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Harry took her hand and let her haul him to his feet. [b "Let's chuck him in the Black Lake,"] he suggested, taking off after Ron.
The duo managed to corner him around the side of the castle, blocking him between them and the stone wall. Any window he could have used to escape their clutches were too tall above them for him to reach. Ron held his hands up in surrender, panting from having run so quickly. [i "Let's be rational here. I'm on your side. Your old pal Ron. You wouldn't want to hurt me, would you?"] he tried to put a pout on his face.
Harry smirked at Hermione, crossing his arms over his chest. [b "I don't know. You assaulted us with grass. This is a punishable offense."]
He cracked his knuckles and made a step forward. [b "I think we should shave his head. That'll teach him a lesson. Maybe bleach it to look like Malfoy's hair."]
It was the moments like these that the girl actually enjoyed and wished they had more of it. They were actually acting near their age and having fun. Well the boys were acting like children and she was being quite literally dragged into it, but it was fun. [b "Honestly how can I save you? He's going to end up getting the both of us. If there is one thing he's learned it's to take your chances while you have them."] The girl said with a laugh as she even chucked some grass at Ron who was giving them an evil grin. She was honestly trying not to pay attention to the fact that she was very near in Harry's lap as he was using her as a shield.
[i "Oh the both of you will pay."] Ron said as he had his hands filled with grass and moved closer to them and dropped it on both their heads. He then moved away and ducked behind the bench.
Hermione squeaked when the grass fell into her hair and began to try and pick it out. [b "Ronald you'll pay for that!"] The girl laughed as she moved out of Harry's lap and got more grass. She then looked to Harry. [b "Want to help?"]
Harry snorted a laugh. [b "Not very good friends, but immensely better students. If it wasn't for me pulling you guys into trouble all the time, Ron might actually get a grade higher than a Satisfactory,"] he chucked a handful of grass at him, having plucked them from the ground as he was thinking.
[i "Jokes on you, I was always going to be a bad student,"] Ron taunted in return. [i "Don't think yourself so special that my grades count on whatever shenanigans you manage to drag us in to."]
Harry nudged Hermione's knee with his own. [b "Do you hear him? Acting as though I'm not the center of the universe? It's like he doesn't know that I'm the Boy Who Lived, most eligible wizard this side of the Atlantic!"] he announced dramatically.
[i "The Boy Who Lived is going to get a punch if he doesn't pipe down,"] Ron threatened, though a smirk was on his face.
Harry reached for Hermione, pulling her partially in front of him on the ground. [b "You can't hit me, I've got a human shield here! You wouldn't hit an innocent bystander, would you?"] he laughed behind her shoulder, trying not to think about the fact that he'd practically pulled her halfway on to his lap. [b "Save me, Hermione!"]
So much for the calm year that they had hoped for. So far they had an insane new Defense Against the Dark Arts professor who wanted to make their lives hell AND now were planning an underground student rebellion. It seemed that so far this year had almost taken the cake as far as trouble that they would be able to get into. Truly it was times like these that she did yearn for either their first or second year again. But she had to quickly push those thoughts aside.
[b "This scroll will be the best to have the twins use when gathering names. Right now it's enchanted in the same sense as the Marauder's Map...but we just have to tap it with our wands...no fancy little saying with it.."] The girl said with a small smile as she was trying to make light of what they were doing. Because honestly she was nervous. Very nervous of what they were going to be doing. If it wasn't for the boys, the girl would never do anything like this.
It was as she watched Ron trying to get Harry's attention did she tilt her head. She had not realised that he had again been seeming to space. Later she was definitely going to talk to him and make sure he was okay. [b "You know we can't let you get into trouble on your own...what kind of friends would that make us?"] The girl asked with a small smile.
Ron set his jaw and nodded. [i "I'll get the twins on it tonight. They've been looking for a new project. This will keep them busy for the time being."]
As Harry sat and listened to his friends, he felt an overwhelming sense of gratitude for both of them. Hermione had stuck to his side like glue with her loyalty, never wavering even when he was subjected to taunting by the rest of the school. And though Ron had his moments of being a pain in the ass, he came through whenever they really needed him.
He was so lost in his thoughts that Ron had to wave his hand in front of Harry's face and whistle to get his attention. [i "Not planning battle strategy without us, are you?"] the Weasley boy joked.
Harry smiled. [b "Not at all. Wouldn't want to take the fun away from you two. I'm just glad to have you on my side. I don't even want to think about how all of this would go if I had to do it on my own. I'd be dead four times over, at least. And definitely not brave enough to conduct an illegal training group under the nose of the Ministry."]
It was true. He could fight no problem, and wasn't afraid of being in trouble with authority figures, that was for sure. But the idea of taking on this level of disobedience without a support system was daunting. [b "You're the best partners in crime I could ask for,"] he pretended to wipe tears from his eyes.
The girl refused to take the book back until Ron read more. She WANTED him to understand just what they were in for and why she and Harry had seemed in odd moods when coming down. And when the book had been given back, Hermione slipped it back into her bag and had dark eyes trained on both her friends. She has known this would be difficult but what they had found out made it all the worse. She would have ALMOST preferred facing the last four years over again than trying to face this new challenge.
