Chapter Twenty-Two: The Last Drop of Blood
Harry spent the whole of the next two days in the hospital wing recovering in the quiet and the peace. Madam Pomfrey set up a serenity candle at the foot of Harry's bed and gave him a dreamless sleep draught, so for the most of the days, he napped quietly, getting some well needed rest. Nobody came to see him on the Saturday, but when he woke up after his morning nap on the Sunday, he found Ron, Hermione, Neville, Luna, Ginny, Ernie, Kainda, Cho and Draco all sitting next to his bed, watching him fearfully.
"Harry?" said Cho, quietly.
Harry blinked up at her, wishing his hair wasn't so messy. "Hi."
"How you doing, mate?" said Ron, pretty much barging Cho out of the way.
"Fine," said Harry. He rubbed his forehead, and Ron frowned.
"What's up with your eyes?"
Harry glanced into the mirror next to his bed and saw that they had gone the same swirling liquid shade of bronze that Alrister's had. "The serenity candle turns them a funny colour. Don't worry about it." He looked around at the many faces watching him, and said, "What are you all doing here?"
"We came to see if you were okay," said Neville. He still looked a little worried.
Harry sat up in bed, fluffing his pillows to have something comfy to lean against. "Thanks, guys..."
"How are you feeling?" said Hermione, kindly.
He nodded a little. "Better. Sorry about worrying you all..."
There was a general murmur of that it was nothing. They stayed for an hour or so, all talking to him, complaining that their days had all been really boring without him. Luna gave him a copy of her Quibbler with a shy smile, Draco gave him a piece of paper with the details of their next Quidditch match, Hermione had kindly brought all his homework so he didn't have an excuse to not to do it, Cho gave him a comforting hug. When Madam Pomfrey finally came over and said that Harry seemed to be much better, and could probably leave, he couldn't have been happier about it. He got dressed behind the screen and then they all left for dinner, which was chinese food and cherry pie to follow. Harry was feeling quite good all evening, playing chess with Ron in the common room and badgering Hermione to help him with his homework, but when ten o' clock came, the happy feeling inside him died.
Seeing the look on his face, Hermione said, "What's wrong, Harry?"
He was silent for a moment, then said, "I have to go to bed... I... I don't want to. It feels wrong up there. Like he's still there. Waiting for me."
Ron patted him consolingly on the shoulder. "Come on Harry... it was a nasty nightmare, but it wasn't real."
Harry shook his head. "I don't want to go up there."
Hermione and Ron both swapped worried looks, then sat down on the sofa on either side of him. Hermione put an arm around him and gave him a sisterly hug, while Ron patted his shoulder gently. Harry found himself wishing he could just stay up with them all night and never go to sleep again. It was a terrifying thought to think of sleeping. Madam Pomfrey had given him a whole bottle full of dreamless sleep draught, but he knew it wouldn't help him.
"Poor Harry..." said Hermione. "It was really bad, wasn't it?"
He nodded sadly. Ron looked thoughtful, as though he'd had a sudden spark of inspiration. Harry stared at him. "What?"
"I'll be right back," said Ron, and he hurried away up the stairs to the dormitories.
Hermione patted Harry gently on the back. "Come on Harry... leave a light on, and the door open. Read a book and make sure you're really calm, and you'll drift right off."
Harry shook his head again. "You didn't see it... you didn't see Alrister's wife, or the vampire, or the werewolf or the burning circus tent. You weren't there." He sighed. "Sorry Hermione... I know you're just trying to help."
She smiled kindly. "It's okay, Harry... I - " But she was interrupted by a loud huffing and puffing from the stairs, as sets of bedding came rolling down the stairs, flopping out of the doorway like great marshmallows. Ron came fighting his way past it, grinning.
"We'll sleep down here!" he said, brightly. "Make a nest on the sofa and stay with the fire. Like a permanent slumber party."
Hermione frowned. "I don't think I approve of this."
Ron dragged several pillows over to the sofa and set about making a nest, stealing all the cushions from the armchairs. "Fine, you go to bed then. I'm staying with Harry. You might not care, but I do."
"Oh Ron, of course I care, it's just - "
"Fair enough," said Ron, heaving the duvets over. "Off you go. Sleep well."
She paused, summing up her potions, and then with a sigh she said, "Fine, I'll go and get my quilt. But if we get in trouble - "
" - then we'll tell McGonagall why we're doing it, and if she sends us back to bed, she's evil," said Ron.
