A Lesson in Sociology
Chapter Seventeen: Harry Indecision
Everyone was unusually quiet. A few uncomfortable hours had passed since Hermione had come out of the bathroom, and no one felt much like talking. The tension in the room was nearly unbearable. Everyone just laid in their beds, staring up at the not-ceiling, silently contemplating the information they had received and what it could possibly mean. Harry wanted nothing more than to leave this room, although he knew that Hermione probably wanted to leave it more than anyone else.
Harry was furious. Here was Hermione, his best friend, keeping secrets from him. Important secrets. He knew that she didn’t always tell him everything. She was a girl, after all, and he probably didn’t want her to share everything. He knew that she hadn’t told him about going to the Yule Ball with Viktor Krum, she hadn’t told him the answers the Transfiguration quiz (though she had helped him study for it), but she had never kept something from him as important as this before. He was furious.
He felt betrayed. He knew that she hadn’t done it on purpose to hurt his feelings, but they were hurt feelings none-the-less. He knew he would forgive her though. He was pretty sure he already had. It didn’t mean he couldn’t still be angry at her for a little while longer. He knew she deserved it, and he knew that Hermione knew it too. Part of him felt badly about the whole situation, felt sympathy for what Hermione must be going through at the moment, what with all her friends angry with her and stuck in a room with them, and possibly stuck due to her own misjudgments. It was this part of him that groaned inwardly when he thought of her because it invariably led to him thinking about the previous night.
He groaned inwardly…again.
He thought he might just never sleep again. Something about waking up in the wee hours of the morning with his arms around his best friend while feelings of warmth, and dare he think it…passion…were stirring within him kind of made him want to just never again fall asleep within an arm’s distance of her. He was pretty sure she never fell back to sleep after waking to that either. They had both pretended to fall back asleep and sleep soundly, and both pretended nothing unusual had happened, that nothing potentially friendship-altering had just occurred, and neither of them had yet been able to raise the nerve to talk to one another about it.
Harry was jerked from his train of thought by the silence of the room finally being broken.
"I wonder if the ceiling is actually just a ceiling, and we’re being bluffed into thinking that it isn’t a ceiling," Luna said, continuing to stare at the space above her.
Everyone in the room was laying this way, with their arms under their heads, just staring up as if they were star-gazing or watching the clouds roll by. For an instance, Harry felt like laughing. This was the first time he had ever seen them all be compelled to behave in the same manner.
"That’s an interesting theory," Ginny said. "But it would mean that the professor had gotten one over on Hermione. But you know, if you think about it, we think her memory was modified once, it very well could have been modified multiple times and she has been led to believe that it was only once. There’s no telling what is really going on here."
Harry felt Hermione stir uncomfortably. It was obvious to him that she hadn’t thought anything about that until this moment.
"Does anyone even know what sociology is?" Neville asked the room collectively.
"Well, the technical definition-" Hermione started.
"Ha!" Draco interrupted. "Leave it to the ‘muggle born’ to know the answer," he said, emphasizing the words ‘muggle born’ while glancing furtively at Ginny, who ignored him. He was obviously trying to make up to her the fact that they had argued so vehemently about the subject earlier, but Ginny was stubborn and wouldn’t be taken in that easily. Harry noticed this with a certain amount of satisfaction.
Hermione cleared her throat. "Like I was saying, Neville, the definition says that sociology is the science of social relations, organization, and change."
"Hermione, you sound like a textbook, which I guess is no surprise," Harry said. He felt her bristle at the remark and it didn’t make him as happy as he had hoped it would.
"And it doesn’t really explain it very well, does it?" Neville responded.
The room seemed to give a collective sigh as they all continued to look toward the ceiling.
"How do we even know that this is a ‘sociology experiment’? I mean, we just have to take this professor’s word for it that it’s the reason we’re here. But what if we’re here for some other reason and the experiment is just some sort of cover? And what if we aren’t let out of here in six weeks, for that matter. Everything we’ve been told could be a lie," Draco said reflectively.
Harry’s head was buzzing. It wasn’t like Draco to bring up a good point, but Harry had to admit that this really was a good point. They had no evidence that what the professor had told them was the truth. But on the other hand, they had no evidence to the contrary either. Harry’s mind swam in indecision. Either way, they should be in the room for at least another five weeks. He figured they’d just have to wait and see.
