Chapter 4 : Salt Rocks
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"And that's all for today. Remember your books tomorrow!" Hermione called out to the students as they left the class.
"Ah, Tom?" A young boy spun around at her voice. "Your book." Hermione pointed at the book lying on the desk. Tom smiled and walked over to his desk, grabbing his book.
"Thanks, Miss Granger," he said, closing the door behind him.
‘Another successful day’ She concluded, walking around the classroom, putting all the chairs up on their respected desks. The room was eerily quiet, only to be disturbed by the occasional bird, or laughing child.
"All right, kids! Cross Country next week!" Hermione heard the familiar voice of Malfoy, walking to the window, Hermione saw Malfoy standing outside, wearing a white singlet and short
She walked to the window and saw Malfoy standing outside in a white singlet, instructing his class on how to best run their annual Cross Country. Hermione smiled. Malfoy sure had been acting different since she had punched him last month. He was sweet and considerate, almost human, in fact.
"No." Hermione told herself out loud. She knew where her thinking would get her, and she did not want to think that. She took one last glance at Malfoy before she closed the curtains, one split second too long. His gray eyes met her brown ones, sending shivers up her spine. She couldn't break away the stare and she did the only thing she could think of; she waved. Malfoy stared at her and gave an awkward wave in return causing Hermione to blush and pull the curtains over the window. The room grew very dark instantly and she stood still for a moment, waiting for her eyes to adjust to the darkness. Hermione’s ears pricked up when she thought she heard the door open.
“Mione? Where the hell are you?” Hermione laughed when she heard Dorian smash into a nearby chair.
“Hold on, I’ll turn the light on.” Hermione said, walking through the maze of chairs and switched the lights on
"Wanna grab a bite to eat?" Dorian asked when the lights came on.
Hermione bent down and picked up the chair, trying to think of a good excuse that would get her out of going.
"I would love to, but I'm busy." Hermione apologized.
What a good excuse Hermione mentally hit herself and gave Dorian a quick hug and smile. Dorian narrowed his eyes at Hermione, "Tomorrow maybe?" She added, smiling once again before she left the room.
"Lock the door behind you all right?" She said over her shoulder.
The gardens were peaceful and quiet. Large oak trees were scattered around the place providing a cover from the harsh, English sun. It was a beautiful sanctuary, cut off from the rest of the world. She didn't know how long she walked for, it seemed like years, but eventually she came to a wall where vines were creeping up it, the wall itself looked like it was thousands of years old. The gate was hard to spot, it was rusty, old and authentic. The door had vines creeping up from every side and there were small stone steps leading up to the door.
"Diffindo." Hermione murmured, causing all the vines and roots fall off the gate. She went to open the ancient gate, but found it locked.
"Alohamora." Hermione said, and the gate swung open to reveal a beautiful garden; it was untamed and wild. It looked as though time itself had forgotten that this garden even existed. In the middle of the garden stood a large fountain where once upon a time, water probably flowed endlessly, making a cascade of water around the garden. Three stone half arch benches lay around it, dirt lay on the ground beneath all the debris beside the benches. The trees were half-dead, yet still managed to stay alive, albeit wild and untamed. The willow tree that Hermione had seen on the other side was massive, it created a canopy for the garden, blocking out the rays of the sun.
"I wonder what this place is called," she said. No sooner than she said it, something engraves on the stone fountain caught her eye, reading:
And beneath it was words that had been carved into the stone, but it much, much older than the one before it:
Hermione banished away some of the willow tree leaves, allowing some rays of light to flood the garden. Engravings were etched everywhere. Not vandalism, just engravings, dedicated to loved ones:
"To Anrie, who so loved this garden."
"To Daniel, who proposed here."
"To Peter, may he watch over us."
"To Jane, who built this garden."
Salt Rocks was the most beautiful thing that Hermione had ever seen, a place that had been forgotten.
Hermione decided that she was going to find out where it ended and what was at the end. Pulling her wand out of her pocket, she walked down. The garden seemed to go on forever, never ending. Eventually, after twenty minutes of walking, Hermione saw a small cottage.
"Homenum revelio." Hermione said. Nobody was inside. The cottage had a modest white door at the back, a small porch with more engravings. Inside was a kitchen that could have easily fitted the whole entire Weasley family in it. The rest of the rooms were empty. Whoever lived here last had not left any trace that they existed. Hermione walked around, and looking up the stairs she decided not to go up; they were all rotted and didn't look safe.
Maybe another day, she decided and walked back outside.
Time definitely didn't know this place existed, the moon had risen high in the sky and Salt Rocks was pitch black.
