Chapter 1 : Motives
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“No, no no, you’re doing it all wrong, you’re supposed to say the spell non verbally, you can’t speak!”
“Really?” Ron said sarcastically “I never knew that!”
It was a Friday; the last lesson of the day, and the Gryffindors had Defense against the Dark Arts with the Slytherins. They were practicing non verbal spells with Snape, yet everybody was too eager to get the week over and done with, and they were making very little progress. In fact, so far Hermione was the only one who had managed to produce a spell without moving her lips.
Ron was having trouble with his, as usual.
“It’s just too difficult, my stupid wand’s not doing anything” he said, banging his wand on the desk in frustration.
Hermione rolled her eyes.
“Well, it’s not going to do anything if you’re not going to cooperate with me properly”.
“Well unless you haven’t noticed” Ron grumbled angrily “you’re just about as cooperative as a blast-ended screwt.”
“Well then” Hermione said heatedly “maybe if you’d listened to what Snape had said at the start of the lesson, you’d know what to do, and then you wouldn’t be asking me for help”.
Ron opened his mouth to argue, and then closed it again pulling a face.
“Fine” he grumbled.
Ron wasn’t the only one having trouble.
“WOAH! That almost had my eye out” Nott complained angrily as an ink pallet flew past him, inches away from his face.
Draco didn’t say anything, but aimed at Nott again. Nott shielded himself with his arms as a jet of purple light flew over his head and rebounded of the wall behind him. The spell hit the purple ceramic vase on the shelf near the window to their left. It crashed to the ground, shattering to pieces.
This was enough to be distract Ron and Hermione from their bickering match as the entire class, including Snape turned to see where the smash had come from.
Nott was red in the face with anger.
“What the hell’s up with you, that could’ve hit me!-“
“Enough!” Snape snapped, his black beady eyes morphed into a glare. He flicked his wand lazily and the vase repaired itself, flying back on to the shelf, two inches from where it had last been.
“It is clear that none of you useless idiots are making any progress, I’d expect better from a class of first years, I want you all to return to your desks so that I can give you your homework.”
The class groaned.
Ron was as red as his hair. “If that was me he’d have deducted 50 points from Gryffindor and given me a detention!”
“Well what do you expect” Hermione argued haughtily, you should know by now he favours his own house, now hurry up and sit down before he does deduct points from Gryffindor.”
They both sat down at the desk where Harry sat, packing their things away into their bags.
“I want you to practice non verbal spells for our next lesson on Monday, and if I find that nobody has made any progress at all, the entire class will be staying behind after school for 2 hours, copying out of a text book.”
The entire class groaned again.
Snape opened his mouth to speak again, but was interrupted by a soft nock on the door.
The class turned their heads. A second year Hufflepuff girl stood nervously in the doorway.
Snape gestured for her to come in. She did so, rather timidly, and handed Snape a folded piece of purple parchment, before hurrying out of the room again.
Ron smirked, then frowned as Hermione kicked him under the table.
Snape read the letter with brows furrowed, as he came to the end his lips twisted into a thin smile.
“Professor McGonagall would like to see Miss Granger, Miss Parkinson, Mr Potter, Mr Weasley and…” he raised his eyebrows in surprise “Mr Nott and Mr Malfoy about the homework they all failed to hand in to her this morning.
Ron groaned. They had meant to do their transfiguration essay on switching spells, he’d forgotten all about it. Hermione bit her lip; she’d been so busy doing essays for Professor Binns and Professor Sprout she’d also forgotten. She never forgot to do her homework.
She glanced at Malfoy who hadn’t appeared to have heard. He looked pale and worried, like something else was on his mind. He’d been like that ever since they’d come back after the holidays. She remembered a few weeks back, when she, Harry and Ron had all followed him into Knockturn Alley. She herself had witnessed the conversation that had been going on between Draco and Mr Borgin, could that possibly have anything to do with it?
She decided she did not care, and instead, turned to face Ron, who was looking extremely put out. She guessed he was having a bad day, he certainly didn’t look very happy.
Hermione, harry and Ron headed to professor McGonagall’s office after lunch. They were annoyed to see Pansy, Malfoy and Nott had already arrived, and were waiting outside her door. Nott nudged Malfoy when he saw them approach.
Malfoy, who had been silently staring at his shoes looked up and grinned.
“Tut tut, who’d have thought the nasty little mud blood would have forgotten to do her homework.”
“Shut it Malfoy” Ron snapped glaring at him, Harry said nothing but glared also.
“Just ignore them” Hermione whispered, trying her hardest not to look in malfoy’s direction, this is what she had had to put up with for the past five years. The name calling didn’t bother any more, but it still annoyed her when they jeered.
Pansy gave a high pitched screech of laughter, which almost sounded like a cackle Bellatrix Lestrange would have been proud of.
Nott was staring at Hermione weirdly, like he was trying to read her thoughts. This made Hermione feel slightly spooked, knowing the dark magic Nott’s father was capable of. She glared at him. He smiled at her, ‘as fake as press on nails’ Hermione thought to herself.
At that moment Professor McGonagall emerged from her office, her sharp eyes staring around at them all.
“Now I understand you are being given a lot of homework recently, but that doesn’t excuse you not even attempting to complete the homework which I have set, and don’t give me that look Mr Weasley, I’ve not just called you all here because of your homework, I’ve also noticed each of you have been underperforming in my lessons.”
Hermione stared at Professor McGonagall shocked, she was the only one who had even managed to perform a switching spell in their previous lesson yesterday, how on earth could she possibly be under performing. Professor McGonagall seemed to tell what Hermione was thinking.
“Not you miss Granger; I’ve brought you here for a different reason. If you all can’t be responsible enough to hand your homework in and on time up to high standards, then you’re going to have to share that responsibility until you all learn.”
Ron grinned turning to face Hermione “brilliant”.
“No I don’t think so Mr weasley” Professor McGonagall said turning her sharp eyes on him. Ron’s eyebrows furrowed in confusion. “This is a punishment, not an opportunity for you to rely on Miss Granger to do your work for you as you have done in past. Now let me tell you all, Professor snape and I are very different people, and we are the heads of two very different houses, but we learn to live in the same castle as each other and get on civilly, and judging by past events I have decided it is time some of our finest students…” she glanced at Hermione “ ..Shall be setting an example to the rest of the school, by getting on civilly with your rival houses so I have decided that seeing as there are 3 slyrtherins here, and three Gryffindors, things couldn’t work out better. Miss Granger, you’ll be working with Mr Nott, Mr weasley and Mr Malfoy, and Miss Parkinson and Mr Potter.
“No way!” Draco snapped angrily.
Mcgonagall smiled “Infact Mr Malfoy, you do have a point, many teachers have come complaining to me that you have been underperforming in many other subjects also, I think we’ll need someone a bit more intelligent to set an example, Miss Granger will do fine, Mr Potter, you will be working with Mr Nott.
Hermione’s stomach gave a jolt; Professor McGonagall was going to make her work with Draco Malfoy, possibly one of the foulest creatures on this planet.
She stared up at Professor McGonagall with pleading eyes but was taken no notice of. Clearly she was stuck in a hopeless mess.
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