Chapter 23 : Reconciliation
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Dark Days Pass But Are Never Forgotten
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“Can you believe it? Full marks!” Michael said cheerfully as a dribble of Fire Whiskey trickled down his chin.
Susan laughed with a snort as Michael tried to wipe it off missing it by several inches, “I think Corner has had a bit too much to drink.”
The group seemed closer than ever as they celebrated the passing of their rank II Auror assessment. Their bright golden badges shined on each of their robes. Even Noel O’Riley seemed to be in a pleasant mood as she gave Michael an appalled look and sipped her own drink, pumpkin mead.
“Well, Fire Whiskey will do that to you,” Harry commented as he watched Michael attempted to pull himself off his chair and sink to the floor.
“What’cha all laughing at?” Michael asked with a chuckle.
“Come on mate, on your feet,” Harry said as he attempted to pull Michael off the floor.
Michael leaned his weight over on Harry’s shoulder and turned to look at him, “You know Potter, you aren’t half bad.”
“Well, thanks Michael but you really aren’t my type,” Harry joked as Susan and Noel laughed lightly.
“We definitely need to do this more often,” Susan commented.
“Here, here,” Michael joined before sinking to the floor again.
Harry sighed, “I think Corner has had enough. I’m going to get him back to Grimmauld Place.”
“I don’t need to go…I’m fine,” Michael slurred as he grabbed his empty mug and turned it up.
Susan shook her head and helped Harry pulled Michael back on his feel, “You coming Noel?”
Noel glanced around and shrugged. The hot alcohol seemed to have dulled her defenses and she wasn’t in the mood for her typical witty comments. Instead she gathered Susan and Harry’s things off the table and followed them out into the cool street.
“I can apparate,” Michael said as he tried to pull away from Susan and Harry.
“Oh no you don’t,” Harry said forcefully, “You remember the rules. No drinking and appparating.”
“Oh, that’s just stupid. I’m not drunk,” Michael tried but Harry wouldn’t release him.
Diagon Alley seemed quite compared to the usual occasions that Harry visited it. A few wizards were out enjoying the evening, but most of the shops had closed for the evening.
Susan and Harry drug Michael though the entrance of the Leaky Cauldron and on to the streets of London.
“We should catch a cab. I don’t think he’s going to make it on foot,” Susan suggested.
Harry shook his head, “He’s too drunk. We need to keep him away from muggles.”
“I told you I can apparate just fine,” Michael continued.
It was a long walk back to the Ancient House of Black, but half an hour later they were closing in on the final blocks. Michael had sung loudly during most of the journey, but now was silent and almost completely washed-out.
“I think he’s going to sick,” Susan said dully as she and Harry now towed Michael down the street.
“We’re almost there,” Harry encouraged.
Noel walked slightly in front of them making sure their path remained clear and offering apologized to any offend looking Muggles.
“Hey, what are you kids doing?”
Noel stopped and felt Harry and Susan stopped quickly behind her.
“Good evening sir,” Noel tried looking at the bobby who was surveying them questionable.
“We’re just helping a friend home,” Harry added as he watched the officer’s eyes.
“Good lord, how much did he have to drink?”
“Too much,” Susan said with a groan as she tried to reposition Michael on her shoulder as his head rolled backwards.
Harry watched as the bobby stare at their robes, “Where you kids been, some kind of costume party?”
Harry being the only one with any muggle experience nodded quickly before Noel or Susan could comment.
Michael’s head propped back up and he smirked, “Oh look, a muggle authority figure.”
Harry cringed as he watched the bobby’s face harden, apparently he thought Michael was insulting him, “A what?”
“Muggle, new slang for law enforcement officers,” Harry tried.
Michael let out a howl of laughter, “Come on Harry… that isn’t what I meant.”
The Bobby stared at Michael as steam began to generate off his head, a side effect of an over abundance of Fire Whiskey, “What’s wrong with his head?”
“It’s a bit warm out tonight,” Noel said quickly.
Michael was now trying to fight his way out of Harry and Susan’s arms, “We’re law enforcement too…just passed our second assessment.”
Harry sighed and looked over at Noel, “Here take him.”
Noel reluctantly placed Michael’s arm around her shoulder. Harry pulled his wand out a smile forcefully.
