The following is all Harmony... up to a point, in which I cut the story off. And though this story is centered on a certain Professor, there were choice scenes in which I had to add to my little one-shot collection on Portkey. Please, enjoy.
"Mr. Potter? A word, please."
The room practically paused as one. They seemed dumbfounded for a moment. Who knew that Hogwarts' professors were aware of the latest gossip, such as who was on a list?
Hermione smirked at Harry, who practically groaned.
For the first time in weeks, the couple found themselves attending class, if only for that sense of normalcy they had talked about having for a while, but never quite got until now. Harry had finally coaxed Hermione out of her dorm room the next morning - spending the night in his own dorm the previous night - and the two spent the day sitting next to each other in class. For the first time in a very long time, they felt like two normal students that only had exams to worry about - except they didn't really have to take any exams.
There really were a lot of perks when it came to vanquishing a Dark Lord, and they honestly tried to take advantage of as many as they could, without going overboard.
The two began gathering their books slowly. The class filed out, some giving Harry painful, sorrowful looks. He knew that while they probably were genuinely sorry for him, they only wanted to be a fly on the wall in this inevitable confrontation. Of course, Draco was seething at him as he left the dungeon classroom. He had every right to be angry, and Harry had every right to grin cheekily at him. Sure, he felt nothing but nervous, but Draco didn't have to know that.
Hermione patted Harry's arm meaningfully and smiled in encouragement. He glanced at her and pouted.
While Harry did spend the night in his dorm, he had returned to her dorm quite early. They had spent most of dawn contemplating what to do at that point. While Hermione's fears were mostly put to rest, she was still stubborn on the account that more people needed to get to know the real Harry.
And then he told her the full details of what happened with Padma, and then Katie.
"The moment I come to my senses, you start building a Harem," Hermione laughed, a pure, bright laugh that Harry really needed to hear at that moment. "Harry- I'm not mad. I told you to do this. I'm not even mad at myself. Whatever happens with this, will happen. I don't suggest you tell Padma or Katie what transpired last night, but if you decide that you can trust them enough, tell Katie first that I came onto you. With Padma, I'll be there, without the Cloak, later in your date. We'll see how comfortable she is around the two of us."
"And if she stays, you're going to fight her to the death?" Harry asked skeptically.
"I'm a lover, Harry. Not a fighter."
"Says the war veteran." Harry smirked, before a rather dirty thought entered his mind. "So... you're going to love her to death?"
Hermione smirked wryly. "Anyone who sees past the boy-who-lived deserves, at the least, my friendship. Could I possibly entertain myself with the thoughts of sharing you? Yes. You're the head of two houses, Harry - one day you were going to have to face facts. I would have considered this my punishment, but it's really not. I told you to meet other girls, and you finally are. I'm proud of you, Harry. And if they see you for you, and they like what they see, well, it could open my eyes to some things."
"This has to be a trap," Harry muttered, falling on Lavender's bed to sit. "No way you're actually serious about all of this!"
Hermione was still, chewing on her bottom lip, a clear sign of nervousness. Harry waited patiently for her reply. "I... I've thought a lot about it, actually. At first, I thought I was just jumping to crazy conclusions. But it made so much sense." She paused, and let out a shaky breath. "I already said it - it took a troll for us to be friends. And if that night never happened... I don't want to speak ill of him, because I shouldn't, but I don't regret one moment of that night." She stared intensely at her twiddling thumbs. "Not one moment," she repeated to herself. "If anything different happened, everything would be different. You became my friend, and I will always be thankful for that. But... if that night never happened, we would have never been as close as we are now... and frankly, I don't think I would have wanted to ever gotten to know you. But not for the reasons you think.
"Being such a bookworm, I probably would have believed the books about you over you yourself. I've never read a book that was solely about you, so I could never have an opinion of you. If we had never become as close, or if certain situations hadn't led me to that bathroom that night, I would have eventually read books about you. And I would have judged you. And that thought sickens me.
"In my `what-if' scenario," she continued, more to herself than to him, "I would have only associated with Neville more as a fellow classmate than an actual friend. You met him first, and neither of us are outgoing people. I never would have talked to Luna. You know how that interaction would have gone. I would have insulted her without even knowing it.
"I've told you this before... I only had my books before Hogwarts. They were my most sincerely my best and only friends, and until you, I thought they were all I ever needed. I don't have any doubt that I'd be just like that today. But...Parvati and Lavender are... I really don't know how to tell you this..."
"Your friends?" Harry guessed, scrunching his eyebrows.
"Sometimes," Hermione muttered to herself. "When they're not annoying me. But... they themselves are... close friends."
"Of course they are," Harry said slowly. "They're never apart."
"I mean, `close', Harry. Dumbledore and Grindelwald close."
Harry made a face. "Oh. Terrible analogy. Good for them, I suppose. So they're what? Dating?"
Hermione shook her head. "While they say that they aren't, they've never dated anyone else. They started dating secretly beginning of last year, and since I'm their dorm mate, they decided to tell me first, to help them hide their secret. Marissa and Fay knows as well. They've probably been sleeping over in the Shrieking Shack the entire night. I told them it was a good place to... scream."
Harry cocked their head to the side. "A year and a half-long secret? Hidden by the gossip queens of Hogwarts? Figures." Harry tilted his head again, as if visually trying to see the point of this conversation from all angles. "So how does this relate to...? Oh." He was silent for a moment. "Wow."
Her cheeks burned with shame. "No funny ideas, Harry. Let me explain first... though you're not far from the truth. Since it's not a secret in this dorm, they sometimes don't bother with Silencing Charms. Apparently, I was the only one that never complained about the noise. Last year, they made me an offer." She still couldn't muster enough strength to look up at him. "If I wasn't... I mean, if I never knew you... you see, I doubt I'd be their best friend in any reality... but I can still appreciate..."
"That they're very attractive," Harry smirked. "I'm beginning to regret our friendship, Hermione, if this was a possibility for you."
