Chapter 8 : Hermione Duels Draco
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Chapter Eight: Hermione Duels Draco
The second night of duels ended after Harry finished off Malfoy, causing the Gryffindors to leave the Great Hall in high spirits. Even Professor McGonagall was caught doing a little jig. Professor Snape, on the other hand, was sullen and angry; that is, even more sullen and angry than usual. Had Harry been skilled the art of Legilimency, he would have known that Snape was savagely plotting for his murder. But Harry was did not know Legilimency any better than Occlumency, so he went to bed feeling safe and happy.
Malfoy disappeared after losing to the Boy-Who-Lived. At breakfast the next morning a tearful Pansy and a distraught Blaise reported that Malfoy had locked himself in a closet and would not come out. At this piece of information Harry felt slightly uncomfortable.
"He locked himself in a closet?" said Hermione when Harry told her and Ron the news. She raised her eyebrows, looking very puzzled. "That's odd."
"Yeah, it is," said Harry. "Malfoy, in a closet."
Ron sniggered. "I find it funny. It's all thanks to you, Harry. If you hadn't beaten him last night, he wouldn't be hiding."
Hermione frowned. "I think it's because Harry saved his life," she said, unfolding the Daily Prophet a tawny owl had delivered. "Not because he lost."
Before Harry could answer, something small and compact was chucked at his head. "Ow!" he said in protest.
"It's a note," Ron observed, catching the object when it rebounded off of Harry's forehead. "Here."
Harry unfolded the note after looking around. Ginny had not come down from the girls' dormitories yet. Dean and Seamus were deep in discussion, going over the previous night's duels. Parvati and Lavender were farther away, giggling and gossiping as always.
The note was not addressed, nor was it signed. Hermione and Ron leaned in to read it.
I'd look out for the Mudblood's life, if I were you.
"How ominous," Hermione snorted, brushing the death threat aside. "Honestly."
Ron looked fearful and angry at the same time. "It's from Malfoy, I bet you anything. He's angry about losing to Harry and he wants revenge."
"Well, of course it's from the nasty little ferret," said Hermione impatiently. "Who else would call me a Mudblood? Who else is going to duel me next Saturday night?"
"But who chucked it at me?" said Harry, cutting in.
The three of them immediately raised their heads to survey their surroundings.
"I don't see Malfoy anywhere," Ron muttered at Harry.
"What's that?" Neville piped up. He had just taken a seat at the Gryffindor table, holding Luna's hand. Luna settled into a seat next to him, looking as dreamy as usual.
"We're looking for Malfoy," Harry informed him. "We think he sent us this note." And he showed Neville the note.
"Hermione, you better be careful," said Neville anxiously.
"I know, Neville," said Hermione patiently.
"He's right over there," said Luna suddenly. She startled the rest of them, since they hadn't even been aware that she had been paying attention.
"Who?" said Ron.
"Malfoy, of course," said Luna, turning to Ron serenely. "It must be those Wrackspurts again."
"Eh?" said Ron.
"Oh, never mind!" snapped Hermione. "Where is he, Luna?"
"Skulking by the entrance," she said, calmly buttering a piece of toast. "You can see him spying on us from behind the doors."
Harry looked towards the entrance to the Great Hall just in time to see Malfoy dart back into his hiding place. "What the hell is he doing?"
Luna shrugged. "He's probably been affected by a--"
Hermione interrupted Luna before she could tell them all about the newest nonexistent creature that had infected Malfoy's brain. "He's obviously trying to learn a few new tactics before he duels me. After all, the more you know about an enemy, the more you can use against them."
Ron looked at Hermione, awed. "That was genius, Hermione."
"Why thank you," she said, beaming at him. "But let's not dwell on the stupid ferret anymore. Class is about to start."
Hermione spent the rest of the week sweeping through the halls with her usual confident manner, never showing to anyone that she was nervous about her upcoming duel with Malfoy, which had somehow become greatly publicized. Besides, she wasn't nervous at all.
Whenever she caught Malfoy staring at her as though death rays would shoot out of his eyes, she smiled at him sweetly. This generally caught him off guard. She received exactly twelve more notes that spoke of her imminent death. Whenever this happened, usually in the middle of a class she shared with Malfoy, she would set it somewhere he could see and burn it to cinders. Once, during dinner in the Great Hall, her goblet of pumpkin juice had exploded spontaneously. Of course, the jeers coming from the Slytherin table told her immediately who the culprit was. To Harry and Ron's delight, she at once pulled out her wand and waved it threateningly at the Slytherins. Before she could even utter a jinx, the Slytherins all toppled off the bench out of fear.