“Truth be told sir, we’re with the Ministry of Magic,” Harry began, “Our friend here is a bit toasty off Fire Whiskey… we’ve been celebrating in Diagon Alley. You’ve probably never heard of it before.”
“Are you kids on some kind of drugs?” the bobby asked.
“Obliviate,” Harry said quickly flicking his wand, “thank-you sir, we promise we’ll never let him drink that much again.”
“Huh, what?” the bobby asked.
“You told us to take our friend home immediately and gave us a warning,” Harry said softly, as if trying to remind the officer.
The bobby starched his head, “I did?”
“Yes sir,” Harry said quickly, “thank-you so much. I promise you’ll never see us again.”
“Right, you kids stay out of trouble,” the bobby called after them as Harry dashed down the street to catch up with Noel and Susan.
They barely made it inside Grimmauld Place before they all started laughing at their recently past adventure. Michael was unconscious on the couch, which given the past situation it was better than the muggle jail.
“Can you believe him. ‘Oh look a muggle authority figure’, honestly,” Noel hissed as she flashed Michael one of her cold looks.
“I can’t believe Harry’s cover up…. Muggle is a new slang word for law enforcement officer huh?” Susan laughed.
Harry joined in, “I didn’t see either of you coming up with anything brilliant.”
Michael gave a loud snort from his position and the three of them laughed again. After couple of cups of coffee, courtesy of Dobby, Susan stood up and gave a slight yawn.
“It’s getting late…”
Noel nodded, “Yes, we best be getting back to the Academy.”
Susan grinned and yawned again, “I’m too tired to apparate.”
”You’re welcome to stay in one of the spare bedrooms upstairs,” Harry said casually as he finished up the last part of his coffee.
Susan looked like she was in deep thought for a moment then nodded, “I think I’ll do that. Mind if I take Padma’s old room.”
“Be my guest…” Harry yawned before turning to look at Noel who was on her feet, “you’re welcome to stay the night to.”
“Oh, no,” Noel said quickly, too quickly, “I need to get my Potion’s paper finished.”
“You aren’t going to finish it tonight,” Harry said sharply rising to his feet, “I’ll show you to one of the spare bedrooms.”
The three walked up the stairs and Susan bid them goodnight as she took the first bedroom on the right.
“That’s the girls room…” Harry commented, “They don’t live here anymore.”
“The ones from the Quidditch Cup?” Noel asked as she watched Harry nervously. She had managed to avoid situation like this with Harry since that night she’d given him the potion, but now she found herself lacking an escape.
“Corner going to be in a right mood tomorrow when he wakes up,” Harry laughed, not really paying attention to Noel’s lack of speech.
Noel smirked against her will and forced her eyes downward so she wouldn’t get caught looking at him.
“You’re quite tonight… no witty comments?” Harry commented finally giving notice to Noel’s subdued attitude tonight.
“What, would you like me throw an insult in your direction?” Noel snapped, finally allowing her eyes to meet Harry’s.
Harry smiled and shook his head, “I’ll pass on that offer. I’m too tired to return any insulting comments tonight.”
“So a temporary truce then,” Noel said quickly, hoping her face wasn’t as red as it felt.
Harry stopped in front of a door and opened it, taking a brief look around, “This one’s empty. If you need to use the loo it’s down hall, third door on your left. I’m in the room at the end of the hallway…”
“Why would I care what room you’re in, Potter,” Noel snapped.
Harry raised his eyebrows and sighed, “Let me know if you need anything…goodnight.”
Noel froze for a second as she watched Harry continue down the hallway without looking back. She finally regain her composure and tore into the room with a surge of anger. Why did she always have to do this? Why couldn’t she just end a conversation on a light note?
She thought she had sorted her feeling out after that night in the meeting room, but the next morning had proven her feelings were far from sorted out. She didn’t know what to do or what to feel? Noel found it simpler to avoid the situation of having to be alone with him, but her wonderful Aunt seemed to like pairing the two up whenever possible.
Noel sunk her head into the pillow of her borrowed bed and slammed her eyes shut. She would not waste one more night wasting her thought on Harry Potter.
“I’ll never understand that girl,” Harry said under his breath as he pushed open his own bedroom door. Hedwig gave a slight hoot as Harry walked over to his dresser and tossed her over an owl treat. It felt odd to be back, even if it was just for one night.
