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Maybe Herbology is pretty cool

Chapter Text

Seventh Year. One could say it is the best year of your life; the year where you mess around with your friends and enjoy your last time with no consequences before you’re thrust out into the real world. However for Dan, it was just the last year he had to spend in this hell called Hogwarts.

He didn’t fit in with the other Gryffindors. He was too broody, too sarcastic, he spent too much time thinking instead of just goofing around and acting without thinking. The other boys in his year hated him, only ever talking to him to get help in Defence Against the Dark Arts and Astronomy, the only classes he was actually good at. The only DADA spell he couldn’t cast was a patronus, but not due to any lack of skill. More due to a lack of happy memories.

You see, Dan hasn’t had a very good life. A muggleborn, he was always a bit “weird” growing up, with bad things happening to the point that parents would actually warn their kids not to talk to him. He would try and go up to someone to strike up a conversation, and they would quickly make an excuse to leave, or just outright say they wouldn’t talk to him. At the worst of all of it, somebody threw a brick at him, the “weird kid.” Then, he turned eleven and learnt that he was a wizard and would be going to an actual school of magic, and that he wasn’t weird and there would be kids like him and everything would be perfect!

Then he got there. First day, he got sorted into this house of ruffians that booed when students got sorted into a certain house. How awful is that? And then he got back to the common room and since then, it was partying every night, with people talking to him and never leaving him alone. He would sneak out at night to hide in the Astronomy Tower to get away from all the noise and bright red and gold, and nobody ever noticed he was gone. Sitting there, looking up at the stars, he would wonder how his life would’ve been had he been sorted into a different house.

The Hufflepuffs were so nice, of course they’d accept him. They’re also probably quieter, and actually value hard work. Someone in Ravenclaw would probably also be a huge nerd, and maybe he’d have somebody to talk to about all the Muggle shows and video games he loves. Even so-called evil Slytherin would probably be a better place for him, sarcastic and dark, and probably valuing an intellectual conversation.

However, he was stuck in Gryffindor, the “courageous.” Full of a bunch of idiots who couldn’t restrain themselves from always doing the first thing that came to mind, no matter how stupid. They were like seven year olds, the lot of them.

Just one more year, he tells himself over and over.

He’d just gotten off the train and sat in the Great Hall for the banquet when he made eye contact with this one Hufflepuff from across the busy room. From what he could see, the boy had dark, black hair which contrasted quite nicely with his pale skin. Honestly, the guy looked more like a Slytherin than the Hufflepuff which he was. The boy waved at him, and smiled. Dan smiled back, slightly bewildered at another student being friendly to him. He was about to get up to cross the room when he was interrupted by the Sorting Hat’s latest song.

It paled in comparison to the previous year’s, which was a rap about the houses’ ghosts. A diss track, one could say. This year’s was just okay, so the Hall clapped politely, and then the sorting began.

Now Dan knew that the Sorting was one of his House’s favourite events of the year, but honestly, he wasn’t too into it. It was quite repetitive actually, with names called, an eleven year old looking like they’re about to pass out, a house declared, and a dazed child wandering over to a table. However, Gryffindor treated it like the Quidditch World Cup, with bets taken on some of the children based on their family members or just their hair colour. (Blondes are statistically more likely to be Slytherins, whereas redheads tend to be Gryffindors.)

However, a couple of names in, he made eye contact again with that Hufflepuff boy who started guessing where each kid would be sorted and then making the funniest expressions when he was right or wrong, obviously for Dan’s entertainment. Now, he hated it when his own house did this, as they tended to stereotype based on looks, but this boy seemed to have some instinct towards it, and was guessing right about 80% of the time. He was still ecstatic every time he chose the right house, which was, honestly, quite adorable.

Suddenly, the Sorting was over, and the Hufflepuff boy looked away. It seemed like the entire Sorting only took two minutes as opposed to the usual drawn out hour of Dan just waiting to start eating. Dumbledore made his speech, which consisted of his latest favourite candies, and then the food appeared and everything else faded away.

After he was finished his pudding, Dumbledore stood up again.

