Chapter 8 : Hiding
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I groaned loudly as I woke up the next day. My head was pounding. It felt like there was a little man inside my head, repeatedly banging a tiny hammer off of my skull. I tried to turn my head, but the throbbing pain I felt, made me immediately turn it back. It took a few moments for me to even build up the effort to attempt to open my eyes. When I eventually slowly opened one eye, I immediately regretted it, the bright light that hit my face practically burning away the retina in my right eye.
I went for a second attempt at opening my eyes and immediately jerked my head up when I caught a glimpse of my bra peeking out from a rather low cut red dress that I didn’t recognise. Then it all came flooding back. Oh my God!
The dress! The party! Ron! Cormac! I sat bolt up straight when I remembered the last bit, instantly regretting it as my head swam with dizziness and my stomach heaved. Cormac. Oh my god, I kissed him. Oh for the love of god, what have I done? What was I thinking? The last time I kissed him, it took me three weeks of him following me around to finally get rid of him. I thought Ron was going to punch him in the end. Oh god, Ron. How the hell was I going to face Ron? What the hell would he think? But then again, why was I feeling guilty? Why on earth was I worried about what he thought? He had absolutely no problem in kissing Lavender in front of me. But then again to hell with Ron, what would everyone else think? Oh god, today was going to be embarrassing.
I flopped back down on my pillow and wallowed in self- pity at the previous day’s events; all in all not one of my best birthdays. My head was still pounding and so I closed my eyes and tried to get back to sleep. I could definitely do with some more sleep. If I was sleeping, then I wouldn’t need to think about any of it. In fact, maybe I would wake up and it would all have been some horrible dream. However, my sleep and my delusion were rudely interrupted by the dorm door flying open, banging off the wall, causing me to wince in pain as the noise resounded around the room. God my head hurt. I was never drinking again.
‘Morning Hermione. Great night last night,’ said Ginny, practically skipping into the room, far too happy for my liking.
‘God you look like hell’, she said, stopping as she saw my head peeking out from under the covers.
'Cheers,' I relied not even bothering to move, 'Just what everyone wants to hear,’ I said sarcastically. Ginny’s good mood was really doing nothing to help and improve mine. ‘Why are you so chipper this morning anyway? You drank way more than I did.’
‘I guess I’m just one of these very talented people can just hold their drink,' she gloated, flopping down onto my bed making the bed bounce and making me feel like I was about the throw up again. 'Or maybe it could be because I didn’t actually drink that much, unlike you. You were firing them back like there was no tomorrow towards the end. I however was perfectly in control of what I was doing. Unlike some, so a little birdie tells me,’ Ginny said a little too gloatingly.
‘Oh god,’ I groaned, ‘what did you hear? I asked, wishing that I didn’t actually have to hear the answer.
‘Just that you had a lot to drink and were tearing up the dance floor. Oh and that you totally made out with Cormac.’
I groaned as Ginny was practically grinning like a Cheshire cat. She was just loving watching me squirm.
‘Who the hell told you?’
‘Oh just Parvati,’ she answered.
Ok not so bad then. Perhaps everyone else was too busy in the party to notice my little floor show. If only Parvati knew then I could maybe keep this quiet.
‘And Lavender and Ron and Neville and Luna and Padma and Dean and Seamus and oh just about everybody I spoke to this morning. You’re big news this morning.’
‘What…’ I sputtered, ‘but I didn’t do anything. I mean not really.’
‘Hermione, you were practically shagging him on the dance floor. That’s not nothing,’ Ginny said with an all too smug expression on her face.
‘What,’ I shouted. Finding my voice this time. ‘I was not nearly shagging him. We kissed, well he kissed me and that is definitely all that happened.’
‘Well that’s not what it looked like and that’s not what people are saying.’
‘Oh great, so people have nothing better to gossip about than the fact that I kissed Cormac.’ I said shuddering slightly at the memory of his wet and sloppy kiss.
‘Well yeah, but that along with the little fact that you threw up and then passed out afterwards makes it pretty big news. It’s just so unlike you.’ Ok, she was definitely smirking now. She was enjoying this way too much.
