Hermione ate everyday and was a complete nervous wreck about it. The only thing keeping her from exploding was the dropping numbers on the scale. Hermione chalked this phenomenon to how intense she worked out. She didn't go by speed or by time, but the second she hit the 1000 calorie mark she was done for the day.
As she got more into it she started taking more careful measurements. She took a measuring tape to her wrists, her upper arms, he stomach, her thighs, and her calves every week. She looked forward to it as well, not viewing it as an hour from her Saturday, but as a more exact approach to the scale. She felt amazing, better than amazing, she felt like she mattered.
Hermione started investing more time to her body as every passing week went by. It all seemed to come so naturally to her. Hermione would take her books out at lunch and 'study' while she pointedly didn't eat and look like she was being productive at the same time.
Halloween was fast approaching and the Heads had decided to host another dance. On the thirty-first there was going to be a magnificent party with lots of food, dancing and fun. It was going to be the first day she would lay off her diet from the day she started, and she was extremely excited for it.
On Halloween night Hermione put on her fitted black dress, coaxed her hair into a messy bun on top of her head, and applied some mascara. She walked down the girls’ stairs and into the common room.
Harry and Ron were sitting there, talking. Ginny was conversing with Lavender over something that looked ridiculously important to the brunette girl. Seeing Hermione standing there, Ginny stopped all remarks and rushed up to her.
“Oh, Hermione, you look great, do you need help with your hair?”
“Yeah, I came down to see if you were busy.” Hermione said. “I didn’t even have the nerve to try.”
Ginny shook her head. “Don’t worry. I’ve got nothing better to do than wrestle with your hair.”
Ginny marched downstairs with Harry, and Hermione followed with Ron, both Patil girls, and one very upset looking, Lavender.
Hermione couldn’t fathom why Lavender was scowling the way she was. Hermione had lent her mother of pearl necklace to the girl for the night in exchange of the some heavier makeup she didn’t have on hand. She was staring at her feet and pouting, but she practically jumped out of her barely-there mini when they heard someone’s smooth voice.
“I was quite under the impression we were supposed to bring separate dates.” Malfoy said in his voice like creamy peanut butter. Smooth, thick, and very hard to swallow.
Hermione looked around at her companions. “Oh, well, we’re going as a group, apparently. Don’t mind us.”
“I’ll try my best.”
“Thanks for the hospitality.” Hermione glowered at him.
“My pleasure. By the way, Melody is transfering from Hogwarts to Beauxbatons Academy, so there’s going to be a poll for the new Head Girl, I hear your name is on the ballot. You could possibly be spending the rest of the year in a living quarter with me.”
“Ah,” Ron said. “That sounds absolutely aweful.”
Hermione couldn’t help but smile. “Personally, I think it sounds better than living with Lavender in her current state of ill-being.” She nudged her playfully, trying to lighten the mood.
“You really need to stop being civil to Slytherin’s. They’re going to start to think we like them.” Ron said icily.
“Maybe she sees the big picture, Brown. The one with wars and much-needed alliances.” He took a step forward. “I am a much-needed alliance.”
“Actually,” Hermione cut in, “I was being ‘civil’ because I thought we were over this let’s-hate-all-the-Slytherin’s thing. And,” she decided to add as a side note, “we’re too old for silly feuds that were long forgotten. Draco has been nothing but pleasantly decent to me since our arrival.”
Ron looked like she had confessed her undying love to Voldemort himself. “This is the person who’s been calling you Mudblood for the past seven years. Or did you not notice him trying to kill Dumbledore and in the process, Unforgivable cursing a barista, almost killing Katie Bell, and setting a bunch of dark wizards on the students in this castle?” His face had gone red, but Hermione suspected that had more to do with the lack of air he had been receiving in his rant than actual fury. “Hermione, have you gone mad, or dark? Because last time I checked you had to be either to want to even talk to this sack of idiocy.”
Hermione had been bobbing her head through his speech and finally found he voice. “He’s only been calling me ‘Mudblood’ for six years. Technically.”
Ron scowled at her, but thankfully didn’t say anything.
They walked through the Great Hall and immediately headed to the delicacies, Hermione noticed an abundance of French meals, particularly ones she had had on her trip to France in her third year. “Do you know who coordinated the food?” She asked back to Ron. He didn’t answer so she dug the heel of the stiletto into his toe and glared at him.
“No.” Ron hissed into her ear. “Why don’t you go ask your knew best friend.”
Pissed off at his pouting-ness, Hermione left Ron to sulk along the table and went in search of Lavender. “Why the hell is Ron in such a foul mood?”
Lavender looked at her. “I shared something I probably shouldn’t have with him.” The girl turned back around, staring at the wall.
