Chapter 29 : Hogwarts
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I woke up early in the morning, or rather; Blaise woke me up by moving around. Probably trying to get my legs off of his body without me noticing. Well, I noticed.
I groaned and he stilled his movements – obviously afraid that he had managed to wake me up. After a few moments of complete stillness, he went back to pushing my legs off. I could have easily removed my legs, but where would the fun in that have been? I had a blast hearing him struggle not to wake me up.
I wanted to grin widely as he let out a frustrated groan, but I did nothing. Then it hit me; we were going back to Hogwarts. Today.
Never before had I sat up so quickly, I even made Blaise jump twenty feet up in the air – Okay, that's a bit of an exaggeration.
He got out of the bed, since he had finally gotten my legs off of his.
Giggling at his reaction, I followed his lead and got out of bed. I found that his dark brown eyes glared a bit at me. I tried to look as innocent as I possibly could.
“You were awake?” he asked in one breath - he did sound a bit upset about that fact.
“No,” I lied and he knew it, “Fine, though I only just woke up. Where are you going anyway?”
“The loo,” he stared at me as if I was slightly stupid, “Where do one usually go at -” he glanced at the clock, “6:30 am?”
Before I could answer him, my stomach gave a loud growl. I ended up with just giving him a shrug.
“Wanna join me downstairs for breakfast later? I'm starving.”
“Hermione... It's 6:30 am!” I hushed him as Draco rolled over in the bed. He didn't say anything else, but I had a feeling that he didn't want to join me at all.
“Please, Blaise? I don't wanna walk around here all alone. This place is freaking scary,” I faked a shiver and looked at him with what I hope resembled puppy eyes, “I'd feel a lot more safe walking around here if you were with me...”
He snorted and walked towards the bathroom door but stopped just after he had opened it. With a huge grin on his face he leaned himself against the wall beside him.
“I'll go with you if you say that I'm the most gorgeous human being you've ever seen, and that you're honoured to be in my mere presence.”
I stared at him for about ten seconds before I brought my hand up to cover my mouth as I started to giggle. He turned to walk inside, but I held up my hand to stop him.
“Okay, okay. You, Blaise Zabini, are the most gorgeous person I've ever seen. I'm honoured – Oh, Merlin,” I fought back another giggle, “I'm honoured to be in your presence. Happy now? Will you come with me?”
He flashed a grin and gave a nod, and I beamed at him.
He shushed me and motioned towards the bed where our two blondes where sprawled out. Draco looked more like an angel than ever before. His white hair pushed back from his face, which revealed all of his face. His eyes where shut, his mouth partly open. The covers had slid off his upper body and I realized that he had – sometime during the night – taken his t-shit off. His pale, toned chest was exposed and I let my eyes take in the perfection of it before glancing up at his face again. He looked peaceful – and happy.
“Right,” I said when I looked back at Blaise, “Well, you go do your thing, and I'll wait here for you.”
He mumbled something I didn't quite catch before closing the bathroom door behind him.
I hurried up getting dressed. The idea of Blaise walking out while I was in my underwear was slightly horrifying. It wouldn't have been as much embarrassing as it would have been awkward. But it would surely have been embarrassing enough to make me blush furiously.
I walked over to the chair in the corner of Draco's room, on which my clothes for the day were. I had folded and put them there the previous day, just after I re-packed my trunk and put my school robes in a bag for easier access. That way I wouldn't be forced to go through my entire trunk just to find them.
I was excited about going back to Hogwarts, but at the same time it made me sad.
There were only so many months left before graduation. Who knew what would happen after we had graduated?
Some of the people in my year, I might never see them again. I simply had to make the most out of the remaining months – and try not to worry too much about my N.E.W.T's.
Something I did allow myself to worry about was Quidditch, how in the world would I be able to pull that off?
I had never been the Quidditch type. Hell, I hadn't even been able to sit up on a broom six months ago.
It didn't take me long to get my clothes on, barely a minute. However, it took a lot longer for Blaise to be finished at the loo. Had he fallen asleep in there?
