Chapter 12 : Hermione's War
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Hermione fled for her bedroom, running as if her life depended on it. Shouting out the password to the portrait hole, she stepped in, and taking the stairs by twos, burst into her room, the door slamming loudly in her wake. It took a moment of struggling to get out of the tight binds her clothes had turned into, but once she was free, she pulled on layers of clothing to conceal herself as much as possible. Stretch pants under jeans, camisole under tank top under long sleeves under a huge baggy sweater, all under her Hogwarts robes.
Angrily stomping down corridor after corridor, she finally arrived at Dumbledore’s office.
“Butterbean.” She said coldly. Her access granted, she continued to the professor’s solid oak door. She lifted a hand to knock, but no sooner had her hand left her robe pocket did the door open by itself, revealing a not so happy Dumbledore inside.
“Hermione, please,” he motioned to the vacant plushy chair before his desk. “sit.” Hermione allowed herself to collapse in the easy chair with a satisfying “oooph”.
“Now Hermione,” he began. “I have known you for quite some years, and I have been fortunate enough to get to know you on a much personal level than many professors can get to know their students. At this point in time, I have come to consider you as my friend, and it has been a pleasure watching you learn and grow.” He paused and gave a soft smile. “However, I never did think I would see the day that you were sent into my office for disciplinary reasons. I do not know what has jumped inside you that made you lash out at your potions professor and fellow classmate, but I must indicate that I do not approve of it at all. I know that Professor Snape can be somewhat…”
“Sleazy?” She volunteered.
“…unmerited, so I would like to hear what you have to say before any action is taken.”
“Malfoy shrunk my clothes.” She said plainly.
“Well, Hermione, I understand clothing is very important to females, however that does not warrant a-”
“While I was wearing them.” She added.
“Ah.” He said, reconsidering what he was supposed to do about these two quarrelling students.
“I was exposed, humiliated in front of half the seventh year class and one professor, I was forced to remain in class by said professor, and when my dismissal was not granted, I left, because if I had stayed only more of myself would be exposed. Oh yes, and Malfoy also picked up a very personal item of mine and made a public mockery of it.”
Dumbledore cleared his throat uncomfortably. “Well Hermione, while I understand your reasons to believe him guilt of this little misdemeanor, there really is no proof that it truly was Mr. Malfoy that cast a spell upon your clothes. And as for the, ah… undergarment issue, I can assure that he will be talked to by the head of his house and a reasonable punishment will be given. However, while we are on the topic of indecent exposure, I believe Mr. Malfoy experienced a rather uncomfortable moment as well. Now, should you choose to confess to being the mastermind behind that rather cruel joke, then I can certainly summon Mr. Malfoy in here and attempt to prosecute him. Is that what you want, Hermione?”
Hermione sighed, angry and defeated. “No, sir.”
“Well,” Professor Dumbledore clasped his hands together and set them on the desk in front of him. “I believe that settles that. A lecture for Mr. Malfoy on respecting his peers, and unless you would like to join him in that meeting with Professor Snape, then I suggest you go about you day, Hermione. And please child, keep your hands clean.”
Hermione nodded, understanding what he meant by keeping her hands clean. She stood and let herself out. As she walked down the chilly corridors, she got some amused glances from her passing classmates, and even the occasional giggle. Pulling the robes tighter around her body, she hurried through her portrait hole to the Head’s common room. The chill that was covering her earlier was pushed away by the warmth of the room from the roaring fire. The room was empty, just how she liked it. Her afternoon classes could wait until tomorrow, because there was no way that she could face everyone after the recent display in potions. Pulling a thick book from the bookshelf against the far wall, she curled up on her favorite lounge nearest the hearth and opened it to the first page and began reading.
Outside, a storm was brewing. It started with a trickle of soft, dewy rain, and then steadily gained force. By the time Hermione had reached the fifth chapter, the rain was pelting the castle wildly while the strong winds whipped at trees with mighty force. Inside, the fire that Hermione was huddled before began to flicker.
A loud clap of thunder shook the castle just as Malfoy stepped through the portrait hole. Hermione looked up at him and glared.
Did I just fall into a terribly cheesy muggle horror movie or something? She thought spitefully. Snapping her book shut, she nearly leapt from her warm seat and stomped up to her dorm, tossing him a look of pure hatred on her way. Malfoy simply smirked at her behavior.
“It looks like the Gryffindor Princess can dish it out but she can’t take it!” he shouted up the stairs to her. There was a splintering slam as she swung the door shut with all her might.
Well she has to come down some time. Malfoy thought optimistically.
The next morning at breakfast, Hermione was still not speaking to, or going anywhere near, Malfoy. She had risen from bed earlier to avoid him on her way down to the Great Hall, and she written to Dumbledore asking permission to not be seated next to him in potions anymore, since it “…caused problems to arise and personalities to clash.” He granted her wish, and told Snape to place her in a different seat. Now she sat next to Goyle, but Goyle was not Malfoy, and that made her happy.
“Morning Mione.” Harry greeted her politely.
“Morning Harry.” She looked at the person standing beside him. “Good morning Ron.”
“Morning.” He mumbled. He seemed off for some reason, his pale skin clashing with his red hair more so than usual.
“Have you seen the morning post yet Hermione?” Harry asked grimly. She shook her head and she handed her his copy of The Daily Profit.
Hermione set the paper down gingerly. Her mind was in turmoil, stuck somewhere between anger, fear, and sadness.
“Harry…” She said softly, reaching across the table to touch his hand. He recoiled abruptly.