‘I passed out,’ I almost shrieked at her. This just kept getting better and better. I did not remember that part of the night. Well obviously I didn’t, since I had clearly passed out. I tried to think of what the last thing that I could remember was, but all I could come up with was Cormac kissing me
‘Well how the hell did I get back into my bed then?’ I seriously had to know the details. What if I had done something else that I couldn’t remember?
‘Neville found you outside the room of requirement and carried you back.’
‘Oh my god, I am never leaving this bed again for as long as I live,’ I whined, pulling the covers over my head. I was going to officially die of embarrassment. Maybe I could just stay in this bed forever and then I wouldn’t have to face anyone for like, ever. It seemed like a good plan.
‘Well actually that’s why I came up to find you. Doesn’t your detention start today?’
‘Holy shit, I totally forgot. Why the hell didn’t you tell me before?’ I shouted at her, pulling the covers down from my face.
‘I dunno, I forgot. You side tracked me with all the gossip. You’d better go though. It’s twenty to one and your detention starts at one.’
‘Oh my god Ginny, McGonagall’s going to kill me if I’m late,’ I yelled, knocking her off the bed as I jumped out of it. I ran to the mirror in the bathroom to check my appearance. Big mistake. Grey, sallow looking skin, huge bags underneath my eyes and mascara smeared over my face. My hair however, which should have been resembling a birds nest at this point, actually still looked pretty perfect; a little wavier than the previous night, but still perfectly smooth and shiny. I was going to have to seriously thank George when I next saw him. The man was a genius.
I didn’t have time for a shower, so I splashed my face with cold water, which instantly made me feel more awake. I still looked bloody awful though and I was not going to be the talk of the school looking totally hung over. I grabbed some more of George’s products, praying that they were as good as the hair ones he had given me.
After another ten minutes of trying to make myself resemble a human being, I finally ran out of the dorm room, looking somewhat better than I had before. My skin had regained some colour and George’s cream had vanished the dark circles under my eyes. However, although I may have looked better I certainly did not feel better. My head was pounding and I could feel my stomach protesting with every move that I made.
I ran down the stairs, ignoring the swirling in my stomach and ran through the common room, aware that there were many pairs of eyes on me. I was vaguely aware of someone calling my name, but I ignored them and kept running. I was seriously late as it was.
I ran the whole way to the library on the second floor, avoiding the stares and cat calls that followed me. My face was already flushed pink with running, but flushed a deep red, when a sixth year Hufflepuff boy yelled a rather crude comment at me, as I passed. Something about him having a free period if I was free he could show me a pretty good time. Usually I would have turned around and hexed him, but I was late for a detention and more fights in the corridors would probably not go down too well.
I ran all the way into the library skidding to halt when I saw Madame Pince standing with Malfoy. I glanced at the clock on the wall behind her, 1: 03, damn I was late.
‘I am … so… sorry… I’m late,’ I managed to say through breathlessness.
I had to bend over; feeling very light headed and rested my hands on my knees, trying to catch my breath and keep myself from falling over in a heap at the librarians feet. I lifted my head slightly, to see Madam Pince looking at me in slight shock. Malfoy on the other hand, who was leaning against the librarians desk, gave me a quick once over with his swift gaze and gave me a look that was unmistakably of pure disgust.
I did my best to glare back at him. Yes I was perfectly aware that I looked like crap. I was breathless, my face was flushed, I was sweating and I was very close to throwing up again. Not to mention the fact that I was dressed in muggle clothes. Something that Malfoy would most definitely not approve of. Well tough shit Malfoy.
‘Well don’t make a habit of it, Miss Granger or I will have to report it to Professor McGonagall. Please ensure that you make the time up at the other end.’
‘Oh don’t worry, I will,’ I said a little too haughtily. I was only three minutes late for goodness sake. She continued to witter on about what we had to do, but I was barely listening, focusing more on trying to keep the contents of my stomach firmly where they belonged.
When Madame Pince finally stopped talking, I realised that I didn’t actually have a clue what I was supposed to be doing. I followed Malfoy over to the bookcase at the back wall of the library and hovered slightly, as I watched him lay some parchments down on a nearby table. He then moved over the bookcase and started to look through the books. I tried to watch him to work out what he was doing, but I was still totally clueless.
