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Chapter 3 : Chapter 3~ An Interesting Thing
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Chapter 3~ An Interesting Thing
They still had the weekend until classes started, but an interesting notice had been posted Friday afternoon while most of the students had been exploring the castle or outside enjoying the weather. It was after the encounter with Malfoy and dinner that Hermione and Ginny saw it hanging in the common room. They walked into the room to a swarm of people standing in front of the notice board. What could possibly be so interesting? School hasn’t even officially started yet. She and Ginny walked over and read what it said:
Students of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry
By order of the staff at Hogwarts and the Headmistress, students this year will be subject to an extra sorting event held this Saturday. It is required that ALL students attend the event which will be held in the Great Hall. All instructions and notifications of the changes at Hogwarts will be addressed at the event. No additional preparation is needed.
Everyone must be seated in the Great Hall at precisely 7pm on Saturday.
Headmistress M. McGonagall
Hermione stared at the piece of paper. “extra sorting event?” What did that mean? She heard all the whispers around her, some of which voiced many of her own thoughts.
“Are we being re-sorted?”
“Will I be placed in a different house?”
“I’m not leaving Gryffindor! Theres no way I’m giving the Hat a chance to put me in Slytherin!”
Hermione looked over at Ginny who was a little stunned. Then she looked up at Hermione.
“What do you suppose it means? Do you think McGonagall would really change the house we’re in?”
“I…I don’t think so” Hermione replied and shook her head, trying to fix her thoughts.
Just then Ron and Harry came over, both looking like they’d been hit in the face with a bludger. Hermione couldn’t help but smile a little at their faces. Ginny apparently thought it was hilarious because she erupted into a fit of giggles when she saw the boy’s faces. They looked even more confused with the girls reactions.
“What are you two on about?” Ron said, looking a little frustrated. “I thought you would be upset or nervous about this whole ‘sorting’ thing as well?”
“oh… we…. are Ron, but… the look on your… your faces is priceless.” Ginny managed to get out through her fits of giggles.
This obviously annoyed Ron and Harry just looked at his girlfriend.
“I don’t know why you think it’s so funny” Ron spat at his sister. Harry, however, nudged Ron’s arm and gave him a look that said don’t-say-anymore-because-you’ll-regret-it-later. Ron amazingly got the hint and shut up, but he threw another furious look at his sister who was still clutching her stomach.
“What do you think is going to happen Hermione?” Harry asked her.
She looked at him and shook her head.
“I have no clue.”
With that they made their way over to their favorite seats by the fireplace and talked about little things. They were all still being careful about bringing up memories. It was too soon.
Draco walked back from dinner and was off in thought about the look he’d seen on Granger’s face. He was pretty sure that he’d seen her look curious and not loathing. Although that was just a theory at the moment. He wasn’t listening to Blaise or Riya talking to him. Riya was Blaise’s girlfriend. She was nice and nowhere near as annoying as Pansy, so Draco found he could put up with her when she was around. He’d met her just a couple days before coming back to school. It had also been the first day he and Blaise had seen each other since the War. Draco still wasn’t sure about him, so he didn’t hang out with him much, but was giving it a chance. They had followed him from dinner and were talking to him and asking him questions but he was too far off in his own thoughts to hear them, it was only when Blaise punched him in the arm that he finally looked up. They had somehow reached the Slytherin common room and were standing in front of the notice board. Draco looked in the direction Blaise was pointing and saw a piece of paper and read it, then looked at the stunned faces of the only two people who really seemed to want to be around him again.
“What the bloody hell does it mean!” Blaise practically shouted. He earned a couple of looks from nearby faces but ignored it. “How could they re-sort us!?”
Draco looked at the paper again. ‘extra sorting event’ It didn’t say anything about re-sorting them, but he was worried and confused nun-the-less. He realized he wanted to be away from everyone right then and quickly mumbled a goodnight to his “friends.” When he reached his bed he closed the hangings around him and made sure that no one would disturb him. He lay back on his bed and stared into nothing. His mind thinking…
The next morning everyone, no matter where they were, was talking about the notice and what was going to happen tonight. Hermione sat at breakfast and listened to the buzz of conversation and found that she wasn’t really nervous about that night. She knew that McGonagall would never do anything too drastic… she hoped. Harry and Ron sat down and she immediately noticed that they were looking at her curiously.
“What?” she said confused.
“Aren’t you worried about tonight?”
“Um… not really. I mean, come on, McGonagall isn’t going to do something bad and I seriously doubt that she’d actually change the house we’re in. She’s not stupid.”