The brunette witch stammered for a moment, finally looking up. "Harry! I... well, I'm not saying that I would have accepted their offer to - to join them! I'm saying that it was a possibility!"
Harry shifted minutely on the bed. The same bed that Lavender and Parvati...
He quickly got up and moved over to Hermione's bed, his cheeks flushed. "Hermione, the fact that you're considering it in this reality means that you would have accepted."
"That's not the point," Hermione said quickly. "Or maybe it is. I don't know. But what I do know is I've never been... attracted to anyone. Maybe it was the fact that I've always been with you, and I've never paid attention to anyone else, but I've never really had fantasies about anyone but you since I hit puberty when I was thirteen." She felt Harry grab her hand, encouraging her to continue. She needed it. "But after that day, I - I had a few more things to th-think about."
He squeezed her hand. "Perfectly understandable. So, you're telling me that you have some fantasies that you've never explored, and you`re thinking about it again, now that you have the perfect opportunity?"
Hermione expelled her breath, and nodded. "You're smarter than I give you credit for, Harry."
"You're more conservative than I give you credit for," Harry muttered. She looked up at him in surprise. "Hermione, you're just as aware as I am that I was a very daft bloke when it came to romance and girls, at least until the beginning of fourth year. I approached you, and you turned me down. So why not take the offer from Parvati and Lavender?"
Hermione grimaced at the mention of her rejection of Harry. There was no malice in his voice, and that just made it hurt all the more for her. "I don't know - punishing myself, maybe? Maybe I was holding up some false hope that you didn't give a damn what I thought, break down the door, and take me - "
She gasped and covered her mouth. Harry's jaw went slack. After a few seconds, his mouth started working again.
"Well, that makes a lot of sense. You once had a fierce love for authority. Dominance, you might say." He slowly pulled Hermione's hand away from her mouth and tenderly kissed the knuckle. "The temptation was there, certainly. But in the end, I decided I could wait it out. And it paid off. Not the way that you expected, but..."
"Nice to see you're making jokes at my misery," she commented in a light tone, her face still a pinkish hue.
"Of course not, `Mione. I'm just berating you for not shagging those two senseless."
Hermione abruptly stood up, and dragged Harry along with her. "And now that the same opportunity arose for you, what are you going to do now?"
He looked particularly nervous to answer, and he had a passing thought that maybe he should summon back his armor. "Erm... make the right decision?"
Hermione smiled sweetly. "And what would the right decision be, Harry?"
"I should... ask you to make the decision?"
She laughed uproariously at his answer. When she was finally able to calm herself, she leaned up to kiss him on the cheek. "Just let it happen, Harry. Finish your list. I'm still waiting to see that crash and burn I promised you, and I've rarely been wrong."
"And if I add your name under my own name as a co-creator..." Harry drawled, smirking as Hermione swatted his shoulder.
"On the contrary; it brings a bit of legitimacy to the list a bit, don't you think? Co-written by the smartest witch of our generation?"
"You should have thought of having me co-write the list before you put me as the first name on the bloody list, Harry. Besides, I'm a bookworm; I'm not a particularly good judge on beautiful women."
"And as you have just proved, Miss Granger, it's always the quiet ones...." She blushed at his gaze and walked away, Harry catching up with her, as they went to the Great Hall for breakfast.
"I don't think you're in trouble, Harry," Hermione muttered to her best friend encouragingly, rubbing his arm. While they weren't going to publicly come out as a couple yet, they acted like the close friends they always were.
And Harry and Hermione had to admit, from an outsider viewing in, they were always quite close.
Harry nodded resolutely, and turned to the teacher in the front of the class, cleaning the papers off of her desk and into her briefcase.
"See you at lunch?" he muttered. Hermione nodded, understanding their secret message; he had just given her the option to stick around with the invisibility cloak or not.
"I had a big breakfast," she replied, and she smirked when he groaned at the implication. He was on his own.
Hermione quickly grabbed hers and Harry's books, and left the classroom; Harry watched her leave, mentally begging her to come back.
"Really, Mister Potter, I'm sure you could easily take me on by yourself," Professor Black chuckled, watching the entire exchange.
Harry looked over to her and smiled nervously. "Sure, but not easily."
She looked more than amused. "Why are you scared, Harry? Because of that list?"
He gulped. He was pretty sure, but the confirmation was still scary. "Maybe, Professor Black."
"Narcissa," she deadpanned. "Just because you think I'm angry at you, doesn't mean you get to undo months of training you to call me Narcissa. You're not going to compliment me by calling me beautiful, and immediately make me feel old."
Harry leaned back on a desk, watching her carefully. "Sorry, Cissy."
The blonde smirked. "See, if you wrote that on your list, then I'd be angry. Then I'd completely crack open that protective cup of yours, that I can only assume that you have summoned by now."
He subconsciously squeezed his legs tighter and flushed. She was the one that had recommended it, and the basilisk skin armor. "Not yet, no. I've been on edge lately. Since I started that list I've been getting way too many positive reactions, and I'm bound to run out of luck soon."
Cissy chuckled. "And you thought I'd break that streak? I should be offended."
He shrugged. "Honestly? I thought the first two would break the streak. It's getting a little scary, actually..."
"What's happened so far?" She asked curiously, sitting back on her own oak desk. "And please use details, Mr. Potter."
Harry shook his head. "Sorry; I don't kiss and tell, Professor Black."
"Kissing? Now I must hear about it!" She almost squealed, and Harry had the urge to hide his blush in his hands. Narcissa paused. "Now, if you think I'm going to continue that streak, then let me alleviate your fears now - not going to happen."
Harry laughed. "Thanks for the warning. Besides, after you threatened to hex off my bits, I don't think I'd want to let you that close."
"Like you'd turn me away if I wanted to be that close, Harry," she teased.
"It would be for the greater good. Besides, you have a reputation to keep up. Wouldn't want to get caught in a predicament with the Golden Boy, would you?"
