Author's Note: I am extremely sorry for the long wait. This chapter was particularly hard for me to write, and I've been sick lately. So, I'm better now, and here you are :). This chapter is mostly in Blaise's POV, since I wanted to establish his role a little more. By the way, the wonderful J.K Rowling owns Harry Potter. Don't forget to review!
Chapter Ten: The Sapphire Necklace
Blaise Zabini had never really understood what went on in Draco Malfoy’s head, and he didn’t bother to try. But today, as they sat in the Three Broomsticks on Hogsmeade Weekend, Blaise would have given anything to be able to see what was going on in his friend’s head.
Draco had been staring, for the last five minutes, at the back of Hermione Granger’s head. The brown haired beauty, whom Blaise had always fancied, was sitting with Ginny Weasley and Harry Potter, discussing something in voices too low for anyone to hear.
‘Draco,’ Blaise hissed under his breath. ‘Stop staring. It’s rude.’
Draco looked away quickly, but he was still watching her out of the corner of his eye. ‘Sorry.’
Blaise nodded, and took a sip of his Butterbeer. The stuff was good, yes, but it wasn’t as strong as Firewhiskey.
‘Hmm-hmm. So, how are you and Astoria doing?’ He asked, merely out of curiosity then anything.
Then, as if she had heard him, Hermione’s head whipped around, and she was glaring fiercely at Draco.
‘Hermione, just ignore him.’ Ginny said, loud enough that they could both hear her perfectly. Blaise wondered what had happened between Hermione and Draco. They had been getting along fine up until now.
‘Oh, we’re fine,’ Draco said, a bit too loudly. ‘Astoria couldn’t be more perfect. I just wish she was Head Girl instead of that Mudblood.’
Hermione stood up, picked up her bag, glared at Draco, and stormed out of the Three Broomsticks. Ginny followed after her, pausing only to glare at Draco before she followed her friend.
‘Draco,’ Blaise said, completely shocked at his friend’s behavior. ‘What did you do that for?’
‘Yes, Malfoy,’ said Harry Potter. Blaise hadn’t even realised he was standing in front of them. ‘What in Merlin’s name is your problem?’
Draco looked around the Three Broomsticks, clearly seeing that everyone was watching them.
‘Not here,’ he hissed under his breath. ‘Outside.’
They all got up, paid for their drinks, and left the Three Broomsticks. They began walking to the Shrieking Shack, so they could have privacy.
‘What happened?’ Harry demanded as soon as they reached it. ‘You and Hermione were fine. Friends, even.’
‘I don’t know if I should tell you.’ Draco said.
‘Oh, come on, Draco,’ Blaise said, angry now. ‘You can’t go calling Mia nasty things and then expect us to just ignore it.’
‘Did you just call her Mia?’ Harry asked, astounded.
Blaise couldn’t help the tiny blush that crept to his cheeks. Sometimes, when he thought about Hermione, he often called her Mia in his head.
‘It doesn’t matter. Anyway, Draco. You better tell us what happened, or I’ll have to torture it out of you.’ He said.
‘Fine,’ Draco sighed. ‘We got into a fight, OK? I don’t even remember what it was about. One second we were sitting in the common room, doing homework, and the next Hermione was standing up yelling at me. I don’t even know what started it. She just stood up all of a sudden, and started spewing things at me. She tried to hex me, dammit. And she called me a Death Eater. And an evil snake, among other things. So yeah, I got mad. I don’t take being yelled at very easily, so I might have called her something nasty.’
‘What did you call her?’ Blaise demanded. ‘You better not have said anything about the idiot Weasel, Draco.’
‘I didn’t,’ Draco said. ‘I swear. I only called her a little… oh.’ His eyes widened.
‘A little what?’ Blaise asked. ‘What did you say, Draco?’
He looked horribly guilty, and Harry looked like he might want to punch him.
‘You said something worse than Mudblood, didn’t you?’ He asked.
Draco bit his lip, and nodded. ‘I think it was “it’s no wonder the Weasel chose that Brown girl over you. At least she’s good to look at”. Oh, Merlin. No wonder she hates me. I hate me.’
‘YOU SAID WHAT TO MIA!’ Blaise shouted, grabbing Draco by the scruff of his shirt and slamming him against the fence that blocked the path up to the Shrieking Shack. He aimed his wand at his throat.
‘I didn’t mean it!’ Draco exclaimed. ‘I swear I didn’t! I don’t even know what happened. It was like our mouths were just spitting insults out at random, and we had no way of stopping it.’
‘Zabini, cool off.’ Harry said. ‘I don’t want to use an Expelliarmus on you. What do you mean, Draco?’
Blaise backed away a little, still fuming. How dare he call Mia that? Didn’t he realise how perfect, how wonderful and how beautiful she was? How dare he even think that about her!
‘It was like we were spitting out insults at random.’ Draco said. ‘I don’t know what happened. I swear there was nothing that could have triggered it.’
‘Was this after or before dinner?’ Harry asked.
‘Er, after lunch. We had a free period, so we were doing that Potions essay. She was helping me.’ Draco said.
