Later that night, Harry returned to the Heads’ common room, after his rounds of patrolling, and saw Hermione and Ron talking on the couch. He plopped himself down in one of the chairs and moaned. His two friends turned their attention to him and smiled.
“Bad night?” Hermione asked.
“Stupid first years,” he muttered. “I know they know the rules. Trying to pretend they still don’t remember.”
Hermione stifled a laugh, remembering their own little adventures they had when they were in first year. “Why, Mr. Potter. Are you telling me that you now believe in following the rules?”
Harry cocked an eyebrow and smirked. “I do when it comes to others.”
The three laughed, realizing how much trouble they use to cause throughout the years. True they had also saved many during those little escapades, but they still caused a lot of sighs and stress on their professors.
“I’m glad you both are here,” Harry said, as they stopped laughing. “I have to tell you something important.”
“You’re not Malfoy again, are you?” Ron hesitated.
Harry smiled. “No, but this has to do with him. And Voldemort.”
“What’s going on?” Hermione curiously wondered.
Harry looked down at the floor, trying to figure out how he wanted to tell them. He played the conversations in his head and nodded when he finally decided which one to say. He looked over at them and took a big breath, before speaking. “War is coming in less than three months.”
Ron and Hermione both nodded, understanding what they will soon have to do.
“The Order has already been alerted and are preparing for the day,” he continued. “We will need to gather up our own troops here.”
Hermione nodded as she reached for a piece of blank parchment on the table. She picked up her quill and began writing the names of the members of Dumbledore’s Army.
“How do you know all this?” Ron suddenly asked, making Hermione stop writing and look up, wondering the same thing.
Harry lowered his head and sighed. “Because I was there when Voldemort said it.”
Ron’s mouth dropped. “You were there? Like, standing with Voldemort there? Was he staying at the Malfoy Manor or something? Did you actually have to talk to him?”
“Ron,” Hermione snapped, seeing Harry become flustered with all the bombarding questions. “Let him talk.”
Ron leaned back on the couch and motioned for Harry to continue. Harry looked over at Hermione and smiled a thank you, before beginning to speak again.
“I did something for Malfoy, while in his body,” he started.
It was now Hermione’s turn to ask a question. “What did you do?”
“I sort of received the Dark Mark,” he quickly said.
“What?” Hermione and Ron both shouted, as they jumped out of their seats, and stood in front of Harry.
“You let him mark you?” Ron yelled.
“He’s a Death Eater?” Hermione cried out.
Harry stood up and placed his hands on both his friends’ shoulders, hoping to calm them down a bit. “I will explain everything, if you both just sit down.”
Hermione was the first to sit, as she slowly lifted her legs to her chest, wrapping her arms around them. Harry looked over at Ron, who still had shock on his face, and motioned for him to sit, as well. Finally able to move, Ron obeyed Harry’s request and sat down next to Hermione.
Harry began to pace in front of them, wanting to make sure he explained everything right. “First, I want you to know that, yes, Draco is a Death Eater,” he began, looking over at Hermione. “But it wasn’t a choice he wanted to make.”
“Right,” Hermione scoffed.
“I’m serious, Hermione. He would’ve died,” Harry expressed.
Hermione frantically looked up into his eyes, scared to know that he could have died. She then looked away, not wanting to show Harry how much she still cared about him. “It doesn’t erase the fact that he’s now one of them,” she responded.
“Exactly,” Ron agreed. “I knew he would become one, just like his father.”
Harry rolled his eyes and with frustration, he sat back down in his chair, crossing his arms across his chest. “This is hopeless. You guys aren’t even thinking clearly.”
“No, Harry,” Hermione began. “You’re not thinking clearly. He’s on the other side.”
Harry sighed, as he looked over at Hermione. “This isn’t about him fighting on the wrong or right side. It’s about survival."
“Yeah, but what if he harms someone you're close to?” Ron asked.
“What if Bellatrix harms someone, or Snape, or Voldemort, or even one of our own by accident?” Harry countered. “Don’t you guys see? There is a war coming and many are going to die out there. This isn’t fun and games now. People are going to be harmed, on both sides. We have only ourselves to protect out there.”
