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Chapter 3: A Broken Vase
Chapter 3- A Broken Vase
Hermione watched as the last students wandered off up the marble staircase and followed tiredly. Lost in her own thoughts, she let her feet guide her to the headmistress’s office. Her footsteps echoed in the empty hallway, the sound making her shiver slightly. She reached the gargoyles that guarded the door to the office and paused, realizing that she didn’t know the password.
“Er…” Hermione hesitated, wondering if she should turn around.
“House Pride,” a voice intoned, causing Hermione to jump as the gargoyles leapt aside. Theodore stood a few feet behind her. “I thought to ask McGonagall,” he explained, stepping onto the staircase and gesturing for her to follow.
“Oh,” Hermione replied lamely, stepping onto the revolving stairs behind him, "thanks."
Theodore simply nodded and remained silent. At the top of the stairs, the Head Boy used the griffin-shaped knocker on the door, producing a resonant echo of metal on wood. Hermione wet her lips with her tongue as they waited. After a moment, Professor McGonagall’s voice beckoned them inside.
Hermione reached forward and put her hand on the cool metal doorknob, pushing the door opening and entering the office with Theodore at her side. The circular room was decorated so magnificently that Hermione had a hard time not staring. Grand mahogany furniture stood around the room, and a wonderful aroma of vanilla wafted through the air. Hermione breathed deeply and smiled as she and Theodore sat in two chairs in front of the headmistress's desk.
Professor McGonagall sat with her elbows propped on the desk, her fingers peaked together. Her gray hair was pulled into a tight bun, as always, and her square-framed glasses were perched on the end of her nose. “So you’ve been appointed as Head Boy and Girl of Hogwarts…” she began immediately, her face stoic, “very prestigious. I trust that you’ll both do your jobs well. You have certain duties to carry out, including patrolling the halls together every Thursday night and watching out for the younger students. You are both probably aware that some of the older students enjoy bullying the first years.”
Hermione and Theodore nodded, and the headmistress continued: “I don’t doubt that you will want to know why the change has been made to create a Heads' Dormitory this year. For many years Professor Dumbl--” Professor McGonagall blinked rapidly, “Dumbledore wanted to enact such a dormitory. He thought, as I do, that it would increase House unity. By bringing the students’ leaders together, maybe the students will follow suit. You can think of yourselves as the trial run of this concept. The staff would very much like to see this idea succeed. The perks of this dormitory include your own bedrooms and a joint bathroom. I am sure you won’t cause us any trouble, and I would very much appreciate it if you would report any problems to me so that I can consider alternatives and hopefully improve this new policy.
“Also, this year, as you both know, the threat of You-Know-Who has increased exponentially. In order to decrease fears among the students, certain...social gatherings will be promoted throughout the school year as something to take their minds off of the war that may soon occur.”
“What do you mean by ‘social gatherings,' Professor?’” Theodore interrupted, raising an eyebrow.
“We’re still working out the details, Mister Nott. When I know, you’ll know,” Professor McGonagall answered, nodding curtly. “Do you have any other questions?”
Hermione raised her hand. Then, realizing she wasn’t in class, blushed and put it down quickly. “Will we be meeting with the prefects to decide on Hogsmeade weekends?” she asked.
“Thank you for asking. Yes, Miss Granger. That meeting will be scheduled soon, and you will be informed of its date. Anything else?”
Both Hermione and Theodore shook their heads.
“Well then, your new dormitory is behind the portrait of the Muggle soldier on the third floor. The password is ‘blue moon.’”
Noting their dismissal, the Heads bid Professor McGonagall goodnight and set off for their dormitory. They walked together in silence, weaving through dark corridors where torches blazed only at intersections to other hallways. After several long minutes, they finally reaching the portrait. A young soldier stood on a dry plain with his gun propped against his leg. He grinned at them when they approached.
“Hello,” he greeted, “I’m Sam. It’s my job to guard your dormitory this year.”
Hermione introduced them while Theodore stared at the gun in the portrait in confusion. “What’s that?” he questioned, pointing.
“I’ll explain inside,” Hermione offered. “Blue Moon.”