Hermione figured out that Malfoy had recovered from his duel with Harry and was back in full force. This didn't worry her at all. She would rather duel and crush Malfoy fair and square, so that no one--not even the Slytherins--could say she had won only by a fluke.
Hermione felt she was fully prepared for Saturday night, but Harry and Ron forced her to go to the library in her spare time to look up jinxes and hexes she could use against their worst enemy. She often laughed later at the irony of Harry and Ron having to drag her to the library to look at books.
Nevertheless, when Hermione woke up on Saturday morning, there were butterflies in her stomach. She wished that night would fall so the dueling could begin as soon as possible. Then she could beat Malfoy like the ferret he was.
"Are you ready, Hermione?" said Ron, pacing around her nervously.
"Yes, Ron," she said, with an eye-roll to hide her nerves. "Please stop circling me. You're making me dizzy."
"Right. Sorry," Ron mumbled. He stopped pacing, grabbed Hermione by the shoulders, and kissed her in front of everyone. When he released her she was blushing madly. So was he.
"Um," she said, trying to calm down.
"I'll be waiting in the stands," he said.
"Okay," she said. "Whatever happens, you and Harry mustn't interfere."
Ron opened and closed his mouth. Sometimes he got the feeling she could read minds, because he and Harry had indeed been planning to come to her aid. "Of course not," he muttered. He turned to face her again and tried to smile. It came out like a grimace. "Good luck, Hermione."
"Thank you," she said. Just then, Harry and Ginny appeared.
"Ready to squash Malfoy?" said Harry, grinning broadly.
"Definitely!" she said, beaming at him.
"Remember the Bat Bogey curse, Hermione," said Ginny, giving her a hug. "It comes in very handy at times. I should know."
"I should know too," said Ron under his breath. "I've been on the receiving end of one of those more than once." Ginny smirked at him.
"Bat Bogey curse. Got it," said Hermione as though the spell wasn't already ingrained in her memory.
At last the lights dimmed. Last minute hugs and whispers of good luck engulfed Hermione. She could see Malfoy in the middle of a group of Slytherins. They were huddled together like Muggle football players might before going on to the field.
"Welcome ladies and gents to the continuation of So You Think You Can Duel!" announced Fred in his deep voice. "Today's main event, as you may have already heard, is the duel of Hermione Granger and Draco Malfoy!" He paused. Screaming cheers filled the air.
Two magical spotlights appeared, one on Hermione and the other on Draco. He was smirking at her. She gazed back coolly, a look of indifference on her face.
"Here she is…the most brilliant witch of our age, Hermione Granger!" shouted George. There was a roar of approval coming from three-quarters of the crowd. Everyone but the Slytherins was rooting for Hermione. She smiled at the onlookers, waving like a seasoned champion, and ascended to the dueling stage.
"And she will be dueling the terrifying, the menacing Draco Malfoy!" shouted Lee. "And yes, he did pay me to say that." In an undertone, but still clearly audible, he added, "I was going to introduce him as the wimpy ferret, but Snape wouldn't let me."
Draco stomped up the stairs amidst riotous laughter.
"I hope you're prepared, Malfoy," said Hermione, a steely glint in her eye. The malicious tone in her voice surely scared off Draco, but like any good Malfoy he was well trained in keeping his emotions hidden.
"The time of your death has come," he sneered.
Hermione rolled her eyes. "Oh dear…how frightening."
"Ready--" cried George. Hermione tugged on her hair to make sure it was securely fastened in a braid. Malfoy straightened his robes.
"Get set--" shouted Lee. Hermione rolled up the sleeves of her robes. Malfoy made sure his hair was sleek and perfect.
"And--" The two duelers pulled out their wands.
"--DUEL!" roared Fred, along with the rest of the crowd.
Hermione lost no time in starting with a string of hexes.
"Jeliatic wubulio!" Malfoy dodged the purple-and-green jet of light easily.
"Nocens saeta!" This time he wasn't so lucky, and the audience laughed uproariously as his neatly combed hair came undone and turned into a fizzy poof on top of his head.
"Supprimer poil!" He ducked and the jinx hit Cho Chang squarely in the head. Her shiny black hair disappeared. She screamed.
"Elio!" Malfoy turned around wildly, trying to see what had happened. He opened his mouth to curse his opponent and squeaked.
"Effeminatus!" finished Hermione. Malfoy's eyes opened wide in horror as his robes were replaced with a dress, his dragonskin shoes became stiletto heels, flashy rings and necklaces appeared out of nowhere, and an invisible hand painted makeup on his pale face.