Ron was mysteriously missing, obviously avoiding him, which had become the custom routine whenever the two were mad at one another. The girls had found their own flat in London and Seamus and Dean were usually visiting with them. He wasn’t sure where Neville had been that night, but his hunch was he had turned in before the Auror group had returned from Diagon Alley. The house was too quite.
“I need to talk with Ron, this is getting ridiculous,” Harry thought to himself as he slipped off his robe and started to remove his shirt.
Harry almost jumped out of his skin as he spun around, wandless and unarmed.
There she sat looking a bit nervous and very unsure. Her face was barely hidden beneath the hood of her Auror’s robe.
“Cho? What are you doing here?” Harry asked finally managing to catch his breath, but unsure if the alcohol was playing tricks on him or if he was about to be attacked again.
“I’m sorry. I know I should have sent an owl or something, but my password was still active… I didn’t think you’d be this long…”
“It’s alright, what are you doing here though?” Harry asked waving off her rambling and suddenly realizing the awkwardness of the situation.
Cho forced a smile, “Well, I wanted to talk to you, and I thought…”
“You’ve been waiting in my room for how long?” Harry started.
“Since about six or so,” Cho confessed, “Tonks told me about your assement, congratulations.”
“To talk to me?” Harry finished.
He noticed her taking a deep breath, “I had a dream… I know this may sound stupid, but I think you might be in danger.”
“When am I not in danger?” Harry said lightly taking a seat on his bed across from the chair she was sitting in.
“I just wanted to make sure you were okay,” Cho said quickly, keeping her head turned so he couldn’t quite see her face.
Harry tried to turn his head so he could get a better look at her, “I’m fine.”
“ I just wanted to make sure thing were okay between us,” Cho continued, her cheeks growing slightly pink, “We haven’t really talked since…”
“You dumped me,” Harry finished for her.
Cho snapped her head over in his direction, “I didn’t dump you.”
“I think I’d remember if I got dumped or not, and you most defiantly dumped me,” Harry said calmly, watching her bit her lip in defeat.
“Well, you were about to call it off. I just beat you to the punch,” Cho confessed.
Neither spoke for a moment then Harry finally took her hand, “So tell me about this dream you had.”
“It was the Tri-Wizard tournament…” Cho suddenly stopped to observe Harry’s appearance; she learned long ago not to mention that event to Harry. “I’ve had the dream before, but this time it was different.”
“The dream where Cedric dies?” Harry asked.
Cho nodded, confirming Harry’s question, “But it was different this time. It wasn’t Cedric I saw dead.”
“You saw me,” Harry stated as he noticed Cho desperately trying to fight back her tears, “It was so vivid, more vivid than it has been in years.”
“It was just a dream, Cho,” Harry said softly.
Cho shook her head; “You of all people should know that a dream is much more than just a dream sometimes. Plus, what about what happened to Mad-Eye. With Death Eaters attacking and a new Dark Lord rising…”
“I’ll keep a heads up, but I don’t really think there is anything I can do,” Harry continued in his soft tone, trying to assure her that nothing was going to happen.
Cho suddenly sighed, “You must think I’m insane.”
“I’ve always thought you were a bit crazy,” Harry started as Cho dropped her head, “but that is one of the things I love about you.”
Cho head popped up immediately at Harry’s words as her eyes grew wide.
“I’ve missed you,” Harry said softly.
“I’ve missed you too,” Cho whispered, hoping she didn’t sound as ridiculous as she thought.
Cho let her eyes flicker closed as Harry drew closer to her. She knew what was coming next as she felt Harry’s warm breath brush against her cheek. Her mind was racing as her heart pounded inside her chest.
Suddenly after a few moments past her eyes flickered open.
“Cho,” Harry said softly letting his hand graze her face, “You’ve been through a lot because of me… if you don’t want to go back to that.”
Cho sighed as she pulled back, she bite her lip slightly; “Do you want to go back to the way we were?”
Harry lowered his gaze to the floor, “Vampires, angry fathers, meddling reporters—I don’t think I’m the one who has the right to answer that question. I can’t change who I am, no matter how much I sometimes wish I could.”