Narcissa scoffed. "Please. I was planning on breaking the news to my son over Christmas. Poor boy still thinks the Dark Lord may come back one day." She flexed her right-hand fingers surreptitiously, showing off her new snake-skin gloves.
"So how does Nagini feel on you?" Harry asked rhetorically, grinning at her.
Narcissa looked away from the glove and focused on the wizard in front of her. "I know I'm not supposed to accept presents from students, but these are just adorable, and they feel heavenly."
"You deserve them," Harry kicked the floor as he sat on the table. "I probably would have ignored the snake altogether if you didn't find out about... well, you know."
Narcissa nodded in understanding. Those stupid Horcruxes were literally the ultimate crux for her. She was the spearhead of the group that led to the termination of all of the Horcruxes; well, the research committee. She shuddered at the thought of doing the actual tasks.
While Hermione had done the research on the vessels that had the Horcruxes, and the bits of his soul themselves, Narcissa had discovered their existence, and had done the research of their locations. She was the curse-breaker for the protections around the locations, and using that key magical signature, she was able to more easily locate where the next Horcrux was, and even where Tom was at all times. For instance, the family ring in the Gaunt house, and its unique magical signature protecting that ring, led her to the Cave on the seaside, where the fake locket was located - luckily, she was also able to check if a Horcrux was there or not - There wasn't, so she assumed correctly that it had been moved.
Still, it was truly Harry and Hermione that had done most of the work, though their close network of friends had all contributed in some way, her niece being one of them, her cousin being another.
"I wonder how Draco will take the news." Harry wondered, picturing Draco getting the worst Christmas present ever.
"The news of me being involved with Voldemort's death, or the fact that I'm flattered by my name on your list?" she smirked.
Harry shrugged innocently. "I have no qualms against him getting two presents this Christmas." He refrained from adding that he wished it was his last. Draco really hadn't been the same since after the incident with Hermione, but he was still annoying as all hell. Of course, his mother always kept him in check - she never bothered to keep that a secret, but made sure to claim that it was not proper Pureblood or Slytherin etiquette. She had done the same to the rest of his house, seeing as she was Head of Slytherin, and she was mostly successful. Harry was thankful for that, and it was one of the few reasons Harry let Draco live.
The others, however, were fair game, and she knew that. They would have their time one day.
"He deserves coal," she muttered bitterly, and Harry laughed. "He wanted to kill you today, you know; more than usual, at least. He said it out loud this time. He went to me this morning and told me the news, and he was confused at my lack of a seething rampage of a reaction. I told him I would deal with you, and if you touched him, he would be one step closer to disownment." She paused, frowning. "Harry, I know that down the road, if Draco doesn't change his ways, then I'm afraid you'll have no choice. I really tried raising him right, but his father wanted none of it - his son is his clone. I can't see a bit of me in him at all."
He nodded. "That's a good thing. When I finally do, because I doubt he's ever going change, I don't want to picture you when I do it."
She waved him away. "Picture me or don't picture me; whichever is less painful for him."
He nodded. He knew that she had just given him permission, if Draco ever stepped out of line. He almost wanted to ask how she would feel when that day came; she had said several times before that she never had much love for him, but he was still her son.
But she almost felt giddy when Hermione killed her ex-husband.
It was just after the Philosopher's Stone had `gone missing', and Professor Quirrell had escaped - Headmaster Dumbledore had been blamed for the entire incident and subsequently terminated by the Board of Governors. He had put up a fight, of course, but the decision wasn't reversed.
When Narcissa Malfoy applied to be the new Potions Mistress, Headmistress McGonagall was faced with her first big decision. While Narcissa was more than qualified, Dumbledore had made it undeniably clear that Professor Snape was to keep his job. After a bit of consideration, she decided to move Severus to his dream profession - Defense Against the Dark Arts - and ultimately gave Mrs. Malfoy the position of Potions Mistress. Since Remus had just turned down the job offer of DADA professor, she felt that she had made the right move. Dumbledore had disagreed, but the decision still stood - she was the Headmistress after all, and his suggestions only went so far.
Mrs. Malfoy had applied for the job to keep tabs on the diary that had been slipped in the youngest Weasley's bag by her husband, and had kept a close eye on her throughout the first semester. Several weeks into the semester - the night before Halloween - she carefully followed Ginny to the first floor girls' toilets. When she saw the wall open up, she carefully retreated, her job done. She would investigate the wall later, for her own studies.
She had nothing against Muggle-borns, though she did see it as unfair that there were some people that were born with magic, and could interact with both worlds flawlessly. The Pure-bloods were stuck with their own small, inept communities and were ignorant of what was out there for them to discover. The Muggle-borns and Half-bloods literally had the best of both worlds, and while she had tried to venture out to a muggle shopping mall, or even a boutique, she always felt out of place, even though she had studied their customs from their library.
Even though she had the magic, Narcissa knew that her world was somehow the more mundane.
She pulled out a water bottle and began to drink; all that sneaking around made her parched. When her bottle was half-empty, she heard a small `meow' and spotted a cat sitting in front of her, her yellow eyes piercing.
Narcissa was familiar with the patrolling cat, Mrs. Norris, and she scowled at the small animal. Filch had to be around somewhere, and that creepy bastard was just someone she didn't want to deal with. But when no one came, she calmed. Mrs. Norris stayed sitting, staring up at her. Narcissa didn't know what to do with the nosy cat, until she tried to take another sip, and saw her oval eyes follow the bottle slowly.
Feeling generous, now that her task was done, Narcissa tipped the bottle over and poured some water on the floor, making sure to look out for others. It gave her a calming effect, watching the cat lap at the water, thanking her with her yellow eyes. After watching her drink for a while, Narcissa had a devious idea. She slowly poured more water from the bottle, watching the cat back away from the growing puddle, but never losing her stride in drinking it.
She figured it that if she was nourishing Filch's cat, then he should pay her back by cleaning up the mess.