Harry couldn't help but smile gratefully. "Thanks Ron."
"Hey, what are third cousins for?" said Ron, grinning.
"Once removed!" Hermione called, before hurrying up the stairs.
Ron rolled his eyes, and they both grinned, flopping down onto either end of the sofa and wriggling under the duvet. Ron searched about in his bag for a moment, then took out a large packet of Bertie Botts. "Fred and George sent me them today. I think they should do us nicely, huh?" He opened the bag, and offered it to Harry. "Bean, cousin?"
Harry grinned again and took a bean gratefully. Hermione joined them soon after, and the three of them sat together in front of the fire in their pajamas (Ron and Harry took turns getting changed in the bathroom), talking for ages, until they all drifted off.
When Harry woke up, the windows outside were still painted with an inky-blackness, dotted with crystal stars. At first, he wondered why he had woken up, fearfully glancing around the room for any hint of dark figures standing over him, but there was nothing. He gave himself a hard pinch on the arm, and it hurt. Not dreaming.
Ron was snoring loudly next to him under the nest, his mouth open, blowing bubbles everytime he breathed out. Hermione was curled up in the sheets opposite, murmuring in her sleep, something about the fascinating differences between Transfiguration and Transmogrification. Harry smiled. He wasn't really surprised that Hermione was just as much a know-it-all in her sleep as she was when awake.
He looked up to see Cupid flutter over from his perch, sitting on the back of the sofa, staring at him.
"What? What is it?"
Cupid flapped his wings agitatedly. "Fwwwwweeeeeeeeeeeeeee!"
"Alright, alright, stop fweeing. What's wrong? Do you want feeding or something?"
He could have sworn that Cupid shook his head, flapping vigorously again, beating his shiny wings back and forth.
Harry groaned, getting up out of the nest and walking over to the sofa. Cupid hopped onto his arm, still fluttering about and singing at the top of his voice. His claws were nipping at the sleeve of Harry's pajamas, pulling him towards the door.
"What? There's not a crushed teacher out there, is there?"
"Fweeeeeeeeeeeee!" Cupid trilled impatiently.
Harry walked slowly towards the door. Cupid chattered at him, pulling him along, nipping at his hand. Harry reached out and pushed it open. "There. What now?"
Cupid flapped off his hand, and fluttered out, resting on top of a stone bust. The hawk stared down at him pointedly. Harry sighed.
"I can't follow you. I'll get in trouble."
Cupid cocked his head to one side. Harry looked into those cute little eyes, wishing that the hawk wasn't quite so sweet.
"Come back in here and calm down. I'm not taking you out for a walk now. It's dark and cold."
Harry frowned. Cupid had never looked so insistantly at him before. He looked around the common room, then at the hawk watching him, head tilted to one side.
"Alright. But if you end up taking me on a walk to see a dead mouse or a painting you don't like, I'm not going to be pleased." He reached out, taking his bag from the floor and rooting around in the bottom for his invisibility cloak. He kept it with him at all times now, just in case, and he was glad he did. He pulled it on, stuffed his wand in the pocket and then stepped out into the corridor, shutting the portrait.
Cupid gave an approving chirrup. Hary frowned. "Yeah, yeah. What now? Where are we going?"
The hawk hopped gently off the bust's head, flapped his wings a few times as though warming himself up, then with a clatter of claws, he took off, gliding down the corridor like a huge copper bat. Harry jogged after him hurriedly, trying to keep the sound of his footsteps quiet, just in case there was a prefect or a teacher lurking in some dark corner.
"Cupid!" he hissed. "Cupid, come back!"
The hawk wasn't listening, just flying on through the darkness ahead. Harry picked up his pace, starting to pant, wondering what Cupid was playing at - but when he turned the next corner, he realised. Cupid gave a soft call, fluttering down to rest on the shoulder of a figure huddled on the floor.
Harry moved forward, wondering who it was, and it was a few seconds until he realised.
Draco looked up, and Harry saw that there were tears trickling down his pale face. "Harry?" he said, his voice strangled, unable to see the other boy in the corridor. His pale eyes wandering vaguely across everything.
"What's wrong?" said Harry, stepping closer, kneeling down next to Draco. Draco drew away, frightened. "It's me. I'm just invisible." He pulled the cloak of his face, and Draco's eyes widened.
"What are you doing here?"
"Cupid brought me. Now your turn... what's up with you?"
