Spring was finally settling in, and as Hermione sat in her usual spot in the stands, watching the Gryffindor Quidditch practice, she was glad the air was starting to lose its winter chill. Still, she had wrapped up warm against the cold, her heavy winter robes and her Gryffindor scarf both tucked tightly around her.
The sun had already fully set, the sky clear and black, by the time the team had finished up and descended back to the grass pitch. A simple ‘Nox’ dismissed the light she was reading by, and she closed her Runes book, sliding both that and her wand back into her bag before making her way down from the stands.
A short distance from the changing room exit, she waited for her two best friends. She hoped they wouldn’t take long, as it was cold and they had homework to get done.
Fred and George were the first to come out first, both of them calling out greetings as they passed her on their way back to the castle. Harry and Ron were heading toward her only a few minutes later, the two of them in the middle of a rather heated conversation.
“Come on, mate, you can tell me,” Ron implored, his hand on Harry’s arm.
“There’s nothing to tell,” Harry insisted, shrugging his friend off irritably.
Ron held up both hands. “I’m just curious to know who she is.”
“Who who is?” Hermione asked as they reached her, frowning at the two of them.
“The girl who broke Harry’s heart,” Ron told her unrepentantly.
Harry huffed out an annoyed breath. “How many times do I have to tell you? There is no girl.”
“I’m not an idiot, Harry,” Ron said with a dismissive wave of his hand, as the three of them started to make their way up toward the school.
“Just drop it, Ron,” Hermione all but pleaded.
Ron, however, kept pace with Harry and persisted.
“You were disappearing all the time for months, and when you were around you were sending secretive notes half the time. And now you’re suddenly in a bad mood all the time and can’t even focus on Quidditch properly,” he pointed out, ticking each point off on his fingers. “There has to be a girl!”
“I have no idea what you’re talking about,” Harry stated flatly, and so convincingly Hermione might have almost believed him, had she not known better.
“Fine,” Ron huffed. “Have your secrets but don’t expect me to tell you anything when I get a girl of my own.”
“I think I’ll take that risk,” Harry said, managing a half-smile.
Hermione smiled quietly to herself as she followed a pace behind the two boys. She and Harry both already knew Ron would never be able to hold his tongue and would tell them everything the first chance he got. She was just glad he wasn’t pushing Harry beyond his tolerance, because whether he was ready to talk about things or not, Harry did need his friends.
Back in the Gryffindor common room, Hermione claimed their usual table, while the boys went to get their textbooks, parchment, quills and ink so they could all do their homework together. She settled herself into one of the chairs and opened her copy of Guide to Advanced Transfiguration.
By the time the boys joined her, almost ten minutes later, she was very nearly done rereading the relevant paragraphs, ensuring she hadn’t forgotten any important details. The two of them sat down across from her and all three of them quietly started on answering the Transfiguration questions Professor McGonagall had set that morning.
Most of the questions were fairly straight forward and Hermione completed hers in half an hour without much difficulty, at which point she turned her attention to her friends.
Ron was focused intensely on his work, his tongue poking out from between his teeth, his brow furrowed in thought, as he wrote. With a glance she saw he was already most of the way through. Harry, however, was clenching his pen so tightly, Hermione was surprised he hadn’t broken it. Several of his answers had been vigorously scratched out, and it was obvious he was struggling, though Hermione doubted it was truly the work giving him problems.
“Harry?” Hermione questioned softly.
His head jerked up, his expression as tense as his hand. “I’m fine,” he insisted, going back to the textbook, flipping through several pages quickly.
Hermione could see his patience wearing thin as he went back and forward, finding nothing of use. Reaching out, Hermione attempted to direct him to the sections he needed.
“I think you want…”
Harry, however, interrupted her, slamming his quill down on the desk, before tugging at his hair, rocking slightly in his chair as he attempted to regain control of himself.
“Harry, it’s okay,” Hermione assured him, but her words did nothing to calm him.
Shoving his chair back, he stormed away from their table, tucking himself into the corner of the sofa closest to the fire. He pulled his knees up to his chest, wrapping his arms around his legs and burying his head in his knees.
“Whoa…” Ron said belatedly, blinking after his friend in confusion.
Hermione rested her hand on Ron’s when he went to get up. She shook her head. “You finish up. I’ll go talk to him,” she offered.
Ron hesitated, frowning in concern across the room at Harry before slowly nodding. He made no move to pick up his quill again though and Hermione was aware of him watching as she made her way over to the sofa.
“Mind if I join you?”
