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That New Girl ~Chapter 3: Up in the Tower~
A week had gone by since the incident near the Quidditch pitch, and Danielle had become something of a goddess to the Gryffindors. She was worshiped by all after word had gotten out to the students about what had happened, and thankfully for Danielle, no one had dared told a teacher or a parent about it yet. All of the extra attention Danielle was getting was really making Hermione extremely irritated, though she was careful not to show it. Besides her perfect bodily features, Danielle had excellent grades in all of her classes. She was almost tied with Hermione when it came to academics, and it was as if Danielle was stealing her much worked for thunder. When Hermione had asked her if she had to take O.W.Ls at Fleetwood, her reply had been, “Oh, yeah, I got one in everything except History of Magic and Divination.” This had made Hermione a bit happier, that is, until Danielle added, “But then again, who needs those?” Everyone had laughed. Except Hermione. She still didn’t quite understand why she loathed the new girl so much. They seemed to get along well on the train ride to Hogwarts, but Hermione’s affection towards Danielle seemed to fade more and more with every passing day. There was just something about her that she absolutely hated, but that very thing seemed to be what everyone else loved. She didn’t understand. Hermione reached her boiling point, though, while she was working on a Transfiguration assignment in a corner of the common room. Harry had walked up to her and sat down. “Hey Hermione! What’s up?” he had asked her happily. “Oh, hey Harry. Just working on McGonnagal’s essay. Have you done it yet?” “Er…no not yet. Uh, I was wondering if you’ve seen Danielle anywhere?” he asked hopefully. “Oh. No, sorry, I haven’t,” Hermione answered, fuming but refusing to show it. “Well, I guess I’ll just go check the library then,” he said, starting to get up, but Hermione pulled on his arm. “Why do you wanna see her anyway? You should really get to work on this essay…” “Hermione, it’s not due until Monday. And I’m hoping to ask her to the Yule Ball. That is if I can find her…and if I can beat Ron to it…” Hermione let go of his arm and stared up at him angrily, but he didn’t seem to notice. “Well, wish me luck then!” he told her, and walked out of the common room. She was almost crying with frustration when Neville walked over and sat down where Harry had been. “Hey Hermione! Wow, I just heard from Dean about what Danielle did last week. Bloody brilliant, eh?” “AARGH!” Hermione wailed, standing up quickly. The whole common room jumped before watching her storm out in a huff. Neville looked frightened. “D-did I say something wrong?”
* * *
Hermione sat against the stone wall of the highest astronomy tower, clutching her knees to her chest. She didn’t know how long she’d been sitting there. All she knew was that she didn’t want to go back to the common room, or into her dormitory for that matter. She would be there. Who does she think she is, anyway? she asked herself, I mean, she’s been here for a single week, and she’s already got my two best friends wound around her flawless little finger. But were they even her friends anymore? She didn’t feel like it. They didn’t spend any time with her lately, or even just talk to her. She remembered two days ago when they needed to work in groups of three in Potions. If Harry and Ron had been any quicker to choose Danielle for their third partner, Hermione would have thought they had Apparated to her side. Just as she was remembering this, she heard the door to the tower creak open, and looked up to her right and who was there. It was none other then Draco Malfoy. “Oh, God, just go away will you?” she requested sadly. She didn’t feel up for much bickering at the moment. Malfoy jumped at her voice. “Oh, it’s you Granger. What’s a Mudblood like you doing up here past curfew?” “I should be asking you that question,” she said. “Believe it or not, Granger,” he drawled, walking over towards the three foot wall at the edge of the tower and placing his hands on it, staring up at the sky, “I come up here to think sometimes.” Hermione laughed quietly. “I didn’t know you were capable of picking apart your conscious! Wow, Malfoy, that makes you almost human!” “Shut up,” he told her sarcastically, turning around and walking towards her. “I probably have more going through my mind than you ever will, Granger.” “Oh yeah? What do you possibly have to think about, besides plotting ways to annoy Har-” She stopped. She didn’t want to think about Harry right now. Draco looked at her confused for a moment before unexpectedly sitting a few inches from Hermione on the cold floor. “Well, my father for one. It’s kind of hard to forget about him when he’s constantly sending you threatening and demanding letters.” Hermione was surprised. “I thought you wanted to be like your father.” Draco laughed coldly. “I suppose you think I want to be a Death Eater too, just like dear old Dad, eh?” He laughed again. “A hate him. I always have.” “Whadda you mean? Most of the time you act like a little Lucius clone,” Hermione pointed out. “He’s planned out my life for me, and I hate that. I hate how he won’t let me decide for myself what I want.” He paused. “I do admire his sense of power, though. I suppose that’s why I act like him so often. I like power, if you haven’t noticed.” Hermione smiled. “Well of course you do, Draco. You’re a Slytherin.” “Did you just call me Draco?” he asked, smiling at her. She turned her head and met his slate-gray eyes. There was something different about his eyes when he smiled. Well, actually, his whole face changed. It became…well…warmer. “I…I meant Malfoy.” She turned away, breaking apart the gaze. She didn’t like how he made her feel when he smiled. Or did she? Draco looked back up at the sky, still smiling. “What were you thinking about before I came up, anyway?” To her surprise, Hermione was happy that he asked this. She felt like she needed to tell someone, anyone, even a slimy git like Malfoy, about what she was feeling. “That new girl.” “Oh,” Draco said, sounding slightly disappointed, the smile fading off his face. “So, you hate her too, then?” “How’d you know?” Hermione asked curiously, laying her legs flat on the stone and crossing her arms. “I could tell. I saw you that day on the Quidditch pitch, and that day in Potions. You obviously aren’t a very big fan of hers like everyone else seems to be.” Hermione was shocked. It was like he could read her mind. She also couldn’t believe she was having a semi-civil conversation with Draco Malfoy. “Well, you caught me,” she sighed, standing up and walking to the edge. She leaned her back end against it, still facing Draco. He was smiling again. “It’s probably obvious why I loath her, Granger,” he drawled, “but why you? What do you have against her?” She sighed heavily. She was about to tell her “enemy” what she’d been feeling over the past week, and she wasn’t seeming to regret it. It felt weird. Weird, but nice, her conscious told her. “If you must know, Malfoy, I feel like she’s stealing my best friends away from me or something.” “Who, Potty and Weasel?” he asked, getting up and moving towards her. “Doesn’t seem like much of a loss to me…” he smirked. “Shut it,” she teased. “How would you feel if Crabbe and Goyle started ignoring you to hang around and drool over some new girl?” She thought about what she said for a moment. “Oh wait, I take that back, that would hardly be a loss either…” She smiled at her own joke, and for the first time in Hermione’s memory, Draco let out a genuine laugh. She liked the way it sounded. “Well, Hermione, I suppose it must blow to loose your two best friends to some prat American girl know-it-all, despite Potty and Weasel’s arrogance…” It was Hermione’s turn to laugh. “Their arrogance? And did you just call me Hermione?” Draco’s smile faded. “I, er, meant Granger.” Hermione giggled slightly, causing Draco to smile again. “What time was it when you left your common room?” she asked him. “About twelve-thirty. Why?” “Oh…” she said, turning around to face the door, “I’d better go, then. Surprisingly, Malfoy, it’s been nice talking to you. G’night.” She started walking towards the door. “Night,” she heard him say. She smiled.

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