Part Two: Chapter One
-△⃒⃘- The Greengrass Contract -△⃒⃘-by ncronan
A/N (important, please read): Before we begin, an apology is in order. I am sorry for not updating. I had other things going on in my life and I lost motivation to continue this story. However, I am back to begin Part Two. If you haven't figured out by now, This story will be three 'parts', each part having five chapters. In previous chapters, each chapter contained about 10,000 words. I can't guarantee this same number; in fact, they might be closer to 5,000 from now on. This is because I am honestly sort of rushing to get this story over and done with so I can move on to other things. I dislike the plot up until this point, but it's too late to change it now. For your sake, I shall trudge on and get this story finished. Expect more updates. If you haven't noticed, I've deleted all my other stories but this one, and have begun a new one. I did this because too many projects were trying to pop up in my mind and I am forcing myself to finish this story first. Now, if you get bored after reading this chapter and are a fan of the PJO fandom, please check out my other story when you have the time; it's extremely thought-out and if you're a fan of poetry then I think you'll love it: It's called Privileged Victim. Sorry for wasting a bunch of the word count on this but I feel like I had to say something. Enjoy the chapter, and expect an update every two weeks, at most.
Part IIChapter One: The Hint
Harry found how easily fellow students' curiosities were satiated when one gave them a reasonable explanation from a popular (not necessarily credible) source.
Viktor, after hearing the story and with the help of his friends, was able to convince most of the school that Harry had merely called the Slytherin Ice Queen his fiancé due to his high off of the interesting concoction of Ron's. Only two hours after the incident, Harry's classes continued as normal; or rather, as normal as they were on the average day. That is, until Potion's class came upon the end of the day.
After brewing a particularly nice-smelling mixture of substances left much of the class in a relatively positive mood; this was made especially possible by that fact that their professor spent the entire period without saying a single negative word. Snape merely scribbled simple instructions onto a blackboard, laid out the ingredients and sat at his desk, staring off at the back wall of the dungeon room, only occasionally leaving his spot when one of his pupils set off a particularly bad reaction from his/her concoction; and even in those instances, he merely quietly told them what they did wrong and how to correct it.
The mixture of Slytherins and Gryffindors in this class were, to say the least, shocked. While Draco had been extremely quiet in his taunts and mockeries of Harry, he would never turn down a show like Potions in which his nemesis was sure to get taken down by his Head of House. However, he was disappointed especially when, at the end of class, Snape walked about at the various brews and quietly praised Potter of all people for having a well brewed, "if slightly diluted" potion.
The Gryffindors were utterly shocked in Snape's lack of docking points. They didn't even engage in banter on the way out of the classroom with the Slytherins; nor did they in turn. The only noises that were made were coming from Ron's mouth; complaints of his 'unfair' detention and aching head. Having been in this shock since the beginning of class, almost no one noticed that Snape ordered Harry to stay for a few moments before his detention with McGonagall.
Snape lounged in his chair at the back of the classroom as Harry approached him indifferently and respectfully, his hands behind his back, any trace whatsoever of previous angst gone from his demeanor. Snape, in turn, studied the boy with calculating but not cruel eyes.
"What is it that I can do for you, sir?" Harry asked. He himself sensed that this meeting had little to do with his schoolwork, and he was right. Snape said nothing for several moments before leaning forward and waving his hand, the door closing as he did so.
"We have much to discuss, Mr. Potter. Please sit down. Do you have the penseive?" Snape said, placing his head in his hands and slicking back his hair. Harry did so, wondering about Snape's extremely casual and relaxed actions.
"Yes, sir," Harry said and handed him the strange device, "but my detention -"
"Yes, yes, I've informed Minerva already of this meeting. You will serve it tomorrow night." He said as he pocketed the penseive.
Harry nodded and waited patiently as Snape formulated words in his mind. His Potions professor's behavior confused him greatly.
"Mr. Potter," he said, "I would like to apologize from the way I have treated you in the past. I see now the fault in my actions; you do not know much of the way your father and his friends treated me many years ago. What you learned last year was only half of it. For some reason, I decided from the moment you came in this room to take out my old frustration and anger on you. I only now see the wrong in it."
