Not on your life, Parkinson
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~Two months earlier~

Harry received a letter by owl post on May 31st, 1998, before he’d even started making his morning cup of tea.

Dear Student,

I hope you are having an enjoyable summer and looking forward to the next school year.

As you are aware, the Hogwarts castle was severely damaged this year and is in desperate need of renovation. We have a lot of witches and wizards working to bring the castle back to its former glory.

However, we need as much help as possible in order to be open on September 1st for the start of the school year.

If you are available, please come to the Hogwarts great hall tomorrow at 9am to meet with the other people helping in this important matter.

Hogwarts Renovation Team

Harry filled his cup of tea and started cooking breakfast. Once he was full and the kitchen was clean he read the letter again and fire called Ron.

Ron's face appeared in the coals, "Hey Harry, are you coming over today?"

"Sure am. I wouldn't miss a chance to fly with you and Charlie."

Ron grinned, "I bet."

Harry gave a small smile in return, "Shut up Ron. Did you get an owl from the school?"

"Oh. Yeah, 'Mione said everyone got them, 7th year and up. Why? Are you going?"

"Yeah. Are you?"

"No. We're still researching for Hermione's parents. Ginny isn't going either, she wants to stay with George at the shop."

"Yeah. That makes sense," Harry said to hide his disappointment. "Let me know if you guys need anything for your research, ok?"

Ron smiled again, "You already bullied the ministry into letting us use their private library."

"I did not bully! I asked. Nicely."

"And reminded them you have the order of Merlin, for killing Voldemort, and that you were still suspicious of people who worked in the ministry."

Harry shrugged vying for innocence, "I don't really remember the whole conversation." Then he smiled, "See you at noon," and cut the link.

                 

****

 

The next day, Harry arrived at the Three Broomstick via floo at 9am. He wanted to be late for this initial meeting to avoid the other students. Upon arrival at Hogwarts, he went to the great hall and found Luna Lovegood sitting with someone Harry had never seen before.

"Harry!" Luna said as she jumped from her seat to hug him.

Harry smiled and hugged her back, "Hey there Luna," he said into her hair.

She pulled back and looked him over carefully, "Oh my. You have too many wrackspurts. Have you not been putting any honey in your morning fry up?"

"Er… I must have forgotten that," he said, and then added, "Do you mean to say my tea?"

Luna's nose crinkled, "No. Why would you put anything extra in tea? I meant your eggs of course."

A throat cleared and Harry's attention was pulled to the woman behind Luna. He walked up and put his hand out, "Hello, I'm Harry Potter."

She shook it and said, "Yes, of course. I'm Professor Loire. I'll be your new DADA professor," and dropped his hand.

Harry blinked, trying not to wonder if she was a werewolf or a death eater. She looked young, maybe only a few years older than him. "Right," he said. "Well, it's nice to meet you. Are you two running the renovations? I'm here to help."

Loire looked him over, "Is there a reason you're late?"

Harry noticed the way her voice floated through the hall without being loud or abrasive. "Yes," he said, "I didn't… that is the other students…. I mean…. No, actually, there's not. It won't happen again."

Loire looked at him for a moment and then softly smiled, "I hope not. Either way, your help is needed. The Headmistress put Miss Lovegood in charge of assigning so please follow her."

Luna linked hands with Harry and started to pull him out of the hall, describing different renovation projects along the way. When Harry started to hear the voices of other students he dropped her hand and pulled back. Luna stopped and looked at him.

"I don't really want to work with any other students," he said. Then, as Luna's face became concerned, he quickly added, "Just, it's the hero wor- it's too much attention. You know?"

Luna's eyes brightened, "I know just the thing!" She spun about and lead him to the west wing. Once there, she threw open the door to reveal a staff room being expanded built into a dormitory. "This is going to be for you guys, the 8th years," she said.

Harry didn't reply, instead, he stared at the witch who was using her wand to fill in a stone wall with mud, it was Pansy Parkinson. The last time they met was in the middle of May in Diagon Alley. That meeting had made the papers. Along with a copy of the apology letter she read to him regarding her attempt to give him up to Voldemort, and the forgiveness Harry had granted. He knew she did it out in the open so people would hear it, but her eyes had seemed sincere. Besides, the war was over and Harry had given himself up in the end anyway.

Pansy turned to see them and the mud stopped moving, hanging in mid-air between her and the wall she was building. She turned back and lowered the mud carefully to the tarp-covered floor.

"Hi Pans," Luna said, beaming at her.

"Hello Lovegood," Pansy answered, keeping her eyes on Harry. Then, "Potter," with a slight nod.

"Harry needs to work with you so no one worships him."

Harry felt a blush start on his cheeks at Luna's words, "I don't… I just…" he fumbled. "Would you mind if I work with you?"

Her eyes were suspicious as they passed over Harry. "Obviously I'm not going to deny the Chosen One," then she turned back to her work.

They worked together in silence for the rest of the day, with Pansy filling in the mortar and Harry placing the stones. When evening came Harry gave her an awkward little smile and said, "See you tomorrow."

She gave him a nod and offered a tight smile in return.

On Tuesday Harry showed up 20 minutes late again, to avoid any other students, and had brought a wireless. The music helped pass the time and every once in a while he could hear Pansy humming along to a song.

On Thursday Harry forgot to bring lunch.

"Potter," Pansy said, sitting on a chair she had transfigured from a stone, "How can you be late every day and not remember your food?"

Harry shrugged.

Pansy lifted a green apple out of her bag and tossed it at him. Harry caught it and gave a small smile.

"I'm late on purpose to avoid other students. Is this apple for Malfoy?"

Pansy narrowed her eyes at him, "Is that an issue?"

"Is it an issue for you to give me, of all people, something you brought for Malfoy?" He asked, breaking into a grin, "No," he finished, biting into the apple.

Pansy relaxed slightly and rolled her eyes, "Don't get a big head Savior, I still have 3 apples in my bag."

She tucked into her food for a moment and took a drink of water. Then, looking back up at him, "Is it really that bad with the others that you have to avoid them and work with a death eater sympathist?"

Harry scoffed, "Come off it. I know you don't think that way. I work with you because you won't fangirl all over me."

She lifted a sculpted eyebrow at him, "Oh Potter," her tone dropped suggestively and she smiled, "that's not true. I framed the picture of us from the paper," she said and popped a raspberry in her mouth.

Harry laughed, "Yeah I bet you did. Commemorated your public apology to the boy who lived?"

Pansy smirked.

"It is bad with the others. You wouldn't believe it if I told you. I can't go anywhere or do anything. If it wasn't for muggle cl-" Harry stopped and looked away. "Anyway, working with you isn't so bad."

"Can I get you to write down that glowing review and autograph it for me?"

Harry laughed again, "Not on your life, Parkinson."

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