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Chapter 3: Chapter Three
He was nothing like she remembered him.
He was paler than ever, his hair not as neatly combed as usual and heavy bags were under his eyes. The only features left from the Draco Malfoy she used to know were the piercing grey eyes, more similar to his father's than ever, and the expressionless face.
Hermione frowned, what had he been doing while they all had been on the Hogwarts Express?
"Ah, Mr. Malfoy, here you are," Professor McGonagall said. "So, as we are now complete, I'll show you your rooms." And without further ado she started to walk through the corridors.
"What the hell is he doing here?" Terry whispered into her ear. "And why does he get a separate room?"
Hermione sighed. "First, I don't know. Second, do you think everyone will welcome him with open arms?"
"Oh, I presume you're right...," he answered embarrassed. "Could've thought of that myself..."
The rest of their walk passed in awkward silence, everybody avoiding each others sight.
Finally the little group reached the fifth floor and Professor McGonagall stopped.
"This are the Head's Rooms," she said and pointed at two doors, which were opposite of each other.
Hermione could read her name engraved on one of them.
"Mr. Malfoy, this is your room," she continued and moved towards a door a bit further down the corridor. "All three of you may choose a password on your own. Any questions left?"
When no one answered she bed them a good night and left.
Malfoy headed towards his room immediately, muttered something and vanished behind the door.
"Well, good night then! See you tomorrow!" Hermione said and smiled at Terry.
"Yeah, see you!" he replied and entered his room.
She stood a while in front of her door and thought about a fitting password.
"Egalité!" she whispered then and opened the door. Instead of a room there were stairs and she climbed up excitedly. They ended in front of another door . When she pushed down the knob it swung open and she was stunned. She had indeed a little tower for herself.
The room itself was half round, and the whole front was covered with high windows, similar to those she had once seen in a cathedral. Next to the door there was a working place with an antique desk and a fitting chair. A huge bookshelf functioned as a partition and separated the study from her sleeping area. She walked further into the room and looked behind the shelf.
A huge wooden four-poster bed dominated the area and she noticed enthusiastic that she would be able to see the sky while lying in her bed. A wardrobe and an arm chair completed the interior. The whole furniture was from a dark wood, but because of the delicate forms and ornamentations it was still very feminine. Approaching the windows she sat down on the window-sill and felt like floating above the grounds. The fainting daylight illuminated the forbidden forest and she could imagine the great view she would have from up here.
Sighing happily she headed towards her trunk, grabbed her washing bag and opened the last remaining door. It led into a cosy little bathroom with the same design like her bedroom.
After a hot shower she finally went to bed. Completely exhausted she sank into the light blue sheets and fell soon asleep.
She was lying on cold marble, feeling nothing but pure agony. She meant to be cut into pieces as the lunatic woman hit here with the Cruciatus-Curse again and again. Her surroundings were only a blur, the other death eaters barely shadows.
"Uhhhh, little mudblood, you don't like that, don't you?" Bellatrix Lestrange sang with her disgusting baby voice and her menacing laughter filled the air.
"Tell us what we want to know...And I will stop..," she continued and looked expectantly at her.
"No!" she managed to utter, and it all started from the beginning...
Hermione awoke screaming and sweating, horrible images flashing through her mind. She tried to calm down but it was difficult to forget. Still panting and shivering she checked her watch. 4:30.
She was afraid of falling asleep again, so she decided to distract herself with Hogwarts, a History.
Draco lay in his bed, staring at the ceiling. He had been awake for hours, not wanting to sleep. He had had nightmares since the end of war, but within the last two weeks they had gotten worse again and he wasn't eager for another one. The problem was, because he didn't sleep he started to think about the following day and he wasn't sure anymore if he should have preferred the nightmares.
People would stare at him, whisper behind his back and rumors would go round the school. If he was lucky they would try to hex him, his summer had been quite boring and he had learned a few very useful spells. Maybe Potter or Weasly...Or even Granger....No, he had stop to think about them. He owed them his life and, at least he suspected this, partly his father's freedom. So, as much as he despised it, hexing the Golden Trio was a no-go. Pity.
He would have to find himself a hobby or something like that, he was convinced that not a single person would like to befriend him after last years events. The Slytherins hated him for switching sides and the rest of them he had treated like dirt. Spending most of the time on his broom sounded like a good idea in the moment.
