I’m reading a book. That’s normal enough, isn’t it? But I really shouldn’t be reading a book. I should be studying for the N.E.W.T.s before they suddenly pop up and I’ll realize that I don’t have enough time to study for them. Nonetheless, I’m reading a book.
In Harry’s room.
I flipped another page of “Neat Facts- Ever wonder how many hearts a flobberworm has?”. This book was one of the many sitting on Harry’s many bookshelves. I’ve spent many afternoons just lounging in his room with a book in my lap and the green flames of the fire to keep me ‘warm’.
Yes, Harry was right. You do get use to the darkness.
Harry’s room…is my room. Well, he lets me come here whenever I want to. I can read anything I want. I can sit anywhere and on any chair.
But don’t go near the pensieve.
Is what he strictly said with this intensity alight in his eyes. Of course, I nodded, but curiousity nagged at me constantly. Perhaps it’s just human nature; when you’re told not to do something, you want to do it even more. Yet I won’t go near his pensieve…as much as my curiousity nagged.
I shut the book, placing it on the coffee table in front of me. My feet crossed the carpeted floor, once again curious, and headed towards the bathroom joined to the room.
The bathroom was green.
I glanced into the mirror that covered most of the far left wall. I scrunched up my nose in disproval. My hair seemed like it needed a good wash, as it was looking very stringy and even more bushy by the minute.
“You’re not Mr. Potter. Who are you?”
I blinked in surprise at the mirror’s sudden question. “I’m Harry’s…girlfriend.”
“Oh really?” the mirror seemed amused, or was it just my imagination? “You’re the first thing he’s ever let into his bathroom you know.”
“Indeed you are, Harry’s girlfriend.”
“Um…call me Hermione,” I offered.
“Alright then, Hermione. How did you end up with young Mr. Potter? He doesn’t seem to be the type to…get into a relationship.” The mirror seemed to laugh. Was it mocking me? I frowned.
“We just met at Hogwarts…” I replied dryly.
“Oh really? That’s interesting. You should know…Mr. Potter is very, very-”
The dark mahogany door of the washroom opened abruptly.
The mirror fell silent.
I turned around, meeting bright emerald jewels. “Harry,” I acknowledged.
“Talking to the mirror?” He slipped the mirror a side-glance, almost in an accussing sort of way.
I nodded slowly.
He raised an eyebrow. “Did it…say anything?”
I shook my head. “No…it just asked me who I was.”
Harry’s tense shoulders relaxed as he led me out of the bathroom, back into the darkness of his room. I privately wondered how he didn’t trip over anything in the almost complete darkness of the room. This thought led me to wonder if Harry ate alot of carrots. But of course, vitamin A could be absorbed from a number of different foods…what am I saying? Who cares how Harry gets his superb night vision.
I shook my head to rid myself from my mindless thoughts.
He had his fingers around mine as we walked out of his room and back into the dingy halls of the dungeons. Harry gave me a smile before leading me down the hall. “I want to show you the Slytherin common room. Have you been there before?”
“Of course not,” I replied, my curiousity perking up as we stopped in front of what seemed like a solid stone wall. I stared at him before he muttered something under his breath that sounded curiously like ‘Buttered Chopsticks’ but I wasn’t too sure.
The stones re-shifted, much like the entrance to Diagon Alley from muggle London. I watched as the damp stones finished shifting, leaving a big enough doorway in the wall for three people to walk in side by side.
Harry nodded at the dazed looking boy. “Ello Crabbe.”
I secretly thought of a reason why the Slytherin entrance was designed to be so wide..I giggled to myself which made Harry peer at me in question. I shook my head lightly, “Just thought of something amusing.”
Harry shrugged with an amused expression before waving one arm out as if he were presenting something. “Welcome to Slytherin, ‘Mione.”
My first thought was that…Gryffindor’s common room was much brighter and…cozy. Here, in the ever so green room, it felt cold and damp. I assumed it was because we were in the dungeon part of the castle anyways. I bit my lip. I would be awfully grumpy to wake up in this type of atmosphere every day. No wonder some Slytherins were so foul in moods…but of course, not Harry. Never Harry.