Sighing, Hermione stood up, spun around on the spot and disapparated to St. Peters.
"Granger, I'd be a bit more careful where I land. Someone could easily see you," Malfoy warned when he saw Hermione appear at the forest border.
"Shove off." she said, too tired to fight with Malfoy.
Malfoy gave a sly smile before walking up to Hermione.
"Dorian was looking for you," he said, walking at the same pace as Hermione.
"What did he want?" she snapped.
"I don't know. He just wanted to know where you are. Listen Granger, there's something funny about that Muggle, stay away from him." Malfoy said, grabbing her arm and spinning her around. Hermione raised her hand ready to hit Malfoy but when she saw the look on his face, she stopped. His face had dropped the sarcasm that was always plastered on there and instead, it was replaced with seriousness that she had never seen before.
"Why? You afraid I might taint wizarding blood more?" she said, yanking her arm out of Malfoy’s hand.
"Hermione, I'm serious. The way he looks at you, there's just something not right about him." Hermione was shocked; Malfoy had said her first name voluntary. She decided to ignore the fact.
"Malfoy, you are more of a threat to me than Dorian ever will be," Hermione spat, storming inside. She turned the corner and ran straight into Jane Crosgrave.
"Oh, Jane, Sorry. Are you looking for Malf - Draco?" Hermione asked, correcting herself.
"Draco? Oh, no. I haven't spoken to him since...Well, since you came along, actually. I was looking for you," Jane said, rushing her words.
"Me, why?" Hermione said.
"I've got a letter for you from... uh... Kingsley Shacklebot?" Jane said, trying to pronounce Kingsley’s name properly. Hermione stifled a laugh.
"Okay, thanks. Hey, do you want to come up for a cup of tea or something?" Hermione asked awkwardly, even through High School Hermione had not have many girlfriends, so whenever she had tried to have a conversation with another girl - that wasn’t Ginny - it ended up becoming awkward.
"Okay, sure." Jane replied brightly.
The kettle boiled and Hermione poured the tea.
"So, how are you?" Hermione asked, trying to start a conversation.
"Me, I'm good." Jane said, blowing into her tea before she sipped it.
Silence enveloped the room as Hermione opened the letter. Hermione could feel an awkward silence in the air but she decided to ignore it.
Dear Miss Hermione Granger,
It has come to our attention that you are not deceased as was believed, but alive. The Daily Prophet has come into contact with this information and wishes to run a front page story about it. For your own sanity, Miss Granger, I suggest that you host an interview with Rita Skeeter about the interview and make sure that the interview is portrayed in a positive light. Also, the ministry wishes to award you an Order of Merlin first class.
Kingsley Shacklebot. Minister of Magic
Hermione folded the letter in half and took a deep breath to calm herself. She noticed her hands shaking slightly and she could feel her head spinning, but she didn’t do anything to stop it, everything that she had worked towards over the past year had come crashing down.
"Jane, sorry, but can you excuse me for a moment?" Hermione asked.
"Sure, anyway I have to get back. I've have to go and make sure that Tommy has his medicine," Jane said, putting the empty tea cup on the bench.
"Okay, I'll see you tomorrow at breakfast," Hermione said. Jane nodded and left.
Hermione pulled her hair back into a messy bun and walked over to Draco's room.
I can't believe that I'm doing this, Hermione thought to herself as she knocked on the door.
"Ah, Hermione," Draco said when he saw Hermione.
"Hey, mind if I come in?" Hermione said. Draco pushed the door open in reply, a large smirk on his face when he saw Hermione standing in her door.
"So, how can I help you?" Draco asked. She handed him the letter. He read it quickly, and handed it back.
"You want me to come with you for the interview?" Hermione nodded.
"Why?" He asked.
"I don't know, moral support. I mean, you were the first person to know that I wasn't dead," Hermione said.
"Well, then shall we go now, or in the morning?" Draco said, clapping his hands together.
"In the morning, we can take a day off if Greta lets us," Hermione said.
Draco nodded silently, not saying a word.
"I'll see you in the morning Draco," Hermione said.
"Draco? Hmm... On first name basis now, are we?" Draco smirked at her.
"If you prefer Malfoy--" Hermione growled.
"No, not at all," Draco interrupted, putting his hands in the air.
Hermione walked out the door, glancing once over her shoulder at Draco. He just stood at his doorframe, his hands running through his hair, smiling at Hermione.
"Sweet dreams," Draco mused.
A/N: whatcha think? Please review!!!! Thank you for reading and you now know why it is called Salt Rocks hmmm.... love you all xxx
PS: Anyone got any Idea Dorian what is yet?
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