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Who Murdered Professor Trelawney? by silvergreen

Format: Novella
Chapters: 17
Word Count: 19,059
Status: COMPLETED

Rating: Mature
Warnings: Mild Language, Mild Violence, Scenes of a Sexual Nature

Genres: Crossover, Mystery, Romance
Characters: Hermione, Hagrid, McGonagall, Slughorn, Neville, Luna, Draco
Pairings: Draco/Hermione, Other Pairing

First Published: 07/19/2010
Last Chapter: 03/19/2011
Last Updated: 03/19/2011

Summary:


 

The last chapter is up!
Wonderful banner by Lady Malfoy @ TDA!
Professor Trelawney has been murdered. The prime suspect is Jasper Hale who teaches the Hogwarts students how to fight against newborn vampires. Hermione, teacher of Muggle Studies, doesn't believe the handsome vampire is guilty and digs into the mystery. What about our favourite Draco Malfoy? He is getting jealous...
Twilight crossover!
 


Chapter 1: Chapter 1
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Chapter 1

 

It was 1 September. Another schoolyear was to begin in Hogwarts. The students had arrived and gathered in the Great Hall.

 

During the usual sorting ceremony, the 25 year old, very pretty Professor Granger shifted her gaze from the students to her colleagues.

 

It was her second year to teach in Hogwarts, the school she had grown so fond of during her student years. It felt like home to her and most of the teachers were her friends. Hagrid, who still taught Care of Magical Creatures (with the assistance of Luna Lovegood); Neville Longbottom, the Herbology teacher, Oliver Wood, also an ex-student, now teacher of flying and quidditch. Yes, they all were her good friends.

 

She liked the funny Charms teacher, Professor Flitwick; Slughorn, the always cheerful Potions master and the strict McGonagall, Headmistress and teacher of Transfiguration. Hermione could get on well even with Professor Trelawney, the absent-minded Divination teacher who had hurt her so much years ago.

 

The one she was not on speaking terms with was the new teacher of Defence Against the Dark Arts. Draco Malfoy. A very blond and unfortunately very handsome Draco Malfoy with an enigmatic personality and a dark past. 'Why did McGonagall pick him to be DADA teacher? Why?' Hermione thought angrily. 'She could have asked Harry... Or anyone. Anyone would be better than him.'

 

Meanwhile, Headmistress McGonagall had started the usual term opening speech. She introduced the teachers to the students one by one and Hermione blushed when she heard some wolf-whistles from the tables of the older schoolboys. She was beautiful, her delicate features, big brown eyes, long silky hair, nice smile and perfect figure always caught men's eyes. Even Malfoy looked into her direction more than he should have.

 

Malfoy... Professor Malfoy. It would be difficult for her to get used to this. She could see what lustful glances the schoolgirls took at the blond teacher and she knew she wouldn't be the only one to get love letters from students in the coming term.

 

Suddenly the huge oak door of the Great Hall opened and all the heads turned to see the grumpy Mr Filch first, then his frightened cat, Mrs Norris, and finally an extremely good looking stranger.

 

This stranger was tall and blond, muscular but lean, his face perfect... Gorgeous. He looked gorgeous.

 

Wow. The girls gasped and started drooling and the boys, seeing this, just rolled their eyes.

 

Hermione gulped. She had never seen such an attractive guy.

 

The stranger walked slowly behind Mr Filch and the cat, towards the teachers' table, looking straight ahead, emotionless. He seemed to be making a great effort to control himself... To suppress his feelings... His desire? 'He might be embarrassed, that's all,' Hermione thought. The way he moved was a bit strange but he looked definitely damn hot. Hermione moistened her lips and the stranger suddenly looked at her.

 

His eyes... He had golden eyes. Golden eyes, getting darker and darker boring into Hermione's brown ones. She felt paralysed by what she saw in his eyes. It was hunger and desire... And something else she couldn't figure out.

 

Malfoy shook his head slightly. He didn't like it at all. He felt there was something wrong with this guy. No, he didn't like the beautiful stranger. He didn't like the way Hermione Granger was staring at him. It annoyed him to no end. And McGonagall's words annoyed him even more.

 

'Let me introduce to you Mr Jasper Hale from the United States. He is here to help Professor Malfoy to teach you how to fight against newborn vampires. Mr Hale himself is also a vampire but you have nothing to worry about, he's a vegetarian vampire who feeds on animals' blood, not on people's.'

 

My Hale nodded but didn't say a word and avoided the curious glances. The Headmistress broke the dead silence again.

 

'Please, Mr Hale, take a seat, next to Professor Granger. Your new colleagues will be pleased to help you.'

 

Hermione got pale and felt her heart start to race while watching the handsome vampire approach her. 'For Merlin's sake, it is a vampire!' Her braincells screamed but her hormones ignored this piece of information. She was drawn to him, more than to anyone else before.

 

The new schoolyear had begun.

 

End of Chapter 1

Chapter 2: Chapter 2
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Chapter 2

 

Draco Malfoy sat down in the small, gloomy room that used to be Professor Snape's. He opened the drawer of the desk and frowned. Lily Evans was smiling at him in the photo. Lily Evans... Potter's mum. Oh, Potter and that pathetic trio... The red weasel and the know-it-all bookworm, mudblood Granger.

 

He took a deep breath, recalling last night. Actually, that mudblood had become a beautiful woman... He gulped. He had expected to see someone like a young Trelawney, with huge glasses, greasy hair and granny-clothes, sitting in the library all day. But he was wrong. When he saw her at dinner last night, she looked stunning. He couldn't believe his eyes. Her hair, her smile, her eyes... Her body...

 

The girl who would never smile at him. The girl he would never get. The girl who hates him and gets fascinated by a vampire instead. He balled his hands into fists. It was not fair. He could always seduce girls easily, just by looking in their eyes... He always won. He always conquered.

 

But now... There was this stranger... This vampire... A VEGETARIAN vampire... He chuckled. And this American Mr Niceguy wanted to help him, HIM, Draco Malfoy, to teach D.A.D.A! How dare he?

 

If this bloke hadn't been here, Hermione Granger would have looked at him, HIM, Draco Malfoy, during breakfast, lunch and dinner and she would have realised how devilishly handsome and attractive he was and how much he had changed since she last saw him.

 

There was not enough air in the room. He stood up and decided to have a walk.

 

OOOOO

 

Hermione Granger was walking in the rose garden of the castle, her mind always on Jasper Hale.

 

She had never thought she could like or feel attracted to a vampire. She'd seen some pictures of them in the DADA textbook but they were far not as handsome as Jasper Hale.

 

Jasper Hale. She was mesmerized by his beauty, drawn involuntarily to him, to get closer to him. It was crazy, she knew but she couldn't resist.

 

The way he'd looked at him... Merlin, she got lost in those eyes. It was strange, though, when he sat down next to her during dinner, he didn't say anything. He looked as if feeling unwell.

 

'Hermione!' She heard her name and saw a smiling Luna walking towards her. Hermione felt much better now. She needed the blond girl's calm wisdom.

 

'Luna, I need your advice,' she said without beating around the bush.

 

'Yes?' She looked at her friend curiously, smelling a pink rosebud.

 

Hermione took a deep breath.

 

'What do you think about this vampire? This... Jasper?'

 

Luna's smile spread from ear to ear.

 

'He's mindblowingly sexy.'

 

Hermione was surprised to words like these from Luna's mouth.

 

'I agree,' she said finally.

 

'So what's up? You fancy him?' Luna kept on grinning. 'He's gone veggie so no need to worry.' She winked at her friend.

 

Hermione sat down on a bench.

 

'He might not like me, though. He didn't even look at me after dinner.'

 

Luna sat next to Hermione.

 

'Come on, you are very... pretty. I'm sure he'll make a move. Just be patient.'

 

Hermione sighed.

 

'By the way, have you noticed Malfoy?'

 

Luna froze.

 

'Malfoy?!'

 

'He looks very... good now.'

 

Luna scowled.

 

'If I were you I'd definitely choose Jasper, not Draco,' she said coldly.

 

Hermione blushed.

 

'Of course, of course. I could never be attracted to Malfoy.'

 

'Good,' Luna nodded and stood up.

 

'I have a class, today I'm taking the students to the Forbidden Forest. So wish me luck. See you later, dear.' And then she disappeared among the roses.

 

OOOOO

 

Hermione walked back to the castle deep in thoughts, just to bump in Jasper Hale in a dark corridor.

 

'Sorry,' they said simultaneously.

 

'I... I think I lost my way. These moving stairs are... crazy.' Jasper said embarrassed, avoiding Hermione's eyes.

 

'If you're looking for your room, I can show you the way,' she suggested.'These stairs are really crazy,' she added, smiling.

 

The blond guy smiled back at her. His smile was kind and charming, she felt her heart warmed at once. Suddenly she felt comfortable. His eyes were getting darker and darker and he leaned closer... But before they could close the gap, they heard Professor Trelawney's misty voice.

 

'Excuse me, by any chance have you seen the Headmistress? Professor McGonagall,' she added meekly.

 

'No,' Hermione looked at Jasper who also shook his head. 'Isn't she in her office?'

 

But Trelawney didn't answer.

 

'It is of utmost importance that I talk to her. Very, very important. What shall I do?' She murmured nervously and headed into the other direction.

 

Hermione didn't really care what Professor Trelawney should have done. She took a step forward, to get closer to the vampire. However, Jasper took a step backwards.

 

'I'm not sure it's a good idea,' he said hoarsely.

 

'What?' Hermione asked confused finding it hard to keep the distance.

 

'To show me my room'.

 

Hermione's face turned crimson.

 

'You mistunderstood... Maybe the British accent...' She stammered. 'I wanted to show the WAY to your room. Nothing more.'

 

Jasper gulped.

 

'Yes, I know... The problem is with me...' His eyes were almost black now.

 

He took some steps backwards, as far as the wall. He felt the cold stone and it cooled him a bit.

 

'You... smell good,' he whispered.

 

Hermione couldn't decide if it was a compliment or an insult.

 

'I was told wizards and witches don't have smell... They don't have that tantalizing smell for vampires. But you... The scent of your blood drives me mad...'

 

'Yes, because I'm a Muggle,' she thought and took some steps backwards, afraid more of her own feelings and desire than of his.

 

'I never understood Edward, my brother but now I do. The scent of your blood is like a drug to me. It's almost impossible to control myself when you're around,' he whispered in the silence of the corridor.

 

Hermione leaned against the wall, opposite the blond vampire. Her heart was beating wildly, her hormones were raging. 'Like a silly teenager in love,' she thought angrily, angry with herself.

 

The silence, full of suppressed desire was broken by a familiar voice.

 

'Waiting for someone, Professor Granger?' Draco Malfoy appeared, his robes flowing behind him. 'And... Professor Hale...' He added, noticing his vampire colleague. It was obvious he was not too pleased to see Jasper there.

 

'I'm going,' the vampire said and left quickly.

 

'What do you want, Malfoy?' Hermione spat.

 

'Professor Malfoy,' he corrected her. 'You two are... dating?' He asked raising his eyebrows.

 

'I don't think it is your business.'

 

'How old is he? Two hundred?' He was grinning.

 

'He might be two hundred but he definitely looks better than you,' she retorted.

 

The blond teacher rolled his eyes.

 

'I know why you are so upset, Malf... Professor Malfoy,' she continued. 'Your pride is hurt you have a rival DADA teacher who knows something better than you.' She took a deep breath. 'And yes, guess what, he feels attracted to me.'

 

'Really?' He frowned. 'I almost forgot, vampires like mud-blood,' he said, regretting the words the moment they left his mouth.

 

But to his surprise Hermione Granger didn't start crying. She stayed calm.

 

'They do,' she replied quietly and hurried away gracefully. She was heading to the library to get some information about American vampires but as soon as she put her hand on the door handle, there was a terrible scream.

 

She ran through the corridor and looked down the stairs.

 

A body was lying at the bottom of the stairs. Professor Trelawney's motionless body.

 

End of Chapter 2

 

Chapter 3: Chapter 3
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Chapter 3


 

'Sybill... What happened, for Merlin's sake?' Headmistress McGonagall leaned over Professor Trelawney, a look of worry on her face.


 

The Divination teacher slowly opened her eyes. The pieces of her broken glasses were scattered around the stairs.


 

'Uhm...' She could hardly breathe. 'Uhm… Pushed me down the stairs...' She moaned.


 

'Who?' McGonagall asked impatiently.


 

'Blond... My neck... I can't move...'


 

Hermione knelt down beside the motionless body.


 

'Professor Trelawney, please, don't try to move. Madame Pomfrey is coming...' She whispered.


 

The Divination teacher suddenly grabbed Hermione's hand and opened her eyes for the last time.


 

'Find... Rose... Danger...' She whispered and it sounded like begging. Then she closed her eyes and let go of Hermione's hand.


 

Some minutes later Madame Pomfrey's sad voice broke the silence.


 

'She's dead.'


 

Professor Slughorn, who had arrived with Professor Flitwick and Draco Malfoy, shook his head sadly.


 

'Poor, poor Sybill. Her great-great grandmother was the celebrated Seer, Cassandra Trelawney. What a talent, what a talent...'


 

'Her great-great granddaughter was not such a talent, though,' Malfoy murmured. 'If she was a Seer, why didn't she see this coming?'


 

Hemione frowned.


 

'Let me remind you, Professor Malfoy, she made two very important true Prophecies,' she said, annoyed by Malfoy's unrespectful remark.


