Blaise Zabini wasn’t someone who could be easily persuaded. But, there was one thing that could always put him on his toes: power. When the Dark Lord had assigned him the special task, he had been overjoyed. There hadn’t been a doubt in his mind that everything would go on well. The Draco Malfoy he knew could never stand the company of a Muggle-born.
Unfortunately for him, things were looking very bleak. It wasn’t bothering the Dark Lord, but it was stifling him.
It wasn’t his fault, of course. He had been executing his task perfectly. There had been the right number of appearances in front of the girl. He’d spoken to her the way he was expected to speak. Despite many shocking revelations, he’d acted his part well, recovering quickly from the shock. Also, no one would’ve doubted him, not even for a second. His father had always told him that he was a brilliant actor.
The information he’d gotten about Harry Potter, had enraged the Dark Lord. But, the fact remained that he’d earned his points. Everything had been going perfectly until Narcissa Malfoy turned up. It hadn’t been an easy feat saving Granger. He had been so sure that she would be dead. But, it was the fear for his own life that he’d save her. Thus, Granger lived.
Unfortunately, so did Draco Malfoy.
Had he been asked a few years ago as to how long can Granger and Draco stay without ripping each other, he’d have given them an estimate of few seconds. Those few seconds, being a credit to the Granger wisdom and her lack of cheek.
Something had changed, though.
He wondered if he had to make another appearance. Maybe that would bring things back to normal. The teenagers had forgotten the rivalry. Well, with a few plantations of evil scheme, he would've put them back on track. But for that, he had to work out a plan. What news was he going to carry to Hermione Granger?
Could it be the sad demise of Ginny Weasley?
With great difficulty, Hermione found herself back in the familiar Gryffindor common room. She eased a slight crick on her neck, as she hung her robes. Yawning, she stretched. The sleep seemed to have refreshed her. With a lazy half smile on her face, she went in to check on Ginny.
“Hey, dear. I hope you didn’t feel too alone. Apparently, Malfoy found me passed out in the corridors.” She paused and then frowned. “The ass claimed I was screeching. But I know I wasn’t. He’s a total jerk, Ginny. Of course, all of us know that he is. He isn’t a Malfoy for no reason.”
Hermione looked at the immobile girl and proceeded to give her something to drink. As the other girl lay on her lap Hermione felt her good mood disperse. She wished at least Ginny would survive.
With a mild sigh of despair, Hermione got off the bed. Casting another wary glance in her direction, Hermione sprinted away. Just as she was about to move along, she heard her name being called.
Frowning, Hermione looked around. “Who’s there?”
“Wow, Hermione. Have you even forgotten the sound of my voice?”
With a whirl, Hermione came face to face with a bespectacled boy. Harry Potter. Not for the first time, Hermione felt shock at seeing the familiar face. Pleasant chills ran down her body as she saw him. He seemed so real…yet, unreal.
His face softened a little. “Hermione. I’m glad you’ve pulled through. I was very worried about you.”
Hermione smiled, wanting to hug him. But, that wasn’t possible. “Of course I’m fine. Harry! I’m so glad to see you. How are you? Where are you? What have you been doing? I have so much to ask you…but,” she said with a pause, as she eyed him warily.
She shook her head. “Everything is so confusing off late. This place…it isn’t Hogwarts. Malfoy…I-I don’t know.”
“Malfoy is still alive,” Harry said with a note of accusation in his voice.
“I’m sorry Harry. I-Is it possible that you might be mistaken? About Malfoy?”
Harry’s eyes flashed, “You doubt me over Malfoy? Honestly, Hermione, are you alright?”
She flushed avoiding his eyes. Suddenly, the place seemed too small to accommodate the two of them.
“Hermione? Answer me.”
"I’m sorry, Harry. It…It hasn’t been easy. I know I’m probably making excuses. But, things have been rapidly deteriorating. Ginny…you haven’t seen her, have you? Or maybe you have. You found me. It wouldn’t surprise me if you’ve already seen her.”
Hermione mistook his cold eyes to be that of suppressed emotions. “Harry?”
“Look, Hermione. There is a reason why I asked you to do away with Malfoy. Won’t you trust me?” There was desperation in his voice. Something about him wasn’t right.
“Harry what’s eating you? I can see you’re bothered about something. What has Malfoy done?”
Stricken, Harry shook his head. “Nothing is moving like planned. I haven’t gotten the slightest of clue as to what I am to do next.”
“How do you manage to come here? I can’t get out of here.”
“It’s a tricky magic, Hermione. I…” He blushed before continuing. “All I have to do is, imagine talking to you, and I am transported here. It’s as though I am traveling through my dreams. I…I can’t explain it. It’s complicated.”
Hermione was amazed at the knowledge.
“Hermione, will you promise me that you will at least try?”
He let out a sigh and let his hands rake through the messy black hair of his. Eyes cold, he was shaking his head. “I would’ve never guessed. You’ve started to go easy on Malfoy. I don’t know what to expect of you. Join forces with him.”
“Harry!” Hermione’s eyes widened. Never had he been this rude to her. Tears formed on the corners, but she held back desperately. “How could you, Harry? After all these years…you insult me by enunciating that I’d join Voldemort!”
Harry shrugged nonchalantly. “You’ve been queer.”
“You wouldn’t know how I have been until you spoke to me for longer than five minutes. You appear and disappear. I don’t know what to think of you. You think I am queer? My apologies, Harry, I beg to differ. The Harry Potter I knew told me everything. You’ve been far too secretive. Now, I agree you have your reasons…but, please, don’t insult me.”
As soon as those words left her mouth, she felt awful. She had no right to speak the way she had. Harry was right. There wasn’t more to Malfoy. She was being queer. When she dared to meet his eyes, Hermione found him looking elsewhere.
“I want to see Ginny.”
“I-sure. She’s inside. Come along.”
The walk to the dorm was awkward and uncomfortable. Hermione wished she could reach out and remove the palpitating silence between them. But, she was lost for words. How could she have been so stupid? Harry was her best friend for the past seven years and she had been crude enough to doubt him. Guilt filled and desperate for a talk, Hermione spoke, “Harry…I’m sorry. I know I shouldn’t have spoken that way.”
He regarded her with a calculating cold look. “I understand,” he said, with no trace of understanding in his tone.
“Are you going to help me get out of this place? Ginny needs help…”
“I’ve been trying. Honestly, I could be doing a better job with your company.”
“There’s got to be a way out, Harry. Can you guess why we’re stuck here?”
“I don’t know, Hermione. I can only guess. Maybe this is all a part of some complicated trap being cleverly laid out.”
“I couldn’t have said it better.”
They stopped outside the door and looked at each other with understanding. Hermione nodded for Harry to move on inside. Smiling, Harry floated into the room. She wasn’t sure if she should stay or move. Silently, she tiptoed away hoping to catch some fresh air, when an alarmed Harry’s voice reached her.
“Hermione! Where’s Ginny?”
Author's Note: Thank you so much for all the wonderful reviews guys :) Hope you enjoy the chapter. Somethings have been cleared, haven't they? ^_^
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