“Now I just have a few notices for this year. First, everybody remember that the Forbidden Forest is exactly that: Forbidden. Second, Quidditch trials will be held next week, and you can talk to your head of house or Madam Hooch if you are interested in being on your house’s team. Finally, the Astronomy Tower will be closed for repair for the next month or two. Do not go up there unless you plan on taking a short cut to the grounds. And by that, I mean falling to your death. Thank you!”

Fuck. Now his one safe space in the entire school was “closed for repair,” whatever that means. Do things even break in Hogwarts? He’d never seen anything, other than that one girl’s bathroom which always seems to be closed.

It doesn’t even matter. All he knew was that this year would now be even worse than he thought it would be.

Everyone in the Great Hall sung the stupid hoggy warty Hogwarts song, and then he finally got to go to the dormitory where he could maybe rest a bit.

*****

He was now laying in bed at half past midnight. He did not get the chance to rest a bit, because his house had some first day party, and it seemed that people snuck in some musical instruments. There was a full band playing which then evolved into karaoke, of which Dan was a huge fan. Maybe he would’ve participated if he had someone to sing with, but he knew people would’ve just laughed at him.

So here he was. In bed. With music blasting and out of tune singing. He had tried to cast silencio on his curtains, but the sound was coming through anyway. He guessed nothing could stop the power of karaoke. He tossed and turned fitfully for a couple of hours before drifting into a restless sleep.

He had an odd dream that night. A dream about a certain Hufflepuff boy who came up to him and asked something. What the boy said, Dan had no idea. Just that it seemed… important, and the boy was getting really frustrated that he wasn’t understanding. Dan was on the edge of comprehension, the boy’s words beginning to make sense, when he woke up.

He laid in bed for a while, contemplating what on earth that dream meant. It seemed somehow prophetic, although he was always shit at Divination. He shook his head, then fell back asleep.

Chapter Text

The next day, he checked his schedule. First, he has Herbology with the Hufflepuffs. Maybe he would be lucky and get a partner out of pity; Hufflepuffs are nice, right? And maybe that boy from the Great Hall would be there. So that class should be fine, but after that he has Potions with the Ravenclaws. Not too bad, except when he has to work with a partner, because everyone in his house is an idiot, and it’s hard to get a Ravenclaw as a partner because the Ravenclaws don’t like working with Gryffindors because, like he said, everyone in his house is an idiot.

After lunch, he has double Charms, with only Gryffindors. Wonderful.

He heard that his Astronomy class tomorrow would be restricted to working in a classroom until the Tower is fixed, but that would be okay. Not the best situation, but he can deal. Besides, he’ll also have Defence Against the Dark Arts so that should cheer him up a bit. However, he’s heard there’s a new teacher. Seems to happen every year, but he doesn’t believe in the “curse” everyone talks about. In his old Muggle school there was one classroom that changed teachers every year, but he suspected that was because the heating in that classroom was broken, not because there was an evil curse making it impossible for a teacher to work two years in a row. But people will believe what they want to believe.

Classes aside, for now, he just has to head to breakfast, then off to the greenhouses. Maybe he’ll meet a Hufflepuff that will tolerate him enough to be his partner? Maybe?

*****

Dan sprinted across the grounds. He stopped earlier to take a bathroom break and got a bit absorbed into Tumblr. He’s managed to get his phone to work in Hogwarts through a weird combination of putting it in airplane mode and hitting it against the wall a couple times, but while it has been a lifesaver, it has also put him in situations like this.

He managed to get to the greenhouses right as Professor Sprout was beginning the lesson, and everybody stared at him as he did the walk of shame, eyes plastered to the ground, to the one empty spot at a table.

“Today we will be working with a Venomous Tentacula,” Sprout began. She continued to lecture as Dan started to drift off. He usually found Herbology boring, but this was review from Sixth Year it was even worse than usual.

“Psst,” Dan heard from next to him. He ignored it and continues to pretend he was somewhere else. “PSST,” he heard again. He turned abruptly to see who was trying so very hard to get his attention.

“What do you want??” He asked, quietly as to not be noticed by Sprout but also in a reasonably passive aggressive way. But then he looked closer, and realized it was that Hufflepuff kid from the dining hall; it was the one boy in the school who wasn’t a complete dick to him! “Oh sorry, I didn’t know it was you,” Dan said, trying to make himself look a bit less assholeish.