 

'In the Battle of Hogwarts she dropped crystal balls on the Death Eaters' heads,' Professor Flitwick joined the conversation.


 

Luna arrived out of breath.


 

'What happened?'


 

'Jasper Hale bumped Trelawney off,' Malfoy informed her.


 

'Jasper Hale?! What does he have to do with it?' Hermione was fuming.


 

'You heard Trelawney's last words. 'Blond.' Jasper Hale is blond.'


 

'Just like you, Malfoy. Or Luna,' Hermione rolled her eyes.


 

'Me? Ah, yeah,' the blond girl looked like waking up from a dream.


 

'And why did she say 'My neck'? It's obvious that Hale had tried to bite her,' Malfoy continued.


 

Hermione shook her head. No, she couldn't believe Jasper had been able to do something like this...


 

Malfoy sneered at her.


 

'I know you wish I had done it. But I regret to inform you, Professor Granger, I had no motive.'


 

But Hermione was not sure about that.


 

OOOOO


 

The students and the teachers had dinner in silence. The Headmistress had told the students about a tragic accident in her short speech, not wanting to cause panic until the end of the investigation.


 

Jasper Hale was watching the salad on his plate.


 

'They think it was me, right?' He asked Hermione quietly. 'I can see the suspicious look in their eyes.'


 

'Some might think so but I don't,' she said determined.


 

'It's really nice of you. But you cannot be sure, can you?'


 

She sighed and shifter her gaze to his plate.


 

'You haven't eaten anything.'


 

'I'm a vegetarian but it does not mean I like salad. Actually, my favourite food is sitting beside me,' and he winked at the blushing Hermione.


 

'Jasper...' Hermione said meekly some seconds later.


 

'Yes?'


 

'I've read some vampires have extra ability... Such as mind reading... Do you?' She avoided his eyes.


 

Jasper smiled mysteriously.


 

'What would you like to hear?'


 

Hermione didn't reply. She should have felt embarrassed but curiously enough, she felt comfortable.


 

'No, I can't read your mind...' Jasper shook his head.


 

Hermione let out a sigh of relief.


 

'But...' Jasper went on. 'I can feel what you feel'. He looked into the girl's big brown eyes softly.


 

Hermione froze. Damn. If he could feel what she felt... Damn.


 

'And I can manipulate your mood, too. As long as I'm around.' He added.


 

Now she could understand why she was filled with some sort of happiness whenever he was there.


 

Her train of thought was interrupted by the Headmistress.


 

'Professor Granger, could you come to my office after dinner, please?'


 

While she nodded, she felt being watched. But it was not Jasper Hale. It was Draco Malfoy. And an odd concern in his gaze.


 

OOOOO


 

It was a warm September evening and Hermione decided to have a walk before going to bed. She was heading for the rose garden when a familiar voice stopped her.


 

'Hermione!' Luna hurried towards her. 'Any news about the murder?'


 

'None,' she answered deep in thought.


 

'Then why did McGonagall want to talk to you?' Luna asked suspiciously.


 

'She asked me to investigate a bit... After all, I know Hogwarts much better than the auror the Ministry will send.'


 

'So you're going to ask us questions like a real detective? Creepy.' Luna was amazed.


 

'Well, at times, yeah. And I'll try to keep an open eye... in case something strange happens. By the way... May I ask you a question?'


 

'Of course, Inspector Granger', Luna said laughing, enjoying the situation.


 

'Did you see or talk to Trelawney today, before the murder?'


 

'Yeah, she was strolling past Hagrid's hut when I saw her. She was looking for McGonagall.'


 

'Did she tell you why?'


 

'Nope. But she looked... confused.'


 

Hermione nodded.


 

'I wish I knew what she had wanted to tell the Headmistress. It might have been important.'


 

'Or she just... wanted to look important... She could often be seen around McGonagall lately. She might have been thinking of becoming the Headmistress after McGonagall's death...'


 

Hermione was shocked. Trelawney as a Headmistress... What a bizarre idea! Really, Luna could always surprise her.


 

OOOOO


 

Hermione was sitting on a bench in the rose garden, enoying the autumn smells and watching the twinkling stars.


 

Suddenly she noticed a shadow, moving past the roses at a high speed. When it stopped she could recognise him. Jasper Hale was walking towards her... Forcing himself to walk and stop at a certain distance from the girl.


 

'I'm going to have dinner now...' He said, pointing at the Forbidden Forest.


 

'I thought so,' Hermione nodded and felt sorry for the centaurs.


 

But Jasper didn't move.


 

'Hermione...'


 

'Yes?' She crossed her legs, her heart was racing. She loved the way he said her name. It was so tender and kind...


 

'I know exactly what you feel... how you feel about me.' He took a step forward, closer to her.


 

'Great,' she thought not too enthusiastically and gulped.


 

'And... I'd like you to know... I feel the same about you. It's like... magnetism. You cannot do anything against it.'


 

Hermione recalled how Ron compared Lavender to a magnet once, after a long snogging session. She dismissed the thought. 'A snogging session with this guy would erase the memory of Ron for good,' she thought and was happy he couldn't read her mind.


 

'I wish I could be closer to you... without hurting you,' Jasper whispered, a slight breeze drifted through the air, ruffling their hair. 'I wish I could touch you...' He looked at her with craving desire in his eyes but managed to keep control and didn't go nearer.


 

Hermione shivered. Words had never had such a great effect on her before. The words set her body aflame.


 

'You... Do you... Do you have a girlfriend?' She stammered as if it had been the only thing to sort out before throwing themselves at each other.


 

His face clouded over.


 

'I had... But it's over now,' he said quietly.


 

'Did she... die?' She asked, with a frog in her throat.


 

'Worse... She left me,' he replied and sighed painfully. 'She's a vampire, too. Alice... Her name is Alice. I loved her so much I would have done anything for her... Anything.' He gulped.


 

Jasper took a step closer, looking at Hermione's lips.


 

'When you smile... I don't want to compare you two but... Your smile is as beautiful as hers.'


 

Hermione didn't know what to say.


 

'You should smile more often,' Jasper added, and flashing a smile at the pretty professor he stormed away to disappear in the Forbidden Forest.


 

End of Chapter 3
 


Chapter 4: Chapter 4
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Chapter 4

’Accio, wand!’ Hermione whispered and sliding the object in the pocket of her robe she closed the door of her room.

She wanted to hurry to the Great Hall but suddenly she noticed that the door of Jasper Hale’s room was slightly ajar. She slowed down and peeked through the gap feeling a bit ashamed but terribly curious.

What she saw left her breathless. Jasper Hale was doing push-ups with no shirt on. He had just a pair of black trousers on. She sighed. His upper body was just perfect. Not too muscular but very, very sexy. His skin was pale and smooth and Hermione could see some scars, she wondered how he’d got them.

She didn’t have too much time to admire his body in secret, though. The handsome vampire stood up and looked at her with a smile. ’He knew I had been standing here. My smell. Damn.’ While he got to the door Hermione tried to make up an excuse.

’Morning,’ he said kindly.

’Morning,’ she replied. ’I just… I wondered if you’d like to come with me to have breakfast,’ she stammered.

Jasper leaned against the doorframe casually and Hermione had to force herself not to let her eyes wander down to his naked chest.

’I’ll put on a jumper and join you in the hall soon, okay?’ His voice was husky and his darkening eyes were boring into hers.

’Sure,’ she muttered and walked down the corridor just to bump into a black robe and Draco Malfoy in it.

’Was that Hale or a topless waiter from a Diagon Alley night club?’ He sneered.

Hermione rolled her eyes.

’Did he show you his sharp teeth, too?’ He went on teasing her.

’What do you care?’ She glared at him and headed to the Great Hall.

Malfoy followed her.

’I heard the auror telling McGonagall they’d found a scar on Trelawney’s neck. The most likely suspect is Hale and soon he’ll be locked up in Azkaban.’

’Why do you hate him so much?’ Hermione stopped and turned to look in Malfoy’s eyes. She tried not to show that she was a bit taken aback partly because of his pretty face partly because of the lack of hatred in his eyes.

’I just don’t trust him. And you shouldn’t trust him, either,’ he added. One kiss and you’ll end up as a newborn vampire. I don’t think McGonagall would be too happy…’ He smirked and walked over to the teacher’s table in the Great Hall.

Hermione shook her head. Damn it, Malfoy was right.

OOOOO

’Okay, let’s use those little grey brain cells, as Mr Poirot would say,’ Hermione opened her pocket book to jot down a list.

WHAT DID TRELAWNEY WANT TO TELL MCGONAGALL?

FIND. ROSE. DANGER.

FEELINGS? ASK JASPER ABOUT IT

MOTIVES?

She sighed. What did Trelawney want to tell the Headmistress? Maybe nothing important. Maybe Luna was right and the Divination teacher was surprisingly ambitious and just wanted to be seen, always around McGonagall… But she might have realised something… She might have foreseen something fatal, something crucial, a new prophecy… And there was someone who didn’t want her to report it to the Headmaster… Someone who decided to murder her…

Rose. Find… Rose... Hermione tried to recall Trelawney and the way she said the words. Did she think of the flower? But then she would have said ’a rose’ or ’the rose’. Find the rose. She walked to the window of her room and shifted her gaze to the rose garden of the castle. Or… did she mean a symbol? Rose as a symbol? Rose is the symbol of England. The symbol of some Greek Goddesses. Romantic love. Sub rosa: secrecy and silence. The symbol of alchemy. Royal houses: the White Rose of York and the Red Rose of Lancaster… Hermione scowled. Rose might be a name. The name of a girl. A student. Or a woman. An elderly lady. A Muggle or a witch. Find… Rose… Danger. That person called Rose might have been in danger…

Hermione felt disappointed. How would she find the answers? All she could hope for was Jasper’s help. If he could feel Hermione’s emotions he could feel the emotions of others, too.

She had a look at the rose garden through the window again. It was getting dark. It would be dinner time soon. Dinner time for Jasper. Hermione made up her mind, put on her cloak and left.

OOOOO

Hermione was heading to the bench in the rose garden, planning to wait for Jasper’s appearance, when she noticed Neville Longbottom, her ex-schoolmate now her colleague, walking among the flowers with an unhappy face.

’What happened, Neville?’ She asked him. ’You look so sad. Was it a naughty student that pissed you off?’

’No… It’s Luna. She’s so… strange. You know we two were… well, romantically involved in the summer…’

Hermione nodded.

’And now… She completely ignores me… She has changed. Do you know what I found in her notebook?’

’What?’ Hermione listened curiously.

’A drawing of a heart with an arrow… And a name in the heart. But not mine.’

’Harry’s?’ Hermione asked meekly.

Neville shook his head.

’Ron’s?’

Neville looked at her sneering.

’You would never find out. The name in the heart was DRACO.’

OOOOO

Hermione was sitting on the bench alone, deep in thought. Luna fell for Malfoy… It was shocking. She didn’t even notice Jasper arrive.

’May I cheer you up?’ His husky voice made her jump.

’I’m okay,’ she said, trying to calm down and smile. ’Uhm… I’d like to ask you some questions. You might help me… in the investigation.’

’Feel free to ask anything, young lady,’ he smiled.

’But… Not here… Let’s go there,’ Hermione pointed at a tree.

Jasper raised his eyebrows but followed the girl.

’You can lean against the tree trunk… It will be more comfortable…’ Hermione offered but avoided the vampire’s eyes.

Jasper was still suspicious but did as he was told. A second later he saw the wand flash in the girl’s hand and heard a spell:

’Incarcerous!’

Suddenly thick ropes appeared out of thin air and wrapped him around. He couldn’t move.

’Sorry,’ Hermione apologized. ’It was a body-binding spell. In case you are very hungry… Someone warned me that your teeth are… very sharp.’

’I bet it was Professor Malfoy,’ Jasper grinned. ’But it’s okay. He was right, actually. I’m looking forward to an exciting questioning… So, what would you like to know?’

Hermione would have liked to do something else than asking questions, she stood only inches apart from the tall and handsome vampire but she forced herself to concentrate on her task.

’You remember when Trelawney asked us about McGonagall, right?’

He nodded.

’Could you feel what she felt? Her mood?’ She continued.

’Sure. She was nervous. And frightened. Confused a bit.’ Jasper recalled.

’And later? The emotions of the others? Could you perceive something strange, something unusual that might help to find the murderer?’

’Well… Apart from your feelings for me…’ He was gazing down into Hermione’s sparkling eyes gently, his eyes seemed to draw her in. She blushed.

’Professor Malfoy is attracted to you… More and more.’ He finished the sentence. ’He tries to fight it off but he can’t.’

’Malfoy?!’ Hermione blinked at him.

Jasper nodded.

’And the more he likes you the more he hates me,’ he added.

Hermione gulped.

’I hate him,’ she said finally.

’I know,’ Jasper smiled. ’But that blond teacher, Luna Lovegood doesn’t. Her love for him is rather intense and… aggressive.’

’Aggressive?’ Hermione was surprised.

’She’s an ’I’ll get what I want’ person, isn’t she?’ Jasper wondered.

’Not really… But who knows… The power of love…’ Hermione whispered and their eyes met again to drink the other’s sight in through desire-hazed vision.

’Any more questions?’ He asked quietly.

’No,’ she gasped.

’Don’t you want to search me… For some clues… For the crucial evidence?’ He raised his eyebrows seductively.

’Maybe next time,’ Hermione gulped, her heart racing.

’I can’t wait.’ His lips were sexy, his smile charming.

