Chapter 16 : Her Horrid Venom, Challenged?
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According to Draco, Professor Snape had done several dangerous things since becoming a spy for the Order. He was currently risking his life by lying to You-Know-Who, and he had risked his life many times before.
What kind of a life was that?
I was constantly finding myself asking the same question, and worrying that one day, Draco would be asked to do dangerous things as well. And if Draco and I were to be together in the future, I would have to worry like this for the rest of my life.
My train of thought sort of reminded me of all those tv shows and movies I had seen at home about soldiers going out to the war, and their families feeling like they were already loosing their loved ones. I guessed that’s what everyone felt now that You-Know-Who was back – or at least those of us who believed he was back.
Draco and I continued to meet in secret in the Astronomy Tower, acting as boyfriend and girlfriend now while we were alone, and carrying on the charade of hatred and insults in front of anybody else. We had long since gotten past the emotions that would course through our bodies when we heard an insult from the other. We no longer took them seriously, not even a little.
Thankfully, I hadn’t run into Fred and George at all since the incident in Gryffindor Tower. I eventually had told Draco about our encounter that night but he only laughed; apparently he only sided against the Weasley family when I was on good terms with them.
They did walk past me many times, however, with identical mischievous smirks on their faces. Thank Merlin neither Harry nor Ron noticed; just another thing to add to the list.
One of the nights that Draco and I sat cuddled on the couch in the Astronomy Room, we sat talking about the classes that we shared and how excruciating all the homework was. That was when Draco said something I never thought would come out of his mouth in a million years.
“I wish Hagrid would come back already, that Grubbly-Plank woman gives us homework and he never did.”
I sat up straight, shocked and amused, abandoning my comfortable position laying against Draco’s side in order to look into his face.
“You miss Hagrid?!” I asked.
Draco giggled a little and shrugged, not saying anything.
“Wow,” I breathed, amused. “I never thought I would see the day that Draco Malfoy missed an ‘oaf’”
Draco fidgeted and smiled sadly at me. “I guess I was never actually worried for his health before, I’ve been thinking about him lately. I hope he’s okay.”
I cocked my head.
“What do you mean?” I asked. I knew Hagrid was gone somewhere on a task for the Order but I didn’t think he was in danger or anything…
“Don’t you know?” Draco asked. “What he’s off doing?”
My mouth gaped wide and I shook my head frantically. “No!” I said. “Do you?!”
Draco looked at me, a worried expression on his face. “Yeah,” he said softly. “They were talking about it all summer. The Death Eaters at my house. Macnair and Yaxley went to go try to recruit the giants, and while they were there, the gurg told them that Hagrid and another half giant were there, trying to convince them to join Dumbledore’s side. We’re guessing it was Madame Maxime he was with.”
“WHAT?!” I screamed, jumping up and standing in front of Draco, fuming. “Dumbledore sent him to talk GIANTS!?!”
I was furious. How could this happen? How could Dumbledore do this? Hagrid was going to be eaten alive!
“But he’s alive, right?” I asked Draco.
Draco nodded fervently. “He’s alive,” he said.
“What’s weird is Macnair and Yaxley got back before I left for Hogwarts, and Hagrid still isn’t back. I know for a fact that he left before the Death Eaters did. Something must be holding him up.”
I began pacing up and down the Astronomy Tower, thinking. What would be making Hagrid take so long in getting home? I would have to ask Dumbledore.
As I thought this, I calmed down. Dumbledore would have the answers, I was sure. And if anything bad had happened to Hagrid, Dumbledore would have said something, that was definitely something Harry, Ron and I had agreed on at the beginning of the term.
Thinking of Harry and Ron made me remember something.
“Did you know Umbridge has been torturing Harry in those stupid little detentions?” I asked.
I sat down next to Draco, who had his eyebrows furrowed in confusion. Apparently he didn’t know whether or not to feel bad for Harry.
“What do you mean torture?” he asked.
“I mean,” I began, my fists furling in anger. “That Ron saw him with a stupid little scar on the back of his hand that was bleeding and it said I must not tell lies. She’s been making him carve lines into his own skin!! It’s absolutely horrid!”
I crossed my arms and pouted, renewed rage coursing through my veins as I thought that something had to be done about that woman.
Draco was apparently thinking the same thing.
“We need to do something about her,” he said. My neck cracked as I whipped my head around to look at him.
“She’s rotten, she truly is,” he continued. “She can’t teach, she’s controlling as hell, and she’s a dirty liar.”
I nodded furiously, agreeing with every word he said.
“And!” Draco continued. “I hate her guts.”
I smiled a little, reluctant to be amused, and then wiped it off my face, determined to be in a bad mood. I began pacing again.
“We need to learn actual defense, Draco,” I said. “We do especially, because we’re in danger of being attacked by You-Know-Who and your parents.”
Draco nodded in agreement and scratched his chin, thinking.
“You know…” he began, his eyes alight with a new idea.
“Potter is pretty experienced in Defense Against the Dark Arts….” He looked at me, allowing his last words to sink in.
I thought about it. Yes, Harry was experienced but that didn’t mean we were! And he’s only one student, he can’t like, teach us everything he knows….
Or can he?
“Draco, you’re a genius!!” I jumped on him and hugged him, straddling his lap as he was still perched on the couch.
