Chapter 17 : Seeking Salvation
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DISCLAIMER - I do not own any of the characters (I just like to screw around with them a little :D)
Hermione hadn’t moved when the main door opened and an icy voice bellowed, ‘What the devil is going on here! Granger, Potter, Weasleys, Malfoy, Finnegan, Crabbe and Goyle! Do not move! Everyone else leave NOW!’
Every other student in the building cleared out in under five seconds flat, scurrying past Snape and McGonagall, who stood in the doorway.
Hermione quickly looked around; it didn’t look good. She and Draco were standing over Seamus, who was curled up in the foetal position on the floor, moaning as he grasped his groin area, Goyle lay next to him, with Ginny sitting on top of him, holding onto the collar of his robes, Harry standing above them, and Ron had Crabbe in a headlock in the corner. And they were all spattered with blood from various sources.
‘I want to know exactly what happened here.’ McGonagall snarled in a low and threatening voice, ‘Miss Granger, why don’t you start?’
Gulping, Hermione met her favourite proffessor’s eyes. ‘We – um – you see –‘
‘Seamus slapped Hermione!’ Draco interrupted, sneering down at the young Irishman with disgust.
‘I see…’ McGonagall nodded, ‘But how exactly does that involve you Mr Weasley?’
Ron let go of Crabbe, whose face was now turning a pale purple, ‘Crabbe jumped on Draco when he hit Seamus for hitting Hermione.’
‘Mm hm. And you Miss Weasley?’ McGonagall’s lips were pursed.
Ginny blushed and climbed off of Goyle, ‘Well, Goyle attacked Harry…’
‘Goyle was beating the sh- well, he was hitting Draco, and I pulled him off.’
‘Finnegan?’ the professor growled.
‘She hit me first!’ he cried.
‘Uh huh,’ Hermione admitted smugly, ‘Tell her why I hit you.’
Seamus gave her a dirty look, but remained silent.
McGonagall exchanged a look with Snape, ‘I think we should each deal with our own students. Agreed?’
Snape nodded. ‘Crabbe, Goyle, Malfoy. I expect to see you all in my office the minute we return to school. Is that understood?’
‘The rest of you, my office.’ McGonagall snarled, ‘And I suggest you apologise to the owner and get out of here immediately. We shall be leaving in half an hour.’
With that, the two professors stalked out of the pub, leaving the eight students to dwindle after them.
Half an hour later, Hermione, Ginny, Harry, Ron, Draco and Jane were once again sat in a carriage returning to Hogwarts.
‘Seriously though, Gin, where’d you learn to fight like that? You were lethal!’ Harry asked his girlfriend incredulously.
‘You don’t grow up in a house with six brothers and not learn a thing or two.’ Ginny shrugged, exchanging a glance with Ron.
‘Yep. Gin’s the only person other than mum who actually scares the twins!’ he laughed.
‘And you!’ Draco spoke to Hermione, who was sitting on his knee again, ‘The look on Finnegan’s face when you floored him to start with! And I doubt he’ll ever have kids after that kick!’
‘Served the prat right!’ Hermione spat, ‘I don’t think he’ll mess with us again!’
The carriage ground to a halt in the Hogwarts grounds and the six students climbed out.
‘Well, see you in the common room later?’ Hermione asked Draco.
‘I guess. Good luck.’ He leant down and kissed her lips swiftly, before hurrying off to the dungeons to face Snape.
‘Let’s go.’ Harry sighed as the Gryffindors set off to see McGonagall.
When they reached her office, they found that she was already there, along with a rather beaten and bloody Seamus, who was dabbing his face with a tissue.
‘I don’t recall telling you to take a seat.’ McGonagall growled as Ron pulled out a chair. He started at her tone, and pushed it back in.
‘So… why don’t you begin, Mr Finnegan?’
Seamus looked anxiously over at the professor. ‘Granger punched me, then Malfoy jumped me!’
‘That is so not what happened!’ Ginny cried.
‘You will each get your turn, Miss Weasley! Mr Finnegan, I have a hard time believing that Miss Granger would hit you for no good reason. Was she provoked?’
Seamus shook his head, ‘No, professor.’
‘You lying toad! You said disgusting things about me and my mother! And you slapped me!’ Hermione yelled, holding back her hair so McGonagall could see the bruise forming on her cheekbone.
