Chapter beta: Dani & Olivia
Chapter translator: Sophie, Svenja, Lea & Aivy
The next morning came as suddenly as always, and I got myself ready for my daily run. It was unbelievable how fast my body had gotten used to this daily obligation, but it felt good.
I couldn‘t forget Harry after yesterday. I knew I had assured him of my trustworthiness but I was also sure about the fact that a little bit of mistrust would still remain. It was a completely natural reaction, but it confronted me with a problem: I promised Snape not to leave the school for Easter, but I was unsure how viable that promise would be now. I needed to fill up the last holes in Dumbledore’s vita and that would require a visit to Godric’s Hollow - yet another thing I had to plan for.
Lessons after Christmas followed the usual pattern and sadly Umbridge hadn’t gone missing over the holidays. She and Harry did their best to make each other's life difficult with their mutual antipathy, which is hard to believe, but nonetheless true. So it was up to me to calm Harry down after the day’s lessons had ended. I even meditated with him to stabilise his mental shields, otherwise they would crumble in mere seconds. My problem was that in the last five years Snape had managed to ingrain into Harry’s mind the belief that, no matter what he did in Snape’s classes, his work would never be up to par; let alone good.
This was the main reason he had little… Nah, not even that, he had absolutely no confidence in his ability to master this particular field of magic. Adding to that, in Harry’s eyes Occlumency was a more nebulous part of wizardry that he couldn’t grasp and we had a recipe for disaster. I fully understood his wish to keep his intimate thoughts and feelings to himself, especially his desire to not divulge them to anyone, especially Snape. I wouldn't want anyone to read my mind as well, no matter who.
After sending Harry down to his damnation in the dungeons, I kept laying on his bed in the dorm and thought about a question I had successfully repressed until now. What would I do if Snape decided to call me again? It had been a surprisingly long time since his last call, most likely due to time restraints, seeing as he had multiple people keeping him busy. Nonetheless, I was pretty sure that I would hear from him again, maybe not in the next couple of days, but soon.
I had decided to stop nagging Draco about his feelings on the matter. He would only tell me the same “Snape is family” bullshit. Given that he never tried to talk to me about it, I just assumed his opinion hadn't changed. Maybe he wasn't inclined to change his opinion and didn't like to be reminded of it. Thinking about this as a possibility strengthened my resolve to not pester Draco again.
Lost in thought, my hand moved to the edge of my uniform skirt, moving my pointer finger below it to feel the mark that graced my skin since Christmas. I had hoped that I would be able to hide it, but given that I already tried multiple illusion spells - even the dark ones - and none of them had given me the desired result… and so my last resort was the unicorn blood, but it was far too valuable for a test run, thus I would only use it if a situation made it unavoidable.
I groaned. If this didn‘t work out, I would have to think of a position, where he wouldn‘t be able to see my stomach. The only reason why I was still keeping my hopes up was that I never yet had needed to take my clothes off. Though I knew myself that with my luck, he would want to see me completely naked next time for sure! Oh yes, I could just imagine it.
Frustrated, I stared at the canopy on top of my bed whilst my thoughts drifted from Harry to Snape, back and forth. Snape, always Snape, I smiled wistfully. No, time to think of something different!
As I laid there I also thought with horror about my own dorm-mates. Lav, Pav, and my other two roommates had already managed to drive me crazy with their cackling after only the first night! Could you even imagine what they had been talking about?
Yes, I am serious! They gossiped about how good he looked and that Lav fancied him! Ron - the heartthrob! When I heard it at first, I had really thought I had simply misunderstood them or they’d finally gone mad. But hey, if they wanted to, that was fine with me. Though the worst was yet to be mentioned - that behind closed curtains I still had to hear them discussing his amazing body, sexy butt, how attractive his freckles were, and - yes, I couldn’t believe it either - how funny he was?! I mean, Ron had many characteristics, but he was definitely not funny!