“No. It’s me that he wants. I wish he would just come and fucking attack me instead of killing innocent people first! They did nothing! And they died because of m-”
“Oh come off it Harry! They died because You-Know-Who is a sick, mental prick, it has nothing to do with you! You didn’t kill them, HE did! And there was nothing you could have done to stop it, either.” Ron interrupted him so that he couldn’t finish his sentence.
“He’s right Harry. You’re the only reason that our world has a fighting chance, and that it had peace as long as it did. If it hadn’t been for you who know what kind of world we would all be living in right now? Actually, we probably wouldn’t be living at all.” Hermione added.
“I’m going to bed.” Harry said standing up.
“Mate, it’s eight o’clock in the morning.” Ron pointed out.
“I know.” He walked towards the exit. Ron shrugged.
“I just don’t know what to do with that one anymore, Mione.”
“We just have to be patient with him Ron. He’ll come around.” Hermione said. I hope… she added as an afterthought to herself.
Classes passed with an unsettling quickness that day, which only added to the frightening feeling that the peaceful times were running out. After dinner, Hermione was reclining in her favorite chair in the common room when Malfoy came in. To full and sleepy to get up and go upstairs, she remained seated, facing him for the first time since that one potions class. He smirked when he saw her.
Don’t mess with me Malfoy… not today. I could not possibly hate your slimy, no-good arse any more than I do right now-
“Well, well, well. The Gryffindor Princess has come out of hiding I see.”
What’s with this whole ‘Gryffindor Princess’ thing? I’m not being called that behind my back, am I?
“It’s a good thing that you have finally stopped running from me. I’ve missed…” he paused as he looked her up and down. “… well I’ve missed certain parts of you.” Walking over to where she sat in the chair, he leaned forward as if he was going to kiss her. Their eyes met, and suddenly Hermione felt dangerous. She knew she only had an allotted amount of time until she would explode. She no longer felt sleepy and hazy. It was as if someone had flipped the switch inside her, and now she was ready to fight.
He reached a hand out to gently touch her lips with his thumb. His other hand rested on her knee, holding him steady as he leaned forward.
“What a pity about those poor wizards in the paper, eh? A terrible shame.” he said, the insincerity dripping off of his every word, making a mockery of the truly sad situation.
“I didn’t think it was possible for you to disgrace your family name any more than it already is, but congratulations Malfoy, because you just did.”
“Ah! She speaks! How lovely of you to grace me with that voice of yours, Hermione.” He said, feigning surprise.
“I don’t believe that we are on a first name basis, Malfoy. Remove your hands from me this instant.”
“Be careful with your words, Granger. The way you talk could easily give someone the impression that you are an old maid.”
Hermione seethed. Her face was heating up, and the fire behind her eye had been lit. He continued stroking her cheeks.
“Now what happened to that feisty lioness inside of you that couldn’t get enough of my touch?”
“She was a fool, and now she’s dead. I said; get OFF of me NOW Malfoy.”
“No! Now why can’t we just get along, like old times in the Trophy Room? Why the constant war between us?”
“Why?!” Hermione cried. Shoving him away she stood up, then took a step back. “Do you really have the nerve, the tenacity, the indecency to ask that question when you know bloody well why?”
He crossed his arms and smirked. “Yes, I believe I do. Tell me Granger, what makes your side better than mine? Tell me, before you go running to Saint Potter, why won’t you just admit you’ve lost and come snog me like I know you want to?”
“Do you want to know why this WAR will never end, Malfoy?! Do you?! It’s because you KILL innocent people, and you HURT the people you love, and you are forever doomed to be a WORTHLESS, cold being with no heart. You have sold your SOUL to a life that isn’t real, but merely EXISTS! Your jokes are not jokes but only a small glimmer of the EVIL power you possess! There is no use hiding it Malfoy! WE are the war! You and I! I fight for the light, but you will never make it out of the darkness. In due time I will meet you on a bloody battlefield and what will I do?! Will I freeze, wand in hand, and think twice about killing you?! No! I won’t! I will NOT put the lives of the ones I love in danger, I will NOT put them into YOUR hands just because I couldn’t stay loyal to my side. Just because I couldn’t turn my back on someone who means NOTHING to me…” Her head bowed as she took a deep breath. Her voice was now hoarse.
“This CANNOT, and WILL NOT, continue. There is a war going on, people are dying in numbers that grow by the day, by the hour. Look outside this castle we live in Malfoy! Just look at it! We are wizards and witches, killing OUR OWN KIND because Voldemort can’t seem to quench his thirst for power, and blood. My blood, your blood, Harry’s blood, Ron’s blood, Dumbledore’s blood!! We are a dying breed, Malfoy. Killing muggle-born and half-bloods will only speed up the process, and I for one am NOT going to sit around, and snog the Dark Lunatic’s right hand man-in training! You are being taught to SERVE Malfoy, not to lead. Therein lays the difference between us. You are taught to be loyal, and I am born with it running through my veins. You will never succeed in Voldemort’s crazed plan, because just when you begin to relax, and just when you think it’s over, it will be ME holding that wand to your neck, just as I did in the third year. Just don’t question my motive, because the next time I take aim at you, Malfoy, it will be with the intent to KILL.”
Her voice was deathly cold, and Malfoy stood with his arms no longer folded cockily, but hanging limp at his side, his face pale and colorless, and it was then that Hermione saw it for the first time. It was only there for a moment, it did not linger, but she was sure that was it.
Fear and regret in the eyes of Draco Malfoy. No doubt he would go running to his father to tell him exactly what she had said, and what she had threatened, but to see that look of remorse cross his face was the most satisfying thing she had felt in many years. Fear… in Draco Malfoy. She thought she’d never see it. Fear of a muggle born. Fear of Hermione Granger.
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