[b "Harry's right. Until this comes to light and the Order gets direct proof we do as we planned. We raise the student rebellion and help them learn to defend themselves. They've just as much a right to know what is coming as anyone else. Besides...if history repeats our age group witll be targetted as well. We have to know what is going on."] She said quietly, leaning back against the tree behind them.
Eleven year old her would have NEVER thought she would help in something like this. But the truth of the matter was if they didn't do something, nothing would be done. And they would be doomed. This fight was not just the Order's and Ministy's fight but theirs as well. They needed a fighting chance. [b "Tomorrow we will have the twins help us get others signed up and see a head count...and from there we will start things off. Everything is moving quickly and so we have to too.."] Hermione said and gave them both a determined look. Oh this had just added to everything else and it would be just as stressful as things had been. But she WOULD NOT tell that to Harry or anyone else. She had to be able to keep it together and to help him out.
Harry slumped back against the tree, diligently watching Ron's face morph into sheer disgust as he read on. [i "Now what do we do?"] the redhead looked between his two friends.
The bark was rough as Harry let his head fall back against the trunk. [b "What we can do is continue the plan to stir the rebellion at our own level. By the sounds of it, Kingsley is working on getting the information to the rest of the Order as soon as he can. Once they get word of the hidden raids, then they'll come up with a way to make it public knowledge. Until they get evidence, though, it needs to be kept quiet."]
It was an awful situation to be caught in the middle of. Secrecy on both levels, and full on Ministry corruption. Harry would be quite happy to just battle Voldemort in lieu of running an underground Defense Against the Dark Arts club. It would probably be less stressful, if he was quite honest.
[b "Hogsmead is tomorrow. If we tell Fred and George tonight, they can spread the word while everyone is in town, without prying eyes from the teachers. They can sign a piece of parchment so we can get a headcount and figure out who we need to get the word out to when we plan the first meeting,"] he spoke as quietly as he could to not draw attention from anyone in the greenhouses.
Ron caught the look given between Hermione and Harry. He had been about to ask, no demand what the pair were on about. But before he could even say one word, Harry was asking Professor Sprout if they could go outside and do homework. He was about to protest, but the fact that they were granted permissiom stopped him. Well more like Harry's look and taking off the apron and gloves. [i "Yeah, I want to know what this is really about.."] The Weasley boy muttered as he took off his own apron and gloves.
Hermione had slipped the book back into her bag and at Professor Sprout's given permission has begun to slowly move their plants back to their proper place. She knew the boys were still not comfortable with the Devil's Snare. And if she were to be honest she wasn't either but could handle it better.
When she had come back to the pair, the bushy haired girl nodded and removed her gloves and apron as well. [b "Trust us...you won't like this. It really is complicated."] But those had been her only spoken words as she walked with Harry and Ron from the greenhouse and found them a nice little shady spot. As soon as they were seated, Hermione passed the book to Ron.
Ron only read the first little bit and looked to the other two. [i "This is bloody insane...are they serious?"] He asked turning pale and all but shoving the book back at Hermione as he didn't want to read all of it.
[b "Look at that, you're right,"] he admired their still-standing plants, properly trimmed and filled with fresh soil. [b "We didn't even lose a limb."]
[i "Don't trust them just yet. That's what they're waiting for,"] Ron warned. [i "One brief moment of peace, and then they'll choke you."]
Harry kept his laughs to a quiet chuckle, catching Hermione's eye. His gaze dropped to the book in her hands, hidden just under the table. Glancing back up to her face, he gave a faint nod. Clearing his throat, he turned to Professor Sprout.
[b "We're finished. If we put everything back, is it okay if we catch up with some homework outside? We'll stay where you can see us, so you know we aren't skipping class,"] he requested, trying to tap into whatever boyish charm he could muster.
Professor Sprout's eyes wandered just past them to where Seamus was defending himself against a more hostile vine. [i "Alright, make space. Finnegan looks like he's going to need it."]
Looking to his friends, Harry nodded to the door with his head. [b "Shall we?"] he murmured, removing his apron and gloves.
The girl had to look away from the boys as she was about to start laughing too. They really were making good use of Malfoy and his antics. [b "You know I would rather have the show with the two of you. Doing something like that would be so much more fun with friends."] Hermione said as she was able to semi recompose herself.
Her composure lasted all of two seconds when Ron mentioned the Mad-Eye incident and Harry's new mockery of "talons". That was enough to have her let out a snort of laughter and have to hide her face in her arms. Usually she was able to keep her composure better than the boys but this..mocking Malfoy was too good and they happened to REALLY need it.
But her laughter was short lived when Professor Sprout had scolded them, Harry taking the blame for it. [b "I think she is going to be watching us more closely for this. But on the bright side we've got the Devil's Snare primmed and so she can't really get angry with us."] Hermione said as she took a book out, the same one she had had Harry reading up in the tower. Brown eyes locked with green as if asking if she should at least show Ron why they had looked so sour when meeting up with him.
