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Chapter 4: IV
The next day, Sunday, you sat in your dorm, alone. Lavender and Parvati had stayed up all night talking about ‘heroic’ Ron and how ‘amazing’ he was for saving all five Quaffle attacks; you couldn’t stand it anymore. And so, in the middle of the night, you picked up your battered version of ‘Hogwarts: A History’ made your way down to the common room and read it through twice until you were sure that Lavender had fallen asleep.
But as you made your way upstairs, you still weren’t tired. "Four in the morning?" you thought, climbing the last step and pushing the dorm door open quietly, "Why am I still wide awake at four in the morning?"
You quickly got into your bed, hearing the sounds of deep sleep from the other girls, and pulled your quilt over you head, but still sleep did not come and take you. You closed you eyes, you screwed your eyes shut so tightly that it hurt; you even counted sheep until you reached well over five hundred, but all to no avail. There was something on your mind, you just didn’t know what.
You closed your eyes one more time and a flash of blue in your eyelids made you bolt upright. Bingo.
Draco bloody Malfoy. Eugh, why did he have to go changing now?! For the past five years, he’s insulted you, made you cry (in the beginning) and has tried to get you expelled more times than Harry, but the way he was acting now made you doubt his loathing of you.
You saw his eyes at the Quidditch pitch and stopped. You hated him and he hated you back fiercely, so why was he being so bloody…nice?! There was no other word for it.
And so the battle inside your head raged on.
* * *
You walked down the stairs at nine o’clock; Harry and Ron had already beaten you there. “Blimey, Hermione, you look rough.” Ron said, gawping at the bags under your eyes.
“Come on, we’ll go and get something down your neck, maybe that’ll perk you up.” Harry led the way out of the common room and down to the Great Hall. People stared at you all the way down, some even pointing at you even though you could see them. It was like you were some kind of celebrity,
"Some kind of ugly, tired celebrity," you thought bitterly to yourself.
Ron plonked himself heavily on the bench and motioned for you to come and sit next to him; people were still staring. You looked down at your plate and put you hand against the side of your head so that Lavender and Neville would stop looking at you. “Harry, do we have to stay?” You moaned.
He looked at you and sighed, seeing how upset you were, “No, just take a bagel at least. Ron and I are going to practise some Quidditch if you want to come and watch?” Ron looked up hopefully and you shook your head.
“No, it’s okay, I’ll just…go to the library and do some homework. No-one will see me in there.” You tried to joke and failed, a yawn escaping through your lips.
“It’s okay, just go!” Harry grinned and threw a bagel at you, and you got up from the bench and basically jogged through the doors.
You all but ran up to Gryffindor tower and flung the common room door open, collapsing on one of the sofas. Closing your eyes, you put your head in your hands and soon, to the amusement of Ginny and Dean, started to snore.
* * *
“Stay away from the Hippogriffs!” You awoke with a start, hands held out in front of you and hair a mess. An elf, who was previously tidying up the dying embers of the fire, looked up at you in alarm.
“Yes, miss, anything, miss!” He squeaked and ran off, dropping the logs by the fireplace.
“Shit.” You muttered and ran to the common room door to try and find him but he had already disappeared, “So much for S.P.E.W.”
You gathered the blanket someone, probably Harry, had thrown over you and ran up the stairs leading to your dormitory, trying to make as little noise as possible. You crept threw the dorm and past the sleeping figures of the other girls, and straight to the bathroom.
*Shit shit shit!*
Obviously someone had had a field day whilst you slept, because on your forehead someone had scribbled ‘COWBOY’, your cheeks were covered in bright red kisses and your hair was full of pink and blue bows. Grabbing Lavender’s make-up remover and reminding yourself to buy her some more later, you began scrubbing away at your face.
The kisses came off perfectly fine, as did the bows, the ‘COWBOY’, however was not so keen. After trying for more than half an hour, you decided that it was too late to do anything now and so trundled off to bed, dreading the coming morning.
Mondays were your favourite: Transifguration, Arithmency, Double Potions and a free meant that all your favourite lessons were packed into one day. Although you’d slipped behind Harry as favourite in Potions, you were definatly favourite and top of the other classes.
You were, yet again, the only girl in the dorm when you woke up and so had the bathroom completely to yourself. “Oh no no no no no no no! This can’t be happening!” The word written across your forehead seemed just as it was last night – slightly faded, but still clear.
You stood in front of the mirror for a solid five minutes before a rapping at the door brought you to you senses. “Hermione?” Ginny called, “Can I come in?” Looking around frantically, you grabbed a towel and held it to your forehead before opening the door a fraction.
“Sorry, Ginny, lady problems. Won’t be a minute.”