"Forgive me, sir, but what is it that triggered this realization?" Harry asked. Snape's beady eyes burrowed into his green as the man answered.
"The fact that you did not enter yourself into the Goblet is part of it. After some investigation, Albus found that you were telling the truth."
"How did he find out?"
"Albus is a skilled Legilimens. This means he has the ability to quite simply read people's minds. However, the fact that you did not notice that he did whilst you threatened him at shirt-collar suggests that he merely skimmed over the surface of your emotions in the trophy room, and found that your anger really did stem from the frustration of telling the truth and not being believed."
"Sir, there must be a reverse to these Legilimens. In magical theory is there not always a counter-maneuver?"
"There is, Mr. Potter, and that is the main reason for our meeting today. Because you have been found to not put your name in the Goblet, there is most likely an adversary of yours in this school who seeks to put you in immediate danger."
"But, sir, how will this counter to Legilimency help defend me from this threat?"
Snape looked down at his hands before casting a wandless spell that seemed to create an invisible bubble around them, but instead of distorting their surroundings it distorted the sounds they made.
"We must not be heard by anyone or anything in the conversation we are about to have. Namely, Albus."
Harry knit his eyebrows in confusion as Snape leaned forward and talked quickly, clearly and quietly.
"Albus has manipulated your life since before you were born. I'm sure you remember your marriage contract as a large piece of evidence, but he's guilty of many other felonies concerning you as well. However, you are very aware of his biggest mistake; leaving you with your muggle relatives."
Harry's body suddenly went a little tense, and he went into defensive mode. "If you're just going to interrogate me about that -"
"I assure you, I won't." Snape said, calmly. "I'm sure you've heard this from many people, but you must know that I understand."
Harry looked up and studied the apologetic man before him. All previous angst was gone from his dark eyes. In its place was a curious look of sympathy and an overwhelming quality of a deep understanding.
"Thank you, sir." Harry said, simply. Snape nodded.
"You were correct in your assumption that there is a reverse, or counter to this art. It is called Occlumency. This art develops the correct technique to effectively defend one's thoughts and emotions from an outside source."
"The way you worded that suggests that isn't the only outcome to practicing Occlumency." Harry observed, the new word strange on his tongue.
"That is correct. Along with the benefits of shielding one's mind, it, with enough practice, can lead to the total mastery of your own mind; to control any thought or emotion perfectly."
Harry perked up, recalling past instances in which this skill would be very useful. "Where can I learn, sir?"
"The arts of Legilimency and Occlumency are banned by the Ministry to be put into text. It is often passed down by word of mouth, especially from parents to their children."
Harry nodded his understanding and looked Snape in the eye. "Are you to teach me, sir?"
Snape smiled grimly. "Yes. Beyond the Headmaster's searching gaze."
The next morning, Harry and the newfound Fitness Club entered the Great Hall and sat at the end of the Gryffindor table, chatting animatedly. Ronald sat at the end of the table with a bump on his temple and bandaged hands. For a moment, Harry felt sympathy for the redhead, as his detention couldn't have been enjoyable. This sympathy disappeared as the boy noticed Fleur take her seat; as his gaze wasn't set on the most respectful of areas.
Harry snorted and sat next to Viktor, but was surprised when someone set her hand on the table next to his plate and leaned into his ear. Although he hadn't seen her, Harry instinctively knew who it was as her breath tickled his ear and sent shivers down his spine.
"9:00. Behind Hagrid's cabin." Daphne said, quietly and quickly before moving on to her table. Harry's friends all shared strange looks before shrugging and eating. Harry did not finish food, selecting instead to look out into the swirling snow outside, pondering his betrothed was planning.
The day went by in a blur due to its similarity to previous days, as well as Harry's distraction. In every class, he could be seen robotically doing his assignment, but with a vacant look on his face. His friends said nothing, although they all shared the same concern for him.
Harry himself was in deep thought, particularly about a certain Slytherin and her plans, presumably taking place in the Forbidden Forest. Unfortunately, all of his thinking did not accomplish anything. Harry only found himself coming back to thinking about Daphne, and only her. Her long hair, small nose and sharp eyes . . .
"Mr. Potter. Mr. Potter. Potter."
