Chapter 5 : When Was The Last Time You Ignored?
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"Miss. Granger, Mr. Malfoy." She paused, swallowing as if struggling to find the words she was searching for. "As you know, the school in their search for new teacher took in the Carrows, two Death Eaters. I have voiced my concern for these choices, however they have been ignored. I taught them when they were students here. They are vile people, and I fear what torture may be inflicted upon the students at their cruel hands. I've called you here to make a deal." She swallowed.
"What sort of deal?" Draco asked.
"I need you to do what ever you can to protect the younger students." She whispered. "I fear that things are going to turn sour for them should the Carrows begin punishments."
"Yes Professor." I replied turning to face Draco.
He had a look of confusion upon his face; he knew he would be a major target of such punishments. He too swallowed before slowly opening his mouth, "I shall." He whispered his voice barely audible.
The look on her face was both sympathetic, but grateful. Singlehandedly she could not watch over every student in the school, nor could any other teacher. She was asking us, to help her protect the lives of countless students who didn't need any added terror in their lives. What was she really asking us though? Was she asking us to die in their place should things become that bad? Was she really asking us to be tortured in their place?
"Thank you, you may return to your dormitories." She said sitting, "Oh before you go, take a biscuit." She said pointing to a tartan tin on her desk.
"Oh no I'm full." Said Draco and I in unison.
"Don't be silly. I insist." She said tapping the tin once again.
Draco and I both leant over and took a biscuit from the tin each.
"Thanks." I said holding up a ginger newt.
"Thanks…" Draco mumbled crunching into his own biscuit.
We both walked out of the office in silence, crunching away on the biscuits we'd had forced upon us. "Well that was odd." Said Draco throwing what was left of his biscuit aside. What was left of the ginger newt scattering on the ground into hundreds of crumbling pieces.
"You are going to keep it aren't you?" I asked. "The promise I mean." I added quickly.
"I have no life anyway." He said walking off down a dark corridor leading to the dungeons. "Later Mudblood."
"Night Draco." I said out of politeness, ignoring his rude commentary about my parentage.
I finished off my biscuit and made my way along the familiar corridor towards the grand staircase, the most annoying room in the entire castle. I waited for the stairs to descend and stop where I was standing, and wearily I took a step onto the lowest step and began my ascent, not even shuddering as the stair case begin to move through thin air, as though attached to invisible cables. I waited patiently as the staircase spiralled towards the seventh floor, a process which seemed to take forever.
By the time I finally reached the portrait it was well after hours, "Lacewing Flies" I mumbled tiredly to the Fat Lady who swung off her hinges and allowed me to enter the Common Room. Neville was sitting by the dwindling fire, the orange reflection of the coals almost extinguished bright upon his face.
"Neville?" I asked.
"You're back." He replied jumpily.
"Is something wrong Neville?" I asked taking a step towards him.
"Hermione, have you ever asked yourself why things happen?"
"Yes, I do all the time."
"Have you ever asked why justice always seems to fail those who are not able to see it out themselves?"
"No…" I replied, barely sure where this conversation was heading.
"How could they let Death Eaters into Hogwarts?" He cried. "The terrible crimes they have committed…" He said with a shudder. "They should be rotting away in Azkaban!"
"There is little justice in the world Neville. Not at the moment." I said taking a seat beside him.
"Sixteen years ago a Death Eater by the name of Bellatrix Lestrange tortured my parents to insanity using the Cruciatus Curse. Now she and her foul friends are allowed to roam free. My parents suffered a fate so terrible that she, her husband and his brother were sentenced to life in prison. But where is the justice if the Ministry allows them to walk free once again, no longer hunting them but allowing them to teach at schools?" He asked me.
"Neville, sometimes all we can do is hope and ignore the facts. Because sometimes the fantasies in our minds are a far better place to live than the realities we face each day." I replied placing my arm around him.
"Gran didn't want me to come back this year. She'd been talking to her friends and none of their grandkids have returned. I turned seventeen in the holidays, it became my choice." He said.
"You came here of your own free will?" I asked.
"I came here because it seemed like I could actually make a difference at Hogwarts. Instead of just rotting away in my room remembering the past, and praying that Voldemort just disappeared. I know it's not like that, I can't ignore those facts Hermione."