There was something even more ridiculous: First, they’d have to eliminate the competition - which was me, Hermione - because apparently, I had a crush on Ron. I had a what?! Good thing that I didn’t know about this! And they had asked Pav if she had noticed the covetous glances I had given him. I had thought that I was listening to a joke, a very bad one though. I’d rather share a bed with Snape, Lucius and Draco at the same time than once with Ron! And the looks I had given him were reprimanding but certainly not covetous. Were the cackling hens out of their minds? I was seething inside, fervently wishing to be with Draco. What had I done to deserve those maniacs?
Some hours later, shortly before curfew, Ron and I were sitting near the fireplace. He had snatched Dean and was flattening him at chess. I was often wondering how someone with such a great strategic talent, such an exceptionally gifted chess player could be… I don’t know, so unstructured and immature in the everyday life. But well, that was Ron. Maybe someday he would change.
So I worked through my book ‘Black Magic Curses for Every Occasion’. It was very enthralling, though downright nauseating in parts, especially the illustrious, very detailed drawings. Fascinating. What was that? Here the body was slowly turning inside out, the intestines were expelled through the throat. Thanks to the moving pictures easily comprehensible. Oh… At last the heart emerged, still beating? Inventive! It seemed incredibly painful and the book said that afterwards the victim was left without organs, everything was puked out. Interesting! A slow, painful death for someone you couldn’t stand at all, very bloody, very filthy! However, and that was the drawback, it was a spell that was once more very draining and therefore not suitable in a quick fight.
But if you wanted to give somebody or an enemy a nasty shock, it might have its benefits, as they would be thrown a curve and forget everything else, I pondered earnestly.
I looked up after I had put the incantation and the corresponding wand movements to memory, throwing a glance through the occupied common room, spotting students with chubby faces, playing and chatting merrily in the orange light. It made me smirk that I was reading books filled with blood and thunder in midst such an idyllic scene.
Suddenly, the door opened, revealing a distressed looking Harry who was more stumbling than walking. He was pale, sweat plastering his hair against his brow. The Gryffindors that hadn’t gone to bed yet were shooting him surprised and shocked looks. He pressed his hand against his scar, grimacing in pain. It looked as if he had lost control.
I immediately jumped to my feet, worried, and rushed towards him. Even if everybody looked at me funny, I shot spell after spell at him. When I arrived at his side, his knees buckled and I clung to him, following him to the floor. I held my wand high and shouted: “Accio Invigoration Draught,” a powerful potion that helped in case of mental overexertion. A few seconds later a vial from my dorm flew into my hand with high speed.
“Oww,” Harry moaned. We faced each other on our knees and everybody around us paused silently, showing worried faces.
“Steady, Harry. Here, drink this, it will help you!” I offered with forced calmness and Harry did as ordered.
“What’s wrong with him, Hermione?” Rond enquired shakily.
“Not now!” I snarled, unnerved, as I wasn’t liking the way Harry looked and afraid that his mind was laid bare without any protection.
I reached into my cloak, quickly withdrawing a Headache Relief Potion and a vial of Dreamless Sleep.
“Here, take this Headache Relief… Harry, is it better now?” I asked intently.
“Thanks, Hermione. Yes, now I can see again!” Harry said very reassuringly. “It was even more terrible than I had imagined, just so brutal and violent. I’ll never learn it! I feel so exposed, my scar is hurting. I don’t believe it did me any good!” he whined understandably, clinging to my hand fearfully and close to panic.
“I’ll kill him!” I declared with such earnest and fervour in my voice that every head turned sharply in my direction, even Harry’s.
“Twins, come here!” I ordered harshly and right on cue they appeared on my left and right. The astonishment and disbelief of the other Gryffindors went right over my head in my fury and didn’t notice that they were more than surprised that the Twins reacted so well-behaved, not even Ron and Ginny could believe it.
