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Chapter 12

 

’And what are your first plans in Paris if you win the contest?’ There was some cunning mockery in Rita Skeeter’s eyes. Malfoy didn’t like it at all. He felt slightly alarmed. ’Visiting some nightclubs maybe?’ She raised her perfectly plucked eyebrows.

 

’Are there any nightclubs in Paris?’ Malfoy asked innocently and smiled to himself. No, he wouldn’t let the dangerous journalist manage to outwit him.

 

Rita’s enchanted Quick-Quotes Quill was dancing across the pages of her notepad quickly.

 

They were sitting in Madam Puddifoot’s tea-shop and some distance away, from another table, Hermione Granger was watching them curiously. She had already been interviewed and she was really satisfied with herself. There was an evil grin on her face while drinking her hot-choc. It was a fine day.

 

OOOOO

 

It seemed that the breakfast in the Great Hall would be as uneventful as usual. The students were spreading marmelade on their toasts or pouring milk on their cornflakes when the owls appeared with the morning mail. Letters, parcels and copies of The Daily Prophet landed on the long tables.

 

Hermione cast Malfoy a sideways glance. He was reading the main article of the paper together with Blaise. The blond Slytherin cursed and started to explain something to his friend, with anger and hurt pride on his face.

 

All the students were reading the same article, and soon a loud buzz of whispers could be heard from everywhere.

 

Hermione bit into her toast happily and with her mouth full she asked Ginny.

 

’Anything interesting?’

 

Ginny pointed at the big headline of the article.

 

’MALFOY’S FIRST QUESTION ABOUT PARIS: ARE THERE ANY NIGHTCLUBS?’

 

Hermione chuckled. She wasn’t disappointed in Skeeter and her poisonous quill.

 

’It’s Skeeter’s interview with the contestants,’ Ginny continued. ’She writes terrible things of Malfoy as the potential winner of the contest… She says his patronus should be a white ferret instead of a peacock… Etc, etc. She apparently doesn’t like him too much. I wonder why.’

 

’I know why,’ Hermione nodded spreading an extra portion of marmelade on her toast. ’I told Skeeter that Malfoy had said she dressed like his grandma.’

 

Ginny gave her a disapproving look.

 

’That wasn’t fair at all,’ she said, a little taken aback.

 

Hermione shrugged her shoulders.

 

’And how many times has Malfoy been fair to me?!’ She spat. ’Anyway it will do us good if his big fat self-confidence is reduced a bit.’

 

She glanced at Malfoy again. He was pale now and tried to avoid the curious eyes. He didn’t eat anything just drank some tea and left the place with quick steps.

 

Hermione rewarded herself with a choc muffin, too. Yes, her penpal was right. Her self confidence was increasing fast.

 

OOOOO

 

Hermione was looking at herself standing in the Gryffindor quidditch uniform in front of the mirror.

 

’I can do it,’ she kept repeating it to convince herself until Ginny arrived.

 

’Everything will be fine,’ she reassured her friend. ’Remember, Harry caught the snitch in his mouth when he was a beginner quidditch player, in the first year.’

 

’You mean I should keep my mouth open during the game in case the snitch flies into it accidentally?’ Hermione asked frowning. ’That would be my only chance?’

 

Ginny didn’t have time to answer, they heard the Weasley boys shouting ’Come on girls, the Slytherins are already on the field.’

 

OOOOO

 

Hermione opened her eyes slowly. She couldn’t move her head because of the pain. She was lying on a bed in the hospital wing.

 

’Great!’ She thought and sighed.

 

She closed her eyes again and tried to recall what had happened at the quidditch match.

 

There was that big, oval-shaped quidditch field with lots of spectators around… The two teams, the Gryffindor and the Slytherin, standing in their quidditch outfits, with broomsticks in hands, waiting for the referee to release the balls and start the game.

 

The Bludgers tried to attack the Gryffindor beaters, Fred and George immediately, and the chasers, Ginny and Katie Bell were after the Quaffle to score a goal.

 

Ron, the keeper, was flying in front of the goal hoops in gloves, chest armour, helmet and shoulder-pads.

 

The green-and-silver Slytherin uniforms were glittering in the sunlight on the Nimbus 2001 broomsticks. Their beaters, Crabbe and Goyle were whizzing around in goggles…

 

The winged golden Snitch flew past her face and then a blond haired head, Malfoy’s, appeared at a high speed… And then she remembered nothing just the green grass of the field, coming closer and closer, a scream (maybe hers) and darkness.

 

’Hermione! Are you all right?’ She opened her eyes and saw Harry and Ron’s worried faces.

 

’Under these circumstances, it was a stupid question, Ron.’ She said dryly.

 

’We’ve got good news and bad news,’ Harry said ignoring the girl’s bad mood. ’Good news is you have only a slight concussion and some bruises so you can leave the hospital room tomorrow.’

 

’And the bad news?’ Hermione asked suspecting the answer.

 

Harry took a deep breath.

 

’Malfoy could catch the Snitch so he won the contest. He’s the one going to the Olympiad in Paris.’

 

Hermione gulped and tried to suppress her tears. Then her disappointment suddenly turned into anger.

 

’It was he, wasn’t he? Malfoy. He knocked me off the broomstick, I bet.’

 

Ron shook his head sadly.

 

’I’d be so happy, Hermione, if that was the truth. But this time… He had nothing to do with your… accident. You simply… fell off.’

 

’And what if my broomstick was cursed or other Slytherins or Snape cast a charm on it?’

 

Now Harry shook his head.

 

’I watched them, ready to use the countercurse. Believe us, Hermione, nobody cheated.’

 

Hermione was devastated.

 

’Shall I cheer you up with Fred’s joke?’ Ron asked enthusiastically.

 

’Try.’ She rolled her eyes.

 

’Two guys are talking. ’Guess what happened yesterday. A brick fell on my head.’ ’And? Are you all right?’ ’Yes. Guess what happened yesterday. A brick fell on my head.’

 

Hermione frowned.

 

’Very funny.’

 

’I think we’d better let you relax a bit…’ Harry stammered. ’Here’s your schoolbag… If you want to read something.’ And the two boys walked out, slowly, quietly.

 

Hermione felt like a big failure. She wiped away a tear and opened her schoolbag. She pulled out her diary and the quill and wrote two words in the book.

 

Let’s meet.

 

 

End of Chapter 12

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