as proud and well-fortified as it was, I had started to tremble out of exertion. His attacks had become more painful and ruthless and in the meantime, my temples had started to throb and pound.
And then I had started to play a dangerous game out of pure desperation. This wasn’t the only wall that I had erected, merely the first bastion. At first, he saw unimportant childhood memories. He didn’t drive me further back only mentally and so I had suddenly noticed, to my utter disbelief, how his hand settled down on my crotch. I had felt him touch my private parts and it had changed our fight in a dangerous way.
Additionally to everything else, heat had started to rise up within me and in an unconscious reaction, I had steered my thoughts in a sexual direction and so he had witnessed how Draco and I enjoyed ourselves, then Cedric, then Viktor! At this point, I had managed to reign back in my feelings, despite the constant assault of his invading mind.
But the fear had gripped me tightly. I couldn’t and was under no circumstances allowed to let him see Minna, and so I had shown him, driven by fear, intentionally and with calculation, Sirius and how he fucked me. And there I had had him, again able to guide him and so I had shown him the scene how Sirius had beaten me. He had recovered quickly, too quickly, and had continued to barbarically penetrate me with his mind. The throbbing and stabbing pain in my head had grown dangerously, it had felt as if burning needles had been thrust directly into my brain when he approached another barrier. I had witnessed the scene with Harry slipping out, which had been okay as it irritated him, he just liked Harry so much. However, he should never have seen the moment Harry confessed his love and my reciprocation. My resistance had been weakening. I had whimpered in pain and in my distress, I had pushed the scene with Lucius at him.
This one had seemed to really affect him greatly. I had thought that it was not that bad anymore as the scene passed my eyes as well, but Snape apparently saw it differently. But then I had been able to see in his eyes that he had realised that I was directing him and that he would now do everything he could to bring me down, and at that moment Draco, the goddess be thanked, had entered the room!
Before that moment, I hadn’t realized that Snape had been lying completely on top of me. But alright, that's how it had been and I had gotten a fit of laughter because of the other's faces and the bliss that I'd made it. Of course, if the others had not come when they did, there could well have been a risk that he would have broken me and I reluctantly admit that he would have succeeded eventually. But now we were done and I was nothing but thankful. I had turned my mind into an impregnable fortress, I was actually amazed at my own willpower. I had kept him in check; this was my first real victory over Snape.
“Right, you are serious you don’t find him that bad, aren’t you?” Harry squinted at me suspiciously.
“Yes, Harry, I am. He is not a simple man and he is biased but he is not the huge monster you and Ron see in him!” I defended Snape.
“You have been saying this for years. If you think so,” he closed the topic very skeptically. It was true, I had been preaching it for years.
When we all went to breakfast, questions bubbled up quickly, because the whole school was now convinced that Harry and I were a loving couple. After all, Harry had again been up early with me and had been found in intimate harmony with me in the common room early in the morning. Ginny snogged whenever possible with Corner, it was so embarrassing. Ron was terribly upset every time he found his little sister somewhere in an intimate embrace. And Cho, she kept poking her head together with Edgecombe, gossiping with her and throwing me beastly glances that reflected her jealousy, and she bathed in the feeling of correctly judging Harry, as it now seemed obvious that he had something going on with me.
I had alerted Harry to this and he had just shrugged indifferently. Apparently, Cho was no longer an issue.
“Hey, Harry! When will we continue our training?” Ron asked with visible interest while spooning his cereal.
“I wanted to set the coin to Friday,” Harry mused as he pushed his scrambled eggs onto his fork.
“Cool, I'm looking forward to it!” the reply came eagerly from Ron, who obviously had less trouble seeing Harry and me as a couple than others.
“That will be without me, I have detention! That isn’t bad though,” I informed them again casually, raising my cup greedily to pour the coffee into me.
“Oh, poor you. The dungeon bat is really unbearable. Even Umbitch seems tame by contrast,” Ron immediately ranted with passion and I rolled my eyes unseen.
