Goodbye and the Beginning of a Long Night
The night was long again, just as usual. I had to work through some books, so I didn’t go to bed until one. The next day, after my five hours of sleep, I opened my eyes as alert as always, and an expectant smile lay on my lips, because today was going to be a very exciting day for me. And ultimately it would be an even longer night. I was really excited while I prepared myself for my morning run.
While at Hogwarts I wanted to do my rounds at the Quidditch field. Luckily, after the potions and healing spells, as well as the ointments, almost nothing was left of my injury except a red scar that would remain for ever. I would continue to run, no matter what weather, I was uncompromising. My condition had to be improved, because let's be honest, that I had defeated Bole in the alley, that hadn't been ability, strength or power, no, I was far away from that. There had been a large portion of luck involved and I couldn't always count on that. So, it meant for me to train and work hard in order to not have to rely on luck even in such difficult situations.
When, after an hour of exhausting running for the first time after the fateful evening, I conquered the tower in a brisk trot and entered a still empty common room, I was glad that everyone was a late riser, just like lions. And so I was again one of the first who sat ready in the hall, but at just before eight Harry and Co arrived, too. This time I stayed, as we would have the honour of having class with Umbridge for the first time, and I wasn't really looking forward to it, for the book she had chosen for the lesson said it all. Defensive spells, please, I expected that we wouldn't learn anything with that woman, my expectations were minimal. Consequently the lesson was catastrophic, because Harry couldn't hold his mouth shut, and argued with the old boot, claiming the Dark Lord was back. I just shook my head. He never knew when it was better to be silent, he wouldn't win anything with the old toadish witch if he was like that, but well, everyone had to make their own mistakes, to learn from it, and to grow from them, I reasoned with myself!
The rest of the day I did all my tasks and then it was already evening and I rushed into the Great Hall for dinner. I had only ten minutes, before I had to go take a quick shower and make myself ready with a bit of magic, so that I would no longer look like myself!
"Hermione, you seem a little rushed today," Harry said very empathetic, while I devoured my food, sighing annoyed at his words. If he knew what would expect me tonight, he would probably be less considerate. I myself was trying to push it out of my mind.
"Mh-hm. I'm terribly tired today. I'll be going to bed just after," it came evasively from me. I had just taken the last spoon and jumped up again.
"Are you ill?" The question sounded from several mouths.
"Oh no, just tired." I waved my hand and hurried off.
I rushed up the stairs. Ha... I always said, the training paid off. I managed the stairs at an incredibly fast pace. I quickly climbed into the shower and a short time later quickly out again, magically dried myself and jumped into the dark green, tightly laced dress I had laid out before. I left my hair down, falling over my back. It went to my shoulder blades. Just then I remembered I had forgotten the ointment, so I rushed back into the dormitory and took a jar and a small wooden box out of my suitcase. Now I sat down on my bed and breathed in deeply, first opened the ointment, then the box and took the valuable vial out carefully. I'd known it'd serve me well.
I gently took a drop of the unicorn blood with the pipette and added it into the ointment, which I then carefully mixed with a spatula. Next I quickly cleared everything away, rushed back into the bath, pulled off my dress again and covered the long red characteristic knife scar on my left side with the spatula in front of the mirror. And tada - I was really a genius. Well I know self-praise is no recommendation! But I was good, because the scar faded more and more until it had disappeared. Hopefully this effect would last a couple of hours. It wouldn't last forever, but well, I'd see it soon enough. I also lotioned my neck even though there weren't any prints anymore, but better safe than sorry. I turned my black cloak, which I needed for Knockturn Alley, into a green cotton cloth, which I wrapped around my shoulders, because I wouldn't openly walk around the school like that.
A look through our dormitory, which was as round as all the rooms in the tower and furnished sparsely with five canopy beds, of course in red and gold, bedside tables and a fireplace in the middle and our chests in front of our beds, and I decided I was done. Naturally, everything was in meticulous order on my side, but Lav's and Pav's side looked like a pigsty. I was surprised that one could put so many things on the small tables, ah.. let's leave it at that. Even Quirella Mayer's and Sally Smith's side, both fellow students, didn't look much better though at least better than Lav's and Pav's, but Quirella and Sally usually tried to be invisible, as they both were really inconspicuous.
I had put on all my wands and daggers, and now I aimed my school wand firmly towards my bed, then I spoke my 'Geminio' and tucked my twin in nicely. Everything should be perfect for the deception of a sleeping Hermione. Lastly, I wrote two small pieces of paper and apologized to Lav and Pav and the other two that I went to bed so early and I offered them all Muggle sweets as an excuse, which I draped on their pillows just like in a muggle hotel. The four would be so stupid and take the sleep-inducing drug, I didn’t need to worry about that. Finally I was finished and damn, I suddenly remembered that Draco was expecting me, in two minutes. I couldn't fly yet, even though I didn't need to worry that someone would discover me in the hallways and stairs.
