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Chapter 1 : The First Step
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It was late at night. A darkness he had never known fell over the castle hallways, emitting a stillness that sent shivers down his spine. He stood in the Defense the Dark Arts classroom focused intently on the spell he was practicing, trying all too hard to ignore the shadows on the wall behind him. Tonight there was something different in the air—he could sense it and he didn’t like it. It was like something was watching him practice for his exams and he could feel its gaze. Draco Malfoy looked at his watch, seeing that it was one o’clock in the morning, he realized why the darkness that he usually drew his strength from was beginning to scare him.
“You’re tired Malfoy—not insane,” he whispered assuredly to himself, while letting the tension drain from his muscles. Malfoy had gotten into this unusual practice of studying before examinations (unusual for him anyways). For some reason, he enjoyed the solitude of the classrooms at night and, more importantly, the prospect of showing off the next day in classes. You could say this new practice of his was an outlet, his way of getting away from the suffocating life his father had chosen for him. Tonight he was practicing a blinding spell on the boggart, conveniently stored under Snape’s desk. He didn’t really need to practice this particular spell; he had mastered it during class in fewer than five minutes. Malfoy had just taken an unusual liking to it. “To blind is to harness the ultimate power” he recited from memory. Snape had said those exact words earlier today and for some reason they seemed to be burned permanently into Draco’s memory.
“All right. One more time and then I guess I’ll go to bed,” he said letting out a final yawn. It happened in a flash. “Sansvoir!” Malfoy exclaimed, while aiming his wand at the approaching boggart for the forty-third time tonight; but, this spell did not play out like the previous forty-two. The blinding red light shot from his wand, as usual, but before he could duck, the light suddenly changed paths and hit him directly between the eyes. A searing pain took up residence in his sinuses, leaving him to drop helplessly to his knees. Crawling around on the floor with hopes that the slight movement would dissolve the pain, Draco found the strength to let out intermittent yelps for help. The moment he thought he failed, he could sense another enter into the room, running up to him and answering his now muted moans. He heard the soft but experienced voice echo the counter spell, “Avecregard!” but nothing happened. He could feel her hands grip his sides in a panic. Finally, as if surrendering to the pain now pervading throughout his bloodstream, he allowed the darkness to blind him.
The dainty figure with bushy brown hair watched in sheer terror as Draco Malfoy collapsed into her arms. Helpless and unconscious, his head rested comfortably on her forearm. Drawing upon her muggle intuition, she checked his pulse to make sure the silver haired brat was still breathing.
“Unbelievable!” she sighed. She knew staying in the library past curfew was a bad idea but she just could not put down the latest edition of Hogwarts A History. “Uggh…” she grunted. She knew breaking rules would have consequences, but this was a ridiculous twist of fate. She thought she would lose points from Gryffindor or at most receive a detention for staying out late. Hermione Granger never expected, however, that she would have to save her archenemy—Draco Malfoy.
Dragging his evil but well-toned arse up to the hospital wing, Hermione could have kicked herself. “This is the worst punishment of all time!” she growled at the empty corridor before her. Entering the hospital wing, she couldn’t help but notice as Mme Pomfrey rushed to take Malfoy out of her embrace that the pureblood before her was quite handsome when he was helpless—that is when he wasn’t snickering at her or branding her a mudblood. As quickly as the thought crossed her mind, however, it evacuated, leaving Hermione exhausted and extremely sorry she had broken school rules. She turned to leave the hospital wing, finally obeying her body’s craving for rest, but found that stern figure blocked her way out.
Startled but intrigued by the figure standing before her, Hermione let her curiosity get the best of her. She took a step closer to the entrance of the hospital wing and recognized, at once, the sharp stance of one assistant headmaster. Professor McGonagall, in her teacher’s robes, stepped ominously out of the shadows, letting the moonlight from the clerestory illuminate her curt expression.
“Ahh! Miss Granger, I see it was you who found Draco Malfoy,” Professor McGonagall stated in an uncharacteristic voice that was faintly reminiscent of the Divinations teacher, Sybil Trelawny.
“Yes Professor, I found him in the Defense Against the Dark Arts room! I’m sorry that I was out past…” Hermione began but she was quickly interrupted.
“Ahhh. Blinded by magic, I see—it’s the first step!” McGonagall stated more to herself than to Hermione; a smirk of disbelief crossed her hard face as she stared at the disabled boy lying directly behind Hermione.
“Uhh Professor?” Hermione asked completely puzzled.
“I never thought… I never… those two?” McGonagall trailed off. “Dumbledore you sure know what you are doing… you sure know what you are…” McGonagall stopped mid-sentence again, shocked and amazed at the sight of the two students before her. At this point, Hermione was too exhausted to follow her Professor’s train of thought let alone comprehend it. Hermione allowed herself to collapse in a chair beside Draco’s cot and watched as Professor McGonagall apparently put two and two together. A mixture of boredom and confusion overtook her, as Hermione let herself doze off. So exhausted was she that she did not see the Headmaster appear beside McGonagall.
“Indeed Minerva, it seems that the prophecy had some truth to it. Blinded by magic, oh it is the first step! But it is only the first. I fear what is yet to come—a battle of minds, hearts, and souls that could unite or destroy our student body. Only time will tell whether these two are the pair we have been waiting for. But you are right, Minerva. Blinded by magic is the first step,” Dumbledore said, gazing at the two students now fast asleep.
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