When Hermione Fights
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 A Stage-Worthy Departure, chapter 84

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Anzahl der Beiträge : 107
Anmeldedatum : 25.10.14
Ort : Bodensee

A Stage-Worthy Departure, chapter 84 Empty
BeitragThema: A Stage-Worthy Departure, chapter 84   A Stage-Worthy Departure, chapter 84 EmptySa Okt 13, 2018 8:30 am

Chapter beta: Dani
Chapter translator: Aivy & Sophie

When I made my way to the tower in an amazingly good mood, I was very happy with my decision to go to Draco; it had been the right thing to do and had been very important for me. I was grateful and happy that I had him, that there was nothing between us, even though I could hardly believe it, but I just accepted it unreservedly and was glad to have found someone in Draco who could understand me without many words and helped me in such an incredible way, as if he understood even better what was needed to heal me. I felt more grounded than I had been for a long time.

My ability to accept my fate and be at peace with unpleasant memories in such a short time amazed me again but I was very grateful that it was so, for the life I had chosen would make short work of me if I didn’t have that ability and sooner or later, it would drive me insane!

But so I was cautiously looking forward to seeing Snape again and annoy him.

Thus lost in thought, I entered what should be an empty common room, which was not as empty as I had assumed, as I quickly realised. I was struck by the clear sounds of rough, passionate, and, above all, consensual sex: groaning, panting, little screams, and the slapping sound of sweaty skin meeting again and again. I spotted two people opportunising the couch with passionate lovemaking of the kind that only the Twins could indulge in. My mouth opened in horror. Were they crazy? At this time? Anyone could see them, see Fred fucking George’s brains out again! Nah, so why did I always have to see that? Especially after my drastic experience yesterday? At least they had a lot of fun, as I heard loudly!

They once again delivered a borderline, sexual experience. Was my life just about sex since yesterday? Guys, there really are more important things! I shook my head fatalistically and somehow felt tired.

However, at that moment it was already over. Both proclaimed happily their shared climax and thus the mission was successfully completed; they had inaugurated the couch - some would say desecrated. When they discovered me and their eyes widened in a short surprise, life came into them, but I would like to emphasise that they appeared neither abashed nor embarrassed.

“Hermione, you’re back. Thank Merlin, you are fine! We were worried!” The words gushed out of them. I held my hand over my eyes as Fred ran unclothed towards me, in his naked glory. I didn’t want to see and know what he looked like in detail, really. Damn it. I had said in earnest that I had seen enough cocks for the near future. And why the two always expressed their concern for me with physical proximity? Well, I found that very twin-like. Should I feel honoured now? This ironic thought slipped through my damaged brain.

“Please, cover yourself!” I begged with a whimper. George quickly spelled their clothes on, in a show of unusual empathy, so there had to be something in my voice that wasn’t usually there.

“What happened? Blaise activated his coin yesterday and told us you came to Draco. But why did you stay so long? What happened, most beautiful?” Their tête-à-tête seemed forgotten and they pulled me to my chair and pushed me inside. Even though they were still out of breath and their faces slightly red, they seemed receptive.

“A lot... Firstly, I was successful; secondly, Snape... knows now…” Impulsively, I laid my hand on my mark and the Twins glanced at each other meaningfully but did not say anything, astonishingly empathic. The little sneaks would probably run to Draco and question him. Fine with me. “And then I ran into Lucius. I was so exhausted, I needed Draco and... did anyone notice? And what were you thinking? Everyone could have surprised you!” I asked my questions in quick succession.

“Woah, one after the other… You may be able to multitask, but we don’t. Will you tell us what it was you were successful in? Crap, that with Snape. Though, going by the lovely expression on your face we will gratefully forgo further enquiry,” George said and Fred corroborated with a firm nod. “So what was next?”

“Lucius. She said she ran into Malfoy, George!” Fred prompted quickly.

“Wait, I want to say something to the first point. Yes, I'll tell you all during the summer holidays at the Cottage! And thanks for not asking. It isn’t that important though. Now he knows. Lucius was in the pub and hit on me, but I was able to get away. There comes to mind, before we clarify the next point: You ratted me out to Draco!” I threatened them with a raised forefinger, pretending to be angry, but the two looked at me with calm eyes. I wanted to know why. However, after the developments I was actually happy about it and didn’t want to scold them; I just wanted to understand their motivations.

“That's right. Your decision to simply go without telling him was wrong and we hope you forgive us, but we think we acted right. Draco’s mask briefly slipped when we told him you're leaving. He was worried… Just don’t tell him we noticed !” both asked me worriedly and I nodded curtly.

“No no. You were right, I should have told Draco. But it doesn’t matter any longer. Now say, why are you doing it so publicly?” I pointed to the couch, quickly changing the subject.

