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Chapter 6

 

’Aparecium!’ Hermione murmured, holding a blank parchment in her hand but no invisible ink appeared.

 

She was sitting at Trelawney’s desk, in the Divination teacher’s attic-like, dimly lit room in the North Tower.

 

With McGonagall’s permission Hermione tried to find some clues, something that might have been related to the murder. But she was disappointed now, she had spent half an hour in the room with no success.

 

There were astrology and horoscope charts on the walls, crystal balls, books and tarot cards on the shelves. A small cupboard contained small boxes full of tea leaves making Hermione frown as she recalled the teacup-reading classes.

 

The fragrance of the candles had left a lasting scent of jasmine, sandalwood, amber and rose.

 

A small Victorian dressing table was in the dark corner, amulets and talismans in its small, left side drawers, magic gemstones and jewelry made of them in the right-side ones. The golden brown of Tiger’s eye, the translucent white of Moonstones and the shiny blue of Lapis Lazuli made Hermione shiver. In the gaudy bangles and rings, kept in a glass jar, she was not interested. She opened a wooden music box to find an antique, crystal-set butterfly brooch and a pink rose brooch of pearls. She wondered when and where the professor had worn them.

 

She was about to leave the room when she noticed the waste-paper basket. She grabbed it enthusiastically and poured its content onto the thick carpet.

 

An empty pot of ink. A broken quill. A copy of the Daily Prophet. Some wrinkled wrapping paper. An invitation card to the annual meeting of Seers at Halloween. A receipt of a spangled shawl from Gladrags Wizardwear, Hogsmeade. A sheet of paper from the Things To Do List pad. An empty box of Chinese tea and a brown paper bag.

 

Hermione sighed. What would a detective make of this? She examined the objects again, one by one but she didn’t find any of them helpful. She looked at the receipt. Trelawney had bought a shawl. Probably it was an extremely ugly shawl but Hermione didn’t think that could have been the motive of the murderer.

 

Things to Do List. Hermione tried to do her best to read the small letters. ’Order the new edition of The Dream Oracle,’ she read but was not impressed. ’Talk to the Headmistress.’ Hermione got excited but she couldn’t learn more about it as the next line was ’Buy Chinese tea.’ It didn’t seem likely Trelawney wanted to talk to McGonagall about Chinese tea. ’Letters to Parkinson and Lovegood.’ Hermione read this line three times. Letters? Trelawney wanted to write letters? Why? About what? And to whom? Parkinson… Pansy Parkinson? And Lovegood… Luna Lovegood? But why would she have written a letter to Luna? She was working in Hogwarts, too… Luna didn’t mention Trelawney had talked to her. Weird. Very, very weird.

 

OOOOO

 

Letters? Talk to Luna and Pansy!

 

Hermione added it to her list in her pocket book and then gazed at the dancing flames of the fire she was sitting at. It was about eight in the evening, a cold October evening, and had decided to stay in her warm room and go to bed early. She crossed her legs comfortably on the thick carpet and drank some hot tea from a tea cup painted with pink roses. She scowled. Roses… Roses everywhere. She got fed up with this flower.

 

There was a knock on the door.

 

’This must be Luna,’ Hermione thought. ’She must have returned from the London Zoo with the students. I’ll ask her about this letter thing right now.’ She stood up and went to answer the door wearing her red satin pyjamas.

 

But it was not Luna Lovegood.

 

It was a very good-looking Jasper Hale, in black jeans and a black hooded jumper. His medium long, wavy, honey blond hair was messy, his lips parted while sweeping Hermione’s body with his darkening eyes.

 

’Ah,’ that was all Hermione could say, taken aback.

 

’Uhm… Did you expect someone else?’ Jasper stammered, seeing the girl’s surprised face.

 

’Yeah…’ Hermione tried to pull herself together. ’But… I’m glad it’s… you.’ She blushed an attractive pink.

 

’Hope it was not Professor Malfoy… The one you were expecting to see,’ Jasper gulped.