Harry said nothing but shrugged his shoulders. Hermione took that as permission and took a seat next to him, careful not to crowd him overly much. She took her time making herself comfortable, giving Harry a chance to speak first should he want to.
“You could tell Ron, you know,” she told him after a few long moments. “Not that you have to, of course, but it might help to talk about it.”
Harry made a soft, non-committal noise which Hermione wasn’t sure how to interrupt, but he wasn’t telling her to either go away or shut up, so she ploughed on hopefully.
“Or you could talk to me,” she suggested. “You still haven’t told me what happened between you.”
Harry lifted his head to glare at her for a moment before retreating into his cocooned space.
Reaching out, Hermione rested her hand gently against his arm. She waited to see if he would shrug her off, but he didn’t. She shuffled a little closer, just enough to be slightly in his space, and Harry just let out a long, drawn-out breath, leaning toward her until their shoulders were touching.
Hermione had no idea what else to say. Harry had been so happy and now he seemed so lost, and yet unwilling to discuss it at all. She wished she could offer him more but just said the only thing she could.
“I’m sorry it didn’t work out.”
Pulling on his robes, Theo once more glanced across the dormitory to his best friend’s bed and resisted the urge to sigh. All their other dorm-mates had already gone up to breakfast but Blaise had barely moved since waking, continuing to stare unseeingly at the deep-green canopy above him.
The complete lack of response was unsurprising.
Grabbing his book bag from his bed, Theo slung it over his shoulder and drew his wand. He cast a spell to check the time.
“It’s gone eight,” he informed his friend as and headed over.
Blaise’s gaze shifted to Theo standing over him. His expression was blank, purple eyes watching him with disinterest. Still, though, he said nothing.
“Are you coming to breakfast? Or are you planning to just lie in bed and regret your life decisions?”
“Regretting my life decisions sounds good,” Blaise told him bluntly, his voice as weary as the rest of him seemed, and his focus returned to the canopy above him.
“Blaise… please,” Theo implored. “There’s no way some Gryffindor can be worth all this.”
“Harry isn’t just any Gryffindor.”
The words were sincere. And the tiredness in Blaise’s voice had Theo wondering just how much his friend was sleeping. It made Theo want to shake Blaise free of whatever madness was consuming him. But Blaise didn’t want this fixed; he wanted to wallow. That much was clear.
“Yeah, because we all know Potter’s a special little flower,” Theo grumbled under his breath as he turned away.
Blaise made no attempt to stop him as he went. As Theo closed the dormitory door behind him, leaving his friend to mope alone, his heart ached. He missed his friend.
“What did Potter do?”
Draco’s abrupt voice made Theo jump, and he took a deep breath to calm his now racing heart before turning to face the blond. Draco had clearly been lurking close to the dormitory door, hiding in the shadows, out which he now stepped.
“I have no idea what you’re talking about,” Theo stated, his expression as blank as he could make it.
Scoffing, Draco smirked. Immediately Theo knew he’d been eavesdropping. He didn’t know how much he’d heard but clearly, it was enough for him to know Potter was involved. And of course, that would pique his interest. Theo, however, remained stoic.
“Blaise has been a wreck for a week,” Draco pointed out. “He’s been annoyingly morose.”
Theo had to admit it would have been hard for even someone as self-absorbed as Draco to miss the change in Blaise, but he refused to break his friend’s confidence.
“It’s none of your concern.”
Draco took a step closer and Theo held his ground.
“Having to put up with Blaise’s current mood makes it my business.”
“You just want an excuse to lay into Potter,” Theo countered. “And you’re not going to get that from me,” he informed him as he turned and walked away.
Behind him, he was unsurprised to hear Draco hurried footsteps as his housemate gave chase, catching up with him in the common room.
“Well if you won’t let me deal with Potter, you should do it yourself,” Draco insisted. “Blaise is supposedly your best friend after all.”
“You think I haven’t offered!” Theo raged suddenly, rounding on him, his already worn-thin patience finally snapping. “You think I don’t want to deal with him myself? As you said, Blaise is my best friend!” He shoved the momentarily startled Draco on the shoulder. “But he wants Potter left alone, and I will respect that.”
Draco rolled his shoulder as he quickly regained his composure. Scoffing again, his expression became smug once more. He eyed Theo for several seconds before striding past him.
“Maybe Blaise just doesn’t know what’s good for him,” Draco remarked without a backward glance.
“Draco!” Theo shouted, getting no reaction. “Draco, don’t do anything stupid!”
Across the common room, Draco flashed him a smile before heading out into the corridor beyond.
