School had started and Hermione was finding it particularly hard to focus on her work. It was like a tick that she had, except it wasn’t a tick, more like a person constantly leaning over her shoulder, whispering silly nothings in her ear.
She often rolled her neck and closed her eyes, trying to focus. It would work for a second, but that little whisper just came crawling right back into her ear. Soon it felt as if it was sitting upon her back. She felt hunched, with a heavy weight upon her soul.
Transfiguration on her fourth day was a killer.
‘Hermione, you ok?’ Harry finally whispered, leaning to his right across the aisle. She knew that he had been watching her for a while, along with Ron who often leant past Harry with concerned eyes. She looked over at him with her torso still bent over the table. ‘You look like you haven’t slept, you’re eyes are really dark and you look tired’ Harry observed with a crease of worry between his eyes ‘Maybe you should talk to Dumbledore and McGonaga-‘
‘I’m fine, Harry, really’ she cut Harry off abruptly, giving him a sharp look, and then directed her dark eyes back up the front at McGonagall.
‘No, you’re not’ Harry’s voice whispered behind her right ear. However, his voice was full of malice and dripping with knowing .
‘No, I do not, and I told you, I’m fine!’ Hermione yelled, slamming her balled up fists down on the wooden table, turning swiftly to Harry ‘How dare you say that!’
How dare he, how would he know anything about that, it is just the wind anyway. Or maybe it was Harry playing this sick joke. Why would Harry do something like that, what has she ever done to him?
‘I didn’t say anything!’ Harry quickly stuttered out, his green eyes wide with shock ‘I heard you say you were fine the first time’
‘Oh yes Harry, then why did you say “No, you’re not” to me, just seconds ago?’ Hermione’s eyes were ablaze, she knew he had said something, but she had left out the other detail, just in case she was wrong. She crossed her arms and waited for an answered, while Harry sat, looking over at Ron who quickly shook his head and shrugged, looking astonished and just as equally confused.
‘Hermione, Harry didn’t say anything’ Ron shook his head, leaning over his table to look at her. Once again, he gave her that concerned look which she detested.
Harry must have said something. Hermione reasoned with herself as she sat breathing rapidly and deeply. She heard him clearly in her right ear.
But then, Harry was sitting on her left . . .
‘Miss Granger, is everything ok?’ McGonagall cautiously said from up the front, knitting her fingers together in front of her, waiting for an answer. She used a careful tone and put a concerned look on her face rather than one with a harsh questioning. Hermione was being set apart. She didn’t like it.
‘Yes, Professor’ Hermione replied emotionlessly, turning back around in her chair, away from Harry and Ron who were still sitting in momentary shock. She placed her hands back in her lap, and took a shuddering breath in then out.
Neville, who sat next to her quickly leant over. ‘You sure, Hermione?’ he whispered so only she could hear.
However, she didn’t answer him, but merely picked her pen back up and smoothed her parchment, looking expectantly back up at the Professor, who was watching her with hawk eyes ‘Go on, Professor’
Moving slowly, McGonagall turned back around and with her wand started writing on the board once again – going on with her lecture about changing something’s form whilst it was in rapid movement. However the class wasn’t so quick to react. Hermione could feel the eyes on the back of her head, prodding, wondering, and thinking clearly about her.
‘My, oh my, Hermione’ a woman’s voice whispered behind her right ear ‘What have you gotten yourself in to, and this time, without Harry and Ron’s help. Guess you’re alone in this one’
She ignored the voice, even though she could feel her heart rate had risen as well as her breathing.
Just the wind, just the wind. She repeated in her head, over and over.
However, she felt the pressure clamber roughly back once again, on her back. So she hunched over, her head lulling forward, to stare at the wooden desk.
She was starting the think that something may be wrong.
It was good to breathe the fresh air after a long transfiguration class. For once, all Hermione could think about was getting out. In the end she felt like leaning over and asking Ron if he had any of his brother’s Puking Pastels.
‘I can see seventh year being hard’ Ron sulked not long after that stepped out of the door. He and Harry soon fell in step on either side of Hermione.
Reaching up, Harry ran a hand quickly through his hair, concern flooding his face ‘Yeah, well no one said it was going to be easy with all this Voldemort stuff going on’
Grimacing, Ron looked over Hermione’s head at Harry ‘I told you not to say that name’ he said through gritted teeth ‘Anyway, I meant that the work was going to be hard not that’
‘Oh’ Harry made a small surprise noise. He was silent for a second, obviously pondering over today’s lesson, and then looked over at Ron and nodded ‘You’re right’ he huffed.
‘We’re going to need a lot of your help this year, Hermione’ Ron elbowed her arm playfully, looking down at her smooth, serene face. However, she did not answer, rather she just kept walking, as if oblivious to Ron’s question. Ron frowned and looked over at Harry who shrugged, screwing his face up in response. Ron then looked more closely at Hermione’s face, she seemed distant, as if on autopilot, her eyes seemed glazed and misted over.
‘Hermione’ Harry grabbed her arm.