I spent my time waiting in the chair on which my clothes had been on, staring at my boyfriend. Was that creepy of me? That I was observing him as he slept? Oh, but I couldn't stop looking at him. He was beautiful.
Suddenly the bathroom door opened and Blaise stepped out, looking as if he had just woken up.
“Took you long enough,” I said, before I stoop up and walked towards the door, “Coming?”
“Yeah, gee... The breakfast isn't going to run away if you're not there within a minute.”
“You never know,” I replied and opened the door but made a complete turn, because I thought it would be appropriate to leave Draco a note telling him where we were. Blaise walked right in to me and I suddenly found myself pressed tightly against his chest, as he had caught me before I lost my balance.
“What the...?” He looked at me as if trying to read my mind, but I just sighed and relaxed.
“I'm just going to leave a note for Draco, 'kay?”
He let go of me, and I walked back in to the room to scribble down some words on a small note. I told him to come down to the kitchen for breakfast as soon as he woke up, since Blaise and I would be there.
Blaise and I stood outside the kitchen sooner than expected. The sight in front of us had, however, completely made us freeze.
In the kitchen, which was lightened up by the sun that was just rising and shining in through the large window – there they stood. The sun almost blinded me. It made it look as if they were angels, with the light right behind them.
They stood there, like I had never seen them before. Lucius hands on Narcissas hips. His lips on hers. Narcissas arms around Lucius neck.
My mouth hung open in shock of seeing them being so very intimate with each other. This was something I had never – ever – thought that I would ever witness.
As they broke apart, Narcissa smiled up at her husband as if she had never seen him before.
“I love you,” she breathed as Lucius leaned his forehead against hers and returned her smile.
He whispered something which sounded awfully a lot like 'You too, my love.'
But he couldn't have... Right? I must have misheard him.
Glancing over at Blaise, I found that he also stared at the couple in front of us. He looked shocked, and he seemed to be feeling just as awkward as I about having walked in on such a intimate moment. Though, he couldn't quite keep from looking slightly amused about the whole thing as well.
As if sensing someone's presence; Lucius turned his head our direction. Up on seeing us, he let go of his wife instantly.
If I didn't feel so awkward about it all, then the look on Lucius face would have made me laugh. Narcissa cleared her voice and smoothed out her clothes before she could look us in the eye. However, I looked away from her. It was just so awkward.
“What in Merlin's name are you two doing up this early?” she questioned but before I had the chance to answer her, she asked another question, “And where is Draco?”
“We were hungry and Draco is still asleep,” said Blaise and I was glad that he answered instead of me. I was still blushing and I would probably just end up stuttering if I were to speak, it was all just so incredibly awkward!
Though, I think that she was feeling more embarrassed than anyone. Lucius just looked as if he wished that someone could open a hole in the floor which he could fall through.
“Oh...” Narcissa looked over at the table, “Well, there are toasts and croissants for you to eat. We also have tea and pumpkin juice... Feel free to have anything you want. I – You can just call for the House elf if you want anything other than this,” she looked at us when she stopped speaking. Blaise and I just nodded and I glanced around in the room, a faint flush still evident on my cheeks. “Do sit down, dears...”
We made our way over to the table as quickly as we could, and I almost tripped over my own feet. Blaise sat down first, closest to the wall with his back turned against the window. I sat down next to him.
Lucius excused himself in a mumble before walking out of the kitchen, but his wife stayed behind.
As Narcissa sat down, she let out a nervous laugh, “Well, that was... awkward.”
“Yes,” Blaise and I agreed at the same time. I glanced down at the croissant which I had just served myself and then I looked at Narcissa again.
“Do they have any filling in them?”
“What? Oh, yes. The one you're holding is a chocolate croissant and over there,” she waved towards the end of the table, next to Blaise, “You have cheese filled ones. I prefer the chocolate ones myself, but Lucius has a thing for cheese...”
“Oh? I thought he was more in to dark chocolate,” said Blaise nonchalant and I felt a smile tug on my lips.
I was more than pleased with my – extremely delicious – croissant, and to it I poured myself some steaming hot tea.
I took another bite before I looked up at Narcissa who sat opposite of me. Her slender, pale arms rested against the dark wooden table which was filled with yummy breakfast.