The cat meowed in appreciation and Narcissa capped the empty bottle and sauntered away, pleased with her goodwill quota for the month.
And then the cat was petrified, still drinking the water, along with Mr. Filch, who was mopping up the puddle a few feet from her, staring hard into the water. Mrs. Malfoy was left scratching her head with confusion - she knew it had something to do with the diary, but what did Ginevra do?
Obviously, that mysterious entrance somehow led her to a basilisk. That much was clear. The Dark Lord was quite fond of snakes, as he could talk to them, according to her husband. And, now that she thought about it, the girl seemed to speak in a serpentine way as she opened the wall, speaking to the sink, instead of mindless whispering that she originally thought it was. And a basilisk was one of the few animals in the world that could petrify or kill, and the puddle's reflection led to a petrifying. According to the message on the wall - "The Chamber of Secrets has been opened - Enemies of the heir, beware" written in blood, combined with Hagrid's missing chickens - it was pretty simple putting the rest of the pieces together, having attended the school when it was a two decade-old fading rumor.
But how did the Weasley girl control it? Would a basilisk really just take the commands of any person who could speak the language, or did the Dark Lord actually take over the body of the smallest Weasley? Did she just let it free? Narcissa shuddered at the thought. While the Dark Lord had prejudices, she doubted a snake would judge. She was sure each human had their own unique scent, and it probably could have been given commands out of gratitude since the girl had effectively freed the beast, it still worried her.
She considered telling the Headmistress, but immediately turned away the idea. She wasn't stupid.
The very next day, she told McGonagall that there were twenty magical creatures in recorded history that had the power to petrify, and she would get started on studying them.
The next week, she went to Minerva's office and they perused through her own research material for the Gorgon, and its magical effects. They had decided that it could not have done so, since the only way the creature could travel through the school without being noticed - pipes - was impossible for a Gorgon, as they would never use such unclean methods of travel, and while there were many secret hallways in the school, there were paintings everywhere for a reason. As it turns out, the mysterious beast, however many there were, could completely freeze the portraits like a simple muggle painting. Unfortunately for them, there was no known cure for that. They could be animated again, but they would return as a blank slate, no memories attached.
They decided to continue those secret meetings and brainstorm each animal, just in case it got any worse than Filch and his pet, and the six portraits.
Nine weeks later, when she was halfway through her weekly reports to the Headmistress, Severus confronted her. She revealed nothing - she was a Slytherin, after all - and he sneered that whatever she was up to, it would be wise not to stop it. Six weeks ago, Colin Creevey, a Gryffindor Muggle-born, had been petrified, staring through the lens of his now broken camera, all film destroyed. Two weeks previous, Justin Finch-Fletchley, a Hufflepuff Muggle-born, and Nearly-Headless Nick, the Gryffindor Ghost, were both petrified, and Severus was still very curious to see where this would lead. Narcissa now suspected that the snake knew exactly who to attack somehow, but she had already started her reveal, and it would be suspicious if she quit now. It wasn't like McGonagall could do anything, when she did find out about the basilisk. What would she do, close down the school? If she did, then she would certainly be terminated by the pureblood board of Governors, that her husband happened to be a part of, and replaced by Severus, who happened to be the new Deputy Headmaster. How he got that position, she had no idea. While she was quite enjoying her job as a professor, she wouldn't exactly mourn the loss of it as she would inevitably be let go under his command.
The next week, as she prepared to gather her notes for the Basilisk - it would be much too odd to reveal it as the very last beast - Lucius had Dobby ask her to make an appearance in the Slytherin Common room - something about their son. He was too nervous to get any information out of him. Before she could reach out to Dobby, he quickly apologized and popped away. She found it odd - her elf knew that she would rather have him apparrate her than have to walk.
And then she knew.
She quickly gathered her research material in a small bag, before throwing some green soot into her fireplace. She calmly told Minerva that it was a basilisk and that she would be there shortly, and before the Headmistress could respond, she closed the connection. She grabbed her pocket mirror before she left.
Classes were in session, so she waded through the halls quickly, using a mirror to look around each corner. She had no intention of going to McGonagall's office, which she could have done through the fireplace. She was going to stash her books by the gargoyle, and leave the school. She would have to extend her free period a little longer, unfortunately.
"Professor Malfoy?" A voice called out. Narcissa checked her compact and turned the mirror carefully, seeing no one.
"Reveal yourself," she said stiffly, and she wasn't sure if she was pleased or frustrated to see Harry Potter removing his Invisibility Cloak. "Mister Potter. Skipping class, are we?" She refrained from mentioning the illegal shawl. She shuddered to think if Draco discovered his rival had one of those. They were bloody expensive, and frankly, her son had not proved to her that he was trustworthy enough to have such a cloak.
Harry shook his head, glancing around. "Extra credit for McGonagall. Looking for the creature that's petrifying everyone."
She slowly turned around to face him, her left eyebrow arched. Harry sighed. He struggled for a moment, before looking over his shoulder, then back to her. "I hear things... voices... saying that it must kill. In the walls. Every time it's happened, there was an incident. I told Headmistress McGonagall, and she told me to alert her when I hear it again. This is the busiest hour of the week, so it's the only time when the hallways are empty."
Narcissa nodded, somewhat perplexed. "You mean to say - you're a Parselmouth."
He looked surprised for a moment, then nodded stiffly. "Yes. And you're one of the very few people in this school that knows that." He let that sink in for a moment. She knew that if that information leaked out, there would only be one obvious culprit. "It makes sense now that you say it. I only found out that what I have is a unique gift last year." His tone took a more sinister one. "Basilisks were on the short list of creatures that Hermione and I believed were responsible. But somehow, you knew exactly what's attacking the school."
Narcissa held up her hands. "Easy, Mister Potter, I'm not a suspect here. I just told the Headmistress a few minutes ago that I was heading over there to give her my notes on the beast." She held up her bag, something Professors usually didn't walk around carrying. "I have reason to believe that it may be a Basilisk, and I think you can confirm it."