Harry jerked awake, his knee hitting the wooden desk with a sharp *crack!*. Harry groaned and rubbed his eyes and knee with separate hands as his Head of House sighed, in exasperation and some sympathy.
"Potter. It's time for your detention."
Harry obediently stood and looked around, only to find that he was already in his professor's classroom. He yawned quietly as McGonagall up from her chair.
"You'll be reorganizing the books on my shelf over there. It's quite simple; shouldn't take you more than an hour." She said, before walking around her desk and going to her tired student. She rested a hand on his shoulder.
"I can trust you to do this without running off, can't I, Harry?" McGonagall said, looking into his eyes.
Harry struggled to wipe the sleep out of his features. "Of course, Professor. You'll find that your books shall be stacked very well."
She smiled, this time her features filled with sympathy. "Get some sleep when you're done, Potter. I'm guessing that you've got several things to worry about. Just sleep on it."
Harry nodded. "Yes, of course. Thank you, Professor."
The witch left the room, presumably to a staff meeting, leaving Harry to look at the shelf and sigh at the hundreds of books strewn about it. He quickly went to work, rolling up his sleeves and picking up the first book.
His teacher had been right in saying that the task before him was simple. The repetitive motion of checking the title and putting it in an alphabetically arranged stack allowed his mind to wander. The silence and rhythmic thud of the books almost seemed to encourage him.
Harry decided that, for the time being, he was done pondering who his greatest enemy was as, at the moment, it was evidently whomever had slipped his name into the Goblet. So he set his sights to other things, and of course the marriage contract crossed his mind. More specifically, Daphne Greengrass crossed his mind.
She was a complete mystery. A wild card in the board game that was Harry's life. The strangest aspect of the Slytherin was her personality change; the switch from an Ice Queen to everyone at school to regular Daphne to Harry. Obviously, the term 'Ice Queen' was well-deserved. To everyone else, she was unapproachable. A beautiful girl with a frosty demeanor. But the fact that she was in Slytherin caused the boys in Harry's dorm to not fantasize about her as they did with the upper-class Gryffindors; they saw her as something separate and undateable.
Harry very much felt himself drawn to her for an inexplicable reason. Perhaps it was her level head in all situations, or her beauty. He could not say; all he knew was that there were worse people to be bonded to in a magical contract. He hoped that in the future he would make Daphne reveal more and more of herself, because he felt he'd only glimpsed into the complex personality of his betrothed.
Consumed by such thoughts, Harry's detention went by in a flash. In a short while, he was being ushered out of the classroom at half-past eight, and so he rushed up to the Gryffindor dormitory to change and grab his invisibility cloak. The boys that lived with him were suspicious, but they kept quiet as they had since Harry had exploded at Ron and the Gryffindor house in general. He left the common room and the second he'd entered the halls he threw his cloak on and snuck to the lower levels of the castle.
Although he'd become used to sneaking around Hogwarts at night, he reflected on the creepiness of the castle as he descended several flights of stairs. At night, only the orange glow of torchlight lit the dark walls, he found himself feeling somewhat uncomfortable with being alone. But he shook the feeling off quickly. He hoped that the invisibility cloak would do its job and keep him out of sight.
Because it was not quite curfew, Harry was forced to maneuver around the occasional student (usually a first year who was lost, looking for his or her common room), but he eventually made it out onto the grounds. The moment he exited the corridors, he breathed deeply and sighed as the cool night air rushed in. The night was on the colder side, and cold dew had formed on the grass beneath his feet. He soon found that his hands were growing cold, and now he was glad that he'd worn jeans and a sweatshirt to keep out the cold.
He descended the hill to Hagrid's cabin, keeping in mind that he'd have to be extra careful, for the half-giant's dog, Fang, would no doubt raise the alarm at a possible intruder. The small hut had lights on inside, and Harry swore that he could hear the groundskeeper singing to himself as he made himself tea.
Harry stayed to the shadows as much as he could, as he knew the light from the moon could give away his position. He swung around the backside of Hagrid's cabin and sure enough, Daphne Greengrass sat upon a crate, reading a book with the light from Hagrid's window. Harry smirked and decided that now was a good time to play a little trick.
