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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. Theodore stood a few feet behind her.
He moves silently…great, Hermione thought bitterly as the gargoyles leapt aside.
“I thought to ask McGonagall,” Theodore explained, sounding a bit exasperated as he mounted the staircase and gestured 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 knocked on the door and waited. After a moment, Professor McGonagall’s voice beckoned them inside. The circular office was decorated magnificently and Hermione had a hard time not staring as she took the proffered seat in front of the headmistress’s desk. Grand furniture stood in the room and a wonderful aroma was wafting through the air. Hermione breathed deeply and smiled as Theodore sat in the chair beside hers.
“So you’ve been appointed as Head Boy and Girl of Hogwarts…” Professor McGonagall began immediately, her face stoic, “very prestigious. I trust that you’ll both do your jobs perfectly. 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 speaking:
“I don’t doubt that you will want to know why the change has been made to add a Heads' Dormitory this year. For 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. So, you can think of yourselves as our 'guinea pigs' as the Muggles say. The staff would really 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 through out the school year as something to take their minds off of the war that may soon occur.”
“What do you mean ‘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. “Now, do you have any questions?”
Hermione raised her hand. Then, realizing she wasn’t in class, blushed and put it down quickly.
“Um, 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, 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.
“Hey there,” he greeted, “I’m Sam. I suppose 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. A color scheme of blues and silvers laced everything from the carpets to the 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 on his lap. 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 explained, 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 his 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. Disconcerted, Hermione questioned his actions.
“Do you have a problem with me, Theodore?” she asked, forgetting his request for her to use his nickname.
Theo looked up from his paper and raised an eyebrow at her, fighting not 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?”
“I see your point. Okay, I apologize for assuming you were his friend.”
“My turn to ask you something,” 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 looked angry.
“I think I’ve earned the right to be confident every once in a while,” she answered, annoyed.
“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 growled, trying not to let her temper get the best of her.
“Okay, okay, I’m sorry,” Theo said quickly, noting her anger. “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 tried to keep his voice calm.
“I don’t spend time with most of the ‘popular’ Slytherins. My best friend’s name 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, though I’ve probably 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 bluntly. “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 smiled at him, rolling 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 slowly.
“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. He was muttering to himself and there was a nervous tick in the side of his face. The Heads stood staring at him 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. 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?” she queried.
“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 grunted in response 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 them 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 cloak 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 they 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 calmly. “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 guys 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 8-2-13)