'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.
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?'
'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.
'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.
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.
'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.
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.'
'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.
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.
'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
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