Hermione felt tears roll down her cheeks, as she listened to Harry’s speech. She knew what he meant and it frightened her. Many were possibly going to die, including her. People can only protect one another for so long before they only have themselves to take care of. She slowly nodded, understanding Harry’s message. “You’re right, Harry.”
Ron stared over at Hermione in shock. “What?”
Ignoring Ron, Hermione turned to Harry to discuss other matters at hand. “When do we want to round everyone up?”
“Three days. That should give everyone enough time to make the necessary arrangements.”
She nodded and jotted the time on top of the piece of parchment she had already written the names down. She continued to focus on the list, as thoughts of Draco came into her mind. Oh, Draco. Please be safe, she sighed.
As the Golden Trio walked inside their DADA classroom the next afternoon, Harry couldn’t help but sneak a glance in Pansy’s direction. He still noticed she wasn’t sitting near Draco and figured she was still angry. He looked over at Draco, receiving a discreet nod in his direction.
Snape was sitting at his desk, grading some paperwork, before class was to begin. Harry figured this would be a good time to tell him about their switch back. He looked over at Draco again and, catching his eye, motioned for him to meet him up at Snape’s desk. Understanding, Draco walked over.
Snape looked up from his paperwork, staring at the two boys in front of him. “Yes?”
Draco was the first to answer. “Sir, we’re back,” he quietly stated.
Snape furrowed his eyebrows, unsure what he was talking about. “Back from where?”
Harry looked around the classroom and then leaned closer to Snape. “We switched back.”
Snape’s eyes opened wide at his announcement. He looked from Draco to Harry, not able to believe it. “How?” he asked. “How did you reverse the potion?”
Draco and Harry both shrugged, causing Snape to be even more curious.
“It just happened,” Draco explained. “We sort of have an idea how it happened, but we’re not focusing on that right now. We’re back,” he finished with a smile.
Snape nodded and looking around the classroom, noticing no one was watching them, he returned Draco’s smile. He never wanted his students to see this side of him, but he couldn’t help but smile. “I’m really glad to hear that.”
Harry and Draco smiled once more, before turning to go take their seats. Snape looked down at a piece of parchment on the side, which contained a list of his student’s names, and hurriedly began to move some of the names around.
Harry sat down next to Hermione and sighed. She turned to him and placed her hand on his shoulder. “Are you okay?”
He nodded, as Snape stood up from his desk and walked toward the front of the classroom, carrying the list.
“Today we will be working in groups,” Snape began. “I have already assigned the groups, so when I call out your names, please move together,” he explained, as he looked down at the list in front of him. “First group: Potter, Crabbe, Thomas, and Bulstrode.”
Harry frowned, sad that he wasn’t going to be paired with either of his best friends. He moved his way over to the side and stood next to Dean Thomas, waiting for the rest of the groups to be called.
“Second group: Weasley, Goyle, Longbottom, and Nott.”
As Nott walked toward his group, Draco began looking around the classroom, watching more people getting sorted into groups. He turned to Hermione, noticing she has yet to be picked. He crossed his fingers, hoping he would be paired with her, just to have any excuse to be near her.
“Last group,” Snape called out. “Granger, Finnegan, Brown, and Davis.”
Draco furrowed his eyebrows, realizing neither him nor Blaise were picked. He then turned around and noticed Parvati Patil, Daphne Greengrass, and Pansy were still sitting in their seats, as well. He curiously looked up at the front of the room, taking notice that there were five groups up there.
“Since we only have a few more months left of school, I decided we would see how well you all have been doing with practicing Occlumency,” Snape sneered, staring over at the groups.
Some students groaned, as they realized they would soon be punished for not learning Occlumency as well as they should have.
“As you will notice,” Snape continued, looking over at the students still sitting in their seats. “There are five students who have yet to be sorted into a group. This is because these five happen to be Legilimens and will be assigned to one of your groups.”
The five students smirked, happy to know that it would be required of them to go inside their fellow students’ minds.