Creeping up silently, Harry slowly sat himself right next to her, the box creaking slightly but Daphne not noticing. Before he revealed himself, Harry took a moment to think about all of the possibilities and things he could do and explore with the cloak; most of them quite naughty things that he immediately told himself to forget. He couldn't do those things to a girl.
But as Daphne's body rose and fall as she breathed, Harry couldn't help but feel a tingle up his spine at how close he was to her. Deciding it was time, Harry flipped off the hood and leaned into her ear.
"Naughty Daphne, out after dark." Harry whispered, his breath forming into mist in the cool air. Daphne jumped and promptly fell off the crate, landing on her behind in the damp grass as Harry chuckled quietly. Daphne's face was one of total surprise, and then anger. She opened her mouth to yell at him before she remembered where she was; instead, she stood quietly and walked up to him before punching him in the gut.
As Harry doubled over a bit, not too affected, Daphne shivered, but not just from the cold. When she'd felt his warm breath against her ear and figured out it was Harry, her body had tingled from the warmth of his breath. Glaring, Daphne grabbed his hand and led him into the forest.
After around thirty seconds of walking, Daphne slapped Harry's shoulder, who had started laughing again. "Damn you, Potter! You scared the crap out of me!"
Harry laughed some more. "Oh, but it was worth it! The look on your face!"
Daphne tried to force herself to keep on her scowl but couldn't, a smile breaking through. With a start, she realized what had just happened. She had always had full control over her expression; this was the first time anyone had forced her to smile or laugh. Daphne shivered again, wondering what affects Potter could be having on her.
"Damn you. This is not the proper way to start out a date." Daphne said, putting on her scowl. Harry smiled broadly at her, whipping off his cloak.
"That's true. Here -" Harry pulled her in to a hug. Her cold face touched his warm neck and though she was tense at first from the unexpected hug, she relaxed and hugged back slightly. Against her will, blood rushed to her face and Harry let her go.
"Now, what plans do you have for me?" Harry asked of her. She turned and began walking into the forest.
"I heard from some of the Slytherins that there was something in the forest to do with the First Task. And I figured we would have some privacy here." Daphne explained, Harry walking quickly to catch up with her.
"Why would we need privacy?" Harry asked slowly, a smile on his lips. Daphne turned and raised an eyebrow.
"Not for what you're thinking, Potter. Slow down a bit." Daphne said dryly before continuing on her way.
Harry followed a few steps behind her, enjoying the banter they shared. Ahead of him, Daphne's brain was going into overdrive, thinking a million things at once. She realized that it was very awkward of her to walk ahead of him, alone, and she struggled to figure out a way to fix that. So she stopped suddenly and extended her arm behind her. Harry stopped too, and looked at her arm suspiciously.
Daphne looked back at him with the dame dry look. "Well, Potter? Aren't you going to do something?"
Harry recovered and walked up next to her, offering his arm. Daphne, in response, held his arms with both her hands and hugged it to her body, if a bit awkwardly. She intertwined her fingers with his, and they continued their walk.
An awkward silence prevailed before Harry broke the ice. "This is a bit awkward, innit?"
Daphne looked up towards him. "How so?"
Harry shrugged slightly. "Well, you never really seemed like the dating type. Someone who wanted to do dating-things."
"What do you mean by 'dating-things'?" Daphne asked, guiding him slightly to his left. Harry followed her guidance.
"Well, you know. Hand-holding. Hugging." Harry said awkwardly. Daphne snorted.
"If those two things are the only things you think of when you want to date someone, I guess I'm in for a rough ride." Daphne said sarcastically, but not rudely. Harry blushed a crimson.
"Well, not just that. There are other things too." He stammered. Daphne saw the opportunity to make him uncomfortable and took his ruthlessly.
"Like what, Potter?" Daphne asked. Harry's face turned a deeper shade of red when he thought of the other possibilities and he stayed quiet.
Daphne rolled her eyes visibly. "Oh, please. I don't see why you're blushing when everyone has seen you snog Angelina."
There was a very, very awkward pause as Harry stayed silent and Daphne wondered why she'd said that. While she was over the fact that Harry had dated her (even if it was only for a few days), she was still somewhat bitter about the fact that they'd kissed and gone that far even though Harry knew he was in a contract with her.