Harry snorted out loud, drawing the attention of the rest of the Gryffindors. [b "Allergies. Sorry, guys,"] he fought back a smirk.
Catching Hermione's eye, he gave her a playful grin. [b "Not a bad impression, Miss Granger. I may go so far as to suggest you look into a career as a comedian. You could sell out all of Hogsmead with your one woman show mocking Draco Malfoy."]
[i "Can I make a cameo as Mad-Eye? That ferret bit was brilliant last year,"] Ron got a far-off look in his eye as if recalling a precious childhood memory. [i "Nothing will ever make me happier than seeing that rodent scurry around, up Goyle's trousers."]
[b "Plenty of material to work with. How about this,"] Harry scrunched his face up. [b "Father, something must be done about this pitiful school! They made me get dirt under my talons. I mean, my nails!"]
Ron bellowed out a laugh, drawing Professor Sprout's watchful eye. [i "You'd best not be fooling around with my plant, Mr Weasley! I'll not hear of any thorn pokes in your fingers because you're distracted."]
[b "My fault, Professor,"] Harry put a lid on his laughter. [b "We were talking about Quidditch."]
[i "Keep the sports to the field, Mr Potter,"] she advised before going back to her newspaper.
Hermione was trying to be careful with her pruning of the Devil's Snare but both Harry and Ron had the girl near laughing. She knew very much why her friends were not fond on the plant as it DID try to kill them when they had only been eleven. So to mistrust the plant as funny as it was, even she could say it was completely warranted. Even she was still skittish of it if she were to be honest but unlike the boys didn't voice it or show it.
[b "Given the nightmare she is to us and the other Professors it might not be a bad idea. It would save us and them a bit of trouble."] Unlike Harry, Hermione was being more serious. Umbridge was a complete nightmare and she wanted the woman out of the school. The woman was ruining EVERYTHING and making sure they learned absolutely nothing.
But she was able to push those thoughts away when Harry began to mock Malfoy. Tje girl literally nearly chocked out a laugh. [b "Harry, that's awful.. But I can see it. Or something along the lines of.. 'Father this joke of a school set loose plants on me. I want wheoever did it to pay.'.."] The girl added as she slowly pushed the Devil's Snare away having just done with it.
Harry did his best not to laugh at Ron's suspicious glare towards the potted plant. The redhead was rightfully wary, seeing as the last time they'd had a run in with Devil's Snare, they'd been eleven years old and getting strangled by it. He swore that Ron was grumbling threats to it as he carefully groomed it with pruning shears.
[b "What if we snuck some of this into Umbridge's office and let it get her out of the way for us?"] Harry murmured to Hermione, mostly joking.
He could picture it now. Umbridge in all of her gaudy pink glory waltzing in to her office, only to be trapped and suffocated by large vines strategically placed around the room. He doubted the woman knew that Lumos would save her; there was nothing light about Dolores Umbridge, including her knowledge of spells.
[b "Maybe even hide some in the Slytherin common room,"] he continued picturing their petty revenge. [b "Give Malfoy a real reason to whine to his father. Can't you see it?"] He forced his voice into a mocking parody of Draco. [b "Father! This joke of a school tried to kill me with botanical gardens!"]
Him jumping like he did didn't do much in the way of reasuring her that he was okay. It seemed to her like he was really bothered by something. Sure a small smile had come to his lips but it did not meet his eyes. [b "I am holding you to it, Harry.."] Hermione whispered but it was the only words she could get out before their professor came bounding in with her usual energy.
The girl listened to what they were told and looked to the plants. After their first year, she had never quite been fond on the Devil's Snare. But she knew they had to do this if they expected to one get a grade and two had any hope at house points. All she hoped was it was not going to lose it and try and ensnare them again.
[b "Trust me I will. Either that or we can always have Professor Sprout save us. That way she's the one killing her plant and not us."] The girl whispered with a small smile. And after she had apoken, Hermione began to work with the plant they had been given and gave both Harry and Ron a look as if saying it shouldn't bite them.
Harry jumped slightly as her hand made contact with his. He'd gotten lost in his thoughts. He tightened his grip on her hand in return, wanting to reassure her. A small smile graced his face. [b "I'm okay, I promise."] [i You also promised not to lie to her, Potter,] he scolded himself internally. [b "Just in my head. I'll tell you later,"] he added.
Thankfully he didn't have a chance to say anything more before Professor Sprout burst through the open door with her usual boisterous energy. [i "Good afternoon, class!"] she called loudly, as though they weren't only a few feet away.
The students mumbled through their own greetings. [i "As you can see, today is a review of what you learned last year. I'm going easy on you, so don't say I never do anything to help you,"] she threw them a smile. [i "Devil's Snare, as you all remember, is very sensitive to fertilization and pruning in its young stage. You are to complete the task of trimming your plant and properly fertilizing the soil with the mixture I've already put together for you. Don't kill my plants!"] she aimed a warning finger at them.
[b "After first year, I'd rather not help any kind of Devil's Snare grow,"] Harry muttered to Ron and Hermione with a smirk. [b "Keep your wand handy, Hermione, we may need a Lumos rescue again."]
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