You tried to close the door again but Ginny stuck her foot out. “I saw it last night, you imbecile.” You sighed and opened the door; Ginny stood there laughing and pushed past you. “Luckily for you I am the best person ever so I brought you these.” She held her hands out and, in them, were foundation products.
You hugged her quickly and sat down on the edge of the bath, “Thank you so much. I couldn’t bear facing going down to the Hall with this written across my forehead.” You pointed to the word ‘COWBOY’ and Ginny giggled.
“Sit still and don’t say a word.” She muttered and you closed your eyes.
* * *
“All you have to do is to plant the seed.” He muttered to himself, gazing determinedly at himself in the small, cracked mirror. “Just plant the seed.”
How bloody hard could that be?
* * *
The Potions door swung open and you immediately looked up; Harry and Ron walked casually over to their seats next to you and put their heads next to yours when they sat down. “Where were you at breakfast this morning?” Harry whispered.
“Oh, I just got up late.” Harry looked sceptical as you smiled at him, but Ron obviously didn’t see through the lie and looked flabbergasted.
“Hermione slept in?!”
“Yes, Ronald, now shut up.” You faced the front of the class and, sure enough, the door opened once more and Professor Slughorn came bounding in.
“Good morning, class,” he beamed, “today we are going to be continuing with our potions from last lesson. So, chop chop!” You stood up and walked over to the cupboard where you had stored your potion and was back at the table before Ron had even got up.
“Come on, Ron,” you tried to pull him up from under the armpits but to no avail, “do you really want Malfoy to beat us?” This did the trick and he ran over to his cupboard, nearly running into Lavender on the way there, who didn’t seem to mind to your great annoyance.
The class was silent: a usual occurrence in Slughorn’s lessons, and this gave you plenty of time to think things through. Add the lacewing flies.You looked around you but the small pot of lacewing flies you had gotten out had disappeared.
“Ron,” you whispered, the first to break the silence, “do you know where my lacewing went?” You looked at him when he didn’t respond and saw the small white pot in his hand. “Ron!”
“I’m so sorry, Hermione, I really am. It’s just, this pot looks bloody like the one mum uses so I didn’t realise that I couldn’t use it...” You breathed in deeply and pinched you temples. “Sorry.” He whispered again but you turned around and towards the supplies cupboard again. You felt someone move behind you but carried on walking to the damp-infested cupboard.
Reaching up to one of the higher shelves where you knew the flies were, you stood on your tiptoes until you were sure you could reach no further.
“Need a hand?” He whispered behind you and a warm breeze ruffled the back of your hair. You didn’t turn around, you didn’t say anything; you just stood exactly where you were. His hand reached around your shoulders, accidentally brushing your hair in away from your face as he brought his hand back down with the lacewing flies firmly in his grasp.
“Thanks.” You muttered, looking down and turned around to get out of the small room, but Malfoy hadn’t moved. He just stood there, staring at you and you raised your eyebrows. “Need something?” You asked sarcastically and he chuckled.
“No, it’s just, you looked different today.” You nervously brushed you hand along your forehead, “You look…lovely.”
He paused for a moment but, slowly, raised his left hand up to the side of your face. You watched him carefully as his eyes watched yours and, just as he reached your curls, something seemed to click and he let it drop. “See you around.” He smirked and strode away from the cupboard, leaving you standing there for a few moments, trying to comprehend what had happened.
“Hermione?” Harry called and you jumped, “Hermione, I think you better come out here; you’re potion’s boiling over and smells a lot like Ron’s socks!” A muffled thump and a laugh made you smile. But groaning and taking a deep breath, you strode out of the cupboard and to the potion you were sure was going to be a disaster.
Somehow managing to salvage the best part of the potion, you poured it into a new cauldron and added one lacewing fly at a time. The first fly landed on your clear solution, vibrated slightly and popped into red vapour. This couldn't be right. You turned around to look at Malfoy and he stood next to Blaise, smirking, and watching you.
Ernie turned to look around too, and, as he did, knocked the entire box of flies into your cauldron. Oh shit.
Time seemed to slow down as all the flies fell into the cauldron, which in turn seemed to swell under the force of them all popping at once. Harry looked down at your potion and then straight back at you in what seemed no time at all, putting his hand on your back and making you duck under the table just in time.
The whole table shook above you as the cauldron exploded and time returned back to normal. “Are you okay?” Harry asked, looking over your face to check if you had any scratches or burns.
You couldn’t trust your voice so only nodded. It was then that you heard the first of the rumbling laughter and, as you stood up, you looked around for the source of it; but who else did you expect to find at the centre of it all?
If there was one thing you were sure you were never going to do again, it was that you would never trust a Slytherin.