Part the Fourth—
Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind, and therefore is wing’d Cupid painted blind.
—A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Act I, scene i
The rest of the day went by in a blur and Harry couldn’t keep a silly half-grin off of his face. It was so pronounced that Draco Malfoy had even given him a double take when they were in Transfiguration.
Both Ron and Hermione were looking at him in confusion, but he only smirked to himself. For some reason, he felt like he was walking on air.
Thursdays usually dragged him down, not quite being Friday and yet so close to the weekend that he could almost taste it. This Thursday, however, was different. Hogsmeade was on Saturday and, even better, he was sitting with Octavian at lunch the next day.
No matter how he tried, he could not focus in class. Instead, his mind constantly returned to the beautiful Hufflepuff. Something about Octavian reminded him of someone, but he couldn’t seem to quite grasp the similarity. He knew that perhaps it was his older half-sibling—the legitimate heir of his father. He must have at least seen him around Hogwarts, he decided. It wasn’t as if he actually knew anyone who had an illegitimate half-brother that they hated. It was difficult to keep that sort of thing quiet.
He quietly doodled on a spare piece of parchment, his mind turning to Octavian once again. He felt himself drawn to the wizard, more than he had all those years ago on the Hogwarts Express. Every expression and mannerism enchanted him, every line of his handsome and still developing face, the curve of his soft pink lips, and the haunted sparkle of his black eyes. Merlin, he could gaze into those black eyes all day long, he thought, never truly seeing their depths, clouded in innocence. . . .
Harry jerked suddenly, as his subconscious thoughts filtered into his active mind.
Soft pink lips? He thought to himself, completely startled. His hands shook slightly and he felt a fluttering in his stomach that made him feel both nervous and strangely intoxicated. It was almost as if he had had too much Butterbeer to drink.
A sharp elbow jammed into his side, causing him to lose his breath and upset his inkwell. “Hermione,” he breathed in exasperation, as he quickly cast Evanesco on the desk.
“Mr. Potter!” McGonagall admonished as she saw the mess.
“Apologies, Professor,” he said hastily as he put his wand away again and glanced down at his parchment. He sighed in relief when he saw his writing was still visible, but his eyes widened when he noticed exactly what he had been writing.
‘Merlin,’ he mouthed, completely surprised.
Hermione curiously looked over and she gasped at the doodles. Harry had drawn several hearts and had written the same phrase within them over and over again. “HP + PBP.”
“P.B.P.?” she whispered, sounding completely shocked.
Harry swallowed nervously, and thanked the Founders that he had written PBP—Pureblood Prince—instead of Octavian’s actual initials. It was a godsend, really, unless Parkinson’s middle name began with the letter B.
“Shh,” he warned before he pretended to once again pay attention to the lecture.
His mind, however, rested with a soft spoken and smiling Hufflepuff boy.
He had a crush on a wizard. Harry James Potter fancied Octavian, who wasn’t even remotely effeminate by any stretch of the imagination.
His eyesight went slightly fuzzy at the realization.
He, Harry, had basically come onto the same boy and had a date with him the next day and looked forward to it.
Glancing down at his parchment again, he couldn’t help but smile at his doodles, and in that moment he just didn’t care. He knew people would raise a fuss when they found out, especially if he, in fact, was gay—which made an odd kind of sense in his mind. He’d never felt anything strong for Cho, and he’d never liked anyone else—not until Octavian.
He shook himself mentally. He’d think about that later, he told himself. For now, he had to figure out how not to make himself look like a complete fool the next day.
When the lesson was finally over, Harry was no closer to figuring out how he was going to approach the Hufflepuff table the next day. Before he could think about it properly, however, Hermione had snatched away his notes and then quickly shoved her own into her bag.
“What’s that, Hermione?” Ron asked as he lumbered behind her out the door.
“Harry’s notes,” she said self-importantly.
“Watcha want them for?”
Harry sighed and tried to grab at the parchment, but Hermione held it behind her back as they headed to the Great Hall for dinner. “Harry,” she teased, “fancies someone.”
A few people around them looked on curiously at the pronouncement, likely wondering what lucky girl the Chosen One was going to date.
