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Chapter 5 : Chapter 5
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A few days later, at breakfast, Hermione was reading The Daily Prophet's surprisingly accurate account of the arrests. Apparently the Ministry had tried to keep the whole thing secret until after the trials but the papers had been tipped off by a patient who had been on the same ward as Harry and Ron. She was pleased to see that Harry had refused to comment, it served them right after the awful things they had said about him in the past.
She folded the paper and started absentmindedly picking at her toast whilst half hearing the conversation taking place on her right.
"'...crying in the toilets" Lavender Brown was in the middle of sharing the latest gossip with Parvati Patil.
"Malfoy?! Really?" Parvati replied, shocked.
"Yep" Lavender said, nodding her head and enjoying the look on her friend's face. 'Myrtle swears he's been in there with her three times already this week"
"Myrtle? Moaning Myrtle?!" Scoffed Parvati. "Yesterday she swore on her life that Professor Snape had proposed to her before he died! She's not exactly a reliable source of information is she?"
"Well, no." Admitted Lavender, disheartened. "But," she added, speaking quickly, "Mandy Brocklehurst told Lisa Turpin, who told me, that she actually saw Malfoy sneaking into the girls bathroom last night!"
Hermione decided she'd had enough at this point, she had no interest in idle gossip. She rose from the table and took a slow walk to her first lesson of the day, potions.
She was delighted to see Professor Slughorn again, and her good mood continued when she discovered they would be attempting to make Essence of Dittany. Of course Hermione had used this herself and knew first-hand how beneficial it could be. It was also very difficult to make (having already read the recipe in her Advanced Potion Making for NEWTs Students book).
She quickly gathered all of her ingredients and set to work. Five minutes into the lesson the dungeon door swung open and Draco Malfoy entered, mumbling an apology for being late.
As he looked around for a space at a desk, almost all of the students spread out their potion ingredients or placed their school bags on the tables so that he wouldn't sit there.
Hermione shook her head at the immaturity of the students and made no move to mimic their actions. Not that she wanted him to sit with her, she just assumed he wouldn't want to sit with her.
Unfortunately for Hermione, hers was now the only table that had a space at it. Draco walked over, set up his cauldron and began to make his potion. Hermione swore she had heard him thank her.
Things became even weirder at the end of the lesson when Malfoy stayed behind and helped Hermione clean up the pufferfish eyes she had accidentally knocked off the table.
She muttered a quick 'thank you' and headed out of the dungeons to the Great Hall as fast as she could so as not to be left alone with him.
At lunch, Hermione sat with Ginny, who was unusually quiet. The redhead sat and pushed her beef stew and roast potatoes around her plate, deep in thought. Eventually Hermione's curiosity got the better of her and she turned to face Ginny.
"Right, that's it's. What's the matter?"
"Hmm?" Ginny looked up from her plate.
"You've sat there and not said a word all through lunch. And I didn't see you at breakfast. Is it Harry and Ron? I told you they're fine, they're home now, probably back at work too."
"No, it's not that," said Ginny quietly, "I had my first Muggle Studies class this morning. I wasn't at breakfast because I had taken a puking pastil in an attempt to get out of it. Of course the girls in my dorm quickly realised, what with me being a Weasley and forced the other half of it down my neck. I had to go and face dad..."
"Oh dear," Hermione said, patting Ginny on the shoulder sympathetically, "was it that bad?" She had had her suspicions about Mr Weasley teaching, not that she didn't like him, just that he was very over excitable when it came to Muggles...
"No," said Ginny, miserably, "he was brilliant. Absolutely perfect for the job. Really knows his stuff and everyone loves him."
"Fantastic!" Hermione exclaimed, feeling relieved. "So what's the problem then?"
"I was hoping he wouldn't be!" Said Ginny, as if it was the most obvious thing in the world. When Hermione looked at her blankly, she continued. "If Dad was rubbish and no one liked his lessons then he would have left. I know the Ministry would take him back in a second so there was no worries about him not having a job. I hoped he would have been useless at teaching so he wouldn't interfere with my life here. Of course he insisted on calling me Ginevra, which I detest and everyone else found hilarious! And he told all of these stories about Mum telling him off for playing around with Muggle stuff. I wanted the ground to swallow me up!"
"Oh Ginny, don't be so silly! He sounds happy and that's the main thing. You need to remember he lost a child this year, it's a wonder he has the strength to get out of bed every day. If you ask me this job will do him the world of good. You'll soon get used to him being here, I promise."
Ginny looked at Hermione and smiled but said no more. Hermione knew that she was right and in time Ginny would see it too.
Once they had finished lunch, Hermione walked Ginny to Herbology, noticing that she had cheered up a little already and then headed to the library to spend yet another free period before her Charms lesson writing her Defence Against the Dark arts essay, which wasn't due in for another week.
After the afternoon's charms lesson, Hermione desperately needed to use the bathroom. She had needed to go during the lesson but hadn't wanted to miss learning about frightening charms, what with NEWTs being so close (only twenty six weeks away!) She groaned as she realised where she was, the second floor, and that the closest bathroom was that in which Moaning Myrtle resided.
Inwardly cursing herself for drinking so much pumpkin juice at lunch, she pushed the heavy door open.
Once inside Hermione heard something that made her stop. Gentle sobs were coming from one of the cubicles, along with the unmistakable voice of Moaning Myrtle.
'It's alright, please don't cry. You just need to show everyone you're not the person you used to be, you've changed.''
The sobs continued and Hermione found herself unable to move. Torn between not wanting to be discovered eavesdropping and intense curiosity, she couldn't have moved even if she had wanted to. As the crying continued Hermione stared at the tile pattern on the floor and wondered who it could have been. She could tell from the sound that it was a male with Myrtle.
Remembering the conversation she had overheard at breakfast between Parvati and Lavender, Hermione thought about Malfoy. Was that Malfoy in there crying? Of course it wasn't! Malfoy didn't cry. Malfoy strutted, boasted, bragged and taunted. Draco Malfoy did not cry.
So then who was it? And what was he doing in a girls bathroom? She was so engrossed in her own thoughts that she did not hear the creak of the old cubicle door, nor the approaching footsteps.
"Granger?" A voice announced, interrupting her thoughts. Her eyes darted up and met with steely grey ones. She quickly turned on the spot and ran out of the bathroom, completely forgetting her full bladder. All thoughts were on Draco Malfoy, and his tear filled eyes.
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