A/N: Here is the complete 4th chapter...enjoy!!
Hermione woke with a jolt. For a moment, she looked around in panic, before she remembered where she was. The sun was hovering low on the horizon; its burning orange reflection in the water made Hermione’s eyes hurt. When she had settled in this clearing, the sun had been almost directly above her. She had been asleep long enough for the sun to set.
Heaving herself up off the ground was a painful experience. Wincing as unused joints creaked and stiff muscles cramped, Hermione realized that sleeping on a slab of rock wasn’t the same as her fluffy mattress in her dormitory at Hogwarts.
She sighed heavily, and plodded over to the spring to drink and splash some cold water on her face. Even though, judging by the sun, her nap had taken about 7 hours, she felt as if she had not slept at all.
On the bright side, she now had a water and food source (although she didn’t know how well her stomach would adjust to an all-bananas diet). She mentally mapped out the location of the clearing so she could find it again later before striking out again into the forest.
The sun was setting, casting long purple shadows of the trees behind Hermione. It was beginning to get cooler, which was good, she supposed.
But as dusk began to fall and it grew harder and harder to see through the trees around her, Hermione realized that although she had just woken up, she could not reasonably spend the night exploring the forest. It was alien enough in the daytime, but in the dark it could be fair dangerous. She had to find an open space to set up camp.
Then she remembered the stick she had planted in the sand earlier that day, to mark the place where she had arrived. There were stretches of beach there, shaded by palm trees. She could go there.
Immediately Hermione reoriented herself so she faced away from the patches of pink sky where the sun had been and headed back toward where she had come from that morning, feeling cross. All this wandering around was pointless and tiring; she felt like she had not slept at all, and she was no closer to finding a way off this island. What was she supposed to do now?
The trees thinned as she approached the beach. Up ahead, she could see the thin silhouette of her creation, nearer to the water than before.
As she walked closer she noticed two new objects sitting next to the stick, which itself was unaltered, undisturbed. Hermione squinted through the semi-darkness to see what they were. She nearly trod upon them before she could identify them.
She gasped. A pair of shoes, black loafers. Mens shoes.
She flipped them over. Size 44. This man had large feet, whoever he was. But more importantly, he was here, on this island! Hermione leaped up for joy and squealed, clutching the shoes tightly. He had gotten here, and he would have a way to get back!
Heart pounding, she settled down to examine the shoes more carefully. She could barely see, but the leather felt well-cared-for and well-made.
“This would be so much easier if I could light a fire,” she grumbled to herself.
Under the tongue the maker of the shoes was stitched. Crockers. Something in Hermione’s mind stirred as she recognized the name. Harry had shoes like these. Ron had—Percy’s old ones—but shoes like these nonetheless. Her father even had shoes like these, for work.
Whoever the man was, he had British-made shoes, Hermione realized excitedly, and was most likely from Great Britain. He might even live in London!
Leaping up once more, she could not contain her happiness at her sheer luck. “Hurray!” she screamed to the empty sky, waving the shoes around above her head. The sound traveled across the water.
When Hermione stopped to draw a breath, a quiet but indignant voice sounded behind her. “What the hell are you doing with my shoes? Put them down!”
As the girl let her arms drop to her sides and turned around, Draco felt his jaw drop. This wasn’t just any mad crazy girl. He knew this one.
It was Hermione Granger.
When the sun had begun to set, he knew that he had to stop his exploration for the time being. Still, he had come across no path or shelter that indicated that there was any human life on the island. He supposed he would go back to the stick in the sand where he had left his loafers, and strike out again in the opposite direction the next day.
As he had neared this stretch of beach, through the darkness he had heard a series of shrill squeals that could only have been made by a human. Excited, he had raced ahead to peer through the darkness, and found…
“What the hell are you doing here?” Hermione cried, the expression on her face vaguely mirroring Draco’s. This was it? These shoes were Draco’s? There was no man from London with a way off the island, then. No chance of escape. And saddled with this inept and belligerent boy to deal with, practically no chance of survival for Hermione at all. She flung her hands up in aggravation, almost hurling Draco’s shoes into the water.