“I don’t want to cause you any further hardship either,” Cho said faintly, desperately fighting back the tears that were threatening to surface.
“Do you still love me?” Harry asked.
Cho laughed lightly, “I never stopped loving you, Harry.”
“If it would make it easier, we could keep it just between the two of us,” Harry suggested, realizing a moment too late that it was about as intelligent as his comment about ‘forgetting it ever happened’ was.
Cho crinkled her face for a second then took a deep breath, “Honestly, I don’t see any other way for us to be together. If Skeeter gets wind of it, she’ll have us running off to get married again. Then my father will have another tizzy about me being with you and you not asking his permission to court me. Then I’ll have to deal with Raymer and his bloody ridiculous issues. To top it off, probably every Death Eater in England will be after me again because it’s a means to hurt you…”
Harry raised his eyebrows. He was thoroughly being entertained by Cho’s rant, but he raised his finger up to her lips to quite her, “So you think we can try some kind of secret love affair.”
Cho giggled, “A secret love affair with my X-fiancé.”
“I never proposed marriage to you, technically,” Harry reminded her, knowing the subject could potential still be quite delicate.
Cho lowered her head, “Oh Harry… I never meant to take it so personally.”
Harry suddenly felt Cho’s topple forward and bury her face into his shoulder. He awkwardly stroked her back, hoping she’d calm down. He never was very good at comforting her when she’d get into her little episodes.
“Hey, it’s alright,” Harry said softly as Cho’s tears began to ease.
“I missed you so much,” Cho whispered, “I can’t live without you.”
”I’m here,” Harry reminded her, “I always been here.”
“Except when you were snogging Ginny Weasley,” Cho muttered, glancing up at him to see his response.
Harry lowered his eyes to hers, “There is nothing going on between Ginny and I. It was a mistake, I promise.”
”So you don’t have any feeling for her?” Cho asked weakly.
Harry let his thumb roll across her cheek, “Ginny Weasley will always be special to me, but in a sisterly way. That night…it was our way a figuring out what our feelings really were.”
“And?” Cho pushed.
“She isn’t the one I’m meant to be with,” Harry affirmed.
Cho smiled as she placed her face into Harry’s neck, “We really should have talked a while ago.”
“You were clearly avoiding me,” Harry reminded her.
Cho nodded, “I was avoiding you…”
“What happened between you and Raymer?”
She sat up and looked Harry straight in the eyes; “He thought he could entice me by forcing me to date him. There was never anything between us… thanks Merlin. After that night when you two had that quarrel, he told me to pick between being an Auror or being the love interest of Harry Potter… I think you know what I picked.”
“So that’s is why you left the Academy?” Harry asked with a grin.
Cho nodded, “He was horrible, but I think we’ve reached an understanding. He hasn’t tried anything since that night.”
“I’ve been warning you about Raymer forever,” Harry sighed.
Cho raised her eyebrows and smiled lightly, “So I suppose now I’m going to get one of those ‘I told you so’ from you.”
“I think you’ve suffered enough,” Harry said with a slight edge in his voice, now literally inches away from Cho’s face.
It happened quickly and quietly as that invisible string drew the two together. It was a brief kiss, that both pulled away from with an awkward stumble.
“I think we should start off slow,” Cho whispered not letting her eyes move from their lock with Harry’s.
“Slow is good,” Harry mumbled before lowering his head back to hers.
He was a free man, though he had no doubts that Moody was having him tailed, illegally.
Malfoy couldn’t risk stepping out of line, not yet anyway. Fudge had freed him willingly, and Draco had offered to donate several thousand gallons to the Ministry’s efforts in rounding up the last of the Dark Lord’s followers. Fudge, as predicted, ate up Malfoy’s offer and was opening the Ministry doors to his family once again.
As well as everything was going Draco wasn’t stupid. He knew it was just a matter of time before the Ministry had a switch in power. Moody’s word hung heavy in his mind. He knew very well what Potter would do to him if he were elected Minister of Magic. One good reason to make absolutely positive that never happened. The election was still two months away and Draco would have to make certain Harry was six feet under before that day came.
Dumbledore was an old muggle loving fool. He would be impossible to manipulate, but Dumbledore believed in second chances. At least he wouldn’t be thrown back into Azkaban.