"Then why are you not heading in that direction?" Harry interrogated further, stepping a bit closer. While he was only a second year, he was quite intimidating.
Why was she going in the opposite direction? Yes, she was distracted, but she knew and remembered more about this castle than anyone she had attended school with. If she had actively tried to get lost, she would know where she was.
And she knew where she was right now. She was pretty close to the Hospital Wing. And just like that, it all made sense. She was going to go kidnap her new friend - to steal her from the clutches of the monster, ensuring that the beast didn't attack her again. But Narcissa Malfoy would never say that out loud.
She thought quickly. "I'm collecting my son, of course. I believe he has Charms right now with the Ravenclaws. I'm not keeping him in the school with a Basilisk on the loose." She was lucky that Flitwick's classroom was close by as well. She had no intentions of picking up her son - Lucius wouldn't kill his heir.
"He deserves it," he muttered, clearly loud enough for her to hear, and she surprised him by chuckling.
"Your rivalry with him amuses me," She admitted, closing her mirror. "It's somewhat embarrassing to see you upstage him at every confrontation, yet he approaches you as if he's your equal rival. Tell me the truth here, Mister Potter; is my Draco a mere nuisance to you?"
Harry rubbed the back of his head, but he looked far from embarrassed. "It's really not his fault. I mean, sure, if I didn't have giant beasts on my tail, I might have seen him as a threat, but he's not a Basilisk. He's just a bug that I wouldn't bother stepping on." He smirked. "Not that I'm trying to sound arrogant, of course."
Narcissa laughed. "Of course," she replied, her perception of the Golden Boy of Gryffindor breaking apart. She held the bag closer to herself, and she remembered why she was here. It was time to change that plan slightly. "Would you like to accompany me to McGonagall's office? You need a mirror with you."
Without a thought, Harry pulled out his wand and conjured a small mirror. Narcissa didn't comment on the nonverbal magic, but was impressed nevertheless. Harry stared hard at her. She seemed to know what he expected.
"I won't say a word." Narcissa promised. "Besides, if my son found out, he'd cry himself to sleep, and frankly, I don't want to go back to those days. Well, do you need an escort anyway? Buddy system and all...."
Harry nodded his appreciation. "I could use an extra set of eyes," he agreed, and they began walking to the Headmistress's office. At the first corner, Narcissa used her mirror.
"More like a shield," Mrs. Malfoy muttered, as they walked down the hallway, her in the lead. When Harry made to move in front of her, she gently put her arm in front of him. "Boy-Who-Lived or not, I'm still your professor. I'm supposed to protect you."
"I haven't felt very safe since I got to this school," Harry muttered, and before Narcissa could question him, he froze. "It's here."
"Go to McGonagall," she muttered darkly, looking around for the slightest move.
"I'm not - "
"Go, Potter," she hissed, thrusting her bag in his hands. "If I don't look directly at it, nothing will happen to me," she lied. "Bring McGonagall back here, but be wary. When I see it, I'll shout. You obviously have good ears, because I can't even hear a whisper yet. I will lead the beast elsewhere. Follow the sound of my voice when I stop screaming, and we'll all come out of this fine. Go!"
Harry paused, and against his better judgment, turned and ran the direction they were coming from, signifying that the beast was in the direction they were supposed to be going.
Narcissa let out a breath she didn't know she was holding. She knew he was a very bright kid. His grades were almost on par with his friend, the great Hermione Granger, and she had sworn that he was going to see right through her bluff, even though he had a very limited knowledge on Basilisks, other than they were large snakes that petrified with a gaze.
Well, the plan was changed slightly, yet again. It looked as if she was going to be petrified today. The Basilisk had clearly tracked her down, and it wasn't going to stop until she had left the school. She wasn't going to risk students' lives by hiding in a classroom. She was too far to double back to her chambers, and much too far from the outside. Besides, in a deserted outside, she wasn't even positive that the beast wouldn't follow her until she reached Hogsmeade. And she wasn't going to follow Potter - she, as a professor, leading him somewhere was one thing, but actually being seen helping the boy would put a death sentence on her head long after today.
She grimaced. Yes, she was going to be petrified.
But... what then? Lucius was quite plainly aware that she knew there was a basilisk behind it all. He was counting on her finding a way to get petrified instead of dying. Was he teaching her a lesson? Before, she could give less of a damn about his intent, but now... was he really that methodical? She was expecting that he wanted it to kill her. But he knew how smart she was... so what was his game? Kill her petrified body himself? Take it and hide it? If a well-respected pureblood witch was found dead or petrified in the halls, the school would close faster than she could drop.
So... yes, that made sense. Kill her, hide the body; everyone would assume that she was the heir of Slytherin, working in the shadows from this point on. It would make sense - her first cousin and sister being the infamous Sirius Black and Bellatrix Lestrange.
She heard a small whisper, and a distinct hiss, but she stood her ground. It would be unwise of her to panic now.
Narcissa grimaced. Her husband was so incredibly stupid. There was never just one route to one place in this school - hence Potter running the opposite direction to the Minerva's office - and Lucius had assumed that she was going to take the easiest route to the Slytherin Common Room, blindly trusting her dear husband to not have an unfortunate accident prepared on the way. He had no guarantee that he would be the first to find her, especially if she wasn't where she was supposed to be, now on the other side of the school. He had essentially ruined his own plans. Not only that, but he had unintentionally connected himself to this case, seeing as he was visiting the school the same day his wife was attacked, delivering a bag of information to the Headmistress on the threat to the school. He had probably visited the littlest Weasley himself and blackmailed her into ordering the Basilisk to track her scent - probably a hairbrush from her chambers or something - and thought nothing of it afterwards, his only remaining task comprising of making sure she was at the right place at the right time.
She was smarter than him. She knew that, and he struggled to accept that. But while her husband had her cornered, she would give him one last message that she was superior to him in every conceivable way - her last act of defiance to him.