“Right, you don’t know the news yet. Harry wants to talk to Sirius shortly via Umbitch's fireplace…”

“What? Is he crazy? Are you all crazy?!” I cried in dismay. That happened when I was indisposed for one night. They only got up to consistently stupid ideas.

“Yeah… We’ll start in half an hour to really make for a sleepless night. Only this time we won’t need an alibi! We're gonna leave for good. That was our farewell to the Tower, and I'll tell you one thing… I’ve had enough! We sent the whole tower to dinner as an alibi, so we knew we were going to be undisturbed,” said Fred stubbornly and crossed his arms over his chest. Downright challenging, he stared at me as if expecting me to try to keep them here at Hogwarts, and so I raised my hands in a conciliatory gesture.

“If you want to leave, I won’t hold you back. What is it that Harry wants?” I expressed my irritation. With a hand gesture, I showed my assent.

“He didn’t tell us anything except that he needs to know how his father was like…” Fred said with a shrug. I understood Harry quite well, but did he have to do such daring acts? I would have to dismantle the warding spells for him so he could invade; he wouldn’t be able to do that on his own. Above all, he wouldn’t be able to handle the black curse. I groaned in annoyance. Couldn’t even one day go by without nerve-wracking action? I asked myself this question thoroughly miffed and blew an annoying, curly strand out of my field of sight.

“Okay, I’ll help you. Otherwise, Harry will never get into her office.” I rubbed my throbbing temples, which were starting to hurt. On the other hand, I wondered if this was not exactly the distraction I needed after yesterday so that I wouldn’t have to think about the night with Snape.

“How do you know?” George enquired curiously.

“Because I used an opportunity recently and broke in. The fine woman doesn’t even stop at warding her front door with a black curse. Without my help Harry doesn’t stand a chance of getting inside!”

“What? Wicked!”

“How cool is that?”

“Congratulations! You burgled the Bitch! Gee, you have balls, Hermione!”

“Do you want to marry us?”

“We worship you!” The two berks made me laugh out loud. It was incredibly liberating to laugh so freely. The two did me a world of good; I would miss them.

“Oh, you are impossible…!” I chuckled, still amused.

“Oh, that reminds me, because of the little brunette: We told Harry that she thinks he's hot. You should have seen how he blushed. Was so cute. Sometimes you just want to cuddle him!” Fred was very moved and George rolled his eyes.

“Okay, and what does that mean? What was his reaction and why did you tell him?” I wanted to know now. My interest was piqued and leaned forward slightly.

“So, Blaise told us about your performance in the common room. Very amusing, very funny! Too bad that we weren’t allowed to see you like that! Blaise outright acted it out, it was awesome... Hahaha... Well, and we liked what he told us about the conversation so we thought, Harry would never consciously notice the glances anyway, so why not give him a push! Sometimes he’s blind even with glasses. Really, even Ron is sharper than he is!” George explained snarkily.

“He also needs perspectives. What happened lately, about which neither you nor he is willing to speak, occupies him so much that we wanted to get him out of his shell and I think it worked; it has cracks! He had a strong focus on her this morning. I think he likes her!” said Fred visibly satisfied and showed a dangerously shrewd smile.

“Yes, but she’s a snake!” I doubted Harry and his broad-mindedness.

“Well, don’t forget, beautiful... He must have told you too, that the hat actually wanted to put him into Slytherin!” George argued diplomatically and looked at me with mock innocence.

“What, you too?” I was really surprised. I thought I was the only one he had told. This was nothing that annoyed me but rather pleased me that Harry opened himself somewhat to others.

“Yeah, we found him crying in his second year near Dumbledore's office, quite upset, and he told us the story. He was very agitated. We then sent him to speak to you, so that you could calm him down again and make him see that it isn’t the end of the world!” George explained readily.

“Oh, now I understand why he only wanted to talk to me. You were the reason! Did you tell him not to tell Ron? He was very panicked back then!” I recalled.

“Yes, we don’t think Ron could stand above it. He really dislikes the snakes!” They rolled contemptuously their almost identical eyes over the antics of their youngest brother.

“But let’s roll back. Because of that, I... uh... we think Harry doesn’t have such a narrow view. If he likes the girl, he won’t be deterred. I think I even saw a delicate, blindingly quick, bashful blink. He is too cute... so awkward! We are keen to see where this is going!”

“Phew, you bunk and I'm the one that will have to do all the work. I like that!” I actually laughed in amusement. Then I pointed to myself. “But tell me, is there any trouble with the others?”

“Nah, you might just want to banish your twin from the bed. Ginny found you asleep and meant that if you sleep so deeply, you'll need it. I think she was glad to have unrestricted access to Harry for once. The poor boy! But he did well!” George told me, and I waved my wand and released the spell that kept my Geminio in my bed.

“How much time do we have before you say goodbye to Hogwarts forever? Will you go to the cottage?” I asked for the most important facts.