At 7:30 he finally decided to have breakfast in the Great Hall. The corridors were deserted that early in the morning. It seemed as if he would be able to avoid his fellow students for a while. He sat down at the far end of the Slytherin table and looked around. Only very few students were up yet, including Granger, who looked rather tired. He wondered briefly what could have disturbed her beauty sleep, but his food seemed more exciting in the moment. When he finished his bacon the Great Hall filled with students gradually. Time to leave, he thought. As hard as he tried to ignore it, the whispering grew louder when he went by and he wished desperately he could make himself invisible. Maybe he could borrow that cloak of Potter some time? He smirked inwardly and abandoned the thought. Hell would freeze over before Potter would do something that kind.
"He's a death eater! Why is he allowed to be here?" he could here a little Ravenclaw tell her friend when he left the Hall and headed for the Defensive against the Dark Arts classroom. He clenched his fists but controlled himself. He wasn't going to cause trouble on his first day back. Class wouldn't start in another twenty minutes, but sitting here would better than in the now certainly crowded hall.
He settled himself in the last row and took out his book. Let's see if I can beat the mudblood this year... he thought.
Slowly his classmates arrived and, as he had expected most of them send him venomous glares. He tried to let his face stay expressionless, but he had difficulties in doing so. The only person who didn't stare at him as if she was going to kill him within minutes was Granger. She had seen him arrive the day before and obviously tried to ignore him. When she looked at him nevertheless her look showed more concern than hatred. Of course, she read the Daily Prophet, he realized. He was sure that everybody knew that article, but no one, except her, seemed to care about.
His reflections were interrupted when Professor Ross entered the room.
He was once again astonished how young the teacher was. Maybe McGonagall thought after war is over we don't need someone talented, he wondered.
"So, welcome at Defensive against the Dark Arts, my name is Professor Ross, as you already know," he started. "Maybe you wondered what we will do this year. Of course I can't come up withstuff like Stunning Spells or Protection Charms, I think everybody here's capable of that. And I'm sure all of you know how to duel!"
Everybody nodded and Draco noticed Weasly grinning at Potter. He should pay attention and not watch them, or he might throw up. When had Weasel-King become so arrogant? A bitter smirk had appeared at Granger's face when Professor Ross had mentioned duelling and her remembered her in the final battle. He had to admit, she really knew how to defend herself and much more.
"So I thought we might have a look at the other side. Ancient Magic. Things you usually don't learn at school. Spells that need a huge amount of power and knowledge to perform. Of course I will not allow that anybody will get injured," he said when some students exchanged worried glares.
"We will deal at first with Spells and Charms that don't do any physical harm, but which distract the opponent or make him pretend things which aren't real. Does anybody know a spell that fits into this categorie?"
Draco raised his hand immediately. His reputation was already the worst imaginable, so it wouldn't do any more harm if he showed some knowledge in such advanced spells.
"Very well, Mr. Malfoy, come up here!" Professor Ross said and motioned at him to come to the front. Draco was startled for a moment. He hadn't exactly expected to perform the spells...Then he grinned. Time for some fun!
He approached the teacher and drew his wand.
"Okay Mr. Malfoy, perform what ever spell you want, but please without injuring me! I will perform one as a reply if I feel like doing it afterwards!" he grinned.
Draco decided not to scare him to death right in the beginning, so he only said: "Elicio imaginem!" with an evil grin on his face.
He nearly laughed when he saw his professors face becoming dreamy. When the latter went over to Longbottom's desk and whispered:
"Some ideas for today's evening, darling?" he couldn't hold himself any longer and laughed out loud and so did half the class. His laughter died at once when his teacher whirled around, pointed his wand at him and cast the same spell he had used . Suddenly a huge snake appeared directly in front of him and out of reflex he shouted: "Vipera evanesco!"
Although it hadn't been real it vanished and he got furious when he heard Professor Ross chuckle.
"Okay, you provoked me!" he shouted and called out: "Imago cruentus!"
Satisfied he saw his teachers face fall and heard someone gasp in their little audience. But the effect lasted only for a brief moment.
"Impressing, Mr. Malfoy, very impressing." Professor Ross stated, is face as emotionless as Draco's.
"Please sit down. Twenty points for Slytherin. So, who can explain what happened here?"
Draco smirked as only Granger raised her hand. Typical. He was relieved that he hadn't got detention for that last spell.