“Why would me being me make any difference to you, were you looking forward to seeing me? We’ve never met, you know. Oh, are you some creepy stalker that’s been watching me for the past seven years and are now trying to murder me with this very poisonous plant?” Dan blinked slowly. What was with this guy? “I’m Phil, by the way. Although you probably already know that since you’re a stalker that’s been following me around.” Phil stuck out his hand, obviously looking for a handshake. Dan accepted the shake.

“I have not been following you around, and I did not know your name, so thank you for telling me. I’m Dan, by the way.” He did an awkward hand gesture. “Anyways, I just recognized you from the Great Hall during the Sorting, you really made that a whole lot less painful for me to sit through. And if I was trying to kill you, wouldn’t I have done that already? Like you said, we have a majorly venomous plant right in front of us that we’re going to have to deal with.”

“You’re right, I guess you’re not a murderer. But you are my table partner, so we’ll be seeing lots of each other this year! And what do you mean the Sorting is painful?? It’s for sure my number three favourite event that happens in the Great Hall. Or is it number four? Top five, for sure.”

Dan took some time to think. This boy was either caffeinated to the point of having a heart attack, or he was naturally this cheerful and talkative. Dan was debating which he would prefer when Phil interrupted his thinking process.

“So I assume you like Herbology, since you’re taking the whole NEWT level course and all. Unless you hate it and are just doing it out of some sort of feeling like you owe it to someone. In which case you should try and transfer out. I love it personally, and I can’t wait until I have my own place to live so I can have more plants! My mom isn’t letting me get any more. Apparently she wants to be able to move around the house without stepping over plants. I can’t see why.”

“Yes, I do like Herbology, although probably not as much as you.” This was kind of a lie. He didn’t hate Herbology, but it was definitely not his favourite. It was more-so just tolerable. “My favourite class is Astronomy, which will suck for the next month or two until the Tower gets fixed. I’ve also lost my main hang-out place, so I don’t know what I’ll do with myself.”

Phil got a look on his face. What kind of look, Dan was not sure. “Well, since we’re friends now,” Phil said, “I have a great place we can go hang out. Together!”

“Honestly, that sounds so much like you’re planning to murder me in a dark corner of this massive school somewhere, but I have nothing else to do with my life. Where do you mean?” Dan asked.

“It’s a secret!” Phil declared, puffing out his chest with pride.

“A secret.”

“Yes!”

“…okay then. Where should I meet you?”

“The seventh floor, in the right corridor. Be there right after curfew, and I’ll find you,” Phil said.

“But what if you don’t find me? I’ll be stranded on the seventh floor after curfew!” Dan said, starting to get worried. This sounded more and more like a murder plot by the minute.

“Trust me. I’ll be there.”

“Okay then,” Dan laughed nervously. His first real hang out with someone else since probably Second Year, back when people tolerated him. Sometimes. Maybe his final year wouldn’t be so bad.

“So are you boys finished repotting the Venomous Tentacula?” A sudden voice said from behind them.

“Uh, we’re on it now!” Phil said to Professor Sprout.

“Yup, we were just getting our supplies!” Dan added.

“Well, you were supposed to have gotten your supplies and already been finished by now. This is just review from last year, after all. But I’ll give you a break this time, since it’s the first day and all. And I know how much Philly here loves his Herbology!” Sprout pinched Phil’s cheeks, and he went bright red.

“Yes, we’ll get right on it,” Phil sighed. Sprout nodded and walked away to go bother some other poor unsuspecting Hufflepuff.

“Philly, huh?” Dan snickered.

“Yeah. She’s my head of house, and she started calling me that when she learnt how much I loved plants. It’s like she’s bonded with me over Herbology, and I can’t do anything about it now.”

“Maybe I’ll start calling you that too, how does that sound Philly?”

“Only if I can call you Danny.”

Dan groaned. “Deal.”

“Okay, Danny!”

“Why did I agree to this,” Dan mumbled to himself.

“You know, we do actually have to pot this plant at some point,” Phil said.

“Okay, let’s get on with it,” Dan said, and they repotted the Venomous Tentacula, giggling all the while. Dan, after seven years of Hogwarts and seventeen years of life, had finally made a friend.