“Above the house in the Diagon Alley is a small apartment, but it’s intended for Jordan later. So yes, if you don’t mind, we would have wanted to do it that way!” George pussyfooted around and looked mischievously at me under lowered eyelids.

“Then it makes me happy that the cottage won’t remain vacant!” I immediately agreed and slapped his thigh encouragingly.

“Thanks, Hermione. How much rent do you want?” he asked and I looked up, perplexed.

“Huh, none. Give me, when I need it, your ingenious spirit, that's enough for me. I have enough money,” I waved the question off almost offended.

“Thank you. You are the best, most beautiful!” someone screamed too loud and both pounced on me with exuberant joy and included me in a warm hug group. One each kissed my cheeks clearly too wet. When they broke away, George continued to downplay his emotion: “But come on, it’ll start immediately. How are you going to do it?”

“This way!” I said mysteriously and became invisible from one moment to the next in the armchair in front of their eyes. “I’ll go to the office of the toad and break the spells!” They stared at me with mouths wide open.

“Bloody brilliant!”

“How cool is that?”

“You are always good for a surprise!”


“And exactly; do it like that. You’ll love the chaos that we’ll sow. There is also a new invention we want to introduce...It’s going to be unforgettable!” Fred said visibly proud and ruffled his wild hair.

“Draco doesn’t agree with you!” I stated as I looked into their faces, glowing with excitement and anticipation.

“If the boy has got one thing down, it’s the right performance. He can do that like none other!” both praised and I laughed briefly. That they all would get along so well, who would have believed that?

Thus we three climbed through the portrait hole and walked briskly on our ways. I left them quietly and silently, thanks to my spells, walking purposefully toward the Defence Classroom, and as soon as I entered the classroom, I immediately set about dismantling the spells.

When I suddenly heard a hellish noise, I had to smile. Wild screaming and calling sounded, making me almost deaf, so I hurried even more and then I noticed the door opening as ‘no-one’ entered. That was probably Harry under the Invisibility Cloak! I felt the gentle breeze as he passed me and stayed in place, not that we collided in our invisibility.

Okay, sorry, Harry was my friend, sure, but sometimes as stupid as Snape always claimed. He had simply stomped in, just knocked the door open and entered. What did the boy think a wand was for? I was fuming and it didn’t even bother me to call on Snape.

Without me, Umbridge would be on the way here with flying colours. I was standing in disgust at the bottom of the stairs, not wanting Harry to know I didn’t need an invisibility cloak. Furthermore, if he wanted, he would tell me about the conversation. After that night, I could really do without seeing Sirius face. I didn’t have to be there.

After ten minutes all of a sudden, without warning, the class door was torn open, a shuffling, hectic Filch hurrying through, his thin, long, grey strands flying through the air. His mouth was tight with a mad grin as he stopped at Umbridge's door. He put a key on it and the door opened. Gee, the old toad really trusted the guy. After a few seconds, blissfully smiling, he stormed out of the room again with a piece of paper in his old, sticky hands, and I assumed quite daringly that Harry noticed his arrival early and ended the interview in good time. But with the noise the caretaker was making it was no wonder.

As if by magic, the door opened and closed again. When I was sure that Harry was gone, I rebuild the wards as even the key didn’t break them, it only let Filch enter unimpeded leaving the spells intact. And so I worked routinely quickly and then left hurriedly. I took the spells off of me and approached the loud screaming and shouting and thus the centre of unrest.

The whole castle seemed to have gathered. In the middle of the central entrance hall, I made out the massive crowd, in the middle of which glowed the Twins' bright, orange-red hair, and I noticed Umbridge and Filch plodding down the moving stairs. Which was not easy, because the stairs abruptly changed direction, as if they wanted to annoy Filch especially and he could hardly get past the gawking, sensationalist students who blocked the stairs. The portraits also made vociferous comments and increased the cacophony. It was a perfect chaos.

I leaned over the railing and spotted Harry two floors below me, without his invisibility cloak, and made my way straight to him. Downstairs, all the teachers were gathered, even Snape. He stood out leaning against a wall in the background in his dark robe for he was the calm in the midst of chaos. All the ghosts of Hogwarts were present too, watching the unique spectacle hovering in the air, making the surroundings even more unreal.

I approached Harry and put my hand on his arm, which made him turn to me. When he recognized me, a smile stole onto his face but the expression in his eyes didn’t look happy. This inevitably raised the question of how the conversation went, and I raised an eyebrow questioningly.

“Later, Hermione, later!” He put a finger to his lips and pointed into the depths. Suddenly Umbridge's unbearable voice echoed, amplified by a Sonorus, through the corridors which made me wince as a result of the croaking, almost unbearable pitch.