“Don’t jinx it!” Harry cried in horror and I agreed with him. “There’s Orange,” Harry pointed to my little owl, which was sailing towards me.
“Hello, sweetie,” I greeted her by feeding her and took the letter.
“Good news, guys, the article will be published in the March issue! He is already in print. Mr. Lovegood has planned an extra large edition!” I beamed at them and they did not look any less curious about what the reactions would be like.
“That's great, I can’t wait,” Ron munched, shovelling his cereal. What a sight when the milk spilled back out on the sides. I dropped my cutlery with a clang and turned to my coffee. My appetite had passed.
The following week went by quickly. On Monday I just found a note from the professor in his office, telling me to rebrew a stolen potion. He would boldly assume that I would manage that without supervision. He was at a teacher conference and they had the annoying habit of taking an eternity. So much cynicism in these few lines, he was a true master. In the end, he did not come back until I was done.
Time continued to fly and soon it was Thursday and Harry's next dreaded lesson with Snape was upon him. While Harry was with Snape, I just came back from a visit to Hagrid’s, who once again had a battered face, but didn’t want to say anything about who or what was beating him up. He was also hard to catch outside of his lessons; he was always sort of gone and stayed in the Forbidden Forest for hours.
But well, if he did not want to talk, it couldn’t be helped. Thus I arrived at the large, cobbled courtyard and faced a huge crowd of students, which had formed a circle. Curious, I went to Ron whose red hair pointed the way like a torch. He had already secured a place in the front rows and so I stood next to him and Lav and Pav, who could be found surprisingly often in Ron's company lately. I would say the poor man, but I do not believe that he would have appreciated my sympathy, as he looked quite content and didn’t view these two girls as nearly as annoying as I did.
We could see Umbridge and Trelawney standing in the middle and making a big racket. It was a degrading spectacle. Trelawney, wrapped in her shawls and scarves, had tears of despair running down her scared, ruined face, and she kept sobbing loudly. She staggered drunkenly toward her big, packed suitcase. The smell of sherry, which had been her constant companion lately, blew over to us.
Umbridge, who, as always, emphasized her puny height with her pink costume, stood tall in front of her victim and grinned maliciously at the shocked teacher's face. She didn’t seem to know pity.
“You have no business being here any longer, now leave the castle grounds. You are no longer the Divination professor, you are hereby released!” she warbled sweetly, causing Trelawney to utter a deafening wail and noisily biting into a handkerchief, it was pathetic.
I could now watch Harry fighting his way closer to us and spotted Snape as well, who was approaching McGonagall. Apparently, the loud shrieking had reached them even down in the dungeons.
Then we suddenly split apart, as now Dumbledore, straight-backed and impressive with his tall and slender figure, rushed into the courtyard. His floor-length, blue-grey sorcerer's robe and overcoat wafted around his legs. I always thought it was funny that he resorted to such pre-medieval clothing and appeared like Merlin. Yes, I was aware that one could shape people’s opinion through one’s outward appearance and his suggested here a copy of Merlin, which I always had to recognize with a shake of my head. But most of all it was astounding because Merlin was known to have been a member of the House of Slytherin, which was a piece of information that got evidently very much repressed. Dumbledore’s hip-length silvery-white hair and the same-length beard were telling as well and, in addition, supported the impression.
But one had to admit that he had the power to go along with it. Now that he pressed his mouth into a thin line and his light blue eyes behind the small half-moon glasses, which otherwise twinkled so merrily, held an ominous and dangerous glimmer. The man looked more angry and indignant as we, the students, had never seen him before. You could feel his tremendous magical power and might sloshing away from him in waves, enveloping all of us. It was truly impressive that Dumbledore was capable of doing so.
Even the hitherto so self-contained and conceited Umbridge sank down a bit, interrupting her screeching litany of insult as he approached.
“What can I do for you, Dolores?” His otherwise warm and friendly voice sounded cold and icy for the first time. I suspected that he would like to act this way more often, but denied himself, always trying to be true to his role.