“Really?” Ron’s voice went up and sounded slightly strangled. He glanced over Hermione’s shoulder and looked startled. “You drew hearts?”
Daphne Greengrass and Pansy Parkinson laughed behind their hands and eyed Blaise Zabini furtively.
“Come on, Hermione,” Harry muttered in exasperation, making another grab for the paper, but with no luck.
“I can only think of the Patils having those initials. I wonder what their middle names are.”
“No idea,” Harry snapped at her, finally wrenching the paper away.
“I suppose if we could cut it down to a single house,” Seamus put in somewhat helpfully, his Irish accent suddenly grating on Harry’s nerves.
“Merlin,” Harry mumbled, stuffing the notes down into his bag, wondering why he couldn’t have been sorted into a house with normal people. Hufflepuff was looking extraordinarily good right now—not that the hat even thought of putting him there. If he hadn’t fought so hard with the stupid piece of cloth, he would have been with the Slytherins.
He sighed. At least they didn’t air their dirty laundry for everyone to hear. Not that his Transfiguration notes were dirty laundry, he berated himself. Far from it. He just didn’t want his supposed best friends broadcasting his business to the entire sixth-year Transfiguration class.
Harry rushed into the Great Hall and quickly sat beside Neville at the very end of the table. Fortunately, no one else could sit next to him. “Hello, Neville,” he greeted, looking around anxiously as the rest of the Gryffindors began to file in.
“Evening, Harry,” his stalwart friend responded. “A-Are you all right?”
Harry glanced at him and shook his head. “I’m hiding,” he explained, trying to look inconspicuous and failing miserably.
Neville furrowed his eyebrows before he asked Harry why he was hiding and more importantly, from whom exactly.
“You see,” Harry sighed, deciding that he might as well tell Neville as it was all going to be over Gryffindor Tower that evening anyway, “Hermione kind of read my notes. I might have been doodling on them and now they think that I’m in love with a girl with the initials P.B.P.”
“Are you in love with a girl with those initials?” Neville asked quietly before reaching for a bread roll that had just materialized along with the rest of their dinner.
Harry shook his head and ignored the critical gaze of Hermione, who was sitting with Ron a few seats down from them on the opposite side of the table.
Neville couldn’t help but laugh. “Can’t be that bad, then. Let me see.”
“Oh, it’s worse,” Harry sighed, taking a long swig from his water goblet. It tasted like ashes in his mouth. Furtively, he took out the crumpled parchment from his bag and slid it to Neville under the table, who whistled when he read it.
“I see where they got the idea then,” he whispered conspiratorially before grabbing a slice of steak and kidney pie. He silently put the notes back in Harry’s bag and looked at his friend. “So, it’s not a girl called P.B.P.”
Harry shook his head in the negative.
Neville looked thoughtful and he followed Harry’s gaze, which was furtively settled on a clump of Hufflepuff boys who were all whispering among themselves. His eyebrows rose in shock. “H-Harry,” he stammered and waited until Harry tore his gaze away. “M-might this P.B.P. be a boy?”
Harry bit his lip nervously before he nodded almost imperceptibly, watching his friend hesitantly.
Neville let out a breath he hadn’t even realized he was holding before smiling brightly. “Good for you, Harry. Have you talked to him?”
He smiled sheepishly and nodded again, finally filling up his own plate with various types of food. “Earlier today, before Transfiguration. I’m having lunch with him at his table tomorrow,” he admitted.
“You going to ask him to Hogsmeade?”
“D-Do you think I should?” he inquired. “I hadn’t seen him in years and then today—he was just—I was—I don’t know. Is it too soon? What if he’s going with his friends?” A slightly panicked look crossed his face. “I don’t even know who his friends are.” He now looked completely alarmed. “I don’t know any of the other fourth-year Hufflepuffs.”
“Hufflepuff?” Ginny asked, picking up on the last word. She flicked her hair behind her shoulder and smiled prettily at him. “You fancy a Hufflepuff?” She stared over at the table with a calculating look. “Is she pretty?”
“Um,” Harry hummed and glanced down at his plate, suddenly interested in his untouched food.