‘Are you going to stand there all day, or all you actually going to do something?’ Malfoy said, not even bothering to turn around to look at me.
I jumped slightly as he spoke and made a move over to the bookcase, still totally at a loss of what we were to do.
After another moment of me hovering like an idiot, he sighed and turned around.
‘We have to check all the books on that list and write down the reference numbers, making sure that they are all put back on the shelf in the correct order and record any that are missing. Merlin Granger, it’s not hard.’
I just glared at him, determined not to let him annoy me. My silence could also have been something to do with the slight fact that if I opened my mouth, I was sure that I would vomit. Although, actually throwing up over Malfoy could be quite fun. I giggled slightly at the mental image of him standing covered in sick with a look of repulsion on his face, but stopped when I saw his glacial stare.
After that, we worked in silence. Just like in potions class, we developed a way of working together that required neither of us to actually speak to one another. I would look for the books and pass to them him to mark down. It was surprising how well we worked. I had been expecting his usual name calling and the occasional hex as payback for him being here. It was my fault that he was here after all. Not that I would ever admit that to him.
We worked that way for the next hour or so and I was quite happily fantasising about what I would have for dinner that night, since I had missed breakfast and lunch, when a familiar loud voice nearby snapped me out of my daydream.
‘Excuse me Madame Pince, could you please inform me where Hermione Granger is. I believe she is currently carrying out a detention here.’
I jumped up and peeked through the gaps in the shelves to look over to the reception desk and groaned internally when my worst fears were confirmed. Cormac was in the library and asking where I was. Of course it was Cormac. Who else could actually sound so pompous and arrogant? Present company excluded. But then how the hell did he know I was here? I was pretty sure that I had not mentioned it the night before, but then since I could only remember parts of it, it seemed plausible that I had.
Madame Pince raised her hand and pointed in the direction where I was currently hiding. As Cormac turned his head to look in my direction, I ducked down to make sure that he wouldn’t see me. I really couldn’t deal with him just now. I was still feeling completely awful and I couldn’t be bothered having that conversation with him again.
I pressed myself flat against the bookcase, my breath coming more quickly now. What the hell was I going to do? I could hear his loud footsteps coming closer and closer. I now had about ten seconds before he would find me practically sitting on the floor.
I stood up, still hunched over and ran to the end of the aisle, pushing past Malfoy as I did and hid behind the bookcase in the next row. I crouched down, determined not to be seen. I pushed one of the books on the lower shelf to the side, so I could see what was happening. I was currently looking at Malfoy’s ankles. He was still standing in the same spot where I had nearly knocked him off his feet. I looked up at his face to see his eyebrows furrowed and a look of complete confusion on his face. He had just turned around in the direction that I had ran and made a move forward when a noise to the left caused us both to turn and look in that direction.
‘Oh, Malfoy. What are you doing here?’
I couldn’t see Malfoy’s face anymore since he had moved out of my eyeline, so I watched Cormac instead, praying that he wouldn’t see me.
‘What exactly does it look like? Detention.’ Malfoy said, his voice dripping with disdain.
'Oh. I thought Hermione was doing her detention here. Is she here?’ Cormac asked, seeming to be completely unaware of the hate vibes pouring out of Malfoy. Cormac continued to look around the aisle, trying to see if I was hiding somewhere. If only he knew.
I waited with baited breath. This was the moment where Malfoy would rat me out and I was going to have to deal with Cormac.
‘Obviously not,' Malfoy said through gritted teeth.
My breath caught in my throat and my mouth dropped open. Malfoy had just lied for me. He had just helped me. Seriously, what was going on today?
‘Oh really, because Madam Pince told me that she was over here.’
‘Well Madam Pince must have been mistaken.’
‘Merlin that girl is hard to track down. She’s like Cinderella. A kiss at midnight and then she disappears and you can’t find her again. I won’t let her get away so easily this time.’
Oh for the love of all things magic. That boy was seriously deluded. We had a drunken kiss and his warped imagination; it turns into a flipping fairy-tale with him in the role of Prince Charming. At that mental image, I couldn’t help but let out a snort, forgetting briefly that I was supposed to be hiding. I saw Malfoy’s leg tense and Cormac’s head turned immediately in my direction.