‘It’s not my fault you’re a whore! Do you know what she did, prof-‘
‘THAT’S ENOUGH!’ McGonagall bellowed, her voice echoed off the cold stone walls, ‘I will not tolerate language like that! And yes, I assure you, I am quite aware of what Miss Granger did.’
Hermione gasped, as did her friends. She knows?! Who else does? Will I be expelled? Draco! She looked up at the teacher with tears in her eyes, ‘But how?’
‘We have our ways.’ McGonagall replied, pursing her lips again.
‘Will I be expelled?’ Hermione asked quietly.
‘No, Miss Granger.’ McGonagall answered, ‘But I urge you not to push your luck any further. You have been fortunate in that Professor Dumbledore is content to not only let you and Mr Malfoy avoid expulsion, but also to keep your positions as Head Boy and Girl. You will however, have detention twice a week until the end of summer, as will everyone else in this room.’
‘But-‘ Seamus protested.
‘No buts, Mr Finnegan. I suggest you all get to your dormitories as quickly as possible, and remain there for the rest of the night. You are to go to the Great Hall on Tuesday at eight pm for your first night’s detention.’ McGonagall waved them all out of her office.
Seamus scurried off first, probably afraid of being alone with the other four, who sauntered up slowly to Gryffindor Tower, stopping outside the fat lady portrait.
‘Look at the state of us!’ Harry exclaimed. Hermione looked at them all in turn; he was right, they were a mess. Harry’s lip was bleeding and his shirt was torn and grubby, Ron’s hair was spiking up and he had a cut on his forehead, and Ginny’s hair was sticking out in all directions, her t-shirt was twisted, two nails were broken and her face was smeared with blood (not hers) and dirt.
‘I better get back to the dorm and see how Draco is.’ Hermione stated.
Ginny scowled, ‘Yeah, facing Snape after everything that’s happened couldn’t be easy.’
Hermione said goodbye to her friends and headed up to her shared dorm.
‘How’d it go?’ Draco asked as she climbed through the portrait hole. He was sitting on the couch, his fist in a bowl of ice, dabbing his face with a damp cloth.
‘Two detentions a week until graduation.’ She groaned.
He nodded, ‘Me too.’
She slumped onto the couch behind him, and he pulled his fist out of the bowl of ice, reaching up to tuck her hair behind her ear. She flinched at his touch.
‘Bloody hell! That bastard!’ Draco snarled, as he saw properly for the first time the ugly purple bruise on her cheek.
‘It’s not as bad as it looks.’ Hermione whimpered, trying not to let the pain show, ‘And anyway, I gave as good as I got.’
‘You gave better, love!’ Draco grinned, wrapping some ice in the cloth and holding it up to her cheek, ‘I don’t think there’s anything that’ll take away that bruise. You’ll just have to wait it out.’
‘It’s okay. I’ll wear my hair down for a few days; I knew this frizzball would come in handy for something!’
‘At least take something for the pain.’ Draco motioned to the potion bottle which was already on the table.
Hermione sighed, and gulped down some of it, before handing it back to Draco, watching as he finished off the rest. Drowsiness closed in on her quickly, and she leant her head on Draco’s chest and promptly fell asleep.
The next week passed uneventfully, word having spread about what happened to Seamus, Crabbe and Goyle after messing with Hermione. Nobody else was stupid enough to get on her bad side. And so, as she sat down for dinner at the Gryffindor table the next Friday night, Draco in tow as he had lost any friends he’d had in Slytherin, she was completely relaxed. She looked around at her friends, their bruises had faded over the past fortnight (although she noted Seamus still walked with a slight hobble), and they had actually begun to accept Draco. Not that he was now having guys’ nights with Ron and Harry when she stayed over with Ginny, but at least they had stopped wanting to kill each other, and he got along surprisingly well with the youngest Weasley. Probably because they’re both so damn stubborn! Hermione thought, smiling.
‘You all coming to the quidditch game tonight?’ Ginny asked.
‘Yeah, of course, Gin.’ Hermione replied.
‘But who are you going to be cheering for?’ Harry raised an eyebrow at her.
She paused. It was a Gryffindor v Slytherin match. ‘I’ll be an impartial supporter.’
‘We are so going to win!’ Ginny cried. She had improved a lot since her early days as seeker, and had since built up a reputation almost to rival Harry’s. Ron wasn’t bad either.
