I was frustrated. How could I not get this on the first try! I knew that they'd said that getting it on the first try was next to impossible, but I was Hermione Granger and I got everything on the first try, besides Quidditch that is. I felt humiliated, I wasn’t even able to budge an inch and Susan Bones of Hufflepuff managed to apparate. Sure, she splinched herself but at least she was able to do it. Ever since that sign had gone up in the common room, I had been reading every book I could get my hands on that would reveal even the tiniest bit of information on how to apparate, only for absolutely nothing to happen.
The instructor told us all that it was normal that no one had been able to get it today but for me, it was a sign of failure, and I didn’t do failure well. As a matter of fact, the two times I had failed, had been in Divination and flying. The first found me storming out of the classroom after knocking over a crystal ball and the second found me taking great leaps and bounds to stay as far away from it as I could, except for supporting Harry during his matches, but even that was much closer than I would like.
I headed off to the library, with my note to allow me into the restricted section in hand, knowing that there was at least one more book I still had yet to check out about apparating, and I needed to look up what exactly a Horcrux was for Harry. I ignored the looks that were being shot my way from both Harry and Ron, the former having his arm wrapped around Lavender's lithe body and quickly stalked away before they could stop me. If there was one thing that I had accomplished recently, it was my attitude towards Lavender and Ron’s relationship. While I still wasn’t totally for it; I wasn’t leaving a room simply because they were present. I could see that she actually loved him, and while that didn’t mean that my love for him was any less true, it at least put me toat ease for the moment to know that he was being given all that he deserved.
The library was quiet when I got there, as it usually was, and I made my way to the familiar section of books. As I scanned my finger across the spines, taking in their numbers as I went. I took in a deep breath of the old book smell and sighed a bit. I loved the smell of books, the scent alone had a way of relaxing me, and it took me to another place, a place similar to Hogwarts actually but without the aches and pains of real life. I found the book that I was looking for and wandered my way over to the desk, handing my note allowing me into the Restricted section to Madame Pince.
Being in this section always gave me the creeps as even the atmosphere around the books was dark. I hurried through the books, only taking a small moment to read the names of them before continuing on. After taking several off the selves, I finally found a mention of Horcruxes in Magick Moste Evile, but that’s all it was, a mention. Several books later this was still the best that I had found and I decided to give up, figuring that any books that go into more detail about it have been banned from Hogwarts. I finally made my way over to Madame Pince’s desk to hand her my book but was quickly captured by another book, though this time it was a fiction book. This was not a section that I usually browsed as I much preferred fact to fiction any day, but there was something about the book that dragged me in, so on impulse I grabbed that book as well.
Being a relatively warm day for March and with still lots of daylight to be found, I made my way outside. There was a special place that I really enjoyed down by Hagrid’s Hut that was out of the way and almost nobody ever went down that far, so I could be alone to read my books. Instead of picking up my book on apparating, I grabbed the fiction novel off the ground beside me and studied the cover. It appeared to be some romance novel judging by the picture and title and I tentatively flipped open the book. It didn’t take long for the book to capture my complete attention and before I knew it, the sun was fading away much too quickly for me to continue reading.
I made my way to the Great Hall for dinner still trying to read the book as I went along, I only had three more chapters left and really wanted to know how it ended. Of course with my head in the book, I wasn’t exactly paying attention to my surroundings and ran into something, or more specifically someone.
“Malfoy,” I gasped as I regained my balance, “we really need to stop meeting like this.” I looked up at him and was surprised with the sight in front of me. “Were you- were you crying?” I asked him. He had done a good job hiding it but his eyes still held that slight pink tint that gave him away.
“Leave it alone Granger,” he snapped and started walking away.
“You don’t have to be alone in this, whatever this is,” I yelled out to him, causing him to pause in his spot.
“Granger, you don’t know what you’re talking about,” his voice wavered a bit as he spoke.
“Maybe you should talk to Dumbledore,” I started before I was interrupted by Draco.
“No, that’s the last thing I need to do,” he yelled.
“Listen, he can help you,” I tried again.
“For once Granger, keep your nose out of my business.” He then walked away from me, leaving me to do nothing but stare after him.