“Here, a vial of Dreamless Sleep. Three drops, not more. Get him into bed and look after him!” I instructed angrily, but coldly, while swiping the strands of hair I had dried out of Harry’s pale face.
“As you wish, Hermione!” the Twins dared to say in sync. “But…” I didn’t even have to look up to know which one of them had spoken the ‘but’ and interrupted him harshly.
“What, George? But what?” I hissed in a voice so low and accentuated that it chilled the blood in their veins. The frightened looks of the others that had never experienced me like that and Harry’s assessing gaze didn’t even reach me! I instilled terror in them without even trying! The only thing I saw before my minds’ eye was Snape and the way I showed him for once what power was. I was so angry. How could he release Harry from his care in such a desolate state? If it weren’t for me, what would he have done?
The danger that the Dark Lord exploited his weakness was elementary. Why were the both of them in their mutual dislike so childish? I was downright working myself further into a fury.
“Hermione, if you go to him now you will just have another argument!” George murmured earnestly and Harry’s head jerked around, making him go green in the face again.
“Don’t try to stop me, you won’t succeed!” I retorted icily, raising slowly.
“Very well, then go. But please no casualties. One is enough. If you don’t return we will inform the viper,” George whispered quietly, threatening me indirectly with Draco.
“Don’t you dare!” I shot back viciously.
“Yes, we will! You aren’t thinking clearly right now,” Fred insisted louder, emphasizing his words with a distinct gesture.
“I’m not thinking clearly? I am thinking clearly. He just isn’t able to control himself!” I roared like a lioness, storming determinedly towards the exit. “Just do what I told you to do!” I yelled, closing the door behind me forcefully and leaving behind a tower that was shaken to its foundation. Which I would only realise much later.
End of Hermione’s POV
After the torture of teaching the subtle art of higher magic to Potter, I had poured myself a huge glass of firewhiskey in the hope to just push aside this most horrible and catastrophic of all hours. The moment Potter had passed the doorstep into my office, one look into his arrogant and hated face that looked so much like my school nemesis and overwhelming hate had overpowered my senses. When he then had looked anxiously at me with his big green eyes, reminding me of her, my patience had been close to exhausted already.
“You know why you should learn the high art of protecting your mind, Mr. Potter?” I had drawled condescendingly, looking down my nose at him.
“No, sir. No one spoke to me, except Hermione!” he had admitted openly, surprising me with his honesty about his ignorance. Not that Potters had ever been anything else but ignorant, I had thought to myself and scoffed in acknowledgement of his words.
“Good, that you know that you know nothing. You have learnt something, Mr. Potter!” I had said spitefully. “Well, the Dark Lord has realised through the incident with Mr. Weasley that a mental connection between the both of you exists, thanks to the curse scar. Now it could occur to him to use the connection purposefully against you; he could try to search your thoughts and manipulate them. Because of this, you have to learn the subtle art of Occlumency.” I had tried to convey the facts to him, while he stood in front of me like the little school boy that he was.
“Well, let’s start. Clear your mind,” I had said curtly. “Legilimens!” I had penetrated his mind and been treated to a flood of memories that hadn’t surprised me. This boy was utterly incompetent, how should this weak mind stand against the Dark Lord? Then, I had seen some inexplicable memories:
The inside of a dark closet with a mattress. A big fat boy who beat and chased a smaller one. A scene where Potter peeked through a door gap and watched a family celebrating Christmas, then returned into the darkness.
I had been perplexed, those were his memories? Something hadn’t fit there. Once again, I had fixed my piercing gaze on the uptight and shaking form and spoken to him.
“Mr. Potter, it won’t work like that; fight back, you are a wizard! Perform magic!” I had snapped bitingly. “Legilimens!” Again, I had gone into his mind and again one confusing and inexplicable memory had come after the next.
A cleaning Potter, a cooking Potter, a washing Potter… a Potter holding Granger in his arms… the Dark Lord killing Diggory.