Chapter Text

To get to Potions, he had to leave the nice warm greenhouses to go to the cold, damp dungeons. Horrible for his hair, really. The dampness makes his hair curl in just the ugliest way. Ugh. And Snape’s hair just makes him cringe whenever he sees him. Has that man ever heard of shampoo?

Dan’s mind kept drifting towards Phil, and now nice he was, and whatever he was going to show him tonight! There was still hours and hours until curfew, but Dan was dying waiting. Phil was the first person who he’s actually gotten along with; the first person who listened to him and with whom he felt comfortable talking. But before he could see Phil, he had to survive through Potions and Charms.

He ended up getting partnered with the one other person who didn’t have a partner, some Ravenclaw girl named Louise whose two other friends partnered with each other, leaving her with the weird emo Gryffindor guy. She seemed nice enough though, and they were working well together on the current potion, which was review from the year before, a Draught of Living Death. He was cutting up the Sopophorous bean as Louise mixed salt and water together.

“So, how was the train ride here?” Dan asked, attempting to make small talk with the girl who might be his partner for the rest of the year. He made a friend already today, so maybe he could get a second one?

“Pretty good. I ate a lot of pumpkin pasties and got a new Chocolate Frog card. How was yours?” She replied, in a way that made it difficult to tell whether she actually wanted to talk to him.

He didn’t want to just say that it was horrible because he had to sit with a bunch of second years because it was the only empty spot because he was late because he sprayed deodorant in his eye, so he said, “Mine was good too.”

He poured the water into the cauldron, and then tilted it as Louise starts adding wormwood essence. They both started chopping Valerian roots.

“So what’s your schedule like?” Louise asked him.

“Oh, well I have Potions second. Obviously. Since you’re also in it.” He laughed awkwardly. “First I had Herbology with the Hufflepuffs and then after lunch I have double Charms.”

“Don’t you just love having Herbology with Hufflepuffs? They seem to bond so well with the plants, and it just makes me happy to see them so happy!” She exclaimed as she puts the roots into a beaker full of water.

“Well, the last time I had it with them was Second Year, but I’m looking forward to the year,” he said, thinking of Phil.

Then they both grabbed for the beaker of Sopophorous bean juice, causing it to fall on the ground and break, spilling everywhere. Including all over them.

“Oh I’m so sorry!” They both said to each other at the same time. “It seems we’re a bit too in sync today, and it seems we’ll be smelling in sync too because these beans have quite the distinctive odour,” Dan said, causing Louise to giggle. Did someone think he was actually funny? That was a first.

“I’ll just clean it up. You can cut more beans to replace these sad ones,” Louise said, suppressing a giggle. Dan cut up more beans as Louise was Vanishing the bits of glass and bean juice.

Dan was adding the newly made bean juice to the cauldron as Louise said, “I don’t know why all those Gryffindors say all these things about you. You seem like a cool guy, albeit a tad clumsy but I’m not one to talk.”

“Oh, they just don’t like that I’m not the Stereotypical Brave Stupid Gryffindor. I don’t like them much either, so it's pretty mutual,” he said.

“Maybe you should give them a chance. After all, I gave you a chance, and now we’re bonded forever through smelling like Sopophorous bean,” she said, with a slight nudge to his shoulder.

“I’d prefer to be on my own than be friends with those guys,”

“Okay then, Dan. Now it’s time to add seven drops of this; can you make sure there’s no Valerian root in it?”

“Okay.” They both went quiet, working on it in harmony, stirring and adding ingredients almost without needing to talk. The potion turned lilac, then clear, then finally, a pale pink.

“Done!” Louise exclaimed. “I don’t think I’ve ever had a potion go that well before!”

“Let’s wait until Snape comes over and judges it first. Knowing him, he’ll probably get angry at us because we cut the Sopophorous bean instead of crushing it or some stupid shit like that even though it says to cut it in the book. We all know he likes finding things wrong with potions that don’t belong to Slytherins.”

Snape walked over, and looked into the cauldron.

“Hmmm. Looks… okay. How many times did you stir it counterclockwise after adding the Valerian root?” Snape sneered at them.

“Uh, whatever it said in the book! So, uh, ten.” Dan stammered out.

“Yeah, ten!” Louise added.