It took me a moment before I remembered what exactly I was going to do before I ran into Draco, and I quickly turned on my heel away from him and headed to the Great Hall. Everybody was already there and had started eating by the time I sat down between Ginny and some random second year girl who was busy talking with her friends. Harry was cutting into his chicken across from me, with a frown upon his face.
“I’m telling you guys, he’s up to something,” Harry said, leaning forward in his seat to stress his point.
“Come on Harry, you’re not on about that again are you?” Ron asked as he took a bite of his bun, though I could clearly see that there was still some chicken lingering around in his mouth as well.
“You have to admit, something is up with him. He’s never at meals anymore and he isn’t getting along with Snape either. I’m sure that he’s joined Voldemort’s forces if only I could find a way to prove it.” Harry received a couple of looks from some of the nearby Gryffindors but they quickly turned away once Harry looked at them.
“Harry, just because Malfoy’s skipping meals it doesn’t mean that he’s joined Voldemort,” I whispered across the table, to prevent people from listening in. “He could be studying for all we know.”
“Hermione, not everyone is like you and wants to study all the time,” Ron quipped.
“Just because you don’t study, doesn’t mean that others don’t,” I told him, a little hurt at his comment.
“You didn’t see what I did before Christmas Hermione,” Harry told me wiping the sleeve of his robe across his mouth.
“Harry you don’t even know what you heard. Why don’t we finish this talk up in Gryffindor Tower where it will be much quieter and less people around to overhear what we are talking about?” I suggested, pushing my plate away.
Harry and Ron followed me out of the Great Hall along with Ginny, though thankfully, Lavender stayed behind to catch up with Romilda Vane. The two of them had made up about a week after Ron’s birthday and now the two were always together when she wasn’t with Ron.
“Hermione, why did we have to leave dinner so early?” Ron grumbled behind me.
“You are welcome to go back there Ron,” I said, “but I happened to go to the library today and thought Harry might like to know what I found.”
I heard Harry pause behind me as he took in what I said, “What exactly did you find?” He questioned.
“Not here Harry,” I snapped.
Thankfully, the common room was empty when we got there, the one joy of leaving dinner early. I quickly took my place on the red couch in front of the fireplace and waited for everyone to get settled. Ron took his place to my left and Harry to my right with Ginny sitting on the chair next to him. I situated myself so that I was turned towards Harry and Ginny with my back to Ron, not that I meant to have my back to him but Harry was really who I was speaking to so it was more important to have my front facing Harry then it would to have it facing Ron.
“So, I was in the,” I started before I was cut off by Harry and Ron.
“Library,” they said together, sort of mocking me.
“Yes, I was in the library, and I came across this one book that mentioned a Horcrux,” they leaned forward slightly at that, a little more interested in what I had to say now, “Seriously, you don’t even want to know what is in those books, there was some really demented potions and spells. Anyways, all I could find was this, in the introduction to Magick Most Evile - listen - 'Of the Horcrux, wickedest of magical inventions, we shall not speak nor give direction....' I mean, why mention it then?"* I yelled exasperated.
“Seriously Hermione, I thought you had actually found something,” Harry stated sounding just as exasperated as I was.
“You mean I left dinner early just to find out nothing?” Ron gaped at me.
“At least I found something,” I defended, “besides, did you really want all those people around to overhear what we were talking about?”
“I guess you’re right, but now we’re back to square one,” Harry stated.
We all sighed, sinking a bit further into the couch, and just sat there. It had been a long time since the four of us just enjoyed each other’s company, what with Ron being with Lavender, Ginny had been with Dean until recently, and Harry going off and having private lessons with Dumbledore. Even after everybody else came back from dinner, filling up the common room with chatter, we remained silent. There was something to be said about being able to be with your friends and just be silent; it wasn’t an awkward silence, just silence. Most of the time, people felt that in order to be true friends you had to always be talking, but for me, this is what I felt was true friendship, being comfortable enough with each other’s presence to not need noise to fill it up.
*cited from Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince (American pg. 381)
AN: Thank you so much for Giola for being my wonderful beta and helping me out with this story! Also big thanks go out to ToujoursPadfoot and TenthWeasley for helping me along with this chapter. I also want to send out a big thanks to those who have reviewed my story all along DracoFerret11, adluvshp, maskedmuggle, and littlemissmb and anyone else who has left a review on any of my chapters! Please remember to read and review!