(A/N - the last chapter got validated really quickly, I was only gone for a few hours tonight and when I came back it was up! Also, many of you had taken the time to review, and so to show my appreciation I'm going to update for the second time in one day [in a manner of speaking - it's now 1am the next morning, but you know what I mean])
DISCLAIMER - Harry Potter belongs to JK Rowling, not me (despite what I may try to tell myself)
She felt her cheeks grow wet, and tried to dry them with her pyjama sleeve. It was then that a thought hit her; if Malfoy hadn’t finished, did that mean that she wasn’t going to get the money? Burying her face in the pillow, she cried herself to sleep.
Ginny stood over her friend’s sleeping form, waving an envelope. Hermione opened her eyes and snatched the letter out of her hands, ripping it open;
Merry Christmas honey! I got the money and transferred it to the hospital. I hate taking money from my daughter but I will pay you back as soon as we can. Mum’s treatment starts on January tenth, and we’ll keep you updated. Thankyou so much, but I can’t believe you made so much money just from a Christmas job. We’ll talk soon,
Love, Dad x
He still sent the money? Why? she couldn’t help but wonder as she showered and got dressed. Her stomach was still aching, but she was determined not to let it get her down on Christmas. Walking into the Burrow living room, she was greeted by nine redheads, and a raven haired boy. ‘Merry Christmas!’ they chorused. As everyone ripped open their gifts, Hermione forgot her problems for the first time in days. She was ecstatically happy with her presents; a velvety covered notebook from Harry, a turquoise silk shirt from Ginny, ruby earrings from Ron, a homemade jumper from Mr and Mrs Weasley, a magical cd player from Bill, Charlie and Percy, and a mysterious box from Fred and George which she decided to put away and open later in the interests of personal safety.
The extended family sat in the living room for the rest of the day, laughing and joking, until a loud bang was heard in the kitchen. Molly went to investigate, and returned a few minutes later with a piece of parchment in her hand. ‘Oh, Hermione dear, I’m sorry, but that was a letter from Professor Dumbledore asking that I send you back to Hogwarts tomorrow, as he has some Heads’ business he’d like you and Malfoy to get on with. You’ve to leave at nine thirty tomorrow morning.’ she said, smiling sympathetically at the blonde girl.
No! I can’t see Malfoy yet! she thought. She hadn’t seen him since he’d kicked her out of his room that night, and she had no idea what she was going to say. But she knew she had no choice but to return to school.
As she was heading up the stairs to bed that night, alone, the rest of the family remaining downstairs for a while as unlike her they didn’t have to get up early, a hand grabbed her shoulder on the third floor landing. ‘Mione?’ Fred asked, ‘Can we talk?’ She nodded and followed him into his and George’s bedroom.
‘I know what happened.’ he said, sitting on his bed.
‘What do you mean?’ she replied, making herself comfortable on George’s.
Fred looked meaningfully at her, ‘I heard what you told Ginny last night. I know that’s why you’ve been upset and in pain.’
Hermione tried to look innocent, ‘I have know idea what you’re talking about, Fred.’
‘I know you had sex, Hermione.’
‘Quite frankly, Fred, I don’t see what my sex life has to do with you.’ she avoided his glance.
Fred scooted over so he was sitting beside her, ‘You’re like another sister to me, Hermione, and I don’t like seeing my baby sisters upset. Now I want to know what happened to hurt you.’
She knew he was just trying to help, but she couldn’t bring herself to tell him. ‘What makes you think anything happened?’
‘Because when you sleep with someone you love, it should make you happy, not sad.’ he said gently, noticing her gaze focus upon the floor, ‘Please tell me if someone forced you to do something you didn’t want to.’
‘He didn’t make me do anything. It was my choice. I had to do it.’ she replied quietly.
‘What do you mean had to?’ the older boy asked, placing a hand under her chin and lifting it so she was looking him in the eye.
‘Nothing. Just forget I said anything.’
‘No, I won’t forget. What do you mean had to?’ he pleaded.
‘My mum’s sick, and I needed something from him.’ Hermione blurted out without thinking.
Fred’s eyes widened, ‘Are you saying he paid you to have sex with him?’
‘Yes.’ she answered softly.
‘WHAT!’ a shout behind her made her turn around to see that George was standing in the doorway.
‘George! What are you doing here?’ she shrieked. How much did he hear?
‘I was just coming up to get my wand, only to find out that some guy’s been taking advantage of you!’
‘No, it’s not what you think –‘ she tried to explain, but Fred cut her off.
‘Who was it?’
‘Hermione, tell us now.’
‘That’s okay. We’ll just go get the veritaserum mum keeps for when she thinks we’re up to something.’
‘Wait, Fred, no! I’ll tell you.’ she cried as he rose from the bed.
‘Well, we’re waiting.’ George looked furious.
‘Malfoy.’ she whispered.
‘Sorry, who? We didn’t quite catch that.’
‘Malfoy.’ she said, louder this time.
‘Let’s go.’ Fred and George looked at each other and before Hermione could react, they disapparated with a pop.
‘No!’ she shrieked to herself, running out of the bedroom, and skidding to a halt in front of the kitchen fire. The rest of the Weasleys had gathered in the kitchen, obviously having heard the shouting from upstairs.
‘What is going on here?’ Mr Weasley asked.
‘Sorry, I can’t explain.’ Hermione answered, grabbing a handful of floo powder. She turned and pointed her wand towards the people gathered in the small kitchen, shouting a charm which caused a red energy shield to shoot out from her wand, preventing anyone from following her. She threw the floo powder into the fireplace, and shouted ‘Heads’ common room, Hogwarts.’ The world around her began to spin, and she staggered out of the common room fireplace just in time to see Malfoy descending the stairs, Fred and Gerorge lying in wait.
(A/N - my first cliffhanger! mwahahaha! as always, R/R and let me know how its going, and any suggestions you may have)
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