"That's why I'm going to start an army. We're going to start Dumbledore's Army again, so that we can give others a chance to fight for themselves. We're going to give the Carrows a run for their money and while we're doing that we're going to restore hope to these people. Neville we're going to make a difference here."
"I can't help but think that no-ones going to care… That we're just going to be more victims in this war…" He whispered.
"Neville, we're going to survive it. I know it. But if we don't, we won't go down nameless either… We'll leave marks worthy of note. People will know what we did."
"But I worry is what you're planning when we already know we've lost?"
"We haven't lost Neville. We are far from losing; Harry and Ron are out there now, risking everything to help bring Voldemort down." I said watching him flinch uncomfortably at Voldemort's name. "We aren't going to lose; you have to have hope sometimes."
"It's so hard to have hope in times like these; I'm sharing a dorm with Seamus, that's all! No-one else returned Hermione. Dean's on the run from that Muggleborn Registry and Harry and Ron are off hunting Voldemort. You tell me not to lose hope but I sometimes wonder wether everyone else already has…" He said standing and walking to the door to the boys dormitory.
"Night Neville." I whispered.
Was the Muggleborn Registry really that bad? Dean was on the run because of it. What exactly was it? I'd lost touch with the world after I sent my parents to Australia as Monica and Wendell Wilkins; I hadn't read a single Daily Prophet since. If it was really as bad as Neville made it sound… I should already have been on the run instead of here. But what could I do, merely state that yes, both of my parents were in fact muggles. Did the Ministry not know this already? Did they not have a list of our parentage on record? The school did, they sent a teacher to discuss attending Hogwarts with my parents and I, how could the Ministry suddenly want us to sign up for a Register?
I wandered up to the dormitory and changed and fell asleep dwelling upon Draco Malfoy and the Muggleborn Register, two things I certainly did not need to think about, but for some strange reason kept doing so.
I awoke with a start the next morning. My breathing heavy, covered in sweat. I wiped the tears from my eyes and got up and dressed for classes.
"Hermione?" Lavender asked. "Are you alright?"
"Yeah, just a nightmare." I replied.
"Okay." She replied sounding genuinely concerned.
These dreams had been plaguing me since the wedding. Terrible dreams where each time Harry and Ron would escape, but I would attempt to follow them but would miss Ron's often outstretched hand by centimetres. I would go on living, return to school only to later receive news that they'd both been brutally murdered by Lord Voldemort from a member of the Order. Each morning I'd wake up crying or screaming, sometimes bearing witness to their murders in my dreams.
I wandered down to the Great Hall, and was immediately swooped upon by Professor McGonagall, "Miss. Granger here's your timetable and could you please ensure that the younger students know where their going?" She asked as she shoved the piece of paper into my hands and rushed off, no doubt trying to locate other missing students. I walked over to the First Years who despite being small, still looked terrified.
"Hi, my name's Hermione Granger, I'm the Head Girl, do you all know where you classes are?" I asked.
"We have Defence Against the Dark Arts with the Ravenclaws." Piped up a small boy.
"Do you know where the classroom is?" I asked.
"Yes, the Prefects explained it to us yesterday." A small girl chimed.
"Excellent." I said with a smile and walked to take a seat next to Neville.
"What have you got first?" I asked.
"Muggle Studies." He replied.
"We all have it, its compulsory now." He said.
"Oh yeah, I keep forgetting that." I replied honestly.
I quickly ate and walked back up to the dormitory to retrieve my books, I noticed the teachers name Professor Carrow under the words Muggle Studies on my timetable, but forced myself to walk down to the classroom, where a large group of Slytherins had already gathered.
From the moment Professor Carrow entered the classroom, I knew that this class wasn't going to be like any other Muggle Studies class I'd ever been in, from the moment she opened her mouth I realised that I could no longer ignore the fact that Hogwarts wasn't ever to be the same again. I was stared at where ever I went; hushed whisperings whenever I passed a group. At times I felt like screaming at them 'Don't you know it's rude to point and whisper?' and walk off, but avoided it. For the sake of re-initiating Dumbledore's Army I had to be able to recruit as many older students as possible, and having a go at them was not the right way to go about it. It seemed as thought I had acquired a skill for noticing Draco Malfoy where ever he stood or sat within my line of sight. It was if subconsciously I found him and then my eyes would follow. I was intrigued by the boy, I must admit. But as much as I was intrigued I forced myself to ignore him, but it was proving much harder to do so than I first anticipated.
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