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Chapter 6 : Unwilling Preparations
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Hermione awoke the next morning from another practically sleepless night. But this morning she awoke in sheer determination. She was going to force herself to work with Malfoy. It was the next great challenge. She quickly dressed and marched down to the Great Hall. As she entered she looked to the Slytherin table and spotted Malfoy eating breakfast lazily with his friends. Hermione ignored Ginny and Neville’s confused looks as she headed over to the Slytherin table. A hush fell over the table as she strode up and all eyes fell on her. She walked up behind Malfoy and put her hands on her hips.
“Malfoy, we need to talk” Hermione said testily. She did not appreciate the glares the Slytherin’s were shooting at her.
Malfoy acted as if he had not heard her and continued to eat. Hermione’s patience was fading fast.
“Malfoy!” she said angrily. He continued to ignore her. “Malfoy!” she practically shouted poking her finger into his shoulder.
As soon as her finger made contact however, Malfoy jumped away as if she had stung him. He whipped around, his cold, grey eyes narrowed.
“Don’t ever touch me again, you filthy little Mudblood!” he growled at her. By this time most of the Great Hall was watching their interaction.
Hermione brushed off the insult “Then don’t ignore me! As much as you may not like it we have to prepare for this stupid project!” she held his gaze.
Malfoy gave a dry laugh. “This project? That’s all it is, a project Granger! We don’t need to prepare so why don’t you go and run back to your little Gryffindor pals and leave me alone!”
Hermione’s anger was now bubbling over. “Of course we need to prepare! Unlike you I’ve done this before and I know that we need to prepare! We will fail otherwise! And I’m pretty sure your ego is too inflated to suffer a blow like failing a year of school! Not to mention what on earth would your father say?” Hermione’s voice rang through the silent hall. The teachers were staring at them curiously and the students were mostly in shock.
Hermione saw Malfoy pause and knew she had him. “Don’t you dare assume that you know anything about my father!” Malfoy snarled but Hermione took no notice. She knew he wouldn’t risk failing or letting his father down. His perfect Pureblood family would likely disown him. Hermione gave him a triumphant smirk.
“Meet me alone in the library in twenty minutes, or I can promise you, you will not pass this year.” She turned on her heal and walked over to the Gryffindor table. Neville looked surprised but Ginny was smiling.
“Way to take control, Hermione! I knew you’d be fine!” Ginny gave her a broad smile.
Hermione tapped her foot anxiously. She checked her watch for the billionth time. She sighed angrily. Malfoy was ten minutes late! She had almost decided to leave and try again later when Malfoy came strutting into the room. He roughly pulled out the seat next to Hermione and plopped down.
“Alright Granger you’ve got me here, now what?” He folded his arms across his chest and gave her a challenging stare.
Hermione let out an exasperated breath. “Well, I’ve written down a list of things we need,” Hermione began pulling out a list she’d written “I’ve circled the things which we will have to write home for or buy from a catalogue”
Unwillingly, Malfoy pulled the list towards himself. He glanced over the circled items and his eyebrows rose.
“A tent? Why on earth do we need a tent?” he questioned bitterly.
“Because unless you wish to sleep on the ground, we need a place to sleep.” Hermione said controlling her voice as best she could.
“Haven’t you ever heard of a hotel, Granger? Of course with Weasley as a friend I can see why that might be a foreign concept.” His belittling tone angered Hermione.
“We can’t just stay in a hotel!” she said slamming her fist down on the table “This isn’t a vacation! Besides—there will be people all over looking for us!”
Malfoy stared at her his eyes narrowed. Hermione heard him mutter some derogatory comment. She thought she heard the words ‘mudblood’ and ‘filthy’ pop up a few times but pointedly ignored it.
Hermione gathered herself back together and glared at Malfoy. “Can you get this stuff or not, Malfoy?” she said challengingly.
Malfoy returned her glare. He reached in his pocket and threw a purse sized leather pouch on the table. “There’s 200 Galleons, you figure it out. Although, it might take you a minute to adjust your eyes to seeing that much gold in one place. And for her own sake don’t show it to the Weaselette. She’d most likely die of shock!” He said blatantly and before Hermione could retort he strode out of the room.
Hermione, angry about his insult and lack of participation, sighed deciding this solution was probably best anyway. She snatched the up the bag and made her way over to the catalogue shelf.
Who on earth carries 200 bloody Galleons around with them, he must have known. Hermione mused. Malfoy was a lot smarter than she ever gave him credit for.
Hermione scanned the rows of catalogues selecting the ones she needed. She brought them back to the circular wooden table and spread them out around her. She pulled out a quill and began filling out order forms for everything from a tent to a new sneakscope.
Two hours had passed by the time Hermione had decided she would be sufficiently prepared with the orders selected. She gathered her orders and her bag and made her way up to the Owlery. She employed the use of the school owl to the fullest extent as she sent off twenty owls to different stores all over the country.
She made her way back to the Common Room deciding to do some reading and refresh her memory on some useful spells. She hurried down the hall when she collided directly into someone sending them both sprawling. Hermione looked up to apologize when she caught the dark eyes of Pansy Parkinson.
“Watch where you are going, Mudblood” she snarled pushing herself up angrily.