“Harry doesn’t ask about your love life,” Neville defended. “You should really do the same.”
She briefly looked offended before trying to shrug nonchalantly. “All right then. Just curious.” She looked over again, eying Hannah Abbot and her pretty blonde hair. She was talking animatedly to her best friends, Ernie Macmillan and Justin Finch-Fletchley. Harry followed her gaze and then rolled his eyes. Honestly, Octavian was much better looking than Hannah in his opinion.
Romilda Vane with her many giggly friends were now looking at Hannah and sighed. “Really, Harry,” she put in from her place near Ginny. “Hufflepuffs are so—”
“Loyal and hardworking,” Harry deadpanned as he played with a bit of his gravy. He really didn’t feel like dinner any more. Maybe he would just wait until desert.
“So they say—”
Harry cut her off. “So they are.”
One of the Hufflepuff boys sitting near Octavian squeaked and turned bright red. “Harry Potter?” he questioned, loud enough for the Gryffindor table to hear.
Both Romilda and Ginny looked over in interest, Hermione eyeing the three boys warily.
“Harry,” she began warningly, but an exclamation from the same Hufflepuff, who Harry noticed was the same student with dark blue hair, interrupted her.
“A-Are you sure you understood him right? I mean—he’s Harry Potter.”
The same Harry Potter wanted to groan as the Gryffindor table further quieted to listen in, though that section of the Hufflepuff table didn’t really seem to notice.
“You might as well give me a name before the entire house finds out,” Neville murmured and Harry paled even more.
Harry swallowed nervously, which appeared to have become a habit over the past few hours. “Octavian Prince,” he muttered under his breath so only Neville could hear him.
Neville’s eyebrows disappeared in his fringe and he looked over at the cluster of Hufflepuffs. Octavian’s back, regrettably or not, was facing them, so they couldn’t see his face.
“Is he the one everyone gossips about?”
“Slanders more like. Wizards are such hypocrites. It’s not like it’s his fault.”
Neville nodded. “No one’s quite sure why his sire didn’t claim him when he entered Hogwarts. Bit of a mystery that as he obviously acknowledged him—almost publicly.”
“Nev,” he asked quietly, “um, why doesn’t anybody mention his father’s name? Lavender and Parvati kept on calling everyone ‘the father,’ ‘the wife,’ ‘the heir’ for the half-sibling.”
Neville looked down at his hands before murmuring. “It’s tradition. Since it’s not acknowledged, we don’t acknowledge any relationship verbally. It’s almost a taboo. Everyone knows of course. We just don’t name names.”
Harry looked at his friend intently and then nodded his head in thanks. “Odd tradition, that,” he muttered and Neville laughed.
“It’s no stranger than Muggles refusing to speak ill of the dead.”
Harry’s lips quirked up in a smile and he snorted. “True that.” Not that the Dursleys prescribed to that particular Muggle tradition. He’d lost count of how many times they’d ‘spoken ill’ of his parents.
Neville paused as he eyed Octavian and his friends. “Definitely ask,” he finally said. At Harry’s questioning look, he explained, “He’s had to deal with a lot of prejudice, probably more than anyone else in this school—even you. If you’re serious, and you better be serious considering everything. People call him a whore and most likely try to treat him as one and he doesn’t need anything half-meant, Harry, I really mean it.” He pushed his blond hair away from his gray eyes and Harry nodded seriously.
“I-I know. It took me awhile to convince him that I actually wanted to talk to him and sit with him at lunch,” he admitted.
“Ask then, tomorrow. Do it in front of his friends, so they know you’re serious too.” He looked over at the other Gryffindors who were still watching the Hufflepuff table openly. “And you better stand up to this lot publicly when it all goes south.”
Harry’s eyes glinted in determination and they alighted on Octavian, who had turned to look at him, a slight blush on his pale cheeks. Harry smiled brightly at him and received a tentative smile in response. “Consider it done,” he vowed.
Friday morning seemed to drag on for Harry and he couldn’t stop staring at the clock, Neville lightly chuckling next to him in Charms. Hermione was glaring at him whenever she wasn’t dutifully taking notes or looking intently at either Professor Flitwick or the blackboard. Harry pointedly ignored her.
