Chapter 3 : Witch Got Your Tongue?
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Draco Malfoy P.O.V
Looking around at the grandness of the castle, Draco never felt he would look forward to being here. When he was younger he always wanted to stay at home with his Mother. She was such a kind, caring Mother. The Pureblood exterior being just that, she’d never been cold and uncaring to him. Contrary to popular belief, Draco’s Father, hadn’t been as big of a bully as people expected, especially where Draco was concerned. He was just what you called terribly British; he didn’t show emotion, had a lot of money, enjoyed hunting and sought power.
Of course the Malfoy’s association with Voldemort had started with Lucius’s Father, thus Lucius had grown up in that mind-set and to an extent so had Draco. However, Draco had had reminders that Voldemort and the great power of Pureblood supremacy wasn’t so great in the form of Harry Potter and muggleborns like Hermione Granger. Even so it had taken Draco a long while to realise he was on the wrong team and by that point it was too late to think about changing sides, Draco just had hoped and prayed that he survived the war and made it out alive.
The death of Draco’s Father made little imprint on Draco’s life. The emotional barrier his Father had upheld put a strain on their Father/son relationship and as a result they weren’t as close as they should have been. No for Draco his Mother’s life had been more important, though she survived the war she had suffered and Draco worried about her. He would have stayed at home were it not for her request for him to return and finish his education. Deep down through all that had happened Draco was still a complete Mother’s boy – and proud!!
As he walked the corridors of Hogwarts it was not however the past or the welfare of his Mother that he thought of. No it was the puzzle that was Hermione Granger. Surely he shouldn’t feel this way about someone who he loathed indefinitely for all his teenage years. She wasn’t even pretty (in the conventional way), she didn’t have a sense of fashion and he shuddered to think of her experiences with the opposite sex. The only thing in her repertoire was the massive intelligence hidden in that small head of hers oh and he guessed she did have a pretty good bum – not that he’d been looking…much but Blaise did point it out a lot.
‘Where’s your head at Draco?!’ shouted Adrian.
‘What?’ Draco said.
‘Been shouting your name the past five minutes mate’ said Blaise.
‘Sorry’ replied Draco.
‘Been thinking of a certain bushy haired witch?’ asked Adrian.
‘No’ replied Draco a little too quickly with a tiny hint of a blush.
‘Ha! Tell tail sign that you have then’ laughed Blaise.
‘It’s inventible mate, opposites attract, hate is the new love, star crossed lovers and all that crap’ said Adrian.
‘Sod off’ said Draco.
‘Awh Draco-lamb- said Adrian, ‘Witch got your tongue? Or have you finally decided to bat for my team?’ he liked playfully.
‘Touch my bum one more time and I will burn your hair off!!’ growled Draco.
‘No not my hair!’ cried Adrian.
At the same time Blaise said, ‘That’s the kind of attitude you need Draco, all that growling and low sexy voice that would win over Granger’.
‘Piss off the lot of you’ said Draco crossly.
‘Fine we won’t tease you anymore’ said Adrian.
‘What do you think of the new teacher?’ asked Adrian.
‘Which new teacher?’ exclaimed Draco.
‘He has a point there are loads this year…obviously’ said Blaise.
‘I meant the Transfiguration guy, Professor Shepard, what a weirdo’ said Adrian.
‘Yeah, the way he was chatting up Granger like some half-starved man. I mean I get we’re eighteen and he’s only twenty-five but still’.
‘I didn’t like it’ said Draco.
‘Of course you wouldn’t’ Blaise smirked.
‘No I’m serious, something about him isn’t right. It worries me and Granger needs protection’ said Draco.
‘What makes you think she needs protection? You don’t think she can handle herself?’ asked Blaise.
‘Whether she can handle herself or not is irrelevant. Didn’t you ever notice how Potter and Weasel never left her side, they were overly protective of her’ said Draco.
‘He’s right, I feel a strange sickly need to protect her’ said Adrian.
‘So we’re now to become Granger’s bodyguards?’ Blaise huffed.
‘No, just keep an eye out’ said Draco.
‘Just in case’ added Adrian.
The boys then returned to their individual thoughts. Draco thought it funny how life turned out, something that seemed deadly important before can suddenly seem inconsequential and something that you never thought important becomes just that…important.
Professor Shepard’s P.O.V
As Hermione entered the dimly lit classroom something didn’t feel right, so she took out her wand as a precaution. Though it was just the second week of school, Hermione wouldn’t put it past the Professor’s to spring something unexpected onto them.
Having said this, the current atmosphere was unnerving and Hermione didn’t know what to expect, this was Transfiguration after all, not defence against the dark arts. She felt others cautiously enter the classroom, raising their wands in defence just like Hermione for some this was too like the war to be remotely normal.
‘Hello class’ the Professor’s voice rang through the classroom scaring several students.
‘I thought I’d try something different to test your skills. Now this is just a trial run but expect frequent sessions like this over the course of the year’ said the Professor.
‘The task is simple, survive till the end. When the timer runs out so do you. Begin’.
The students looked around nervously, Lavender began to whisper something but the others shushed her. Then a door opened. The light beyond the open door wasn’t any different but there was a light breeze indicating a tunnel or open window. The group stuck together, defence on all sides, wands raised, prepared for battle. Though the thought of reliving the past wasn’t one any of them wanted, they were prepared for any fight.