Since everyone was still happily eating their dinner and the dessert was always served on the half hour, I really didn't need to worry about Harry and Ron, but I still had to be careful.
And so I flew down the stairs toward the dungeon in my dark green, fluttering garment, and was stopped by two impatient, strong arms and dragged into the niche as I struggled for breath.
"You're late," he said haughtily.
"Thanks, oh maybe two minutes..." I gasped loudly, sweeping my hair out of my face, because they were quite long by now.
"You're breathing like a hippo," he told me very charmingly, stepped back and looked at my appearance. I could see how he raised an eyebrow appraisingly.
"Wow, didn't think you could look so good, but I always knew green would suit you, you should always wear it!" he decided condescendingly and added contemptuously. "These uniforms really hide everything. For whom did you dress up like that?" I hadn't interrupted him as his monologue flattered me, thus my breathing had stabilized again. I hated to rush it, but today’s time was really limited.
"I'm glad that you like it, Draco, and for whom..." I nibbled agitatedly on my lower lip. How should I tell him this now, but something always prevented me from lying to him, for I wanted to be honest with him, wanted to be more or less the real, true Hermione, with everything that entailed.
"Where are you going today? Does anyone know where you will be?" he asked urgently. I shook my head negatively.
"This is stupid, Granger, you should always have a safety net!" he reprimanded me with such unfamiliar concern, he took the wind out of my sails and I just had to tell him the truth.
"Alright," I once again swung my wand and erected the wards that should protect our privacy. "First I'll meet Rita Skeeter at half past eight at Trafalgar Square..."
"What, how do you plan to get out of here and what do you want from her?" He looked at me with wide eyes.
"I can show you the way, it's not witchcraft. And it takes too long to explain ‘why’ today, I'll tell you in detail on Saturday!" I said briefly, as time pushed me.
"How will it continue, I'm sure you aren't wearing this dress for that meeting?" he said contemptuously as he slid his fingertips over my decollete. "I don't know how I should view you right now!", he added appraisingly, standing in front of me in his Hogwarts uniform, which looked incredibly good. The black flattered his bright hair immensely.
"Just do it Granger, tell me who you're going to meet," he demanded now more urgently, though the tips of his fingers were still resting gently on the delicate skin of my decollete.
"Snape!" I said with difficulty through my clenched teeth.
"What.. are you crazy, where, how?" he said angrily, grabbing me by the shoulders and once again my back met a stone wall. Great, really great, why couldn't I keep my mouth shut?
"Well, that would actually belong to the detailed topics. He ordered me to him with the letter I got in the common room, at ten o'clock on Tuesday in the Beheaded Hangman!", I explained quickly as Draco's hands dug into my shoulders.
"Why would he do that?" he frowned. "And why should you go?" He looked more than confused.
"He doesn't know that I'm the one who he summoned! Do we have to talk about that right now Draco?" He looked at me relentlessly, his eyes looking like steel, with a pinch of distrust in them. "..he thinks.. I'm a.. whore!" I squeezed out, and actually started to blush a bit. This was very humiliating and unpleasant. To say it out loud was terrible and made it very real.
"What.. why does he think that?" It sounded disbelieving, quiet from him, while he looked at me shocked.
"He has already picked me up in the Hogshead once and since then he thinks I'm a prostitute," I said, pulling my head in, embarrassed. His hands were tensing dangerously on in my shoulders. If I weren't so practiced, I would've groaned with pain because he was hurting me.
"You've already slept with him ..." he whispered in horror.
"Well, not as Hermione, but as Minna.. yes!" I nodded, ashamed, and couldn't look him in the eyes.
"I can't believe it, you, he and he didn't realise it?" To my absolute disbelief, he actually began to laugh. How nice that Draco was so predictable, I thought ironically, because I hadn't expected a laughing fit.
"I mean, this is hilarious! Mister-I-always-know-everything-and-no-one-can-deceive-me and then you come and fuck him and he has no idea! You, you're awesome!" He released my shoulders from his hard grip and clapped his thighs. His laughter became increasingly uncontrolled. "Show me!" he suddenly panted and at first I was confused, but then I understood. I did what he asked me and swung my wand, and then Minna stood before him, blond with chin-length, smooth hair, heavy make-up, today with smoky eyes around the blue eyes and a dark red lipstick. Draco stopped abruptly and stared at me with awestruck eyes.
"Wow, if you hadn't been in front of me just before... You look good, but quite different and yet similar!? One doesn't really recognize you, a good disguise, congratulation. Though you're always perfect in these things, as it seems, in transformation! I understand now why he likes your Minna so much! She looks hot." He showed me a leer and winked at me arrogantly.