Then he had managed something that I hadn’t expected anymore, but all the time hoped for. However, it had happened completely unconsciously in the form of a burning charm which shot out of him and into me, throwing me into the stone wall behind me and subsequently out of his confusing mind. I had shaked my lightly burned hand groggily. Nothing severe, but annoying.
“What…?”, he had asked, surprised with himself, and held his aching forehead.
“We only go in the right direction when you manage that on purpose, not unconsciously. Alas, you behave as incompetently as expected!“ I had snarled angrily and spoke the devastating judgment.
I had already straightened my back, targeted him again, and cast the spell, giving him no time to breathe.
This time, I had stopped after a few seconds, because I realised that Potter could assign the place of his vision with the snake to a memory, that this place was located in the Ministry on the ninth floor, and the door he had seen led down to the Department of Ministry on the tenth floor.
“That‘s enough, Mr. Potter; go and work harder on clearing your mind,” I had ordered mercilessly, noticing how he fought with the memory. He had hardly been able to stand unassisted on his feet, but what did that matter to me?
And now I sat in my armchair and tried to make sense out of this unexpected memories, which I had seen in Potter’s mind.
My information had been that Potter had a good, tidy, a tranquil life at his aunt’s. A Muggle life, but a normal one like every kid should have. Not like the one I had seen in glimpses today. If that was the truth… But why wouldn’t it be? Potter’s mind was unable and not trained to lie. So if that was the truth, why did Dumbledore do nothing? He always knew so much about everything else, and he had warded Potter’s home, and that shrew, Figg, also had an eye on the boy. How did all that fit together? I pondered with irritation.
I took another sip of my drink. Again, the idea of the Professor that I should introduce Potter to Occlumency was just grotesque, an idiotic idea which couldn’t result in anything good, I thought in disgust. This type of magic required trust and that was simply nonexistent between us.
When I suddenly perceived how my warded office door was blasted open forcefully. A loud, deafening bang caused me to jump out of my cozy armchair. What happened here? I could hear now that the entrance to my private rooms was assaulted by hexes as well. Naturally, my wards held. But how dare the intruder to attack me inside my sanctuary! Who was performing this sacrilege?
Who dared to do that, I thought irascibly, standing furiously in front of the door, ready to attack, and opened it, aimed and disarmed the intruder with an Expelliarmus. Surprised, my eyes widened when I saw Granger seething with rage in front of me. However, no shock or fear were in her eyes even after her wand lay on the ground. Despite the fact that she was disarmed, she looked challengingly at me and she took action before I could talk to her.
Indeed, she took me by surprise by stepping up to me in a matter of seconds, seizing my white shirt with both of her hands and bringing her face, which was contorted in anger, close to mine, and before I could react she rammed her knee into my groin forcefully and ruthlessly.
A pain-filled wheeze escaped me. I didn’t believe it, in this moment I saw stars. Unimaginable pain shot through my body in waves. I could prevent only just to fall to my knees with an absolutely ridiculous whimper, regaining control over my body only with absolute willpower and by grabbing her wild, open, curls roughly. Brutally, I pulled on her hair so that she would let me go. Her painful hiss showed that I had been successful, and following her first instinct, she released me and I was able to push her away from me with powerful shove.
She reacted immediately, striking out with her right fist, placing a short right hook on my chin. My head was thrown back and I tasted metallic blood. Was the Mudblood out of her mind to dare to hit me? Until now, she had only had a chance against me because I hadn’t expect a physical attack.
So I made a grab for her and clutching her even more tightly, my hand closed to a fist inside her hair. With ruthless momentum I let her crash into the shelf. Unfortunately, she could cushion most of the momentum with her hands. I would have liked to see her connect with it with force and with her face first.
I was incredibly angry. How dare that mad, stubborn woman to assault me, her professor, and my private chambers. Had she lost her senses?
