Disclaimer: never did and never will own it. J.K. Rowling does.
Spoilers: Order of the Phoenix
~ Plea For A Death Eater ~
I was prowling the corridors late at night when I heard angry voices coming from a deserted classroom. Silently I approached, ready to take points or give detentions, until the moment I recognised the voices and heard one of the hateful appellations they used for me.
“The greasy git hated us for seven years!” raged the well-known voice of Potter.
“I agree,” replied the feminine voice belonging to Hermione Granger.
I held my breath, listening attentively.
“He belittled us!”
“He didn’t miss an occasion to ridicule us and take House points or give detentions!”
“Then how could you?”
“What do you want to tell me? That he’s mean, bitter and prejudiced? Alright, yes, he is.”
I let my breath go in a long hiss. I knew what people thought of me but hearing it defined in such a cold manner was rather unsettling and unflattering.
“So!” Potter exclaimed triumphantly.
“Are we that much better?”
A gagging sound.
“Are you comparing us to the overgrown bat?”
“When did we give him a chance? When did we give him our trust? Answer me, Harry! In our first year, we designed him as the bad guy for no reason except that he didn’t like you. Yet he saved you from Quirell’s jinx. In second year, if you remember, he said himself you weren’t guilty for Mrs. Norris, that you were just at the wrong place at the wrong time. In third year–”
“Yes, let’s speak of our third year! He wanted to kill Sirius without hearing him!”
“And you wanted to do the same, until Remus forced you to listen! You didn’t believe him either until you saw Peter! He never saw Peter, how could he believe us? We had done nothing but lie to him. In fourth year, in case you forgot, he stood by your side against Fudge. He put himself in danger just to prove you weren’t raving mad, that Voldemort was indeed back! And he went back to spy! In fifth year–”
“He stood with Umbridge against us!”
“No, he didn’t. He was just careful not to blow his cover. In fifth year, we failed him twice. First by not going to him though we knew he is a member of the Order of the Phoenix. And second, by believing he wouldn’t do anything if he thought Sirius was in danger.”
“Are you telling me he’s faultless of Sirius’s death?”
“Of course he is!”
“So it’s my fault, now, huh?”
“Well, you did stop the Occlumency lessons.”
“Because he threw me out of them!”
“Because you looked into his Pensieve! How thick can you get? He was teased endlessly by Sirius and your father and you just saw one of those humiliating scenes! You should have known better than look in his Pensieve! And even if he hadn’t thrown you out of the lessons, it wouldn’t have mattered then, would it? You didn’t want those lessons, just because it was him. You didn’t care for them, even though Sirius and Remus told you to apply yourself to them.”
“Go on, tell me it’s my fault!” Potter yelled.
I was tempted to enter and tell him exactly that, but I knew it wasn’t a good idea. I glanced through the opening of the door. Hermione had taken a fistful of Harry’s shirt.
“It’s not your fault,” she hissed between clenched teeth. “It’s nobody’s fault, except Bellatrix Lestrange and Voldemort’s. And if you really feel you made a mistake, instead of wallowing on it, do something about it! He made a mistake when he was slightly older than you and he’s stilly paying for it! He didn’t blame anyone but himself and didn’t spend time crying on it.”
She shook him quite forcefully.
“I’m not asking you much! Just accept the man! I’m not asking you to like him, but you can give him a bit of the respect you denied him for seven years. He accepted you in Potions in sixth year even though your OWLs weren’t at his usual standard.”
“Because McGonagall forced him to.”
She sighed and released him.
“If not for him, do it for me, Harry. I’m not changing my mind. Yes, I’m in love with him and no, I’m not leaving him. Take it or leave it, but I would rather still be your friend.”
He sighed also in defeat.
“It’s your choice, Hermione. I can’t fight it. I can only hope you won’t regret it.”
He left the room and I hardly had the time to hide as he passed near me. He would never know that I let go yet another occasion of taking points from him. As soon as he disappeared, I entered the classroom. Hermione looked up at me and I smiled rather nervously.
“I wonder every day why you chose me and I think you just gave me the answer. Thank you for your passionate defence.”
She came to me and wrapped her arms around me. Odd how fast I had gotten used to that fact, gotten used to her touch. I embraced her tightly.
“I love you,” I murmured in her hair.
“About time you tell me,” she mumbled.
Certain she couldn’t see me, I grinned foolishly. Finally, life felt good.