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Chapter 20 : Back at Hogwarts
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Hermione entered the fifth year girl’s dormitory to find her trunk sitting at the end of her four poster bed, and a small brown owl sitting on her trunk. She grabbed the letter, sat on her bed and pulled the blinds on her four poster bed shut.
"I’ve finished the book and have nothing left to read. I blame you. Do you have the second book?"
Hermione laughed at his lack of tact. She sat up, shooed the owl off the top of her trunk and dug. Finally, she found amongst her other books, the second book of Tolkein’s Lord of the Rings. She set it on the bed and scribbled on the back of the note.
"I’ll leave it tomorrow after potions class."
She tied the note to the impatient owl then ran back downstairs to meet up with Ron and Harry.
Draco sat impatiently through their potions lesson. He was always amazed that Snape could be so strict. He gave them a four page essay on the first day back, even to his own house, even to his own daughter. Finally, the class was over and everyone rushed away from the dungeons as fast as they could. Hermione doddled a little, putting books into her bag. As she did, she dropped one out that slid under her desk. She pretended not to notice, then caught up to Ron waiting at the doorway. She smiled at Draco as she passed him.
Draco stood at his desk until her and Weasley were gone, then made his way to her desk. Snape turned around, surprised to see someone still there.
“Can I help you with anything, Draco?”
“No.” Draco said, leaning down and retrieving the book.
“What are you two up to?” Snape said, grabbing the book before Draco could slip it into his pack. He was surprised to find it was something as innocent as a novel, a muggle one at that.
“She just leant it to me.” Draco turned red and pulled it away.
Snape let it slip from his fingers and crossed his arms. “Don’t do anything that will require me to have a stern talk with you.” Snape raised his eyebrows. “Either as a professor or a parent.”
Draco closed the curtains on his bed after dinner. He pulled Hermione’s book from under his pillow and laid down with it. The jacket of his transfigurations textbook fit perfectly around the book, to disguise it from the other Slytherines. He cracked it open to chapter one, feeling the worn pages against his fingers, the smell of old books. After a moment, he grabbed a scrap of parchment, jotted a quick note and ran to the owlry to snatch an owl.
"Thanks a ton. I’ll get the first book back to you soon. Maybe next week at the same time. Don’t worry, I didn’t dog ear any of the corners."
He ran back to his dormitory and by the time he got there, the owl had already flown through the window and landed on his bed, holding a note back.
"It’s no rush to me. What was he saying to you after class today, he looked upset."
"Dad stuff, I guess. He’s worried you’ll find yourself another fiancé. No big deal."
"Speak for yourself. I’ll have to go down tomorrow and explain everything. About all three of you!"
"Calm down. I already told him he’s got it wrong. Well, at least about me, I’m not so sure about the other two."
"This owl looks on death’s door. We’d best stop for tonight. If you’re going to continue bothering me, we’ll have to find a better way about it. Good night."
"Alright, sleep tight."
Draco sent the owl off for the last time. It tottered and swayed through the air, clearly overworked after such a long vacation. Draco settled back into his bed and read for a little while before sleep.
The next morning, Draco found Blaise in their dormitory for a solution that had come to him in the wee hours of the morning. He remembered a little artifact they had used in their first few years of classes to pass notes, which had made its way around the slytherine common room. He hadn’t seen any in quite some time, but was sure Blaise still had some kicking about. He was such a pack rat.
Have you still got any of that note parchment left? Remember, back in second and third year.”
“I think so,” Blaise jumped off his bed and went to his trunk. “What do you need it for?”
“McGonagall’s been cracking down in transfigurations. I figured this would throw her for a loop for a bit.”
Blaise found the parchment and brought it to Draco. “Well you can try, but that old bat knows all the old tricks. It probably won’t work.”
“Well, thanks anyway.” Draco took the parchment anyway and put it into his own chest.
