Word Count: 1,253
Rating: PG-13 this part
Prompt: Day 11 traditional - snow-covered Hogwarts
Disclaimer: JK Rowling owns them, not me. This is for mischief's sake, not profit.
Author's Notes: This is for slythindor100 's Christmas challenge picture prompts. Sequel of Part one, Part two, Part three, Part four, Part five, Part six, Part seven, Part eight, Part nine & Part ten
"Those were Lucius' words, Hermione." Harry fidgeted with the edge of his sash and glanced at his best friend, or rather, at the top of Hermione's head. She was keenly reading a book. Harry frowned as he read the title, 'Parallel lives by Plutarch.'
"That's interesting," she mumbled at last.
Harry pointed at the tome. "Reckon you're searching for clues."
"Not really," said Hermione, biting her lip. She lowered her hand and her fingers brushed lovingly the leather cover. "This is for my job. Liaising with Muggles is sometimes hard and I decided to consult these biographies to find out how these people handled themselves."
She frowned at Harry's formal robes and the golden and red sash that hugged his broad chest. Waving at it, she lifted an eyebrow enquiringly at her friend.
"I went to…" Harry took a deep breath, feeling as small as the time he faced Umbridge and the Inquisitorial Squad at Hogwarts. He finally said in a rush, "… a party with my boyfriend, Draco."
Hermione nodded sagely. "Interesting, does Ron know?"
"He does now," said Ron loudly.
Startled, Harry twisted his neck to look towards the threshold. Ron sighed deeply; in the candlelight his hair gleamed like a copper cauldron. He moved his hand in a sweeping gesture. "I don't care, mate. Made my peace with Malfoy, taking into account what he did."
Hermione smiled warmly at Ron and then she leaned forwards to pick a piece of mistletoe off Harry's shoulder. "I gather the party was interesting, wasn't it?"
Glancing at the green speck she held between her thumb and forefinger, Harry blushed. "You could say that. But what about the spell?"
Hermione waved her hand with a nonchalant air. "It's rather obvious. Sol sistere refers to the solstice, of course. We are nearing the winter solstice, which is…"
"The shortest day of the year," drawled Draco, fastidiously brushing the ash from the Floo off his shoulders. He walked inside the parlour, nodding at Ron and Hermione. "Weasley, Granger, fancy meeting you here."
"We are Harry's friends," said Hermione testily, noting the way the blond's gaze remained fixed on Harry's hair.
"I thought we would have the rest of the evening by ourselves, Harry." Draco raised his hand and delicately coughed into his palm.
Harry felt heat bloom in his cheeks at this pointed reminder of their intentions. After all, he had rushed to 12 Grimmauld Place to prepare things but instead found Hermione there.
"Hermione can help us with the hint your father gave me."
Draco nodded and then he pierced Hermione with a sharp gaze, lifting his eyebrow. "What do you think, Granger?"
"I'm not sure, Draco," she said pointedly, emphasising his name. "Solstice could mean a lot of things, and if Voldemort was working on that…"
Ron picked up a scone from the tray and waved it at Draco. "You were closer than us to You-Know-Who. Did he tell you anything?"
Draco sat on the chair besides Harry and stared into the fire. He finally said in a pensive voice, "To be sure, I tried to stay away from him. Father told Harry this occurred in the final days of the War. During the Final Battle I didn't see that wizard until near the end. Thankfully, McGonagall made it easy."
Harry gazed sharply at Draco. "How?"
"By locking us in the dungeons," said Draco simply. "We spent hours in there. Pansy was frantic and kept saying that the ceiling might collapse on us."
Draco reclined on the chair and crossed his long legs. "She was right, of course. I had heard there were giants working with the Death Eaters. They could have destroyed that part of the castle and buried us alive."
"Oh," said Harry in a small voice.
"I remembered a spell I found in the Library to levitate rocks, taught it to Pansy and others." Draco nodded at Ron. "That's why it was on the tip of my tongue when that rock almost killed your brother."
"Thanks," said Ron gruffly.
"No need to, Weasley," drawled Draco. "You testified for us at the trials."
"Draco, you found that spell in the Library," said Hermione musingly, remembering the cosy atmosphere of her favourite place at Hogwarts.
"Indeed, Hermione," drawled Draco, wiggling his eyebrows at her.
She sat up straight in her chair and beamed at them as she tapped the cover of the book. "We should go to Hogwarts and consult the Library then." She added brightly, "Like Rome in ancient times, it would seem all roads lead to Hogwarts."
Inside the snow-covered turrets of Hogwarts, Hermione peered at her selection of books, rubbing her hands gleefully at the research she had to do. Thankfully they had the castle for themselves, since most of the students had gone home for the holidays.
"Where's Harry?" said Ron.
She waved her hand at the door. "Outside, talking with Draco."
"You're right," said Ron, shrugging. "I can hear them shouting."
"It would seem nothing's changed." Hermione shrugged.
Leaning against the wooden door, Draco stared intently at his boyfriend.
"You didn't tell me the charms inside the pudding protected us!" growled Draco, poking Harry's chest.
"You didn't ask, you git!" Harry glared heatedly at the handsome blond.
"Should've told me, you prat!" Draco licked his lips at the way the tousled hair shone by the scant light of the sconces.
"Git!" Harry said fondly as he leaned forward, his thumb brushing against Draco's cheek.
"Prat!" Draco scowled, his hand looping around the nape of Harry's neck.
Harry stepped towards Draco, standing on tiptoe so their foreheads touched. "What do you say if we go to Gryffindor Tower?"
"To the Slytherin Dungeons instead, Potter."
"No, too far." Harry said, breathing harshly.
"Fine, Ravenclaw is it," said Draco, before grabbing Harry's hand and dashing towards Ravenclaw, his Gryffindor boyfriend in tow.
Harry glared at the bronze knocker, wishing he could whip out his wand and curse the beak off the smug eagle.
"How in Merlin's name am I supposed to answer that?" he roared, impatient to enjoy some privacy and snog Draco senseless.
"Let me try," said Draco.
The eagle knocker that guarded the entrance to Ravenclaw Tower said in a neutral voice, "What stands erect in youth but lies dormant in old age?"
"A man?" said Draco tentatively.
"No," said the knocker.
Draco glared at the impertinent eagle.
"A cock?" said Harry, before Draco elbowed him.
"Most certainly not!" said the eagle with an offended air.
"See what you did, Harry?" said Draco exasperatedly as he brushed his fingers through his hair. "We'll have to go to Gryffindor after all."
"Or the Dungeons," said Harry disconsolately.
"Oi, Harry and Draco!" said a dreamy voice.
"Luna? What are you doing here?" said Harry.
"Came to consult Hermione." Luna squinted at the door. "A problem came up and she said she was coming here."
Draco waved at the door. "Could you try to solve the riddle, Luna?"
"Certainly," she said.
The knocker repeated the question. "What stands erect in youth but lies dormant in old age?"
"A menhir," Luna said simply, and then she poked Draco's chest with the tip of her wand. "You should have remembered, Draco, there are many menhirs in Burgos, the place you told me about. It's quite easy, really. The big stones stand tall at the beginning but then fall."
Draco gazed at Harry as the door opened, and stepped back so Luna could enter. The two former Seekers followed her into Ravenclaw Tower.Part twelve