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Chapter 5 : Another Unexpected Meeting
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Draco had been spying on Hermione and Potter, well, Potter just happened to be there. He was watching, admiring Hermione. Not only did it have its visual benefits, but he had heard something from Granger that was almost as good as Firewhisky.
“Something that’s just been put in the wrong bottle won’t register.”*
He turned away, as he saw the librarian drive them out, and quickly made out of the library himself. Making a detour to the bathroom, he hurried into a stall, dropping the toilet lid, and propping his bag on it. He reached into his pocket and pulled out a fat, gold Galleon.
Bewitching the serial numbers, he got them to say, “Poison the next drink anyone buys as a gift for Dumbledore.”
The Galleon turned hot, meaning that the Imperiused bar woman, Rosmerta, had gotten his message. This Protean Charm was working.
Frowning at his actions, and life in general as a Death Eater forced to do his Father’s bidding, he returned to the Room of Requirement, where Crabbe was waiting, though this time he looked like a short girl with black pigtails.
“Good. You know the drill, Crabbe. If anyone comes, drop the scales so I know not to come out.”
“Still not gonna tell us what you do in there?” she (he) asked in a deep grunt.
“No, so keep your nose out of it,” said Draco dismissively, with a slight edge to his voice.
He turned to the empty wall and began pacing, thinking hard: I need a place to fix the Vanishing Cabinet, a place where Potter can’t find me, so I can bring Death Eaters into Hogwarts, I need a place to fix the Vanishing Cabinet, a place where Potter can’t find me. ...
After walking past the wall three times, a familiar solid, black door appeared on the wall. Draco shot a look at Crabbe, as if taunting him to try following Draco. Thankfully today was not the day Crabbe would break against Draco’s rule.
The room was how it always was – rectangular, small and empty, giving the boy a claustrophobic feeling. He took out his wand, and opened the cabinet door. He took out a bright red apple from his bag, and placed it in the cabinet, and closed it taking a deep breath. He then opened the door and the apple was still there, yet now it was brown and shriveled, as if it had just died.
Sighing, he got to work once more, knowing it was going to be a long night.
The next day seemed to drone on, as Hermione left her Ancient Runes class, to Transfiguration, which to her displeasure hosted both Ron and Lavender.
She entered the room and found many mirrors standing tall. Professor McGonagall stood impatiently.
More students poured in: Dean, Seamus, and other fellow Gryffindors. Along came Ron, whose arm was wrapped around Lavender’s waist, looking very smug. Parvati followed, along with Harry who seemed disheveled.
“Settle down!” rang McGonagall’s voice. “Finnigan, please be kind enough to collect last class's essays on animal transfiguration. Weasley, get-your-hand-away-from-Ms-Brown!” hissed the lady.
Ron turned scarlet, which clashed with his hair. Hermione smirked, and turned back to face Professor McGonagall.
“Now, this class, you will need to pay close attention to my instructions. In other words, the exact opposite of what Ms Brown is now doing!” she reprimanded. “Seriously Misss Brown! One more time and it will be detention! Get your hands off of Weasley’s neck, five points from Gryffindor!”
Hermione glared in Lavender’s direction, even though the latter couldn’t care less.
“Anyways, now that we’ve recovered from acting irrationally and have now started acting our age, let’s begin today’s lesson. As you can see,” she said, gesturing to the mirrors, “Today we will be practicing human transfiguration. I hope you all listen – even though we have morons in every class – human transfiguration is to be taken very seriously. ...” Hermione listened carefully for a good half hour, and began pronouncing the incantation very clearly. Soon, McGonagall told the class to begin changing the colour of their eyebrows, and the class quickly dispersed.
Within minutes, Hermione had succeeded and was looking very self-satisfied when Professor gave her 10 points. Nearby, Ron had sprouted a thick, bushy, moustache. An image of Ron trying to snog Lavender with that hideous thing caused Hermione to give the most odd laugh ever, Ron scowled back at her.