Now I knew why Black had lost it when it came to her, I was losing it as well right now. She didn’t look like if she would tremble in fear before me though, she rather looked as if she wanted to seriously beat me up and would only now start for real. Sadly, I had dropped my wand in the heat of the fight. No wonder after this tactical K.O. hit which she had given me right at the beginning.
However, I was another kind of opponent than the mangy mutt. I had her hair still relentlessly clutched inside my fist, forcing her into a twisted posture from which she was glaring at me, just wanting to continue to slash at me, blind with rage.
In our rage, we both didn’t even notices that other people came into my office. Only when we were magically separated by force and our intensive eye-contact was broken, I became master of my mind again, which was otherwise so terribly clear and only failed me when she was involved.
Draco had separated us with a spell and kept us in check. Granger yelled at him in agitation why he dared to interfere, and I agreed with her wholeheartedly, what was he thinking? I would have made mincemeat out of her. Someone had to show the brat where her limits were.
Then I saw one of the redheads repair the door hectically and speak a quick soundproofing spell. After he had managed this, close to collapse, he went to Granger to calm her down. They let me stand more or less tied in front of my bookshelf. Very kind of them, though this way I could become aware of the damage of my body and to analyze it briefly, using the time in which I was unheeded.
The bitch! It was throbbing like crazy between my legs. The pain when she had thrust her knee into my groin had felt like a needle driven directly into my spinal cord and had gone straight to my brain. Only with years of practice I had been able to make the effort to prevent her from causing even more damage by pushing her away!
I tasted blood. Apparently her blow had burst my lip, though I had to grant her that there was actual force behind her punches.
“Draco, dissolve the spells immediately! George, what are you doing here? I gave you different instructions… And why did you get Draco?” she ranted. I kept quiet and concentrated, unraveling the spells wandlessly. It wasn’t easy because of my physical condition, but I was just too good.
When I was done, I summoned my wand non-verbally and turned to the three students in front of me, ignoring the dragging pain between my legs when I straightened my back.
“Miss Granger, how dare you assault me?” I hissed, my anger flaring up. I could see the two boys stepping aside, though Draco swiftly freed Granger of her magical bonds. Thanks, Draco, it’s always nice to see which side you are standing on, I thought deridingly.
“You ask that? You ask that! How do you dare?!” she screeched furiously. I stared back at her coldly but bewildered, not understanding what she was talking about.
“Please oblige me and explain yourself. What warrants your attack on my person?” I asked with deceptive gentleness.
“Harry!” Her eyes flashed with fury. “How dare you to let him get back to the tower soooo… so absolutely whacked? What kind of teacher are you? What would he have done without me and my potions? You made him totally vulnerable!” she snarled in disgust and I was astonished. Potter was feeling well when he left. Well, relatively well.
“Potter was well. Don’t overexaggerate,” I declared without pity, which resulted in her wanting to lunge at me like a lioness. Draco more or less grabbed her out of the air by her hips and held her in place so she didn’t launch another utterly fearless attack on me.
“Shsh, Hermione, calm down!” he soothed her while trying to get her struggling form under control. He knew me and what kind of foe I was.
“Calm down? Calm down?! This self-righteous asshole does nothing but harm!” Her choice of words and the lack of respect towards my person left me outright speechless. The last time someone presumed to confront me so brashly, the person was pushing daisies soon after.
“Harry needed an Invigoration Draught to even see straight again!” she shrieked, enraged, which caused Draco to glare at me and even I was astounded that Potter must have actually felt poorly when he had been in need of this powerful mind-strengthening draught. Briefly the thought came to mind from where Granger had gotten this rare potion once again, when she interrupted me with further caterwauling.
“Miss Granger, come to your senses already!” I snapped at her with frosty impatience, struggling to keep my posture straight and intimidating.
I could observe how she suddenly retreated into herself, breathing deeply while Draco whispered sweet nothings into her ear. When she finally opened her eyes again and set her sights on me I could discern that she had herself back in control and banished any emotions.