Draco shook his head, trying to hide his eyes. "It's... it's nothing... honestly..." Harry noticed that there was a letter tight in his hand. "I was just... going to see Professor Snape... or Professor Dumbledore... or... anybody... and I just..." He gestured vaguely. There were more and more tears leaking down his face. Harry glanced down, and saw there were bitemarks all over his ankle from sharp little teeth.
"What happened?" he asked, his eyes widening.
"A rat," said Draco, wiping his eyes frantically. "They're attracted to me because - " He fell silent, as though he'd said something wrong, and just concentrated on breathing.
"Why?" said Harry. "What is it? And why were you out looking for a teacher?"
Draco's spare hand went to his locket, gripping it tight, his other clenched down on the paper. Harry reached out for it, and Draco didn't stop him prizing apart his fingers apart and taking it out.
"This letter is for the eyes of Draco Ryu Salazar Malfoy only," he read. He paused and looked at Draco. "Your middle name is Salazar? That's just... snotty with a capital s."
"Oh, gee, thankyou so much Potter! Next time I'm being born, I'll request a different middle name, shall I?" Draco said, furiously.
"Alright, alright, point taken..." Harry turn back to the letter and carried on. "Dear Mr Malfoy. It is with our deepest regret that we inform you of the council's decision to declare you the sole heir and living member of the Malfoy family." Harry frowned. "What does it mean, the sole heir? What about your mother?"
Draco waved his hand vaguely, still wiping his eyes, indicating for Harry to carry on.
Harry started to read again. "This decision comes after two months of the absence of Narcissa Malfoy. You may or may not be aware that when a wizard or witch has been missing for two months with no word from them at all they are declared legally - " He fell silent at the next word. "...dead."
Draco wiped his eyes frantically again, but he was crying too hard to cover them up. "I just g-got the letter... and I n-needed to tell somebody... I'm... I'm an orphan. My mum's been declared dead." Draco looked up at Harry with desperation in his eyes. "I'm the last Malfoy ever. If they hadn't taken my house and all my things, I'd be the leader of the Malfoy family. And... and I'm alone. I'm so alone."
Harry put a comforting arm around him. "Come on, it's okay... somebody will take you in..."
Draco shook his head, desperately trying to wipe away his tears. "Nobody wants a Malfoy. I'm going to go to some rotten muggle orphanage." He put his hands over his eyes, shaking slightly. "It's bad enough here, I mean, nobody likes me apart from you, I have to put up with Zabini trying to make my life a living hell, every month I get animals trying to kill me... I hate my life. I hate it so much."
Harry looked him in the eye forcefully. "Why do you get animals trying to kill you?"
Draco tried to pull away. "It doesn't matter, Potter, nothing does."
"I've told you, I don't want to - "
"Tell me or I'LL kill you."
Once again, Draco gripped his locket tight. "Potter, you wouldn't understand... my... my family heritage is... different to... to the view of the general public..."
"Then tell me! What does it matter?" Harry said. "I want to know what you meant when you had Slytherin Risotta and you got stomach pains, and you said it was 'normal now'. And why rats are attacking you. Tell me, I'm not like everybody else, I give people a chance!"
Draco looked at him from under his dirty blonde hair, summing him up, his eyes full of worry. His fingers tightened on his locket. "It's... Potter, you cannot tell a soul about this. Not even one person. Not Weasley, not Granger, nobody."
"I won't," said Harry. "Tell me..."
Draco bit his lip, his eyes drifting away to roam vaguely about the corridor. "I... just try to think about it... Zabini told you what's in my locket, I heard him. My... my dad's hair. Just one. And... why do you think I'm so good at the Pure Arts? Why do you think I can get my way so easily? Why have I taken astronomy?"
Harry stared at him, then shook his head. "I don't know... why?"
Draco paused for only a moment more, swaying a little, and then he said, "Potter... my... my father... he was..." He swallowed. "He was half veela."
Harry's jaw fell. "But that means that you - "
"Shhhh!" Draco hissed, desperately, looking left and right. "Do you have any idea what a scandal there would be if it got out? The Malfoy line is no longer pureblood at all, it's a load of rubbish. The woman that is down on the family tree as my grandmother is not my grandmother. Father's mother was a veela. My father was a half-veela... in my locket, it's a single hair from the head of a veela. It's a magical substance." He looked at his feet, ashamed. "I've been cheating. But I swear, I didn't know I was, I thought I was just good at the Pure Arts... then I tried it without my locket on, and I couldn't do it..."
"So what's with the rats? And the stomach pains?" said Harry.