She quickly pulled out her wand and compact mirror.
She scowled. It would be so easy to just cast a sonorous charm and alert the school to her imminent demise. But she knew the hell she would pay, not from her husband, but the rest of the Pureblood community. At least they couldn't attack her this way. She rolled up her sleeve and cast a charm on her arm. She grimaced in pain at the words etching itself into her once flawless arm.
She pocketed her wand and held the compact mirror in her trembling hand, still unopened. She grasped it tightly to herself, the cool metal trying to calm her burning nerves, until she banished it wordlessly.
Narcissa smiled to herself at the small victory; she had finally done wandless magic.
Harry had left only thirty seconds ago, but it felt like an eternity as she waited for her impending doom. She scratched her sweltering arm absently. She was a patient woman; she had proved that when she married Lucius. She wanted wealth and infinite materials for research, and he wanted a trophy wife that would provide him an heir. After they both got what they wanted, they left each other alone, and she was almost perfectly content with that.
And as she turned around to face an empty hallway, Narcissa just wished she could see the look on his face when he realized that she had so critically beaten him in a game that probably took weeks for him to plan, in just a few seconds.
She put the fate of what was to happen next in young Harry Potter's hands, confident that he'd find her first. For some reason, she felt no need to worry about that.
As a large snake head rounded the corner, completely silent, Narcissa smiled.
`The Queen of Slytherin - Forevermore.'
"Hello, Professor. Welcome back to the world of the living."
Narcissa slowly blinked her eyes, and saw Hermione Granger standing above her. Something went terribly wrong. Or terribly right. "How... Miss Granger? Where am I?"
"Right now, you're in a secret room, that's decided to take the form of the Slytherin Common Room, I assume, for this evening. I must say, it looks a bit drab, if not a bit pricey looking furniture...."
Ah. So terribly good, then. Her head ached with the speed of her thought process. "It's the Malfoy Manor Sitting Room," she muttered, closing her eyes again.
"That explains the Chandelier," she reasoned, and she seemed very pleased with herself - not that Narcissa could see. "Thank you for the dying message on your arm, by the way. `Ginevra's Diary.' Harry and Headmistress McGonagall have gone to collect the diary right now. Don't worry; she has no idea of your previous demise. The official story is when you were on your way to McGonagall's office, a crying Ginny ran into you and told you that she did some very bad things. I heard that your husband was visiting today, and I'm guessing that he arranged this?"
Her brain began to stop hurting, but the pieces were still being fitted together. "So... I'm alive... and I was dead?" She cracked an eye open, and Hermione nodded the affirmative. And her thoughts ended there. She was completely lost.
Hermione took pity on her. "Don't worry, I don't think anyone would have guessed how we brought you back. Didn't have to kill anyone - well, not for this, specifically, but Harry had to kill Quirrell last year for us to ultimately be here today." She held up a large, intimidating syringe. "You probably don't know what this is, but it's harmless. It helps introduce liquids into the body, usually the bloodstream. Works faster than ingestion, and as you've probably noticed, the only method of taking the liquid through death, while using a spell that artificially pumps the blood. Your heart has been beating independently for about half an hour now. My parents usually use it for Procaine - they're dentists, you see - but in this instance, it brought you back to life. We had to heal the writing on your arm, though. Fascinating spell you used, to avoid the vein and arteries."
"But... what could possibly bring me to life?" She groggily asked, blinking out the sleep in her eyes. "And how long have I been... dead?"
"Only about an hour," Hermione smiled softly at the professor. "And I think I gave you enough hints that you figured it out by now. Harry and I had managed to liquefy the Philosopher's Stone this past summer. Thank you for being our first test subject. It might be too early to say, but I think that barring any more accidents, due to the liquid flowing in your bloodstream, there is a possibility that you are immortal."
"While I may have the advantage of being forever youthful," Narcissa changed the subject to the main topic, smirking at her young friend, "I don't think I can be called one of the most beautiful in the school."
Harry almost snorted. "Really? I thought you were one of the smartest in your generation?"
Her eyebrows rose. "One of them? I had the highest scores of my Generation, only challenged by your mother. Respect is appreciated, Potter."
"Yes ma'am," Harry smirked. "Or should I say Mistress."
Narcissa shrugged. "`Mistress' will suffice, thank you. Once again, ma'am makes me feel old. Madame is okay. Occasionally I will be referred to as `The Immortal Lady Black', but only at my discretion."
"Fair enough," Harry agreed seriously. "Least I could do for saving your life."
Narcissa waved it off. "Should've thought about that before you saved my life."
The two laughed. Never in a million years, would he ever guess that a laugh so beautiful would come from the mother of Draco Malfoy. He calmed himself enough to ask, "Well, if you aren't mad at me -"
"I'm not," She said honestly.
"Then why did you ask me to stay after class? Right now you've got Hermione thinking thoughts she really shouldn't right now." She flushed.
"I didn't mean to make you two uncomfortable," she stressed, hopping off her table. "While I did keep you here to thank you, it's not like I'm going to shag your brains out in appreciation."
Harry didn't know whether to be relieved or just a bit disappointed. Granted, he was happy that her intentions were pure, as they always were, he'd come to realize years ago. But... well, she wasn't put on the list purely for her personality and smarts, though those were important factors as well.
"If anything, I'd do it because you want me to, not because of some stupid list." Harry looked up at her in shock. "It's called a Life Debt, Harry. If you ever want to finally collect that debt, and use it for that... well, I can think of a way so you won't waste it on something so... obtainable."
Harry blinked a few times. "Hermione gave you the injection, though."
Narcissa shook her head. "It doesn't matter who gave me the injection, what matters is the person who found me and supplied the Stone to begin with."
"Both of us," Harry smiled. "And you've more than repaid us, Cissy. None of this would've been possible without you."
Narcissa smiled. "So noble, Harry. It's something you really need to work on. That could be considered a weakness."
