Okay guys, the usual excuses of too much school work, fast approaching TAKS tests, personal drama and flat out laziness aside...
I'm not entirely sure what to make of this chapter.
It started out as a mere filler, a jump so that I didn't have to spell out the intervening months...
And that didn't turn out quite like I planned.
Read it and tell me what you think, this may have to undergo MAJOR revisons...
Hogwarts life soon settled into some sort of a routine, had Hermione had a spare moment to think on it, she would have laughed aloud at the turn her path seemed to have taken.
Early in the morning she woke and jogged a few miles, usually around the lake, before dashing upstairs to wash, and ready Jason.
Breakfast was as usual, though she still had to choke back gags when particularly pungent wafts of Ron’s morning breath found her newly sensitive nose.
Classes were challenging, she was particularly enjoying the new Defense against the Dark Arts professor, who seemed to have assumed the mantle of History of Magic professor, and well as Defense. Hermione’s notes were tightly packed, and covered many sheets of parchment for that class, she was in dire need of finding a Gathering Charm to keep them all together.
After classes were homework, sometimes alone or with Draco, sometimes her Brothers joined them, and often Harry and Ron too.
Ginny was still happily dating Harry, and Anthony was prone to sending her looks better suited to a lovesick puppy than a strapping teenaged boy, but he seemed to be taking it all in stride. Hermione knew he was suffering more than he let on, but the Siblings in general kindly overlooked this, and privately plotted various ways to help him win the fiery redhead.
The most ludicrous of these involved the kidnapping of both parties polyjuice potion, and a large dish of freshly chopped pineapples and avocados.
Hermione had declined to comment on this particular plot after Michael had explained it (in detail) and it was decided by common consent that this would be a Plan B.
Or possibly Plan Z.
But life still moved on, studies of all sorts progressed. Homework assignments were remarkably completed and turned in close enough to the deadline to not actually be late, though the Head Girl was forced to beg McGonagall once, finally pulling the “It won’t ever happen again, I swear”. She squeaked an E+ on that one, and began devoting even longer hours than before to her studies.
Her progress with the quarterstaff was impressive, as was her prowess with hand to hand combat. Despite her getting the actual moves right, she still punched like a girl, something that caused her Brothers much hilarity.
Flying was amazing, and Hermione was enjoying her forays into the Forbidden Forest to consult the centaurs with Blaise, who had a knack for getting them to talk straight about the future.
It wasn’t until the end of September that she began to grasp just how much time had trickled away without her even realizing.
It happened in this manner…
Hermione and Draco were called into Dumbledore’s office after breakfast; they had both received requests of their attendance in the morning post. The Mates debated hotly about what they were being called in for, Hermione was sure it was her slipping grades(she was now down to a mere O average, rather than an O+) , and Draco positive that they needed to step up midnight patrols because rumor had it that some fifth year was pregnant.
As it turned out neither of them was anywhere close to correct, and after diligently scraping their jaws from the floor, they nodded politely, inquired as to the date of the happy event, and left the office a much more subdued pairing.
It was only once they were safely in an abandoned secret passage that cut three corridors and two switchbacks out of their commute, that Hermione gave vent to her feelings.
“A ball’ she fumed to her Mate, “A Halloween ball, of all things.”
“There are far worse ways to make money for our graduation.” Was Draco’s only response to this.
And it was true, at a sickle a ticket they would make plenty, but still “He could have at least told us a little sooner.” Hermione continued to rage at the empty corridor, but the venom was rapidly leaving her voice, her temper was burning itself out.
“If he had told us sooner you would have fretted yourself into stomach problems.” Draco soothed, “Besides, surely it won’t be that hard. The Prefect meeting is tomorrow, we’ll start planning then.”
Hermione nodded, her anger disappearing as swiftly as it had arisen, it was her time of the month and mood swings came with the territory.
The Prefects were ecstatic, as the Head’s knew they would be, and eager to begin work. Committees were to be made, and members nominated, a Decorating Committee, a Planning Committee, Refreshment Committee, and so on and so forth.
The assorted and sundry Committees broke off to their respective corners of the meeting room, conferring in low whispers, and occasionally seeking advice from the two Heads, who alone remained at the big conference table.
Together they consulted in turns a map of Hogwarts, and a parchment that contained lists of where and when the Prefects would be selling tickets to the ball.
“But do people pause long enough here to pull out money and buy a ticket?” Hermione was asking Draco, her finger on a particular corridor, when she glanced at the tall grandfather clock in the corner.
“Merlin” she muttered, before raising her voice so all could hear, “It’s after nine guys, so scoot. We’ll meet again on Thursday to discuss further. Meet with your groups as necessary, we expect full reports.”
Reluctantly the prefects nodded and trooped out, it wasn’t till after they left that Hermione realized what exactly had happened.
“That crafty old bat” her voice was soft and awed.