“Now, Professor Dumbledore, under Educational Decree # 23, I can dismiss your teachers if they prove unsuitable! Which I hereby do!” Umbridge snapped, trying frantically not to look intimidated, something she clearly failed to do.
I didn’t know what expression to wear, because honestly, even though I hated the toad, I also thought Trelawney was sorely lacking as a teacher and a charlatan, but I resolved to wait and see how this developed.
“I understand, Dolores. If this is your wish, my dear, then I can not stop you,” he replied with audible coolness, while he stretched up a few more inches to stare down on his prey like an eagle. “But according to this decree, you cannot decide who will continue to live in the castle and that is still for me to determine as the headmaster,” he stated, his tone firm and icy. I ventured to wonder whether this generous act by Dumbledore was actually due to his sympathy with the Divination teacher or if it was something else that he wanted to achieve by continuing to give her shelter.
Interesting, right now this man was appearing terribly selfless and kind, but I didn’t know if I could or should buy it from him. He had just stepped in confidently and Umbridge’s words were stuck in her throat and she stared at him in astonishment. “Minerva, my dear, would you please help Sybill bring her luggage back to her tower? Thank you!” he ordered and was about to turn around but Umbridge stopped him by once again clearing her throat affectedly:
“Hem hem… Professor Dumbledore, don’t you forget something? The position must be filled again,” she dared to interject indignantly.
“I thought this would be the wrong environment to discuss personnel changes, but as you wish, Dolores! I already have a substitute teacher for Divination on hand, he will arrive tonight!” he said, sounding unusually harsh and with a tone of finality, while McGonagall helped the defunct professor, who had just been dismissed, back to her weak legs.
“Who?” Umbridge aired her surprise, staring at him with wide eyes from her round toad face.
“The centaur Firenze is so friendly and has agreed to help us out!” Dumbledore declared firmly.
“What… One of those creatures? But... but I have to…” the words slipped out of her mouth, croaking, and she quickly clapped her hand over it, because as a teacher she should have no opinion on that and certainly not such a derogatory one.
“Right, my dear, and very gifted in the field! And according to Decree No. 22, you have no say in new appointments for open positions,” the headmaster explained with a velvety voice. Finally, he turned away with billowing robes, walking determinedly towards the portal. One felt his presence withdraw and it left us all as if electrified.
“Wicked, mate! Did you get it all?” Ron asked Harry, who looked incredulous and slightly overwhelmed.
“Yes, almost! Snape and I heard the noise and broke off, which was for the better. It was a catastrophe; I don’t understand what I'm doing wrong! Oh, it doesn’t matter ... But what was that?” He was still visibly speechless pointing at the place where the drama had taken place.
“I think Fudge seriously wants to replace Dumbledore with Umbridge!” I explained indifferently, but also very deliberately. If I started to get upset, I would not come down, because it was unfortunately no longer deniable that Fudge was clearly stupid.
“Really? I don’t think that would be good! Did you feel his power? If he was gone, there would be nothing here to protect us from You-Know-Who!” Ron seemed slightly pasty around his nose at this realisation.
“Yes, Ron, I think we all felt his power. However, that will only force Fudge and Umbridge to act all the more. I hope that our article shakes up at least a part of the population and they understand and realise the ministry is on the wrong track!” I groaned with suffering when thinking about such a willful blindness.
“Do you think she is a, well, you know, does she have his mark?” Harry asked in a whisper.
“No, Harry, I don’t think so. She's just a snobistic, racist witch. Don’t forget, the Dark Lord has nothing against half-humans; think of the werewolves that are rallying around him, and the Dementors and Giants! No, I don’t think he has anything against half-human beings. He sees their strengths and their benefits, something the Ministry seems to be too stupid to do,” I said with no little annoyment while we left the scene listening to the whispering of the other students.