‘Yes’ she exclaimed, she eyes now wide and somewhat clear, but still quite distant. She seemed alert now, however. ‘More help this year, yes, you two will need it’ she nodded, looking sideways at both of the boys with a strained smile. This nevertheless seemed to satisfy the boys though, and they both grinned.
‘Help, from Granger?’ another voice spat.
Hermione quickly squeezed her eyes shut.
Not now, not him.
She broke open her eyes to see Draco Malfoy walking backward in front of them with his goons, giving an amused, but somewhat disgusted sneer.
‘I hardly believe that will do you, any good Potter, or even you Weaselbe. You two wouldn’t understand a beginner’s spell book even if it hit you in the face. Don’t know how you passed first year.’ he went on, receiving praise from his goons because of his remark. ‘And asking a Mudblood for help, Weaselbe, in regards to magic’ he looked at Ron with pure disgust ‘I don’t know why you’re a pure blood, you’re so tainted by this dirt’s’ he motioned to Hermione rather distastefully ‘stench’
‘You better watch yourself, Malfoy’ Harry then roared, dropping all of his books and whipping his wand out quickly.
Hermione however, just stopped behind him and Ron who had also now whipped out his wand and was ready for a fight. She watched the scene unfold in front of her with a peculiar type of composure. Malfoy’s comment had brought no affect, and even now as she watched the boys wanting to kill each other, she only felt the most minor bit of emotion and that was exhaustion. All she wanted to do was get back to her dorm and sit for a bit. The weight was still on her back and she felt it draining her.
‘That’s it, Potter!’ Draco raised his wand in a strike, but then suddenly stopped as he saw two small arms reach up and grab both of Harry and Ron’s extended arms and pull them back in. Draco had never seen Hermione so calm. This aggravated him already, how dare she not react how he wanted her to. He wanted her mad and upset.
‘Harry, Ron, stop.’ she simply said dropping her messenger bag and their mouths started to swiftly open once again in objection and accusation. Even the crowd surrounding the fight looked at her in astonishment because of her coolness.
‘Malfoy, here -’ Hermione raised her voice a little, butting into Harry’s and Ron’s gripe. ‘- is just jealous that he, unlike yourselves, has no friends to which he can go to, for the help he needs in order to grip onto the complex knowledge which is given to us here at Hogwarts and for the complexities of life. Let alone, he has no girl friends-’ Hermione paused and glanced over at Pansy Parkinson who glowered at her ‘-intelligent, girl friends’ she correct herself ‘as he is just a vulgar, obnoxious, downright dishonourable little boy who believes that he frightens people because his daddy is a scary Death Eater who is, sadly in jail.’
Hermione now looked over at a red faced, livid and humiliated Malfoy, with a fake sympathetic look. ‘So don’t waste your magic on him boys, he’s only practising what he knows best-’ Hermione walked up close to Malfoy, her amber eyes set sharply on his ‘-terrorising innocent people. I’m sure he’s only building himself up for Voldemort, only to get shot down and thrown into a grimy old cell next to his father in Azkaban. Then we’ll see whose tainted with dirt’s stench’ she spat out the last part.
Everyone stood in a fleeting daze, their mouths either hanging open in pure astonishment or their eyes wide at the accusations that Hermione had made about Malfoy.
However, Hermione didn’t notice as she quickly bent down and picked up her messenger bag and slipped through the crowd who watched her disappear. She was too close then, too close to bringing up the memory of her past, she let slip a big thing. She closed her eyes as she shuffled quickly down the corridors.
She could hear her name being shouted by Harry and Ron behind her somewhere. She didn’t want them right now. She slipped into an empty classroom and inaudibly shut the door behind her.
‘Big mistake, Hermione’ She thought to herself after she closed the door and dropped her bag once again. She soon followed it to the floor by sliding down the door with her small cold hands over her face. She did not cry, she couldn’t bring herself to it.
‘Hermione, what have you done?’ a childish voice, which was clear saddened, said.
She opened her eyes, still behind her hands.
‘Why would you say that’ the child sniffed ‘We said we wouldn’t talk about it again’
‘We?’ Hermione whispered now removing her hands, her eyes wide open.
Lifting her hands up above her eyes, first she saw a pair of black, shiny, buckle up leather shoes, then black tights on two small childish legs, a small yellow summer’s dress, hazelnut curly locks, then a child’s love heart shaped face.
It looked somewhat familiar.
‘Who are you?’ Hermione ask cautiously, backing herself up harder against the door, slowly reaching up for the handle.
The child looked slightly hurt as she looked up, and gave another sniff. She looked into Hermione’s eyes with her small amber eyes ‘I’m Hermione’ she said with a tone as if Hermione should have know that to begin with.
It started to make sense, then hair, the eyes, then outfit which Hermione recalled from ten year before. This was it, she was losing it, she knew it. She let out a scream and as if in slow motion the young screamed along with her. Then just as swiftly as a Hermione was, the young Hermione mirrored her actions as she got up, reached for her bag and spun around, and turned the handle on the door and ran.
Passers-by looked in the room after Hermione came screaming out of it with intrigue. No one else was to be seen in that room.
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