Hermione took a step backwards.

’Diffindo!’ She yelled and the magical ropes fell to the ground. Jasper was free again.

’Hermione…’ He said, his face serious. ’Please, be careful.  You might be the next victim if the murderer learns you are investigating. It’s a dangerous game. Promise me you’ll take care.’

Hermione nodded.

’No need to worry about me, guys,’ she thought, heading for her room in the castle. ’I’m a big girl, I can deal with the situation.’

She didn’t notice the shadow creeping towards her in the dark corridor.

End of Chapter 4

 

A/N

Mr Poirot is a fictional Belgian detective in Agatha Christie’s crime stories.

 
 


Chapter 5: Chapter 5
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Chapter 5

 

There was no time to act. Hermione heard the Petrificus Totalus spell hissed but it was too late. She fell to the ground paralyzed and was incapable of moving even when she was kicked in the face.

 

It was so dark in the corridor that she couldn’t see anyone. She heard the footsteps fade away and felt warm blood stream down her face. ’Merlin, they’ll find me only in the morning,’ she thought, panic stricken.

 

She was wrong.

 

Some minutes later she heard footsteps approaching her. She winced and hoped to be heard. The footsteps came to a halt and Hermione could see a beam of light coming from a wand. Draco Malfoy’s wand.

 

Oh no. Anyone but him, please…

 

’Finite Incantatem!’ He yelled and knelt down beside the girl.

 

She closed her eyes and didn’t move. She didn’t want to look at him, she didn’t want to see him look at her. She felt he took her body carefully in his arms and carried her along the corridor and up lots of stairs… The situation couldn’t have been more humiliating for Hermione.

 

She opened her eyes only when Malfoy put her on a bed. They were in the Hospital Wing and Malfoy and Madam Pomfrey were watching her with a worried look on their faces.

 

’My nose,’ Hermione whispered in pain and could see her hand covered in blood when touching her cheek. ’Somebody kicked me… Kicked me after casting the full body-binding curse on me…’

 

Madam Pomfrey narrowed her eyes.

 

’Don’t worry about your face, Professor Granger. You will be all right soon,’ she said confidently. ’I’ll get some medicine.’

 

The Healer disappeared in her office and Hermione looked at Malfoy, still feeling humiliated and embarrassed.

 

’He must be expecting me to say thank you… But I can’t. I can’t,’ she thought bitterly.

 

’Who do you think it was?’ He broke the silence finally.

 

’You.’ She whispered, watching the ceiling.

 

’Me?!’ Malfoy was shocked to get such an answer.

 

’You did the same with Harry, remember? On the Hogwarts Express. In our 6th year.’ She looked at him accusingly.

 

’For Merlin’s sake, I did a lot of foolish things back then,’ he rolled his eyes. ’But why would I want to hurt you now? Why would I want to attack you in the dark corridor and then take you to the Hospital Wing? Does that make any sense?’

 

’You might want us to believe Jasper is a murderer. You might have a little plan how to get rid of your… rival.’

 

’Rival?’ Malfoy raised his eyebrows. ’What do you mean? He’s just an assistant in the D.A.D.A. classes. He’s not my rival,’ he emphasized the last word.

 

It was not the D.A.D.A. class that was on Hermione’s mind. She couldn’t forget what Jasper had told her about Malfoy’s feelings for her.

 

But they couldn’t continue the conversation. Madam Pomfrey arrived with a big bottle full of greenish liquid.

 

’Get well soon, Professor Granger,’ Malfoy said coldly and left, angry with himself, angry with Hermione and angry with the whole world.

 

’Night,’ Hermione murmured and watched him walk away. ’Maybe I should have been nicer to him,’ she wondered and tried to decide which guy was handsomer: Jasper or Malfoy. She drank the greenish liquid and caughed.

 

She fell back into her pillow. ’Jasper,’ she whispered and some seconds later she was asleep.

 

OOOOO

 

Madam Pomfrey did a good job and Hermione was cheerful and pretty the next morning. Her colleagues visited her one by one in the Hospital Wing and it was a good opportunity for her to ask them about the mysterious Rose. But they knew of no teacher or student called Rose. Trelawney didn’t have any relatives so Rose could not be a family member, either.

 

Professor Flitwick came up with Madam Rosmerta’s name but Hermione wasn’t satisfied. She didn’t think the landlady of The Three Broomsticks pub had anything to do with the case. She started to give up all hope when Professor Slughorn appeared with a big smile and a box of chocolate.

 

’I came to see the cleverest witch of our age, Hermione Jean Granger,’ he declared.

 

Hermione was gazing at him for a long second then slapped her forehead and groaned.

 

’Rose can be a middle name,’ she whispered.

 

’Pardon?’ Slughorn asked and thought Hermione might have had some mental disorders.

 

’Thank you for coming and for the chocolates, too,’ Hermione smiled. ’You know, I’ve been asked to help the auror investigate this… murder case,’ she explained and managed to have an effect on Slughorn.

 

The professor nodded and felt proud to talk to such an important person.

 

’Did Professor Trelawney had a middle name?’ Hermione asked curiously.

 

’Let me think… Sybill Trelawney… Sybill Patricia Trelawney,’ he exclaimed finally.

 

’McGonagall?’

 

’Minerva McGonagall. No middle name,’ Slughorn shook his head.

 

’Have you ever known a teacher or a student whose first or middle name was… Rose?’ Hermione asked breathless.

 

Slughorn scowled.

 

’Teachers… no. No one called Rose. But students… I cannot help you. I have had so many students… I can’t remember their first or middle names. Sorry.’

 

Hermione sighed.

 

’It’s okay. Thank you… You helped a lot… I think.’

 

When Slughorn had left, Hermione opened her pocket book to jot down ’Rose: middle name?’. But she wasn’t alone for long. Draco Malfoy’s blond head appeared in the door.

 

’May I come in?’

 

’Sure,’ Hermione answered and tucked a strand of hair behind her ear. She had decided to be nicer to him but she was nervous if she would be able to do that.

 

He walked over to her bed and slowly sat on a chair.

 

’Are you all right?’ He started the conversation. He looked paler than usual.

 

’I am fine, thank you,’ Hermione answered and took a deep breath. ’And thank you for… For what you did yesterday…’ She stammered and avoided his eyes.

 

There was some awkward silence.

 

’I know you would have been happier if Hale had found you…’ Malfoy looked at the blushing Hermione. ’But… Think it over. If he had found you there, lying unable to move… Covered in blood… What would he have done?’

 

Hermione gulped and let her eyes meet his.

 

’You would be… a vampire now.’ He finished quietly.

 

She knew.

 

’Do you still think it was me who attacked you?’ He asked.

 

Hermione shook her head.

 

’No… I mean… I’m not sure… I’m not sure about anything.’ She sighed. ’May I… May I ask you a question?’

 

’Do you want to play Truth or Dare?’ Malfoy asked with his trademark sneer.

 

Hermione rolled her eyes.

 

’McGonagall asked me to investigate the murder mystery… Will you help me?’

 

’Why not,’ he shrugged his shoulders.

 

’The name Rose… Do you know any Hogwarts students whose first or middle name is Rose?’

 

Malfoy slowly shook his head.

 

’The school term has just begun. I haven’t been able to memorize all the names.’

 

’And… Ex-students? From the past? From… our past? Related to Trelawney maybe…’

 

’Rose…’ Malfoy whispered deep in thought and raised his eyebrows. ’Pansy,’ he said finally.

 

’Pansy?!’ Hermione repeated in disbelief. ’What do you mean by Pansy? Pansy Parkinson?’

 

Malfoy nodded but he looked surprised, too.

 

’Yes. Pansy Rose Parkinson. Her middle name is Rose. And she always liked to be called Rose.’

 

Hermione was speechless so he went on.

 

’She asked her friends to call her Rose because it reminded her of her mum, Rosemary. She died in the hospital, when Pansy was born.’

 

This was the first time Hermione felt sorry for the mean Slytherin girl, Draco Malfoy’s pure-blood girlfriend back then.

 

’Yes, she likes the name Rose… She loved my ring because of the rose shaped ruby… She was always fascinated by it… Mesmerized.’

 

Hermione knew that ring, once possessed by Brutus Malfoy then passed through the family generation to generation.  Malfoy had often showed it off, proud of the engraved Malfoy family crest: an emerald-eyed silver snake coiled around a rose shaped ruby.

 

’Do you… Are you still… together?’ She asked meekly. She noticed Malfoy used both past and present tense.

 

’Pansy and me? No. We split years ago.’ He gulped.

 

Hermione wondered if Pansy could be the mysterious Rose… Pansy who used to made fun of Gryffindors… Pansy who liked to shriek her insults loudly and overdramatized everything… Who disdained Muggles and enjoyed spreading rumours…

 

’She was one of Trelawney’s favourite students,’ Malfoy added.

 

Hermione sighed and wrote the name ’Pansy Rose Parkinson’ with a question mark in her pocket book. She had a glance at her list.

 

Find… Rose… Danger…

 

Was Pansy Rose Parkinson in danger?

 

End of Chapter 5


Chapter 6: Chapter 6
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Chapter 6

 

’Aparecium!’ Hermione murmured, holding a blank parchment in her hand but no invisible ink appeared.

 

She was sitting at Trelawney’s desk, in the Divination teacher’s attic-like, dimly lit room in the North Tower.

 

With McGonagall’s permission Hermione tried to find some clues, something that might have been related to the murder. But she was disappointed now, she had spent half an hour in the room with no success.

 

There were astrology and horoscope charts on the walls, crystal balls, books and tarot cards on the shelves. A small cupboard contained small boxes full of tea leaves making Hermione frown as she recalled the teacup-reading classes.

 

The fragrance of the candles had left a lasting scent of jasmine, sandalwood, amber and rose.

 

A small Victorian dressing table was in the dark corner, amulets and talismans in its small, left side drawers, magic gemstones and jewelry made of them in the right-side ones. The golden brown of Tiger’s eye, the translucent white of Moonstones and the shiny blue of Lapis Lazuli made Hermione shiver. In the gaudy bangles and rings, kept in a glass jar, she was not interested. She opened a wooden music box to find an antique, crystal-set butterfly brooch and a pink rose brooch of pearls. She wondered when and where the professor had worn them.

 

She was about to leave the room when she noticed the waste-paper basket. She grabbed it enthusiastically and poured its content onto the thick carpet.

 

An empty pot of ink. A broken quill. A copy of the Daily Prophet. Some wrinkled wrapping paper. An invitation card to the annual meeting of Seers at Halloween. A receipt of a spangled shawl from Gladrags Wizardwear, Hogsmeade. A sheet of paper from the Things To Do List pad. An empty box of Chinese tea and a brown paper bag.

 

Hermione sighed. What would a detective make of this? She examined the objects again, one by one but she didn’t find any of them helpful. She looked at the receipt. Trelawney had bought a shawl. Probably it was an extremely ugly shawl but Hermione didn’t think that could have been the motive of the murderer.

 

Things to Do List. Hermione tried to do her best to read the small letters. ’Order the new edition of The Dream Oracle,’ she read but was not impressed. ’Talk to the Headmistress.’ Hermione got excited but she couldn’t learn more about it as the next line was ’Buy Chinese tea.’ It didn’t seem likely Trelawney wanted to talk to McGonagall about Chinese tea. ’Letters to Parkinson and Lovegood.’ Hermione read this line three times. Letters? Trelawney wanted to write letters? Why? About what? And to whom? Parkinson… Pansy Parkinson? And Lovegood… Luna Lovegood? But why would she have written a letter to Luna? She was working in Hogwarts, too… Luna didn’t mention Trelawney had talked to her. Weird. Very, very weird.

 

OOOOO

 

Letters? Talk to Luna and Pansy!

 

Hermione added it to her list in her pocket book and then gazed at the dancing flames of the fire she was sitting at. It was about eight in the evening, a cold October evening, and had decided to stay in her warm room and go to bed early. She crossed her legs comfortably on the thick carpet and drank some hot tea from a tea cup painted with pink roses. She scowled. Roses… Roses everywhere. She got fed up with this flower.

 

There was a knock on the door.

 

’This must be Luna,’ Hermione thought. ’She must have returned from the London Zoo with the students. I’ll ask her about this letter thing right now.’ She stood up and went to answer the door wearing her red satin pyjamas.

 

But it was not Luna Lovegood.

 

It was a very good-looking Jasper Hale, in black jeans and a black hooded jumper. His medium long, wavy, honey blond hair was messy, his lips parted while sweeping Hermione’s body with his darkening eyes.

 

’Ah,’ that was all Hermione could say, taken aback.

 

’Uhm… Did you expect someone else?’ Jasper stammered, seeing the girl’s surprised face.

 

’Yeah…’ Hermione tried to pull herself together. ’But… I’m glad it’s… you.’ She blushed an attractive pink.

 

’Hope it was not Professor Malfoy… The one you were expecting to see,’ Jasper gulped.

 

’No, no way,’ she shook her head and moistened her lips. ’I thought Luna arrived back from London. Uhm… Don’t you want to come in?’ She asked finally, a bit meekly, wondering what her granny’s opinion would be, about a girl in red satin pyjamas inviting a handsome vampire in her room at night…

 

Jasper probably had the same doubts about the proper behaviour in those circumstances. But finally he entered, and closed the door behind him.

 

’I heard what happened to you… That someone attacked you. Sorry I didn’t visit you in the hospital wing but… I was not sure I would be able to control myself… You know, the smell of blood…’

 

Hermione nodded.