My mother would most likely have fainted had she seen how much breakfast there was.
“I'm not being very polite, am I? Would either of you want anything else to eat? Just call for the House elf...”
“Yes, Narcissa, you already said that.”
“I did? Oh...”
Blaise and I glanced at each other before we went back to eating, in silence.
I brought the cup of tea to my lips, in the same moment as Draco and Amber walked in to the kitchen, Amber let out a cheery 'Good morning!' which made me jump.
“OUCH!” the cup slipped out of my hands as I burned my tongue, and the steaming hot tea burned my hands and thighs. “Oh my God, it hurts!” I cried and bolted out of the chair, knocking it over.
Narcissas wand was in her hand faster then I thought possible, and she waved it over my body. She told me in a calm voice to open my mouth, as I did so; she cast a Cooling Charm on my tongue and the burning sensation slowly became less intense. As I closed my mouth, I found that the previous sensation had been replaced by a tingling one.
Ambers eyes were wide, she obviously blamed herself for what had happened.
Well, a nasty side of me thought, it was her fault.
I knew I wasn't being fair, so I quickly forgot about that thought.
“Are you okay?” asked Draco, his voice full of concern.
He was wearing black trousers and a blue shirt, with a button or two undone. The light blue colour of his shirt really made his grey eyes more intense. His hair was beyond messy, and I knew that he would fix it up before we headed back to Hogwarts – but I wished that he wouldn't. I loved it when his hair as messy as it was.
“Yeah, I'm fine,” I assured him, and he stared at me for a while, as if expecting me not to be. Then he gave his mum an almost pleading look, and she walked out. Amber and Draco sat down by the table and grabbed something to eat.
“You'll never guess what Hermione and I just saw,” said Blaise and I rolled my eyes as he began telling them.
Narcissa had insisted that she and Lucius would come with us to Kings Cross to see us off. Lucius had of course protested(“They are old enough to go by themselves”) but as usual; Narcissa had gotten her way.
I had noticed a change in their behaviour as soon as we had stepped outside the door of Malfoy Manor. They seemed to become less human in my eyes and more... Malfoy-ish when in public.
I honestly didn't mind it. I knew that most of it was a façade. After all, I had seen Narcissa cry and I had also seen Lucius sitting all alone in the dark – eating chocolate.
I had even seen the two of them kiss.
So as we stood by the train, ready to get on it – I felt relaxed in their company. Even though everyone stared at us as if the sight shocked them. It was especially the students in my year that stared, but a few fifth years as well.
Blaise and Amber were already on the train, making sure that we would have a compartment all to ourselves.
Draco gave his mother a brief hug when he said his goodbye's to her. His father only got a pat on the back and a 'take care, father'. I smiled at his actions towards his father and wondered what Lucius would have said if Draco had attacked him with a hug. That thought made me smile wider.
“Come here,” said Narcissa to me and held her arms out. I hugged her tight and realized that I would miss her very much. “Take care, Hermione, and do make sure that both you and Draco study for your N.E.W.T's.”
“Of course,” I replied.
We let go of each other and she glanced over at Lucius. He was looking at me with a raised eyebrow. I stared right back at him. What was I supposed to say? What was I supposed to do? Hugging him was out of the question!
I swallowed hard as I extended my hand for him to take.
“Thank you for letting me stay at your Manor, and for letting me come with you to Greece,” I decided that it was probably right to be polite. He liked that – politeness.
There was a moment when I thought that he was going to ignore my hand, but he didn't. I felt his strong one take a hold of mine.
“You're welcome to come back anytime, Mis- Hermione.”
It was a lot coming from Lucius, I realized. It meant that he approved of me. On the inside I made a little dance, but on the outside I simply smiled at him.
Draco told me that we had to get going, so we said 'bye' and got on the train.
It didn't take us very long to find our friends, though as we made our way over to them we received many looks.
It surprised me how the other students looked at us. I sent them a couple of glares, but they kept staring at us.
Perhaps they thought that we wouldn't last, or maybe they had just seen me with his family.
“So, they haven't broken up yet, eh?” I heard someone say to confirm what I had just been thinking.