I smiled. “It’s…green.” I found myself commenting rather stupidly.
The boy-who-lived chuckled, “Yes it is.”
“Yeah Granger, it would surely take someone with a brain to figure that out.”
I glanced towards the stairs that led to the dormitories and found none other than Pansy Parkinson leaning casually on the railing, her hair in a ridiculous style of side ponytails. She sneered and seemingly jumped down the rest of the stairs and landed with a confident smirk just a few feet away me. “What’s a little Gryffindor like you doing here?” She curled a strand of her hair around her index figure, eyeing me with obvious disdain.
Goodness, couldn’t this girl do more than just taunt me? I rolled my eyes. “Hello Pansy.” I greeted in a lame attempt to be civil.
“Who said a mudblood like you could call me by my firstname?” she spat, her eyes flaring. “Really, it makes me feel dirty to be called by someone like you.”
Mudblood. I bit my lip hard. Sure, this habit wasn’t a really good one, but it really controlled my temper. Harry seemed to tense once again beside me, a gentle squeeze in my hand told me he was there. I felt my heart flutter.
Pansy seemed to watch this all with a look of disgust. “Harry darling, what are you doing? Standing beside that thing,” She pointed lazily at me.
I knew I was turning red, my cheeks were getting warmer by the second. What I really wanted to do was to get my wand out and just do something to get her to shut her mouth up. Harry simply just squeezed my hand again. “Parkinson, sod off.”
My anger subsided as the words left Harry’s mouth. Why was I even getting angry? I had Harry on my side, wasn’t that the whole point that caused Pansy’s obvious envy of me? Yet I didn’t like being called a mudblood. Something foul…something mean. I was never the most popular little girl back in muggle school. No…Geeky Granger, Goody-Two-Shoes, Teacher’s Pet. I grew up with taunts and nicknames.
I wasn’t going to put up with it now.
“Stop it Parkinson, I don’t see what you’re trying to gain from this,” I muttered almost darkly.
She placed a hand on her hip in a superior manner and made a sort of tutting noise. “Oooh, is that all you can say Granger?”
“No, but I won’t even bother becaues I’d just be wasting my breath,” I replied calmly.
Her eyes narrowed dangerously before her eyes darted towards Harry. “I don’t see what you see in her. Tell me…” Her eyes darted back to me and looked me from head to toe. “So, she’s got a brain…she’s got a nice bush for hair. She’s got a…unique taste of fashion,” She eyed my clothing in disgust. “Nothing else worth liking. Why her, Harry?” She was coming closer now, almost a breath away as I could smell a wift of her perfume that made me sneeze instantly.
Harry let go of my hand, crossed his arms, and stared at Pansy as if it were the most obvious thing in the world. “Why Hermione?”
“You heard me the first time,” Pansy smirked.
He mirrored the smirk. I suppose it was a Slytherin trait. “One, she’s…Hermione. Second, she’s Hermione. Third reason, she’s Hermione..” His voice trailed off as he caught Pansy’s gaze again. “Do you get my point Parkinson?”
She looked furious. “But you loved me! I knew you did! Everyone thought I was crazy, but I knew you loved me.” her eyes flashed. “Until she came out of no where and just grabbed you away! And your reasons make no sense to me at all!”
Harry held her gaze calmly. “Don’t assume things Parkinson, especially don’t assume me. My reason for liking…no. Loving, Hermione?” He shook his head. “There is no reason. That’s love.”
This time I turned red out of embarrassment and flattery.
Pansy glared, as she took one final step closer and was just inches away from my face as she leaned down (she was slightly taller than me, with her high boots) to look at me directly in the eye. Her eyes glinted, the anger evident and causing her already dark green eyes to look darker than ever. “You just watch yourself, mudblood. Just wait and see, you’ll be sorry.” She spat, standing at her full height again. “You’ll regret ever taking my Harry away from me.”
I couldn’t help but shudder as she turned away and literally stomped off and up the stairs back to the girl’s dormitories. I let out a rather shaky breath as Harry grasped my shoulders and turned me to him.