“Pardon?” Draco’s eyes didn’t stray from the papers he was shuffling.
“Is said that crafty old bat, did you realize that not one prefect hesitated to work with another house?”
Draco’s silver eyes shot to her a smirk plastered across his face. “That was his plan all along wasn’t it?”
Hermione relieved him of the papers, her nimble fingers shuffling them into order, “Probably, now we should leave too, we’ve got midnight patrols in a couple of hours, and my homework won’t do itself.”
Snorting her Mate followed her through the darkening corridors, stifling the questions he had for her. There would be plenty of time to talk during the long midnight hours.
Hermione hurled an empty bottle of ink into the cold fireplace, satisfaction coloring her orange eyes as it shattered into thousands of diamond fragments.
“You’ll wake Jason if you keep throwing things” his voice was mild, but it still shocked her.
Gasping and whirling to face him, Hermione felt the color rise in her cheeks, “Jason can sleep through earthquakes” she informed him, still slightly out of breath, “Besides, I needed to throw away my frustration.”
“Oh really?” he quirked a sardonic eyebrow at the still rosy Head Girl.
“Yes, I’m just… frustrated.” She finished lamely, offering no further explanation to his questioning gaze.
He gazed at her for a moment longer, his sharp eyes picking up her minute fidgets; she was keeping something from him.
But she could keep her secrets for now; they had work to do, adolescents to send back to their beds, midnight rendezvous to disrupt.
Reputations to build and destroy.
Sleep to lose.
“Come on, it’s almost midnight.” Hermione sighed and reached for her school robe, it was already getting chilly. Soon she would need thicker socks and warmer undershirts for her school uniform.
Her Head Girl badge, as always, was immaculately polished, and glowed in the dimly lit common room.
As she turned to face Draco she heard his breath catch, but he answered her questioning look by merely motioning towards the door. They had places to be and points to take, Merlin help any poor soul who smarted off to them.
An hour later Hermione was exhausted, limply she lay in one of the thick leather armchairs, it was nice to just sit for a few minutes.
Draco took one look at her and broke out into tired chuckles, Hermione cracked a lazy orange eye at him, and he hastened to explain “It’s odd seeing you so drained when I’ve watched you batter your Brothers with a staff, and work so hard at the punching bag. Right now you look practically harmless.”
Hermione growled several unprintable things at him, and slouched to her feet, “I take offense to that, and bid you good night.”
Draco merely snorted and called his own goodnight after her, he would puzzle over her secrets later.
Days drifted on.
In spite of Hermione’s disgust, the dance was thrown together in just a few Prefects’ meetings, tickets were sold, and money was raised.
For all practical purposes everything was just swell.
If anyone even used the word “swell” anymore.
“What is your problem?” Draco finally flat out demanded after nearly three weeks of his Mate’s constant grumbling over the whole ordeal.
“Nothing” she snarled at him, before scowling furiously at her Potions essay, as if it had done her great personal wrong. Which, being Potions, it could very well have.
“Yeah, like I buy that.” He shot at her from his side of the table, trying to work on his own assignments.
“Shut up and do your Transfiguration.” She snapped, splattering ink across her spare parchment in her haste with the quill and ink bottle. Muttering obscenities Hermione vanished the spilled ink with a wave of her wand, Draco didn’t miss that her hands were shaking.
“You’ve been on edge all month, and you expect me to just lay off?”
“Well I won’t“
“Do your homework Draco.”
“There are many more enjoyable things I could do.”
“But none so useful” her quip was terse, her teeth clenched.
“Oh I can think of a few.”
“Name one thing you could do that would be more useful than the homework that’s due in roughly eleven hours?” she glanced at the clock as she spoke, it was getting late.
“Well there’s you, for starters”
Hermione gaped at him for a moment, performing her best goldfish imitation for several seconds, before hastily returning to her essay. A scarlet blush painted her cheeks, it was rather endearing.
“I’m too busy, and so are you.” She tried to keep her tone brusque.
It didn’t work.
“Oh, come on.” He stilled her shuddering quill hand with his own, “it might relieve some of your, tension.” Hermione shivered as his thumb stroked the soft flesh on the back of her hand.
She yanked her hand away, angry at herself for showing such weakness. “No Draco.”
“You still haven’t told me what’s wrong.”
“Because nothing’s wrong.”
“liar liar pants on fire.”
“How old are you? Six?”
“No, I’m seven thank-you-very-much.”
“Oh for God’s sake, will you leave me alone?”
“Not till you tell me what’s wrong.”
“What?” okay, now he was seriously confused.
“You wanna know what’s wrong with me?”
“Well yeah…” his answer was slow, like he was considering his words carefully.
“There’s a dance coming up, that I can attend, that I have someone I would like, no love to attend with, and I can’t.” She slammed her parchment on the table, “There, you happy?”