"I'm sorry about that." Harry said quietly, and seriously. Daphne looked up at him to see him wearing a very guilty and solemn expression. "I've never dated anyone before, and hadn't even kissed anyone before Angelina. When I found out about the contract, I was so angry in part because I knew I'd never get the chance to date a few girls and fall in love a few times. I'm really sorry."
Daphne kept quiet. She hadn't known that he hadn't dated anyone before Angelina, and now that he confessed his feelings she understood him to a better degree, and for some reason she felt warmth in her body just from the fact that Harry had shared something with her.
"You're forgiven, Harry." Daphne said. "I understand what you were feeling."
Suddenly, Harry froze in his tracks, and Daphne stopped in response, looking up at him again. "What?"
Harry looked down at her with a goofy smile on his face. "You called me Harry."
Daphne sighed, realizing that she had but not willing to give up her ground. "That's your name, isn't it?"
Harry chuckled and kept walking. "Not according to you. You like to call me Potter. Or sometimes dunderhead."
"Yeah, well. You can't say those don't apply to you too." Daphne replied. Harry nodded, conceding her point.
"Good point. The problem was that I could never really call you Greengrass in a menacing way. It just doesn't sound right. Shut up, Greengrass!" Harry said the last phrase with an angry tone, and then sighed and shook his head. "It just doesn't have the same feeling."
Daphne laughed and happiness flared in Harry's chest at this achievement. Her laugh was once again crisp, clear and beautiful, just as he'd remembered it. His body swelled with pride.
"That's true. I guess I'll call you Harry from now on, since you seem to be at a disadvantage." Daphne said. Harry smiled.
"I think I like that. Anyways, where are we even going?"
Daphne smirked. "You'll see soon enough."
They walked in silence for a few moments before Daphne shivered, this time purely from the cold. She was only wearing skinny jeans and a windbreaker. Harry quickly unentangled himself from her and took off his green sweatshirt. Before she could ask what he was doing, he was already slipping it on over Daphne's head.
"Harry! What are you doing?" She protested. Harry forced it down over here, her arms trapped to her sides and she glared at him.
"You've messed up my hair. Plus, I'm not even cold." She said, glaring. Harry, on impulse, touched her face gently with his hand. Her cheek was soft and cold, and they both shivered simultaneously.
"You're cold. Deal with it, Daphne." Harry said as Daphne struggled to put her arms through the holes. Once she'd done so, she found that it was several sizes larger than her size, and that the inside was still toasty warm from his body heat. She sighed, and hugged her arms around herself, forgetting that Harry was there and just enjoying the warmth around her.
"Enjoying yourself, there?" Harry asked, a huge smirk on his face. Daphne looked up at him indignantly.
"No. Not at all." She said, letting her arms down to her sides. The sweatshirt sleeves extended several inches past her fingers, and Harry chuckled at her disheveled hair and small body in a large sweatshirt.
"You look great. Now, let's continue." Harry said, offering her his arms once again. Daphne took it only to realize that he was wearing a thin long-sleeve shirt as his only protection against the cold.
"You'll be freezing soon." Daphne said, but Harry shook his head.
"It's too late. The sweatshirt is yours. You need it more than me, anyways." Harry said firmly. Daphne sighed, but did not argue, because in truth she enjoyed the warmth of the clothing.
"Fine. But you owe me one." Daphne said. Harry laughed as they intertwined fingers again.
"I give you my clothes and now I owe you one. This is a cruel world.' Harry said.
"Oh, be quiet, Harry." Daphne said, only to find that she'd put a lot of affection in her words. She closed her eyes and rested her head against Harry's arm. Harry looked down at her head of hair and smiled.
"Looks like you're a bit tired. We still have a whole date to get through." He chided. Daphne chuckled into his arm.
"Sure, sure. We'll be there in a -" With that, there was an ear-splitting roar as well as a burst of red light from a clearing ahead of them. The two ducked down into a crouch quickly before creeping forward to see what was there.
In the middle of the clearing, there were four large cages, each one containing their own dragons, who were in turn spewing fire from their gaping mouths. Each dragon's cage was surrounded by several wizards and witches, who all seemed to be attempting to calm them down as Harry and Daphne looked on in awe.
