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Chapter 8 : Tough Beginnings
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“What the hell are you doing, Granger?” Malfoy asked clearly annoyed at their surroundings.
“I’m putting up protective spells” Hermione replied shortly.
“What? We’re staying here?” Malfoy asked angrily.
“If this little project is anything like what I did last year then we will have to stay here” Hermione’s voiced had a slight edge to it. Her patience was waning.
“This is bloody ridiculous” Malfoy muttered.
“If you want to do something more productive than whining to yourself then perhaps you could pitch the tent” Hermione suggested still annoyed.
“No, I don’t think I will. That kind of thing is below me. Besides, I don’t see a tent anywhere.” Malfoy turned up his nose and sat down on a nearby rock.
“Git” Hermione snarled angrily as she pulled out the tent from the beaded bag herself.
Malfoy raised his eyebrows ever so slightly as he saw where she had put their belongings. But his impressed look quickly vanished and was replaced by the ever present sneer.
Due to much practice Hermione had the tent up in record time. She picked up her beaded bag and marched inside not bothering to invite Malfoy in as well.
Hermione stood at the entrance and took it all in. She had opted for a fairly casual, smaller tent as opposed to some of the lavish ones she had seen in the catalogue. She smiled. It was perfect. Functional and practical which was just what Hermione wanted.
She made her way over to one of the squishy arm chairs and sat down letting herself relax.
She closed her eyes, being careful not to fall asleep, and sank deep into the cushions. She had just let out a heavy sigh when the flap of the tent was thrown open letting in strong beams of sunlight.
Malfoy took one look at the interior of the tent and let out a snort of disgust.
“Granger, you didn’t tell me you let Weasley pick out the tent! He probably thought this was a bloody palace!” he sneered sarcastically.
“Sod off, Malfoy. If you don’t like it you can stay outside” Hermione replied lazily.
“Mudblood” Hermione heard Malfoy whisper under his breath as he reluctantly took a seat in the armchair across the room.
Hermione pulled out the biography of Professor Noires and began to read again searching for clues on where and what the Horcruxes could possibly be.
Hours passed and night slowly settled over the forest. Hermione put the book down on the coffee table and walked over to Malfoy who was dozing in his armchair.
“MALFOY!” Hermione yelled to catch his attention. He was startled awake momentarily looking as though he forgot where he was. He caught a glimpse of Hermione however, and angry realization quickly settled on his face.
“What the bloody hell do you think you’re doing!?!” He yelled jumping into a standing position.
Hermione crossed her arms and glared at him. “I would just like to inform you that seeing as it is nighttime we need to take shifts as lookouts”
Malfoy returned her glare. “And what makes you think I want to do that?” he questioned mockingly.
“I’m afraid, you don’t have a choice. If you want to pass this little project that is…” Hermione’s face settled into a superior smirk.
Malfoy hardened his glare. “This is a dangerous game you’re playing here, Mudblood” he spat.
Hermione held his gaze steadily. “Then it’s a good thing I don’t mind a challenge. I’ll take first watch.” And with that Hermione turned and stormed outside and sat at the front of the tent.
The cool November air engulfed Hermione as soon as she left the tent. She instinctively wrapped her robes tighter around her body. She could still smell the comforting scent of Hogwarts drifting off of her robes. Suddenly Hermione heard a faint voice emanating from her pocket. She quickly pulled out her charmed Galleon and listened to Ginny’s frantic voice.
“Hermione!? Hermione!? Are you there? Are you alright?”
Hermione pulled out her wand and tapped the coin. “Yes, I’m here Ginny. I’m fine. What’s going on back at the castle?” “mittere” Hermione muttered tapping the coin again.
“Hermione! Thank goodness you’re alright! That was terrifying! Only about half of you guys made it out. Goyle ended up in the Hospital Wing, no complaints there, as well as a couple Hufflepuffs and Ravenclaws. Lavender was hit with a stunner but Pavarti managed to Apparate, no idea how that was possible, with her anyway and Neville got out with a bloody nose but that’s all I saw. What happened to you? Are you holding out alright with the ferret?” Ginny’s voice held an edge of sarcasm that deeply comforted Hermione.
“I’m not hurt and neither is Malfoy, although I can’t promise it’ll stay that way” Hermione said gritting her teeth at the thought of Malfoy.
A moment passed before Ginny’s voice again rang from the coin. It sounded as if she was holding back a laugh. “Oh Hermione! I’m sorry you have to deal with him! You’ll be alright, just hurry up and finish this project and he’ll be out of your life forever.”
“I hope so” Hermione sighed tapping the coin.