“Well, there’s a dance coming up, and I have a girl that I could actually go with and have a good time. But I can’t go with her for some reason she has yet to explain.”
“People would be on to us. You want to keep the Court secret, and if we showed up together the whole school would be watching our every move, it would be easier to spot our connections with Anthony and the others, and then the whole thing would spill out.”
Draco sighed, running long fingers through his already tousled hair, “Well, we could just not care.”
Hermione sighed and laid aside her, now much abused, quill, “We couldn’t do that to our Brothers, you know that.”
Draco ruffled his hair again, and then reached across and rolled up her essay, “Come on, let’s go to bed, this can be figured out when we’re not running on coffee and desperation.” Hermione assented that that might be a reasonable plan and hugged him goodnight, her exhausted mind still trying to puzzle out a feasible reason for her to take him to the dance.
The next morning Hogwarts exploded.
Hermione was dashing down the grand staircase, some long dormant instinct telling her that Draco needed her, books, homework, and quills were strewn behind her like bread crumbs, falling heedlessly as she sprinted.
When she arrived he was on an opposite staircase, glaring down at a figure who stood in the middle of the entrance hall, taunting him for all to hear.
Theodore Nott smirked up at his Head Boy “- consorting with half bloods and mudbloods, what would your father think? I mean, you’re shagging the mudblood Granger, and meeting with all those other blood traitors for Merlin knows what and-”
“Shut your mouth Nott”
“Is that a threat?”
“You, dare to threaten me? You, a half breed, someone who isn’t even human anymore, much less a pureblood is threatening me?”
“Shut up Nott” this time the voice came from behind him, Hermione glared down at him, her orange eyes hidden by tricky shadows. All he could see was the hard line of her mouth, and the tense set of her shoulders.
“Oooh, and now you’re gonna sick your little mudblood shag partner on me?” If at all possible his smirk widened.
The entrance hall was very quiet, the bell rang for people to be in class, and not a soul twitched, they were riveted by the scene before them, the scandal that was unfolding.
“Don’t test me Nott.” Hermione could hear the tension riding his every word; he was fighting a loosing battle for control.
“But it’s so much fun. I always have enjoyed frustrating animals.” Hermione’s near empty bag dropped to the ground, in a heartbeat she was charging across the Hall, desperate to stop Draco before he did anything rash…
Nott heard her running and threw out an arm to catch her; she knocked it aside with enough force to snap the bone cleanly in two. A fragment pushed through his skin, the tang of blood washed over her senses, fueling her desperation.
Draco’s hands were twisting into hard claws; his fangs were piercing his still tender bottom lip, leather wings had shoved through the back of his school regulated white shirt.
He was on the verge of ripping Nott’s throat out, and that was potentially bad, very bad.
Hermione gripped his shoulders, wrapping her as around as much of him as possible and holding him tight, “Stop” she hissed in his ear, she felt his iron-bound muscles tense under his skin. “Breathe, come on Draco just breath” His angry breaths were hot in her ear; her skin was warm against him.
In the end it was the gentle heat of her flesh pressed against him, even through both their clothes that settled his rage. Her warmth ate away at his seething rage, the gentle blaze cutting away his angry burning. The fisted claws that dug into her back loosened minutely, even without moving she felt the fury leaving his frame, in the place of primordial vehemence there was mere tension.
Hermione was suddenly uncomfortably aware of their intimate posture, of his protective arms, of her head buried in the crook of his neck…
Of the dozens of eyes that were trained on the two of them, and the wings steadily disappearing into the Head Boy’s back.
Hermione glanced up, orange eyes darting furiously for escape, there was no plausible way to hide anything anymore.
“Yes?” she heard the strain in his whisper.
“There are people watching us.”
“It seemed worth saying out loud.”
Draco watched the witnesses over the top of her head, before pressing his cheek tenderly to her lightly fragrant hair. “No way to hide it now” his voice was still low and strained.
“We are we going give them a show?” even when this tense she could hear the hope in his whisper.
“get over it.”
“Okay” and he captured her lips anyway, kissing her deeply enough to make the watching throng uncomfortable, and long enough to leave Hermione lightly dizzy. He was hoping to get out of trouble with her that way.
From the glare she shot him as they parted, he wasn’t sure it had worked quite like he had hoped.
“You need to change shirts.” She informed him in a voice that would have been brisk, if she hadn’t been completely breathless.
“Are you going to help me?”
“Then lets go.”
Together they turned and tromped up the stairs, leaving a dumbfounded horde of students behind them. Moments later Hermione’s scattered belongings rose from where they had fallen and soared benignly after their mistress, it was only once these objects were gone that jaws began to move from their positions on the floor.
Okaaaaaay, well, yes? no? I'm gonna kill the author?
please don't btw, I kinda wanna graduate, or at the very least make it to 16....
anyway, drop me a line, I'm worried about how this'll be recieved