I took a hold of Draco's hand in attempt to shut them up – they did. Draco looked down at me and smiled. I reached up and gave him a quick kiss.
“Hey, Hermione! Mal – uh – Draco!”
I glanced over my shoulder to see Neville run up to us.
“Hi, Neville,” we said together as he caught up with us.
“Can I sit with you?”
Draco half-groaned but Neville didn't hear him. I elbowed Draco in his ribs as I said, “Sure you can, c'mon.”
The three of us walked in to the compartment where Blaise and Amber sat, and they greeted Neville. Blaise seemed very happy to see him again, something I found myself smiling at.
We sat down, and I was seated between Neville and Draco.
“Merlin, people couldn't stop staring at us, it's like they had forgotten that we were together,” I said as I leaned back and closed my eyes. I realized that waking up at 6:30 hadn't been the best idea I had ever had.
I could have slept many more hours, then I wouldn't have to force my eyes to stay open.
The fact that we hadn't fallen asleep until 2:45 am didn't make it any better.
“Speaking of forgetting things, your owl flew by my window this morning, and gave me this. I forgot to give it to you,” Draco said to me and reached for something in the pocket of his robe. It turned out to be a letter.
“Oh, thanks,” I said as I took it from him. I recognized my mothers handwriting and opened it in a hurry.
I hope you had a wonderful New Years eve, and a great trip to Greece. You have to tell me all about it. I also hope that the ride back to school will go great.
Thank you so much for the tickets, your father and I are thrilled! You couldn't have gotten us a better Christmas present, dear.
I thought you'd like to have the photos we took this Christmas, so I'm sending them with this letter, I also made copies for Draco so you can give them to him as well. Tell him I said hi, okay?
Dad sends his love.
I looked in t he envelope to find the photos there, just as she had written. Eagerly I took them out and looked at them, and I was brought back to the day we had taken them.
Despite mine and Draco's fight that day, it had still been the best Christmas ever. I had been with him.
There was a picture of just Draco and I sitting next to each other, and there was no trace of me being angry at him. I looked just as happy as he did. His white hair wasn't messy at all, probably because he thought it should look nice on Christmas. He was holding me close to his body and we were both smiling at the camera.
There was also a picture of Draco, mum and dad. It was beautiful, to have the people I loved the most in one picture. I smiled as I looked at it, Draco seemed so comfortable around my parents.
“Look,” I said to Draco and showed him all the pictures from that night. He snatched the photo of us two and stared at it.
“I'm definitely keeping this one,” he said. It was fine by me, seeing as it was a copy of it still in the envelope. After a few seconds I saw how his eyebrows furrowed, “It's not moving...”
“It's because it's taken with a Muggle camera, Draco,” I explained, to which he nodded.
We looked at the rest of the pictures and showed our friends and told them all about what we had done on Christmas and what we had given each other. My hand reached up and touched the golden necklace. Always.
Amber told us that she had spent Christmas in France with her family, which had been difficult for her seeing as she didn't speak French at all, even though she was French. Her boyfriend was even better than her at it, but that was just because he had lived there when he was eight.
Blaise had been in Italy with his mum, who tried to make it work with the man she was currently seeing. Neville had spent time with his grandmother.
But of course the only one of them who decided to give us all details on his Christmas was Blaise.
“Since mums new hubby is a half-blood – Santa came. I never thought I'd meet him again, and mind you I was just as terrified of him this time as the last time. But he was a lot cooler this time, I don't know if it had anything to do with him growing older... Did he come to you as well, H?”
It took me a while to understand that it was me he called 'H', but when I did – I shook my head. I remembered how Draco had told me that Blaise believed in Santa.
Draco seemed to remember our conversation about Santa as well, 'cause he was smirking at his friends. Looking awfully pleased, actually.
“Finally!” Draco said suddenly, making Blaise look at him, “Finally I know something about the Muggle-world that you don't.”
“And what might that be?” said Blaise in a bored tone, as if doubting it severely.
Draco leaned forward, to be closer to Blaise and Blaise did the same. They were both staring in to each other eyes.