The first meeting with the DA had gone as well as he had hoped, Harry had told me later as my commitments didn’t leave me the time to attend. I spent almost every night after Snape in the Room of Requirement to continue learning. I hadn’t even managed to show Draco the room, and I often went to him for two or three stolen hours. I came to the realization that sleep was clearly overrated. Who needed that? Not me! The Slytherins were now so afraid of me, they fled when they saw me entering their domain. It was nice to see what a little Cruciatus was able to achieve, and thus I could be assured of their respect. Pansy did not even dare look up when she knew that I, the dark, unknown woman, was in the same room as her.
Snape and I had done several training sessions in amazing harmony. We both agreed and did not even address our mental duel and so the training proceeded to our satisfaction. I think he was astonished that, first of all, I was so secretive about his transgression, and secondly, that I never mentioned his interference in Draco's and my relationship when he had tried to drive a wedge between us. Though he would not be the spy he was, if he let on about it and I did not really care, so I stood above it.
I improved with every session even if he beat me to mush regularly. And he enjoyed it, I would bet on that. There his well-tamed Death Eater side came out to play. But well, I enjoyed it as well, letting him feel that I too was not weak. Every time, I thought I could see a well-hidden flash in his eyes, something akin to respect, but I could never be certain.
However, I improved, getting better and better, although we hadn’t progressed to weapons yet. Uh, that worried me to death. Unlike my Sensei Snape would ram everything he could find into my body without batting an eyelid, there I had no delusions. That was going to be a terrible experience, promising inhuman levels of pain. However, as always, I knew it had to happen; I wanted it that way and maybe the experience would help me one day. Why fret already?
With that, the first week of March was upon us and hence it was time for the play I had staged to begin.
We were sitting in the Great Hall when the owls flew in like a huge pigeon flock. I waited anxiously for the new edition of the Quibbler that would arrive today and downright pounced on it once it was within my reach.
“And Hermione, how is it? Is it good? Let me read!” Ron blared curiously and since he had not been there at the time, I gave it to him first to read. Harry also smiled indulgently but his Adam's apple hopped nervously while swallowing.
“Woah, I never would have thought that Skeeter could write a good article, Harry! That's so extreme; the way she writes it, it's as if I’m able to see it all in my mind's eye. And sorry, mate, if I say so, but when you told me the story, I could see it nowhere near as vividly as I do now!” The words came bubbling out of Ron in a rapid pace, who forgot the food over his enthusiasm, which certainly did not happen every day. “But Harry, now I can understand you even better and I would like to apologize again that I was such a jerk last year. Sorry!” he confessed, getting quieter at the end.
Wow. What was up with Ron? Harry was big in the newspaper and he apologised?
Harry looked slightly overwhelmed as well and could do nothing more than nod in reply. Ron smiled at Harry in a friendly, sincere and trusting way and started eating after all, so Harry and I unanimously grabbed the magazine. We read it together with our heads stuck together, which would fuel the rumors even more.
“Now I know what Ron means, Harry! Rita is really wasting her talent with the Prophet. That's written amazingly; it's like I was there in the cemetery with you. I know, that’s not something nice and pretty to imagine, but it’s incredibly well told!” I was thrilled as well.
“Yes, Hermione, the article is great, but what’s going on with Ron?” he whispered to me, disturbed.
“It is quite clear: only now he can properly visualize your terrible experiences - he sometimes needs a bit longer - after all, your friendship was almost ruined by his jealousy towards you! But here he sees it printed in black and white: what should he be jealous of? That's what I ask you. That you see people die, that others want your death?” I enquired harshly, hitting the paper with the palm of my hand.
“Well, if you phrase it like that, my life sounds really worth living!” Harry sneered, meanwhile stroking his hair behind his ears, embarrassed and sad.
“Oh, Harry, you know what I mean!” I groaned compassionately and pulled him into a hug, which caused a little commotion, not only thanks to the Quibbler that passed from hand to hand but also because many took this as confirmation of the rumor that we were a couple. Though what should I tell you? It didn’t matter to me.
