The first morning sunlight battled through the dingy windows of the shrieking shack and lit Hermione’s face. She sat up with a jolt, collected her things and ran back down the tunnel under the whomping willow. She climbed out from under the tree and took off at a run back to the school. She wanted to get back to her room unnoticed. Considering what she had been through the night before she looked mostly in order. It was her hair that needed some tending after sleeping with a rain soaked head, as she was too tired to use a drying spell on it. The halls of Hogwart’s were deserted and though she didn’t know the exact time, it was obvious that most of the students were still asleep or just waking up. She navigated the corridors carefully hoping to avoid detection on the way to the Gryffindor common room. “Rememberall”, she said and the Fat Lady sleepily nodded and waved her in with a yawn. “Finally a password that Neville was able to remember for the entire year”, she thought to herself with a smile.
The common room was deserted and only a few embers of the night’s fire glowed in the fireplace. “Good, at least no one’s down yet”, she said relieved. She went into her room and messed the bed while everyone else was sleeping just for good measure. She collected her towel and some fresh clothes and went to the bathroom for a shower. She washed her hair and thought about what to do next. Should she tell Ron and Harry what she had seen? Should she tell the Order? Well, Professor Snape would surely find out and inform the Order himself. As for Ron and Harry, there was no need to get their knickers in a bunch since there was only two weeks of school left. She resolved to just try and avoid Draco all together. Harry and Ron hated him enough as it was, they didn’t need any more reasons or excuses to start something with him that just wasn’t worth it. As long as he didn’t push the issue she would keep it to herself for now. The sounds of the other girls entering the showers were now heard and Hermione finished up, dressed and returned to her room.
Lavender was the first to return from the showers.
“You were up early for coming in so late”, she said. “When I got up I thought you’d been gone all night but I saw that your bed had been slept in. What took you so long to get back last night?”
“I didn’t get back until late because… I had prefect business,” Hermione offered, hoping she wouldn’t push the issue.
“Oh OK,” she accepted and continued getting ready.
Hermione let out a mental sigh of relief and returned to the common room to meet Harry and Ron to go down to breakfast.
As they entered the Great Hall Hermione realized that a new seating arrangement would be her best choice so she wouldn’t have to face the Slytherin table. She sat today with her back to them and nervously scanned the room. Draco entered the Hall, flanked by his usually goons Crabbe and Goyle and the riff raff collection of Slytherin thugs he hung around with. She instantly looked down to avoid eye contact with him and began to pick at her breakfast. During the meal she could feel his stare burning the back of her head.
“Really Hermione, you should try it!”
“Try what?” she answered.
“Why Quidditch of course. Haven’t you been listening to what Harry and I have been saying?” asked Ron.
“No, sorry I was thinking about how much more studying I need to do,” she lied.
“Figures,” Ron said rolling his eyes, “You really need to loosen up! I bet you’d make a right fine chaser, or even a bloody good beater! I saw the way you looked after smashing Malfoy in the face. Now you could do it over and over again and everyone could see it.”
“Ron that was a long time ago,” she said bashfully.
“Well it was still brilliant! I remember it all the time and think how good it would feel for me to have another go at him, the little ferret.”
“You’d just get rolled by Crabbe and Goyle as soon as you tried,” added Harry.
“Right then, but catch him without those two one time and we’ll see.”
They all laughed.
After breakfast the made their way to their first class of the day, which was potions class. All of them dreaded it but today was especially unnerving for Hermione. They had that class with the Slytherins. Which meant Malfoy would be in there.
“I always hate having potions right after breakfast,” whined Ron. “ It’s either the smells or looking at Professor Snape, but something makes me want to retch.”
Harry offered his answer as to what the cause was as they entered the room.
Nearly a week had gone by, and so far Hermione had successfully dodged Draco. A few times he had almost been alone with her but she had always ducked out of the room or been saved by someone coming in the room. She spent most of her time in the library as that was the place she thought she would most likely not see him, and even if he came there, there usually were some other students so she wouldn’t be alone. Hermione found comfort in the fact that he didn’t have the nerve to come up to her when anyone else was around.
At dinner, she didn’t have much of an appetite as the exams filled her mind. She left the hall earlier than usual and made her way to the library for some last minute studying. Harry and Ron were to join her when they had finished eating. As she turned into the hall she felt a hand over her mouth as she was being guided towards the wall. Draco spun her around quickly and forced her against it. She looked at him half terrified, half inquisitive with a strand of hair being stuck to her lips by her lip-gloss. His left hand pressed against the wall next to her head. He looked at her with his expressionless face and his gaze was drawn to the strand of hair. He raised his right hand to her face and slowly and gently brushed it away. He looked back into her eyes and opened his mouth to speak. Just then Professor McGonagall’s voice was heard, to the right of them chastising another student as she was coming up the nearby stairs. Hermione and Draco both looked in the direction of her voice.
“Honestly, putting itching powder in that particular piece of undergarment. I should like to see how you would fancy the sensations! When Mr. Ramsey recovers from his condition you can tell him what your detention was like.”
Hermione looked back to where Draco had been and looked down the hall and saw Draco’s flared robes rounding the corner and disappearing out of sight. She stood rooted to the spot where he had placed her and looked back in the direction where Professor McGonagall stood looking at her.
“Is everything all right Miss Granger?” she asked.
“Oh, yes! I’m just thinking,” Hermione replied.
“All right then,” Professor McGonagall said.
They exchanged smiles as McGonagall returned her attention to the 5th year Hufflepuff student. As her voice faded down the hall, Hermione hurried to the library before Harry and Ron came out of the Great Hall and started to ask her questions. She knew that she must never again be alone.
A/N I just wanted to thank my reviewers for their time and their reviews!!!! Wow I had 100 readers on just the first day of my story being out for my first chapter!!! But please leave a review it gives me the encouragment to push that add a chapter button. lol
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