“Santa doesn't exist,” Draco whispered, and then he let out a laugh, “Santa doesn't exist, Blaise!”
“What? That's nonsense, of course he exists. You're so full of shit, D. I've seen him!” Blaise snorted and leaned back, “Here I thought you were going to be serious.”
I closed my eyes and did my best not to burst out in laughter – it was hard, but I managed. The fact that Blaise believed in Santa was just so... Blaise.
“Ask Hermione if you don't believe me,” said Draco and nudged at my arm, making me open my eyes.
“Oh, what? No, Santa doesn't exist.”
The look on Blaise's face – looking as if he was about to cry – was priceless, yet it made me feel bad. I could have told him that a bit less harsh. But I had never told anyone that Santa didn't exist before, so I didn't know how the best way to say it was.
“Sorry,” I added and Blaise stared at me in shock.
“Well,” he said after a while, “That explains why they were all laughing at me...”
Okay, I thought, now I feel bad.
“So, if he's not real, then who is the dude who comes with presents?”
“An adult dressed up...” I mumbled at avoided looking in to his eyes, but I heard his groan.
There was a long silence, before Neville stood up.
“I just saw Dean, I'm going over to say hi.”
With that, he left. Probably glad to get out of our compartment, which had an awkward tension in the air. I waited for the door to close behind him, but it never did.
I looked over there to see a girl with dark brown hair and green eyes. She was already in her robes; a Slytherin.
She looked familiar, but I couldn't place her. She was sneering at me, and I wondered what I might have done to upset her. Beside her stood two of her friends.
“Well, hello...” the girl said, “I'm-”
“Laura.” Amber finished through gritted teeth, “She's in my year.”
“True,” said Laura. Her brown hair was pulled back in a messy bun, but I could tell that it was curly. A few strays of hair hung down the sides of her face, framing it. She opened her mouth to speak again, but Amber beat her to it.
“She's the girl who sent that note to Draco. The note you thought that I had sent.”
A faint flush appeared on Laura's cheeks. I turned my eyes back to her and glared, but it only made her quirk an eyebrow.
The brown haired girl completely ignored Amber.
“I heard what happened at your party. What did you do to Pansy, Granger? I heard that she had to visit St. Mungos.”
Itching Powder, I thought, is the best thing I've ever gotten from George.
“And who told you that?” asked Draco as he stood up and advanced her. She swallowed nervously and I understood why. Draco looked intimidating. “A friend of Pansy's are you?” Draco's voice was just as hard and cold as his eyes were. He walked up to her, moving very slowly. She couldn't look at him, she was afraid. I would have been too, had I been in her place.
“...Yes,” she finally admitted, “Her mother contacted me and told me that Pansy has been itching ever since that Mudblood touched her.”
“Don't ever call her a Mudblood,” hissed Draco and beside me, Blaise stood up as well. I enjoyed seeing the fear in her face far more than I should. “Hermione didn't do anything to Pansy. She wasn't the one that made Pansy itch.”
“I was,” said Blaise proudly and grinned, “It worked, huh?”
Laura looked livid, as if she couldn't understand how he could ask something like that. Furiously she stepped forward, only to stop at the sight of Draco.
“Worked?” she snorted, in attempt of sounding less scared, I guessed. “She's scratched her skin off! Her face is bleeding because her fingernails has dug in so deep, she's been pulling her hair out to stop the bloody itch. Yes, I'd say it freaking worked.”
I think I heard Blaise say 'wicked', but I'm not sure.
I couldn't find it in me to feel sorry for her, not after what she had done. I didn't care if she bled or hurt, or anything. I simply couldn't find it in me to care about her.
“Well,” I said, “She had it coming.”
“She certainly had not!” Laura hissed, “What's the cure, Granger?”
“There is no cure,” said Draco simply and shrugged. He completely left out the part about it vanishing in a few days, “Now, would you ladies leave us be?”
Laura's eyes shot daggers at him but the look didn't impress him at all. He simply looked back at her and waited for her to leave. Blaise sighed and pushed Draco out of the way.