"I only show that to my friends," Harry said seriously. "You're my friend, Narcissa; don't forget that."
"And I couldn't have a better one," She said sincerely, "Hermione as well. It's good to have you two back in class, Harry. My niece has been looking for you to visit the outside. You haven't left the building in a while, have you?"
Harry shook his head. "I guess we have been rather... dormant." She saw Narcissa's devilish grin and cut her off. "Not like that! In our own dorms!"
"That's a waste," she muttered, her fantasies shattered. "The two of you still haven't figured it out yet?"
Harry was hesitant to speak.
"It took us long enough, didn't it?"
Narcissa let out a girlish squeal as Hermione appeared out of nowhere. "Miss Granger! Five points from Gryffindor!"
Hermione look amused as she absently folded the cloak. "For what? Scaring the piss out of you?"
Narcissa calmed her beating heart. She breathed deep. "Almost; if you had actually done that, there would be a hell of a lot more points taken. But, we'll just settle for you scaring me."
Hermione smiled. "Worth it."
"How many points will it take not to be worth it?" She wondered, and Hermione's smile faltered. Narcissa then recalled what she said earlier. "So you two finally did it? When's the wedding?"
Harry pretended to be very interested in the décor or the room, and Hermione glared at him for abandoning her to answer the question. He smirked. "You don't want to hear my reply, Hermione." When she was still silent, he looked back to Narcissa. "As soon as I finish my supposed conquests. Hermione's convinced that I need to shag half the school before I can enter a steady relationship."
"Harry!" she screeched, mollified at his words. "That is not what I said!"
"Well," Narcissa broke the silence after a moment, "what did you say?"
Hermione struggled to find the right words. "I- I erm... I don't know, really. I mean what with Padma and Katie so far, it really looks like Harry is finally realizing that there...I don't know how to say this."
"That there are options," Harry finished for her. Hermione didn't move. "'Mione, remember when you said I'm smarter than you give me credit for?"
Hermione nodded. When Harry said nothing, just looking at her expectantly, she was a bit lost. "What, Harry?"
Narcissa chuckled. "He doesn't want to say it out loud."
Hermione looked at her for a moment, before realization dawned. Her eyes widened. "But... I - it's true! How could you think that I'm dumber than you give me credit for?!"
Harry glared at her. "You don't think I know that I have options? Hermione, I get thousands of letters a year! I get pictures! Worn bras and panties! You wouldn't believe the things that Hedwig and the elves have had to deliver! While I'm busy spending the entire day with you that day each year, Tonks has to sift through the hundreds of animated Valentine's Day cards!"
Narcissa gave an unladylike snort. "That's why the poor girl takes the day off from her duties every Valentine like she has a hot date."
Hermione looked embarrassed. Harry continued. "Hermione, you're my best friend, and I've made it a habit to always tell you the honest truth. So here it is: while there are consequences for being Harry Potter, there are quite a few perks, and I love most of them. The fame, I could do without. The adulation, I appreciate. The fangirls? It's quite flattering, but that's something I've never taken advantage of. A part of me has always wanted to, but that's just not who I am. I don't want to be like Lockhart."
Narcissa snorted quietly. It was her honest opinion that the git got what he deserved a couple of years ago.
"I'm not daft, Hermione. I know that I'm one of the most sought after wizards in the world. I knew that when I found out how much gold I had in my vault." He stepped closer to her, and she found herself shrinking. "I don't use you as a shield - deep down, I know you think that. You are not the girl that keeps me safe from the scary ladies out there, while I deal with puberty, my safety net, the homely girl that I can always come home to when I `inevitably' take advantage of my fame and do one-night stands across Britain. Don't mistake my humility for naivety, Hermione."
Hermione's eyes were shining as Harry held her hands in his. "I can understand why you'd think so. A guy with my life - why not take advantage of it? I'd be stupid not to do so. Anyone in my situation would. Hell, maybe in some other life, I would." He paused. For a moment, Hermione thought he was truly realizing what he said, reconsidering his words. Then he spoke. "In fact, I probably would have. But then something happened. Something I could never put a finger to, until right now."
Hermione fidgeted as Harry stepped closer, her mind blank until he finished his thoughts, having no clue where he was going with this. "You're not my safety, Hermione. You're my only. The greatest perk of being Harry Potter is that I can proudly say that Hermione Granger fell for me. Every single thing I said yesterday is true. I was waiting for you. I thought it was just fourth year, but no, a part of me always was. Because I love you, Hermione."
Harry's chest felt tight as he said the words. He really wasn't feeling any better when Hermione didn't say anything. He let go of her hands carefully, and pulled her into a loose hug.
It was only a few seconds, when she responded. At first, he barely noticed when she slowly wrapped her arms around his torso. Then she pressed firmly into him, her hug turning into her patented Hermihug, her arms firmly locked around his waist, her hands indenting themselves into his back.
"You know I love you, Harry," she whispered to him. "I always will. And I know that what you're telling me is true. If you truly want me, then you've always had me." She loosened her grip, and took a good look at him. "But you're wrong. There was never a part of me that thought I was your safety net. You wouldn't do that to me, you wouldn't do that to anyone. Not intentionally. Though there were times when I thought your humility was overwhelming. That one day, you're going to realize that there is so much out there in the world, and it could've been yours, easily." When Harry was about to protest, she shook her head. "Now I know that you were always aware. And you still chose me in the end. And I love you for that. I truly do."
Narcissa softly cleared her throat, and the two remembered they weren't alone. "If I may?" She asked awkwardly, and the two nodded, embarrassed. "I'm not a psychologist, but I think I see the problem here. Hermione's a secret lesbian, and Harry's a very horny wizard." As the two was about to protest, she cut them off. "Hermione, you have Harry, and yet you want him to see what's out there. You're a smart girl, Hermione. If Harry wants you, you shut up and keep him, making sure that you improve yourself every day with the things that you do to keep him happy and satisfied. At least, that's what I'd do, if I ever had a man worth fighting for. You're his best friend, and you know how loyal he is - he'd be perfectly content with whatever you had to offer.