‘What was that?’ Cormac asked, peering over to where I was hiding. I crouched even closer to the floor, determined to stay hidden.
‘What was what?’ Malfoy said, sounding bored.
‘I didn’t hear anything. Now if you don’t mind McLaggen, as fascinating as all this is, I actually do have work to do,’ he said in a clearly dismissive tone.
‘Right, well if you see her can you tell her that I’m looking for her.’
‘Oh, I’m sure she knows already,’ Malfoy said, a hint of amusement creeping into his voice.
I heard footsteps moving away, hoping that it was Cormac finally going away. I stayed in my crouched position on the floor, not wanting to move in case he came back. I could have hit myself. What the hell was I thinking, kissing Cormac? This was exactly the way things had gone before. We had one kiss, which I had only done to make Ron jealous and then he trails me around the castle, trying to pounce on me at every available opportunity. Damn alcohol. Clearly nothing good can ever come from it. A voice suddenly interrupted my mental chastising.
‘He’s gone. You can stop hiding now. Or do you intend to leave me to all the work alone?’
I crept back round to the other side of the bookcase, feeling distinctly awkward. Of all the people I would have wanted to witness that, Malfoy would have definitely been on the bottom of the list. Yet he had helped me to hide. Why would be have done that? He would never willingly help me. Whatever his reasons, I was actually surprisingly grateful to him. Who would have thought I would ever actually be grateful to him. I knew I had to say something, however hard it might be.
‘Em, thanks, for, you know, not telling him,’ I said as steadily as I could, trying desperately not to look at him and feeling my face turning bright red.
He merely nodded, barely even glancing in my direction. We quickly went back to working in silence, although I was now totally distracted by other thoughts swimming around my head. What had come over Malfoy and how the hell was I going to avoid Cormac? I knew I would probably have to face him sooner or later, but right now, I was hoping for later.
We only managed another ten minutes of work, before my stomach gave a rather embarrassing rumble. My feeling of nausea had long since passed and I had been trying to ignore the rising feeling of hunger in my stomach. I felt my body stiffen slightly, but tried to act normally and ignore the gurgling in my stomach. I gave a quick glance at Malfoy and saw that he had given a quick glance in my direction, an unmistakable smirk forming on his lips. God I wanted to smack it right off of his face.
I tried to focus on what I was doing, hoping that I could forget about the growing hunger in my belly. I tried to remember the last time that I had eaten. It must have been dinner last night. About twenty hours ago. No wonder my stomach was rumbling. I tried to hold my stomach in, hoping that would stop the rumbling, but unfortunately for me, my stomach let out an even more loud and unmistakable growl.
I winced, hoping that he hadn’t heard. It wouldn’t be long before he made some stupid sarcastic remark. I heard a rustling behind me where Malfoy was standing and gave a quick glance to see what he was doing, briefly wondering if he was going to hex me. However, nothing could have prepared me for what he was about to produce from his robe pocket.
He pulled out a chocolate frog and held it out to me. I merely stared at him, well aware that my eyebrows were so high up my forehead that they were probably meeting my hairline.
‘Well, do you want it or not?’ he asked, still holding the frog out to me.
My mouth opened in shock again. He was giving me a chocolate frog. He was actually offering to give me a chocolate frog. I still hadn’t moved when he spoke again.
‘It’s not poisoned you know,’ he said clearly getting annoyed by my unresponsiveness.
That thought hadn’t actually even entered my head. I was too much in shock to actually think anything. But what he said jolted me back to reality. Of course I couldn’t take his chocolate. It no doubt was poisoned, seeing as it was Malfoy.
‘No thanks,’ I said shaking my head. ‘I’m fine.’
He just mumbled ‘whatever,’ and made a move to put the chocolate frog back into his pocket when my stomach gave an almighty rumble, even louder than the ones before.
I rolled my eyes at my body’s perfect timing and looked back to Malfoy, to see him looking at me with one eyebrow raised. He pulled the frog back out of his pocket and held it out to me once more his eyebrow still raised, daring me to take it.