She saw their faces brighten a little at her words, realizing that she was probably right, as usual. This apparently allowed Ron to realize that it was breakfast and Hermione watched as he loaded his plate with more food than anyone should EVER put on their plate. She couldn’t help the look of disgust creep on her face. Had she really liked this guy? Looking at him now made her examine what she was missing… not much. That was not the same opinion that most other girls now had of him though. He was a hero and charming in their eyes. She had seen almost every girls head turn when he and Harry had entered the hall, but for the first time they weren’t just looking at Harry. She sighed, they were only interested in his fame. He would enjoy that at least. As she looked around the hall again she noticed that Draco Malfoy was sitting away from most people again and he kept looking at her. She had no idea what was going on with him, but it was slightly disturbing to her. She quickly went back to looking at her plate, but with Ronald eating like he’d missed a whole month’s-worth of meals, she had lost her appetite.
“I’m leaving” She announced.
Harry looked at her with a question on his face, but didn’t ask. Ron looked up as well,
“mwwrr oorr ou… going?” He said with his mouth full and had somehow managed to swallow.
“Ron, that is disgusting! Don’t talk with your mouth full!”
Ginny had arrived.
“But to ask the same question… where ARE you going?” she said turning to Hermione.
“Oh, I was just going to do some light reading out by the lake.”
They are looked at her.
“What?” she said.
“Hermione, you do realize we don’t have any homework yet?” said Harry trying to keep a grin off his face.
“Yes I do Harry, but I like to read. Do you realize that you would both…” she pointed to Harry and Ron, “do better if you read more.”
“No way am I reading more than I have to,” Ron stated.
Harry just sat there and looked amused.
“Well… have fun.” He said.
“Oh I will.” She smiled. She waved at all of them and then left.
After leaving the Great Hall she went to the library and grabbed a couple books and then proceeded outside. As she reached the lake she realized she wasn’t the only one outside, but luckily no one was sitting next to her favorite tree. Hermione made her way over and plopped down on the grass and set her books next to her. She looked at the ones she’d grabbed and tried to decide which one to read first. There was A Hundred Things to Know Before Casting Spells, Light in the Dark Arts, They Who Know the Most Will Conquer and Five Hundred Tips for Transfiguring Yourself. She decided on the one about transfiguring herself. She had come to terms with her appearance, but transfiguring things had always been something she was good at. She flipped open the book and began to read.
No doubt a couple hours had passed, but Hermione hadn’t noticed. She was now reading They Who Know the Most Will Conquer when a shadow suddenly appeared over her. She looked up into a face she was not expecting to see.
“Well, look who it is.” He smirked.
Great, just like old times. She turned back to her book without replying. His hands then took the book from hers, placed the book mark on the page she was on and then shut it with a snap. Now he’d done it.
“What do you want Malfoy?” She said angrily.
“Now now Granger, no need to get angry… I put the book mark right where you were.”
She looked up again to see him smirking at her. Oh how she hated that smirk.
“Give it back Malfoy.”
“Touchy, geez, someone woke up on the wrong side of the bed this morning.”
“I was perfectly fine until I was interrupted by YOU” she retorted. She wished he’d just leave.
“What are you reading?” He said looking at the book in his hand and then to all the books sitting next to her. His smirk got bigger when he saw the one about transfiguring.
She was about to retort when she realized it wasn’t an insult. He still annoyed her though so she snapped at him,
“Go away, I don’t need my day to be ruined. I’ll hex you if you don’t give my book back”
“Technically it’s the library’s book”
She stood up and tried to grab the book from him. He raised it above his head. He was much taller than her. She was a decent height at 5’5 but Malfoy… well he was 6’3. She glared up at him and saw that he was amused. She’d had enough so she pulled out her wand. He just looked at her.
“I’m not doing anything wrong, so you can’t hurt me.” He said looking at her, his mystic grey eyes looking at her.
“I don’t care, you are disturbing me and holding the book I was reading and now you won’t leave me alone.”
“Well it looks like you’re in a bit of a situation. Where are Potter and Weasely to rescue you?”
“I… I don’t need to be rescued.” She said furiously.
She felt the color rise in her cheeks. He was so annoying and she really wanted to hex him. He obviously hadn’t changed very much. She raised her want and muttered a stinging spell. He yelped and dropped the book.
“What the bloody hell was that for!?” He said rubbing his arm where the spell had hit him.
“I told you to leave me alone and give back my book.” She glared at him.
“Fine you filthy mu… Gryffindor!” He spat at her in frustration. He then turned around and stomped away from her.
She stared after him, stunned. Had Draco Malfoy just stopped himself from calling her a mudblood? He had always said it with such loathing pleasure, but now… now he lamely replaced it with ‘Gryffindor.’ She sat back down but didn’t pick up her book. She just stared out across the lake thinking.