“Students, I hereby announce that Educational Decree No. 29, which reintroduces corporal punishment, will now come into effect and those two who are responsible for the deed of having made several corridors and passages unusable will be the first!” Her words echoed through the castle and everyone looked shocked by this threat. Now I understood the crazy smile on Filch's lips; finally, his long-awaited wish would come true. Only that a devilish grin also crept on my lips since I knew that this decree would never be applied on the twins.

And so it happened. I witnessed live how they both raised their wands and performed a first-rate nonverbal spell as I had taught them. Suddenly their brooms whizzed towards them over the heads of everybody present and they mounted deftly and made the completely surprised toad with her slip of paper look quite stupid. They skilfully shot into the air as well-gifted fliers and hovered confidently.

“From now on our shop is open! Weasley's Wizard Wheezes, in Diagon Alley. Everything we have demonstrated this year is also part of our extensive product range. We look forward to seeing you. Have fun with the Portable Swamp; it's as hard to get rid off as it looks!” George explained all of us in great detail calmly hovering under the high ceiling. His Sonorus carried his voice far.

“Exactly. And those who promise to use our products against the pink toad get a discount!” Fred's voice now sounded and students' eyes, wide open, stared at him in disbelief. I bit back a laugh as my gaze fell on the teachers, who looked all shocked and astonished by this theatre, although they were amazingly holding back and evidently not dreaming of stopping the Twins.

Then Fred reached into his pocket and threw a package to the ground, which was already going off at that moment. Like the last time, the firecrackers and bangers lit and Umbridge immediately shrieked startled. Her still magically amplified voice was more than loud, while her stupid pink robes caught fire.

She started frantically running in circles and Filch tried hopelessly to erase the fire. It was too funny of a sight. Many students laughed at the monkey dance that those two idiots were performing. The other professors watched the dramatic events markedly unaffected while the various rockets and firecrackers again chased students and anything flammable they could find.

The Twins took advantage of the chaos that erupted as the students began to flee headlessly over the moving staircases for a last greeting. There was a confusing hustle and bustle while the flying Twins clapped with Peeves saluting in front of them and flew out of the portal in a stage-worthy performance. They disappeared into the night-black sky and left a true battlefield behind.

Harry grabbed my hand and pulled me away to a secret passage that led from the first floor via intricate detours to the seventh. It was good that we went like this, because after a short look down the hall to our entrance into the tower we saw the swamp spectacle that had spread out like a brown soup in front of it and made it virtually impossible for the Gryffindors to get to the Tower as the ground seemed bottomless with stinking, muddy, disgusting swamp broth, a veritable bog. We continued on our way to the Room of Requirement.

As we snuggled into the cosy sitting area, we looked closely at each other and started laughing out loud at the epic idea of the Twins. The performance was simply wonderful. So much ingenuity would go down in the annals of Hogwarts history, for Umbridge would never get the magic behind the swamp, not being a powerful or well-read witch; that was too wonderful and she seemed like she would have to wait a long time for the staff's help.

“Say, Hermione, are you feeling better again? I was worried,” Harry asked breathlessly after we had caught ourselves again and wiped the tears out of the corners of our eyes.

“Thanks, Harry, I’m fine. I feel ready to take on anything. Sleeping has done me a world of good!” I beamed at him. And thanks to Draco's care, I added in my mind.

“You know that you are pushing yourself too hard with studying?” he scolded me earnestly and shot me a disapproving look.

“If you're serious, Harry, then yes! Do you know why the Twins did that?” I pointed over my shoulder.

“Mh-hm, yes, although you won’t be pleased if I tell you, but I want to talk to you about it!” he confessed quite freely and this openness made me grin happily.

“I'm glad that you do, Harry. Go on!” I requested and was really happy that he volunteered to tell me about the conversation.

“So, Snape’s memory... I was unsure and I wanted to know what Sirius had to say about it. Of course, I couldn’t and didn’t break my promise not to mention the scene explicitly. I didn’t want that either, it's nobody's business anyway!” He put his glasses down, grabbed the bridge of his nose and took a deep breath. “That really occupied my mind, what kind of people my parents were... I chatted a bit with the Twins and said I needed to talk to Sirius and that I didn’t know how to last until the summer and then the two lunatics offered their plan. That they wanted to get away anyway and could give me time for a short conversation. Well, it worked!” He didn’t look exactly happy but satisfied that it had.

“And what then? Did you talk to Sirius?”

“Yes. Remus was there as well.” He looked at his hands and played with his light sweater with an air of awkwardness. “I wanted to know what happened between my father and Snape. Also why they all didn’t get along with him!” He sank into silence and I didn’t break it, waiting. I had time to spare.

“I don’t know if I’m getting obsessed and why I take that so seriously. Am I overreacting?” He looked at me overwhelmed, sounding very uncertain and showing his unease by biting his lower lip.