"Why are they here?" Harry whispered to Daphne, throwing the invisibility cloak over them. She shook her head.
"I don't know. I think it's for the First Task." Daphne said nervously. She touched his arm. "If they are, you better learn how to handle dragons before the task comes."
Harry nodded in agreement, but their date was ended when they heard a half-giant headed their way. They both began to stalk away as Hagrid and Madame Maxine walked past them, their massive figures towering over them as they passed. The couple both tried to conceal the smirks the had when they saw the odd couple, and opted to wait to talk until they were back at Hagrid's cabin, where Harry promptly began laughing.
"Hagrid and Madame Maxine! Who would've guessed?" He said, voice filled worth mirth. Daphne giggled.
"Zey are both big-boned!" She said in a French accent, and Harry laughed harder with her for a full minute before they both calmed down and leaned against Hagrid's hut. Harry looked at her in the moonlight and smiled.
"Thanks for making this a good time, and for giving me a hint about the First Task, Daphne." Harry said gratefully. Daphne smiled up shyly at him.
"You're welcome, Harry. I had fun too." But her smile disappeared quickly, and she suddenly hugged him. Harry returned the hug after a moment's hesitation.
"Just be safe. Please." Daphne said quietly into his chest. Harry nodded.
"I'll try." He said simply, and she withdrew before straightening up and kissing him on the cheek, Harry's face reddening rapidly.
"Goodnight, Harry." She said, before she began to walk up to the castle. Harry touched his own cheek.
"Goodnight, Daphne." He said quietly as she left. As she left and Harry went to follow her path back into the school, all he could think about was the feeling of her lips on his cheek and her body against his.
Harry hadn't talked much to any of his friends during their morning run the next day. No one had joined the newfound club as of yet, but Harry suspected that at least a few more people would join before the end of the year. He waited until they'd all sat down for breakfast when he said quietly, "The First Task will involve a dragon for each of us. I think we each have to get past one."
Viktor choked on his food and Angelina paled while Fleur shivered in fright. Viktor shook his head, swallowing. "Are you sure?"
Harry nodded. "Positive. Why else would there be four dragons being kept in the middle of the Forbidden Forest?"
They all processed his words. Angelina shook in fright. "How are we supposed to defeat a dragon?"
Harry shrugged. "I don't think we have to kill or defeat it; that's difficult, even for trained professionals. If I had to guess, we just have to get around one."
They all wondered how they would manage to do that before Fleur said, "But why were you in ze Forbidden Forest, 'Arry?"
Harry blushed profusely. "Just decided to take a walk."
Viktor chuckled. "A walk normally doesn't involve your betrothed, does it?"
Harry glared at him. "How did you know?"
"I didn't, until you just confirmed it for me." Viktor said, casually eating his breakfast. The two girls giggled at them as Harry huffed.
"Whatever." He said, eating his meal. The others, temporarily forgetting about the dragons, all wondered who Harry's betrothed could possibly be, but they were stopped when Harry said, "I think we have to work together in this tournament if we want to make it out alive. We should meet up during our spare time and work on spells that are effective against dragons."
Angelina agreed. "I don't care about winning, I just don't want to die."
The others agreed, and began to organize what their plans would be for training.
The next month or so was filled with homework, studying for classes and training for the First Task. The training sessions were always light-hearted between the four champions, where they looked into spells especially made to work against dragons. They practiced and practiced as hard as they could and used all of their free time on it. Thankfully for Harry and Viktor, there was a long break from international Quidditch, and the date of the inter-house quidditch tournament was not set yet, so they had a long time to work on the First Task. Harry spoke with Daphne shortly on a number of occasions, but they both agreed for the sake of their grades and his training, they would have to wait to go on another date until after the First Task. Snape also said that his Occlumency sessions would begin after the event. Professor Moody was far more subdued in his DADA classes, presumably from experiencing backlash from McGonagall for having such intense lessons. By the time the First Task was close, the champions felt almost ready to face their respective dragons, although they still did not know exactly what they were meant to do. But just as Angelina had said, all they wanted was to make it through the tournament alive. Something Harry hoped they would all be able to do.