Some Slytherine sixth year had made the stuff when Draco was younger, using a series of simple enough spells, then making huge quantities of the stuff and selling it off to the younger Slytherines. The parchment was enchanted to pass notes without being noticed. Whatever one person wrote would be transferred onto the other pages magically attached to it. In this case, one for him and one for Hermione. If you tapped your wand, the notes would disappear and only be revealed when the same wand tapped on it again. Also, the enchantment binding the two pages together was impossible to trace. So, even if Hermione’s was found by any of her friends, no one would know she was talking to Draco.
The following week, he slipped her piece of parchment into Hermione’s first Lord of the Rings book and brought it to potions class. He dropped it and kicked it under his desk before Blaise joined him and could see it. After class, Hermione again spent her time packing up before grabbing the book from under Draco’s desk. Snape watched on, raising his eyebrows only slightly as Hermione shoved the book in her enormous bag and made her way to her magical runes class alone.
As they discussed the chapter Hermione had finished re-reading two weeks prior, she got bored and her eyes began to wander. They fell onto the novel which had a piece of parchment sticking out of it. She pulled it out and unfolded it, but it was blank. Giving up, Hermione threw the parchment onto her desk and went back to writing notes. She ran out of parchment a few minutes later and reached for the blank parchment but it was no longer blank.
"I’m in History of Magic and it’s awful. Why is Binns even allowed to teach?"
Hermione looked around but no one was watching her, so she took up her quill again.
"I’m trying to pay attention." She wrote the words underneath his.
After a moment, new words in Draco’s handwriting materialized under her own. "Goody two shoes."
Hermione sat in the Gryffindor common room, attempting to study astrology, but frankly, just too tired for it. She looked over her shoulder. Neville was frustrated over his transfiguration homework and Pavarti was sleeping in one of the arm chairs. Hermione pulled out her note parchment and started scribbling to Draco.
“I’m going mad trying to study Astrology. What are you doing?”
She pretended to go back to her studying, but really stared impatiently at the parchment until Draco wrote back.
“Could be worse. I’m trying to do dark arts homework. Umbridge is a joke. I think I’ll just give up and go back to reading The Two Towers.”
“I gave up on that homework a long time ago. Just Astrology now.”
“Aren’t you supposed to be good at everything?”
Hermione didn’t hear the portrait to the common room open.
“I know it’s surprising, but I have a hard time with Astrology. I’m not failing or anything, but still.”
“I’m pretty good at Astrology. We could get together some night and I could help you.”
Harry snuck up on Hermione and loomed over her shoulder. “Hermione, I wanted to talk to you about your plan to start teaching people defense against the dark arts.”
Hermione jumped. She tried to shove the parchment under her text book, but Harry grabbed the corner before she could and pulled it out.
“What are you doing?”
“Nothing,” Hermione flushed.
Harry sat down next to her with the parchment, frowning. “You’ve been acting weird, Hermione. I’m getting worried about you.”
“I’m just writing notes to a friend of mine, that’s all, Harry.”
Harry furrowed his eyebrows and looked down at the sheet, showing the conversation she had been having.
“What, can’t I have friends other than you and Ron?”
“Of course you can, I just didn’t know you did.” Harry flushed. “What’s her name.”
“Actually, he’s a boy. But you wouldn’t know him, he’s in Ravenclaw.” Hermione reached out to grab the parchment but Harry pulled it back.
“This is what you’ve been hiding? Honestly Hermione, you had me worried, why couldn’t you just tell us?”
Ron entered the common room then, striding toward Harry and Hermione. “What are you two up to then?”
Harry looked down and re-read the last line this boy had written, “We could get together some night and I could help you.” “Oh.” Harry muttered, looking up at Ron. He shoved the parchment back into Hermione’s hands.
“Is that your Astrology homework, Hermione? Mind if I take a look?” Ron reached for the parchment.
Hermione pulled it to her chest and stood up. “It’s a letter to my Mom. I’ll go put it away then I’ll come down and help you with homework, alright?”
Hermione ran up the stairs, turning crimson. Ron sat in her spot next to Harry.
“Have you noticed she’s been acting weird lately?”
“Girl stuff, probably.” Harry muttered.
Ron scratched the back of his neck. “Right.”
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