Hermione was unable to watch the effects of all of these since she had uttered the five spells without pause. Now she ducked as Malfoy attempted to retaliate with a string of hexes of his own. To distract him, she conjured a mirror and set it in front of him.
Malfoy, who had forgotten about magic, had been about to charge at Hermione with his hands in fists and his teeth bared when the mirror dropped down in front of him. He skidded to a halt and looked at his reflection in horror.
"My--my hair!" he howled. The squeaking had evidently worn off. "And my face! My designer robes and manly shoes! Damn it, Mudblood, what the hell did you do to me?"
Hermione's mouth twitched, but she wasn't full on laughing yet. She had to stay focused.
"She revealed your true self!" came Blaise Zabini's voice. He was laughing so hard a disgruntled Pansy Parkinson had to hold him up.
"Shut up!" roared Malfoy. "I'll get you for this, Mudblood!"
"No profanity please!" Fred cut in warningly.
"Yeah!" said Harry, Ron, Ginny, Neville, and a dozen other Gryffindors threateningly.
He ignored them all and Vanished the mirror. Hermione was standing calmly on the other side.
"You look ridiculous, Malfoy," she said at last with a giggle.
His face twisted with rage. He was so angry he could hardly speak. "You--you--"
Hermione smirked at him. That was it. She had just stolen his smirk!
"Parabolare perpetuus!" he shouted.
Hermione ducked a second too late, and the spell hit her. At once her vision swam and her brain became fuzzy.
"Ten purple monkeys knitted twenty-seven socks to give to Father Christmas and an elephant named Bob," she blurted, and then clapped a hand over her mouth. What the bloody hell did she just say?
It was Malfoy's turn to laugh. He looked less ridiculous too since he had gotten his masculinity back. His hair was still looked like a blond afro, but nothing could be done about that. Hermione had made sure that spell would remain for at least another two weeks.
"Oranges fell from the sky and hit Harry in the head while Ron ran around Professor Snape cawing like a baboon." Her eyes opened in horror.
"This," drawled Draco, "is a perfect example of the Babbling curse. The smartest witch of our age" --he said this very sarcastically-- "has finally cracked." And the Slytherins joined him as he laughed.
To Hermione's relief, the Babbling curse was growing weaker and she could control what came out of her mouth again. But she wasn't about to let Malfoy know that.
"How are you feeling, Granger?" he sneered.
What a stupid git, Hermione thought smugly. He could have won already if he hadn't just stood there and gloated.
"Cookies are yummy and Draco Malfoy is a leprechaun who frolics to the end of the rainbow!" she said, pretending she was still under the Babbling curse.
The Gryffindors erupted into laughter.
"Malfoy is a stupid, arrogant prat who thinks he's the best thing since sliced bread but we all know he's a jerk and looks like a cross between an orangutan and a beluga whale!"
The smirk was wiped off of Malfoy's face in a flash, but still he did not act.
"Malfoy's hair looks like a hive of bumblebees and I'm sure they will come buzzing out to sting his ugly face!"
Hermione was fully enjoying herself now. All the years of bottled-up hate came pouring out. "Malfoy is a good-for-nothing mean little toe rag who has no one to call his friend because he smells like a dead cat!"
"Shut up, Mudblood! I know you're not under the curse anymore!" he snarled angrily.
"Finally figured that out, haven't you?" she said tauntingly. Before Malfoy could even raise his wand, she shouted, "Wallious humion!" Her aim was true and Malfoy transformed into a blubbering walrus.
Harry and Ron were laughing so hard tears were streaming down their faces.
"That…was…bloody…brilliant," choked out Ron, wiping his face.
"Frolicking…leprechaun," Harry managed to say, overcome with laughter again.
Hermione stood triumphantly over her beaten opponent and beamed at her cheering audience. The Gryffindors, Hufflepuffs, Ravenclaws, and even a few Slytherins who were glad to see Draco knocked off his high horse, whooped and hollered in celebration.
"Seeing that Malfoy has been reduced to a walrus, I declare HERMIONE GRANGER TO BE VICTORIOUS!" roared Fred, George, and Lee together.
Hermione bowed and curtsied while Malfoy hid his walrus head under his walrus flipper. Never again would he make fun of her mercilessly. Never again would he make Hermione's life living hell. Never again would he call her a Mudblood.
Hermione couldn't stop smiling. It certainly felt good to win.
Did you like this chapter? Please review! They keep me going. And if you have a spell you came up with and would like to see in this story, let me know!
Yours till butterbeer cork necklaces become fashionable,
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