 

’It’s okay,’ she mumbled.

 

’But I couldn’t wait any longer… I needed to see you… To see if you were all right.’ He whispered and moved a bit forward to be closer to the girl.

 

’I’m fine,’ she said quietly, mesmerised by his closeness, full of anticipation, anticipation to be in his strong arms, on the floor with him, in front of the fireplace.

 

’Good,’ he answered and his hands gently grasped hers, slowly intwining their fingers together.

 

Hermione was trembling. Her legs, her hands, her whole body. He touched her. He held her hands. She had been waiting for this since she first saw him.

 

His hands were cold. Cold as ice. And Hermione knew no heat could warm his skin. It made her a bit sad.

 

She saw he was gazing at her pyjama top, near her neck, where it was unbuttoned.

 

’I love your pyjamas… My favourite colour is red,’ he said hoarsely when their eyes met. His lips were shiny, his eyes sparkling, his face dangerously close to Hermione’s. ’I think you should body-bind me, or else…’ he whispered in her mouth.

 

’Or else?’ She moaned in lust.

 

’Or else I’ll kiss you,’ he finished the sentence.

 

Hermione closed her eyes.

 

’Kiss me, please,’ she begged. ’I want it so badly…’

 

’I want it too, but… I don’t dare to… I don’t want to hurt you…’ To control himself was more and more difficult.

 

’Please,’ she panted and suddenly, taking his face in her hands, grazed her lips against his.

 

His lips were cold, too. Cold and motionless. But Hermione thought the fire burning inside of her and the passion of the moment will make him return the kiss.

 

But he grabbed her hands and pushed her away gently.

 

’Sorry…’ There was so much pain in his voice and eyes. ’Sorry, I can’t… We can’t.’ He took some steps backwards, staring at the girl’s disappointed face, then stormed out of the room, devastated.

 

OOOOO

 

Hermione didn’t know how she had survived the night suffering from unsatisfied desire, craving, and feeling terribly ashamed.

 

She didn’t see Jasper in the morning during breakfast. It made her mood even worse.

 

While munching on a slice of toast with marmalade, suddenly she felt a warm hand touch her shoulder softly.

 

’Are you all right?’ She heard Malfoy’s voice.

 

’Yes, I’m fine,’ she said, giving a forced smile. ’Why?’

 

’You look pale,’ he replied.

 

She didn’t know what to say. But Malfoy continued.

 

’I saw Hale go into your room last night.’

 

Hermione got paler.

 

’Don’t worry, I’m not a newborn vampire,’ she spat. ’And if I ever become one, you’ll be the first I’ll bite. So leave me alone, please,’ she added angrily, stood up and left the Great Hall.

 

She made her way to her room fuming but bumped into Professor Slughorn in the corridor.

 

’Professor Granger, you asked me to think… to try to recall anything that might be important related to the murder.’

 

Hermione’s bad mood got replaced by curiosity.

 

’The day before the murder… During lunch, Professor Trelawney asked me about my opinion… She asked me if I thought it was possible that there was one more… Horcrux.’

 

’One more Horcrux?!’ Hermione repeated in disbelief.

 

’I looked just as surprised as you now. But I didn’t take it seriously, I smiled at her and said it was impossible. But she didn’t seem relieved. She had that tragic expression on her face… But it was not unusual, so I didn’t attribute importance to this conversation. But now… It might give you a clue what bothered her.’

 

’Yeah, it might,’ Hermione murmured, still shocked.

 

One more Horcrux… Oh, Merlin.

 

End of Chapter 6

 
 


Chapter 7: Chapter 7
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Chapter 7

 
’A letter from Trelawney? I never received one!’ Luna shook her head determined, her expression surprised.

’And your dad?’ Hermione asked, starting to give up hope.

Luna shook her head again slowly.

’He would have told me about it.’

So the professor didn’t write that latter, she only planned so. Hermione sighed and looked around Luna’s room with a disappointed face. The furniture was simple, on the table there were some copies of The Quibbler. The Monster Book of Monsters textbook growled at Hermione threateningly and there was some strange noise coming from Luna’s trunk in the corner, too. Hermione looked at Luna questioningly and the blond girl smiled mysteriously.

’You’d better not know,’ she said and giggled.

And Hermione decided not to want to know. She was not too keen on seeing crumple-horned snorkacks or nargles or whatever other creatures Luna kept in that box.

She went to the Library instead and read her list in the pocket book.


WHAT DID TRELAWNEY WANT TO TELL MCGONAGALL?

FIND. ROSE. DANGER.

FEELINGS? ASK JASPER ABOUT IT

MOTIVES?



PANSY ROSE PARKINSON?

LETTERS? TALK TO LUNA AND PANSY!

ONE MORE HORCRUX?

 
What did the professor want to tell McGonagall? It must have been about the Horcrux. She probably foresaw there was one more Horcrux. Rose… Rose might have been Pansy. And she might have been in danger. But why? Maybe she possessed that object? The last Horcrux? Feelings. Hermione had already asked Jasper about that. Motives? Almost everyone had one. Jasper and his hunger, Malfoy and his jealousy, Slughorn and his ambition to be the Headmaster… Even her, Hermione could have killed Trelawney, the professor had hurt her so much years ago… But now it seemed likely the motive was in connection with the Horcrux. Letters… Probably Trelawney only planned to write them. What a pity. The letters could have been so helpful.

The name of the last chance was Pansy. Pansy, who might have been in danger, Pansy, who might have received a letter from the professor, Pansy, who might have possessed the Horcrux.

Hermione sighed. She had to find and talk to Pansy. Hermione wondered if Malfoy’s ex-girlfriend would be willing to talk to a Mudblood… Not likely. Hermione definitely needed help. She needed Draco Malfoy’s help.

OOOOO

’Don’t stop running!’ Hermione heard Jasper’s command as she got nearer the quidditch field. Jasper held the DADA lessons there. He needed space. ’Faster!’ He ordered, the students were not too happy about it. ’Newborn vampires have super speed!’

Hermione saw the handsome vampire standing in the middle of the field, his hands on his hips. He saw her, too. Their eyes met for a moment and they felt the magnetic attraction again but Jasper forced himself to concentrate on the children.

’And now… Jump! Jump!’ He shouted, watching the young boys and girls. ’Higher!’

Hermione looked around and noticed Draco Malfoy watching Jasper and the students from the top row. She climbed the wooden stairs and sat next to him.

’I need your help,’ she said matter-of-factly while Jasper was showing kung fu moves to the students on the field.

Malfoy shifted his gaze to her slowly, his eyebrows raised.

’Please,’ she added reluctantly.

He hesitated for a second, his blue eyes trapping her gaze. She had never noticed how gorgeous long and dark eyelashes Malfoy had. She forgot to breathe and bit her lower lip. His eyes wandered down Hermione’s face and lingered on her lips for a moment.

He nodded.

’I won’t do it for free,’ he said finally.

’You want money?!’ Hermione asked in disbelief. All her positive expectations for Malfoy were gone.

’I want your kiss,’ he said softly.

’And now Professor Malfoy will teach you something very useful,’ they heard Jasper’s voice and the students looked up the top row curiously.

’Excuse me,’ Malfoy stood up and left a shocked and speechless Hermione there.

End of Chapter 7

 
 
 
 
 


Chapter 8: Chapter 8
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Chapter 8

 

’I want your kiss.’ The sentence echoed in Hermione’s mind and she shuddered when recalled the way Malfoy had said it. It sounded like the title of a pop-song, yet it was so… What was it like? Exciting. Exciting and… flattering. It was flattering Malfoy wanted her kiss. The kiss of the girl he used to hate so much. Her heart was still hammering, she didn’t know how she’d been able to walk down the steps of the quidditch stadium without falling. Jasper had told her he felt Malfoy was attracted to her but she couldn’t believe it. Up to now.

 

She was walking towards the castle, gazing at the golden brown, yellow and red autumn leaves.

 

’Hermione,’ she heard and turned to see Jasper.

 

Damn, why did he have to be so handsome? So… irresistible?

 

’Sorry about last night,’ he said quietly. ’I…’

 

’It’s okay,’ Hermione interrupted him quickly. ’Let’s not talk about it… I… I behaved in a silly way…’

 

’No, no, no…’ Jasper shook his head. ’It was me… I was such a fool… to leave you there like that. I just… worry about you. I want to be gentle but I’m aggressive… I want to kiss you but I bite you… I want you to feel my warm touch but it’s cold…’

 

’I know,’ Hermione nodded sadly.

 

’Professor Malfoy stirred your emotions, didn’t he?’ Jasper changed the topic suddenly, trying hard to hide his jealousy.

 

’Pardon?’ Hermione was surprised by the direct question.

 

’He must have told you something very exciting, I guess. I could feel intense vibration between the two of you.’

 

Hermione hesitated for a moment.

 

’Do you know what he said?’

 

’I can’t read minds. Only feelings.’

 

’I don’t have feelings for him. Except for the negative ones,’ she added quickly, avoiding Jasper’s eyes. ’Sorry, I must be going now.’

 

The blond vampire watched her disappear among the trees. He sighed. He didn’t like lies.

 

OOOOO

 

When Malfoy answered the door, he saw Hermione standing there in a velour pink tracksuit, her hands in its kangaroo pockets.

 

’Can’t sleep, Professor Granger?’ He sneered.

 

’I don’t go to bed at 8 p.m. Do you?’ Hermione retorted.

 

’Only if there’s someone to go to bed with,’ He replied, enjoying the conversation. He was wearing a shirt with jeans.

 

Hermione decided not to go into details about Malfoy’s sleeping habits.

 

’I came to get over that damned kiss,’ she declared coldly.

 

’Ah! Come in!’ Malfoy enthusiastically opened the door wide and watched Hermione’s perfect figure enter his room.

 

’Not that you are so charming or…  good looking…’ She stammered and couldn’t help having a glance at his half-unbuttoned blue shirt. Unfortunately he was rather good looking. ’But… The investigation is worth a damned kiss.’

 

’So… Let’s do it.’ She said determined, taking a step closer to him.

 

She took a deep breath and looked into Malfoy’s eyes, trying hard to ignore their blue magic.

 

’No.’ Malfoy smirked.

 

’What do you mean by ’No’?’ She asked impatiently. She was getting nervous.

 

’This lets-get-over-that-damned-kiss attitude is not good enough for me. It won’t suffice for a good kiss.’ He leaned against the wall calmly.

 

’You are very optimistic if you think my attitude will ever change,’ Hermione frowned.

 

’We’ll see,’ Malfoy smiled mysteriously.

 

’Why do I get refused every time when I want to be kissed?’ Hermione thought fuming.

 

But Malfoy changed the topic.

 

’How can I help you? What should I do? You’d better tell me before someone else gets murdered again.’

 

Hermione gulped and tried to pull herself together.

 

’I’d like you to take me to Pansy’s home and… Help me talk to her. Ask her if she’d got a letter from Trelawney and if she’s in danger… And we should find… A Horcrux.’

 

The last word made him raise his eyebrows.

 

’So you want me to rescue the damsel in distress, kill the bad guy, save the world…’ Malfoy murmured.

 

’Pardon?’

 

’9 o’clock tomorrow, quidditch field.’

 

’Quidditch field?! I asked you to take me to Pansy’s house, not teach me to play quidditch!’

 

’Teaching you to play quidditch would cost you much more than a kiss,’ he grinned. ’We’ll go to Pansy’s home by broomstick.’

 

’Broomstick?!’ Hermione got more and more shocked.

 

’Good night, Professor Granger,’ Malfoy opened the door to let Hermione out.

 

’Wait, wait a minute. 9 a.m. or p.m.?’

 

’9 a.m., of course. At 9 p.m. we might do something else…’

 

’You wish, Malfoy!’

 

Professor Malfoy watched the furious girl storm out, with a smug smile on his face. He really enjoyed himself.

 

OOOOO

 

The next day was Saturday, a gloomy, cloudy Saturday. Most of the students and the professors were having breakfast but two of them had finished earlier and were examining a broomstick on the quidditch field.

 

’It’s a Nimbus 2010,’ Malfoy said proudly. ’No need to worry.’

 

He didn’t seem to convince Hermione.

 

’I hate flying,’ she said.

 

’Where’s your sense of adventure? Anyway, we’ll be there in twenty minutes. Where would you like to sit? Behind or in front of me?’

 

Hermione hesitated.

 

’Where it’s safer. And… where I don’t have to… touch you.’ She added, rather embarrassed.

 

’Okay, then you’ll be in front of me.’

 

Hermione tried to sit on the broomstick gracefully, Malfoy sat behind her and kicked off. While watching the quidditch field becoming smaller and smaller beneath, Hermione felt Malfoy’s arms holding her safe. She couldn’t help leaning back into his chest because of the speed. Heat was radiating from his body, his arms, and she felt it flowing through her body. Heat and warmth Jasper would never be able to give her…

 

She closed her eyes… whether because of her fear of flying or because of the pleasure, she couldn’t tell. She didn’t dare to.

 

End of Chapter 8

 

 

A/N:

’Rescue the damsel in distress, kill the bad guy, save the world’ is a quote from the movie ’The Mummy’.

 
 


Chapter 9: Chapter 9
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Chapter 9

 

’Here we are,’ Malfoy said, having landed on a deserted, sandy beach. In the October wind waves crashed into the shore and seabirds screamed overhead.

 

They dismounted the broomstick, Hermione looked around with a disappointed face.

 

’Where? Where are we?’

