Chapter 8 : Chapter 8
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Also, I don't own batman/catwoman, bob kane and bill finger do.
The next few weeks after Hermione's conversation with Ginny were fairly uneventful. She was really enjoying her classes and loved the new teaching staff. Ginny had been right about Mr Weasley, his classes were brilliant and he was the perfect teacher. Mrs Weasley made a few appearances at the school and both looked happier than Hermione had seen them since Fred died. Mr Weasley had insisted on his wife coming to some of his classes and the students hung on her every word when she told stories of Arthur hiding amongst the chickens to play with watches and teapots.
Professor Charles was equally as brilliant, nearly all of their Defence against the Dark Arts lessons were practical, they practiced defensive spells as well as looking at creatures they might encounter and how to avoid their attacks. The students referred to him as the Anti-Umbridge and as soon as he heard this he started to begin all of his lessons began with "quills away, wands out!"
As for Professor Wilkins, Hermione adored him. He had bright purple hair, which Hermione had first thought very unprofessional for a teacher and wondered if Professor McGonagall had lost her mind when she hired him. As it turned out, he was brilliant. He reminded her greatly of Tonks, not just because he was young and had wild hair, but also because he was clumsy but had a heart of gold and when it came to his subject area he was amazing. Other than McGonagall, Hermione had never seen anyone who could transfigure something so well. Now that they were at NEWT level they were looking at transfiguring larger objects, in their first lesson Professor Wilkins had magically expanded a classroom to fit not one, but two hipogriffs into it and transfigured one into a beautiful chestnut coloured horse (making the girls squeal with excitement) and the other into an eagle which soared around the room. From that moment on, the students loved him, particularly the girls. Hermione hadn't seen the female pupils react like that since Lockhart.
The situation with Malfoy had stayed pretty much the same. His regular seat in Potions was now next to Hermione, much to Slughorn's delight as he considered them to be his best students and their work improved even further when they occasionally helped each other out. They would meet once a fortnight with the prefects for them to report back on any problems or needing to make changes to the timetable to accommodate an increase in quidditch practice as the first match (Hufflepuff v Ravenclaw) drew closer. After each meeting Hermione and Draco would stay behind to talk about the Christmas Ball, the plans for which were coming along excellently. They didn't talk a great deal outside of Potions and their Head duties but Hermione was pleased at the dramatic change in their relationship, she no longer dreaded seeing him in the corridors or feared he would make snide comments or call her a mudblood.
October came around pretty quickly and before Hermione knew it it was the last Saturday of the month and Halloween. The first Hogsmeade trip of the year was during the day, the feast would take place later that night. Professor McGonagall had placed a notice up earlier that week to say that this year they would be dressing in costume for the feast. Mrs Weasley had kindly made and sent a costume each for Hermione and Ginny.
Harry had sent Hermione a letter to say he and Ron would meet her and Ginny whilst they were in Hogsmeade. Hermione was up and ready to go extra early that morning, she was looking forward to seeing the boys, having not seen them since their stay in St. Mungo's. After breakfast she and Ginny headed out and arrived in the village with an hour to spare before they would be meeting Harry and Ron. They visited Zonko's, Honeydukes and a new shop called Witches Boutique, which had some beautiful clothes and jewellery. Ginny bought a pair of emerald green earrings, explaining to Hermione in a very un-Ginny like way that they were the exact colour of Harry's eyes.
Hermione laughed, "Who are you and what have you done with I-grew-up-with-6-brothers, tomboy Ginny Weasley?!"
Ginny just shrugged and grinned at Hermione, who took the gesture as Ginny's way of saying 'I'm just in love.'
When they arrived at the 3 Broomsticks Hermione bought them both a butterbeer and they waited at the bar. Harry walked in a few minutes later and was immediately grabbed in a tight hold around his neck by Ginny. Ron followed and to Hermione's surprise was holding hands with Lara, the healer from St Mungo's. Harry had told her in his more recent letters that things had been going well between them but had not mentioned she would be with him today. He looked nervous as he greeted Hermione and hugged her, Harry joined them and ordered butterbeers now that Ginny had put him down, and the 5 of them found a booth.
Lara was lovely, and totally perfect for Ron. She was clever and funny, she adored quidditch and was an avid supporter of the Chudley Cannons. Ron visibly relaxed as he realised that Hermione and Ginny approved of Lara, sitting back in his seat and putting his arm around her.
Too soon for Hermione and Ginny's liking, it was time to go back to Hogwarts. They said their goodbyes and walked back much slower than they had done the journey there. They went their separate ways to get changed for the feast.
An hour later Hermione was dressed in a black catsuit, complete with ears, tail and collar, she was feeling very self conscious. Mrs Weasley had attached a note explaining that Mr Weasley had bought something muggles called a television and a dee vee dee player and once he had tinkered around with it so that the magic at the burrow didn't affect it, they had watched a muggle programme called 'batman'. Her idea for Hermione's costume had come from the character Catwoman. Sensing that Hermione would have some trepidation about wearing the costume, Mrs Weasley had insisted that Hermione had a lovely figure and ought to show it a bit more (because, believe it or not, before she had 7 children Mrs Weasley used to wear much tighter robes!) Still, Hermione couldn't help but feel very uncomfortable. She was contemplating not going to the feast. She didn't have anything else to wear, and much as she was supposed to be the brightest witch of her age, she just couldn't work wonders with her wand and some material like Molly could. And she couldn't not go to the feast, she was Head Girl.
Reluctantly she left her room and headed down to the feast. She tugged at random parts of the shiny blacks material, hoping it would stretch and not be so clingy. Once she arrived at the Great Hall she quickly rushed to the Gryffindor table and sat down next to Ginny, thankful to at least have her legs hidden.
Now she was seated Hermione looked around at the Hall. Hogwarts at Halloween was truly amazing. Candles floated above everyone's heads, underneath the enchanted ceiling which was pitch black and dotted with the stars Hermione had become so familiar with in Astronomy classes. Huge pumpkins had been hollowed out, carved and placed around the hall, more candles inside them, giving the hall an eerie glow. There were fake spiders and webs draped around the dishes and goblets on the table, which were black as opposed to the usual gold. Hermione thought the whole thing was perfect when combined with the costumes. Around the hall she could see zombies, skeletons, mummies and, much to her relief several other Catwomen. Luna was dressed as a werewolf complete with hovering full moon that she had charmed to follow her around and she kept letting out loud howls causing the people around her to jump. Ginny looked amazing dressed in a costume muggles wore as witches when they celebrated Halloween. She wore a black netted skirt and a black tank top, knee high purple and black striped socks and a pointy black hat.
The feast was amazing even by Hogwarts standards, by the end of desert Hermione could have sworn her catsuit was 3 sizes smaller.
Luna had joined them at the Gryffindor table after her fellow Ravenclaws had moved away from the howling, thankfully she had stopped once she had Hermione and Ginny's conversation to distract her. Slowly the hall started to empty when people went off to bed. The three girls talked and laughed until McGonagall finally sent those who were still up to bed too. It must have been past midnight. Hermione said goodnight to her friends and headed to the seventh year dorms. She entered the common expecting to find it empty as the others had gone to bed earlier, but was surprised to find Draco there. He hadn't noticed Hermione come in, he was staring intently at the fire, watching a piece of parchment burn. She was about to say hello when she noticed the silent tears falling down his face...
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