This story is based on the fairy tale ‘The Twelve Dancing Princesses’ – if you know the story, you’ll probably have an idea where this is going, if not, why not leave reading the fairy tale until I finish the story…
Draco Malfoy turned over in his bed irritably, and threw one of his pillows at the wall. Every single night, for the past three weeks, just as he was drifting off to sleep, Granger seemed to decide to rearrange her furniture. A little rustling from bed sheets he could have just tolerated, but apparently the entire feng shui of the room was wrong and this couldn’t have been changed during the day. Grabbing another pillow, he slammed it over his head, and buried his face in the mattress.
He still couldn’t believe that he had to share quarters with Granger. He had been thrilled when he found out that he was Head Boy. The badge arriving with the owls that morning had brilliant – his father hadn’t criticised him for a whole fifteen minutes. In Madam Malkins, he had pinned the badge straight onto his robes, and raised his chin proudly as he smoothed back his white-blond hair. It was that primal feeling of knowing that he was going to be in control of so many people. He had been so thrilled with the idea of that power, that he hadn’t given a second thought as to who would be Head Girl. If he had been pushed to think about it, he probably would have assumed a Ravenclaw. They always seemed to get quite a lot of Head Girls.
Then, on the first day, he had taken himself along to the carriage on the Hogwarts Express, and had gone over to talk to the Prefects for Slytherin House. It had taken him a good minute of posturing before he thought to look around and see who he was sharing duties with. Turning around, his heart sank straight to the bottom of his rib cage: brown curls hanging over the collar of black robes, that in turn sat neatly next to Gryffindor colours. Granger.
It made sense when he thought about it. She was clever. She was one of the Golden Trio. She was a teacher’s pet. She had been prefect. And now, she was in his carriage, sharing in his moment, tainting his moment for future tellings. Sighing loudly and irritably, he had turned his back on Granger and returned his attention to the Slytherin Prefects. Fortunately, they had seen exactly where he was looking, and their noses were wrinkling with similar distaste.
It had ruined the first night in the new quarters. The first time in six years that he was going to have a room to himself, instead of listening to Crabbe and Goyle snorting and snoring their way through the night, and he was spending it approximately 15 feet away from Hermione Granger, Gryffindor Mudblood extraordinaire! There was no justice in the world. He would have thought that his first night would have been spent chatting with some pureblood from Ravenclaw (he could have even accepted some of the Hufflepuffs at a pinch) in their common room. He wasn’t above planning a seduction scene in front of the smouldering fire.
Instead, he walked in, and his eyes were assaulted with the joint colours of Slytherin and Gryffindor, each seeming to fight for supremacy on the walls. He had no idea who had thought that gold, silver, green and red would look good together, but they were either colour blind, or dangerously under qualified for interior design. Rather than sit and stew in the maelstrom of colour, Draco had gone up to his room, finding a perceptible relief in the cool, cold emerald and silver that swirled across his bedroom walls, and draped across his bed.
He had been able to sleep for the first two weeks, and then, Granger decided that she would start causing an immense amount of noise as soon as he was meant to be in the middle of a sleep cycle. You could have set a watch by it. There was about thirty seconds of a groaning, creaking noise, than a clattering for a couple of minutes that would die away slowly, fading into the black night, and then another groaning that ended with a very final thud. Every night, Draco would be woken up by it, would be immensely irritated for the two minutes that the noise went on for, and then he would go back to sleep. All in all, he supposed, it wasn’t having a massive impact on his life. But the fact that it was having any impact at all meant that he was royally pissed off.
He never saw Granger in the morning – she was long gone by the time he sauntered down into the common room, pulling his robes neatly together as he did so. He occasionally saw her in the Dining Hall, but there was no way that he was going over to talk to her. Not in full view of everyone. And then on the rare occasions that he saw her in the evening, she was usually hurrying in or out, frequently accompanied by massive piles of books. And Draco Malfoy was not the sort of person who would hurry after a Mudblood, calling for them. No. He waited for them to be relaxed and then he would pounce when they were unawares, leaving them vulnerable and a lot easier to pull down.
That was the idea in theory anyway, but it didn’t seem to be bearing fruit. After another three weeks of waiting for the right moment to catch Granger, and becoming more and more irritated at being woken up every night, he conceded that he would need to change his plans. One morning, even more irascible than usual because he had had to get up before 8am, he sat neatly in the common room, waiting for the bane of his life to patter through on her way out.
Hermione barely noticed Draco was there at first. She had become so accustomed to never really seeing Draco that she had stopped thinking of him as a major problem, and rather as something that could just be avoided with the necessary precautions – slightly like a mosquito bite. She was gone before he got up, she was rarely in their quarters in the evening, and while she had been worried at first that he might hear her moving around in the night, it had been a month and a half and he hadn’t said anything to her. From what she knew of Malfoy, it was highly unlikely that he would hold his tongue about anything that bothered him even slightly, and she had taken his silence as proof that she was free to do what she pleased.