“It was supposed to be ten and a half. But overall, it’s decent. You did well, this time. Let’s see if you can keep it up for the rest of the year and maybe fix your butterfingers and stop dropping my ingredients. Five points to both Gryffindor and Ravenclaw for the acceptable potion, but I’m also taking away ten points from each house for waste of Sopophorus beans.”

“Okay, Professor Snape,” Dan and Louise chorused.

As soon as Snape is out of earshot, Dan said, “What the fuck was that? Did he really just take five points from each of us for making the best damn potion either of us has ever made?”

“You said it yourself. Snape’s a dick.” Louise replied, casually. “Now let’s get out of here before we’re late for our next class. See you around!”

“Yeah, see you!” Dan said, almost in disbelief. The second day of his last year of school, and he’s gotten along with two entire people! And from different houses too. Maybe now that he had some friends (still not used to saying that word) from other houses, he’d be able to tolerate some Gryffindors. Hating his entire house got a bit old after the first six years.

Well, he’ll find out next period, when he has a whole two hours with them in Charms.

But until then, lunchtime.

Chapter Text

To get to Potions, he had to leave the nice, warm greenhouses to go to the cold, damp dungeons. Horrible for his hair, really. The moisture makes his hair curl in just the ugliest way. Ugh. And Snape’s hair just makes him cringe whenever he sees him. Has that man ever heard of shampoo?

Dan’s mind kept drifting towards Phil, and now nice he was, and whatever he was going to show him tonight! There was still hours and hours until curfew, but Dan was dying waiting. Phil was the first person who he’s actually gotten along with; the first person who listened to him and with whom he felt comfortable talking. But before he could see Phil, he had to survive through Potions and Charms.

He ended up getting partnered with the one other person who didn’t have a partner, some Ravenclaw girl named Louise whose two other friends partnered with each other, leaving her with the weird emo Gryffindor guy. She seemed nice enough though, and they were working well together on the current potion, which was review from the year before, a Draught of Living Death. He was cutting up the Sopophorous bean as Louise mixed salt and water together.

“So, how was the train ride here?” Dan asked, attempting to make small talk with the girl who might be his partner for the rest of the year. He made a friend already today, so maybe he could get a second one?

“Pretty good. I ate a lot of pumpkin pasties and got a new Chocolate Frog card. How was yours?” She replied, in a way that made it difficult to tell whether she actually wanted to talk to him.

He didn’t want to just say that it was horrible because he had to sit with a bunch of second years because it was the only empty spot because he was late because he sprayed deodorant in his eye, so he said, “Mine was good too.”

He poured the water into the cauldron, and then tilted it as Louise starts adding wormwood essence. They both started chopping Valerian roots.

“So what’s your schedule like?” Louise asked him.

“Oh, well I have Potions second. Obviously. Since you’re also in it.” He laughed awkwardly. “First I had Herbology with the Hufflepuffs and then after lunch I have double Charms.”

“Don’t you just love having Herbology with Hufflepuffs? They seem to bond so well with the plants, and it just makes me happy to see them so happy!” She exclaimed as she puts the roots into a beaker full of water.

“Well, the last time I had it with them was Second Year, but I’m looking forward to the year,” he said, thinking of Phil.

Then they both grabbed for the beaker of Sopophorous bean juice, causing it to fall on the ground and break, spilling everywhere. Including all over them.

“Oh I’m so sorry!” They both said to each other at the same time. “It seems we’re a bit too in sync today, and it seems we’ll be smelling in sync too because these beans have quite the distinctive odour,” Dan said, causing Louise to giggle. Did someone think he was actually funny? That was a first.

“I’ll just clean it up. You can cut more beans to replace these sad ones,” Louise said, suppressing a giggle. Dan cut up more beans as Louise was Vanishing the bits of glass and bean juice.

Dan was adding the newly made bean juice to the cauldron as Louise said, “I don’t know why all those Gryffindors say all these things about you. You seem like a cool guy, albeit a tad clumsy but I’m not one to talk.”

“Oh, they just don’t like that I’m not the Stereotypical Brave Stupid Gryffindor. I don’t like them much either, so it's pretty mutual,” he said.

“Maybe you should give them a chance. After all, I gave you a chance, and now we’re bonded forever through smelling like Sopophorous bean,” she said, with a slight nudge to his shoulder.