“Are you deaf?” Blaise asked her. He was taller than her, even though he was rather short, so he could look down on her. I saw a flicker of fear in her eyes. Obviously she wasn't as tough as she liked to act.
Blaise gripped her upper arm and pushed her out. “If a Malfoy tells you – a half-blood – to leave, then you leave. If a Zabini tells you to leave, then you better run for your fucking life. Got it?”
She nodded, and Blaise smiled. “Leave!”
Laura and her friends hurried away, while whispering to each other. I think I saw how Laura smiled, but it must have been my imagination, after all – why would she smile?
"Stupid Slytherin," I muttered and got three glaring stares and blushed as I realized that every one in the compartment was a Slytherin, "Oh. Sorry."
Neville came walking back in to our compartment just as Draco and Blaise sat down again. He looked around as if wondering what he had missed. He sat down next to me, and leaned towards me.
“Who was that girl?”
I gave him the short story of what had happened at the New Years party, which led us all in to talking about what we had done during the Holidays – not just at Christmas.
Somewhere along the ride back to Hogwarts, we began talking about Quidditch. Blaise and Draco had already decided to sign up and they were positive that they would get a spot in a team. I had already decided too, ever since that talk I had with Narcissa. Sure, I was a bit nervous about playing Quidditch since I had never done it before. But at least I knew how to fly and that was a start. Draco had said that I, with a little practise, would be able to play Quidditch. He had told be that I was a natural.
When I had told him that I wanted to be a Chaser, then he had agreed and he thought that it would have been an obvious choice for me. At the same time he was a bit worried – I could after all be hit by a Bludger.
“It would be fun to play, it really would,” said Neville and sighed sadly, “Though, it would probably be better if I didn't sign up.”
“Nonsense,” I snorted, “ If I can learn then you can as well. I think you should sign up.”
Draco sent me a warning look, as if he begged me to shut it. But I chose to ignore him.
“Don't you think so, Draco?” I asked him, in a sweet tone. He looked very uncomfortable for a second.
“Uh...” I gave him a stern look, and he sighed, “Sure, Longbottom. Sign up. If you end up in my team, then I'll teach you, 'kay?”
“You'd do that?” Neville stared at him with wide eyes, his mouth parted in pure shock. I couldn't quite keep the shock away myself, even though I knew that Draco was doing it because of me.
“Of course. You're Hermione's friend. Plus, if you were a player on my team, then you'd have to know how to play.”
I rolled my eyes and leaned against Draco's shoulder and inhaled his scent. He smelled of green apples and a hint of aftershave. Being with him, being close to him; it was... happiness. It was so right. There was no other word to describe it, really. It was just right. It took us a long time to get to where we were, but I knew that I never wanted to be apart from him. I couldn't imagine a life without him close by anymore.
I could picture Neville's blush to Draco's words so I didn't find the need to look at him. Instead I leaned more weight on Draco, who understood what I wanted and lifted his arm so that I could get closer to him. Then he hung his arm over my body.
Amber said something about being jealous of us. She was a fairly good Quidditch player and she wanted to be on the 7th years team as well.
“Only two years to go,” teased Blaise with a chuckle and she pouted, “How cute.”
Amber stuck her tongue out at her boyfriend and smiled. Blaise leaned closer to her and their lips met in a small yet loving kiss.
“I think we should change in to our robes, we'll be there soon...” mumbled Draco against my hair and I nodded slowly.
We arrived at Hogsmeade Station before I knew it. Never had the ride there seemed so fast.
The five of us walked up to the carriages pulled by the Thestrals, which I was sure that most of us could see. Perhaps not Amber, but I knew for a fact that Neville and Draco did. I wasn't sure about Blaise. I didn't even remember seeing him at Hogwarts during the battle, perhaps he hadn't been there at all.
“Nasty things, those,” mumbled Blaise as if he had heard my thoughts. I glanced at him and I had expected him to look as sad as he sounded but he looked pissed off.
“So you can see them,” I sad to him and he gave me a small smile, it was a sad one.
“Unfortunately, yes. I did live in England during the war. I was at Hogwarts as the battle that took place there. I did see people die, I fought for my life. It's... Yeah. I can see the bloody Thestrals.”