Her eyes that had been blazing with emotions a moment before were now alarmingly cold and lifeless.
“Hermione, I have disregarded your request to not get Draco because Harry collapsed when we reached the dorm room and something very creepy happened! It was as if he spaced out and laughing like a madman, totally crazy. It didn’t sound like him at all. We slapped him to bring him back to his senses and he continued to laugh like barmy despite being back with us. Suddenly, he went still and was nonplussed when his brain caught up. It was scary! He was as confused over his laughing fit as the rest of us and said that he knew something was going very well for the Dark Lord and that the Lord was feeling downright ecstatic! We put him into bed and gave him the potion. Fred is looking after him! I, though, took to my heels,” Weasley summarised the truly disconcerting news quickly, adding self-consciously in his defense: “And got Draco as reinforcements!”
“Which was the right thing to do. Thanks, George!” Draco barged in firmly.
“And now, Professor, what do you have to say about your accomplishment?” Granger spit at my feet scornfully.
“Alarming that he seems to have such a strong connection to the Lord!” I offered coldly whereas it looked quite different inside me, but I would never show her that.
“Potter and I, we are not in tune regarding this subtle art!” I snarled further, annoyed at Dumbledore beyond all measure.
“Professor, you of all people, I thought, should be able to subdue any feelings like hate or love completely!” Granger tossed in gleefully. No fitting, cutting remark came to my mind as she was, in this case, right. “I don’t know why you hate Harry so much, only because his looks like his father. Please, that’s childish and ridiculous. I can assure you that he is a totally different person than his father. Who, as I know, has been a cared for and pampered only child and most likely enjoyed love in its entirety. Harry has been neither in his whole live, nor has he been loved. He would deserve your sympathy, not your hate and contempt!” she spoke very frosty and disrespectful, turned around and left, surprising me once again when she called her wand into her hand wandlessly and non-verbally like me. She vanished without looking back or heeding anyone of us. She swept out of my rooms as she had stormed them before: swiftly.
“Wow, isn’t she temperamental?” Draco said, besotted with a delighted twinkle in his misty eyes. Thank you very much. I had been brutally confronted by a fury like Granger who had tried to castrate me and my godson worshipping this dangerous wench.
“Draco,” growled angrily.
“I’ll better follow her before she kills Mrs. Norris,” Weasley had the excellent idea to make himself scarce. Draco looked at me with a surprised expression, letting me briefly lost for words.
“What? Though I don’t like Potter, I think she isn’t wrong. What did you do to him?” he enquired curiously.
“Occlumency!” I informed him grudgingly, tapping my wand against my lip to heal it.
“What? And you used brute force?” It was more of a rhetoric question. “Well, with his connection to the Lord, was it really the best method?” He now thought as well that I was interested in his opinion, which I wasn’t, I thought resentfully.
“That doesn’t give this harridan the right to attack me, her professor!” I replied icily.
“Severus, apparently Potter was worse for wear and he is her top priority. If you really took a lot out of him and then let him get back to the tower on his own, I’m surprised that you are still standing! Furthermore, you must have stripped him to his briefs when she flings intimate details of his life at you and… don’t look at me like that, I have no idea. It’s not a subject we discuss, she is very particular about it. What did you see?” Draco once more showed his curiosity openly, grabbing my arm and leading me into my living room, where he pointed at my armchair. I sat down gingerly, thanks to my injured groin, using the opportunity to cast a non-verbal Episkey, while Draco poured me a new drink. He didn’t have to know everything. Unfortunately, he was very observant and noticed it. However, thanks to his inherent intelligence he didn’t say a word.
“What did you see in Potter’s mind?” he restated his question bluntly.
“Mh-mh,” I showed myself incredibly cooperative.
“Oh, please, I promise faithfully to tell nobody!” he promised solemnly. Actually, I wanted to talk to Draco about it and hear his honest opinion.
