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Chapter 10: A Hundred Letters or The Howler
Hermione woke in her own bed the next morning. Her eyes stung from all the crying. It was a Sunday, she didn’t have school so she didn’t really need to be with people for that long. Just breakfast lunch and dinner. Her heart weighed heavy as she showered and let her hair fall loose. She pulled on a pair of dark jeans and a black top before picking up her bag and walking form her room. Ginny and Harry were waiting for her in the common room. Hermione looked around quickly.
“He’s still in the hospital wing Mione, you don’t need to worry,” Ginny said.
“He’s the one that needs to be worried not me,” she mumbled. Harry pulled her into a hug.
“It’s fine Harry, can we get down the breakfast, I need to go to the library.”
“Yeah, we have Quidditch practice anyway,” Harry said.
“We have to keep training if we want to beat Slytherin.”
“Harry that match isn’t until January!”
“It doesn’t matter, we still have to train.” Hermione sighed as they walked into the great hall. Everyone instantly fell quiet and stared at her.
“Wow, news travels fast around this place,” she said picking up some toast.
“Not just this place,” Dean said pushing a paper in front of her. The toast dropped from her mouth as she stared at the front page, the headline reading ‘Hermione’s Heartbreak.’
Reliable sources from inside Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry last night reported a bust up between the golden trio’s golden couple. Hermione Granger and Ronald Weasly. We have been reliably informed that last night after a bonfire spectacular (organised by Miss Granger herself) Hermione walked into Ron’s bedroom to find him in bed with another girl. According to our source (who wishes to remain anonymous) Hermione stormed from the room and a loud argument ensued in the seventh year common room. Our source tells us that Ron told Hermione that him cheating on her with this girl (who we have been told is named Lavender Brown) was not as bad as Hermione’s alleged cheating with Mr Malfoy (which turned out to be untrue). According to the source Ron’s reason for cheating was that Miss Granger had wanted to wait until she was ready to sleep with him but Mr Weasly could not wait and used Miss Brown as a substitute. Apparently the argument ended with a powerful stunning spell from Hermione that broke through Ron’s shield and hit him square in the chest. We in the office were obviously shocked by Hermione’s sudden outburst of anger and we say to her…good on you girl. Don’t let that idiot mess you around anymore. However our source also tells us that non other than the Draco Malfoy added his own injuries to Ron’s state and it is said that it was in defence of Miss Granger that he acted out like this. Though our source does remind us that he is still in a very serious relationship with Astoria Greengrass and it was used as a reason for Malfoy to take out pent up anger he has held for Mr Weasly for some years. To Miss Granger we would like to say that we are all behind you and we hope the lying cheater stays in the hospital wing for as long as it take for him to realise what he has lost.
Hermione put the paper down and smiled slightly.
“At least they are taking my side, even if someone in our common room did spill the argument to the papers.” she said.
“And so they should, and I would be my broomstick that it was Pansy,” Harry said as a large distressed looking owl landed in front of Ginny. It was Errol.
“Mum’s read the paper then,” she said taking the letter and reading it through.
“What does she say?” Hermione asked.
“She wants to know if it is true or not. Can I borrow some paper and a quill?” Hermione pulled out a piece of parchment and a quill from her bag and handed them over.
“Tell me what you write,” Hermione said.
“Dear Mum. Yes it’s true. Hermione walked in on them yesterday and is completely broken up about it. Mum, I think this is the stupidest thing he has ever done…there am done. She tied the note to Errol and sent him off again. As soon as the owl had left the table students started to converge on them.
“Hermione I am so sorry,” one cried.
“Do you want me to jinx him?” asked another.
“If you need to talk I’m always here.”
“He’s such an idiot for doing that to you.”
“I think,” Harry said leaning over and whispering in Hermione’s ear, “that Ron might have just turned the entire school against himself.”
Hermione left for the library not long after Harry had managed to get the students to leave her alone. Ginny and Harry promised to come and find her after practice so they could walk to lunch together. She found a quite spot in a corner of the large room and settled down at a table, spreading out her essay on polyjuce potion and beginning to write the conclusion. She finished it quickly and pulled out her Ancient Runes homework and started to write it out, trying to keep her mind off Ron as much as she could. It was more than an hour before her peace was broken.
“Is this seat taken?” a voice said opposite her.
“No, you can have it,” she said without looking up. She heard the chair scraped on the floor and then the person sitting down and getting all their stuff out. The scratching of a quill was heard for a few seconds before there was a deep sigh and it was placed on the table.
“Granger, are you ok?” Hermione’s head snapped up to see Draco Malfoy looking at her from across the table. She blinked a few times, she hadn’t even realised it was him.
“Yeah I’m fine Malfoy.”
