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A Strange Puzzle by DragonGoddess
Chapter 5 : A tussle
Rating: MatureChapter Reviews: 39

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The ticking of the clock felt like a hammer pounding into her head. With every passing minute, Hermione’s frustration grew. Another piece of parchment fell ungraciously into the fire before it disappeared with a hiss. Distractedly, Hermione toyed with a lose curl, as her brain was bombarded with hundreds of self formulated ideas, none logical.

And it wasn't helping that her mind was assaulted by the image of a red head. Too many thoughts, too many memories, too many fears.

What had happened to everybody? Will she ever find out? Was there even a chance of making through all of this, alive? Not that she wanted to live anyway.

The sight of the flames licking hungrily at the air was mesmerizing. Her eyes felt heavy as she continued to stare at the orange of fire, before shaking her head. A dull headache was settling in the back of her head. Sitting up, Hermione rubbed her head trying to rid the pain.

So far, the only plausible plan she’d gotten was hexing Malfoy into oblivion while he slept. But there was just one small problem with that one, Draco Malfoy didn’t just fall asleep in her presence. Maybe she’d drug him…

Ugh, this is insane!

Who knew it took so much of planning to do away with the irksome blokes who always wore a pathetic smirk and had a heart, the like of venomous snakes.

With another cluck of annoyance, Hermione stood up. It wasn’t long before she exited the company of the genial common room to the cold grounds. A smile touched her lips as she witnessed the serenity of her surroundings, with the setting sun being replaced by the milk white moon. In leisurely pace, she continued to stroll down the grounds before stopping all together.

How in the name of God did she always find him? Thankfully, she hadn’t made the fatal mistake of approaching him. With quiet footsteps, she moved unnoticed, standing just a few feet away from him. A frown formed on her face as she looked at him.

As the moon light cascaded, every feature of Malfoy became highlighted. Maybe it was the moonlight which deceived her eyes. Because he stood there with an alien look on his face. It was a kind of melancholic wistful expression instead of the familiar pompous sneer that he always wore. Arching her eyebrows slightly bemused, she watched as he sighed and kicked a stone and watched till it drowned into the water.

“I’m messed up,” she heard him say, “Messed up sad fucking worthless excuse for a wizard,”

Now that definitely caught her attention. Fighting the urge to get away from her hiding with a delighted ‘ha ha I won!’ exclamation, she watched him silently.

Nearly fifteen minutes later, Malfoy was still stood where he was staring off into space, unfocused. The initial pump of adrenaline had vanished. The anxiety of stumbling into some unexpected clue to…to…what, she wasn’t sure, had rooted her foot to the ground. But she finally gave up. Nothing would come out of this.

Deciding that it was time she moved out she turned around to leave, only to have a twig of the tree, whose shelter she’d chosen, tug forcefully at her. With a gasp, she slammed against the tree letting out a small quiet cry due to the unexpectedness.

“Who’s there?” she heard Malfoy’s wary voice.

Shocked now, she tried to stay put. Her hands shivered as she clasped them over her mouth to stop the sound of her ragged breathing.

She heard footsteps approach in her direction. Beads of sweat formed on her forehead. The thought of him catching her hiding behind a tree was appalling. Deep down she knew the reason why she felt this fear. Because deep down, she knew she’d stepped into his personal moment.

A moment of silence followed as Malfoy stood scanning around. Hermione was quite sure she was well hidden (thanks to the departure of sun) and wouldn’t be found unless he undertook a thorough search for any intruders.

To her greatest relief he moved away a minute later, his tread quick. After making absolutely sure that he was gone well away from her, Hermione came out of her little hiding.

Looking around with great stealth, she made her way back to the castle. The thumping of her heart had not quite reached the normal levels, when she heard a whisper of ‘lumos’ followed by a flicker of light. Every part of her body except for her eyes stopped functioning, as she stood stunned under the penetrating gaze of Malfoy, who was about a foot away.

His lips were set in a thin line. There was a cracking sound which she was sure were from his fists clenching together.

“So,” he said his voice colder than ever before.

Silence was the only response he received.

“How long have you been eavesdropping?”

Her palms were sweating as she turned away to avoid the ferocious glare. Wetting her lips, she concentrated on the wall to her side with sudden fascination.

“What is with you people? The Potter-clans! It’s driving me nuts, all right? I don’t need any extra serving of botheration. Can you people just…leave me fucking alone?”

It was sheer valiantness on her part when she turned back to meet his gaze. But he seemed disgusted to even see her. Somewhere in the back of her mind, she was mildly surprised and puzzled.

“Potter-clans, Malfoy?”

She was surprised to find that her voice hadn’t wavered. On the contrary, she was proud of the fact that she sounded pretty confident and undisturbed. Now if only she could convince her body to follow suite…

A bark of laughter startled her into stumbling backwards slightly. Frowning she tucked a strand of lose curl behind her ear looking at him nervously. This didn’t feel very comfortable. The unexpected laughter stopped abruptly before he savagely pushed her against the wall. Little stars formed in front of her eyes as her head hit the wall.

“Maalfoy!” she cried in a week attempt of protest as her voice cracked.

There was a glint in his eyes as he looked at her, amused now.

“Tell me Granger,” he began using his wand to tilt her chin upwards, “How does it feel to be manhandled?”

The pressure of the wand grinding into her chin increased to painful levels. She tried to pry herself away from him by hitting him, but he captured both of her hands in his powerful ones.

“Let go!” she hissed as tears formed from the pain he was causing.

“Doesn’t feel good, eh?”

She could feel his breath on her face as he moved closer to her. Afraid about what would happen, her struggles increased, “MALFOY!

And he let her go, stepping away. He sneered at her, “That’s what I feel when you invade my personal space and manhandle my emotions. Stay away from me!”

Too stunned to speak, she watched as he turned around and left. She looked down at her wrists which had turned a shade of red. With great delicacy, she touched her chin and winced as she felt a tiny drop of sticky liquid. Leaning back against the wall, she slowly slid down and pulled her knees close to her as tears threatened to pour down.

Breathing heavily she managed to calm herself down before collecting her pitiful self together and walking back to her room. Slowly, she sunk into a restless stupor.


Author's Note: Yes! Am back! w00t! Exams done! So, the first thing I do you ask? Update my story! Thanks for all your wonderful support! Eh, I was feeling positively negative while writing this story. Oooh! Oxymoron! Anyway, I hope my foul mood isn't reflected in here. Hm, the foul mood was later made all betta by mah darling sister, nonetheless! I still wonder if you've enjoyed the chapter. Let me know won't you? *cough*REVIEW*cough*

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