An Interesting Term
NOTE: Amy doesn't get changed back. Willow finds Rack by herself and goes to England to recover. AU from there on
NOTE: This is definitely an AU. I might have muddled up events in the canon timeline so please forgive any inconsistencies. This is after the Glory mess but before the First. There is no First. The Geeks were run of the mill demon worshippers (for power, etc). The Scoobies still hasn't forgiven Willow's actions - nearly destroying the World and hurting Dawn.
NOTE: AtS until Connor. AU from there on. Cordelia accepts demonhood. No Jasmine. AI doesn't own Wolfram and Hart.
NOTE: Post GoF. OotP didn't happen per say. Sirus is alive.
AN: I'm sorry for the too long hiatus for this fic. I've been working on a too many other fanfics and totally forgot about this one. Thank you Harry for the reviews, the pushed me to finish this fic. I've also added a bit of Dawn-Draco for those who asked.
~*~ An Interesting Term ~*~
Sixth year for Hermione and her yearmates was a shocker and a painful eye opener for quite a few individuals; especially those very comfortable with the status quo.
* ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *
Hannah Abbott glanced over at the Head Table. Her expression held a mixture of horror, shock, admiration and avid interest. She turned to her table mate.
"Do you think Professor Chase is actually going to marry Professor Snape."
Laura Madley shrugged. "I'm more interested in that cutie Connor O'Roarke."
Hannah moued with distaste. "He spends all his free time with Granger."
"Just to be polite." Susan Bones defended their housemate. "Connor's father is a good friend of Professor Rosenberg, Hermione's cousin."
"Do you think they're sleeping together?" No one was certain who spoke the question on everyone's mind.
Connor O'Roarke was a loner despite being a Hufflepuff. Despite the best efforts of several interested students Connor O'Roarke remained free from all non-Granger wiles.
"Do you think she used a potion or some sort of love charm on him?" Someone else speculated.
More scorn was heaped on the hapless student.
"Don't be silly. The teachers would have spotted it from the start. Besides do-goodie Granger would never use illegal magicks."
Susan Bones frowned.
"We don't know what the two of them do together." She pointed out logically. "We know they spend a great deal of time together but doing what? Hermione might be tutoring him for all we know."
Hannah was intrigued. "So should we try to find out?"
"Why not?" Lisa giggled thrilled at the potential adventure.
Several students joined in with suggestions ranging from tracking potions to labyrinth charms.
Susan Bones tried to insert a voice of sanity into the cheerful chaos but failed. She had often wished to feel some of the excitement that Gryffindors went through but this was insane!
~ * ~
At that moment several shivers raced down two spines.
Hermione Granger looked up and across the Great Hall and caught her lovers eye and nodded in silent comprehension. Tonight, the usual place.
* ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *
Over the next several days it turned into a school sport that spread from Hufflepuff to Gryffindor to Slytherin to Ravenclaw: Try and catch Hermione Granger and Connor O'Roarke after curfew. The Hufflepuffs and Gryffindors wanted to tease their Housemates. The Slytherins wanted blackmail material and competing Houses to loose points. The Ravenclaws were intrigued by the challenge of tracking down one of the most brilliant witches ever born and outsmarting a student who had regularly fought Dark Magicks and Evil.
Of course, the two targets in question did not see it the same way.
~ * ~
Ginny had reluctantly confided in her the newest school craze: catch Hermione Granger and Connor O'Roarke together.
"This is a blatant invasion of privacy!" She hissed between clenched teeth.
Connor was more relaxed. He was used to everyone knowing everyone else's business. In the demon hunting game hiding weakness only lead to someone dying or getting seriously injured.
He stilled realizing something else.
"Does it matter?" He asked carefully. "Are you ashamed of us?"
Hermione's breath caught. Her eyes softened. "Of course not!" She wrapped her arms about him nuzzling her face into the soft fabric of his robes. The banked blaze came to life as she wrapped one long leg around his waist and pressed small moist kisses along his collarbone. "I don't like people gossiping about my personal life." She lifted her face up. "This is not some teenage romance which lasts a few weeks and is driven by hormones. This is It. You are part of me, blood and bone, heart and soul." She smiled. "Besides, there is no way they can find out how serious we are since you are using the floo powder the Headmaster gave you to visit me."