“Granger, you’re crying.”
“I’m not…” she put her hand to her cheek to find small tears that were falling down her face. She hadn’t even realised. “Anyway,” she said, “what happened to Hermione.”
“Granger suites you better,” Malfoy shrugged with a smirk. Hermione shook her head and they lapsed into silence, the way it had been for the past two months. Then she realised something.
“Malfoy,” she said.
“We need to start organising the Ball.”
“We do?” he asked, not seeming very enthusiastic about the idea.
“Yes, we need to put up a notice about it I think, you know so everyone can get…” she trailed off and fresh tears welled. She was going to say dates but it would come out of her mouth. She had never imagined that she would ever have to look for a date again. She had always thought that Ron would be her date.
“So everyone can get permission to go to Diagon Alley and decide if they are going to stay over the holidays for it,” Malfoy continued with a small smile. Hermione nodded.
“Yes, that.” She turned back to her work and carried on her scribbling.
“I’ll get McGonagall to hand them to the head’s of the houses,” he said as he too resumed his worked.
“Draaaco,” a voice purred. Hermione looked back up and saw Malfoy surprise a small groan as Astoria waltzed through the various books and people in her way.
“I thought I had got rid of her,” he mumbled, just loud enough for Hermione to hear.
“Draco!” Astoria said coming up to him, “what are you doing with her again? Draco I told you that your father wouldn’t like to know you have been conversing with mudbloods.” As he did every time Astoria came within a few of him Malfoy changed his posture, his voice and his eyes. He threw up the wall behind them and Hermione couldn’t see any emotion coming from them anymore. He stood up and pulled her close.
“You know I have to Astoria, you know it’s my job.”
“Yes, well…” Astoria said, “you know everyone’s talking about her today about how they all feel so sorry for her. If you asked me I would say that it’s a good thing that weasel cheated on her.” Hermione heart stopped as she listened to the conversation. She stopped writing trying to catch her breath. “He may be a blood traitor but he is a pure-blood and we don’t want his blood to be tainted with a mudbloods. You never know, this might bring her down a few notches. She might finally remember her place and realise that she will never be as good as us.”
Hermione looked up at Malfoy who’s jaw hid tightened but he didn’t say anything he just stood there. His arms around Astoria in silence. Hermione stuffed her things in her bag and rushed past the pair, knocking Malfoy into his girlfriend. She heard a tinkling ‘I think she heard me’ and then a laugh before she rushed from a library and right into Ginny.
“Mione, what’s wrong?” she asked.
“Malfoy, I was stupid to think he would ever change!” she grabbed her two best friends and marched them into the great hall for lunch where they sat in their normal space.
“What’s he done?” Ginny asked.
“Being Malfoy,” Hermione said, slamming her fork down on the table, “oh I would like to take this fork and…”
“Ok Mione,” harry said slowly, prising the fork from her hand. She let go instantly.
“I’m sorry, I just, I don’t get him. One minute he’s ok and the next he’s being a complete and utter idiot.”
“Who are we taking about?” Dean asked as he walked up to them with Neville and Luna. Instead of going to sit with her house she sat down next to Hermione.
“Malfoy,” Hermione said angrily.
“Is he not being nice anymore?” Luna asked shocked.
“No he is not.”
“Oh, that’s a surprise,” she replied in her dreamy voice.
“I expected it from the start,” Dean said as he chomped on a sandwich, “I mean, he’s been weird this year hasn’t he. He doesn’t say anything. He just sits there staring into space, was only a matter of time before he snapped back.”
“Yeah he’s just trying to show the ministry that they didn’t make a mistake letting him off. I give it till the end of the year, once he leaves he will be back to his old tricks again,” Seamus said as he slid in next to them and caught the thread of their conversation.
The hall went silent instantly and the group turned to see the commotion. Ron stood in the doorway being supported by Lavender. Hermione instantly looked away and started playing with her food. There was no noise as the pair walked through the hall and over to where the group was sitting. He reached them and everyone looked down at their food.
“Harry mate, can I sit?” Harry didn’t say anything put a piece of pasta in his mouth and chewed it slowly. Ron seemed to catch on and he and Lavender walked away to sit at the furthest end of the table.
“Harry,” Hermione whispered when the chatter had started increase again, “you should have said something.”
“No, Mione, he’s not sitting anywhere near us until he drops that leach and says sorry to you.”
“Harry’s right Hermione,” Dean said, “he deserves whatever he gets.” A loud shout sent all eyes looking back towards Ron and Lavender.
“PRAVATI!” she shouted, “COME BACK!” Pravati sailed down the isle and sat in-between Dean and Seamus reaching over towards Hermione.