Hermione absently fed herself porridge one-handed as she continued to read her book on Runes.
To her right, Harry was even less interested in breakfast than she was, prodding the eggs and toast on his plate with a fork, his expression unfocused. He had never been much of an eater but it had gotten worse in the last week; Hermione had pretty much given up trying to get him to eat more than a few bites each meal.
On her other side, Ron was eating with his usual enthusiasm, ploughing his way through most of the bacon within reach. Hermione, however, hadn’t missed the way he kept glancing up from his food to glare across the hall. As he did it again, she followed his gaze to the Slytherin table.
Frowning, she nudged Ron, drawing his attention. He made a questioning noise as he turned to blink at her.
“What are you looking at?” she asked, her voice hushed.
“Oh, just Malfoy,” Ron said dismissively, shrugging one shoulder. “He’s looking extra evil this morning.”
“Extra evil?” Hermione questioned, a tad amused despite herself.
“Yeah, he has spent more of breakfast glaring daggers at Harry than eating.”
“Ignore him, Ron,” Harry instructed without looking up.
“He’s up to something,” Ron insisted, peering around Hermione with a frown.
Harry scoffed, glancing over to the Slytherin table where Malfoy was indeed watching him. “It’s nothing new,” he said, smirking as he turned back to Ron.
“Harry’s right,” Hermione agreed, patting Ron on the arm. “Whatever he’s up to, don’t let him drag you into it.”
“I guess,” Ron agreed uncertainly.
“Let’s just go to class,” Harry suggested, pushing his plate away before getting to his feet.
Hermione nodded her agreement, closing her book and slipping it back into her bag. Ron, however, sighed dramatically and took one last bite of toast as he got up.
“If we have to,” he conceded, picking up his own bag.
“That is how this school thing works,” Harry pointed out, as they headed toward the double doors. “Unless we’re busy fighting a basilisk or trying to hide from dementors or something, pretty sure we don’t have much choice.”
Hermione chuckled, shaking her head. “It’s just Charms. It’s not that bad.”
“True. It could be History of Magic,” Ron pointed out, to which both he and Harry shuddered.
“You are both terrible,” she informed them as they left the Great Hall.
“Do you have any idea what to put in Binns’ essay?” Tracey asked over breakfast.
“No idea,” Pansy huffed, pausing in the middle of buttering her toast to gesticulate, knife still in hand. “How is anyone supposed to write ten inches on the discovery of Bowtruckles.”
Theo was only half-listening to the girls across from him, as he tried to subtly keep an eye on Draco, who was sat further down the table, closer to the doors. Draco had been fixated on Potter and friends since he had sat down, and Theo was increasingly certain he was going to try something.
“I started it yesterday, but I only have about three inches so far,” Tracey grumbled as she poured herself some juice.
“I just put lots of about the trees they choose. Most of that is in our old Magical Creatures book.” Theo suggested with a shrug, watching as Potter, Granger and Weasley as they got up and left. A quick look to Draco made it clear he had seen them too.
“That’s a good idea,” Tracey agreed happily. “I just wish it wasn’t so boring.”
“Better this than the Giant Wars,” Pansy pointed out as she went back to her breakfast. “They are just so… gross.” She shuddered at the thought.
“They weren’t that bad,” Theo insisted distractedly, as Draco got up and headed out of the Great Hall with determined strides. “The Goblin Rebellions were worse,” he added as he got to his feet and grabbed his book bag.
Without another word and not giving the girls a chance to respond, he hurried after Draco.
Reaching the Entrance Hall, he spotted Draco on the Grand Staircase, about a flight up. While he knew it was possible Draco was merely heading to class, the timing was too coincidental. Theo knew better than to trust Draco to act rationally and so he moved quickly after him.
At the door to the second-floor corridor, Theo could see no sign of him on the stairway above. So, taking an educated guess as to where Draco had gone, Theo headed through the door and made his way toward the Charms classroom.
It was as he ducked through a tapestry and turned to head up a small staircase, he spotted Granger clinging to Weasley at the top stairs, both of them clearly distressed and Granger holding Weasley back. Taking the steps two at a time, Potter came into view, pinned to the wall by a furious Draco.
“What the fuck did you do to Blaise?” Draco snarled, shoving his arm more firmly into Potter’s chest, drawing a pained and winded gasp.
Theo hadn’t even had a chance to open his mouth before a movement at the far end of the corridor caught his attention.