Hermione was still thinking about how Malfoy might have actually changed and how he hadn’t really been mean, just a little irritating. She thought about their interactions and realized that it was just a natural reaction for her to hate him and snap. But he hadn’t called her a mudblood. What was wrong with him? He had been civil on the train and then had caught her when she blacked out for a second, but this… this was just plan confusing. If the war wouldn’t have ended she would have said he was under the Imperious Curse. Her thoughts kept going round and round in her head until she realized someone was waving their hand in front of her face and talking to her.
She looked at who was yelling at her.
“Oh hi Harry.”
“Finally! Do you realize how long we’ve been standing here?”
Hermione looked behind him and saw Ron and Ginny looking at her, Ginny holding one of her books.
“Sorry I was just lost in thought. What are you guys doing out here?”
“We came to come get you for dinner.” Harry said looking at her like she nuts.
“Dinner? What time is it?”
“Almost 5 o’clock”
Holy leaping Hippogriffs! She had missed lunch and had been outside all day. Damn that Malfoy. She quickly got up and started shoving her books in her bag. They all struck up conversation as they started back to the castle and Ginny asked.
“So what was so important and had you staring off into space and made you lose track of the time?”
“Oh um…” She hadn’t thought about what to tell them. “I had an encounter with Malfoy and it had me thinking”
They stared at her.
“What did that git do? I’ll smash his bloody face in!” Ron said looking around him as thought Malfoy would be standing right there.
“That’s the funny thing. He wasn’t mean… well besides taking the book I was reading. He came over and was actually pretty civil. I’m just so used to him being a bloody git that I kind of put my defenses up and snapped. He even stopped himself from calling me a mudblood.”
“He what?” All three of them said in unison.
“I know, he started to and then stopped.”
Malfoy couldn’t believe it, she had hexed him! He rubbed his forearm where the stinging spell had hit him. It hurt. I wasn’t even doing anything to her. He thought to himself as he sat down at his house table. He pulled up his sleeve and saw an angry red welt on his arm. He frowned. He hadn’t deserved it. Ok, so maybe he had taken her book and disturbed her a little, but stinging him was overboard. But the look on her face when he had almost called her a mudblood and then stopped. He kept thinking about it. She had looked shocked. He supposed she had good reason though, he had spent almost six whole years calling her that. He hadn’t wanted to, but he had needed to keep up the image his bloody father had wanted him to. It had sickened him to do it 97% of the time. As far as he was concerned, being a Pureblood wasn’t really that different from being a half-blood or a muggleborn. His attention was then drawn to the food that had appeared on the table. Ahhhh… he thought, mashed potatoes, turkey, variety of veggies, and some delicious looking chocolate desserts… this is why I love being here! He couldn’t help but smile a little as he piled food on his plate. The house elves at Hogwarts were amazing cooks, everything was always mouth watering and delicious. As he ate, he slowly scanned the scene. People were busy talking and eating, catching up on what they had done over the summer and everyone once in a while there were some sad conversations and tears. It couldn’t be helped. People would also look over in his direction with mixed facial expressions, some anger and others pain. He doubted he would ever be accepted again, by anyone. All they saw was a Death Eater. He suddenly looked down at his half-eaten chocolate mousse and fount he had completely lost his appetite. Draco couldn’t take it any longer. He got up and practically ran from the hall and was followed by many staring, but one in particular.
He ran to the Astronomy Tower and slid down the wall out on walkway overlooking the castle. It was his favorite spot to sit and think and get away from everything. He wished that there was a way to apologize and make up for his actions, a way he could show people he’s changed. His thoughts shifted and he thought of Granger. Her hair had been tamed and fell in nice honey colored waves, her soft brown eyes, although they tightened when she had seen him. She had matured since he’d last really seen her and was really quite beautiful… wait what? What was he thinking! Malfoy thinking about and saying the she was beautiful. Oh no… what had happened to him. He may not be prejudice anymore and he wanted to try and be treated more civilly by people, but fall for Granger. That was not going to happen. His attention was brought back to his surroundings when a particularly strong burst of wind hit him and played with his hair. He realized he had probably been sitting there awhile. Oh crap! The sorting! He got up and raced down the corridors, which were completely empty seeing as everyone was in the Great Hall… where he should be too. He skidded to a halt just outside of the doors and tried to catch his breath. Luckily there were open and he quietly slipped inside, unnoticed. He looked around, everyone seemed to be talking and waiting. Thank goodness, nothing’s happened yet!
Hermione had seen Malfoy race out of the hall and even though she talked a little with Ginny and Harry, she noticed how long he had been gone. It was approaching seven and everyone was getting fidgety. Harry, Ron and Ginny were all talking Quiddich now and she tuned them out, gazing off into space again. Out of the corner of her eye she saw that strikingly blonde hair slip into the hall and sit at the very end of the table. She looked at her watch, it said 6:55. Oh very close Malfoy.