The darkness went on for a fair while before light appeared and expanded. The light illuminated several rooms surrounded by glass windows. There were many rooms but no instruction. Lavender made the brave first step towards a room, wand raised she entered and the door slammed behind her. A timer appeared above the room counting down from ten minutes. The rest of the group watched as Lavender began to solve the problem before her. She completed it with five minutes remaining; the door before her opened and she entered the next room.
The test was set, enter the rooms, solve the puzzles, and survive till the end. No one wanted to know what happened if you didn’t solve the puzzle on time…
Hermione was lucky her first room seemed as simple multiple choice question. It was quite easy to solve with a brain of Hermione’s grandeur but Hermione doubted all the challenges would be this easy. She left the first booth with eight minutes to spare. The next room was filled with darkness and it was a lot longer before the lights were turned on.
The second room had a series of potions laid out on the table, some had names and others didn’t. Hermione had to successfully name the other potions to move forward. She finally did it with three minutes to spare. The door opened, the light from her current room dimmed as the light in the next room brightened.
This room seemed less about Transfiguration than the others had been. In fact none of her rooms had had anything to do with Transfiguration and Hermione found that quite odd. Hermione knew of the workshops the Professor run but Hermione couldn’t think why the Professor was incorporating them into their Transfiguration lesson unless he was trying to test their skills on a variety of subjects to see what level they were at and what needed to be improved. Still didn’t explain the unknown faces in the class.
Hermione pushed it all from her mind and focused on the task before her. She struggled not to laugh out loud when she realised it was a simple muggle maths equation but one that would stump most fully grown Wizards. Hermione was gone in a matter of minutes, the door before her opening and leading her back into the classroom. Hermione was relieved that it was over, it hadn’t been overly difficult but it had been creepy.
‘Well done Miss Granger’ came the Professor’s voice from over her shoulder making her jump.
‘Thank you Sir’ she replied quietly.
‘First one back, my my, the rest of the class will struggle to meet your high standard’ said Professor Shepard giving Hermione one last look before walking away.
Hermione felt herself shiver involuntarily. She was so hoping not to have a creepy teacher this year. Oh well, she hoped the others returned soon, being alone in this classroom was not giving her happy thoughts. Perhaps she was just being paranoid, seven years of always looking over your shoulder was bound to do that to you. Hermione was surprised she didn’t jump at every little thing.
‘When did you get back?’
Hermione jumped (slightly), ‘A few minutes ago’.
Draco nodded, ‘Question; were any of your tasks related to Transfiguration?’
‘Not one, you?’ she asked.
‘None, weird isn’t, he teaches a great class but sets tasks that have nothing to do with the class. How many tasks did you have?’
‘Three’ she said.
‘Three! Blimey I had five’ said Draco outraged.
Hermione shrugged her shoulders; she didn’t fancy talking about the class.
‘How’s Harry?’ asked Draco surprising Hermione.
‘He’s alright as can be. I worry about him being all alone but I understand his reasons. He needs to sort out his life and he can’t do that around others. Half want to control him and the other half want to marry him’.
‘Doesn’t Ginny have a claim on him; I thought they were an item’.
‘Not anymore, they want different things. Though Molly’s attitude is a problem’.
‘She’s trying to force the match?’ asked Draco.
‘I think she just has an idea of it in her head and can’t bear for it not to be true’ said Hermione.
‘Hmm’ said Draco, ‘I mean no offense by this but as a Pureblood I can understand her behaviour. The Potter line is one of the oldest and most influential and the Weasley’s are not. If the two families were merged together in marriage the Weasley’s would be elevated into society’.
Hermione nodded, ‘I never have understood the rules of the aristocrat Pureblood. You never did tell me what changed your mind’.
Hermione’s comment made Draco feel uncomfortable like the answer involved baring his soul; luckily the arrival of other returning students stopped the conversation.
‘Tell me later’ said Hermione, or not… thought Draco.
Once everyone was back in the classroom Professor Shepard began to speak.
‘Well done all of you but remember that was just a practice the real thing will be much harder’ he said while glaring at some students, ‘Top marks and twenty points to Gryffindor for Miss Granger’s quick finish’ said the Professor, then added grudgingly, ‘And ten points to Slytherin for Mr Malfoy’s time’ he paused then rounded on a Hufflepuff whose name Hermione didn’t know.
‘As for you Miss Fawcett you failed to complete the practice, please stay behind. The rest of you are dismissed’ bellowed Professor Shepard.
The class didn’t need telling twice rushing out and leaving Miss Fawcett to the wrath of their Professor.
‘He’s a bit creepy’ said Lavender.
‘Tell me about it’ replied Hermione.
‘Anyone have any tasks related to Transfiguration?’ asked Adrian and he was met with a chorus of ’no’s’.
‘I think we should keep an eye on Professor Shepard. Perhaps inform McGonagall if he continues to digress from teaching us Transfiguration’ said Luna.
Hermione nodded in agreement.
‘Hey does anyone know why people are staring at us?’ asked Blaise.
‘Haven’t you heard, Gryffindor’s and Slytherins together spells trouble. Everyone’s waiting for a blow up. They haven’t realised we’re friends yet’.
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