I felt so stupid. Why wouldn't he have been there? He was a fighter. I realized that he had his own bad memories, he just didn't talk about them. Not like Draco did; when Draco trusted someone completely, then he could open up to them. Blaise wasn't like that, it didn't matter how much he trusted someone, he would most likely hide his feelings and thoughts behind jokes and laughter. He wouldn't let anyone see him hurt. Perhaps not even Amber.
“I'm sorry, I didn't-”
“Don't apologize, H, I understand that you're curious. The war has been hard on us all. Now, get in the carriage, it's freezing.”
I understood that he wanted me to drop the subject. I could take a hint, so I did as he said and he followed me. Draco took my hand and gave a squeeze, he must have heard what we had been talking about.
“Are you cold?” he asked me but I answered with a shrug. It wasn't very long to Hogwarts and I really wasn't bothered by the coldness in the air. As the castle came to view, I smiled. Gods, I had missed this place.
“Welcome back from your holidays. I hope you've all had a good time and are ready to go back to studying,” Headmistress McGonagall said as she spoke to all the students in the Great Hall. As it was the first day back and she held a speech, we had all been told to sit by our House table. That meant that I was sitting next to Neville. I was glad to have him, who else would I sit with by the Gryffindor table? They all seemed to dislike me nowadays.
Draco, Blaise and Amber sat together. The other Slytherins kept their distance but sent them occasional glares.
I turned by attention back to McGonagall as she mention the seventh years.
“As for the seventh years, I would like to inform you about a Quidditch game which is to be held the last week of school. This is something which has been done every year since 1902, so it's tradition. No other students but the seventh years will be able to watch this game, it's simply for the seventh years and their family and friends outside school,” the Hall broke out in whispers, apparently many students wanted to see the game.
“Furthermore, there will only be two teams and you can sign up by the entrance to the Great Hall, there will be a list hanging on the door. The first 14 to sign up to play will be selected and put in to a team. Your House will not be taken in to consideration, everyone will play against anyone. As for example, if a Slytherin and a Gryffindor would end up in the same team – I will expect you to put that House rivalry behind you and work as a team. Practises will begin this week.”
She made it very clear that she would not tolerate that those specific Houses fought. McGonagall glanced around at us and looked rather pleased with the silence she had created. “I would also like to remind you of something you are quite aware of as of now. Your N.E.W.T's, make sure you study hard for them. Now, enjoy the feast.”
I turned away from her and found that Neville looked in deep thought. I decided not to ask him about it and started to serve myself some food. The chicken looked rather delicious and I was longing for some pumpkin juice, even though I had been drinking it at the Malfoys everyday; it just felt different having it at Hogwarts.
It seemed to taste better, somehow.
Hearing McGonagall talk about the 'last week of school' was awful. All those years you go through school just waiting for it to be over, but when it comes down to it – you don't want to leave. I certainly didn't want to leave, that was for sure. I wished that I had one more year at school, not because I wished to do more homework, but because it would just feel so wrong not to see my friends everyday. I had no idea what would happen after I had graduated, it was rather... terrifying. Speaking of which, Neville looked beyond terrified, and I couldn't keep quiet any longer.
“What's the matter, Neville?”
“I'm going to sign up,” he stated before taking a bite of his chicken. I smiled at him – feeling a bit proud, before I glanced over his shoulder to see Draco motioning towards the door where some people were already signing up.
“C'mon, let's sign up,” mouthed Draco. I nodded and told Neville to come with me.
As we walked towards the door, Neville became more and more pale by the second. Draco and Blaise met us half way there and Blaise grinned as he saw Neville's terrified expression. The line for signing up wasn't long. There was just Cho Chang and Terry Boot in front of us.
Out of us five it was Blaise with his messy handwriting that signed up first, followed by Draco. Draco's hand writing was a lot more elegant, it was close to flawless. I was next. With a shaky hand I took the quill from Draco's hand and wrote down my own name and the position I wanted to play. Then I glanced through the list.
Michael Corner – Beater.
Seamus Finnegan – Beater.
Lavender Brown – Chaser.
Cho Chang – Seeker.