As we parted, I glanced quickly at Draco, who gave me a diabolical grin and held the Quibbler in his hands. I nodded covertly to him. The man always managed to surprise me. He understood that Harry needed encouragement after reading the article. I was so thankful that he finally realized that Harry was not an option and he unobtrusively reciprocated the affirmative and understanding nod.
The big hall was abuzz. More and more students got their hands on the magazine and the teachers had also become aware that an article captivated the attention of all students. Since Harry had hitherto strictly refused to report on the events during the Third Task, the ignorant absorbed the new information hungrily like bees did nectar.
For the next few hours, Harry and all of us around him got gawking and marvelling stares as if we were rare and exotic animals. It was uncomfortable and embarrassing, but we, the Trio, held our heads up high, pretending not to notice anything, and ignored our surroundings.
When we went to lunch, surprisingly owls started to arrive again, which was not normal, because such a mass of birds usually only came in the morning. All knew only one goal and headed for Harry. Help, you almost got scared when this multitude of owls dived for you. The Gryffindors helped us free the birds from their load though and we opened the post. We found that these were all resonances to the interview we read today, in which not only students from Hogwarts sought to tell Harry that he had convinced them and they now believed that he, the Dark Lord, had returned, but also many readers from outside Hogwarts.
Umbridge rushed into the Hall like a steaming cauldron and announced that according to the new, freshly introduced Educational Decree No. 27 everybody found reading or in possession of the article would be expelled.
By the evening, absolutely every child at Hogwarts knew the interview. Umbridge’s stunt had accomplished the exact opposite and made everybody to the last person curious about the article.
“Did you notice, Hermione?” Harry asked me in the common room during the evening when I returned from my studies in the Room of Requirement.
“No. What are you talking about?” I looked up interested and smoothed back my hair.
“That the mood is changing. Everyone looks up to me again, the great conqueror and hero, it’s so pathetic!” he spat angrily, his face a hateful grimace.
“Harry, what are you on about?” I asked in consternation.
“They are like the flags in the wind, not trustworthy at all. I don’t know, the more they demonstrate their allegiance to me now and pat me on the back and say how sorry they are, the more I want to puke!” he sneered, gagging. Oh yes, he was pretty angry, his emeralds seemed to shine with fury behind the round metal-rimmed glasses.
“Oh, Harry, what do you expect? They are sheep, they follow the flock. Do not expect the masses to show their own mind or will. Always be aware, manipulation is best done from within the crowd if you want to push them in one specific direction!” I lectured him smartly with a raised finger.
“What? Do you want to instruct me in politics now?” he laughed harshly and I retracted my finger.
“No, Harry, but I want to show you that you should enjoy your popularity as long as it lasts, it will not last forever!” I smiled encouragingly.
“Yeah, will do! Oh, that reminds me: Cho, she whispered to me that she believed me ... with tears in her eyes.” He rolled his eyes. I could sympathise with him full-heartedly. How could one girl be so weepy? “... and while you were away, Seamus apologised here in front of all and told me that he and his mother believe me now. Can you believe it? Such… fickle... argh!” He shook his head pejoratively.
"I'm sorry that annoys you so much, but you know it was necessary, don’t you?” I asked if he regretted the move.
“I know ... but I'm still allowed to be annoyed. It might be exciting for them to read, but unfortunately, I had to live through it and there was nothing great about it!” he explained with melancholy and looked very sad. I rose resolutely from my chair and silently pulled him with me to his room, ignoring the astonished looks when Harry and I headed for the boys' dormitory again.
On the stairs, Harry also gave me a questioning look but I only pressed my lips together and motioned for him to say nothing.
I swished my wand and now stood there in a pajama. Harry had overcome his surprise quickly and did the same with himself. I was already crawling under his blanket. He followed me immediately and so we cuddled together and slipped quickly into a deep sleep, which unfortunately would be much too short again. I had thought that that was exactly what he needed now, my closeness, and why should I deny it to him?