“It was strange. He seemed to have lived in a cupboard..” I started. Draco’s eyes widened in shock and he blinked in disbelief.
“And didn’t have any kind of privileged or pleasant life with his relatives. I’d never have thought…” I voiced my observation out loud, shrugging my shoulders to emphasize my indifference.
“Heavy! I feel sorry for him, even if I think he is a blithering idiot… But please don’t continue… I think I’ll have to hear the rest from a different party,” he interrupted my account, astounding me with his attitude. “Rather tell me where… your brawl would have ended if we hadn’t arrived. It didn’t look good; you still have blood on your face!” he informed me impassively. I used a quick cleansing spell on my face, I’d completely forgotten about it.
“Granger would have gotten what she deserved: a proper hiding. Someone has to show her where her boundaries are!” I declared sternly, viciously and coldly.
Draco started to chuckle which made me stare at him.
“What is the matter?” I hissed like a snake.
“That is hilarious. You might have a tough time of it. You know that she didn’t look nearly as messed up as you?” Draco asked, amused. I was speechless. Such an impudence.
“How dare you speak to me like that! Have you forgotten to whom you are speaking, Draco?” I said menacingly, my magic agglomerating around me in rampant fury.
“No, Uncle! But I’m still allowed to tell you the facts, aren’t I?” He grinned at me cheekily. “I think I’ll leave you alone and wish you a pleasant night,” he took off with a smirk. Clearly, today’s youth didn’t know their place in the general pecking order.
I was absolutely out of words. Granger reacted once and again differently than I expected; I was unaccustomed to the way she behaved and conducted herself. Greedily, I chucked my drink. Tomorrow our first training session was going to take place and I would enjoy it to the fullest to show her what it meant to train with me.
I wasn’t dumb. She had been aware that she couldn’t hold a candle to my abilities and nearly incapacitated me in the only matter available to her. It hadn’t been nice, but effective, although very unfair and dirty. Apparently she liked it like that.
Should I worry for Potter after all. The brat, he was a pest! However, tomorrow I would talk to Granger about the Occlumency thing. It couldn’t continue like that… We would see.
End of Snape’s POV
I ran as fast as I could, choosing the long way in spite of the nightly hour, hoping to cool down, but I was still livid! What was the dungeon bat thinking? Meanwhile, I was developing a headache thanks to him pulling my hair like a cissy. Hopefully he would never again get it up, I showed my ugly face.
When I entered the tower the common room was even more crowded as before I had left. The incident with Harry and me seemed to have gotten some people to leave their beds. I was welcomed with total silence and assessing glances, caused by me first healing Harry, than ordering the Twins about, leaving in a rage, and now my very heated arrival.
I couldn’t be phased by it, simply looking around the room soberly and coldly with my lips pursed. I don’t want to know what I looked like, my hair wild and tousled, and, I believe, I had a bloody scratch along my cheek from the bloody wooden shelf that I had been thrown against.
I could perceive how Ron stared at me dumbfounded, and the looks of the rest were similar, so much disbelief and lack of understanding. The atmosphere in the common room was more than tense.
Then I spotted Fred standing in the archway, trying to be invisible .
“FRED!” I now lifted my voice. “Where is George?” I assumed he had taken the shortcut and should had arrived before me. Fred sidled about insecurely, before stepping closer quickly and looking at me.
“With Harry!” he announced and started to raise his hand. “How are you?”
“Get him!” I just issued my order and could hear the Gryffindors react with a scandalised intake of breath.
“Um, please don’t be angry. We thought you wanted to know!” He looked at me seriously, causing me to arch an eyebrow.
“Do I look angry?” I asked calmly.
“Honest answer, beautiful?” he made certain, his expression doubtful.
“By all means!” I sneered indignantly.
“Yes, okay, yes, and always when you look like that and glare at people like that you scare the living daylights out of us, alright?” he answered awkwardly, pointing at his own face. I couldn’t stifle a laugh, conjuring a mirror and looking at my reflection.