When the bell finally rang, Harry shoved all his parchment and quills in his bag. “How do I look?” he asked Neville worriedly. He’d barely slept the night before. At first, all he could think about was Octavian and wonder how he hadn’t realized he was attracted to boys and how he’d ever thought Cho Chang was pretty. Then, when he did finally drift off to sleep, his dreams had been blurs and half images which left him tossing and turning until he woke up long before the sun rose.
“Your hair’s messy,” Neville teased before looking at him seriously. “Shirt sleeves suit you, I think. Fix your tie, though. You’ll want to look the part. His situation may be a bit—reduced—but he’s from two notable pureblood families and very old money.”
Harry looked up, shocked.
“The Potter fortune is nothing compared to his father’s. His trust fund is probably larger than your entire worth. If there is a trust fund,” he added conversationally. “Watch out. They’re descending on us.”
Harry turned sharply and saw Hermione and Ron making their way toward him. “Bye, Neville,” he called before hurrying out the door, Hermione calling out after him.
Reminding himself to breathe, Harry rushed down a moving staircase, adjusting his tie, which he had loosened considerably during class, as he went. He was still walking, of course. It wouldn’t do to appear too eager, and he also didn’t want to get there before Octavian. That would just be—embarrassing—especially as he didn’t know any of Octavian’s friends’ names.
He stopped briefly before he entered the hall, mentally telling his heart to calm down. “Potter!” someone called behind him, and he turned to see Ernie Macmillan approaching with his two friends, before gesturing for them to go on. “I’ll just be a moment. Save me a seat.”
Justin Finch-Fletchley eyed him warily. “You sure you don’t want back up?”
“I got this. Just a nice chat between blokes,” he urged and Justin only sighed before heading into the Great Hall.
“Look, Harry,” Ernie began again, his face stern as he gazed at the Gryffindor.
“If you’re here to make sure I have ‘honorable intentions’ and that I’m not messing about, don’t worry, I’m not. And I already got a talk from Neville at dinner yesterday,” he said hurriedly.
Ernie’s expression softened a bit. “Good on Longbottom. Old pureblood family and all. Knows the proper ways to threaten without actually threatening,” he hummed.
They both ignored it when the Charms class caught up with them and started pressing in on them.
Ernie took a deep breath. “I’ve been looking out for him since Cedric died,” he admitted, “and I’m sorry, but this has to be done. If you hurt him, I will hunt you down and dismember you without the use of a wand. Enough people mess with him outside of Hufflepuff without ‘the Chosen One’ joining in on the fun.”
A few gasps surrounded them but neither of them looked at their audience. Harry nodded solemnly. “If anyone messes with him, they’ll have to answer to me from now on,” he said quietly. “If he lets me, of course. I wouldn’t want to presume—or impose.”
Ernie laughed quietly. “You’re a good sort, Harry. I think you just might do.” He edged toward the door and glanced in before turning again to Harry. “He’s waiting for you,” he said with a smile. “Ask him to Hogsmeade. I think it would reassure him.”
“Already planning to,” Harry responded before striding into the hall and going up to Octavian, who was talking quietly with his two friends, an empty seat to his right. “Ce siège est-il libre?” he inquired quietly and all three of their heads snapped up to look at him. “Bonjour, Octavian,” he greeted, causing Octavian to smile.
“Salut, Henri Jacques.” He indicated the empty seat to Harry, who took it calmly.
The blue-haired boy looked at him warily, but Harry only smiled. “I’m Harry,” he introduced himself to the two students across from him.
The third of the group, who had reddish-brown hair and intelligent eyes, laughed into his cup of pumpkin juice.
“Are you trying to assassinate mes amis?” Octavian asked, his eyes shining with mirth.
“Sadly, no. Not assassinating anyone this week, I’m afraid,” he teased back as he settled into his seat and accepted the mashed potatoes from a mousy little girl on his other side.
“It’s true then,” the blue-haired boy stated, staring incredulously at Harry. “Harry Potter asked Octavian if he could eat lunch with him.”