 

’It’s Montrose Harbour. Let’s go up that hill.’

 

’Montrose… Rose… Roses everywhere… They are driving me crazy,’ Hermione frowned.

 

’Have you heard of Montrose Magpies? The most successful quidditch team in history.’

 

’Great,’ she rolled her eyes while climbing up the hill.

 

’Well, if roses make you nervous, you won’t like the name of the Parkinsons’ house, either.’ Malfoy sneered.

 

’Why?’

 

But Malfoy didn’t need to answer. The house and its name on it could be seen on the hilltop. Hermione sighed. Rose Cottage.

 

OOOOO

 

Hermione and Malfoy were sitting in Victorian armchairs, sipping tea from Victorian tea-cups (painted with roses, of course) in the living room of Rose Cottage. Mrs Parkinson, Pansy’s foster mother, was gazing at Malfoy smiling.

 

’Oh, how much my dear Pansy loved you, Draco,’ she remembered with tearful eyes.

 

Malfoy glanced at Hermione a bit embarrassed.

 

’So you have absolutely no idea where Pansy is,’ Hermione tried to switch back to the topic she was the most interested in.

 

’No, Professor. I wish I could help you in the investigation, but…’ She shook her head sadly. ’She left without saying goodbye.’

 

’When exactly?’

 

’In August. It happened in August.’ She sighed. ’She didn’t take anything… She left her clothes, all her personal belongings here.’

 

’Did she ever mention she was in some kind of danger?’

 

Mrs Parkinson looked surprised.

 

’Danger? No. She never talked about being in danger.’

 

’Do you have any idea why she left? She may be staying at her boyfriend…’ Hermione guessed.

 

’No idea, Professor. And she didn’t mention she had a boyfriend,’ Mrs Parkinson looked at Malfoy again. ’I was so sorry when you two broke up.’

 

Malfoy tried to make a sad face, too, though he considered splitting with Pansy one of the best decisions of his life.

 

’It may sound odd, but… Can we have a look at her room?’ Hermione asked meekly, breaking the awkward silence.

 

Mrs Parkinson raised her eyebrows.

 

’We might find a clue where she can be,’ Malfoy added.

 

Mrs Parkinson nodded sadly.

 

’We have hired a private detective to find her, but he hasn’t found anything… Go and look around, you might be luckier.’

 

OOOOO

 

The first thing to catch their eyes entering Pansy’s room was a huge dressing table with an over-sized mirror, the drawers full of combs, wigs, bottles of perfume and makeup kits in several colurs.

 

’I have never had so many shoes,’ Hermione said surprised when opening a wardrobe, crammed with shoes and matching bags and accessories.

 

Hairstyle and fashion magazines were scattered around on the bed and on the table.

 

’She attended a drama school after Hogwarts,’ Malfoy said while opening another wardrobe. ’She always wanted to be an actress.’

 

’Now I see,’ Hermione nodded and sat down at Pansy’s desk. There was only one book on it. A Potions textbook.

 

’She might have gone to Hollywood, then,’ she said and opened the well-known book.

 

Malfoy opened a jewelry box and examined the glittering neclaces, bracelets and rings.

 

’Each of them can be a Horcrux,’ he said scowling.

 

Hermione walked up to him curiously.

 

’These are cheap, valueless things,’ she said. ’Not likely one of them is a Horcrux.’

 

’What’s that in your hand?’ Malfoy asked suspiciously.

 

’Love letters from you,’ Hermione couldn’t help smiling. ’From the drawer of the desk.’

 

’Hope you haven’t read them,’ Malfoy looked nervous.

 

’Why?’ Hermione asked sneering.

 

’Childish, silly love letters.’ Malfoy muttered and put the rolls of parchment back into the drawer. He slightly blushed. Hermione enjoyed the situation now, she liked seeing an embarrassed Draco Malfoy. She tried to picture a lovestruck, 16 year-old Draco jotting down poems on a parchment by candlelight…

 

’Okay, let’s get serious,’ she said and climbed under the desk, to return with the waste paper basket. Malfoy knelt down next to her and they started rummaging through the content of the basket.

 

Articles about fashion and makeup tips. Some receipts and labels of new clothes. Wrapping paper of a chocolate frog. A broken eyebrow pencil. An empty bottle of nail polish. A postcard from Daphne Greengrass, Pansy’s good friend and ex-schoolmate, from Australia.

 

Hermione sighed. Nothing special. Apart from the fact that her hand touched Malfoy’s in the basket, making her shudder.

 

Malfoy glanced at a receipt and whistled.

 

’Pink underwear,’ he raised his eyebrows.

 

’Yeah, I’ve found its label,’ Hermione nodded. ’But I don’t think the lingerie could be a Horcrux, do you?’

 

Malfoy was grinning.

 

’Well, that would mean Voldy had a bizarre sense of humour…’

 

Hermione smiled, too, then her smile faded.

 

’So Pansy bought a new underwear not long before her disappearance. Did you see the pink lingerie in her wardrobe?’

 

’Nope,’ Malfoy shook his head but opened the wardrobe again. ’No pink underwear.’

 

’Mrs Parkinson says Pansy didn’t take her clothes with her.’ Hermione wondered.

 

’So she must be strolling somewhere with nothing on but pink underwear.’ Malfoy chuckled. ’But it supports the theory she might be with her boyfriend.’

 

’Okay. So Pansy is living with her secret boyfriend. She is not in danger, or, if she is, we can’t do anything about it.’ Hermione sighed. ’And the Horcrux?’

 

Malfoy looked around.

 

’A fragment of Voldy’s soul hidden in something…’ He was thinking loudly. ’Something that is connected to a murder…’

 

’A diary, a ring, a locket, a cup, a diadem… Harry and Nagini…’ Hermione listed the seven Horcruxes. ’What can be the eighth Horcrux? Something in this room? Which object could have belonged to Voldemort?’

 

They searched the room again but everything seemed new and modern, made in the past few years.

 

’Why did she buy PINK underwear?’ Malfoy wondered, heading towards the door.

 

’That’s trendy now. When we went shopping to London with Ginny, we also bought…’ She didn’t finish the sentence, realising how silly it was to provide Malfoy with information like this.

 

Malfoy had a curious glance at her.

 

’You have pink underwear, too? I can’t wait to see…’

 

Hermione was about to say something not too nice, but they saw Mrs Parkinson standing in the next room, expecting them to tell her the news.

 

OOOOO

 

Mrs Parkinson insisted on drinking one more cup of tea with the professors. She looked a bit disappointed, she expected Draco and Hermione would find something. She knew about the postcard from Daphne, Australia. The private detective had checked the place, Pansy was not there.

 

’Have you received a letter from Professor Trelawney, the Divination teacher of Hogwarts?’ Hermione asked.

 

’No. We haven’t got any letters from Hogwarts lately.’ Mrs Parkinson said surprised.

 

’May I ask you…’ Hermione felt embarrassed. ’May I ask you about your relationship with Pansy… Did you get on well with each other?’

 

’The private detective asked me about it, too,’ Mrs Parkinson replied calmly. ’Well… We got on quite well. Of course, she missed her mum very much, she often mentioned how much she would have liked to talk to her… To see her…’ Mrs Parkinson gulped painfully.

 

’Rosemary… Her mum’s name was Rosemary, right?’ Hermione said quietly.

 

Mrs Parkinson nodded.

 

’Shortly after the birth of Pansy Rose in St Mungo’s, her father, who hadn’t married Rosemary, visited the baby. He was furious because he had expected a baby boy. He was rude and said nasty things to the poor Rosemary… He said he never wanted to see them again… Then he stormed off. Rosemary was devastated, started to cry, the nurse tried to calm her… But some hours later Rosemary died. I was there, in St Mungo’s, visiting my auntie, and heard the nurse talking about this tragedy. That nurse… I don’t remember her name, it was a flower name… So the nurse, she told me the heart-rending story sobbing and I immediately decided to adopt the baby girl…’ Mrs Parkinson’s eyes were full of tears.

 

’My dear Pansy, I hope she’s alive and well…’

 

Malfoy and Hermione listened to her breathless.

 

OOOOO

 

Malfoy and Hermione landed on the quidditch field. The Nimbus 2010 was really quick, they got back by noon.

 

’Back at Hogwarts again… With no Pansy, no Horcrux…’ Malfoy looked at Hermione with a disappointed face. ’I guess you expected something else.’

 

Hermione’s heart melted. She was still under the effect of the tragic story of Pansy’s birth. And now, seeing Malfoy’s sad eyes… He looked so human now, with real human feelings Hermione had never thought he could have. He’d tried it so hard to help her… It was not his fault he couldn’t.

 

’You did your best. And I’m really grateful for your help. Thank you.’ She whispered and suddenly stood up on her tiptoes and kissed him lightly on the lips.

 

Almost the same way as she had kissed Jasper.

 

But Malfoy didn’t push her away. He returned the kiss. When she wanted to draw away a bit, after the light kiss, he leaned down and his soft and warm lips found hers. She closed her eyes and didn’t protest. He cupped her face in his hands, in his warm hands. His touch and kiss were tender… Tender and possessive.

 

Hermione didn’t expect the kiss would be so long and she forgot to breathe. She pulled away in the last moment to get some oxygen.

 

Only now did she realise she had been kissing with Draco Malfoy.

 

Her heart was beating wildly, she felt her cheeks burning. She looked in Malfoy’s sparkling eyes and she moistened her lips. He came nearer to close the gap again but Hermione took a step backwards.

 

’No… Please, don’t…’ She gasped. Her lips said no but Malfoy could see the longing and desire in her eyes.

 

’Why? Are you afraid you might enjoy it?’ He whispered huskily, drawing closer again. It was the old Malfoy again, confident, seductive, getting always what he wanted.

 

Hermione pulled herself together not to get lost completely in the magic of the moment, to fight off the power of the way Malfoy was gazing at her, to forget the softness and warmth of his kiss and touch and to ignore the fresh, masculine scent of his aftershave.

 

’Well, it wasn’t a lets-get-over-that-damned-kiss, was it?’ She asked finally.

 

’It definitely wasn’t,’ he shook his head. ’Not a bad first kiss,’ he added sneering.

 

’First kiss?! You think there’ll be a second one?’ Hermione pretended to be upset but actually the thought of kissing with Malfoy again was tempting.

 

’I KNOW there’ll be a second one.’ He had a meaningful look at her. ’By the way, what are you doing tonight? At 9 p.m.? Show me your pink underwear?’ He went on flirting.

 

Hermione rolled her eyes.

 

’Sorry, I can’t make it tonight. I’m dating with Jasper.’ And then, satisfied with this big lie and its effect on the blond guy, she made her way for the castle, leaving a fuming Malfoy behind.

 

OOOOO

 

When Hermione was about to open the door of her room, she noticed a parchment folded between the door and its frame. ’Jasper,’ she thought immediately and she was right. It was a short letter, the weirdest invitation Hermione had ever got.

 

Dear Hermione,

Will you come with me to Dracula’s Castle at Halloween? I’ve been longing to see the vampires’ headquarters and their Halloween Ball for so long. You will be safe, no need to worry.

Hope you say yes.

Jasper

 

End of Chapter 9

 
 


Chapter 10: Chapter 10
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Chapter 10

 

Hermione and Jasper were dancing cheek to cheek, enchanted by the soft melody in the ballroom. It was Halloween’s night and they were in Dracula’s Castle in Transylvania. They were lost in each other’s eyes and didn’t care about the pale vampire couples dancing, chatting and laughing near them, the women in long and colurful ball gowns, the men in tailcoats.

Hermione was wearing a strapless, off-the-shoulder, glittering red evening dress, Jasper’s tailcoat was white and shiny. He smiled and held the girl in his arms tighter and tighter. Hermione felt dizzy as they danced, she blushed at times when she felt Jasper’s body against hers.

It was a great evening and they were happy, enjoying the ball and being together… They didn’t suspect it would be over soon.

OOOOO

In the Great Hall of Hogwarts the students had their Halloween Party. Bright orange pumpkins were floating in the air while the girls and boys were dancing in crazy costumes.

Professor Malfoy yawned and wondered where Professor Granger could be. He didn’t see Jasper, either, and it worried him.

The one who looked more worried than him was Professor Neville who had just arrived. When he noticed Malfoy, he immediately hurried up to him.

’Hermione is in trouble,’ Neville said quickly, his face white.

Malfoy became alert at once.

’What do you mean?’ He asked Neville, with concern in his voice.

’I told her…’ Neville stammered, feeling guilty.

’What did you tell her?’ Malfoy was getting nervous.

’I told her that vampires cannot smell human scent if one drinks gurdy-root tea… Two cups of this tea and you can get rid of your human scent for about ten hours.’

’And?’ Malfoy was impatient now especially because Neville connected Hermione’s name with the vampire issue.

’And… I was wrong.’ Neville looked miserable. ’I have just read an article about magic plants in the library… And it was about the effects of gurdy-root… It makes a man’s human scent disappear for ten hours, that’s right… But women’s scent is different… Because of the hormones. Hermione drank two cups of tea at 6 p.m. and the effect can last only about four hours… Now it’s a quarter to ten… She has minutes left and the vampires will soon…’

’Where is she now?’ Malfoy shook Neville’s shoulders.

’In Dracula’s Castle… In Transylvania… With Jasper Hale and a bunch of vampires.’

But Malfoy couldn’t hear the last words. He rushed out of the castle, into the cold October night.