“I’d prefer to be on my own than be friends with those guys,”

“Okay then, Dan. Now it’s time to add seven drops of this; can you make sure there’s no Valerian root in it?”

“Okay.” They both went quiet, working on it in harmony, stirring and adding ingredients almost without needing to talk. The potion turned lilac, then clear, then finally, a pale pink.

“Done!” Louise exclaimed. “I don’t think I’ve ever had a potion go that well before!”

“Let’s wait until Snape comes over and judges it first. Knowing him, he’ll probably get angry at us because we cut the Sopophorous bean instead of crushing it or some stupid shit like that even though it says to cut it in the book. We all know he likes finding things wrong with potions that don’t belong to Slytherins.”

Snape walked over, and looked into the cauldron.

“Hmmm. Looks… okay. How many times did you stir it counterclockwise after adding the Valerian root?” Snape sneered at them.

“Uh, whatever it said in the book! So, uh, ten.” Dan stammered out.

“Yeah, ten!” Louise added.

“It was supposed to be ten and a half. But overall, it’s decent. You did well, this time. Let’s see if you can keep it up for the rest of the year and maybe fix your butterfingers and stop dropping my ingredients. Five points to both Gryffindor and Ravenclaw for the acceptable potion, but I’m also taking away ten points from each house for waste of Sopophorus beans.”

“Okay, Professor Snape,” Dan and Louise chorused.

As soon as Snape is out of earshot, Dan said, “What the fuck was that? Did he really just take five points from each of us for making the best damn potion either of us has ever made?”

“You said it yourself. Snape’s a dick.” Louise replied, casually. “Now let’s get out of here before we’re late for our next class. See you around!”

“Yeah, see you!” Dan said, almost in disbelief. The second day of his last year of school, and he’s gotten along with two entire people! And from different houses too. Maybe now that he had some friends (still not used to saying that word) from other houses, he’d be able to tolerate some Gryffindors. Hating his entire house got a bit old after the first six years.

Well, he’d find out next period, when he has a whole two hours with them in Charms.

But until then, lunchtime.

Chapter Text

After lunch, which was mainly Dan stuffing his face with various food items while ignoring most of his house, he began to make his way to Charms. Now, Charms was one of those subjects where either you can do the charm, or you can’t. Dan typically fell in the “can’t” category.

Last year, he tried to use the Knitting Charm to make himself a scarf that wasn’t bright red. (Black just looks better on him. What can he say.) Instead of some needles knitting away peacefully, he ended up sprinting through the school avoiding the cursed demon knitting needles which were trying to kill him.

Needless to say, he didn’t do too well in the course the year prior. He scraped by into the Seventh Year course with a determination to study and do better next year!

We’ll see how that goes.

He got to class seven minutes early, and sat at his desk. He always had to mentally prepare himself for lessons with the Gryffindors, because when there isn’t another house to dilute the “courage,” they just kind of go completely nuts.

It’s even worse when it’s a double length class. They barely have the concentration for one class, let alone two in a row.
Dan shook his head. He was going into this class with an open mind. He was going to be nice to his fellow Gryffindors, and most importantly, he was going to ignore all the data that he has collected from the past seven years with these people.

Not even fifteen seconds before the beginning of class, two boys came rushing in, flying by everybody and choosing to sit right next to Dan.

“I told you we were going to be late if we took that secret passage. It took us to the opposite side of the school!” Dan heard from one of the boys.

“But what if it had have worked? We would have been here, on time, with half the amount of stairs that we would’ve needed to climb.” The other boy was gesticulating wildly.

“But it didn’t work. And we were almost late. On the first day, too! Plus our regular spot was taken.”

“Well PJ, we weren’t late. We got here with,” he looked at the clock, “at least thirteen seconds to spare. And now we get to become friends with our new seat neighbour!” The boy turned to Dan and stuck out his hand. “Hi. I’m Chris. How are you?”

“Uh, pretty good. I’m Dan, by the way.”

“Why hello Dan, it is very nice to meet you and I’m sure that we will become the bestest of friends, and we will remember this time that I ended up sitting next to you because I was almost late, and we will thank Merlin that we ended up meeting through such a random occurrence.”