“No, Harry, I don’t think so. You have a right to the truth and not just those beautified memories that others always give you! This glorification of people is usually not the truth!” I explained softly and he nodded in agreement before continuing.

“Thank you! … Well, what should I say? They hummed and hawed. But I didn’t let up and then they both admitted that they had done a lot of mischief as the Marauders and especially James as the leader of the group, but that he had been a good and loyal friend despite the stupid, adolescent showing off. And that when he grew up, he wouldn’t jinx anyone for the fun of it any longer... I didn’t want to know that at all! I wanted to know what was going on, why he could do anything so cruel, and why Mum was running around so self-righteously. But they tell me he is a loyal friend. Hello? Of course, he was nice to them, although I have my doubts about even that by now…” He let out a deep groan and slumped slightly.

“And why?” I asked, perplexed. That train of thought hadn’t come to my mind up until now.

“Well, there must be a reason why Wormtail defected, and if James treated his enemies like that, I don’t know how he was with his ‘friends’. Do you understand what's been going on in my head? There has to be a reason and a cause for everything!” Wow! Harry explained his thoughts very emphatically and really seemed to have dealt with the matter down to the smallest detail. Hats off, where he was right, he was right. To my shame, I hadn’t yet thought it through to that end.

“Yes, I understand what you mean. Peter must have felt not as comfortable in the group as the others. How else can you explain his breach of trust?”

“Exactly. And the bad thing is: Are Sirius and Remus truly not dealing with their past? Were they so vicious in their ‘pranks’ that they turned even friends into enemies? After what I've seen with Snape and the umming and erring earlier, to my chagrin, I’m not tending to judge in their favour,” Harry confessed very sadly and repeatedly sighed deeply and unhappily, looking at me depressed.

“Oh, Harry. I mean, you didn’t have much time…” I insisted, but then he interrupted me impertinently.

“Hermione, stop protecting them! These are adult men, you’d think, and I'm no longer a baby either. Isn’t it enough that they make such a fuss about this prophecy stuff? Must they really all treat me like a fool? I'm incredibly disappointed with Sirius. I thought he was the one who is always honest with me, but Snape is much more relentlessly open! What do they think?! That finding out where you come from and who you are in small bits and pieces is easier and more fun? I don’t feel taken seriously at all. Or am I just imagining it?” He was now crimson in the face with rage. The magical tension in the room had clearly increased and I understood him to the core.

“No, Harry! I agree with you, especially since it is your life that they are talking about. I also find it bad that Snape's memories probably are one-hundred percent authentic. And your thoughts about Peter might be going in the right direction. However, as you say, both don’t throw a positive light on anything! I... I'm so sorry for you... What do you plan to do now?” I put my hand reassuringly on Harry’s arm because I was very worried about him.

“I think it’s time I grew up. My parents don’t define who I am, I do and the decisions I make! And I don’t like to meet with ignorance. I finally want to know everything; just how can I achieve that? Well, I think about that all the time!” He sounded jaded to my ears.

“Harry! I would have to tell you so much but I'm planning all this for the summer holidays. Would that be okay for you? My findings have nothing to do with the Marauders or anything like that though, but they are very interesting nonetheless…” I was nagged by my guilty conscience as I blinked uneasily at him. Meanwhile, he watched me closely, tilting his shaggy head to the side.

“Sure, I think it's great that you finally want to tell me what’s driving you so clearly, but alright, I can wait... But regarding the other thing? There I don’t want to wait any longer. I practice and practice this fucking Occlumency with you and with Snape and it's getting better, but I always see that bloody door. I know, HE shows me that, I'm not completely stupid, but you know what? Just to show the others that their secretiveness isn’t doing anyone any good, I would almost prefer to go voluntarily. Isn’t that bloody mad?” He shook his head agitatedly and hid it in his hands. I believed him without question that it drove him into desperation.

“...but say, Hermione. I think it's nice of you but how do you plan on informing me during the summer holidays when I'm locked up at my relatives’?” he said in a husky voice, seeming a bit sadder still.

“You trust me, don’t you?” I asked timidly.

“Always!” It came immediately as if shot from a wand, which elicited a grateful smile from me.

“That's nice... One day I will come, yes, to the Muggles and then you’ll have to be fast, under your invisibility cloak, and follow me and then... then you will learn everything!” I promised fervently. His mouth opened and he stared at me flabbergasted.

“Okay... now you are scaring me. What are you up to? I don’t think the Order, Sirius, or Dumbledore would approve of me just taking off!” He looked at me pointedly. “Do you always have to be so cryptic?” he moaned in frustration and after the thing with the ‘adults’ holding back information and outright lying, I knew that honesty towards Harry would be vitally important.

“Sorry, Harry. Yes, I’m sure about that. However, I’ll have the opportunity to get you out of there by then and I see no reason that you should endure the whole holiday with these cruel people. With me, you can spend your time more usefully!” I hissed angrily and narrowed my eyes.