Blaise’s eyes widened as he realised what Harry was thinking. ‘You don’t think…? But who could even make a potion that complex?’ He asked.
‘Snape could, probably,’ Harry said, almost sadly. ‘Draco, did you have anything to drink before this happened?’
Draco frowned, which Blaise knew was something he did when he was thinking hard about something. ‘Er, yes. I had pumpkin juice at lunch.’ He said.
‘Did anyone touch your drink?’ Blaise asked. ‘Other than you, I mean?’
‘Hang on a second. There was something funny about it,’ Draco said. ‘It had some kind of weird peachy taste.’
‘I remember Pansy leaning over the table once,’ Blaise said, horrified as it came back to him. ‘She could have slipped something in. But how did Mia get it, then?’
Harry looked like he was going to be sick. ‘Ginny. It had to be Ginny. No one else was close enough, and I know I didn’t do it. And, the other day… I heard someone talking in the library. It sounded like a couple of Death Eaters. They were discussing something. And they mentioned Ginny.’ He sounded like his worst nightmare was coming true. Blaise didn’t blame him, either. It felt like he was in a nightmare.
‘Oh, Merlin.’ Draco looked paler than a ghost, and that was saying something, since he was already so pale. ‘How can Weaslette be involved?’
‘Maybe it’s not willing?’ Blaise suggested. ‘She could be under the Imperius Curse. Or maybe a Polyjuice?’
‘It’s not Polyjuice,’ Harry said. ‘They made us all go under security when we got here, remember? We had to take Truth Potion. I mean, she could be under the Imperius, but they checked for that, too. Used a Curse-Breaker and all of that stuff.’
‘There’s no way Weaslette would do this willingly,’ Draco said. ‘But it’s possible that someone used Imperio on her after we got here. And all of the Polyjuice ingredients are locked up in the Headmistress’ office. McGonagall’s gone and hidden the key somewhere in her private chambers, and you can’t get in there unless you know the secret code.’
‘How do you know that?’ Harry asked, a look of amazement on his face.
Draco smirked. ‘Potter, I’m not Head Boy for nothing. I heard Slughorn talking about it on the first day back.’ He said.
‘Huh.’ Harry said. ‘So that rules out the Polyjuice idea. I really don’t think Ginny’s under the Imperius, though. I’ve seen people under that… and she’s not acting like it. Zabini, got any ideas?’
Blaise frowned. ‘I read somewhere about a charm that can be used to glamour your appearance, but it makes the user really sick. Someone could be doing that.’
‘I didn’t know there was a spell like that,’ Harry said. ‘Is there an incantation?’
Blaise shook his head. ‘No… it’s a potion, actually. That’s why it makes them sick. It’s like… a poison, but it kills very slowly. Has Ginny been throwing up lately?’
Harry’s eyes widened in horror. ‘Every morning at breakfast.’ He whispered.
‘Oh, no.’ Draco breathed.
‘If someone’s using a glamour potion, to appear as Ginny, then… that means that Ginny…’ Blaise felt sick now, and Harry looked as white as Draco did.
‘That means someone’s holding her captive,’ Harry finished. ‘Which means she could be anywhere.’
‘We need to tell McGonagall.’ Draco said. ‘But not yet. It’ll ruin the plan for the Death Eater’s, and they’ll kill Hermione.’
‘What plan?’ Blaise asked, confused. ‘Is there something you two know and I don’t?’
The two exchanged a glance, and he felt even more confused. Hermione’s life was in grave danger, that much Blaise understood, but he didn’t have a clue what this “plan” was.
‘There’s a plot against Harry, Ron and Hermione.’ Draco explained. ‘The Death Eaters want revenge.’
‘And they plan on doing that how, exactly?’ Blaise asked.
Harry took a deep breath. ‘By weakening our bonds with each other. I would bet anything Lavender’s in on it. And she already succeeded in getting Hermione to turn her back on Ron. So it makes sense that they’ve got Ginny, because what a better way to weaken me then to go after the love of my life? And Hermione… well, they’re using Theodore for that. He’s supposed to date her behind our backs for a few months, then expose the relationship in a way that makes Hermione look like she’s been betraying her friends.’
‘Theodore? Theodore Nott? As in, our fellow roommate and friend Theodore?’ Blaise asked.
Harry and Draco both nodded. ‘Yes.’ Draco said. ‘Theodore’s plan is going to backfire, though.’
‘Really? How?’ Blaise asked.
Draco took a deep breath. ‘Because I’m going to distract Hermione.’
‘Yeah, like that’s going to work. She hates you now, remember?’ Blaise said sarcastically.
‘She won’t when I snog her in front of the whole school.’ He said, sounding extremely proud.
Harry and Blaise’s jaws both dropped, and they stared in shock.
‘Y-you’re joking, right?’ Harry stammered. ‘Please say you’re joking, Malfoy.’
‘Nope,’ said Draco, grinning broadly. ‘I’m going to snog her. It’s genius, really. It’ll distract Theodore, and then I’ll quietly let Hermione in on the plan when we start ‘dating’. We’ll trick him, see.’