“Why didn’t you tell me that I have blood running down my face?” I enquired pragmatically, casting a non-verbal cleaning charm.
“Would you have cared about it?” Smart question, easy answer.
“No!” I shook my head, unconcerned.
“I knew it. Er, do you still want to talk to George?” he hummed and hawed.
“Get him,” I reaffirmed and he turned around and did as I had asked, to the great disbelief of our house mates.
“What, Hermione? What kind of drama are you enacting here? What is this about my brothers?” Ginny got all agitated. I just looked at her blanky, mindful of the other Gryffindors absorbing everything that was happening and unable to make sense of things.
I was aware that I was walking a fine line. It was getting more difficult right now to keep my double life secret and would get even more so in the future. However, there were moments when you had to decide where you were standing and I had done so earlier this day. Snape had to be reigned in regarding his ignorance and snootiness towards Harry, otherwise he would ruin him for me! That was more important than what the lions thought about me. I didn’t care either way what they thought or said or, well.. It didn’t matter, plain and simple!
I was ready to face the consequences regarding Snape and was aware that I had never stood a real chance against him, he was just to battle hardened and experienced. He would have put me through the mangle if Draco and George hadn’t arrived. Only my not very ladylike starting move had let me hurt him. As I said, I didn’t overestimate my abilities.
Also, I knew that he wouldn’t easily forgive my attack on his person, but if it had opened his eyes only a little bit, it would be worth it. That Harry was by now behaving like the Dark Lord and laughing madly because the latter was happy, made my reaction appear not the least bit excessive, on the contrary, it was more than justified.
“Stay out of this, Ginny!” came the demand, unusually cold for most of the Gryffindors who only knew the Twins good-humoured at all times, from George who was descending the stairs, nipping her protest in the bud. She looked at him shocked about the harsh tone.
George! .. Thanks!” I knew what was appropriate, though he hadn’t expected it, the way he looked at me now with confusion. “What?” I asked him directly.
“You are thanking me? Are you sure making the acquaintance of the shelf hasn’t damaged your head?” he enquired worriedly, ignoring the loud noises the lions made upon this insightful revelation.
I waved it off, declaring: “Believe me, a stone wall hurts more and with them I make close contact more often than I like. Wood doesn’t come close in the slightest!” He stepped closer and raised my chin.
“You and your hobbies! Wood leaves abrasions just as well. Should I heal them?” he examined me, smiling slightly.
“No, that isn’t necessary. I’ll do it later. But I am serious, thank you! How is Harry?”
“Better. He’s sleeping! … What now?” He asked softly, but still earnestly. He, too, prefered to ignore our house mates.
“We move on, we always do, George. It’s the first rule! I’ll see what I can do for Harry. For now I have made my position clear, now it’s his move to make!” As Ron was the only other one to know where Harry had been, his pale face was the one I now focussed on. He looked back at me with wide eyes, he had inferred that I had been at Snape’s and nodded at me understanding my silent request that he would keep quiet. We three would talk tomorrow. Sometimes I was proud of Ron when he acted like now and remained silent, understanding what I wanted him to do.
“You are not afraid?” George enquired carefully and I broke off my eye contact with Ron, instead looking at the Twin with bewilderment.
“Not at all, I am sure!” I declared, deadly serious, reaching for my mark in an unconscious gesture, prompting George’s gaze to dart there as well. A second later, the familiar twinkle returned to his eyes and all worries seemed to be forgotten when he realised that I was truly safe, thanks to Draco!
“I see! That is good. I really like him!” he informed me, nodding enthusiastically and I laughed out loud as well.
My reputation in Gryffindor might be in tatters now, but that had been worth it to me, hence I addressed the pride in my role of Prefect:
“Go to bed, curfew is long gone,” I ordered sweetly, and could witness many fleeing at one, likely because I was looking frightening.