“That,” she breathed, “must be the stupidest thing I’ve ever seen!”
Ron must’ve heard, because he retaliated by imitating her. He bounced up and down, his hand waving high in the air, recklessly, just as Hermione did – a perfect mockery.
Hermione heard Lavender and Parvati’s laughter ring, and she felt her eyes fill She grabbed her bag, dropping half her stuff behind, and left the class as soon as the bell rang.
Locking herself into a cubicle, she began to sob uncontrollably. Ron, so insensitive. She heard a distinct creak of the girl’s washroom door. She held her breath, not wanting anyone to hear her cry.
“Myrtle, is that you?” asked a voice that sounded so dreamy it was almost as if they had stumbled into the place accidentally.
Oh great, now people think I’m Myrtle. Maybe if I die while defeating Voldemort, I’ll come back and haunt the girl’s cubicle... That’s a thought...
Wiping her tears, she unlocked the stall and came out. “No Luna, it’s me.”
“Oh Hermione... It’s nice to see you... I haven’t seen you in a while... I’m to bust trying to learn Mermish from Gnomes, what with classes and all...”
“Erm really?” she said, trying not to laugh. “How’s that going?”
“It’s jolly good! But it’s sometimes hard to hear them with all the Blibbering Humdingers up and about.”
Hermione smiled weakly, and continued to wipe tears that would not stop flowing.
“Any-who, why are you so sad about? You haven’t gotten the flu? Mistletoes are infested with Nargles... which carry tons of bacteria...” Luna said in her faraway voice.
“No, it was just Ron being stupid...”
“Oh, Ron Weasley? He can be very funny sometimes, rude too though... I noticed that at the D.A. Meetings... Ginny’s nice though.”
“Yes, she is nice,” replied Hermione, finding Luna’s knack for saying uncomfortable truths unnaturally soothing.
They stood for minutes in a tongue-tied silence, when Hermione suggested they should probably get going. Tears were still streaming, as Luna Lovegood patted her back vaguely, until Harry showed up carrying Hermione’s things.
“Oh yes,” she croaked, turning away because she didn’t want Harry to see her crying. “Thank you, Harry. Well I’d better get going. ...”*
She started off with a quick walk, but broke into a run the moment she got a good ways ahead of Harry. He couldn’t see her like this, but unfortunately many others did.
“Oh, my god, Granger! You’re crying! Didn’t know someone could cry filth, but then again you are a Mudblood. Care to tell me who made you cry so I can help them next time?” bellowed pug-faced Pansy.
Just ignore her... Ignore them, she thought.
She then turned right to an empty corridor, her feet scurrying underneath her robes, as she glared at her toes, hoping to hide her face. And then she bumped into someone, and fell. Just swell.
“Watch where you’re going will you?” said a boy. Malfoy. Great. “Granger?” he asked.
“Very well spotted,” she snapped, though it did not come out as intimidating as she would have liked. Why was Malfoy pestering her, on his knees in the middle of a deserted corridor in the least of places?
“Merlin... sorry..” he mumbled. Sorry? Draco Malfoy said sorry? Twice in one week...
“No! I’m sorry! I dropped all your books! I’m so stupid, I should have paid attention! Who looks at their feet while they walk!?” she cried desperately.
“Calm down woman! Just stop crying! And lots of people look at their feet as they walk...”
“Nice one,” Hermione said, finding herself grinning. “And may I ask who exactly looks at their feet when they walk?”
“Well you do.” He replied with his famous smirk. He looked around at the corridor, and when he found that it was still vacant, picked up Hermione’s things and stuffed them gently into her arms. His finger brushed her arm, causing her to blush furiously, as the sensation gave her a tinkling feeling in every particle of her body. Then he took off, gathering his own things, and left leaving Hermione in the middle of the corridor floor.
Well that was weird.