“You are getting mightily worked up but it’s all double Dutch to me!” His green eyes gazed at me blankly.

“I know. I'm sorry too. But I'll take you where you're as protected as Grimmauld Place, don’t worry,” I appeased him and remained a bit stubborn after all.

“I don’t! As I said, I trust you. When you come I’ll be ready; I won’t even unpack!” he offered trustfully and I was very touched, gratefully pressing his thigh.

“Do that!”

“You’re upset!” He skillfully looked behind my mask.

“Yes, Harry. I still do not understand why you had to stay for eleven years in that horrible environment. But forget it…” I huffed like an angry horse.

“I like it when you speak up for me, thank you! ... What do you have to say about the departure of the Twins?” He probably wanted to change the topic and I accepted gratefully.

“Impressive!” I grinned a diabolical and very dirty smile.

“Not more? I thought Prefect Hermione would be indignant. The two have just thrown away their opportunity to graduate, just before the end!” He showed himself surprised by my acceptance.

“No. It is their decision. And let’s be honest, I don’t see them behind a desk. They do what they want!” I explained, a bit proud.

“Wow. I didn’t think you would accept their decision like that. That astonishes me... but don’t get it wrong ... in a totally positive way!” he said, shaken, and I laughed harshly.

“Harry, what do you think of me? I cannot control somebody else’s life! And believe me, I would never interfere in the Twins’ lives; they know quite well what is best for them. I don’t consider myself all-knowing,” I replied quickly, chuckling as Harry looked at me with something like a new awareness in the emerald green eyes.

“Ron and Lavender and some more would beg to differ!” he quipped.

“Certainly, but with Ron and Lav I wouldn’t necessarily assume that they actually know what’s best for them.” I gave a clever retort and Harry laughed briefly.

“And with me?” he enquired curiously.

“Hm. You are on a good way as long as you're ready to take advice,” I allowed candidly, stroking a stray strand of hair behind my ear.

“Mh-hm. Acceptable!” Harry decided after a moment of pondering, rubbing his neck.

“I'm glad, Harry, really!” I beamed at him happily.

“Tell me something different: Where does this security come from thinking that you know the Twins so well?” he wanted to know then and looked at me quite predatorily. I twisted the corners of my mouth before I made up my mind what to answer:

“This is one of the things that you should learn about during the holidays. One of the secrets, as you put it! I'm good friends with the Twins, have been for years, more so than with Ron. I also invested 1,000 Galleons in their business, as you did! Don’t look like that, we get along really well!” I finally acknowledged my friendship with the Red Devils and earned a stunned look through round lenses.

“Wow. But why are you making such a secret out of it? I don’t understand it. I mean, I like the Twins too, don’t I? But that you like each other seems slightly strange... You and these two chaotics…? That doesn’t really fit - at least at first glance!” He stated, confused. I was really looking forward to how Harry would react if he learned about the Twins’ intimate relationship. For now, my friendship with them already seemed to take him by surprise.

It was like this - I didn’t want to speak for the Twins - that our friendship was based on meeting in the Restricted Section, exploring dark magic, and encountering each other having sex.

“Unfortunately, it is not up to me to tell you this. That's the Twins’ business and not mine. Sorry, Harry!” I said apologetically and he looked at me with wide-eyed irritation.

“Is it bad? I mean, do you have more of those… revelations?” he echoed, dumbfounded.

“Yes! Yes, I do. But here is neither the right place nor the right time. As I said, during the holidays. I'll pick you up from Privet Drive, I promise!” I smiled encouragingly and silently asked for understanding, knowing that I was taxing what little patience he had.

“You’ll get in trouble for that!” Harry warned and I waved it off as he continued to speak. “Not that I'm against it, I'll be the first to bunk off!” he admitted solemnly.

“Very well. It’s a deal!” I said determinedly and then Harry was already pressing on:

“One more thing: The Twins pointed out something to me this morning. At breakfast, there is a girl who might be into me... Um...! Arhg, somehow they have their fingers in every pie!” he pointed out precisely and bit his lips, looking so wonderfully shy and nervous. Let him face him the Dark Lord and he pulls out his wand; let him face a girl he likes and the boy has no clue what to do. Too cute!

“That would be nice after the disappointment of Cho and the realisation that you don’t feel that way for Ginny,” I encouraged him at once.

“Mh-hm, quite true, yes!” he murmured very quietly; I barely understood him.

“What? Don’t you like her or what drives you?” I questioned him.

“No, not that. I think she's even prettier than Cho!” he was quick to deny and he blushed fiercely.

“Ooh la la. What’s impeding you then?”

“She’s a Slytherin!” he rattled down quickly, very embarrassed, and I laughed.

“Yes, so what Harry? There's nothing wrong with it, is it? Just because she's a snake... when she's nice?” I waved permissively.