“You can do this Hermione; anyway I’ll talk to you later. I’ve got class tomorrow. Goodnight!” Ginny’s voice was calm and soothing.
“Sleep tight.” Hermione replied.
“Don’t let the ferret bite.” Ginny laughed and then the coin fell silent. Hermione slipped it back into her pocket. A cool fall breeze stirred up the freshly fallen leaves and Hermione took in a deep breath, trying to soak up as much peace and quiet as possible. She knew that in just a few hours she would be hanging onto her last nerve again. In a few hours she would have to start the Horcrux search. With Malfoy. She groaned at the mere thought and forcefully made her mind go somewhere else. She sat in simple thought for a few hours before deciding that she needed some sleep and that it was time to wake Malfoy for his turn. She didn’t really think anyone would come looking for them but after the event in the Great Hall, she wasn’t taking any risks.
Hermione crept silently through the opening in the tent. The light had been dimmed and Malfoy lay asleep on the top bunk. Hermione moved to wake him and was startled at how peaceful he looked. Without that bloody scowl on his face, he is almost handsome Hermione thought but then quickly pushed the thought out of her mind. Hermione was about to just yell to wake him up like before, but soon decided she couldn’t let this perfect opportunity pass her up. Besides, she had never really gotten back at him for his Mudblood comment yet. She took a small step backwards and pointed her wand at his face. “Aguamenti” she whispered and a smooth jet of water cascaded onto Malfoy’s sleeping figure. He jumped up clearly startled and whipped around to face Hermione, who could barely keep the grin off of her face.
“Next time you’ll think twice about calling me a Mudblood,” Hermione stately matter-of-factly “Oh and it’s your turn on watch.”
After a few hours, Hermione slowly awoke. She had an odd tingling feeling on her head that was driving her up the wall. She rolled out of her bunk and made her way to the small bathroom while simultaneously removing her silencing charm. She closed the door to the bathroom and turned around. A scream of horror escaped her lips as she noticed that her entire head was on fire. She quickly turned the faucets on and dunked her head under the cool water. When she surfaced she saw that the water had done nothing to douse the flames. Realizing it was magic, she stormed out of the bathroom.
“MALFOY!” she screeched, furious.
Malfoy lazily entered the tent with a knowing smirk on his face. He saw Hermione’s head and the look on her face and laughed outright. “With hair like that Granger, you could be a Weasley!” he commented.
“PUT IT OUT NOW!” she yelled “OR YOU’LL BE SPENDING THE REST OF THIS PROJECT AS A FERRET!”
Malfoy’s eyes flashed uncomfortably. “Alright Granger just hold still.” He waved his wand and the tingling feeling on Hermione’s head vanished. She desperately groped her head and was relieved that the fire had done no damage.
Calmly, Hermione lowered her hands to her sides and looked at Malfoy. “Alright, I don’t want to be here anymore than you do but we have no choice. So my idea is that we get this over as soon as possible.”
Malfoy returned her stare. “Fine, Granger. Then let’s start now.”
Hermione was thrilled he wasn’t arguing but kept her face impassive. “Alright,” she said, “I have a fairly good idea where a few of the Horcruxes will be.” She walked over to the coffee table and picked up the Biography of Jason Noires. She turned to the page she was looking for and cautiously handed it to Malfoy who hesitantly took it. “Read it” she said.
Malfoy looked at the page and read aloud “’Jason’s best memories as a child can be traced back to his childhood home. A small cottage located in Bibury, Jason spent some of his times in the house before his family moved to a town more notable for wizardry. As a gift due to his love of the house, Jason’s mother presented him with the old fashioned key which opened the door. To this day the key remains in the house as precious artifact to Jason’. So you think that they key is the Horcrux and we have to go to this cottage to find it?” Malfoy asked emphasizing his question by pointing to the picture of the cottage that was on the next page.
“Yes,” Hermione answered simply, “I’m almost positive it is a Horcrux.”
Malfoy sighed. “Me too,” he said which caused Hermione’s eyes to widen in shock “So let’s plan this out so we can get it over with.” He tossed the book back to Hermione who fumbled to catch it.
“Alright,” Hermione said composing herself, “I think I have an idea.”
A/N: Hey Guys!!! Thanks once more for reading and to all of those lovely people who left reviews! You guys are awesome! Anyway, I hope you enjoyed chapter 8 and I can promise some excitment and maybe a little Draco/Hermione tension next chapter. Anyways school has just started for me so updates won't be a regular as they were before but I promise I wont leave you guys hanging too long.......maybe I'l go even quicker with some reviews!!!!!! So leave them! Hahaha anyways thanks again!
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