She had exchanged words with Draco Malfoy without any sort of rudeness. Ha. It was like a class where McGonagall didn’t hand out extra homework to Harry and Ron. Impossible.
Wiping the last of her tears, she headed to the library, hoping to tackle her Ancient Runes translation.
As she sat down at a table, she found her attention less and less on her homework, but on how to annoy Ron.
“Oh hi Hermione!” said Neville Longbottom brightly, coming out of nowhere, causing her to jump. “Are you going to Slughorn’s party tomorrow night?”
“Erm, yeah. Did he invite you Neville?”
“Nah, he wasn’t too keen on me after the first meeting, I’d reckon he only wanted me there because of my parents. ...”
Neville swallowed, turning red, and took to staring at his feet. Hermione felt her own eyes sting. Neville’s parents were always a sticky topic.
“Anyway, I guess I’ll see you later, bye,” and Neville left, checking out 7006 Plants of Transylvania. Hermione smiled weakly as she waved goodbye. Neville was a nice guy, and didn’t deserve what he got for a childhood. No one did.
And by surprise, an idea began flaming in Hermione’s head. Slughorn’s party!
She quickly started jotting down names of boys Ron would absolutely hate if she took them to the party as her date. This turned out to be quite a hard feat.
She counted two in total: McLaggen and Smith. Everyone else Ron didn’t really care about much. Hermione found her fingers itching just to add one more name; Draco Malfoy, but even though he had been unusually nice to her the past few days, she didn’t think he would say yes. Not to mention that though she was a Gryffindor, there was no way, absolutely not, would she ask him, regardless of what she yearned to do.
At the end, after playing a Muggle game of Eenie Meenie, she chose McLaggen, considering he probably was the biggest prat ever to set foot in Hogwarts, meaning he would annoy Ron very much. Now all she needed to do was ask him, and since he never did go anywhere without his seventh year mates, she knew she was up for quite an act. Joy.
She hurried into her dormitory, washed her face and applied a light amount of makeup. Then for good measure brushed her teeth, and plaited her hair. Taking on last look at herself, she straightened her robes and made her way down to the Common Room.
McLaggen was standing in the far corner by the fireplace, loosening his tie, the top buttons on his shirt undone, surrounded by friends.
Fabulous, just what I needed, not only is Cormac with his friends, but looking quite intimidating and gorgeous. Just fabulous.
Even though she was sure there was a tinge of red on her cheeks that did not come from makeup, she went up to him. It was now or never.
“Cormac, are you going to the party tomorrow night?”
“Yes Hermione, are you?”
“Yeah, I was wondering, did you invite anyone already?”
“No, no one yet. You’re taking that Ronald Weasley aren’t you?” he asked, saying Ron’s name bitterly.
“Ron? No, never. So, woud you like to perhaps go with me?” she said, half hoping he said no.
“Ooooo, little Granger wants to go to the party with you Cormac!” said one of his friends.
Hermione rolled her eyes, “Well, rather me than you Jayson. I don’t reckon Cormac’d take a ballerina like you. Wouldn’t add much to the decor. So what say Cormac?” she added more confidently, as Jayson’s mouth dropped in awe while his friends chortled.
“Yeah, that’d be great. I’ll meet you at eight?”
“Sounds good,” she replied, and though she’d rather not, tip-toed and pecked Cormac a kiss on the cheek, that thankfully lasted less than a second.
* Chapter 15, The Unbreakable Vow, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling. iBook version.
AN: ERMAHGERD!! Biggest chapter eveeeeer. This took a long time to type. I know I said in my last AN that the Christmas Party was next... but as I got typing I realized I really couldn't fit it in. Sorry :( Next one for sure though. 1000 reads!!! Wow! Thank you so much! 4 reviews! WOOHOO! And 11 users favourited this as one of their favourite stories... O_O *dies of diabetes because of overwhelming sweetness* Thank you so much. I wish there was another word besides thank you... I feel like I've overused it. Ah well. Please leave reviews :)
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