Draco stifled a laugh. ‘No way! We’re going to wipe the floor with you!’ he taunted the Gryffindors.
‘We’ll see, Malfoy. Me and you, may the best man win!’ Ginny smirked at him.
‘Thanks, Weasley, I will.’ he replied, teasing his rival seeker.
Hmm, this should be interesting, Ginny against Draco… Hermione thought to herself, watching as the two jokingly tormented each other.
‘Let’s go, Ron, we have to get ready. You better get going too, Malfoy, you could use some extra practice before the match!’ Ginny dragged the two boys out of the Great Hall, as they tried to stuff the remainders of their dinners into their mouths.
Hermione and Harry sat in the front row of the Gryffindor stand, watching as the little red and green figures hurtled around the pitch. Gryffindor were leading, barely, and Ginny and Draco were both in hot pursuit of the snitch, flying mere inches from each other.
‘Go Gin!’ Harry screamed, waving his scarf manically in the air. Hermione laughed at the excitement on his face as the Gryffindor seeker zoomed past them, waving at Harry. ‘Don’t wave at me! Get the snitch!’ he yelled, his face red.
The crowd around them roared with cheers as Ron batted the quaffle away from the goals, denying Slytherin of any points.
‘Nice save by Weasley senior!’ the commentator, a fourth year Hufflepuff, announced.
The crowd roared with applause, as he continued, ‘And it looks like Weasley junior has caught sight of the snitch!’
Just at that, a blur of flame red hair whizzed past the stand, as the Gryffindors cheered. Ginny had seen the snitch and she was close on its tail, until she had to swerve to avoid a bludger, twirling through the air as the Slytherin beater laughed.
Hermione was so busy watching Ginny she didn’t notice a green-clad chaser get the quaffle past Ron, causing the Gryffindors to groan, whilst a roar of applause was emitted from the green stands opposite.
‘And Reilly scores, making it a tie! One of those seekers better catch the snitch soon!’ the Hufflepuff yelled.
Hermione turned her attention back to Malfoy and Ginny, who had both once again spotted the small golden ball. They glanced over at each other, and each seeing that the other had spotted it too, raced after it, making the crowd go wild. As they sped around the borders of the pitch, they were so close Hermione swore their legs were touching.
‘Malfoy and little Weasley are neck in neck! This could go either way folks!’ the commentator was standing now to get a better look.
‘C’mon, Gin! Kick his arse!’ Harry bellowed, to a half-frown, half-laugh from McGonagall, who he had forgotten was in the row behind.
Hermione watched as the seekers began to climb higher; evidently the snitch was climbing upwards. They were above the level of the stands, at least sixty feet in the air, when they levelled out again, Draco pulling ahead. He was a few metres in front of Ginny, when Hermione heard Harry gasp, ‘What are those gits doing? Oh no! Gin! Look out!’
‘What? Oh!’ Hermione followed Harry’s gaze to see the two Slytherin beaters speeding toward Ginny. She turned around, but too late. She didn’t have time to move out of the way before they rammed her, causing her to let go of her grip on her broom.
‘NO!’ Harry screamed, as every student jumped to their feet to see Ginny plummet toward the ground.
Draco had paused, turning back as he heard Ginny scream, but kept one eye on the snitch, hovering thirty feet to his right; it was almost within reach.
‘Get the snitch!’ a unanimous scream echoed from the Slytherin stands and players alike, urging him to take advantage of Ginny’s fall.
‘FOUL! FOUL! FOUL!’ the Hufflepuff commentator screamed.
Meanwhile, Ron looked on in horror from the opposite end of the pitch as his baby sister freefell through the air, arms flailing. Deserting his post, he hurtled across the pitch at full speed, knowing in his heart it would be impossible for him to make it.
‘GINNY!’ his scream could be heard echoing through the entire pitch as the redhead neared the ground; fifty feet, forty feet, thirty feet, twenty feet –
Hermione saw it all in slow motion; Harry almost jumping over the side of the stand, Ron screaming his sister’s name, Ginny nearing the ground, and Draco’s arms outstretched, reaching to grab …
(A/N - mwahahahahahah! another cliffy! I am soooooo evil! well, please R/R to let me know whether you'd prefer her to be rescued or go splat [bearing in mind she won't die - this is a magic school afterall].)
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