Blaise was stood there, having just come around the corner. His clothes were unkempt, as though he had put little effort into dressing himself, but his expression was sharper than Theo had seen in over a week. He didn’t look remotely sad or heartbroken now, glaring at Draco and Potter as though they had betrayed him.
“So this is why you left me?” Blaise exclaimed angrily, storming toward them.
“Blaise?” Potter questioned, trying in vain to shove Draco away as they all turned to stare.
“Found another Slytherin to throw yourself at? Or are you just working your way through all of us?” Blaise sneered, and Theo could see how much his emotions were overwhelming him.
“What?” Draco and Potter asked at the same time, their confusion evident to everyone except Blaise.
“You can have him, Draco,” Blaise said almost hysterically. “I thought he was better than this. Apparently, I had him all wrong.”
“You’re crazy! Harry would never touch a filthy Slytherin like Malfoy!” Ron declared angrily, his confusion about the situation boiling over.
“Ron, shut up,” Granger hissed, tugging on his arm, apparently confusing Weasley even further given the look he gave her.
“Weasley’s right,” Theo added quickly, drawing Blaise’s attention. “Nothing’s more is happening here than Draco meddling. He’s trying to find out what Harry did to you.”
“I didn’t do anything to him, you git. Get off!” Potter snarled, shoving the distracted Draco off him at last and turning to Blaise.
“Just broke his heart,” Theo pointed out angrily.
“Yeah,” Harry admitted, having the good sense to look ashamed, “other than that.”
He bowed his head as he let out a long breath. Slowly he looked up at Blaise, and though Theo couldn’t see his face, the emotion on Blaise’s said it all. The hallway held it’s bated breath, as Harry and Blaise held each other’s gaze. Granger whispered frantically in a paling Weasley’s ear.
“Blaise,” Harry said softly, “I promise you I have no interest in being anywhere close to Malfoy. Let alone... doing anything with him.”
“Potter’s right,” Draco agreed, his face scrunched up with disgust. “As much as it pains me to utter such words.”
“There hasn’t been anyone else,” Potter quietly admitted as he stepped closer to Blaise. He glanced briefly back at Weasley, before apparently deciding something and looking to Blaise once more. “It was always you. No one else.”
“No one?” Blaise questioned uncertainly.
“No one,” Potter confirmed his voice heavy with sincerity. “I was an idiot. A scared and stupid idiot.”
“Aren’t you always,” Draco remarked smugly.
“Shut up, Draco, Theo remarked quickly, as Weasley and Granger chimed in with “Shut it, Malfoy” at the same time.
“I was too busy worrying about what everyone else might think to realise what I was throwing away,” Harry went on. “But without you, I feel lost, just…cold.”
“Seriously, he’s been a right arse,” Ron piped up.
The corner of Theo’s mouth twitched into an amused smile. “Blaise has been miserable too,” he informed them all before Blaise could pretend otherwise.
“He’s been insufferable,” Draco agreed with exasperation. “If it stops your moping, just get back together or whatever.”
“Please, Blaise. I made a terrible mistake,” Harry said earnestly. “Can you forgive me?”
“No more hiding or pretending you don’t love me?” Blaise questioned challengingly.
“I’d scream it from the Astronomy Tower for the world to hear if it would win you back,” Harry assured him.
“Maybe save that for the next time you screw up,” Blaise suggested, stepping closer to Potter and intertwining their fingers together.
“I can do that,” Harry said, smiling as he leaned in and pressed his lips against Blaise’s.
Theo turned his attention to Weasley and Granger, mostly so he didn’t have to watch his best friend in such an intimate moment.
The two of them also seemed unsure where else to look. Hermione’s cheeks were flushed and Weasley’s ears were practically the colour of radishes as he stared up at the ceiling, but neither seemed particularly upset at the turn of events. Granger was peeking discreetly at Potter and Blaise, a pleased smile on her lips as she hurriedly returned her attention to Weasley, and Theo was glad to realise he was not the only one relieved their best friend’s were happy once more.
Only Draco appeared outwardly bothered, pulling dramatically disgusted faces as he headed off toward class. Theo was willing to bet good money, however, that he was as pleased for Potter and Blaise as the rest of them. Or at least glad not to have to endure any more of Blaise’s moping.
Theo sighed as he looked back to where Potter and Blaise were still going at it.
He scrunched his nose as he realised the implications this was going to have on his life. While Blaise’s dramatically improved mood was a definite plus, at least when this had all been a secret they were never late for class. Now it seemed they would all have to endure their sickeningly sweet happiness, if the sappy look on Blaise’s face when he finally came up for air was anything to go by.