“Watch the shoes, girl!” Draco snarled, forgetting his hunger, thirst, exhaustion, panic, and other uncomfortable feelings in a burst of extreme concern for his favorite pair of shoes. “Once they’ve gotten wet, the leather will never be the same again!”
Hermione laughed aloud in his face. Severe disappointment and frustration didn’t keep her from thinking his vanity was hilarious. “We’re trapped here, you prat. We could die here. And all you can think about is your bloody shoes?”
Draco set his jaw unhappily. “If I could sell them for a one-way plane ticket out of here, I would,” he muttered defensively.
“I’d think you wouldn’t trust planes, being a Muggle invention and all,” Hermione commented.
“Well, it’s easier to wish for than to sell my shoes for a wand that did my bidding and the ability to Apparate,” he explained.
Hermione sighed. “So you don’t have a wand, either?”
“Unfortunately, no,” Draco said, quirking his mouth. “I don’t usually sleep with my wand tucked in my pants.” Realizing that he was having an actual civil conversation with Hermione, the little know-it-all princess of Gryffindor, Draco paused. The shock of it jolted him back to reality.
He was stuck here, maybe for good. And he was stuck here with Hermione.
“Wait…so how did you get here again?” he asked her.
“I have no idea,” she replied honestly. “I woke up on the beach, but I don’t remember anything between that and the food fight last night in the Great Hall.”
Draco had the grace to flush slightly. “Oh, yes, dinner.” He frowned. “I woke up here today also. Do you think someone brought us here on purpose?”
“If they did, I couldn’t imagine why,” Hermione grumbled. She plopped down in the sand, running the grains through her fingers. “I haven’t done anything remotely vile enough to deserve this punishment.”
“Now look here, Granger,” Draco said tensely, “you think I wanna be here? This island is gross and hot and lacking in private necessities, not to mention food! I’m hungry!”
“Well, I hope you like bananas,” Hermione said dryly. She grabbed Draco by the wrist, something she wouldn’t have thought of doing in a million years the night before, and used him to haul herself back up again. Setting off down the beach, she didn’t look back to see if he was following her.
Draco trailed her down the beach dazedly. A part of him reprimanded him for letting her take control, and for following her. But if following her meant food, he didn’t have any better ideas at the moment.
He rubbed his wrist, which tingled strangely.
“Albus, you’ve really outdone yourself this time,” McGonagall muttered as she stalked across the Gryffindor common room. All around her, students raced to get out of her way, casting fearful glances at their disgruntled professor. “‘Have you checked her dormitory?’ Honestly, I am not a fool, Albus, why treat me like one!”
McGonagall’s long robes, which usually flared so impressively behind her as she walked, needed to be held up so that the hems did not trip her as she mounted the stairs to the girls’ dormitory.
“We have a dire situation on our hands, an emergency…a missing student!” McGonagall continued to grumble to herself. “That unconcerned manner of yours only serves to make the rest of us ever more concerned.” Sighing, she pushed open the door to the sixth-year girls’ dorm and scanned the room, expecting to see five empty beds.
Empty. Empty. Empty. Empty…and one occupied?
Intrigued, McGonagall crept closer to the shape on the fifth bed. It was late in the afternoon, and classes were wrapping up. Outside, the sun was setting, and the grounds were filled with children enjoying the fresh air. Soon the students would be flocking to the Great Hall for supper. Who in their right mind would be sleeping at this hour?
Surely it could not be Granger. That girl had prided herself since first year in her hardworking diligence and ability to stay up all night completing Outstanding assignments that her mates had just skived off.
McGonagall was nearly upon the foot of the bed when she spotted the scattering of textbooks, scrolls, and quills that accompanied the sleeping girl.
The corner of her mouth curled in a small smile. Perhaps it could be Granger after all.
And it was, McGonagall saw at once as she pulled back the covers slightly to reveal a familiar head of bushy brown hair. Sighing, she had to admit to herself that once again, Albus Dumbledore had been correct and she had been wrong.
The girl must be hungry, she thought to herself. She shook Hermione by the shoulder gently in an attempt to wake her up.
“Miss Granger…Miss Granger, wake up. Are you feeling alright?”