"HEY YOU UP THERE!!"
Harry and Hermione both jumped. Draco had his hands cupped around his mouth and was yelling at the ceiling. Harry was inclined to tell him to can it, but then again he felt very much like yelling at the not-ceiling himself.
"Hey! If you’re up there, Mr. I-don’t-want-to-be-seen, leave us alone! Just let us out! Seriously, what good is this?! I’ll bet you aren’t even up there and you’re just off somewhere laughing because you know we’ll be yelling at the ceiling!!"
"Um, Malfoy, you’re the only one yelling," Ginny said, sitting up on her elbows and looking over at him.
To Harry, it seemed as if Draco had just changed the mood of the room dramatically. He wanted to laugh at the poor sod yelling at the ceiling. He wanted to BE the poor sod yelling at the ceiling. He didn’t know what he wanted really. But something he never expected to find was that he was grateful to Draco for anything.
"Well, Miss Weasel, why don’t you have a go? It isn’t like it will do much good," Draco replied. He crossed his arms and glared skyward.
"HEY MR. PROFESSOR!!" Ginny started. Luna burst out laughing and Ginny couldn’t finish.
"YOU SHOULD GO BOIL AN EGG!!" Neville shouted with a grin.
"Boil an egg? Seriously? That’s your line, boil an egg," Draco asked, sitting up and looking at Neville in disbelief.
Neville just shrugged and Harry couldn’t help but laugh.
"CEILING!! COME DOWN HERE AND LET ME GIVE YOU A PIECE OF MY MIND!!" Harry added.
"Yeah, what little he can spare!" Draco taunted.
Even Hermione was at least smiling by this point. Harry looked at her and had to turn away quickly so the part of him that couldn’t help but think of her would just have to quit.
He didn’t want to think about anything at the moment. He didn’t want to think about Hermione, didn’t want to think about sociology, didn’t want to think about professors, or feeding each other, or silly quizzes, or no locks on the bathroom doors, or especially the about the thought that someone might be taking advantage of them and watching them from above. He didn’t want to think about the fact that, despite all the anger and frustration and hatred he’d been building up toward Draco all these years, he’d begun to appreciate his presence in the room from time to time. He couldn’t decide how he felt about any of this and decided just to not decide and not think about it. This seemed logical to him for the moment.
"COME DOWN HERE! WE’LL TEACH YOU A LESSON OR TWO!!" Luna shouted. Neville found the idea of teaching a professor something to be incredibly ludicrous and laughed himself into the floor.
In reality, none of this would have been very funny at all under normal circumstances. But Harry had to admit, these were not normal circumstances and thus he was inclined to laugh just as hard when Neville fell in the floor and nearly followed his actions.
Through all of this, there was a pop in the cupboard and Hermione got up from the bed to get it. Harry wiped tears of merriment from his eyes and watched her go. Actually, he tried very hard not to watch her go but found he was unable to do that.
"Well, here’s dinner," Hermione said, pulling the tray from the shelf. "And there’s no instructions. No parchment of any kind."
"So what if the ceiling is just a ceiling then, and we’ve been yelling at an inanimate object?" Luna said, moving over to get her plate.
"Well, that makes us all pretty silly then, doesn’t it?" Ginny said, still grinning. She didn’t seem to care one way or the other if she were being silly.
Harry looked at all of the plates of pot roast. Hermione didn’t have one. For some reason, she looked sad, as if she was sure no one was going to want to share with her since she had betrayed them all.
Harry sighed. This was going to be hard for him.
"Hermione, did you want some of this?" Harry asked, refusing to make eye contact with his best friend.
A/N: I know that it’s been a very long time since I’ve updated. I’ve been moving, divorcing, getting a new job, and mostly just completely out of juice. But I’m coming back around and I may have just rediscovered my train of thought. I hope this and the following chapters are up to your standards. Please let me know. Thank you all for hanging in there.
Also, anyone interested in an email update please let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org. But NO SPAM, I will delete you.
Disclaimer: I don’t own anything. J.K. Rowling is the genius behind Harry Potter and those things related to Harry Potter. I just enjoy tormenting the wonderful characters she has created for us.
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