Never one to back down from a challenge I reached out and took the frog, muttering my thanks. He just nodded and went to back to cataloguing the books. I couldn’t believe that I had just accepted food from Draco Malfoy. It’s amazing what being hungry could make you overlook.
I tore the paper off the chocolate frog as quickly as I could manage and only hesitated slightly, before ramming the whole thing into my mouth. I chewed quickly, before swallowing, enjoying the feeling of the creamy chocolate sliding down my throat, sending a warmth through my entire body. God that tasted good. Totally normal chocolate. No tastes of any potions and poisons. Just plain, delicious chocolate.
We fell into silence again for the rest of our detention; however the silence was at least on my part, slightly awkward.
I couldn’t help but wonder at Malfoy’s actions. He had helped me out twice today, I mean I know it was only a piece of chocolate, but it was actually something nice. Malfoy had done something nice and to me. I had never seen him do anything like that before, not to anyone, least of all to me. I mean he hated me more than he hated most people. I eyed him uneasily for the remainder of the detention, half expecting him to turn around and yell ‘surprise, got you’ or have him hex me, having lulled me into a false sense of security. But my worries were totally unfounded. He barely even looked at me for the rest of the detention. I just couldn’t figure him out and it annoyed me.
When four o’ clock finally came, Madame Pince came over and told Malfoy that he could go, since he had arrived on time for his detention. However she made me stay for the full three minutes extra, watching me work alone, until I too could stop working. I started to tidy up all of the pieces of parchment that we had been using, placing them back into order. I tried my best not to glare at Madam Pince as I gave her the parchment back. I usually got on fairly well with her, but her pettiness today annoyed me. Due to her quibble over three lousy minutes, I was left to tidy up alone, meaning that it was quarter past four before I could actually leave.
I figured I would wait in the library until dinner, as it wasn’t served until five and it would take me at least ten minutes to get back to the common room and then another ten to get back down and it hardly seemed worth it. I selected one of my favourite books and chose a quiet table away from everyone else.
Just before five, I made my way down to the great hall. Malfoy’s chocolate had kept me going, but my rumbling stomach was coming back. I hesitated slightly at the entrance of the great hall. What if Cormac was in there? I still wasn’t ready to deal with him yet. However I snapped myself out if it. I was a Gryffindor for Merlin’s sake. I was supposed to be brave and yet I was scared of facing a boy. I had faced far worse in this school and faced far worse people. I would handle Cormac if he was in there.
I walked into the great hall, ignoring the many people staring my way. No doubt no longer interested in the fact that I was part of the Golden Trio, but more likely because of my escapades the night before. I kept my eyes firmly ahead of me and kept my head held high. I was a proud Gryffindor and even though the petty gossip did bother me, there was no way that I would show it.
I sat myself down at the quiet Gryffindor table and dived straight into the food, instantly feeling revitalised as it filled my body. Every time the door opened and someone else entered the great hall, my eyes snapped to the side to see who it was, giving a sigh of relief when I saw that it wasn’t Cormac.
I was glad when Harry, Ginny and Ron finally came to join me at the dinner table. Ginny was still smirking at me, Harry looked slightly uncomfortable and Ron just looked angry, with his jaw tight. I could tell that they were waiting to see who was going to bring up the night before first, but I as damned sure that it wouldn’t be me. I wasn’t going to make it that easy for them.
‘So Hermione, how was detention then?’ Ginny asked, trying to keep the smirk off of her face. It was beginning to get really annoying.
‘Just fine thank you,’ I replied keeping my tone light.
‘How was Malfoy? He didn’t give you a hard time did he?’ Harry asked seeming concerned.
It was quite sweet of him to be so protective, but then again it was quite insulting that he didn’t think that I could handle myself.
‘No he was fine actually. Not an insult or anything.’
‘So em, it was completely uneventful. You didn’t have any visitors then?’ Ginny asked, straining to keep the excitement out of her voice.
I narrowed my eyes to look at Ginny. How the hell did she know? I groaned as I realised. Of course she must have told Cormac where I was. How else would he have known that I had detention in the library?
‘Ginny, you didn’t. Tell me that you had nothing to do with him turning up there,’ I pleaded with her, although I already knew the answer.