So on that crisp October morning, when the leaves were just beginning to be rimmed with frost despite how hot the bright sky promised the day would be. Going into the common room to grab a book that she had left on the table yesterday, she pulled up short at the sight of Malfoy sitting in a chair with his back to the window, his hands impressively still on the arms of it. The thought raced through her mind that he looked ridiculously like a Bond villain, before getting distracted with the thought that Malfoy would never have seen a Bond film, and that was probably quite a shame, because she was prepared to bet that he would enjoy them…
Shaking her head slightly, she raised her eyebrows at him. “You’re up unusually early.”
Malfoy stared coldly at her. “Well, I’m finding it a lot easier to get up when you so kindly give me a 7 hour warning by rattling around in your room at midnight.”
Hermione’s mind began racing. Protective instincts leapt in first – when in doubt of the position that you’re in, deny all knowledge! “I have absolutely no idea what you are talking about Malfoy. I haven’t heard anything.”
“Well you probably haven’t noticed that much because you’re the one making all the noise. Easy mistake to make.”
“Unlike you Malfoy, I don’t spend every night out attempting to sleep with every bimbo in our Year. I’m usually asleep by 12, and I have never been woken up by whatever it is that you’re talking about.” Hermione fidgeted slightly, feeling a lump at the bottom of her shoe.
Malfoy decided not to point out that he didn’t attempt to sleep with bimbos, he just slept with them, and instead turned back on the offensive. “And what, the noise is just coming out of nowhere? I find that extremely hard to believe…for Merlin’s sake, Granger, what are you doing?”
“I have a stone in my shoe, ok?” Hermione lifted her foot off, took off her shoe, and tipped it upside down, not once taking her eyes off his face, as if daring him to look anywhere else. “Now, you might consider yourself an expert on every subject under the sun, but perhaps you could hold your vanity in check for just one minute and remember that we are in Hogwarts. There is no way anyone could ever know all of its secrets, and I think it’s entirely possible that you’re just hearing one of those anomalies, rather than anything I’m doing. So perhaps you could refrain from oozing this kind of bilious paranoia at me first thing in the morning – frankly I don’t want to have to deal with this until I’ve at least had breakfast.”
“Well, I still think it’s you trying to grow yourself a friend, and I would be thrilled if you could do that in daylight hours, rather than while I’m trying to sleep.” Draco drawled at her, not moving from his position in the chair, despite feeling his heart pounding with rage at how casually she dismissed him. He knew what he heard, he knew it was coming from Granger’s room, and the fact that she was denying it meant that she was hiding something.
Hermione shook her head pityingly at him, and left the room, scuffing her foot along the carpet as she did so, to kick away what she had just dropped out of her shoe. Snatching her book off the table, she slammed the door to their quarters behind her hard, took a moment to inhale deeply and then hurried along the corridor, her mind whirling.
Draco waited until he was sure that she was really gone, and then stood up, moving slowly along the room, until he could see the scuffs in the carpet where Granger had dragged the pile of the carpet the wrong way. Following the direction of her foot, he looked along the floor until a small glint caught his eye. Bending down, he scooped it up and held it between forefinger and thumb, examining it in the early morning light. It was a tiny crystal. If Granger hadn’t tried to kick it away, he probably wouldn’t have ever noticed it on the carpet, but the movement had been shifty enough to draw his attention. Moving the small stone so that it twinkled in the light, he puzzled over it. It was extremely unlikely that Granger had semi-precious stones laying around the floor in her room, and especially not to the extent that they were a minor irritation that she would just kick away. Slipping the stone into his pocket, he sauntered out of the common room.
Walking into the Great Hall, he glanced towards the Gryffindor table, and saw Granger, her head bent towards Ginny Weasley’s, deep in conversation. His eyebrows arched momentarily in interest, and he made sure to seat himself at the table so he could continue watching them. Neither of the girls had noticed him come in, and didn’t seem to notice him watching them, lost as they were in their conversation. Draco continued to look at them, only gracing his social circle with raised eyebrows and sardonic smiles for the remainder of the meal. He had bigger fish to fry than sycophantic Slytherins.
“Ginny, I’m telling you, he knows that I’m up to something!”
“Well, why don’t you just use Muffliato? Ron and Harry use it all the time.” Ginny dug her spoon deep into her bowl, and looked at Hermione anxiously. “Seriously Hermione, he cannot find out what we’re doing, he’ll ruin it all!”
“I know he will, I know I have to hide it.” Hermione tore the crust off a slice of toast, and picked at it. “I just hate using spells like that.”
“Look, you aren’t using it to hide anything malicious, or to cover up anything that would endanger him, although Merlin knows that he deserves it. It’s just to protect a secret that we all enjoy having, and that doesn’t do anyone any harm.” Now that Ginny considered the problem solved, she turned back to her breakfast, and left Hermione to sit and ponder for the entire meal exactly what she was going to do. If she did something to cover up the noise straight away, then Malfoy would take that as evidence that he had been right. If she didn’t cover it up straight away, then he’d get more and more irate. Maybe…maybe she could set something up to make him think that it really was something to do with Hogwarts, rather than her. Biting down on her toast, she smiled absentmindedly at her friends, and began plotting.