“But maybe her parents are Death Eaters?” he demurred worriedly and looked at me reserved, almost shyly.

“Didn’t you just say it yourself a couple of minutes ago that it's only your actions that define who you are, and not your parents' deeds, Harry?” I reminded him of his own words a little harshly.

“Oh, you're right!” He now smiled shyly and bashfully ran a hand through his hair.

“If you fancy her, does she reciprocate it?”

“Don’t know. Fred said she’s always giving me that look! And when I glanced her way for a moment, she quickly looked away!” He shrugged uneasily.

“Aha. Who are we talking about?” I enquired with pretended ignorance.

“Oh yes, sorry! I completely forgot about that. Her name is Greengrass, Daphne Greengrass!” He blushed all over again.

“Oh, the little pretty one. Yes, she is very attractive and so different from Parkinson and her shadow Bulstrode!”

“Do you think she could be the one?” he asked hopefully.

“Harry, your question is impossible to answer at this point in time! But let it come to you, you have my blessings!” I patted his arm amiably and we were silent for a moment until Harry said, moving on to the next topic:

“Thank you! Oh, tomorrow school starts again and then there is the last game, with Ron. Ravenclaw against us!”

“I think we'll have to cheer up Ron. Oh, curfew starts in just a few minutes. Let’s go, not that we get in any more trouble. I guess the toad won’t cope well with the humiliations.”

Hence, we hurried through marshy, musty aisles to our common room, where a party was still going. The Twins were celebrated like heroes who won a battle.

From today onwards, they were Hogwarts’ legends!

The next day, there was still a chaotic bustle all around as the normal schoolday routine was impossible to adhere to thanks to the farewell spectacle of the Twins and the so far not yet eliminated swamps, which were only to crossable by punts. It was an almost unmanageable task to get to the classrooms.

However, all the professors seemed to endure it with unexpected long-suffering that these obstacles were delaying their students, so we three valiantly fought our way through Hogwarts. It was like tracking through a bog.

From hour to hour, the abominable stench increased. Many of the students covertly played additional pranks, driving Umbridge further towards insanity as she was overwhelmed by her supervisory and controlling duties. You could see her rushing through the corridors, from one end of the castle to the other.

Peeves took the assignment he had received from the Red Devils extremely seriously and accompanied the toad at every turn like a recalcitrant shadow and made her existence truly hell with his enervating, relentless manner.

Since Ron was still appalled by his brothers' callousness, wondering what Molly would say about her kids dropping out of school and where they got the money for a shop in Diagon Alley, Harry confessed in the morning that he had given the two the tournament money back then.

This left Ron with his mouth gaping in disbelief and he did nothing but stutter for the rest of the school day, which was great entertainment. When he finally caught himself, Ron said Harry should seek protection from his mum if she ever found out that his money had given them the opportunity to drop out of school prematurely. I agreed with Ron from the bottom of my heart, it would be better for all our nerves if she never found out.

Finally, it was time for our last lesson before lunch which was also the last lesson of the day: Potions, as my luck would have it. Yes, that wasn’t really a surprise.

Then the Quidditch match with Ron would take place and so we started the precarious and protracted descent into the dungeons and made just barely in time before the big, wooden door closed with a loud, final bang. I held my breath briefly to then show the most indifferent and uninvolved face which I was capable of because now it was time. I looked at him coldly, taking my usual seat in the front row and felt Draco's eyes on me. I returned his look briefly and noticed the contented sparkle in his eyes when he saw my perfect mask, worthy of a Malfoy, and so a light, satisfied smile graced his even lips.

The professor strictly refused to look in my direction. I had shot him one or two calculating looks under my lowered eyelids but his black, long hair always blocked the view. He probably thought he could just make it easy for himself and ignore me, preferring to correct essays while we brewed our potions in quiet, anxious silence, but I was seething and it only increased with the cutting nature of his behaviour. To ignore me like that! He probably thought that if he didn’t look at me he might undo it. I would show him that I wouldn’t stand for that, not in this life!

When the bell announced the redemptive end of this seemingly endless hour, everyone quickly ran out of the classroom as it was now time to get ready for Quidditch and then lunch before the game began. I also stormed out of the room and then slowed down again.

“Hermione, come on. What’s up?” Ron asked impatiently and stopped next to me.

“I left my book!” I said apologetically and hit my forehead.

“For real?” came the expected, very annoyed exclamation.

“Go ahead, guys, I'll catch up soon. See you!” I declared jovially and the two took to their heels and whizzed away. I squared my shoulders and my back became ramrod straight. Presumably, I was one brick short of a full load to approach and confront him now. But how had I put it so nicely? I loved to play.

Thus, I stood in the open door and watched him sitting behind his big, bulky desk in this relatively dark vaulted room. He had stopped writing, had laid down his quill and was burying his face in his hands. This usually so unbending man sat here hiding, as it appeared, behind his hair which fell like a veil over his clear-cut features.