“Um—yeah. Is that weird or something?
The blue-haired boy ignored his question. “On a date.”
Harry looked at him and then nodded. “If Octavian wants—if not I wouldn’t—Merlin, this is hard.”
Octavian blushed and those around them were suddenly paying attention to the quartet with interest. Harry wondered if he could ever do something without everyone knowing about it within seconds.
“Bloody hell,” the boy murmured before smiling brightly. “Caspar Summers,” he introduced, holding out his hand. “A pleasure to finally meet you after the mad twenty-four hours of speculation.”
Harry laughed before accepting the hand across the table. “Harry Potter.”
The red-haired boy squeaked when Caspar elbowed him in the arm. “Aidan Whitby,” he said, a slight tremor to his voice. “I’m Octavian’s other best friend.”
He smiled before turning to Octavian again. “I’d introduce you to my best friends, but you’ve unfortunately already met them,” he deadpanned, gaining another blush from Octavian.
Caspar looked over his shoulder and eyed both Ron and Hermione. “They don’t look very happy.”
Harry turned around and saw them both muttering to each other, Ginny making an eager third. “Hermione’s not the greatest fan of Octavian’s. She thinks he’s a blood purist just because he thought chocolate was a Muggle sweet. I have yet to figure out the logic of that, to be honest.” He rolled his eyes. “I thought chocolate was Muggle and she doesn’t go around accusing me of killing Muggle children as they sleep.”
“Sh-She thinks I kill les enfants when zey sleep?”
“I wouldn’t put it past her. She also thinks I’m in love with a girl with the initials ‘P.B.P.’ and started a lovely rumor about it.” He eyed the Gryffindors speculatively. “Although I think they’re currently betting on Abbott for some reason. I think they’ve all lost their minds.”
Caspar looked at him questioningly.
Harry blushed. “P.B.P. Pureblood Prince,” he mumbled. He glanced at Octavian and saw him staring at him almost intently, his blond hair falling loosely about his face.
Harry fidgeted and began to fill up his place with sausage.
“What is your favorite subject?” Octavian began tentatively as he played with his soup. It was a safe subject, after all.
“Defense Against the Dark Arts,” Harry answered briskly, “although Snape is teaching it this year. I swear his mission in life is to make my life miserable.”
Octavian looked up at him. “I thought it was only me ‘e disliked?”
Harry shook his head. “No. He hated my dad back in school. He takes pleasure now it making my life hell.”
“I do not like zat man,” he sighed. “Sometimes I wish I could go to Beauxbatons just to escape from ‘im.”
Caspar and Aidan watched the two eagerly, but Harry tried to ignore them. “Does he take points away for no reason from Hufflepuff?”
“Only for being ‘imbeciles,’ as he says.”
“I once had five points taken for not tying my shoelace right,” Aidan put in.
“I had ten points taken away for breathing wrong when I was a first-year,” Harry laughed. “Annoying bugger.”
Octavian’s sweet laughter washed over him and warmth suffused his cheeks. “For breathing?”
“I asked him if I should stop all together,” Harry recalled with a slight fondness, “and he told me only if I could manage it before deducting another five points for disrespect.”
Both Caspar and Aidan had joined in laughing and Harry smiled in triumph. There, he thought, he could do this dating thing as well as anybody. Cho had been a fluke—possibly because she was a girl and wouldn’t stop crying.
Ernie looked over at them approvingly before winking at him and turning back to his friends. Lunch passed pleasantly, although the entire hall was giving the odd pair looks, including the Slytherins. “Go with me to Hogsmeade tomorrow?” Harry asked softly after pudding was served.
Caspar, who appeared to be the most vocal of three friends, heard him, however. “As in ‘please be my boyfriend’ go to Hogsmeade?” he whispered cheekily. “Don’t answer yet,” he ordered Octavian. “As your best friend I have to make sure he’s doing this right.”
“Caspar—” Octavian complained, the final rough “r” going straight to Harry’s—er—lower regions. He shifted, trying to relieve the sudden pressure.