"Veela and part-veela have an organ in the body that humans don't," replied Draco. "Somewhere in the stomach. It's tiny, but every month, it creates chemicals that cause the veela powers of attraction. Of course, veela have them all the time, but it's strongest when that organ is creating them freshly. Animals pick it up, they see me as a rival to their mates and they attack me."
"Buckbeak," said Harry, softly.
Draco shrugged. "I don't know whether it didn't like what I said, or if it was picking up the scent... but it's happening now and everything's attacking me. I can't go in the owlery. I'll be killed. And.. and now my father's dead, and my mother's dead, and I'm an orphan, and I'm producing and my stomach hurts, and my ankle's bleeding... and I'm sitting in the dark, and it's cold... I'm the last drop of blood and there's nowhere for me to spill..."
Harry patted Draco tentatively on the shoulder. "Look... you're sixteen, right? By wizard law, you're old enough to do magic and you're old enough to own your own home. You can get a flat or something."
"What am I going to pay for it with?" said Draco, staring at him in disbelief. "Maybe I can just go wait outside and hope a guy comes along and offers to trade me my shoes for three magic beans!"
"Then there's Grimmauld Place," said Harry. "It's a house I'm supposed to own, but loads of people use it. There's loads of rooms. You can stay there until you can earn some gold and get somewhere for yourself to live."
Draco covered his face with his hands. "I'm only sixteen... I'm not supposed to be taking over a pureblood dynasty and talking about finding somewhere to live. I was only trying the sorting hat on yesterday."
"Maybe it's time to grow up," said Harry. He put his hand on Draco's shoulder again. "You're welcome to stay in Grimmauld Place. You've got me to talk to about the veela thing. You'll get through this."
Draco closed his eyes, and paused for a moment. "Then... thankyou, Potter. Even though you'll most likely never hear me say this to you again. I'm grateful."
Harry couldn't help but smile. "Prat."
"Likewise," Draco said, laughing slightly through his tears.
"Come on, go back to bed. Monday tomorrow. Dark Arts and Transfiguration, you need to be awake." Harry helped Draco to his feet gently. Cupid fluttered up and landed on Harry's shoulder with his customary trill.
"Alright... and... tell nobody, Potter..."
Harry opened his mouth to reply, but his attention was caught as the door at the end of the passage opened and light spilled into the corridor.
Harry's yelp of surprise was muffled as Draco shoved him hard in the side, knocking him sideways behind a tapestry just as their visitor strolled in. Harry heard the click of high-heels on the polished floors, and he couldn't resist taking a peek to see who it was.
Snape's girlfriend was easily recognisable in the gloom from her smoky, sharp silver eyes and the way she walked. Her skin seemed to glow an ethereal blue in the darkness. Harry noticed she'd had her hair cut shorter, to around chin length.
Draco smiled ever so slightly, "Can I help you, Madam?"
"Yes... it is this way to the potions master's office, isn't it?" she said, quietly, nodding up the corridor.
"Yes, it is," said Draco. "Just down this corridor, then around the far corner. Anything else?"
"No," she said, smiling, her eyes flashing in the darkness. "That should be enough. Thankyou..."
"... Draco," he finished, returning the smile. "And it's my pleasure."
She strode away into the darkness, and once the click of her high-heels was far away enough, Harry peeled the tapestry away and clambered out next to Draco. "You do know she's taken, right, Draco?"
"What are you talking about Potter?"
Harry smirked. "As in, you can be as charming as you like, but Snape will kill you if you hit on his girlfriend."
Draco gave him another shove in the side. "Get out of it, I'm just being polite. Besides, you could at least thank me for saving your neck there. Do I have to remind you that you're not supposed to be out of your dormitory? I could cause a fuss right now and a teacher would come running. You'd be in detention faster than you knew what was happening."
"Alright, alright," said Harry. "I was joking." He sat back down next to Draco on the step, pushing his glasses back up his nose. "Have you ever seen her before?"
"What, that woman? Of course I have. She visits Professor Snape about twice a week." Draco yawned, not really interested in their conversation much. "She's attractive, yes, but not exactly the sort of woman I would match with Professor Snape. Too tomboyish, too light-hearted. I'd say he'd go for a Gothic goddess, really, long hair, black nails, elegant dresses..."
"She did have long hair once," said Harry. "Sort of feathered... and she is pretty elegant. She just looks a bit different with short hair."
"Don't be an idiot, Potter," Draco yawned. "She's always had short hair, ever since the end of fifth year."