 

’No, no way,’ she shook her head and moistened her lips. ’I thought Luna arrived back from London. Uhm… Don’t you want to come in?’ She asked finally, a bit meekly, wondering what her granny’s opinion would be, about a girl in red satin pyjamas inviting a handsome vampire in her room at night…

 

Jasper probably had the same doubts about the proper behaviour in those circumstances. But finally he entered, and closed the door behind him.

 

’I heard what happened to you… That someone attacked you. Sorry I didn’t visit you in the hospital wing but… I was not sure I would be able to control myself… You know, the smell of blood…’

 

Hermione nodded.

 

’It’s okay,’ she mumbled.

 

’But I couldn’t wait any longer… I needed to see you… To see if you were all right.’ He whispered and moved a bit forward to be closer to the girl.

 

’I’m fine,’ she said quietly, mesmerised by his closeness, full of anticipation, anticipation to be in his strong arms, on the floor with him, in front of the fireplace.

 

’Good,’ he answered and his hands gently grasped hers, slowly intwining their fingers together.

 

Hermione was trembling. Her legs, her hands, her whole body. He touched her. He held her hands. She had been waiting for this since she first saw him.

 

His hands were cold. Cold as ice. And Hermione knew no heat could warm his skin. It made her a bit sad.

 

She saw he was gazing at her pyjama top, near her neck, where it was unbuttoned.

 

’I love your pyjamas… My favourite colour is red,’ he said hoarsely when their eyes met. His lips were shiny, his eyes sparkling, his face dangerously close to Hermione’s. ’I think you should body-bind me, or else…’ he whispered in her mouth.

 

’Or else?’ She moaned in lust.

 

’Or else I’ll kiss you,’ he finished the sentence.

 

Hermione closed her eyes.

 

’Kiss me, please,’ she begged. ’I want it so badly…’

 

’I want it too, but… I don’t dare to… I don’t want to hurt you…’ To control himself was more and more difficult.

 

’Please,’ she panted and suddenly, taking his face in her hands, grazed her lips against his.

 

His lips were cold, too. Cold and motionless. But Hermione thought the fire burning inside of her and the passion of the moment will make him return the kiss.

 

But he grabbed her hands and pushed her away gently.

 

’Sorry…’ There was so much pain in his voice and eyes. ’Sorry, I can’t… We can’t.’ He took some steps backwards, staring at the girl’s disappointed face, then stormed out of the room, devastated.

 

OOOOO

 

Hermione didn’t know how she had survived the night suffering from unsatisfied desire, craving, and feeling terribly ashamed.

 

She didn’t see Jasper in the morning during breakfast. It made her mood even worse.

 

While munching on a slice of toast with marmalade, suddenly she felt a warm hand touch her shoulder softly.

 

’Are you all right?’ She heard Malfoy’s voice.

 

’Yes, I’m fine,’ she said, giving a forced smile. ’Why?’

 

’You look pale,’ he replied.

 

She didn’t know what to say. But Malfoy continued.

 

’I saw Hale go into your room last night.’

 

Hermione got paler.

 

’Don’t worry, I’m not a newborn vampire,’ she spat. ’And if I ever become one, you’ll be the first I’ll bite. So leave me alone, please,’ she added angrily, stood up and left the Great Hall.

 

She made her way to her room fuming but bumped into Professor Slughorn in the corridor.

 

’Professor Granger, you asked me to think… to try to recall anything that might be important related to the murder.’

 

Hermione’s bad mood got replaced by curiosity.

 

’The day before the murder… During lunch, Professor Trelawney asked me about my opinion… She asked me if I thought it was possible that there was one more… Horcrux.’

 

’One more Horcrux?!’ Hermione repeated in disbelief.

 

’I looked just as surprised as you now. But I didn’t take it seriously, I smiled at her and said it was impossible. But she didn’t seem relieved. She had that tragic expression on her face… But it was not unusual, so I didn’t attribute importance to this conversation. But now… It might give you a clue what bothered her.’

 

’Yeah, it might,’ Hermione murmured, still shocked.

 

One more Horcrux… Oh, Merlin.

 

End of Chapter 6

 
 

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