Despite McGonagall’s attempts, Hermione did not even stir. She gave no sign of waking up or even hearing McGonagall at all.
Drawing breath quickly as panic began to edge in again, McGonagall flipped Hermione from her side onto her back and placed her ear close to the girl’s chin. As far as she could tell, the girl’s breathing was normal and peaceful. A quick check of pulse at her wrist verified that Hermione was indeed alive. So why wasn’t she responding?
All thoughts of pride gone, McGonagall turned and raced back down the stairs into the common room, forgetting to hike up her robes and stumbling a little over them in the process. She climbed through the portrait hole and set off for the dungeons.
This was not in her field of expertise. To wake Hermione up, she needed to enlist help from the school’s resident Dark Arts expert, Severus Snape.
“Oh, the day I have to ask help from Severus,” she lamented, shaking her head.
Snape was in his office, poring over essays written by his students. The room was no longer filled with bubbling cauldrons and shelves of glass beakers, as it had been the previous year. This year, and McGonagall still shuddered at the thought, Severus Snape had been promoted to the teaching post of Defense Against the Dark Arts.
It wasn’t that McGonagall doubted Severus’s knowledge of the Dark Arts, or their defense. No, she was sure there was no one at Hogwarts who knew more. But because of his personality, his isolation, it made McGonagall nervous that perhaps he was too easily swayed, tempted, used.
“Minnie, how nice of you to…burst in like this,” Snape remarked sardonically as he looked up from his papers.
“I have no time for witty banter, Severus,” McGonagall said desperately, wringing her hands. “One of my students is in what appears to be a magical sleep, and I cannot wake her. Have you a potion or something that could do the job?”
Snape stared at the frantic McGonagall for a moment before replying, “Unless the sleep was induced by a potion with a known antidote, my brews won’t help you.”
McGonagall raised an eyebrow. “What about a spell?” she asked cautiously. “Are there any…spells of dark magic that could do this?”
Snape’s eyebrows snapped together. “You believe this is the doing of a dark wizard?” he asked, his voice straining on the brink of laughter. “Who is this student, so important is he?”
“Not Harry Potter,” McGonagall said a tad too quickly. She knew Snape’s dislike for Harry. But Snape disliked Hermione almost as much. “Please, Severus,” she pleaded, “come and see what you can do.”
A sarcastic smile curling his lip, Snape stood up from his desk and left the office, McGonagall trailing behind him. They trooped back through the common room, where students noticed and gawped at the odd procession once more. A warning glance from a tense-looking McGonagall was all they needed to keep far, far away as the two professors mounted the stairs.
“So it’s a girl,” Snape said as McGonagall pushed open the door. They crossed the room to the bed, and as he recognized the figure in the bed, Snape exclaimed disbelievingly, “It’s Granger?”
McGonagall shook her head. “I can’t explain it.”
Kneeling near the head of the bed, Snape examined Hermione’s face and skin for signs of poisoning. He found nothing out of the ordinary. The girl appeared, in all ways, just to be sleeping.
“It has to be a spell, Minnie. Probably just someone’s idea of a funny prank,” he said dismissively.
“How do you wake her up?” she asked him.
Snape sniffed with disdain. “You’ve let your care for your student make you panic, and your panic cloud your judgment,” he said. “The only spells that can produce artificial sleep are cousins to the Stunning Spell.”
Drawing his wand from his robes, Snape quietly uttered, “Ennervate.”
And miraculously, as Snape and McGonagall looked on, Hermione began to shift in the bed and stir. She yawned widely and began to cough, her mouth was so dry. “Water,” she croaked without opening her eyes.
“Aguamenti,” McGonagall said hurriedly.
Swallowing, Hermione opened her eyes slowly and looked around. She furrowed her eyebrows in a frown as she saw Snape and McGonagall standing over her. “Professor? Where…where am I?”
A/N: So the mystery is revealed...sort of. This is going to cause all sorts of problems for Draco and Hermione...next chapter. Please review!
A/N: So the mystery is revealed...sort of. This is going to cause all sorts of problems for Draco and Hermione...next chapter. Please review!
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