Harry nodded vaguely. "I wouldn't know, I haven't been ogling her," he said, grinning at Draco.
Draco gave him another shove, but he was smirking too. "Now I remember just why I despised you, Potter. Don't tempt me, or I'll still jinx you."
"That's just a bit unfair," said Harry. "If you jinx me, fine, but if I jinx you back, you'll put me in detention."
Draco sniggered. "Precisely. As I said, don't tempt me."
They were so caught up in their small talk that neither of them was alert enough to notice the smoky shadow creeping up behind them down the corridor, holding a magical megaphone.
"So what do you think Snape's girlfriend keeps coming here for?" asked Harry, stretching his legs out on the stairs below.
Draco shrugged. "Probably the same reason I caught a Ravenclaw seventh year sneaking to the Hufflepuff dormitories last night. Late night rendezvous? Catch my drift?"
"Snape's not the type to sneak a girlfriend in though, is he?" Harry mused. "Me and Ron reckon it's something to do with Voldemort."
Draco twitched and went quite still.
"Oh - sorry," said Harry. "Forgot."
"Not that," Draco hissed. "Be quiet..."
They both fell silent, listening hard. There was a ticking sort of noise behind them, somebody tapping a fingernail on plastic. Dreading what they would see, they glanced over their shoulders at the same moment.
Peeves burst out onto them and roared, "STUDENTS OUT OF BED ON THE MAIN CORRIDOR!!!!" into the microphone, magnified so many times that Harry was sure his eardrums had ruptured on the spot. Draco leapt a foot in the air, screamed and staggered backwards. Harry only just stopped him falling down the staircase, grabbed his arm and gave him a sharp tug in the direction of the nearest cupboard.
"COME ON!" he shouted over the racket the poltergeist was making.
"Get lost, Potter, you're the one in trouble here, not me!"
"You knew I was up and awake and you didn't tell anybody, you're in for it too, get in the cupboard!" Harry bellowed, slinging the door open and half-flinging Draco inside. He jumped in, shut the door with a snap and let out a long breath.
"Shhh!" Draco hissed, listening hard at the door.
They were two sets of footsteps approaching the corridor, one swift, the other with lighter feet but the unmistakable click of heels.
Snape looked around the corridor, and cursed under his breath. "That Godforsaken poltergeist..."
"False alarm?" said the woman languishing near one of the stone pillars.
"Mmm," Snape droned, annoyed. "You didn't see any students here when you passed, by any chance?"
"Yes, just one. A smart blonde boy," she said. "With a badge on his chest, green and silver scarf."
"Malfoy," said Snape, vaguely. "A thousand fleas on that poltergeist's head, I'll never understand why Dumbledore lets him stay in this place. He's nothing but a nuisance. Even worse than Longbottom."
She frowned. "Neville Longbottom?"
"Merlin, his uselessness is now famous. Yes, that would be Neville Longbottom. Most clumsy student I have ever had the unfortune of teaching."
They moved away down the corridor, discussing Peeves, and Draco turned to face Harry in the cupboard, raising an eyebrow.
"Smart?" he murmured.
Harry chortled. "Don't get at her, she saved our skin."
Draco shrugged, adopting a casual expression, but then his face deepened into a frown. "Can you smell something?"
Taking a few tentative sniffs, Harry nodded. There was a soft, lavendar sort of aroma wafting from somewhere in the cupboard. It was a warm, very inviting scent that made Harry think of a soft, silk-sheeted bed in a nice room, somewhere he could just lie down and sleep... it was so late... he really should get to bed now, and just sleep for a few days... maybe a week... he could feel his eyes shutting slowly... this cupboard was quite nice though, nice boxes to sit on, warm, dark, comfortable... just a quick nap, he thought, as he slumped to the floor, his head curling up on something else nearby, covered in soft blonde hair... Draco, he vaguely remembered, Draco probably wanted to sleep too... oh well...
The two boys drifted away into the Land of Nod after just a few more seconds, the warm lavendar smell still breezing past their noses, ensuring sweet dreams and a comfortable slumber. Under a blanket, in a box, under a shelf in the corner of the room were several beakers full of a lilac-coloured solution, with white labels glued onto the glass. Written in scrawled black handwriting were the words - UNDILUTED SLEEPING DRAFT. KEEP LIDS ON.