OOOOO

Hermione shuddered. Jasper held her so tight she could hardly breathe. She rested her chin on his shoulder and watched the shiny parquet, the huge chandeliers, the orchestra…

’I’m so glad Neville could help us,’ Jasper whispered in her ear.

’Yeah…’ Hermione smiled and enjoyed how Jasper’s blond curls brushed her cheek. ’Just two cups of tea… And we can dance the night away…’

’I hope he wasn’t wrong,’ Jasper remarked and Hermione felt his body stiffened.

She looked into his eyes, scowling.

’Your smell…’ Jasper stopped dancing, still holding Hermione tight. ’I… I can smell it again. The scent of your blood.’ He whispered with that familiar hungry kind of look in his eyes.

’Are you sure?’ Hermione asked but no answer was needed. She saw more and more heads turning towards them, towards her… In their eyes curiosity first, then realisation, hunger, desire… The music faded slowly, dance was over. A crowd was beginning to form around her and Jasper.

She was the prey and all the others were the hunters.

She tried not to panic, looking around to find out how to escape. She was standing in the corner of the ballroom with Jasper. There were no doors near them, just a huge Venetian mirror on the wall.

She looked in the mirror and could see only herself. Herself, alone, in the strapless, off-the shoulder, glittering red evening dress.

 

End of Chapter 10

 
 


Chapter 11: Chapter 11
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Chapter 11

Hermione felt paralysed. Usually she knew what to do but now she failed. She knew that magic didn’t work in Dracula’s Castle, her wand was useless. She couldn’t count on Jasper, he could hardly control even himself, his hunger and sharp teeth…

She closed her eyes. She gave in. She tried to imagine herself as a vampire, a pale vampire witch, hungry for blood, living forever and getting lonely… But she will have Jasper. She can have him and he can have her, there will be no more walls between them. They will spend the nights together till the end of the world, making love, and Jasper will tell her the story of each scar on his body. She sighed. If this was her destiny, she was ready to accept it.

Suddenly someone grabbed her arm. She opened her eyes and saw Malfoy, dragging her away and throwing something into the crowd. The vampires started to fight for that thing madly, and while their attention was distracted Malfoy and Hermione could approach the door.

’Take her to the portkey, I’ll try to stop them,’ Jasper shouted to Malfoy while pushing away a bearded vampire. ’I’ll join you when I can.’

Malfoy nodded though he didn’t care whether Jasper would join them. He could happily imagine his life without that guy.

After Hermione punched an agressive vampire countess in the nose and Malfoy tripped a growling, pale and bespectacled young man, they could get out of the fortress. They ran through the forest and stopped only on the small field, by a bush. They could hardly breathe, still holding each other’s hands.

’Where’s the portkey?’ Malfoy asked.

’In the bush,’ Hermione gasped and pointed at an old boot. ’And you? How did you come here?’

’Apparated,’ he answered and pulled the girl closer.

’We used the portkey because Jasper cannot apparate,’ Hermione explained though Malfoy could probably find out the reason himself.

’Were you out of your mind?! To come here… To the headquarters of vampires… Where you are the only human and magic does not work… It’s crazy. You are crazy, girl.’ Malfoy pretended to be very angry with Hermione but actually he was angry with Jasper.

’You know what, Malfoy? For the first time in my life I admit you are right. It was a crazy thing to do. Are you satisfied now?’ Hermione looked into the bluish eyes. He nodded. He didn’t want to tease the girl. He wanted to hold her in his arms. He drew closer and his hands encircled her waist.

Hermione didn’t protest. The last night of October was really cold and she was wearing a thin, off-the-shoulder evening-dress. She craved for the heat radiating from Malfoy.

’And how did you find me? I mean, how did you know I was in trouble?’ She stammered.

’Longbottom told me,’ Malfoy answered and started to unbutton his cape.

’What are you doing?’ Hermione asked, her teeth rattling in the cold.

’Warm your body,’ he whispered and pulling the trembling girl into his chest he wrapped the cape around her without taking it off. The warmth immediately enveloped her and she buried her face in Malfoy’s pullover. She didn’t know what to do with her hands, finally she snaked her arms around his waist.

’What did you throw in the crowd?’ She asked when her shivering began to lessen.

’A blood-stained handkerchief.’

’Whose blood was that?’

’Yours.’

’What?! Where did you get that handkerchief?’ Hermione was shocked and lifted her head to look into Malfoy’s eyes.

’In the hospital wing. When I took your parlysed body there and helped Madam Pomfrey to wipe the blood off your face…’

’And you kept it as a souvenir?! It sounds a bit bizarre…’ She scowled.

Malfoy knew it and felt uncomfortable so he changed the topic.

’You should be grateful. You haven’t even said thank you though I saved your life.’

It was true but Hermione felt too proud to do so.

’You didn’t save my life, Malfoy. On the contrary. You prevented me from becoming immortal.’

’And you and Hale could have lived happily ever after… Oh, come on, wake up. Do you really think he is in love with you? Don’t you see that it is the scent of your blood that drives him crazy?’

That question really hurt Hermione. Malfoy could see the pain in her eyes.

’You say things like that just because you are jealous… Because I don’t feel anything for you.’ Hermione tried to stay calm.

’I can’t believe you don’t feel anything for me…’ Malfoy pulled Hemione tighter to him.

’Malfoy…’ She gasped when felt his warm hands sliding up her back.

’Why did you choose him?’ He whispered. ’I can give you so much more…’

Their faces were close, his eyes bore into hers.

He cupped her cold face into his warm hands.

’Can he touch you like this?’ He asked quietly.

Hermione closed her eyes and didn’t answer.

’Can he…’ He stared at her slightly parted lips longing. ’Can he kiss you like this?’

And then his mouth closed over hers, passionately, impatiently, he could not wait anymore but slid his tongue inside to taste her kiss, to prove her what a good kisser Draco Malfoy was and to make her forget about that damned vampire forever.

He shouldn’t have.

Hermione pushed him away angrily.

’You were right, Malfoy, I have feelings for you. You make me feel furious,’ she gasped but couldn’t finish the sentence.

’Sorry to butt in but we’d better hurry,’ they heard Jasper Hale, running towards them from the forest.

A second later the trio grabbed the old boot and the porkey took them back to Hogwarts.

 

End of Chapter 11

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


Chapter 12: Chapter 12
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Chapter 12

Hermione woke up with a headache, the side effect of gurdy-root. Fortunately it was Sunday so she could stay in bed as long as she wanted.

She recalled the night, Halloween’s night… Dancing with Jasper cheek to cheek, the hungry crowd of vampires, running through the dark and cold forest, Malfoy’s warm and deep kiss… Or had it been just a dream?

She switched on her muggle radio and someone sang the words ’everybody needs someone to love’ from a corny love song. She switched it off. She didn’t want to think of her love life. She wanted to concentrate on the mystery of the missing Horcrux.

But she couldn’t get the words out of her head. Everybody needs someone to love… Everybody. Even Malfoy. Even…

She sat up and gasped. She had an idea. She forgot about the headache immediately. She jumped out of bed, quickly dressed up and stormed out of her room.

OOOOO

Malfoy was having breakfast sadly in the Great Hall. He couldn’t see Hermione and that made him feel worse. The only thing that comforted him was to see Jasper Hale talking to Neville Longbottom. At least Hermione was not with him.

’Oh, Professor Malfoy, what a beautiful ring…’ He heard Luna Lovegood’s dreamy voice. ’I wonder what it feels like to wear it…’

Malfoy was surprised. He hadn’t been on speaking terms with Professor Lovegood.

’Yeah, it’s family heirloom…’ He answered embarrassed and had a glance at Luna’s ring with a huge, heart-shaped ruby.

’I know,’ she smiled at him.

’Sorry, I must be going,’ Malfoy stammered and stormed out to find Professor Granger.

OOOOO

’Voldemort’s love life?!’ McGonagall stared at Hermione in disbelief. ’Do you really think, Professor Granger, that there might be any connection between his love life and Professor Trelawney’s murder?!’

Hermione nodded. She tried to look determined though she knew the idea sounded crazy.

’We… Professor Malfoy and me… We are searching for a missing Horcrux and it might be helpful to know if Voldemort had ever been in love with someone… If it ever happened to him to fall in love.’ Hermione felt like a schoolgirl again, trying to explain something to McGonagall, like in the good old days, after some mischief of the trio.

The Headmistress was quiet for some seconds, deep in thought, then she sighed and started to talk.

’I trust you, Professor Granger. So I’ll answer your question. Voldemort was in love with a beautiful, young woman once… Back in the 1980s.’

Hermione got excited. ’I must find her,’ she thought.

’But… she died,’ McGonagall went on. ’She died in St Mungo’s… I don’t know what caused her death.’

Hermione looked disappointed.

’That’s all I know, Professor Granger. Dumbledore told me about it… I don’t think there’s anybody you could ask for more information.’

’Thank you, Professor… I think you could help…’ Hermione bit her lower lip and nodded. She knew it was almost impossible to find someone, someone who still remembered that woman… But she would try.

OOOOO

’I’m so sorry. A thousand times sorry. I lost my self control,’ Malfoy begged to Hermione who did not seem too impressed. ’It will never happen again,’ he promised, having regretted that kiss of the previous night.

Hermione nodded and looked into the blond professor’s eyes strictly.

’That’s right. Promise me to kiss me only if I ask you to,’ she said dryly.

’Promise’, he sighed reluctantly.

OOOOO

After dinner Luna Lovegood stopped Malfoy in the corridor with a sweet smile.

’Professor Malfoy…’

Malfoy looked at her suspiciously. He was still grumpy because of Hermione’s refusal.

’Yes?’

’Could you come into my room for a minute?’

Malfoy raised his eyebrows but followed the blond girl.

It was dark in the room, Luna lit some candles.

’Could you get to the point, Professor Lovegood?’ Malfoy asked impatiently.

Luna took off her cape and started to unbutton her blouse.

’Of course,’ she smiled seductively and Malfoy didn’t believe his eyes. ’I can get to the point…’

’Looney… Professor Lovegood…’ Malfoy stammered and tried not to look at her bra. ’I don’t think…’

’But I do,’ she whispered and snaked her arms around Malfoy’s neck. ’You are lonely, I am lonely… Why to overcomplicate things?’

’Because,’ he moved away, ’I’m a complicated guy.’ He knew it sounded stupid but his mind went blank. He and Luna Lovegood… No way.

He was thinking for some more seconds what else to say, then he left the room embarrassed, leaving a disappointed Luna Lovegood standing in the middle of the room in pink underwear.

End of Chapter 12

 
 


Chapter 13: Chapter 13
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Chapter 13

It was a foggy and chilly November morning, Hermione was sitting on her favourite bench in the rose garden, studying the list in her pocket book.

Suddenly someone sat next to her on the bench. It was Jasper Hale, in a sexy white cardigan, smiling at Hermione kindly.

’You forgot to warn me about that girl in the bathroom,’ he complained.

’What girl?!’ Hermione was so absorbed in watching Jasper’s golden, wavy hair that she didn’t realise who he was talking of.

’A pale girl with dark brown hair and huge glasses. She was sobbing quietly but when she saw me in the tub she got happier.’

’Ah, Moaning Myrtle,’ Hermione nodded and thought that seeing Jasper taking a bubble bath would have made her happier, too.

Jasper looked at her curiously.

’She’s a ghost… One of the ghosts of Hogwarts. She usually haunts the second floor bathroom but she likes to visit other ones… occasionally,’ Hermione avoided Jasper’s eyes, remembering how enthusiastically Myrtle kept both Cedric and Harry company while they were having a bath.

’She’s a bit like you,’ she added.

’Like me?!’

’Yeah. She must be in her seventies but she doesn’t look her age… Just like you. Your look will never change… You’ll always be young and handsome…’

Jasper sighed.

’It sounds great, doesn’t it? But I’d rather be a human, a man of flesh and blood, with wildly beating heart and warm lips…’ His darkening eyes bore into Hermione’s intensely.

She gulped and and looked away embarrassed.

’Look, there’s a blooming rose over there!’ she exclaimed, pointing at a rose bush.

Jasper stood up, walked there and plucked the rose from the bush. Then he walked back to Hermione with the flower and gave it to her with his most charming smile.

’His my Prince Charming,’ Hermione thought and didn’t notice that she got pricked by a rose thorn and her hand started bleeding.

Jasper had never been able to resist the smell of fresh blood. He couldn’t control himself now, either. Purple shadows appeared under his darkened eyes, he snarled and growled at Hermione threateningly and a moment later he was about to bite her neck.

Everything happened so quickly that Hermione didn’t have time to get her wand.

Someone else did.

’Stupefy,’ Hermione heard and saw Jasper fall to the ground unconscious.

She turned back to see Draco Malfoy’s angry face.

Hermione sat back on the bench, her legs like jelly.

’Thank you,’ she whispered, trying to pull herself together.

’When will you learn not to keep flirting with vampires?’ Malfoy sat next to her. ’Especially with this one,’ he added and had a disgusted look at the body on the ground.

’I didn’t flirt with him…’ Hermione rolled her eyes. ’We just had a… chat.’

’Chat. About what? The weather?’ Malfoy inquired.

 ’About Moaning Myrtle and…’ She gasped. ’Malfoy, I have an idea,’ she looked at him excitedly. ’I know how to go on.’

’With Hale?’ Malfoy raised his eyebrows.

’With the investigation.’ She got more enthusiastic. ’We need information about Voldemort’s girlfriend who died in St Mungo’s in the 80s.’

’I don’t think Moaning Myrtle could help us. She’s never been to St Mungo’s.’