Connor laughed. It would be fun making the other students chase them around Hogwarts, trying to catch them in the 'Act' as it were.
Hermione couldn't help but respond to the pleasure in his laugh.
Then only sounds were those of clothes rustling and the soft sounds of lovers.
~ * ~
Severus fumed as the weekly staff meeting wound down.
"Any other matters that need to be addressed?" Dumbledore asked at large.
"Yes." Everyone looked towards the Potions Master. "This is getting out of hand." He waved irritated. "I've spent the past two weeks catching students after curfew who are trying to catch Granger and O'Roarke together."
Snape frowned. "This is serious Albus. Most of the points are being deducted from students breaking the rules trying to get the drop on the two. At first it was amusing but now it's getting irritating. I do Not want to supervise detentions for such a silly reason. I have better things to do in my evenings."
"We know." Hooch murmured slyly glancing at Cordelia who refused to blush.
Everyone laughed softly.
Minerva frowned. "It is getting troublesome. I've never seen such furor over a couple in all my teaching years."
"Get Hagrid and Filch to supervise detention." Albus suggested. "They won't mind. The students will get tired of this game. Sooner or later."
"Frankly it better be sooner." Severus grumbled but he dropped the issue.
~ * ~
Albus Dumbledore turned out to be right. The lost points and tiresome detentions generated enough peer pressure to diminish most of the speculators until the blooming romance between Laura Madley and Neville Longbottom secured the interest of Hogwarts student population.
* ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *
It was breakfast in the Great Hall. Despite it being merely mid November several students were already making plans for the holidays. Inviting friends to join them at home or on trips. Discussing movies or concerts they planned on attending with Muggle friends or family.
Ronald Weasley frowned as he finished reading the letter that had just been delivered by by owl.
Harry Potter noted the dour expression on his best friend's face.
"What is it Ron?"
"Bill isn't going home for the hols."
Harry frowned. "What do you mean? Do the goblins have an important assignment for him?"
Bill Wesley worked as a curse breaker for the wizard bank Gringotts that was entirely run by goblins.
Harry frowned. "Does your mum know?" Molly Weasley was fanatical about enforcing holiday traditions and cheer.
Ron nodded. "Bill says he's going to stop by the Burrow Christmas morning."
Harry frowned. "Then where is he going to be Christmas Eve?"
"He doesn't say. Mum must know since she isn't too upset."
Both boys frowned. What would make Molly Weasley happy enough so she would not enforce Family Traditions?
Ron forced that thought away. He turned to Harry.
"Are you going to come with me to the Burrow?"
Harry nodded then frowned once more. "I was planning on staying for the Hogwarts Yule celebration but Professor Dumbledore said this year was just a simple dinner since most students and staff planned on leaving Hogwarts for the hols."
A long pause.
"Do you know what Hermione is doing for the hols?" Ron and Hermione had a huge Gryffindor style spat a few days ago and had still not made up.
They had argued about Hermione's new friend, her new boyfriend.
Harry wanted to lie and say he did not know but that would not be Gryffindor.
"She's going with Professor Chase and Professor Rosenberg."
Ron frowned then cleared. "Oh! She's going to Professor Rosenberg's house then? To Sunnydale?"
Harry shook his head. "They're going to LA. To see Professor Chase's old employer." Ron's face darkened. "To see Connor's father."
Ronald Weasley blew up.
~ * ~
Two tables away Hermione ignored the explosion at the Gryffindor table. Determinedly she turned to Luna and continued speaking.
"Luna, do you have any special plans for Christmas?"
Luna Lovegood blinked and shook her head. "Daddy has a special trip he has to take and I can't go with him because it's hush-hush. He'll probably ask Mrs Weasley to keep an eye on me."
Hermione glanced at Connor and nudged him with an elbow.
The teen started before speaking. "Luna, do you want to spend the holidays with us in LA? There is lots of room in the Hyperion and dad won't mind. Cordelia will be happy to have more fun people over for the holidays as well."
Luna blinked. "Fun?" she squeaked.