The Hog Head was empty except for the old bar keep and a hag sitting in the far corner with her face covered. Malfoy took a seat at the bar and ordered a mug of pulled mead. Not the most pleasant drink in the world, but it did have much more a kick to it than Butterbeer. He found himself wandering the streets aimlessly, something he had been denied before, always wondering when his father’s followers would approach him, he wondered when he’d be allowed to return to his ranks within the dark rising.
Draco’s ears perked up as he spun around to face his old school mate Gregory Goyle.
“What do you want?” Draco hissed, glancing nervously around the room, as the hair on the back of his neck stood up.
“I hear you got off,” Goyle commented taking a seat next to Draco at the bar, “that’s good for ya.”
“Yea, great news,” Malfoy replied sarcastically.
“My father is still in Azkaban. I don’t know when they’ll release him… doesn’t look good though. They’ve got him pegged for sixteen murders,” Goyle commented, “I’ve been working with Filch at Hogwarts. I may be taking a position as a second caretaker.”
“The position suits you,” Malfoy sneered.
Goyle nodded, to oblivious to realize he was being insulted, “We need eyes inside those walls…”
“We?” Draco asked, picking up on his words.
Goyle nodded, “What you’re waiting for will be at the corner of Knockturn and Diagon Alley tomorrow at midnight. Make sure you know who knows about it, will ya.”
“Are you?” Draco asked.
Goyle turned up a mug of fire whiskey and tossed sickle on the countertop, “See you around mate.”
Draco sneered lightly as he glanced around the room wondering if in fact Moody had heard this latest report. It wouldn’t surprise him if he had. The day passed quickly as did the night. Sooner rather than later, Draco found himself wandering the deserted streets of Diagon Alley, wondering if Goyle had meant what he thought he had.
He paced, trying not to seem too obvious in the fact he was expecting to find someone or something in the place that had been specified for him. He slowed his pace as he began to close in on the corner of Knockturn Alley. Draco glanced at his watch as the longer hand stuck the 12, midnight.
The clock on the wizard bank made a loud bong that pierced the silent night. An eerie chill swept down Draco’s back as he moved closer to his destination. A mount of robes caught his eye. It didn’t appear to be moving.
“Father?” Draco whispered as he approached, stretching out his hand and seizing the mound of cloak. He glanced around his shoulder and finally pulled back the robes.
An old hag let out a shrill as she snatched her cloak back from Draco. She recovered herself quickly, as if hiding her disturbed face would make Draco disappear. Malfoy leaps back and almost lost his balance. He wasn’t expecting whatever was beneath that mound to have been alive.
“Here,” something whispered sharply at his back, causing him to turn.
There lying in a cold crumpled position was his father. Lucius Malfoy lay with his eye wide opened and glazed. Draco turned his face and gasped. He didn’t think the sight would catch him so suddenly. It wasn’t like he had never seen a corpse before.
Finally after a moment had passed, the son of Malfoy fell to his knees and began to examine his father. It looked like his father, but at the same time didn’t. The Dark Mark was strangely missing from his arm, something that could possibly be explained. Also, Lucius black cane, containing his wand, was absent. His eyes were hazel instead of gray and his hair had hints of brown weaved though it. Only subtle things that someone close to him, like a son, would notice.
“I knew you were up to something…”
Draco whipped his head around to a growling Mad-Eye Moody.
“He’s dead, you’ve gotten what you wanted,” Draco hissed touching his father’s figure lightly with his hand.
“Gotten what I wanted?” Moody croaked before pulling a small orb from his pocket and pressing it gently until it became flat, “you’re lucky I was tailing you. I can’t convict you of the murder of Lucius Malfoy, yet.”
“I thought you wanted him dead?” Malfoy asked raising his eyebrows.
Moody magical eye looked like it was about to pop out of his head, “ I wanted him to suffer.”
“Suffer? Then you’re no better than him,” Draco said softly, “That is what he wanted as well, to watch him suffer.”
“Who?” Moody demanded.
“Potter,” Draco whispered.
A week passed slowly and the news of the death of Lucius Malfoy was still sinking in to most in the wizarding world. Except for Moody’s complaint that the body should be check for curses and cloning spells, everyone now believed Malfoy Sr. was dead, and with him the death of the new dark rising.