“What I meant,” he reiterated, locking eyes with Octavian after glancing briefly at Caspar, “is will you be my boyfriend and, as my boyfriend, would you like to go to Hogsmeade together?”
“See,” Caspar crowed happily, “now there can be absolutely no ambiguity either way.”
“Or you forced his hand,” Aidan mumbled before he swatted the back of Caspar’s head with a rolled up Quidditch magazine from his bag.
“My hand was not forced,” Harry almost growled before coming to himself and glancing over at Octavian, who was blushing prettily.
“D’accord, Henri Jacques,” he whispered softly before his eyes lit up. “J’ai un petit ami,” he exclaimed happily to his two friends.
Aidan looked at him blankly, obviously not understanding a word of French, but Caspar smiled brightly. “I should become a professional aid in this sort of thing.”
“Is that your way of trying to get out of the O.W.L.s next year?” Aidan quipped.
“We can’t all be Charms prodigies,” he mumbled though his eyes were glittering in amusement.
Harry was only half listening to Aidan and Caspar, and could only chuckle at Octavian’s enthusiasm before he reached out and tucked a bit of hair behind Octavian’s right ear. “Moi, aussi,” he breathed, his eyes locking on Octavian’s black ones. His chest tightened perceptibly and, for some reason, he found it hard to breathe.
“Double Potions, lover boy,” a far too happy voice sang in his ear and, startling, Harry saw Ernie Macmillan grinning like a loon at him.
“Potions. Slughorn. The bell just rang,” he added helpfully. “And it looked like you’d stopped breathing there for a moment, Harry.”
“R-Right,” he stammered before looking around for his bag.
Ernie held it out for him helpfully, before clasping him at the elbow and dragging him to his feet. Aidan was sniggering to himself as he gathered up his own things.
“Vous vous asseyez avec moi au dîner?” Octavian asked sweetly, touching his arm.
“Of course, Octavian,” he replied with a smile. “See you Caspar, Aidan,” he called out as Ernie pulled him out the doors.
Hannah Abbott came up behind them and smiled slightly. “Harry,” she greeted.
“I didn’t think you’d show,” she said as she fell into step with Ernie.
Harry looked at her askance, his eyebrow raised slightly.
“I’m glad I was wrong, but Chang went on all last year about the two of you, and—”
“Cho did what?”
She looked over at him before exchanging places with Ernie. “Oh, yes. It was all over the school—well, at least the girls. How you were so sweet and innocent and she introduced you to the pleasures of life.” She blushed crimson and hid her face behind her long blond hair.
“Are you saying she said I—well, that I slept with her?” he asked incredulously.
She glanced apprehensively at Ernie, who only held up his hands in defeat.
“Well, didn’t you?”
“No!” Harry exclaimed, losing his temper and not caring who heard. “I did not sleep with Cho. We had one date and kissed once, and trust me, I did not want to repeat that. I don’t even like to think about it. Does Octavian think I slept with her?” he demanded as they came up to the Potions classroom, students waiting outside for Professor Slughorn.
Ernie shook his head. “He never listens to gossip. If you don’t tell him personally, he won’t take it as fact.”
He breathed a sigh of relief. “Thank Merlin. How did I never hear about that, though?”
“I don’t know,” she said with shrug. “I was sure that Patil and Brown were talking about it once. Surely Granger knew . . . ?”
Hannah glanced over at Hermione, who was now approaching the classroom, glaring at Hannah when their gazes caught.
“Ginny thinks I fancy you,” Harry said by way of an explanation. Ernie looked at him, startled. “They noticed I was looking over at the Hufflepuff table and Hannah was sitting near Octavian.”
“Harry,” Hermione said, coming over. “What on earth were you doing at the Hufflepuff table?”
“I thought that was obvious,” he responded, but she still looked at him expectantly. “I was eating lunch.”
She closed her eyes in exasperation. “I realize you were eating lunch, Harry. What I want to know is why you were doing it with him?”
Harry tried not to smile, and cleared his face of all emotion. “You’re going to have to be a little more specific than ‘him,’ Hermione. I mean, there was Caspar Summers, Aidan Whitby, some kid that looked a lot like Aidan, come to think of it—”
“That would be Kevin, his younger brother,” Ernie put in helpfully, lips twitching as if he was trying not to laugh at the odd look on Hermione’s face. It was a mix between irritation and complete confusion.