“Malfoy, you will take the first group,” Snape began. “Zabini, second group; Greengrass, third group; Patil, fourth group; and Parkinson, fifth group.”
The five students nodded, as they walked toward their assigned groups.
“Each Legilimens will work with you one-on-one for about ten minutes, or until you can block them,” Snape explained. “Once you have moved to separate places in the room, you may begin. I will be walking around and grading you on what I see.”
The groups moved around the classroom, spacing themselves from the others. Many were nervous to have their minds read, especially by one of their own peers.
Harry was the first one in line to have Draco read his mind. “Ready, Potter?” he smirked.
Harry rolled his eyes at his smugness and nodded, as he left the group and stood in front of him.
“Legilimens,” Draco called out, pointing his wand toward Harry and focusing his eyes on him.
Harry closed his eyes and smiled, as he blocked Draco from entering. Draco left his mind and nodded in approval. “It seems you finally don’t need my help,” he smirked.
Harry returned the smirk and sat down at one of the tables. Snape was watching the two boys and nodded, as he jotted a check mark next to Harry’s name.
Moving on to the second group, Snape was watching Blaise go inside Neville’s mind. He shook his head at how he was not even trying to keep Blaise away. He continued walking along the groups, grading his students on what he was witnessing.
Pansy had just finished reading Lavender’s mind and rolled her eyes at what she had seen. “And they call me the slut?” she whispered, but still loud enough for Lavender to hear her and shoot her a dirty look.
Hermione was up next and was a little nervous. She slowly walked in front of Pansy, but before they began, she had to know. “I didn’t know you knew Legilimency.”
Pansy shrugged, not thinking it was a big deal. “Draco showed me.”
“Have you ever used it on anyone?” she nervously wondered.
She shook her head. “I never really wanted to use it. I honestly just learned it to have it. You know, just in case,” she truthfully answered, before lifting up her wand. “Ready?”
Hermione nodded, trying to hold back her fear that she may not be able to perform Occlumency correctly and Pansy would see inside her mind.
“Legilimens,” Pansy said, not expecting much, considering she was with the know-it-all and wouldn’t be able to get into her mind.
Hermione swallowed, as she felt the barrier start to slip. She quickly thought of how to shut her mind, but she had too many emotions flying around. She tried to focus harder and harder, as she felt her memories slide forward.
She was three, crying on the sidewalk, and her father knelt down beside her and gently kissed her scraped knee, wiping the tears away from her eyes… She was nine, yelling at her mother, when a lamp on the table next to her blew up on its own.
Hermione kept seeing memories flash through her head and tried hard to block them. Suddenly, the memories were gone and she was back in the classroom, staring at a shocked Pansy.
“I thought for sure you would be able to block me,” Pansy smirked, happy to realize that Hermione wasn’t perfect.
Hermione was still feeling a little weak, but knew that Pansy would be coming back for more. She shook her head, trying to refocus her attention on the task at hand. “I can do this,” she told herself.
Pansy smirked once more, before retrieving more memories from Hermione.
She was crying in a bathroom, when a troll entered and she screamed… She was dressed in periwinkle-blue robes, dancing with Viktor Krum at the Yule Ball… She was in the Heads’ common room, kissing Harry on Christmas Eve.
“No, get out,” Hermione yelled, when the last scene appeared, reminding her that it was really Draco she was kissing that night. She suddenly fell to the floor and began panting, when Pansy released herself from her mind.
Snape turned to the two girls and grinned. He enjoyed seeing that Hermione was actually failing at something. He walked over and stood before them, waiting for Hermione to stand back up and proceed.
Hermione glanced up and saw her professor standing over her, glowing. She narrowed her eyes at the thought of him happy about her failure. She suddenly stood back up and stared into Pansy’s eyes.
“Really?” Pansy asked, shocked that Hermione wanted to continue.
Hermione was determined more than ever now. She nodded, waiting for the memories to come forward again.
She was watching Draco and Harry fighting on their brooms at the Quidditch game… She was talking to Draco in the library… She was sitting in her bedroom, writing in her journal: Draco is sweet, but so is Harry. It’s all so confusing, especially when Draco was in Harry’s body, and Harry in Draco’s. I'm so glad they both have finally been able to switch back.