The portrait swung forward to reveal a thin doorway. Entering first, Hermione nearly fell over in amazement. The common room of her new dormitory was quite simply the most beautiful room she had ever seen. Beautiful neutral browns and whites covered everything from carpets to ceiling. Couches sat before the fireplace which already had a roaring fire in the grate. Hermione grinned happily at the bookshelves against one wall and headed straight for them, selecting a book at random and settling onto one of the couches. Theodore continued up the stairs to his bedroom, returning a few moments later with a sheaf of parchment and a quill. He settled himself across the room at a table in the corner and began to write, effectively ignoring Hermione’s presence.
The only sounds to break the stoic silence were the scratching of Theodore’s quill and the turning of the pages in Hermione’s book. The quiet was broken suddenly by a loud meow as Crookshanks made his appearance known by jumping onto Theodore’s lap. The Head Boy let out a small yelp of surprise before petting the insistent cat. Hermione stood quickly from the couch and hurried over.
“I’m sorry, Theodore. Crookshanks, no!” she said, reaching for her pet. Theodore grinned and knocked her hand away lightly.
“It’s not a problem. I love animals,” he said, petting Crookshanks as the cat began to purr, “and Granger, it’s Theo, please.”
“Then I’m Hermione,” she countered, smiling back. If Crookshanks could accept this callous boy, then she would make an effort to as well. She took a seat across from him at the table. “What are you writing?” she asked, deciding to attempt conversation.
“Nothing really,” Theo replied, “I just write, I guess. It’s never anything in particular, just words and thoughts and other random things.”
“That’s interesting,” Hermione replied, smiling.
Theo nodded, but remained silent. Hermione's eyebrows drew together. “Do you have a problem with me, Theodore?” she asked.
Theo looked up from his paper and raised an eyebrow at her, fighting the urge to smile. “Only when you use my full name, Hermione,” he said, humor slipping into his voice.
“Then why won’t you talk to me?” she asked, trying not to smile at his joke.
“Do girls always have to be talking?” he asked simply.
“Not always, but right now, yes,” Hermione replied, grinning. “I want to talk to you. I have some questions.”
Theo sighed and put his quill down. “Fine, go for it,” he said exasperatedly.
“Okay…so why did you get so defensive on the train when I mentioned Malfoy?”
“Because he’s a moron,” Theo replied, scowling. “After last year...wouldn’t you get mad if I asked if you were dating him or something?”
Hermione cringed. “I see your point...I apologize for assuming that you were his friend.”
“Could I ask you something now?” Theo said slyly.
“When did this turn into some sort of game?” Hermione asked, clearly nervous.
“When I said it did,” Theo replied, shrugging nonchalantly. “Now, why are you so bloody cocky all the time?”
Hermione frowned, her eyebrows knitting together again. “I think I’ve earned the right to be confident every once in a while,” she answered, annoyance giving her voice a sharp edge.
“Well, it’s not every once in a while. It seems like you’re always showing off.”
“Thanks for that emotional pick-me-up,” Hermione snapped.
“Okay, okay, I’m sorry,” Theo said quickly, noting her anger. “If you want to ask something, feel free.”
“Fine. If you aren’t one of Malfoy’s cronies, who are you friends with? I thought all Slytherins were in his pocket.”
Theo responded with a voice slow with forced-calm. “I don’t spend time with most of the ‘popular’ Slytherins. My best friend is Garrett Crush. We hang out with three other Slytherins: Mandy Broom, Terrance Williams, and Samantha Wright.”
Hermione nodded slowly. “I’ve never met any of them, but I’ve heard their names.”
“How about you, Granger? Other than Potter and Weasley, do you have friends?” Theo phrased his question with a bit of harshness to match what had been in hers.
“Yes, I do,” Hermione replied. “Ron’s little sister, Ginny, is my friend and Neville Longbottom. I also like to spend time with Luna Lovegood from Ravenclaw.”
“Loony, you mean?” Theo joked.
Hermione rolled her eyes. “She’s really not that bad. I know she’s a bit eccentric, but there’s nothing wrong with that.”
“Whatever you say, Granger.”
“So we’re good, right?” Hermione asked nervously.
Theo nodded. “I’m not promising that we’ll be friends, but I don’t think we’re going to fight this year which should help with the living situation.”
Hermione grinned and opened her mouth to reply. Suddenly, an enormous crash echoed in the hallway. Hermione’s eyes widened, and she stared at Theo for a moment. They stood simultaneously and rushed towards the portrait hole.