"Yeah. You don't take everything so serious and that's a good thing to have around. If everyone was serious we'd all go nuts."
Hermione made a face. "He's right. It's one reason I really appreciated having Ron and Harry around. They're rarely serious about studies and sometimes that is a good thing."
Luna nodded solemnly. "Thank you. I'll have to owl Daddy but I don't think he'll say no. In fact he'll probably ask me to write a few articles on my experiences."
Connor nodded. "That's cool. Wes will probably want to read them before you publish. Is that okay?"
Luna shook her head. "No, that sounds fine."
~ * ~
Cordelia watched and listened as the students discussed their Christmas plans. Everyone was eagerly anticipating the holidays even though the term would not be ending for another month. All but one particular platinum blonde Slytherin.
Oh he was putting on a good face but Cordelia was good at seeing through masks. She'd seen plenty in the mirror during her teen years. She turned to the wizard sitting next to her.
"Does Draco have any plans for Christmas? I know Narcissa is still in St Mungos."
Severus frowned slightly. "He plans on spending the holidays at Malfoy Manor."
Cordelia frowned. "No. He's coming with us."
Severus raised a brow. "Oh really?"
"And don't pretend that it doesn't bothers you. Draco will be spending the holidays with us in LA." Gold flecked brown eyes met black directly. "He's family."
And was pleased when Severus nodded. "I'll speak to Draco. And if he refuses..." He trailed off.
"Bring him to me." Cordelia's expression was resolute. "I'll change his mind.
She ignored her fiance's amusement and focused on finishing her fruit cup.
~ * ~
Remus Lupin put down his spoon leaving his rice pudding half-eaten. He made his excuses and rose from the Staff Table. He had other plans for the evening and was running late. He was taking Amy to see the cinema in Glasgow, a private date night for just the two of them.
Remus stilled and turned. "Yes Sirius?"
"I'm going to Paris for the holidays. Wanna join me?"
Remus smiled and shook his head. "Thank you for offering but no, I've made plans. You should take Harry and spend some time getting to know each other," he offered.
Sirius frowned. "What are you doing then?"
Remus hesitated before answering. "I'm spending the holidays in the States with Amy and a few other friends."
Sirius stiffened. "You're going with Snivellius aren't you."
Remus frowned. "Severus," he stressed the name. "Will be one of them but he is not the only one."
Sirius glared. For a moment Remus was worried the wizard was going to attack him. Then he did, just not physically.
Sirius sneered. "You've been hanging around those bitches too long Mooney. Whenever they say jump, you say how high. You've lost your balls."
Remus tensed, his eyes flashed gold but he restrained his instincts to attack the offender.
"You know Sirius, Amy is a bitch," He smirked at his friend's shocked expression. "But she's My Bitch. She's my Mate and she will be my Wife. If you can't accept it then perhaps it is time we went our own ways."
Sirius stared at the werewolf unable to comprehend what he had just heard.
"She's done this! She's Imperiused you!"
Remus snorted. "Sirius, just because I'm disagreeing with you doesn't mean I'm under the Imperius. Grow up and accept it. Things are different now and you aren't making any friends by insulting everyone around you!"
He turned away and began walking. He did not want to stay and risk losing his temper. Amy would not be pleased if he got into a fight before their night out.
* ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *
Dawn pouted as she worked on her history essay. One of the conditions of spending part of the hols in LA with her dad was that she finish her homework. Unfortunately Christmas did not turn out as she had expected. Sure it was great getting out of Sunnydale but she had hoped to spend more time with her Dad, not left at home with a babysitter who cancelled. Luckily Fred was willing to fill-in, offering to look after Dawn in the Hyperion. One evening turned into two, turned into all day, turned into several days. If it wasn't for the AI crew Dawn would have called her mother and asked to go back to Sunnydale early.
She sighed as she made a neat pile of the history reference texts and pulled out her math homework. She was so lonely for someone her own age. There were a few females in Gunn's old crew but they weren't interested in magic or research and languages. Dawn wished Mya was around but she was in Scotland. So was Willow and Cordy. She winced internally at the reminder just why she was glad to be out of Sunnydale. Buffy had not taken Willow's choices well. Neither had Xander.