’Moaning Myrtle can’t help us but someone else might… Another ghost or someone from a painting…’

Malfoy tried to follow her train of thought.

’Someone who used to work in St Mungo’s?’

Hermione nodded.

’There was a Healer who became Headmistress of Hogwarts… A silver haired witch. I’ve seen her portrait in Dumbledore’s Office,’ Malfoy recalled.

’Dilys Derwent!’ Hermione exclaimed. ’The only problem is that she lived in the eighteenth century…’ She added sadly.

’Her portrait might hang in St Mungo’s, too,’ Malfoy was optimistic. ’And then she can travel to the hospital and get the information.’

A wide smile appeared on Hermione’s face.

’I love you, Malfoy,’ she stood up and headed for the castle. ’You’re cleverer than I thought.’

Malfoy followed the girl, very, very satisfied with himself.

’You love me so much that you will show me your pink underwear?’

’Malfoy, I’ll never show you my pink underwear,’ she declared.

’Why not? Lovegood did.’ He remarked.

’What?!’ Hermione stopped and looked into Malfoy’s eyes surprised.

’Are you jealous?’ He asked with his trademark sneer.

’You wish,’ she spat and made her way up the stairs. She wondered if she was jealous. She definitely felt annoyed.

’Shall I tell you the story?’ she heard Malfoy.

 ’About you, Luna and her pink lingerie? No, thanks.’ She frowned.

’So you are jealous,’ Malfoy enjoyed himself but Hermione didn’t have time to reply, they were standing in front of the door of Dumbledore’s Office.

End of Chapter 13

 
 


Chapter 14: Chapter 14
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Chapter 14

Professor Granger and Professor Malfoy were sitting patiently in the Headmaster’s office. Though it was McGonagall’s room now, the teachers often called it Dumbledore’s Office, so many things reminded them of him here: the huge collection of books, the Pensieve, the Sorting Hat and a silver ink pot with a scarlet quill of phoenix feather on the desk.

Instead of Fawkes the phonenix, a snowy owl was sitting and blinking peacefully on the golden perch now and Hermione’s heart skipped a beat when she saw the bird, it looked so much like Hedwig, Harry’s beloved owl of the good old days.

The Headmistress had left the professors there as she had a Transfiguration class. From the window-sill a black cat was watching the duo gracefully as if McGonagall had asked it to keep its green eyes on the guests while she was away.

They were waiting for Dylis Derwent to return from her portrait in St Mungo’s. Malfoy unwrapped a candy he’d taken from a bowl but suddenly it bit him on the hand. He cursed angrily, the old headmasters and headmistresses scowled and shook their heads disapprovingly in the portraits.

The wallclock struck one, Malfoy and Hermione looked up at the cuckoo clock that had a fortress-like shape, and the clock on its tower showed the time, the day, the month, the year, and even the current zodiac sign. The small gate of the fortress opened up but it was not a cuckoo that appeared. It was a tiny Hungarian Horntail Dragon and instead of the cuckoo call it emitted fire from its mouth.

’Cute,’ Hermione smiled.

’It was Snape’s,’ Malfoy nodded with a quick sideways glance at Severus Snape’s strict portrait. ’Uhm… Professor Snape’s.’ He added.

As soon as the dragon returned to its fortress, Dylis Derwent reappeared in her portrait.

’Unfortunately I couldn’t get the information you required, Professor Granger and Professor Malfoy,’ the ex-headmistress said, ’no one seems to remember seeing the Dark Lord and his… uhm… fiancee in St Mungo’s.’ Dylis Derwent was too old-fashioned to be able to use the word ’girlfriend’.

’There are a lot of young healers now who didn’t work in the hospital in the 80s,’ she continued, ’Most of the healers were really old at that time and they have died.’

Hermione and Malfoy looked very disappointed.

’But you should ask the nurse who was working as a beginner healer in St Mungo’s back then. She might help you.’

’Where can we find her?’ Hermione immediately got her pocket book and a quill to take notes.

’You won’t need to go very far. She’s working in Hogwarts. Her name is Poppy Pomfrey.’

OOOOO

’No, I never saw You-Know-Who in St Mungo’s. Or… Maybe I did but I didn’t know it was him,’ Madam Pomfrey shook her head and put a bottle full of pink liquid on the shelf.

’The woman he loved died there…’ Hermione said quietly.

’What was her name?’

’We don’t know,’ Malfoy replied now. ’All we know is that it happened in the 80s.’

’There were several women who died in St Mungo’s in the 80’s,’ Madam Pomfrey sighed. ’The only one I remember well, died in childbirth… After her daughter was born. You know that girl, her name is Pansy. Pansy Rose Parkinson.’ There were tears in the nurse’s eyes.

’And her mother was Rosemary,’ Hermione nodded. ’We’ve heard the story.’

’Poor thing… Her husband… I mean, her boyfriend, the father of the baby, treated her in such a cruel way… He had expected a boy, you know. He was disappointed the baby was a girl.’

’Did you see him?’ Malfoy asked curiously.

’No. Nobody saw him. I saw only Lucius Malfoy…’ When she looked at Draco Malfoy, she gasped and realised she might have made a mistake.

’What?! You saw… You saw my dad there?!’ Malfoy was shocked.

’Maybe I shouldn’t have told you…’ Madam Pomfrey felt uncomfortable. ’But it happened such a long time ago… It was Lucius Malfoy who found Rosemary dead when he went to St Mungo’s to see her… He said she’d been a good friend of his.’ The nurse got more and more embarrassed. ’Sorry, I’m busy… I’ve told you everything I know.’

She felt relieved when the duo left the hospital wing.

In the corridor Malfoy raked his fingers through his hair nervously.

’I hope Pansy is not my half-sister.’

End of Chapter 14

 
 


Chapter 15: Chapter 15
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Chapter 15

Hermione had just finished dinner in the Great Hall and wondered when Malfoy would return. He had gone to see his father, Lucius Malfoy, in Malfoy Manor, to ask him about Rosemary and Pansy.

It was the last Sunday before Christmas, the Great Hall was beautifully decorated, glittering Christmas trees were floating in the air.

Hermione walked to the entrance gate of the castle and as soon as she got there she saw the silhouette of the blond-haired DADA professor. She was glad to see him again though she tried to fight off the feeling, forcing herself to think it was just mere curiosity.

’What did your father say? Is Pansy your sister?’ She asked impatiently.

’Good evening to you, too, Professor Granger,’ Malfoy frowned and swept the snow off his cape and hair.

’Oh come on, Malfoy, don’t pretend to be the champion of good manners,’ she rolled her eyes. ’Tell me what he said otherwise curiosity will kill me.’

Malfoy sighed and looked around. There was no one in sight.

’My father was involved romantically with Rosemary for a short while… He even gave her the ring, the Malfoy family ring. But then he fell in love with my mum, Narcissa, and Rosemary started dating someone else, too. It was one year before Pansy’s birth. Then my dad wanted to get the ring back, that’s why he visited her in the hospital. But when he arrived, Rosemary had already been dead. He looked around, didn’t see anyone, so he got the ring off her finger… He still feels bad about it but he knew that later he would not have a chance. And he didn’t want to get into trouble, he wanted to hurry home, to my mum who was expecting a baby… Me.’

’And then? After getting the ring back? What did he do?’

’Nothing. He called the nurse.’

There was some silence.

’Do you believe him?’ Hermione bit her lower lip.

’I do. I know what his face is like when he’s lying. Now he told me the truth, I’m sure.’

’So Pansy can’t be your sister.’

’She can’t, thanks Merlin,’ Malfoy looked relieved.

’Did you ask him about Voldemort? Did Lucius happen to see him there, in St Mungo’s?’

’I asked him but he didn’t know anything about the Dark Lord’s girlfriends. He didn’t even know Voldemort had ever been in love.’

Hermione was disappointed. She had expected to get some useful information from Lucius Malfoy. She had a strange theory but some pieces of the murder puzzle were still missing.

OOOOO

 

Hermione found a folded piece of parchment between the door and its frame when she got to her room. She unfolded the paper impatiently and forgot to breathe during reading it.

Dear Hermione,

Could you drink a cup of gurdy-root tea and come into my room tonight? I have something to give you.

Jasper

OOOOO

Hermione knocked at the door and Jasper answered it immediately. He was wearing his black hoodie and blue jeans, his blond locks were tied back now and he was unshaven. The perfect mannequin look was gone, the bad boy of Texas was standing in front of Hermione. His smile was boyish yet seductive, his mysterious charm was beyond tempting.

’I’m  so glad you’re here,’ his eyes swept over Hermione, her curves, her red off-the-shoulder top and tight jeans. ’You know, I wasn’t sure that you would come…’

’Because of the attack in the rose garden?’ Hermione asked and was surprised to see that Jasper’s eyes were green now.

He nodded.

’You have every right to think I’m a dangerous, bloodthirsty vampire and…’

’Let’s not talk about it,’ Hermione interrupted him. ’It was not your fault, I’m not angry with you at all…’ The dancing flames of the fireplace were glittering in her eyes.

’But I’d like to apologize, I feel so bad about it…’

’Okay, apology accepted,’ Hermione sighed impatiently and had a quick glance at the mistletoe decoration over the vampire’s head. ’I drank a cup of gurdy-root tea twenty minutes ago so I have about ninety minutes left… We have about ninety minutes… to talk,’ she finished the sentence stammering, embarrassed. It was not talking that she wanted to do with Jasper.

He knew it well, he felt it, he could read Hermione’s emotions like a book.

’Yes, we need to hurry a bit. Uhm… I have a small gift for you… A Christmas present,’ he said and gave her a giftwrapped box.

’But I haven’t bought anything for you…’ Hermione felt ashamed while unwrapping the present.

’It’s okay… Let’s not call it a Christmas gift but… my way to say sorry for all the troubles I’ve caused.’

Hermione opened the box and saw a silver pendant necklace with the Cullen crest symbol. She knew it was the Cullen family crest because Jasper had it on his leather cuff bracelet.

’It’s beautiful,’ she said enchanted.

Jasper took the jewel out of the box, gently pushed Hermione’s hair to the side and put the necklace on her.

’The lion represents strength, the hand stands for faith and sincerity, the trefoil symbolizes perpetuality,’ he explained and his hand trembled a bit when touched the girl’s delicate skin. He couldn’t smell her blood because of the gurdy-root tea but seeing her beautiful neck and shoulders made him feel hungry. He couldn’t decide what he wanted more, to make love to her or to bite her.

He pulled himself together and went on.

’There’s something else you need to know about this necklace. If someone loves you, it makes you feel it. It starts burning your skin.’

’So you don’t feel anything for me,’ Hermione whispered with a disappointed face. ’It’s not burning my skin at all.’

’It works only between humans or between vampires,’ Jasper said. ’But I bet,’ his hands encircled Hermione’s waist and drew her closer, ’that you know it without the necklace that I am attracted to you… I’m falling for you… More than I’d like to.’

Hermione felt his green eyes penetrated her soul. Her knees went week as she saw his lips coming closer to hers. Her lids closed with anticipation, desperately wanting to feel the sweet smoothness of Jasper’s kiss. But he took his time, teasing her to no end.

When his lips finally touched hers, brushing his mouth only against her lower lip, Hermione was afraid he could hear the drumming of her heartbeat.

Jasper kept the kiss tender and soft, he seemed to stay calm and collected. Hermione tilted her head, expecting his full lips to close over hers fervently, expecting his tongue to meet hers in sweet caress, but instead of that, his mouth lingered toward her neck, planting kisses onto her collar bone. A loose tendril of his hair brushed Hermione’s skin, she moaned in lust.

Desire started to pulse in Hermione’s veins. Every kiss gave her goose bumps, she clung to him trembling, her body cried out for more.

When she felt Jasper biting the sensitive spot on her neck gently, she lost all her self control and unzipped his black hoodie impatiently, just to find no more clothes underneath. She slid her hands up his chest, running her fingers over his scars.

She felt him stiffen and a second later he grabbed her hands to stop her.

’Don’t…’ He gasped. ’You’re turning me on.’

Hermione didn’t understand why it was a problem.

’That’s exactly what I want… We are grown-up people,’ she reacted a bit upset. ’Don’t worry about me. Please, don’t stop what you’ve started,’ she begged.

’We shouldn’t go that far…’ He gulped, gazing at the necklace on Hermione. It reminded him so much of Alice that it hurt. He pulled away from Hermione slowly.

’Oh, why do you have to be so… cold?’ She couldn’t hide her disappointment.

’Vampires are cold,’ he looked in her eyes sadly.

’You know what I meant… Why don’t you let emotions overwhelm you? Why don’t you let yourself feel what I feel?’

There was some silence, then Jasper sighed.

’Because I’m still in love with Alice.’ He confessed quietly, looking miserable.

Hermione was speechless. She didn’t know what to do, whether to be angry with that handsome vampire or feel sorry for him.

She opened her mouth to say something but then she decided not to.

’Well, thank you for the gift. Good night, Jasper,’ she said finally, gracefully, pretending to be able to handle the situation, and then she stormed out of the room devastated.

End of Chapter 15

 
 


Chapter 16: Chapter 16
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Chapter 16

Warning! The Hermione/Malfoy scene below has a strong resemblance to a certain Bella/Jacob scene in Twilight!

 

Hermione hurried along the deserted corridor, feeling utterly humiliated by Jasper’s rejection. Suddenly she bumped into someone. She looked up him surprised and touched her neck because she felt something was burning her skin. It was the necklace.