“Oh really, like what?”
“Like something that may or may not have to do with tall, platinum blonde, and hot.”
Hermione gaped, “what do you know about Malfoy?”
Lavender gave Hermione her full attention. “I know that he knows a lot about you.”
“You know,” she said, examining her nails, “more than he should.”
Hermione couldn’t help herself, she had to ask again. “Like what?”
Lavender eyed her like she was the stupid one. “Did you not notice the food they’re serving tonight? You did go to France, didn’t you? Who do you think suggested it?” Lavender said. “He’s using some sort of enchantment to stalk you, or something. Well, at least, that’s what Pansy told me, and Pansy’s a nervous wreck about it.”
She sauntered away.
An enchantment? Hermione scanned the Hall to find Malfoy, he was leaning on the wall with Blaise and some other Slytherin goons. She had never heard of kids using that kind of magic on each other. She wondered if it was even possible for kids to use that kind of magic on each other.
After the incident with Lavender, Hermione’s night turned into something of a daydream.
She scowled at the library shelves, but no book caught her eye about legal and illegal enchantments in Hogwarts, or anything of the sort. Hermione retired to her bed with a book on magic torture devices in Medievil times and sleep in her eyes.
Someone had died. No, not just someone but someone someone. Someone really important. Someone with a cat, more specifically, someone with a cat named Mrs. Norris.
Filch is dead. No, worse than dead, cut up into little pieces, tortured then cut up into little pieces, tortured then cut up into little pieces then fed to the students in the noon stew. Hermione woke up gasping for air.
“What’s your problem?” Lavender asked from where she read the muggle magazine on her bed next to Hermione.
“Nightmare.” Said Hermione as she sat up. “The craziest dream. Filch had been tortured, cut up into little pieces and fed to us in the afternoon stew.”
“Funny,” Lavender said, “I heard something similar, but I don’t have nightmares over squibs.”
“What do mean, ‘I heard something similar’?”
Lavender looked at her. Then snickered. “It’s not just a dream Hermione. Filch is dead, his arm was found in the quidditch pitch, his leg was found in the dungeons, his other arm was found in Snape’s living Quarters, his other leg was found in the Kitchens. And” Lavender breathed in deeply, “his head was found staked on the top of the gate at the front entrance.”
“Shut up,” Hermione got up in a hurry, leaving the girl and her stupid blasphemy to go find Harry and Ron and tell them about her dream and seek sympathy for the terror.
“You know, maybe I should listen to you more often. You seem to have a lot of interesting opinions on the world.”
“Yeah, I know.” Lavender said, sitting on the couch next to Hermione, they were doing History of Magic homework and Hermione was bored out of her mind, but Lavender was always entertaining. “No one ever listens to me. It’s because they all think I’m wrong and deserve to rot in hell for the terrible things in which I have done.”
“Oh, you know…”
Hermione sighed. “Yes, I do know.” Having been subject to the terrible things in which Lavender speaks of, she knew fairly well what the other girl was capable of.
Suddenly there was a light in the other girl’s eye. “You know, I heard a rumor there was a boy coming from the American wizard school, how cute do you think he’ll be? Like, on a scale from one to ten.”
Hermione scowled at Lavender. “Well, seeing as most Americans are obese, and even more stupid, I’m going to give him a two, assuming one is the least cute.” Hermione stood and left, she did not want to talk about a kid who probably didn’t even exist.
“Wait,” Lavender called to Hermione. “Do you want to eat dinner with me? I know that Ron and Harry are at Quidditch practice, but I was thinking us three girls could dine together tonight.”
Hermione had actually been planning to call it an early night and skip dinner again. But she really did want to eat with Lavender and Ginny, and it surprised her that Lavender even noticed that Harry and Ron weren’t going to be there. “Um…yeah,” she said with a smile. “I would like to eat with you.”
By the time Hermione was walking up the stairs to her dorm with Lavender, her sides were hurting from laughing so hard at dinner. Lavender wasn’t the smartest person she knew, but she sure could have a good time. She was uncomfortably stuffed from the roast they had eaten, but she chalked it up to her stomach shrinking from not eating much recently. She was happy. It was a good feeling.
They had Transfiguration after lunch the next day and Hermione willingly skipped the meal because, despite her diebetic happiness from the night before, she was starting to feel a little guilt from the cooked pig.
Noticing the time, she ran from the library all the way to McGonagall’s class and had to clutch her sides at the door, running up stairs so suddenly did not go happy with an empty tummy.
Maybe not eating lunch wasn’t her best idea. She felt like she was car sick, and definitely not paying attention to McGonagall as she spoke about changing snails into thse huge beautiful birds that Hermione thought looked weird. She had a hard time concentrating over her stomach grumbling objectively. Finally the bell rung to signal the next class.