Blaise was partly horrified, and then he was partly mad. The image of Draco and Hermione, wrapped in each other’s arms as they snogged madly, was almost too much for him.
‘You can’t snog Hermione,’ he blurted.
‘Why not? It’s a good plan, and it’ll work.’ Draco said.
He shook his head. ‘That’s not why. I mean, it will work, yeah. But… but…’ he stopped, suddenly wishing that he had never opened his mouth in the first place.
‘Blaise, I know you fancy her, OK?’ Draco said, sighing. ‘But if you do it, then Theodore will think I told you about the plan. It’s better if it’s me, because that way I can say it’s all part of the plan.’
‘Yeah, alright. I see your point. But you know this is going to be, like, torture for me, right? I have to watch my best friend snog the girl I’m madly in love with.’ Blaise said, wrinkling his nose.
‘I know what that’s like,’ Harry said bitterly. ‘I had to watch Dean and Ginny snog. It was like being tortured by Voldemort all over again.’
‘Oh, thanks.’ Blaise said sarcastically. ‘That’s so helpful, Potter, really.’
‘Quite being sarcastic,’ Draco said. ‘So, when should this grand kiss happen? Tonight during dinner?’
Blaise thought about it for a second, then he shook his head. ‘No. Not tonight. That’s too soon after your fight. How about… Tuesday morning at lunch? Don’t snog her in the Great Hall, either. Snog her in the Entrance Hall, just as everyone’s leaving their classes to head to lunch.’ He said.
‘Why Tuesday? Why not Monday?’ Draco asked.
‘That way she’s had the entire weekend and all of Monday to believe that you hate her or something. That way it’ll look real.’ He said.
‘Right. Real. Wait… what if I like it too much?’ Draco asked.
Harry made a choking sound. ‘Then it looks even more real.’ He said.
‘Exactly,’ Blaise agreed. ‘And I think we should be going back. I don’t want Hermione to be alone with Ginny, especially if we’re right about the glamour potion.’
Harry nodded his agreement, and the three walked back to the castle.
Hermione opened her eyes at the voice, which was barely a whisper. There was no one there, and it was completely empty in the Head’s common room. So, Draco wasn’t back yet, then. Good. She didn’t want to see him anyway.
She noticed the necklace then, sitting on the coffee table. It hadn’t been there before she fell asleep, and she didn’t think Ginny had left it here, as she didn’t own anything quite so beautiful. The necklace was a small oval-shaped sapphire, the size of a baby’s fist. It looked like it would weigh some heavy against her neck, but when she lifted it, she was surprised to find that it was feather light.
That’s when it started to glow, and Hermione stared in shock at the stone. Necklaces weren’t supposed to glow. It was probably a bad thing that it did.
Her eyes fell on the note that it had been lying underneath, and she picked it up carefully, almost hesitantly. If it was cursed, then she probably shouldn’t touching it. But she was curious, and curiosity had always gotten the best of her.
Wear this for protection.
A.D., as in Albus Dumbledore? Hermione frowned, knowing that this was impossible. It could easily be Aberforth, sending her a warning. But she had doubts about that. And what could it possibly be protecting her from? She was in no danger. Voldemort was gone, and the Death Eaters were locked up. Well, most of them. But even if they weren’t, there was no reason for them to come after her. It was just silly, and childish.
But still… the necklace was very beautiful, and Hermione knew one could never be too careful, so she tied it around her neck. It was no longer glowing, for some odd reason. Maybe she had imagined it. She was staring at the stone, trying to figure out what sort of magical properties it could have, when she noticed a tiny engraving on the bottom of it, barely visible.
She was confused, but Hermione decided that it was probably best to think about it later, and so she picked up her book again. She was still reading when Draco entered a few minutes later, his face blank.
He stopped, like he wanted to say something, but thought better of it. He went into his room, and Hermione didn’t bother thinking a single thought about him.
Draco Malfoy had betrayed her, and so she would ignore him. He was not worth her time, after all. She was only going to get hurt if she tried to be friends with him. That much she had realized, and it had been foolish of her to think otherwise.
She continued reading, ignoring Draco Malfoy while she tried to figure out what HTBD could mean. Perhaps it was some sort of code. She had read stories about people using codes before. They were usually hard to figure out, but Hermione always knew what they meant before the person who was supposed to did. She was a bad person to take to see a mystery movie, because she always knew the answers.
Hermione decided that she would go to the library after dinner, and look it up. Perhaps there was something in a book that could tell her what it meant. Or maybe she was being silly, and it meant nothing at all except letters that didn’t have a meaning. But she would look it up anyway, and if she found nothing, then she would forget about it. She was more interested in finding out who “A.D” was, anyway.
Hermione settled back into the sofa, and there was no way she could have guessed what the next few days would be.
Author's Note 2:
Thanks sooo much for reading! I really hope you enjoyed this chapter. Questions to ask yourselves before Chapter 11: Who is A.D., and what does "HTBD" mean? Hint-hint, this is somethin to do with the name of this story. Again, don't forget to review, I really love reading them! Thanks! :)