’You’ve been in his room… With him… Haven’t you?’ Malfoy’s voice was full of jealousy.

’None of your business,’ Hermione answered automatically, without anger in her voice. Her fingers were playing with the necklace.

Malfoy noticed the jewel.

’What’s that necklace? He gave it to you?’

’A Christmas present… from Jasper.’

’A pendant with the Cullen crest?! It means you’ll be one of them?’ He scowled.

’It doesn’t mean anyhing,’ she sighed.

Malfoy stared at her for some seconds, then turned on his heels and hurried away. Hermione followed him.

’Malfoy,’ he heard the girl’s begging voice but he didn’t stop.

’Leave me alone. Be happy with him. That’s what you want so badly. So let it be,’ he shouted while striding out of the castle, in the direction of the rose garden, his black robe fluttering in the snowfall.

’Malfoy,’ Hermione almost screamed his name, running after the tall, blond guy.

He stopped and turned to face the girl.

’I’ll make it easier for you, Professor Granger. I’m leaving Hogwarts and going home to Malfoy Manor. Hale can have the DADA lessons and you both can live happily ever after.’

’Malfoy, please stay. Don’t talk like this. I don’t want you to leave.’ She was out of breath.

’Tell me one reason why I should stay.’ His eyes searched hers.

Hermione took a step forward, the necklace was burning the skin above her heart.

’I need you… I need your help in the investigation,’ she stammered. It was not easy to give up her pride.

He shook his head.

’That’s all?’

There was silence, the snowflakes were glittering in the moonlight. Malfoy set off again.

’Hogwarts would be so empty without you…’ Hermione gasped, following him again.

Malfoy frowned and didn’t stop.

’I don’t want to lose you. You mean so much to me… I’ve been trying to deny it but… I like to be with you… not only as a friend but…’ She almost cried.

He stopped and turned, causing Hermione to almost bump into him.

’Kiss me,’ she said unexpectedly, emotions bursting within her.

’Pardon?’ He asked in disbelief.

’I’m asking you to kiss me, Draco Malf…’

Before she could finish the sentence, he grabbed her and she felt his smooth, warm lips upon hers. He snaked his hands around Hermione’s waist and pulled her tightly against him. She kissed him back hungrily, she realised now how starved she had been. Malfoy’s passion ravished her senses, her skin under the necklace and her whole body was burning in desire, electricity sparked in the winter air around them, melting even the snow around.

It was exactly what Hermione needed. She wanted this kind of passion, an ’I-want-you-so-badly-kiss’ and not an ’I-can’t-make-up-my-mind-kiss’ like that of Jasper’s.

Jasper was ice, Malfoy was fire.

Malfoy broke the kiss for a second to look into her eyes, to see her passion, her wet lips, to make sure she wanted it, too. Then his lips crashed with hers again, impatiently, fervently, Hermione parted her lips a bit to invite him inside and when he accepted, running his tongue along hers, her mouth opened greedily to his kiss.

It was definitely much better to kiss with Malfoy than with Jasper. She didn’t understand why she’d fallen for Jasper. Jasper’s perfect beauty blinded her, his vampire scent intoxicated her senses… Hermione wondered whether Jasper could manipulate her emotions to make her fall for him… She felt madly in love with him only when he was around… Otherwise it was Malfoy who was on her mind.

OOOOO

The next morning Hermione didn’t dare to go downstairs to have breakfast. Her lips were so swollen and sensitive because of kissing the night away with Malfoy in the rose garden that she was afraid the others would notice it.

At lunchtime she didn’t look at Malfoy. She felt embarrassed and needed time to think things over and analyse her feelings. In fact, she didn’t look at anyone, trying to concentrate on the food only.

But from the corner of her eyes she could see Luna stand up and walk over to Malfoy. The heart-shaped ruby of her ring was glittering, too close to Malfoy’s glass. Hermione shifted her gaze to them. Luna said something smiling at him but he didn’t look too friendly. Luna put her left hand into the big pocket of her robe. Was there a small bottle in it or Hermione was just imagining it?

Malfoy drank his pumpkin juice, stood up and, glancing over to Hermione, left the Great Hall. Luna was about to follow him.

’Luna, wait,’ Hermione stopped her.

The blond girl turned to Hermione reluctantly.

’You haven’t eaten your pudding,’ Hermione said kindly.

’I hate pudding,’ she shrugged her shoulders and hurried out.

Hermione raised her eyebrows in surprise.

OOOOO

Professor Malfoy entered his room. Suddenly he felt very sleepy. So sleepy that he hardly got to his bed. He fell onto it as if he had been drunk and closed his eyes. He heard the door open. He forced himself to open his eyes just to see Luna Lovegood’s strange smile through his eyelashes. Then his eyes closed and everything went blank.

End of Chapter 16

 
 


Chapter 17: Chapter 17
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Chapter 17

 

Hermione folded a letter she had just read. Now she knew why she hadn’t seen Jasper at lunchtime in the Great Hall. She sighed and put the parchment in the gift-box, next to the necklace. Then she put the box into the bottom of her wooden trunk.

There was a knock at the door. She answered it and saw a pale Draco Malfoy with uncombed hair.

’What happened?’ Hermione asked surprised.

’Nothing… I just had a nap,’ he spoke slowly. ’I had some stupid dreams and… now I have a headache. That’s all.’

Hermione narrowed her eyes.

’Did you happen to dream about Luna?’ She asked suspiciously.

’How do you know?’ Malfoy asked shocked. He entered the room and closed the door. His gaze shifted to Hermione’s neck. ’Where’s the necklace?’

’In its box,’ she answered deep in thought.

’Anyway, I’m here because…’ He felt embarrassed. ’I’d like to give you something… Something that is very precious and… means a lot to me… Means much more than something I could buy in a shop.’ He gulped.

’Malfoy, I…’

’Please, let me finish…’ Malfoy interrupted her. ’I’d like you to have my ring. The Malfoy family ring.’ He started to get the jewel off his finger.

’Malf…’

’Please, don’t say no,’ Malfoy looked nervous. ’Rosemary wanted it, Pansy wanted it, Lovegood wanted it… I wouldn’t give it away to anyone… but you.’ He looked into Hermione’s big brown eyes. ’I want you to know how much you mean to me.’ He could remove the ring but, instead of giving it to Hermione, suddenly he started studying it.

’What’s the matter?’ She asked but suspected the answer.

’It’s not my ring… It’s a fake…’ He answered in shock. ’I can’t believe it…’

’So it’s true… She put Sleeping Potion into your pumpkin juice and while you were sleeping she replaced the real ring with a fake one…’ Hermione explained quietly.

’Who? Lovegood?’ Malfoy tried to put the pieces of the puzzle together.

Hermione took a deep breath.

’Malfoy, what I’ve been trying to tell you… is that… I know who murdered Professor Trelawney. And I know where Pansy is. And I know where your ring is.’

’I know the answer to the last one. Luna Lovegood must have stolen my ring,’ Malfoy was fuming.

’It wasn’t Luna…’ Hermione gulped. ’She just looked like Luna.’

’What do you mean?’ Malfoy was getting totally confused.

’It was Pansy. Voldemort’s daughter. Since August she’d been using Polyjuice Potion to transform herself into Luna. And your ring is the last Horcrux.’

The huge pile of unbelievable information shocked Malfoy. But Hermione didn’t let him stand there rooted to the spot.

’We must find her before it’s too late,’ she grabbed Malfoy’s hand and pulled him out of the room.

OOOOO

’Hagrid, have you seen Luna?’ Hermione asked the half-giant impatiently.

’Headed to the Forbidden Forest,’ he growled while feeding Buckbeak.

Hermione and Malfoy were soon searching for Luna-Pansy in the snowy forest. When they got near to the clearing they heard someone murmur something like an ancient chant.

Then they saw her. Luna (or someone who looked like Luna) was on her knees, eyes closed, the Malfoy family ring on her palm. The ring was sparkling, glittering in the snowfall, Hermione and Malfoy were watching it mesmerised from behind a bush.

The sky darkened suddenly and a lightning flashed across the sky, illuminating the clearing. A jet of green light flew from the ring and the Dark Mark appeared slowly, glowing above their heads.

’Dad, I got the ring as I’d promised!’ Luna exclaimed excitedly. The Dark Mark was getting bigger and bigger.

’We must destroy the Horcrux!’ Malfoy shouted and, getting out of the bush, he pointed his wand at the ring.

’Don’t!’ Hermione screamed but it was too late. The clearing was on fire, the flames were huge and took the shape of monsters.

Luna opened her eyes, and, startled, dropped the ring. On the blazing snow the jewel started to bleed at once and a blood-curdling scream could be heard as the soul fragment perished. Luna looked at Malfoy with hatred in her eyes and got her wand.

’Avad…’

But she didn’t have time to finish the spell. Hermione’s wand was quicker and Luna fell to the ground unconscious.

Malfoy flicked his wand and used the counter-course for Fiendfyre. As an experienced wizard and the professor of Dark Arts he was able to control the flame dragons.

Malfoy wrapped his arms around Hermione and they clung to each other desperately. The dark clouds disappeared and they both looked at Luna’s golden hair spread out in the snow, around her face, shining in the sun. She was sleeping peacefully, due to the enchanted sleeping spell Hermione had cast on her. Then, all of a sudden, Luna’s long, blonde hair got shorter and darker, almost black. Her features faded and some seconds later it was Pansy there, lying unconsciously in the snow.

’How did you realise Luna was Pansy?’ Malfoy asked curiously.

’Luna behaved in an unusual way. She was so unlike the Luna I had got to know. This Luna was not dreamy. She was interested in your ring and said she hated pudding. And, on top of all, she fell for you…’

Malfoy frowned.

’When we were in Rose Cottage, the Potions book was on Pansy’s desk, and the page about Polyjuice Potion was dog-eared,’ she went on.

’You didn’t tell me,’ Malfoy cast an accusing look at Hermione.

’You were focusing on the mystery of the pink underwear,’ she smiled.

’I never thought my ring was a Horcrux,’ Malfoy sighed.

’I should have known years ago…’ Hermione was angry with herself. ’A Horcrux influences you in a bad way when you wear it. It happened to me and Ron, too, when we wore the Locket. That Malfoy family ring, since it was a Horcrux, darkened your thoughts and made you behave in an evil way… During all those years.’

Malfoy was speechless. He felt relieved now. That damned ring… What a secret. Now he was glad he could get rid of that terrible jewel.

’When you said that Rosemary, Pansy and Luna had all wanted to get it, I was sure it was the last Horcrux. A ring with a rose-shaped ruby which was there in St Mungo’s when Rosemary died…’

’But it didn’t belong to Voldemort,’ Malfoy remarked.

’Voldemort saw the ring on Rosemary’s finger and heard about its story. He liked the jewel and knew it was extremely precious. Then in St Mungo’s, when he realised he didn’t need Rosemary anymore, he transformed it into a Horcrux by killing the woman. He thought his daughter, Pansy Rose would inherit the ring but Lucius Malfoy ruined his plans when he appeared and took the ring. Later, Voldemort found Pansy and ordered her to get the ring. When the war was over, Voldemort died, Pansy hoped that she could bring her father back to life by getting back the ring, the last Horcrux. She knew you would come to teach DADA in Hogwarts so she decided to come here, too. But this time not as Pansy Parkinson, but as Luna Lovegood. She used Polyjuice Potion. I guess the real Luna is in the wooden trunk in her room,’ Hermione said.

’And Professor Trelawney? Why was she murdered?’

’Professor Trelawney must have entered a trance and had a vision about one more Horcrux and Luna and Pansy but I don’t think she could put two and two together. That’s why she wrote letters both to Luna and Pansy and wanted to talk to McGonagall.’

’So you think she wrote those letters?’

’She either wrote a letter or she could talk to Luna-Pansy. That’s why the professor had to die. Luna-Pansy pushed her down the stairs. And Luna-Pansy cast the Petrificus Totalus spell on me, to scare me to make me give up the investigation. Trelawney’s last words ’Find. Rose. Danger’ didn’t mean that Rose was in danger, as I first supposed, but they referred to the fact that Rose was dangerous.’

’And the pink underwear Lovegood was wearing when she wanted to… uhm… seduce me… That was Pansy’s lingerie, missing from her wardrobe,’ Malfoy wondered.

’I can see, the mystery of the pink underwear had a great effect on you…’ Hermione rolled her eyes.

Malfoy stared into Hermione’s big brown eyes and held her tighter. He could have stayed like this for ever.

’Where’s Hale?’ He scowled.

’Gone back to the US, to his vampire girlfriend. He’s still in love with her.’ She replied matter-of-factly.

’Are you sad?’ Malfoy asked with empathy.

Hermione shook her head.

’I don’t mind at all. I guess it wouldn’t have worked. I’m not that vampire type, you know…’ Her eyes met his, falling into the mesmerising bluish-grey depths.

Malfoy didn’t say anything, he just drank her sight in.

’Your life begins now, Malfoy,’ she broke the silence finally.

He nodded.

’Will you be part of it?’ He asked quietly.

Hermione moistened her lower lip.

’Do you want me to?’

His hands cupped her face and he tangled his fingers gently in Hermione’s snowy, wavy hair while his lips took possession of hers. She melted against him, feeling glorious in his arms. His kiss scorched her, burnt her, made her want more, made her forget Jasper forever.

They parted reluctantly to breathe.

’So when will you show me your pink underwear?’ He raised his eyebrows, grinning.

The End

 
 


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