As I stared at the otherwise so upright Snape - what did I feel in my heart? - I folded my arms over my dull school uniform and cocked my head. Nothing! Terrifying, but true. I didn’t feel sorry for him though I strongly suspected I knew the reason for his stooped posture.

Rather, I felt a devilish joy about catching him in a troubled minute, in order to stab him even more with the figurative knife I had honed carefully. So I grinned nastily as I crept forward soft-footed because in my mind I saw, again and again, his evil deed and how ruthless he had been to me.

The moment he noticed me - not me personally, more a general sense on an instinctive level that he was no longer alone - his heavy-clothed shoulders squared and he quickly lowered his hands, then jerkily raised his head and fixed me with a piercing look.

I saw that his black iris flickered briefly as he finally recognised and perceived me. I was standing next to him at his desk. He pushed himself off the edge and straightened in his chair, looking up at me with a spiteful pull on the corners of his mouth.

“What do you want, Miss Granger?” he sneered in his usual manner, oily voice and all, complete with his customary disdainful gaze.

Not intimidated by his behaviour or gestures, I merely raised my chin proudly and his expression belied his impatience when I didn’t answer immediately. I noticed how he started to say something venomous again and beat him to it:

“You owe me something, Professor!” I spoke very accentuated and was able to observe how my icy demand was received as his pupils widened in astonishment despite all the masks in place. I could downright see that it rattled within him, trying to discern the meaning of my words, though he didn’t condescend to ask.

“You didn’t pay me!” I spat coldly as I raked my hands down my sides to emphasize that he had owned my body. His mouth closed in a furious line and he looked at me again with that wildness in his eyes which said so much about the otherwise so emotionally cold man. I drove him to his limits again, only today I would defend myself.

“Did your mind suffer, Miss Granger?” he snarled coldly and crossed his arms to prevent himself from forcibly turning my neck which brought a sardonic smile to my face and made him look even more skeptical.

“Not more than usual, sir! I would describe it as crisp. But seriously, you had your fun and that twice and hey, you cannot say you did not come!” I taunted.

“Miss Granger, you forget yourself!” he reprimanded me sharply.

“You seem to have forgotten to pay for my services, sir!” I provoked further. Now his chair creaked over the rough stone floor. As he straightened up quickly and rose to his full height, the chair tumbled over and landed with a loud bang in the otherwise quiet room. He took a threatening step forward. I had expected this and stepped back.

“They seem to have recovered remarkably well if you are already so insolent today. Did I not stuff your mouth sufficiently? You can not rile me!” he hissed very frostily and goose bumps spread over my body at the memories of my humiliation at his hands. Yet at the same time, my resistance flared up to a blaze.

I can’t? On the contrary, sir, I think I will manage just fine!

“Well, maybe you were not nearly as good as you hoped for? And I think that I do get under your skin!” What came over me to reply so cheekily and boldly? Revenge. Why did I want to get my fingers burnt? Well, my senseless pride.

I saw directly how I managed every second to drive him more into a rage. His laboriously maintained control - after I had found him so vulnerable anyway - continued to decrease and I irritated him to the death. He lunged forward and I backed away, sure of my escape. The door was open after all so that I could disappear quickly.

I felt my back hit wood and frowned in confusion, but when I saw his cold predatory grin I knew he had closed the door silently with magic. Well, blame yourself, you should never leave your escape route out of your sight. I was terribly annoyed by my own stupidity. I had been so blinded by my thirst for vengeance that I had generously overlooked this elementary knowledge.

And already he was there, putting both hands next to my head, eying me in that roughly-sensual way and I forced myself to meet his eyes stoically and calmly. Just don’t show any emotions or nervousness.

“You stupid girl! Do you have to push it to the extreme? Was the last time not enough for you?” he whispered coldly into my face. Brutally calculating, I thought about how I could unsettle him again.

To ram my knee into his privates, as once before, would be very satisfying, as I determined inwardly. Unfortunately, he was just waiting for that, so I did the only thing that I hoped would take him by surprise: I overcame the short distance of our lips, pressed my mouth to his angry line and licked it with the tip of my tongue. Immediately, he broke away from me with a brusque jerk and pulled back, thus giving me some room again.

“How dare you?” he hissed furiously and was apparently actually stunned by my act. Provocatively, I licked over my lips, focussing his attention on my mouth. Then I went for the doorknob, pushed it down and again looked at him with all of my focus.

“How I dare? … Well, I just wanted to show you what Draco can have every day..., sir!” I hissed now, a malicious gleam in my eyes, and left. I didn’t turn around, walking away without looking back. It had been satisfying to experience that short, piercing look as I said this and so I went to the Quidditch pitch a bit happier than before.
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