"Granger, sir. So, it seems as if Malfoy's spell made you imagine Neville as a...woman?" she started, shooting her teacher an insecure glare.
"Yes, indeed, to be honest a rather stunning woman in a bikini," Ross replied and tried to hide a grin.
Draco could see Longbottom blush furiously and leaned back in his chair, crossing his arms. Nice.
"Okay, afterwards you used the same spell and he seemed to see a snake...He was irritated and tried to get rid of the snake."
"Very well. And can you also tell us what happened after that?"
"Yes, Sir. He got furious because you found that funny and cast Imago cruentus. It's barely used, not everyone can perform that spell. It's much more difficult to perform than it's brother." She had spoken the last words very quietly and looked sick.
"Brother?" Weasly asked unsympathetically.
Bloody dimwit, Draco thought and glanced at the red-head. Your girlfriend looks like she will faint or vomit the next moment and you don't know what curse she's speaking about?
"The brother of Imago cruentus is the Cruciatus-Curse," Ross answered Weasly's question. The class started whispering at once, and he caught (again) a lot of suspicious glares.
"Silence please. Let me explain this to you. As you know, the Cruciatus-Curse makes the victim feel excruciating pain, but all this takes place in his or her mind. There's no injury. Imago cruentus makes you see blood, caused by a non existing injury. You don't feel any pain. It can distract your opponent for some time, especially if it is cast non-verbal. So don't worry, Mr. Malfoy did stick to the rules and didn't cause any damage. It's difficult to perform, because you need a strong imagination. You have to know exactly what kind of wound your rival shall imagine to have. By the way, fifteen points for Gryffindor."
He looked around and smiled.
"I think this lesson was rather interesting. Homework: Do some research! Find out other spells similar to the ones you saw today. Feel free to leave!"
The others left and Draco picked up his belongings extra slow. He didn't want to deal with them now. Although he was quite pleased with the performance he had given he wished now he hadn't cast the Imago cruentus. He had the bad feeling that this could get him into trouble. When he was ready to leave he suddenly heard Ross' voice.
"Oh, Mr. Malfoy, wait a moment."
He turned around hesitantly, half expecting a lecture.
"I know I'm repeating myself, but I'm impressed. If I may ask, who taught you to perform such powerful spells?"
He seemed to be interested sincerely, so Draco decided to tell the truth.
"Mainly my father. And my aunt." He tried to ignore the sharp pain the mentioning of his father had caused. Damn it, he had been so good in avoiding those thoughts.
"Hm, I presume you are quite skilled in Occlumency?"
He nodded. Why was he so interested in this subject?
"So, it seems you can control your mind and your emotions very well. But if I may give you an advise: Use this talent for other things than half-illegal spells. It can be useful to know them, but try to do something else with this. Attacking and defending yourself is not everything." He winked at him and left , leaving a pretty confused Draco.
Later that day Hermione sat in the Great Hall, having lunch with Ginny and Harry. Ron ate with Dean and Seamus, they had been arguing again.
She had overheard a conversation between Harry and Ron in which Harry had tried to explain, why she had felt so uncomfortable about the whole DADA-lesson. Maybe she shouldn't have interfered and maybe she shouldn't have called Ron an insensitive git, but today he had been so...She didn't have the words to express it.
"Hermione, are you okay?" Ginny asked concerned.
"No, I'm not!" she spat, suddenly annoyed. She wanted to be alone. Her thoughts were in a turmoil and she needed to rest.
"Mione!" she heard Harry call, but she ignored him. But you should apologize later, a little voice inside her head said.
Relief overwhelmed her when she reached her dormitory. She loved it yet, it was the most beautiful room she had ever seen.
Like the evening before she sat down at the window-sill and enjoyed the amazing view. She calmed down gradually and soon the images of the Manor and her parents vanished into the far corners of her mind. Today's lesson had made her remember her nightmares and had scared her . Who would have thought that Malfoy was able to perform Imago cruentus? He must be quite talented in Occlumency and Legilimency, she thought and shivered by the thought of Malfoy reading her mind. It was nonetheless rather impressing.
A.N.: So, this is the third chapter. Finaly some action:)What do you think, especially about the spells I made up? As an explanation:
Imago cruentus (lat.) = bloodstained image
Elicio imaginem(lat.) = I create a vision
Vipera evanesco you all know from COS.
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