“What your language, Pansy” Hermione mocked pushing herself up as well feeling a rush of confidence “you wouldn’t want me to let a little hex slip out on your precious Draco while we are living together would you?” Hermione let out a humourless laugh and turned to walk away.
Suddenly Pansy snatched her wrist and spun her around violently. Hermione looked up in surprise. Pansy tightened her grip “You are treading on dangerous ground Mudblood,” she growled her tone low and threatening “if you think all the Death Eaters are just going to go away now that the war is over you’re wrong and your kind will be the ones they target. So if I were you I wouldn’t be messing around with people like me and Draco. Or you will regret it” she released Hermione’s wrist with a flourish holding her glare.
Hermione took a step closer to Pansy and strengthened her glare “I’m not now nor was I ever afraid of cowards like you and Malfoy. Your threats are as empty as your head Pansy. And the only thing I regret was not giving you what you deserved during the battle.” Hermione’s voice had a dangerous edge to it. Hermione thought she could see Pansy’s eyes widen a bit at her outburst. She made a mental smirk before roughly pushing past Pansy toward the Common Room.
Hermione was still fuming when she reached the Fat Lady.
“Bravery” she snarled. The Fat Lady raised an eyebrow but opened the door nonetheless.
Hermione rushed into the Common Room and threw herself into Harry’s old favourite squishy armchair by the fire. She felt exhausted from her encounters with Malfoy and Pansy. She felt her body relaxing from the warmth of the fire and her eyes began to close of their own accord. She felt her head tilt to the side before sleep engulfed her.
Bellatrix Lestrange stood over her. Her eyes blazing in fury but Hermione could just barely make out the panic in them as well.
‘What else did you take?! ANSWER ME! CRUCIO!’ (Rowling DH pg 377) Hermione’s body seized as white hot pain racked through her body. She screamed praying it would end. Praying she would die before she had to endure another second.
Bellatrix lifted the spell and Hermione collapsed with exhaustion and relief. She opened her eyes and looked at the faces of those surrounding her. Lucius Malfoy looked murderous glaring at Hermione. Narcissa looked at bit scared and Draco…Hermione couldn’t really decipher the emotion on his face. He put up a mask of indifference but Hermione could tell there was something else behind it. Before she could really look harder the pain was on her again. Her bones felt like they were melting and she screamed louder than ever. This was it. She was going to die. She felt blackness closing in on her and her scream intensified. It would never end. It would never end…..
“HERMIONE!” screamed a voice and Hermione’s eyes flew open and she jumped out of her chair her wand drawn. She saw Ginny and Neville standing in front of her looking scared. Behind them she noticed Dean, Seamus, Pavarti, and Lavender looking at her also terrified.
Hermione took a ragged breath. “What’s wrong?” she asked.
“You were screaming like a lunatic!” Ginny exclaimed.
“You kept saying ‘We didn’t take anything’ then you started pleading and screaming again” Neville said quietly looking worried.
Hermione flushed red and her eyes began to water. She had had her nightmare and hadn’t even thought to put on a Silencing Charm before she took her nap. She mentally scolded herself for her carelessness.
“Bad dream?” she said unconvincingly and shrugged her shoulders.
“Yeah right” said Ginny sarcastically “and what exactly was this ‘bad dream’ about?’
“Nargles?” Hermione said stating the first thing that had come to her mind. “Luna’s right those things can be nasty” Hermione gave a small smile.
Everyone knew she was lying but took the hint that she didn’t want to talk about it.
“Whatever” Ginny said “It’s dinnertime I’ll meet you in the Great Hall” and with that she stalked out of the Common Room followed by Dean, Seamus, Pavarti and Lavender.
Dinnertime already? Hermione thought not realizing she had slept that long as she stood up to follow Ginny to the Great Hall.
“Hermione….can I talk to you?” Neville said cautiously.
Hermione turned around, surprised “Sure Neville” she said sitting down on the couch.
He sat across from her. He looked uncharacteristically serious. “Hermione,” he started looking directly into her eyes “I was the first one to hear you screaming. I came in before the others and I heard you say” he paused looking angry “I heard you say Bellatrix Lestrange. You were begging her to stop.”
Hermione immediately broke his gaze and looked down at her hands. She knew what Bellatrix had done to his parents. The same thing she had almost done to her.
Neville moved and sat down next to her lightly touching her arm. “What did she do, Hermione?” he asked gently “Did she….did she torture you?”
Hermione let tears spill over her eyes and nodded. She couldn’t lie to Neville about this.
Neville sucked in an angry breath and pulled Hermione into a hug. She buried her head into his shoulder. When they finally broke apart Hermione looked directly at Neville. “Please don’t tell anyone. I don’t think I want everyone knowing I was almost tortured to death. It’s bad enough without everyone gossiping about it” she begged him.
Neville gave her a small smile. “I would never tell anyone about this. You can tell them when and if you want to.”
Hermione smiled as she and Neville stood up and made their way together to the Great Hall for dinner.
A/N: Hey everybody!
Thanks again for reading! I can promise you that Hermione and Malfoy will be on the run by chapter 8! I'm writing it as of now and the next two chapters should be up in the next week or two. Please Please Please review!! It really inspires me to write better and faster so I would very much appreciate any comments, questions, criticism etc. that you have! Keep reading!!
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