Later that evening, Draco hovered around the corner that separated his room from Hermione’s. He knew that something would happen tonight, and he was damn well going to catch her in the middle of doing whatever it was she was doing. Checking his watch impatiently, he saw that he only had a few minutes left. Quietly, he slid around the corner, waiting just to one side of Granger’s door.
Almost breathlessly, he watched the second hand on his watch tick around agonisingly slowly. There were a torturous few seconds where there was no noise, and then the deep rumbling began. Draco thumped his fist against the wall in victory – there was no way in hell that Granger wouldn’t hear that; it was even louder out here, and it was definitely coming from her room.
Moving in front of the door, he began thumping at it. “Granger, there is no way you can tell me that you’re not hearing that! What the hell are you doing in there?”
“Perhaps you’d like to tell me what the hell you’re doing out here first?”
Draco spun around, clamping his lips firmly together to stop his jaw dropping. “What are you doing out here?”
“I was over in the Gryffindor common room talking to my friends. I am back slightly after curfew, but I suppose that’s the benefit of being Head Girl. Now, perhaps you’d like to tell me exactly why you’re hammering on my door?”
”Granger, can you not hear that?” Draco pointed angrily at her door, but by now the rumbling had stopped, and although he listened out for the tapping noise, nothing came.
Hermione tipped her head to one side and listened mock-intently. “Well, riveting though this is, I can’t hear anything. Far more likely that the noises are coming from inside your head.” Just as Draco opened his mouth to respond, she narrowed her eyes. “Now get the hell away from my door, I want to go to bed.”
Pushing past Draco, she opened the door and slammed it behind her quickly, frustrating Draco who had been hovering behind her, hoping to see in. All he saw was a flash of red and gold, and the swirl of her robes as she shut the door firmly on him.
Shaking his head, he moved back to his room. How could this have been the one night where the whole cycle didn’t play out? Pausing, his hand on his doorframe, he looked back at Hermione’s room. The reason the whole cycle didn’t play out as usual was because not everything was usual here. Granger was never out of her room after curfew. It was different because she had made it different. Draco smirked. She was definitely up to something.
Hermione rested her back against the door, and waited until she heard Draco’s door shut. Then she waited a few minutes more, listening intently for the sound of footsteps on the soft carpets of the hall. Then, checking that she had locked her door behind her, she looked at the door that she had opened in the stone wall of her room, leaving the tapestry bunched towards the ceiling. Smiling at the success of her plan, she moved towards her wardrobe.
The next morning, Draco smoothed his hair down neatly, fussed with the knot of his tie for a moment, and then knocked sharply on Snape’s office door. At the command to enter, he stepped through and smiled. “Have you a moment Professor?”
“Yes Malfoy, what is it?” Snape looked up at him briefly, before turning his attention back to the potion that was bubbling on the desk in front of him.
“Well Sir, I was just wondering whether you knew anything about moving walls in the quarters for Head Boys and Girls?”
Snape glanced up at him. “No, I’ve never heard anything like that. As far as I know, those quarters have been used since Hogwarts was founded, and I’ve never heard anything about moving walls. Why, what have you seen?”
“I haven’t seen anything Professor. I can just hear what sounds like a moving wall coming from Granger’s room.”
“A moving wall?”
“Yes Professor. I was thinking about it last night, and it sounds like the wall behind the Leaky Cauldron that leads to Diagon Alley. Granger says nothing’s happening, and she can’t hear anything, but I don’t see how not, it’s really loud. And it happens every single night at just gone midnight.”
Snape left the potion bubbling quietly, and stepped around to the front of desk. “What are you saying Malfoy?”
“Absolutely nothing Sir…at the moment. I just wanted to know if you knew anything about moving walls.”
“Nothing. But I would remind you that the Head Students must be responsible for their own good conduct. If Miss Granger were acting inappropriately, then you would need to draw that to someone’s attention.”
“Of course, Sir.” Draco smiled, and went back to the door. Snape understood perfectly, and that meant Granger was going down.
He walked back up to the Dining Hall, and made a point of walking past the Gryffindor table. As he did, he was sure that he heard the words ‘fell for it perfectly – I’m sure he won’t bring it up again!’ coming from Granger. Smirking, he sat down in the middle of his group, and began plotting.
AN: So, first chapter of another story, and I'm finally back! To anyone who has been kind enough to keep an eye out for my stories, thank you, it is enormously appreciated. I know that I've had quite a few reviews that I haven't responded to, and I will try and get straight on them, because I am enormously grateful. In the meantime, please review this one, as reviews make me ridiculously happy.
In other news, I have a story that I am never going to finish - I got carried away with other stuff, and now I don't really know where I'm going with it. Rather than try and struggle through it and ruin it, I was wondering if anyone would want to take it over? This is the link to the story http://www.harrypotterfanfiction.com/viewstory.php?psid=261084, and you can find the stories that it links to on my main author pages. Just send me a message through the website, and we can go from there.
Anyway, thanks for reading, is enormously appreciated. Petitesorciere xx
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