Chapter 3 : Trouble Brewing
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Hermione was exhausted. It was her first day of classes and she was running on about two hours of sleep. She had been up most of the night vacillating between worrying about schoolwork and reflecting on her conversation with Malfoy. For the first time, they had had a civil conversation and she had actually enjoyed it. Not that it mattered at the moment, however. If she didn’t hurry, she was going to be late for Potions.
By the time she reached the classroom, most of the students were already there. She was going to have trouble finding a seat. She felt a pang of sadness because Harry and Ron weren’t there to save her a seat, to share a table with. Most of the faces there were barely familiar to her and she didn’t know where to go.
Then a movement out of the corner of her eye caught her attention. Malfoy was sitting in the back of the class at a table, alone. He had slid his bag off of the seat next to him, which was just to her left. He wasn’t looking at her, his head was down, but at least he wasn’t giving her the “back off” glare that he had been giving everyone else.
An invitation from Malfoy? Stunned, Hermione sat down. She looked at Malfoy for a moment, but he seemed to be too preoccupied with doodling in his notebook to notice. Hermione shrugged and opened up her bag and started unpacking her supplies.
Professor Slughorn had entered the classroom. Being as it was a N.E.W.T. year, he informed the class, there was a great deal of theory that needed to be reviewed before beginning more advanced Potion work. He began to lecture at great length about a few pertinent Potion theories, tapping the blackboard with his wand to reveal a few pages worth of notes.
Hermione began to scribble furiously with her quill, but then realized that she already had most of the material mastered in the study time she had taken during her stay at her parents’ house before coming back to school. Do I recopy it again? she wondered.
Just then, a paper slid in front of her. It was a fairly accurate rendition of Slughorn depicted as a huge walrus, with a balloon coming out of his mouth that said, “BLAH, BLAH, BLAH”.
Hermione snorted. Her hands flew over her mouth as she felt dozens of eyes on her, including Professor Slughorn’s. “Is there a problem, Miss Granger?” he asked.
Hermione felt her face turn bright red. “Oh, no Professor, just clearing my throat.” She saw Malfoy smirking out of the corner of her eye. Mortified, she quickly put her head down and dutifully started to copy the notes on the blackboard.
And then it happened. Malfoy cleared his throat quietly, just loud enough to get her to look up, and tapped the paper with his wand. The Walrus-Slughorn drawing began to move, breaking into some insane sort of burlesque dance number, complete with a mind-boggling, tail wiggling finale.
Hermione, unable to stop herself, broke into a fit of giggles.
“Enough!” shouted Slughorn. “Accio Paper!” To her horror, the paper flew across the room into Slughorn’s waiting hand. “So, Mr. Malfoy, is this how you choose to utilize your time in my class?” Malfoy just glared back at him, saying nothing and insolently chewing on the end of his quill. “And Miss Granger, I am surprised at you. I would have never expected this from a Head Girl.”
Hermione wanted to sink into the floor. She couldn’t think of a thing to say to rectify the situation. She wished she were somewhere, anywhere else but right there, right now.
“The two of you see me after class. Detention.” And with that, Professor Slughorn turned back to the board and continued to lecture.
At the end of the day, Hermione furiously trudged back to her dormitory. She wanted to kill Malfoy. It was her first day of classes as Head Girl and she already had a detention to her name. Could you lose your Head Girl badge for that? she wondered.
She threw her bag onto the bed with such force that Ginny looked up. “Are you okay? What happened?” she asked Hermione.
“I have detention and it’s all Malfoy’s fault!” she cried.
“Malfoy? What did he do now? Why’d he even bother coming back to school anyway?” Ginny wrinkled her nose.
Hermione understood very well why he had come back, but she didn’t want to get into explaining that to Ginny. Instead, she described what had happened in class, finishing with a detailed description of the Walrus-Slughorn dance number.
Ginny seemed puzzled that Hermione had voluntarily sat next to Malfoy in class, but when Hermione got to the part with the dancing walrus, she let out a reluctant giggle. “That is pretty funny—I probably would’ve laughed too. Slughorn’s a git for giving you detention, though; you didn’t really do anything.”
“Yes I did,” Hermione said. “I laughed right out loud in the middle of class, I wasn’t taking notes like I was supposed to…in short, I wasn’t acting at all like a Head Girl. It was really stupid of me; I can’t believe I acted that way. I hope I don’t lose my Head Girl badge for this.”
“Hermione! After all that you, Harry and Ron have done, the least they can do for you is award you Head Girl! If they ever take that badge away from you, I’ll eat my jumper.”
Hermione gave her a small smile. “I guess you’re right. But this day has been such a mess! I just want it to be over.”
“And now you have to spend a detention with Malfoy. Bummer.” Ginny put a consoling arm around Hermione’s shoulders. “But you can do it. You’ve gotten through worse.”
Hermione sighed. That was most definitely true. But that didn’t mean that she’d have to like it.
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