“Hermione, would you come here please.” McGonagall called her to the front of the room while the other students were leaving.
“Miss Granger, you are the brightest witch of your age, no doubt about it, so it troubles me to see where your grades are heading thuis early in the year. Have you had a chance to look at them recently?”
Hermione’s heart felt like it had been punctured. “My marks?” Her voice sounded queasy and her gut tied itself into knots.
“Yes, Hermione. Here you are, all the marks are recent and up-to-date.” Professor McGonagall handed Hermione a piece of paper. Every line had a new mark written in the different teachers’ scrawl.
Defense Against the Dark Arts~ E/A
History of Magic~ A
Ancient Runes~ A/P
Muggle Studies~ N/A
Care of Magical Creatures~ N/A
“As you can see, Miss Granger, your marks are considerably worse than last year, or even at the very beginning of this year.” McGonagall took a deep breath. “I was just wondering if there was anything you needed to talk about. Maybe you have too much on your plate. I know you have been looking more tired as of late, and you don’t seem to be getting enough to eat, do you have anything you want to tell me. Maybe I can have you drop some of the electives until you get back on track.”
“No, that won’t be necessary, I just want to know if you still have my marks from last year, I want to compare.” Professor McGonagall nodded her head and passed Hermione a heavy, cream-colored paper.
“There you go.”
Defense Against the Dark Arts~ O
History of Magic~ O
Ancient Runes~ O
Muggle Studies~ N/A
Care of Magical Creatures~ O
Hermione scanned over her grades from sixth year and noticed all the changes that have happened between then and now. She went over all the things that have been different between this year and the last and came up with a bunch of different things that she jotted down quickly on the back of her old marks.
Eating less, sleeping less, not concentrating very well, sad (ish), working out, dieting.
Nothing was making sense. The only change she had officially made was how much she ate. Were these all side effects of limiting what she was eating? How could they be? How could her poor sleep be because of her diet? Maybe it was stress. Yes, she was stressed, so she wasn’t eating very much and losing sleep. Losing sleep made her concentration be off and is slowly making her depressed.
Suddenly someone sat beside her. He pushed all his books down the stairs where they were as to not be in the way of his intrusion on her personal space. “Hiya.”
“Hey,” Hermione said shyly while Draco continued to look at her with a funny look on his face.
“Where those your grades?” He asked innocently.
Hermione blushed a little. “Uh…yeah. I guess they were my grades.”
Not noticing her use of past tense he questioned her again. “Are they good?”
That caught Hermione off guard and told Draco the first thing that came to her head. “Of course my grades are good! My grades are always good.” She immediately started blushing when she noticed the lie. Trying to get away from that subject before Draco left she asked him the question that was burning hot in her throat. “What do you think this means?”
She handed him the back of the paper she had wrote all her symptoms on and studied him while he studied the paper. “Well…” He started. “I’m definitely no expert, but my mom was diagnosed with depression in her late teens, and it looks a lot like the symptoms she said she had. I have no idea though. Personally, I think you just need a break from all the work you’re always doing…” He trailed off and stared at the page until he turned it over absently, almost turning it back over when he noticed what was written on them. “Whoa…Hermione, these are you grades? No wonder you got mad when I asked you about your marks, these are fucking fantastic.”
Hermione snatched the piece of paper away from quickly, hoping he hadn’t realized his mistake. “Yup, they are completely up-to-date too. And I didn’t get mad at you, I just told you that you’re wrong.”
Draco stood up and started walking away. “Yeah, whatever. I’m going to get someone stupider to help me.”
When he started walking away she added a new word to the sheet. Irritable.
That night Hermione dreamt about her N.E.W.T’s. While she sat in the Great Hall, next to all her peers, she scanned the questions and possible answers on the test, when she was done she looked at the front of the test page again only to find the questions had changed.
How many calories are in a banana? a) 50
All the questions were like that. The questions had been changed from the standard wizard format to classic muggle multiple choice. How many calories are in a quarter cup of ice cream? How many calories in a protein bar? In an orange? A milkshake? Chocolate? Peanuts? An orange milkshake, chocolate covered peanuts, rice, carrots, ketchup, potatoes, macaroni casserole…
The test went on and on, Hermione didn’t know the answer to a single question and started panicking until she looked up and saw that her classmates had been turned into gross-sized versions of fast foods, junk foods, terrible, horrible, bad-for-you foods, and she burst into hysterics.
Hermione bolted awake in the dark room and lay back down with her heart in her throat. Sooner or later she drifted back asleep.
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