One of the glass lids had cracked from the way they were transported, and purple fumes were dancing out from under the blanket, still tickling the sleeping boys' noses. Meanwhile, sweet imaginings of Quidditch and Cho Chang were filling Harry's tranquil mind, and Draco was already receiving his Order Of Merlin, First Class, for being the undisputed best wizard in the entire history of the world, and all the people who had ever called him a snob at school were queuing up onto the platform to kiss his shoes.
By nine o' clock the next morning, the disappearance of Harry Potter was all over the school. Ron and Hermione had woken up, found him gone and run to McGonagall's office, then she'd seen the headmaster, who organised a castle-wide search for the missing boy. According to one of the odd little silver instruments in Dumbledore's office, he was somewhere in the school or grounds. Hagrid, Fang and Kibbles were sent into the Forbidden Forest just to check he hadn't gone sneaking out for some reason, and they returned with no news. Hagrid's little brother Grawp hadn't seen them either, according to Hagrid, but nobody else could understand Grawp so this information wasn't much use.
All of Harry's friends were in complete shock. At first break, Ron, Hermione, Neville, Luna and Ginny were to be found outside in their usual courtyard, though all in silence. They all felt as though there was nothing to say anymore. Hermione blamed herself for giving in and letting them sleep in the common room. Ron said it was his fault, because he hadn't seen Harry leave when he was sleeping right next to him. Luna only looked over the top of her Quibbler to say something about Harry being a pilgrim sign and his need to roam was unfortunate but couldn't be helped, then she went back to her reading.
It was only when Ron had turned around and said, "Malfoy, get your Transfiguration homework out, I haven't done mine," that they realised something rather important. Ron looked around. "Malfoy?"
"Where is he?" said Hermione.
"I dunno... was he ever here?" said Ron, shrugging.
"He wasn't in Dark Arts," said Neville. "Or at breakfast."
Ron's eyes widened. "Malfoy's turned Harry over to You-Know-Who!"
Hermione scoffed. "Don't be silly, Ron. That's ridiculous."
"It is not," said Ron, stubbornly. "Where is he then? Don't you think it's a bit suspicious that on the day Harry goes missing, Malfoy has "mysteriously" vanished as well? There's something going on. I know it. I can just sense it, Malfoy's turned Harry in. You were all stupid to trust him."
"What about you?" said Hermione, frowning up at him over the top of her book. "Everytime you copy his homework you "mysteriously" get a D, and you still pester him every break for it."
"Teachers don't like me," Ron snapped. "That's not the point! Come on, we've got to go to Dumbledore and tell him that Malfoy's turned traitor! I bet it was all a scam, you know, Lucius Malfoy probably faked his own murder and then went to join You-Know-You permanently, and now Draco's gone with him, and he's got Harry as... as a sacrificial offering to the Dark Lord!"
Hermione raised an eyebrow. "Don't you think you're getting a tiny bit over-the-top?"
Ron shook his head vehemently. "What else do you think's happened to him? Only my theory makes sense!"
Hermione put down her book, held up her fingers and counted through them as she spoke. "Firstly, Dumbledore has determined that Harry is still somewhere in the castle. Secondly, for Draco Malfoy to kidnap Harry, he would have had to either get the password to Gryffindor Tower or find another way of getting past the Fat Lady. Then, he would have had to subdue Harry, who wouldn't be likely to just lie still and let him catch him. Then, he'd have to drag Harry out of Gryffindor Tower and get him out of the castle. All without waking us up, despite the fact that you were lying right next to him. Also, Draco was given veritaserum and there is no way that anybody can lie when under the influence of veritaserum, so his father is most definitely dead. And finally, Draco just isn't like that."
"Yes he is," said Ron, angrily. "I knew he'd betray us all along! He might have fooled you, but he didn't fool me!"
Hermione rolled her eyes, turning back to her book with a quiet mutter of, "Honestly..."
"Once a scumbag, always a scumbag," said Ron. "Look at Snape."
"Oh, how did I know that he'd turn up in this?" said Hermione, slamming her book down again. "You just won't let anything drop Ron, whether it's Draco or Snape or Viktor Krum. They're good people, no matter what you think."
"In memory of Harry," said Neville. "I'm going to tell you both to stop fighting. So stop it. Harry wouldn't want you to argue all the time."
Ron sighed. "Fine. Fine, you all stay here. I'm going to tell Dumbledore, and when I win a thousand points for Gryffindor, you'll all see!" And he stormed out of the courtyard, kicking a snowdrift as he walked past.
Hermione tutted, opening her book again. Luna gazed after Ron with wide, slowly-blinking eyes. "How odd. A protester sign... I must write to Father about this..."
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