She sighed again and tried to focus on her math worksheet. Essays were easy, research and languages a breeze, math and numbers were nasty.
Dawn froze at the familiar voice. She looked up and her eyes widened at a much hoped for sight. Mya! And Willow and Cordy!
"Mya!" She jumped up from her chair, knocking it over before racing over to hug her friend she had yearned for. "You're here!" She pulled back to study the shorter teen's face. "You're really here!"
"Yes! We all are. With a few extras." Dawn pulled back to see. Willow, Bill, Cordy, Severus, Amy, Remus, two platinum blondes, a girl and a boy. "Dawn Summers, meet Draco Malfoy and Luna Lovegood. Draco, if you insult her, her right hook is worse than mine. Dawn, Draco and Luna are students from Hogwarts though Luna is a year younger."
Dawn loosened her embrace and held one hand out. "Hi Draco, Luna, welcome to the Hyperion."
Luna smiled and Dawn immediately felt protective of the fey-looking teen. "Hello Dawn Summers. You have a very pretty aura, so green and intense."
Dawn blinked. "Thank you." She wasn't quite sure of what else to say. But Hermione seemed to understand.
"Don't worry Dawn, Luna just sees things a little differently. Most of the students make fun of her."
Dawn nodded. "No worries here. Everyone is a little odd in SoCal, especially those in the know." She grinned cheerfully. "Don't worry though, no one will make fun of you here. If they do Gunn and Spike will beat them up." Luna smiled hesitantly. Dawn felt compelled to reassure her. "You don't have to worry about your safety. Sure, there are some nasty demons and magic users but all of them know better than to pick on us. They know if they hurt one of us the AI crew will come down on them like a ton of bricks."
"Rainbow right sweetie pie." A loud cheerful voice interjected.
The two British teens turned and stared at the newcomer. A green skinned red-eyed demon with small horns on his forehead dressed in a loud purple leisure suit.
"Oh, this is Lorne. Most people in LA call him The Host."
"The Host?" Luna was curious enough to ask.
"I'm the owner and host of a karaoke bar sweetie pie."
"Karaoke?" Luna and Dawn were confused.
"It's a hobby sweetie pie."
Dawn snorted. "People get drunk and go up on stage to sing in front of a bunch of strangers."
Luna blinked. "Why do they sing?"
Dawn laughed. "I don't know, for fun, because they are sad, for a dare, who knows!"
Luna turned to Lorne with a very serious expression. "Do you like listening to other people sing? I don't like listening to my housemates sing in the bath."
Lorne winced. "Oh I definitely agree with you there sweetie pie. Some people are not meant to sing! But if I listen to people sing I can help them."
That was enough to strike Draco's interest. "What do you mean?"
"I'm an Agostic demon muffin. When I listen to people sing I get a glimpse of their potential destinies. If they are willing to listen I can give them a bit of a nudge."
Luna's eyes were very wide. "Ooooh."
Lorne nodded firmly. "Definitely ooooh."
Draco was sceptical. "I don't believe you."
"Then hum something and listen to Lorne." Dawn challenged.
Draco frowned then reluctantly conceded. He hummed a soft lullaby singing a few lines before daring Lorne to speak.
The demon's red eyes turned unexpectedly compassionate. "Just hang in there kid, just hang on and don't let go. Things will become better for you and your mother. If you stay on the path you are on. Your father is a different story."
Draco's grey eyes were very wide. Then he stiffened. "Someone could have told you."
"Yeah, but no one did. Just remember kid you just managed to escape being chained to that snake hearted lunatic. Don't be so willing to submit to the next one who comes sniffing around. You are your own person! Remember that and act like it! I know it's hard being the first one to break a new path but it definitely has its perks." Lorne glanced slyly at Dawn who was talking softly to Luna and Hermione. "You'll realise it soon enough."
Draco wasn't certain of what to say so he remained quiet. The demon's advice did make sense. It wouldn't hurt to wait and watch. Besides Severus liked these people and Severus was not one to tolerate fools lightly.
Yes, perhaps it would be best to wait and see.
AN: Next time... Harry grows up.
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