"I want to know everything in detail on Saturday. And he has ordered you to him? Why are you going?" he asked, interested, but considerately cold again.
"Because he might just look for me if I don’t, and I think he would look for Minna and so it's the easiest solution. It'll be over quickly," I said in hope, giving a quick explanation. Draco cocked his head in thought.
"You aren't wrong with what you said, if Severus doesn't get what he wants and he thinks he needs it, he'd even go looking for a whore, he's always been different... But are you sure that he won't recognize Hermione in you? That would be fatal!" he told me.
"Yes, I am, firstly because I'm good at acting, and secondly, because I can do occlumency," I explained proudly.
"You can do that too? Well, why not, you're really good! But do you really think you can jump into bed with him, just like that?" he asked with a hint of concern in his voice, and I tilted my head skeptically, but didn't think long.
"Yes," I stated with conviction and I nodded to him very confidently.
"Then do it!" he said coldly, but definitely.
"You don't mind?", I showed my astonishment openly.
"You may not understand that, but that's family, no I don't mind, but you should try to keep it small.. and I wouldn't approve of others, so don't get stupid thoughts!" He threatened and looked into my eyes and I seriously wondered where all this would lead us. Why did I talk to Draco about my love life? But it seemed right and necessary to me and so I confessed it.
"Then we have a problem," I said softly. One of his eyelids began to twitch bewildered.
"I have to go to Sirius afterwards..." I bit my lip nervously, again.
"What, you fuck him too..?" he exclaimed in surprise and less than flattering.
"Well, actually, I fucked him first, but it was just for fun, a bit of sex, and what do you mean with ‘too’?" I explained and defended myself, while he was silent for a moment.
"Well, no one can forbid you that, but break up with him now!", he suddenly ordered harshly. He behaved like the big boss.
"And I should do that because you commanded, Draco? Hardly." I was stubborn and please, after all, he had no right, we weren't a couple or something. The next moment I roughly met the wall behind me and he nailed me to it.
"Yes, exactly, because I'm telling you! As Severus said, don't play any games with me! You break up with him, I don't care if you fuck him for the last time today, but if you will share his bed after that one more time, you'll make me very angry! Do you understand that, Mudblood? You don't want that, believe me! As I told you, I'm not nice, and we decided to get involved with each other and I don’t want Black to get between us, understood!?" he threatened me, whilst rubbing his whole body longingly against mine. Oh man, I hadn't imagine Draco to be like that, to openly admit that there might be more between us than we thought and it surprised me, to feel his body on mine, because that felt good.
Was I really such a slut?
"Isn't Sirius family too? He's your mother's cousin!" I asked sharply, tearing myself out off my thoughts.
"Why do you think I'm so generous?", it came snarling and calculating from him. "After you put this marathon behind you, you come to me, into the common room! Did you hear the password?" he demanded intensively. I just nodded.
"Put on your coat and the hood over your head. Nobody shall see you. We will annoy some Slytherins. This will be fun. However, you have to come to me, I want to know how it went, and that you have come back well, understood Mudblood?" he showed his concern, although his voice sounded neutral.
"Yes, at your command, oh great Malfoy," I made fun of him venomously. Now he patted my head. I wanted to scream out loud. Malfoys weren't supposed to be jealous, but as it seemed to very possessive, otherwise they'd never have gotten so rich. On the other hand I liked that he cared, in a way.
"Now show me how you leave Hogwarts behind you, you'll be too late," he pointed out. Apparently, Malfoys always had to take the lead, it made me crazy. Only for a brief moment did I dare to ask myself what Draco saw in me, or what he really wanted from me.
A collaboration? A relationship? An affair? Many open questions and many answers I wanted! But he was right, and so I beckoned him to follow me. I really had ran out of time. I had discovered the path thanks to the map. The Marauders hadn’t made it as far as I had gone. Why? I had no idea. Maybe because it was the dungeons? I stopped near the potions classroom, in a sideway, in front of the statue of an ugly witch which was holding several snakes in her hands. Draco looked at me questioningly, and I pointed my wand at the witch and said, "Dissendium," and the stone block moved slowly to the side and a gloomy passageway became visible.
"Unexpected! Where does it go?" Draco asked casually.
"To the Forbidden Forest. I already tried this path a few times in the last year. It's really well kept," with a wipe of my wand and a nonverbal Incendio I lit the torches on the walls. I had begun to intensively learn non-verbal magic.
"Well, then go. Take care of yourself, my Mudblood. I'll be waiting for you. Please come back in one piece!" He kissed me tenderly as usual on my forehead and I pushed out the breath I had held.
"Thank you, Draco.. for everything," I went on my tiptoes and kissed him on his smooth cheek before turning away. And thus I walked into the tunnel, without turning around, while the access closed again automatically, then I rushed to my destination.