Pansy quickly shot out of Hermione’s head and looked over in Draco and Harry’s direction, where they were now both sitting next to each other, talking. “What?” she screamed, making the whole class, including Snape, jump and look over at her.
Hermione turned white, realizing what Pansy just saw. She shook her head, knowing there was nothing she could say that would fix this. “Perhaps we should talk about this later,” she softly spoke, hoping Pansy wouldn’t say anything about the switch in front of the whole class.
“Are you kidding me?” she yelled, as she marched over to where Harry and Draco were sitting. “I think we should discuss this right now.”
The two boys sat frozen in their seats, watching Pansy angrily storm over toward them. They had no idea what had her so mad, but knew by the look on her face that it was something big. Harry was a little reluctant to say anything, once she was standing in front of him, but chanced it, hoping it would calm her down a bit. “Hey, Pansy. What’s wrong?”
“You, Potter! You are what’s wrong!” she screamed. “All this time, and you didn’t tell me? All this time, and you let me go on thinking you were somebody else? All this time, when I felt…when there was this…when I was-” She could feel the tears start to take form in her eyes and knew she had to get out of there. She quickly wiped her eyes, not able to continue, and turned away from them and hurried out the classroom.
Hermione glanced over at them and shook her head. She looked over at Snape, hoping he would allow her to follow after Pansy. Snape waved his hand in a non-caring manner, telling her she can go. She quickly grabbed her belongings, as well as Pansy’s, and left to go after her.
Harry turned to Draco and swallowed. “What now?”
“I think you already know the answer,” Draco replied.
Hermione rushed out the classroom and caught sight of Pansy running toward the stairs. She hastened her steps, finally reaching her, as they reached the third floor.
Pansy turned to her, with tears streaming down her face. She moved toward Hermione and lowered her face to her shoulder and sat there crying on it. She didn’t even care that it was Hermione; all she knew that it was a shoulder to cry on, which she so desperately needed.
Hermione was a little nervous when she saw Pansy move toward her, thinking she was going to hit her, but when she noticed all she needed was a shoulder to cry on, she quickly lifted her hand and rubbed her back in little circles, hoping to calm her down.
“I can’t believe this,” she sobbed. “Why would he lie to me?”
Hermione sighed, understanding how she was feeling, since she had felt the same when she realized the truth. “Come on,” she said, as she pulled Pansy into an empty classroom and closed the door behind them.
They both sat down in two empty seats, staring at one another. Tears were still rolling down Pansy’s cheeks. “What the hell is wrong with me?” she said, as she tried to wipe the tears away. “I was never one to cry over guys.”
Hermione frowned and placed her hand on Pansy’s shoulder in a comforting manner. “That’s because you were never in love.”
Pansy crossed her arms on the desk and slowly placed her head in them, as the tears fell again. Hermione kept her hand on Pansy’s shoulder, showing her that she wasn’t going to leave her.
“Crying is a sign of weakness,” Pansy mumbled.
“What? Who told you that?” Hermione asked.
Pansy looked over at Hermione and sniffed. “My father, after he told me to stop crying over my mother’s death.”
Hermione sympathetically looked over at Pansy, never knowing that she was without a mother. “I’m so sorry.”
Pansy shrugged. “I was three when it happened.”
Hermione’s jaw dropped. “Your father told you to stop crying when you were three?”
Pansy nodded. “He told me crying doesn’t help any situation and it only shows people your weakness.”
Hermione looked into Pansy’s eyes and saw sadness behind them, realizing she was thinking about her mother just then. She suddenly leaned over and wrapped Pansy in a hug, knowing she needed comfort.
Snape had allowed each of the groups to leave, once they were finished with their Occlumency lessons. Draco and Harry quickly left the classroom, as soon as Draco finished with Dean. They stared down some hallways, not sure where the girls had gone.
“How are we going to find them?” Harry wondered, as they began walking down one of the hallways.