Harry and Noel had spent the past week processing the investigation and learning to deal with the press in matters of this nature. Neither of them were allowed to grant press access, but they did watch December, Tonks, and the other Aurors navigate though the process.
Fudge had made good on his threat to force Moody into retirement, and now the Sr. Auror was given an official notice of retirement.
“Old Mad-Eye isn’t happy about Fudge right now,” Michael commented, tossing a copy of the Daily Prophet at Harry who caught it.
“Do you blame him, ‘Fudge is an idiot whose time in the office of Minister of Magic is over. I will oblige him by official submitting my resignation, but I refuse to retire from hunting dark wizards. This new dark lord has the Ministry fooled, and I just hope that either Potter or Dumbledore has a bit more sense once they accept the office.’ A bit braver than most, don’t you think,” Harry comment as he quoted Moody from the Prophet.
“I wonder who he’ll vote for,” Susan pondered.
“I’m sure he’ll vote for Dumbledore,” Harry brushed off, “since I’m not running.”
“Odd, then why does the Prophet have you up by 15 points?” Noel asked in her usual tone, cutting her eyes towards her classmates as they walked.
“Because nobody will listen to me when I tell them I’m not running,” Harry said stiffly causing Noel to tut.
“Always whining, Potter. When are you going to quit being a complainer and start becoming a doer?” Noel snapped.
“Who are you voting for, Noel?” Susan asked, hoping the two wouldn’t start yet another row.
“I can’t vote. I’m a German citizen not a British one,” Noel said quickly as she walked slightly faster.
Harry shook his head, “Running away again I see. Can’t handle the confrontation?”
“Harry, don’t,” Susan pleaded, but it was too late. Noel had stopped cold.
“Excuse me? Where do you come off telling me that I’m running away? I merely choose not to engage in another pointless rift with you, and suddenly I’m running away. I am forced to work with your ignorant ‘I’m the savoir of the world’ attitude everyday and this is what I get for attempting to keep peace between us?” Noel barked, “Make no mistake about it, Potter, I am neither nor have I ever run from a confrontation. The mere thought that you’d think I couldn’t hold my own with the likes of you is insulting. If you want to accuse me of something, then I suggest you stop with your childish antics and figure out why you aren’t top in our class, because it is painfully obvious to me. I told you long ago you’d make a wonderful Auror if you’d quit worrying about what is troubling you. Forgive me if I don’t think you walk on water like every other fool in the wizarding world. You are nothing more than an annoying prat that doesn’t stop to think about the feeling or concerns of other before opening his large obnoxious trap. If you ever decided you would like to confront me on an important topic, please do so. But apparently you are incapable of stringing together a single coherent thought that doesn’t revolve around yourself. Stay out of my way.”
Harry made a motion to retort but Noel was already halfway down the corridor, apparently she had said her mind and wanted nothing further to do with Harry.
“She’s got a temper on her, that one,” Michael commented.
Harry shook his head and cut his eyes over towards Michael, “That almost sounded like an insult. I thought you though she was amazing?”
“A bloke can only take so much rejection from a girl—I’ve given up and I’m placing my energies in trying to capture the heart of Becky Clinton, you know the healer trainee a couple years older than us…”
Susan giggled, “You always had a thing for girls in the medical field…”
“It’s the fact they know how to use their hands,” Michael agreed, “Do you think I have a chance with her?”
Harry shrugged as a steak of raven caught his eye, “I don’t really know her all that well, mate.”
“Terry said she thought I was charming,” Michael grinned.
Susan reached over and pinched Michael cheek, “You are charming.”
“Knock it off,” Michael protested, “that hurts.”
Harry suddenly stopped and gave Susan a look, “Tell Master Wallace I’m running a bit late—I forgot something in the dormitory.”
“Alright, I’d hurry if I were you. You know Master Wallace doesn’t like tardy students,” Susan replied with a shrug.
Harry walked back to the turn they had just missed and saw what he had glimpsed moments before. Cho was walking behind a pair of her talking classmates as they started into the Defense room. Harry lunged forward catching Cho by the hand before she disappeared inside. She jumped slightly then smiled as she saw her captor.
“Harry, what are you doing?” she whispered looking inside the classroom to see if anyone had noticed her missing yet.