In the hall, Mr. Filch was already sweeping up the remnants of a large, smashed vase. Huge shards white and blue of glass had skidded across the tiles, and Filch was muttering to himself, a nervous tick twitching in the side of his face. The Heads stood staring at him for several moments before Theo cleared his throat and spoke up.
“What happened?” he asked, addressing the caretaker curiously. “Did Peeves do that?”
Filch jumped at the Head Boy’s voice, but turned to reply. “No," he growled. "The poltergeist is currently celebrating the return to school by filling the first years’ beds with Bulbadox powder.”
Hermione’s eyebrows knitted together. “How do you know that?”
“He came to see me earlier and explained his truce for tonight. I won’t go after him, and he’ll stay out of my way.” Filch’s eyes were popping as he moved his broom in angry strokes across the floor. "Though I wouldn't put it past him to go back on his word," he grumbled to himself.
Hermione contemplated cleaning the mess for him, but decided that he would be angry to see magic performed in the hallway. “We’ll figure out who did this, Mr. Filch,” she reassured, kicking Theo lightly so he would go along with her. “Someone must be out of bed, so we’ll go and see what we can do.”
Filch only grunted, and Hermione set off down the hallway, tugging the sleeve of Theo's robes to make him follow. At the end of the corridor, they turned and Hermione halted. “Somebody’s wandering…I guess this is our first set of rounds. We should make sure that it isn’t a first year. If it is, we need to let him or her know the rules…”
Theo nodded his agreement. “Split up, do you think?” he asked. Hermione agreed and they parted ways, Theo heading upstairs while Hermione continued to check the third floor.
The corridors seemed darker and more menacing than usual as Hermione crept along, lighting the way with her raised wand. As she descended to the second floor, she halted. Tipping her head to the side to hear better, Hermione listened. She snuck quietly down the hallway. At the end of it, a robe whipped out of sight. Someone had been standing at the end of the corridor watching her. Her heart began to race with her footsteps as she hurried after the culprit. Why would someone want to watch her after hours, especially when he or she should get to bed to avoid getting in trouble?
Halfway along the second floor hallway, Hermione stumbled to a stop. There, leaning against the wall in front of her, was Draco Malfoy.
“Took you long enough,” he drawled, smirking at her and twirling his wand between his fingers.
“What…what are you doing, Malfoy?” Hermione asked cautiously, raising her wand to illuminate his shadowed face.
“I was waiting for you. Now I suppose I’m talking to you,” Draco replied, still smirking.
Hermione raised her eyebrows. “You’re out after curfew, Malfoy. I’m going to have to put you in detention for this…”
Draco’s smirk seemed, if possible, cockier. “Oh, I don’t think you’ll do that, Granger.”
“And why exactly, wouldn’t I?” Hermione asked, her hand shaking a bit. Though she wouldn’t admit it to anyone, Draco Malfoy scared her, especially after the previous year. She clenched her fist around her wand.
“You wouldn’t want anything…bad to happen,” Draco replied casually, catching her eyes in a challenge.
Hermione shook her head to clear it; his gaze was powerful. “Fine, Malfoy. Was that you who knocked over the vase outside my common room?” she asked bluntly.
“Why on Earth would you suspect me?” Draco wondered aloud. “I haven’t done anything wrong.”
“You’re the first person I catch out of bed at this hour, and you tell me that you were waiting for me,” Hermione said impatiently. “Of course I’m going to suspect you.”
“One might say that you’re discriminating…or profiling,” Draco mused. “You’re targeting me because I’m a Slytherin.”
“Malfoy, this isn’t a game," Hermione snapped. "Stop fooling around and get to your dormitory."
Draco raised his eyebrows. “Excuse me?” he asked pompously.
“You heard me, Malfoy. Now, move,” Hermione replied, her patience and courage gone.
“Yes, ma’am,” Draco mocked, bowing sarcastically and turning to leave. As he faded into the shadows at the opposite end of the hall, Hermione heard him leave one last barb under her skin. “And incidentally, Granger, I’m not going to tell you the real reason I was wandering about tonight…at least, not yet.”
Hermione stood where she was for a while after he had disappeared. Only one thought continued to run through her mind: What does Draco Malfoy have planned for this year?
Author's Note: All right! There it is! Did you like it? Reviews are very appreciated. I would love to know how you like it!
Also: If you have additional questions that you would like answered, please feel free to go to my "Meet the Author" page on the forums. There's a link on my author's page!
(edited as of 7-19-14)