Draco shrugged, but then suddenly remembered what he could do. Where are you? he asked, as he popped into Hermione’s mind.
Hermione was rubbing Pansy’s shoulder, when she suddenly heard Draco’s voice. Pansy was still crying, but it was now a mix of tears for everything she has felt throughout her life. It had been bottled up for so long, and she knew she had to finally release it all.
In an empty classroom on the third floor. Near the Charms classroom, Hermione answered.
Draco nodded, as he moved toward the stairs, with Harry following. How is she?
How do you think? She just found out she was in love with someone else this entire time.
Draco continued walking until they were near the Charms classroom. Harry looked around, wondering where they were going. “Now where?” he asked Draco.
Draco shrugged, seeing many closed doors along the hall. We’re here, but which classroom are you in?
Fifth door on the left, she answered.
“They’re down here,” Draco stated, as they walked down the hallway.
“How do you know?” Harry curiously wondered.
“She told me,” he simply replied.
Harry stopped following and furrowed his eyebrows at his statement. “Who?”
Draco noticed Harry wasn’t next to him anymore and stopped walking, as he turned back around toward Harry. “Hermione.”
“What are you talking about? When did she tell you?”
Draco bit his lip, realizing he couldn't hide it anymore. “Just now,” he quietly stated.
Harry’s eyes widened at the thought of Draco in Hermione’s mind, but he had to make sure it was what he really thought. “H…how?”
Draco lowered his head and shrugged. “How do you think? Splituncto.”
Harry closed his eyes, when Draco confirmed his suspicions. He took a big breath, before he started moving toward the classroom. When he caught up with Draco, they both slowly began walking side by side.
“I’m sorry I didn’t tell you,” Draco apologized.
Harry nodded. “Me too,” he quietly said, wishing he knew about this earlier.
As they reached the classroom, Draco softly tapped on the closed door. Hermione cracked the door open and half-smiled at the two boys in front of her. “She knows about everything,” she whispered, seeing the boys nod.
“Can I speak to her?” Harry asked.
“You can tell that lying, good-for-nothing, prick that I never want to speak to him again,” Pansy shrilled in the back.
Hermione frowned, as Harry sadly lowered his head. Draco looked over at Hermione, hoping he would be allowed in. “Can you see if she’ll talk to me?” he quietly asked.
She nodded and closed the door. A few seconds later, the door opened, allowing Draco to enter. Harry tried to peek inside, but couldn’t see anything.
Hermione stepped out of the room and closed the door behind her, so she could give Draco and Pansy some privacy. She sat on the floor and leaned her head against the wall. Harry looked over at her and sighed, as he sat down next to her.
“Do you think she’ll ever forgive me?” he asked.
Hermione shrugged. “I think she just needs some time right now.”
Harry nodded, as he stared down at the floor, while Hermione stared up at the ceiling. The two remained quiet, until Harry finally spoke up again. “Hermione, how long has Draco been able to go inside your mind?”
She closed her eyes, not wanting to look over at Harry. She felt her heart stop, as she knew what Harry was thinking, since it was her who told him about the spell in the first place. “I’m sorry I never told you,” she whispered.
“I just don’t understand why you didn’t do anything about it,” he began. “You know what it means if he can use Splituncto on you.”
She slowly nodded and finally looked over at him, as tears began to roll down her cheeks. “I was scared. I liked you both and…” she hesitated. “And I knew it would be safer if I chose you.”
He sighed, realizing he had thought the same thing. He wiped a few of her tears away and leaned in and kissed her forehead. “We both have to stop this, Hermione. We can’t be afraid of our true feelings anymore, and we can’t stay together for the simple fact of being safe, when our hearts are telling us differently,” he explained, as she nodded in agreement. “Besides, I’m not your soul mate.”
“I know,” she said in a hushed whisper. “Draco is.”
A/N: Okay... so, who loves me now? :) haha I really hope you guys liked my little twist at the end and enjoyed what I did with Pansy. My story is getting closer to the end now (I believe about 3 more chapters or so). Will they have a happy ending, or will something keep them apart? Hmm... I guess we will have to wait and see. :)
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