Harry placed his hand around her waist and pulled her a bit closer, causing her to gasp.
“I haven’t seen you in two days,” he whispered, looking like he wasn’t comfortable taking this kind drastic romantic gesture, but was doing so regardless.
Cho lowered her eyes as her hand interlaced with his; “I thought we were going to take it slow.”
“We are,” he replied. He fumbled for a moment then clumsily leaned his face down towards her letting his lips touch the soft skin on her neck.
“Stop, if Master O’Riley comes out here…” Cho tried to argue, but Harry didn’t seem to be listening, and soon Cho found herself forgetting what she was saying to.
Cho tilted her neck to the side, allowing Harry to have a bit more access to her neck. A smile played across her face as she allowed the sensation to raise goose bumps over her body. Then suddenly she drew back.
“What if somebody sees us?” she warned.
Harry sighed, drooping his head in disappointment, “You’re right… why do you always have to be right?”
“You’re going home this weekend, aren’t you?” Cho whispered, leaning over to peer into her classroom again.
Harry nodded, biting his bottom lip as he watched her.
“We can spend the weekend together. Nobody has to know. I’ll tell my Marietta I’m going to my parents. Dobby won’t tell anyone, and I can just hide out…”
“That’s ridiculous,” Harry protested, “You aren’t going to hide in my bedroom all weekend.”
Cho pursed her lips, “Have any brighter ideas?”
“Why do we have to keep it a secret? I forget,” Harry said as he attempted to bite his tongue. He started staring down at her hand in his.
Cho sighed, “Because it’s easier this way.”
“Easier for who?” Harry asked.
“For both of us.”
It was the truth, keeping their relationship to themselves left them free of having to answer awkward questions. Neither of them was even sure that this was going to work out this time. Cho was right; this was for the best right now.
“Will you meet me in the library tonight?” Harry said softly, “Around midnight or so?”
Cho smiled, “I’ll try, but I’m not making any promises.”
Harry released her hand; “I’ll see you tonight then.”
“Honestly,” Cho said with a flirty grin, “This secret thing was your idea you know.”
Susan had been right about Master Wallace not being thrilled about Harry being tardy to class. A lecture and three-page scroll assignment later, Harry left Master Wallace’s class with a pounding head but a light heart.
The extra work was a perfect excuse to go to the library that evening, the only problem was that he would have to actually do some work in order to finish it. Susan and Michael hadn’t really given any thought to what Harry had rushed back to the dormitory to retrieve, but Noel had been much more curious.
She had asked him during lunch, but Harry had shrugged it off, insisting he’d forgotten what it was himself. Perhaps it was his untruthful answer that leads her to do it. That night, she silently followed him down the corridor, without his knowledge. She spent half an hour pacing outside the library door, waiting for something to happen. Close to midnight she decided to turn back.
Noel had finally given up and was proceeding down the corridor, back towards the dormitory when she heard the footsteps coming up behind her. They were small footsteps, and they sounded like they were in a hurry.
She stopped from proceeding to her destination and turned back and caught sight of the library door opening and shutting. Someone had been in a hurry to get to the library, but given she was in an institution of higher learning, it could be explained.
She slowly opened the door, careful not to let a single sound escape. Immediately she heard voices, one of them she recognized instantly as Potter’s. The unknown visitor and Harry were discussing something in hushed whispers. Noel carefully snuck in letting the door careful seal behind her. She attempted to move closer, wanting to hear what was so secret that Potter couldn’t share it with his classmates, his teammates.
Suddenly the voices stopped and were replaced by another sound.
Noel froze, the darkness was shielding her, but a stream of moonlight shone directly down on the sofa Harry and… Cho Chang were sitting. The two looked completely lost in one another.
Noel turned quickly and dashed out the door, not caring if she’d made a sound or not. The sight had made her feel green. She’d seen the pictures, but never had she ever truly seen Harry kissing someone.
She desperately struggled to catch her breath as her feet continued to run. As she closed in on the corridor leading back to the dormitory she fell to her knees. The vomit came from her throat and she couldn’t fight the sick feeling anymore.
Well, how do you like the secret?? Shhh, don’t divulge it yet.
NEXT UPDATE: 08-01-04
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