“Oh, really? I’ll say ‘hi’ at dinner tonight. Wouldn’t want to be rude. What year is he in?”
“You’re sitting at Hufflepuff again, mate?” Ron asked, his face bewildered. “Look, I know Abbott is a bit of a fox, but really, you weren’t even sitting with her!”
By this time, the Slytherins were also listening in, as well as the few Ravenclaws who had made it into N.E.W.T. level potions. Draco Malfoy, strangely enough, was at the back of the group. He leaned against the wall, his lids half-closed, as if to say that he didn’t care.
“Merlin, Harry, you were right. They are delusional,” Hannah commented.
“Abbott’s neither here nor there,” Hermione said to Ron. “What is important is why you were sitting and eating lunch with Prince of all people. Is that book really that important?”
“Blimey, Hermione. Of course it is! The Prince was a genius.”
Harry sighed. “I found out about the half-blood Prince on my own, which had nothing to do with where I sat today. He sounds like a nasty piece of work, actually, genius or not.”
“Then why were you sitting with him?”
“I think the important question, Hermione, is why you failed to mention the other night that the fourth-year you were talking about was the same person who was in our compartment at the beginning of third year, the one that Dementor was chasing?” He looked at her expectantly.
“Well,” she flushed, “he’s just a bad sort all around. And you were supposed to drop the subject.”
Harry rolled his eyes. “An eleven year old who didn’t know that chocolate had magical properties does not make one a ‘bad sort.’ Are you ever going to drop it? You’re being ridiculous.”
“His father—” She began, but Harry refused to let her finish the sentence.
“—is a traditional pureblood who believes in the old ways,” he snapped, causing everyone to look over at him in shock. “That’s old news, Hermione. When are you going to give this prejudice a rest?”
Hermione looked as if she had been slapped.
“Really, mate, isn’t that a bit harsh?”
“No, I don’t think it is. Hermione seems to have this idea that any pureblood who happens to be proud of their ancestry is automatically the most vile creature on the planet. Hell, I’m proud my father was a pureblood and from one of the old families. I wish I’d grown up around wizards and the old ways. Anything is better than being an outsider to a culture you were never allowed to participate in.”
“Harry, your relatives are just,” Hermione began, her tone placating, and once again, Harry wouldn’t let her finish.
“—magic hating bigots. I prefer not to think of them when I’m at Hogwarts, thanks.”
“Harry,” she said in a small voice, “he’s not suitable.”
His eyes narrowed and he took a deep breath. “If you are referring to what I think you’re referring to,” he began, not realizing that Slughorn had finally opened his classroom door with a bumbling apology on his lips, “then neither are you since your parents weren’t married until a year after you were born.”
Slughorn looked completely astonished and his eyes, along with almost everyone else’s, narrowed perceptibly.
Hermione’s lips quivered slightly, her eyes flashing. “That is a filthy—”
“They told me themselves that they were married in December of 1980, when you were born in September of the previous year. So don’t you dare finish that sentence about Octavian,” he snapped, before turning and making his way into the Potions classroom, settling himself in a seat that was usually empty.
“Told you,” Ernie said to Hannah as they sat beside him, “he’s a good bloke.”
“Who knew that Granger was—” She began, but at the harsh look from Harry, quickly took up her Potions textbook. “I only meant that she’s a bit hypocritical.”
Harry smiled softly to himself, knowing that his day could only get better.
French to English Translation
Ce siège est-il libre? Is this seat taken?
Bonjour, Octavian. Hello, Octavian.
Salut, Henri Jacques. Hi, Henri Jacques.
Mes amis. My friends.
Les enfants. Children.
D’accord, Henri Jacques. Alright, Henri Jacques.
J’ai un petit ami. I have a boyfriend.
Moi, aussi. Me, too.
Vous-vous asseyez avec moi au dîner? Sit with me at dinner? (Octavian uses the plural form of “you,” which is more formal, when addressing Harry)