Terry Boot – Chaser.
Blaise Zabini – Beater.
Draco Malfoy – Seeker.
Hermione Granger – Chaser.
I handed over the quill to Neville who bit his lip while signing up. I couldn't keep from looking at what position he wished to have. Beater. I almost regretted talking him in to signing up. Neville Longbottom – Beater?
I got a bad feeling about the whole thing, but shrugged it off. If I could learn, then he could.
Draco's hand on my shoulder made me turn to face him.
“Having second thoughts?” he asked with a smile, both of us very aware of the fact that people were staring at us.
“Nope. Just a bit nervous, that's all. But I promised your mother that I'd play, so...” I shrugged.
Draco gave a soft chuckle as he pressed a kiss against my forehead. “I'll wait for you at the stairs after the feast, 'kay? We'll walk back our room together. Amber wont be staying with us tonight, she'll be in the Slytherin common room. It's just going to be the three of us,” he said. Once again I felt great gratitude towards McGonagall for giving us permission to use the old Heads common room after Draco had been poisoned.
I think she had felt that there was still a threat towards us, or something similar. There were some people who straight out hated us together and we had learned that some people had no limits. Matthew Raven had gone as far as attempted murder with the help of Pansy. Thank God she had dropped out of school. The thought of her being at school with us was horrible. It would have been a nightmare. I was just glad that we were allowed to be there. It was extremely kind of McGonagall.
“Yes, sure. I'll eat as quick as I can,” I smiled up at him before he let me go, and I walked back with Neville to the Gryffindor table.
The sight in front of me made me frown. Laura, the annoying girl from the train, and her cronies stood by our table. I walked up and sat down, ignoring her. She made it clear that she wasn't leaving until I acknowledged her. I glanced up at her smug looking expression.
“What do you want?” I asked her in a casual tone. I refused to let her know that she annoyed me.
“Oh, you know. I wanna know how reverse whatever your filthy hands did to Pansy,” her voice was just as casual, though she had an undertone of desperation.
“You dimwit. Blaise already told you that he was the one who caused her itch. I wouldn't know the cure,” I looked away from her, “And even if I did, I wouldn't tell you. Run along, would you?”
In an angry rush, she stormed off. Her two friends followed her, of course. It seemed incredible to me that Pansy had actually asked a fifth year to figure out the counter curse to her itch. She had asked Laura, for crying out loud, and this Laura didn't seem very smart to me.
Annoyed, I raised my goblet of pumpkin juice and drained it. It was cold and delicious. I raised my head and locked eyes with Blaise, who grinned for some reason. Probably at Laura's reaction, but I wasn't sure. I smiled back at him before I went back to eating.
When the feast was over I walked out to find Draco there just as he promised. I felt cold as I walked towards him and my hands were sweaty. I licked my lips which felt dry. Draco was watching me with a strange expression. The cold feeling rushed through my legs and my knees buckled. I would have collapsed had it not been for the fact that someone caught me by the waist.
I spun around slowly to stare in to Blaise's brown eyes, he brushed some hair out of my face and all I could do was stare at him. My heart was beating uncontrollable and my hands were holding on to his strong arms.
“Are you okay, Hermione?” he asked me in a whisper so that the other students who were staring at us wouldn't hear. I wasn't sure if I could even nod, but I tried. I could barely think – or well, I could think about one thing. There was one sentence which repeated in my head. Oh, gods. I'm in love with Blaise Zabini!
[Hello all... Don't you just love me for ending it that way? I know, I know. I'm an evil person. I do apologize.
First of all, wow. 900 reviews? I love you! Thank you, that's so surreal to me :D Keep 'em coming.
So, what did you think of this chapter? I had promised a certain reviewer a Lucissa kiss; there you go! =)
Are you excited being back at Hogwarts? For Quidditch? What do you reckon the teams will be?(Those people listed + some more. Guess away!). What did you think of Lauraa? Of uhm, well, the ending of the chapter? Didn't see that one coming, did you? ;)
Also. check out my blog at the forums, and my MTA! :) Please, review. I need your feedback and I really want to know what you think of it. Thanks, - Cathyyy-]
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