Dan looked at him, before turning to Chris’ friend. “Is he always like this?” He asked.

“Nah, he’s usually worse. I’m PJ by the way, and I’m sorry.”

“For what?” Dan asked.

“For me!” Chris exclaimed, which dissolved into a cackle.

Dan was contemplating what to say in response to this when Flitwick finally started his lesson.

“Today we will be learning the Water-Making Spell. This is used to produce water, from a jet to a wave. Please no waves today, and also please do not spray your neighbours. The incantation is aguamenti, say it with me.”

The class chorused aguamenti.

“Good. Now everyone do the wand movement with me. It’s a smooth wave from right to left.”

Everybody did the wand movement.

“Good! Now put it together, and don’t shoot your friends!”

The class began to practice. Dan was attempting it for the third time when he got a sudden jet of water to the side of his head.

Dan sat there, drenched from his chest up. He looked to where the water had come from. There was Chris, obviously suppressing laughs.

“Oh my god Dan! Are you okay?” PJ inquired.

“Does it look like I’m okay? I’m drenched! I didn’t bring a fucking change of clothes, and my hair’s going to be atrocious!” Dan was done. He stood right up, pointed his wand right at Chris and incanted, “aguamenti.” Right in Chris’ face.

“Mister Howell. What was that? I expressly told you specifically NOT to spray your friends!”

“Well this boy is no friend of mine, Professor.”

“Detention. For all three of you. Meet Filch in the Entrance Hall tomorrow right after your evening classes are done. I’ll also be taking fifteen points from Gryffindor. Now go to the bathrooms and dry yourselves off before you get a cold.”

*****

Dan knew that trying to be nice would end like this. Back in Sixth Year in the worst point of him being ostracized, he had thought he made a friend.

Him and another Gryffindor boy named Joseph would talk outside of class every day, and genuinely got along. Dan had believed that this boy actually liked him.

However, in class every day they would always pretend like the other never existed. Joseph said that he just felt awkward because his friends didn’t really know Dan, and it was just always an awkward atmosphere. Joseph would reassure him, saying that he would always talk to him if Dan wanted. But the thing is, he didn’t. If Dan came up to him, he would give Dan this look of contempt, and would make an excuse to leave. Joseph always denied it the next day, of course.

Dan accepted this behaviour, because Joseph was just so nice outside of class. They would go on walks through the grounds, and for the first time, Dan felt like he clicked with someone. Joseph had told him that he wanted to be more than friends, and Dan had agreed, but they were in an odd limbo of neither wanting to make a move to actually become more than friends.

Then, gradually, Joseph started cancelling plans they had made together. Saying he had extra homework, or he had promised he would help a friend with something. Dan was getting sick of it, but trusted Joseph.

Finally, one morning after Joseph had cancelled yet another set of plans, Dan got an owl. He was surprised at this, because his parents didn’t own an owl and so typically he would never get his post delivered that way. However, when he opened it, he saw it was from Joseph.

It read, “Hey Dan. I know we’ve been hanging out a lot recently, but I can’t do this anymore. You’re a super cool person to hang out with, and I really enjoyed our hangouts, but I honestly feel like you’re way more into this than I am. I want to break this off before you get too attached, because I know I can’t reciprocate. I thought feelings might have come, but they haven’t. I’m really sorry. -Joseph”

Dan was crushed. The first person to show interest in him, and it had been fake the entire time. For God’s sake, Joseph was the first one to express his feelings! Joseph was the one who instigated their relationship! And the whole time, it was a lie. The worst part is, when Dan went to find him to ask about it, he found out that Joseph had moved away to focus on his Quidditch, so all he has is that stupid owl letter.

And that’s another reason why Dan has trust issues.

He couldn’t imagine Phil ever doing such a thing, but Joseph would always be in the back of his mind. What if Phil actually hated him, or just pitied him? He’s not sure which would be worse. And he’s not saying that he and Phil would be romantically involved, but Dan’s still not sure if he’s ready for that commitment since Joseph.

But it doesn’t even matter. Dan walked back to the common room to have a shower, and most importantly, stay away from PJ and Chris for a bit. He knew he was right about those stupid Gryffindors, and now he has detention with them the next day.

But before that, he has his mystery meeting with Phil, so at least one good thing will come out of this day.