‘Well, he might have asked me and I may have let it slip where you would be.’ Ginny said trying to keep her expression innocent.
I glared at her as she continued. ‘Oh come on Hermione, he’s so cute and he’s so into you and you need to let your hair down every once in a while.’
‘Ginny, I will say this once and once only. I do not like Cormac and I never have. I was drunk and it was one kiss. That does not mean that I like him or want anything more with him and it certainly does not give you the right to interfere.’ I said, my voice getting louder as I spoke. I could see Harry and Ron sitting wide eyed, determined to avoid the conversation, although I would swear that Ron had a slight smirk on his lips.
‘Look Hermione, I’m sorry I was only trying to help. So what did you say to him? Did you let him down gently?’ Ginny asked, trying to get more gossip.
‘I haven’t actually spoken to him yet.’ I admitted.
‘But he went to the library looking for you and you said you saw him in the library.’ Ginny asked questioningly.
I sighed, trying to think of a way to avoid saying what had actually happened, but nothing was coming to me. Lying was not a strong point.
‘Well, I may have seen him coming and then I might have ever so slightly hid from him.’
Ginny’s mouth dropped open, but Harry and Ron just burst out laughing, only stopping when I shot a deathly glare their way.
‘Oh Hermione, why didn’t you just talk to him. He’s completely head over heels for you and you can’t keep him hanging on.’
‘I’m perfectly aware of that Ginny, but I will speak to him when I’m ready to speak to him. You know I’m not good at this sort of thing and I really didn’t need to be doing it in front of Malfoy of all people.’ I said, my voice getting louder again.
‘So how did you hide from him Hermione, especially if Malfoy was there?’ Harry asked, trying very hard to keep the grin from his face.
‘It may have involved hiding behind a bookcase and practically lying on the floor.’ I said grinning in spite of myself at the ridiculousness of the memory.
‘But didn’t Malfoy tell him where you were?’
‘Nope. Believe me I was just as surprised as you,’ I said in response to Harry’s furrowed brow. ‘But then he was probably just trying to annoy Cormac. He was being a right prat as usual.’
‘So Hermione,’ Ginny started, re-joining the conversation, ‘you are going to speak to Cormac, aren’t you?’
‘I suppose so. Eventually,’ I added as an afterthought. ‘I suppose I did really have to talk to him at some point, but I was secretly hoping that he would get the hint if I just avoided him for long enough. After all it had worked the last time.
‘Good, well now’s your chance. He’s just walked in.’ Ginny was looking at me with a rather pointed expression on her face, practically daring me to do it.
My head flew round to see Cormac strutting into the hall with his group of friends and I noticed that he had people staring at him as well, although where I had been mortified, he seemed to be enjoying it.
‘Oh shit.’ I whispered. He was walking up the side of the table where I was sitting. I so did not want to see him, especially in the great hall, in front of half the population of Hogwarts. I really didn’t need an audience to my personal dramas again. So I really had only one option left. Make a run for it. Again. Yes an extreme reaction, but I really couldn’t deal with Cormac. I ducked under the table, ignoring Harry’s yelp of surprise as I gripped his thigh and quite literally pushed him to the side. I crawled up and slid up beside him on the opposite side of the table. I swung my legs over the side of the bench and stood up, brushing off the crumbs that were sticking to my knees. Gross! Turning around, I scurried toward the great hall door. When I was about to pass Cormac, I let my hair fall over my face and I turned my head to the side to avoid him seeing me. Once I was past him, I all but ran out of the great hall, faltering only once when I caught the amused glance of a certain blonde wizard watching me the entire way.
A/N- So a huge thank you to everyone who is reading and reviewing. It seriously means a lot.
So back to the chapter, Draco was in it as promised and being uncharacteristically nice. I like bits of this chapter but I'm still not 100% happy with it, but the next chapter is pretty awesome in my opinion so this one will just have to do. So please review and let me know what you think of Draco, Ron, Cormac, etc. Reviews seriously mean so much, so I would be so grateful if you could take just a moment to leave a quick comment. I will always reply so leave any questions you have. Please keep reading and I will update soon. The next chapter is a good one.
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