Suddenly everything went quiet. The Headmistress had stood up and everyone fell silent, most also seemed to be holding their breath.
“Students, I know you are all probably trying to figure out what this gathering could be about. Well you’re about to find out. In order to help create a feeling of unity and alliance you will be assigned and sorted into pairs. All students will be paired with someone from a different house and you will be given assignments to do together as part of the curriculum. There will also be opportunities for extra credit and house points outside, those will not be required. Our hope is that you will connect with your partner, learn from them and become important to each as a support. Many of us are still grieving from what happened and this will allow the chance to talk and become friends with someone who may be feeling similar. We will be using the Sorting Hat to do this and it will give you a brief explanation before we begin.”
Whispers began to escalate and McGonagall cleared her throat.
“I know many of you do not like this and are skeptical,” She looked between the Gryffindor and Slytherin table. “But I ask you to sit, listen and see what happens. I will then request that you give it a couple weeks before you totally reject it. Now, I will let the Sorting Hat do its thing.”
She stepped forward and placed the stool with the Sorting Hat sitting on it in front of everyone. The seam near the hat’s brim opened and it began to speak.
“I will not pretend to be unknowing of your discomfort, for I can feel it from all of you. But I ask that you play this game and see how it goes. I will be given a list of everyone’s names and then I will separate you and partner you with someone who you need or are meant to have a chance with. This will come from a power greater than any wizard could conjure. So, let your fate be reveled.”
Everyone sat in stunned silence. Partnered with someone from a different house? What? Hermione had no idea what to think. She hadn’t even considered this as a possibility. She wondered if the portrait of Dumbledore in the Headmistresses office has given her this idea. It sounded like something he would suggest. She watched as a huge list with every students name on it was placed into the hat. Then they waited.
Ron exploded and turned on Harry and Hermione.
“What the bloody hell does she think she’s doing! What happens if I were to get paired with some Slytherin git!? I don’t think theres much I can learn from someone who is going to try and hex me to oblivion or who I want to strangle.”
“Ron,” Hermione said, “the point of this is to help unite all of us. I doubt the Sorting Hat would place us with someone who wants to kill us. We all just have to keep an open mind.”
He stared at her incredulously. He opened his mouth, shut it, opened it again and then slammed his head on the table.
“You’re mental.” They heard him say, slightly muffled by the table.
Just as Hermione was about to speak, she heard the Sorting Hat clear its throat. Here comes the moment of truth. She groaned inwardly. She wondered who she would be paired with.
“Blaise Zabini and Ronald Weasely,”
She quickly looked to Ron. His face had turned red and he looked like he was literally going to explode. He was speechless. She looked back to the hat. This was not starting out so great.
“Ginevra Weasely and Gregory Mincent, Lavender Brown and Zane Kurkiff…”
Hermione was half listening, there seemed to be no order in which the names were called and therefore she had no clue when her partner would be called. She paid attention and saw random people paired and then people who made sense.
“Hermione Granger and Draco Malfoy…”
She panicked. What?! Malfoy? Was this some kind of joke? No! She sat there in shock. Everyone turned and stared at her. Even Ron was brought out of his ranting. Hermione had gotten their enemy from, well from the beginning. She just put her forehead on the table and tried not to think. Maybe it wouldn’t be so bad? He was OK earlier… oh who am I kidding, this is going to be torture!
“Hermione Granger and Draco Malfoy…”
He sat bolt upright. He would have thought he was imagining things except all of the remaining Slytherins were staring down the table at him. He couldn’t believe what had just happened. He, Draco Malfoy, had been partnered with Hermione Granger. He realized that the part that shocked him most about this what not WHO he had been partnered with, but with the feeling he felt. He was fine with it. Shocked yes, but he was now extremely curious. What could the hat possibly see that he, or she, needed to learn from each other? He ignored the stares from almost everyone in the entire hall. He hoped he would be able to get to his bed without too much trouble. He glanced over at the Gryffindor table and saw that the Granger girl had her head down on the table. Is she crying? I wonder what she thinks. Although she probably still hates me. He sighed and rubbed his arm again. It still hurt a little from her spell. He looked up at the ceiling and realized he had no idea what this year was going to be like. Let it come, he thought, anything will be better than having to serve the Dark Lord.
Neither he nor Hermione noticed or heard McGonagall stand up and tell them that anyone who refused to cooperate with this could leave the school but she hoped they would stay and give this a chance. They were also both oblivious to the fact that half of the remaining Slytherins got up right then and there and left the school.
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