“Thanks,” Draco said into my neck, laughing softly. I got up to leave and plan out Draco’s fabulous idea, kissing Draco once before leaving the Tower. I was on my way down the stairs when Draco called out to me, “And tell Potter to put his hand in essence of murtlap! It’ll help with the stinging!” I smiled.
The next day while Harry was in detention with Umbridge, Ron and I were sitting in the common room quietly, doing our homework. The entire day I had been itching to mention to Ron and Harry the idea that Draco had the night before, but a moment hadn’t arisen.
I snapped out of my daydream and looked at Ron, who was waving his hand in front of my face, looking frightened for my mental health.
“Sorry, Ron, I’m just tired,” I said. “I was just thinking about Umbridge. She’s really a horrible woman, doing this to Harry.”
Ron dropped his hand and frowned at the thought of her. “I know,” he said. “Poor Harry, and he doesn’t want to complain about her. He’s too noble for his own good.”
I nodded grimly. “You know, Ron,” I said slowly, testing the waters. “We should really do something about her.”
“Well of course we should, but it’s not like there’s anything we can do, Hermione. She’s Fudge’s eyes and ears and everything else at this point, we can’t very well get her sacked. We could kill her though. Poison maybe?”
Ron’s voiced faded out as he saw me shaking my head.
“That’s not what I mean, Ron,” I said. “I mean—“
Just then the portrait hole opened and Harry walked in, a scarf tied around his right hand that was stained red. He stopped short at the sight of us, and he smiled slightly.
I looked at Harry anxiously and pushed the bowl of murtlap essence that Draco had given me earlier that day between classes, and after telling Harry what it was, he placed his hand in the bowl and breathed out a sigh of relief, muttering his thanks to me.
I listened, quiet, as Harry and Ron exchanged a few words about Umbridge, and I finally spoke up. “She’s an awful woman, awful.” I said softly. “You know,” I continued. “I was just saying to Ron when you came in… we’ve got do do something about her.”
Ron and Harry were doubtful. They didn’t understand what I meant. I finally took a deep breath after a few minutes of conversation where Harry and Ron didn’t understand what I was trying to say, and said it.
“We need to learn Defense Against the Dark Arts ourselves!”
Harry and Ron were stumped. They still didn’t get what I was trying to say! Ron mentioned reading books and learning jinxes and Harry was still confused, asking if I was trying to get Lupin back to teaching. Exasperated, I sighed deeply and said, “Isn’t it obvious? I’m talking about you, Harry! I’m talking about you teaching us Defense Against the Dark Arts.”
Two weeks later, I ran into Draco outside on the grounds. He scowled at me playfully, and when I checked to make sure nobody was watching us, I ran into his arms happily.
“It worked!!!” I exclaimed. “I asked Harry if he would teach us a few weeks ago, right? And just now he told me he had thought about it and that he would do it! You’re a genius, Draco!! He’s going to teach us!!!”
I couldn’t stop smiling.
Draco grinned and hugged me again. “That’s great, Hermione,” he said, pulling back and holding my hands in his. He opened his mouth as if to say something, then changed his mind and closed it. He smiled broadly and stood higher, his neck stretching and his chest puffing out in pride. “My first job as a spy.” He said.
I laughed happily and said nothing, nodding towards the forest, and taking one of Draco’s hands and leading him towards it.
We stopped near the opening of the trees and sat, leaning against a large rock, our hands still clasped together.
We faced the Great Lake and beyond it, past the hills, we could see a beautiful sunset.
I leaned my head against Draco’s shoulder and he wrapped his arm around me, noticing the quick change in temperature.
“What are you doing out here anyway, Draco?” I asked.
“I came down here to talk to Professor Sprout actually,” Draco said. “I wanted to know if there was any gillyweed around, but she wasn’t there.”
“What did you need gillyweed for?”
“I don’t, Snape does,” Draco explained. “Not sure why, he wouldn’t tell me.”
I sat quietly, pondering this, and then let it escape my thoughts. I didn’t really care that much about what Snape was doing.
Neither Draco nor I said anything for a while. We simply watched the sun set against the hills in the west, and before long, it was pitch black outside. I wanted to head back up to the castle, because I knew Filch would be locking the doors before long, but I didn’t move because I was so content with where I was.
Draco began humming a familiar tune before long; something I couldn’t quite put my finger on. He hummed softly for a while, brushing his fingers through my hair, and playing with my fingers with the other hand. I closed my eyes, listening, and finally realized that he was humming to a Frank Sinatra song.
I smiled and thought of the list of music I had told Draco to listen to the summer before.
He was humming “The Way You Look Tonight.”
I snuggled closer to Draco, who simply tightened his grip on me. I closed my eyes.
A/N: Okay, so some of you might have noticed that I've changed a lot about this story! I seriously went back and added thousands of words to all of the chapters and I think it's improved a ton. I want to send a shout out to the reviewer JustinBieberLuvrrr for getting me to work so much harder on this story, your reviews really got me to realize how much potential this story had, and how much I needed to change it! Another shout out to GryffindorHeadGurl specifically and all the other reviewers and readers who stick with me! Love you guys so much! <3 I hope you all love the changes I've made, and if you haven't read the first chapters again yet I suggest you do because they're really good and I've added a ton! Thank you thank you thank you again for reading, I love you all, and look out for Chapter 17 because it'll be out soon! <3 Hugs and kisses!
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