"You clearly like the idea of Harry having a group of girls, as opposed to just you. You said it yourself - you knew you were never a shield. You aren't afraid of him choosing someone else - you're afraid of not being involved, or even worse, him not coming back to you.
"And you, Harry! There was a reason you started this list in the first place! You're not a social person, right? You don't make friends, you run into them, or they run into you. I'm sorry, but that's just who you are, and what you're accustomed to. That list is your conversation starter! Whatever happened with Padma or Katie would never have happened if not for that list, am I right? For all I know, you probably never would have approached them again."
She paused. "Honestly, I won't judge you. What you did, was purely unintentional, but truly worthy of Slytherin. Harry Potter publicly stating who the top ten most beautiful women in his world are? Anyone can only guess what's going to happen next!" She raved, and Harry's face burned.
Hermione bit her lip. "That does make sense... Harry?" She turned to him with a purely curious expression.
"When you put it like that..." Harry muttered, and she chuckled.
Narcissa deflated. "I'm sorry, Harry. I know you didn't mean to. But you forget that you're the boy-who-lived, and a very loveable guy to boot. Women will trip over themselves trying to impress you. With this list, a very pleasurable or painful outcome should commence. One of those options is unavoidable."
The couple parted reluctantly, absorbed in their thoughts.
"So what now?" Harry asked. "So far, I have a date with Padma three days from now. I'm telling her about Hermione before we go to Hogsmeade. I won't get around that. With Katie... well, something tells me that she will take the news easier than Padma might."
Narcissa refrained from mentioning Padma's obvious heritage and the Patil family's history with Harems. Padma would tell him herself if she wanted him to know. Hermione got the queue from Narcissa, and stayed quiet.
Harry smirked. "I'm aware she's Indian, ladies. Once again - not daft. I just want her opinion on the matter, not her history's opinion. She could be arranged for someone for all I know."
The two blushed at being caught, while Hermione cleared her throat. "Yes, well... onto a somewhat less embarrassing topic... so Padma stole your first kiss?"
"I don't see how that is any less embarrassing, but yeah." He eyed her carefully. She didn't seem too upset. But, he had given her the option, once upon a time.
"And..." Hermione hesitated to ask, "Katie stole your first motor boating?"
Harry snorted. "Well, I didn't exactly make sputtering sounds when she was crushing my face with her breasts!"
Narcissa perked up at his words. "Oh? How was it?"
"Wonderful," he said unabashedly.
"So much for no kissing and telling," Narcissa chuckled, and Harry smirked devilishly.
"What? Like you're not thinking of joining the club?" He said bravely, and she stared at him seriously, seeing the challenge in his eyes.
"I could call your bluff, Harry," She whispered, crossing her arms.
Harry's eyes almost drifted to her heaving bosom, being lifted by her arms. "Yes, you could," He agreed. "And you will."
"Really?" She raised an eyebrow.
Hermione, for the life of her, couldn't find this confrontation uncomfortable yet. She stood to the side to watch what was to come next.
"You think I can't call your bluff, Harry?" Narcissa stepped forward, and Harry forced himself not to gulp. The blonde woman was no Veela, but she had an allure that affected him more than Fleur at full blast ever could. "I already promised you that I wouldn't... shall we say... surrender to you because of some stupid list."
"Then that means Cissy's got a crush," he smirked.
Narcissa laughed as she approached him. "Such a Slytherin, you are," She purred, mere feet away from him. She stopped. "Come closer, Harry. I won't do all the work. The Immortal Lady Black won't stoop that low."
Harry chuckled. "Who said anything about stooping low? I mean, I'll make sure your water bowl is the fanciest, that's for sure."
"Oh, such a rich sense of humour!" She cried, trying not to break into laughter. "Innocent little Golden Boy Harry, having the Queen of Slytherin, his most hated mortal enemy's mother on her hands and knees, drinking out of a water bowl."
Hermione subconsciously rubbed her thighs together. Harry, having glanced every-so-often to see how she was doing, raised the bar. "I hope you're not too fond of clothes or anything, Cissy. I assume the Queen of Slytherin would not like to dirty them on the floor."
"I like it when a man plans ahead," she commented with a wry smile. "So you're going to keep calling me that, now? Cissy? Like a pet?"
Harry thanked his growth spurt as his five inches above her gave him an advantage. "Well, you're not housebroken yet. I suppose it's up to Hermione if I can keep you, then."
Narcissa looked over to Hermione and winked. "So I have to talk to the Alpha, first?" She swiftly changed directions, striding gracefully to where Hermione stood, stock still.
It took a few microseconds for her to gather her wits. "Alpha?" She wondered. "Your leader?" She quickly clarified.
Harry nodded. "Your idea," he pointed out. "And one day... well, you know. I need a Mrs. Potter to have concubines."
Hermione couldn't believe her ears. "So we're really doing this?"
Narcissa, not one to state the obvious, turned back, took the last few steps to Harry, tilted his head down by his chin, and -
Part IV - http://rihaansfics.com/thelist/ - Part IV
Author's Note: You know... for a Harem story, this has a lot of talking in it. I may have to change that in the future.
So I'm not going past this point in the story for obvious reasons, this being a Harmony site and all. Still, I just HAD to share these Harmony scenes with you. The next chapter, I plan on putting in a bit of pillow-talk. Because, obviously, mindless smut goes from this point on, including a lovely scene where Harry and Hermione go at it while Cissy watches.
Please, tell me what you think of my overly ambitious story. Did I make you fall for Narcissa's character, or do you hate her more? This chapter is Narcissa-centric, but once again, the Harmony scenes were just too much to ignore, and I didn't know how to edit it down and still make sense.
Please, review. It's all I have left.Document created with wvWare/wvWare version 1.2.7