“I am so sorry for what she has done to you. If I had known…”
“It’s fine don’t worry about it. How come you’re not sitting with them?”
“Lavender and I had an argument earlier and she told me that I was just as bad as everyone else and I didn’t deserve to be her friend,” she shrugged. “She says that to me and she expects me to forgive her that quickly.”
They all ate their lunch slowly, soaking up the hour and a half they had on a Sunday. Around halfway through the food Ginny pointed upwards at a number of owls that had flown into the hall.
“But we had post at breakfast.” They all landed one by one and dropped letters that were piling up in front of Hermione. She spread them out in front of her friends and told them to start opening. Before anyone could even pick up a letter Lavender let out a shrill squeak. The owl that had just dropped a letter in front of Hermione (and the one that was in Ginny’s hand) had dropped a second one in front of Ron.
“Ron’s got a howler!” Dean said gleefully rubbing his hands together. The group watched as Ron tentatively opened the letter and jumped back as Mrs Weasly’s voice boomed through the hall.
“RONALD WEASLY HOW DARE YOU DO THAT TO HERMIONE! YOUR FATHER AND I ARE SO DISAPPOINTED IN YOU! THERE ARE REPORTERS CAMPED OUTSIDE OUR HOUSE AND THEY WONT GO AWAY ALL BECAUSE YOU COULDN’T CONTROL YOURSELF. I HOPE YOU REALISE WHAT YOU HAVE DONE YOUNG MAN! SHE WAS THE BEST THING THAT EVER HAPPENED TO YOU AND YOU THREW THAT AWAY! I HOPE YOU FEEL GUILTY BECAUSE WHEN I NEXT SEE YOU HERMIONE’S STUNNING SPELL IS GOING TO FEEL LIKE A TICKLING CHARM! YOU ARE A WEASLY RONALD BUT THIS IS NOT HOW WEASLY’S BEHAVE. I HOPE YOU ARE HAPPY!”
The howler burst into flames in front of Ron and fell to the table in a pile of ash. Ginny instantly pushed the letter she held in her hand towards Hermione.
“It’s mums writing.” She tore it open and began to read it aloud.
“Hermione, I hope you are ok dear. I am sending you a basket of homemade cookies in the evening post. They are still in the oven. I am so sorry for what my son has done to you and I hope you know that no matter what happens you will always be welcome in our house. You are as much a daughter to me as Ginny is and that will never change even if Ron can’t quite see just how special you are. Arthur sends his love and tells you well done for that spell, it must have been very powerful to break through his shield charm. Love Mrs Weasly.” Tears welled in her eyes again as she put the letter in her bag.
“See Mione,” Ginny said, “its Ron that’s done wrong, and everyone still loves you.” She smiled slightly and started ripping open the letters that lay in front of her.
They all held letters from well wishers and some, like Mr Weasly, had congratulated her on the power of her stunning spell. There were a couple from Ron fans telling her that it was about time but Luna burnt those using her wand. All in all it was a very good lunch and by dinner Hermione was in better spirits. Ron didn’t try to sit with them but instead kept to the end of the table with Lavender. Hannah Abbot and Padma Patel even joined them so the group at the Griffindor table turned out to have more than just Griffindors sitting at it.
The cookies from Mrs Weasly came shortly after they had finished pudding and there was a lot more than Hermione had expected. Hermione wrote a short thank you note back and made her way back to the common room. In the end she decided that she couldn’t eat them all on their own and so all the girls ended up making the decision to stay in Hermione’s room that night and eat them with her.
Hermione entered her room with the girls to find a large bouquet of Cali Lilies sitting on her bed. Pravati, Padma and Hannah gasped as Hermione picked it up.
“Are they from Ron?” Hannah asked. They couldn’t be from Ron. Ron was never this romantic. Ginny seemed to have the same idea.
“Ron would never think of something like that,” she scoffed, “unless he really has come to his senses.” Hermione read the note that lay next to it. ‘I’m sorry.’ The Y was curled around itself at the end.
“It’s not Ron, this isn’t his writing, and anyway if it was he would leave his name so that I knew it was him.” Ginny bounded up to her.
“They didn’t leave a name?”
“No. But I’ve seen this writing before.” It clicked in her head instantly. She dropped the flowers on the bed and rushed to her trunk where she opened the first lock. She pulled out the layer of clothes that hadn’t fit into the wardrobe and pulled out Romeo and Juliet.
“Surly not,” Ginny whispered. Hermione slipped out the first note and compared them. She sat down slowly on the bed as the stared at the writing. They were the same. Ginny looked at her and Hermione replied very slowly.
“They are the same.”
“What is the same Hermione?” Luna asked.
“The writing its, the same. Draco Malfoy sent me the flowers.