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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

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