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Chapter 8 : Suspicion
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The days following the first challenge had been quiet for all students involved. While some had found the challenge exhilarating others had not. Luna still wouldn’t say what had made her come out shaking so much and Hermione had told no one of the voice she’d heard helping her. It seemed the challenge had become a great success, one the board of governors couldn’t stop raving about. However Hermione still felt uneasy. Those students she’d noticed were missing at the end of the challenge still hadn’t returned and she was quite fearful about what had happened.
‘I’ve heard that most people had challenges that were muggle based, with hardly any magic’ commented Blaise from where he rested, his head atop Luna’s cap.
‘Mine were a mixture’ said Draco from the floor.
‘Do we have to talk about this?’ asked Luna.
‘Sorry’ muttered the boys.
Just then Hermione appeared carrying a rather large brown paper bad, ‘Luna, Lavender can I calk to you? Privately’ she asked.
‘Sure’ replied both girls standing to meet Hermione.
‘Later boys’ added Lavender with a wink.
‘Any ideas?’ asked Blaise as he watched the girls go.
‘What did you want to talk about?’ asked Lavender.
‘Nothing particular, I just wanted some girl time’ she said pulling ice cream, cookies and other junk food from the bag.
‘Really, nothings on your mind?’ asked Lavender with a raised eyebrow.
‘Ok so I had an ulterior motive, Luna what happened during the challenge?’
Luna immediately paled, she didn’t want to answer the question but Hermione knew it would do more bad than good if she kept it bottled up.
‘Luna please, we’re your friends, we want to help’ said Hermione while Lavender nodded in agreement.
A tear rolled down Luna’s face as she began to talk, ‘It was the last room, it was so cold and dark and I could hear screaming. Both of you were screaming begging for the pain to stop and I couldn’t help you’ said Luna struggling not to have a panic attack Lavender stepped forward to comfort her.
Hermione frowned, ‘he tested your reaction to your worst fear! That’s not a challenge that’s cruel’ said Hermione.
Luna nodded slightly, ‘Could we, I mean can the boys join us?’ asked Luna timidly.
Hermione nodded, ‘I’ll get them’.
Hermione walked back to the common room in anger that a Professor could manipulate a person’s fear like that in the name of ‘education’.
‘Fella’s’ she said greeting Blaise, Adrian and Malfoy. ‘We’re hanging upstairs and Luna would like you to join us’.
‘You got her to talk about the challenge?’ questioned Blaise.
‘Yeah, she’s pretty upset now’ replied Hermione.
‘What upset her so much?’ asked Malfoy.
‘She didn’t exactly say if it was alright to tell you all, so I’m going to leave the decision up to her’ said Hermione.
‘Is it alright for us to be in your room?’ asked Adrian.
Hermione rolled her eyes, ‘we aren’t in house dorms anymore Adrian, there are no staircases denying you entry’ huffed Hermione.
Adrian’s cheeks took on pink hue, ‘I forgot about that’.
‘Clearly’ replied Hermione.
Hermione what’s taking so long’ cried Lavender from the top of the stairs.
‘Sorry just coming’ said Hermione pushing the boys before her.
‘Wait Granger’ said Draco grabbing her wrist.
‘What?’ she asked fully aware that they were now alone.
‘It was not so much the war that changed my opinions but something that came after’ he said cryptically.
‘Something that came after? That makes little sense, what came after?’ Hermione asked annoyed.
‘Not a what, but a who’ muttered Draco walking away from Hermione and up the stairs.
Hermione glared at his retreating figure, life couldn’t seem to give her an easy ride ever!
Hermione often asked herself why she had such a thirst for knowledge. Surely it wasn’t just her muggleborns roots shining forth trying to stake claim in the Wizarding world. It was true that her parents had spoilt her but that is generally the danger in having just one child. Hermione knew she was insecure about others things but hardly thought that was the driving force behind her curiosity. Hermione was having this conversation with herself because of what Malfoy had told her before. How could he give her information but leave her more confused.
Despite Lavender’s smug expressions and remarks, Hermione refused to admit that she had any feelings for Malfoy. It was just straight curiosity to get to know the name behind the enemy she’d known for so long…
She just needed a moment to stop, breathe and think about things. Walking aimlessly around the castle she must have looked like a right idiot, blank expression, frowning forehead, sighing mechanically. Her brain seemed to have lost all sense, the minute she’s thinking about her own curiosity and the next she’s thinking about Malfoy and her failed love life.
Really life wasn’t being fair, she had that brief fling with Victor where she had no idea what to do, then she’d pined after Ron for years only to realise he was a complete idiot and now she had some sort of twisted feelings for a (very attractive) man who had made her life hell for years. What would Harry think…
Speaking of boy wonder an owl landed on Hermione’s shoulder making her scream in fear and the owl hoot indignantly. Speak of him and he will appear, or at least a letter will.
Hope you are well and not overworking yourself. I am coping; the peacefulness is bliss after all the noise. I heard about Ron’s green face (yes I have secret sources), maybe you should lay off him a while. I also heard you’re ‘fraternising with the enemy’. I’m proud of you; the world needs more bridges to be built.
Hermione smiled; of course Harry would have secret sources checking up on her and others. Harry maybe MIA but his friends were still unimportant to him. She was surprised at his comment about Malfoy but then she’d been at the Malfoy hearing and heard Harry speak. In this world things were no longer Black and white.
AN: Bad? Good? Not best work? Bit of a filler chapter really ~ Zyii
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