“Don’t you let her get to you ‘Mione…”
“Don’t worry…” I answered, leaning my forehead against his broad chest, sniffing in his musky scent of pine and sweat.
Harry pressed me closer to him, his chin resting on the top of my head as we just stood there in silence, fitting perfectly against each other’s frames. It was as if we were two pieces of a jigsaw puzzle, finally fitted together to form the perfect picture- our picture.
I sighed in content. Lost in my own thoughts…wondering what he was thinking.
Would it always be this perfect?
Of course it would be…I loved Harry. He loved me. There seemed to be nothing that would change this…nothing interfering us (except for the occasional Pansy). Just a straight road ahead for us.
This was perfection.
The past few days were normal, if not boring, what with many exams and pop quizzes before the merry season of winter. But of course, exams and quizzes are part of the daily life of school, so this was nothing to be surprised about.
And yet I felt like I was being followed.
Perhaps it would just be my silly imagination but every corridor or hallway I walked through, I could hear footsteps trailing ever so distantly behind my own. Of course, you would think that other people would be walking in the same hallway, but even if I’m supposedly alone, I would hear a few steps, then silence, a couple more steps. It was terribly unnerving, and creepy too.
So right now, I’m in this situation as I have been since the past few days. This time, I’m pretty sure I’m alone. Maybe it’s Peeves? But…you wouldn’t be able to hear a ghost walk. I mean, they floated the last time I checked.
I swallowed calmly, stopping in my tracks as a pair of footsteps fell silent behind me. I looked over my shoulder suspiciously and stared at the suit of armour by the end of the hallway curiously. I narrowed my eyes. Maybe I was just being paranoid, but my logical thinking told me that this mysterious stalker could be Pansy plotting to do something incredibly Slytherin-like to me.
Shaking my thoughts away, I proceeded down the hallway only to hear more footsteps once again following me. Was this person stupid? Didn’t they know I could hear them? Foolish foolish Pansy…
I slowed down my pace, the footsteps in the distance falling silent once again. I reached for my wand tucked safely in my robes and continued on my way, listening for the familiar echoing of steps.
I pivoted with my right foot and wiped my wand around with me crying out the first thing I could think of. “Stupefy!”
During the process of…um, attacking my stalker, I had closed my eyes perhaps afraid at what I could’ve done. Yet once the words had slipped out of my mouth, and the dull thudding sound of someone slumping to the ground, I knew it was okay to open my eyes to see what damage I had caused.
It wasn’t Pansy at all. But thank goodness it hadn’t been a teacher! I could just see myself losing fifty points for Gryffindor! But no, it wasn’t Pansy.
It was Justin Finch-Fletchley, Head boy.
I smacked the palm of my hand to my forehead and shook my head at my utter stupidity and hurried over to his fallen figure. Crouching down, I quickly revived him.
The boy blinked his hazel eyes open and stared up at me with a curious expression. “Oh hello Hermione. What am I doing on the ground?” He seemed rather dazed, but I didn’t blame him. My stunning charm must’ve surprised him.
“Oh erm..” I looked at him sheepishly. “Well, it’s a long story. Why don’t you get up first?” I offered a hand in which he took.
“Ow, nasty fall wasn’t it?” He rubbed his head and winced.
I looked at him guiltily. “Sorry..well, for the past few days I’ve been thinking someone’s been following me…and well, I thought it was somebody else. I suppose I was being overly paranoid and I’m awfully sorry about that…um, fall.”
“Oh,” he raised an eyebrow and blushed. “Well, you were right actually. Perhaps I wasn’t the person you thought I would be?”
“What?” I stared at him in bewilderment. “You mean you are my stalker?” I blushed at how my words had come out. “I mean…”
He chuckled, “I get what you mean Hermione. Did you expect someone else? Potter maybe?” His expression seemed darker at the mention of Harry.
I glanced at him in question but decided not to ask. “Well, actually I thought it might’ve been a Slytherin girl who has an awful grudge against me. But that’s just me being silly. Yet…why would you..?”
Once again he turned ten shades of red before replying, “Uh…well…um. No reason. Actually…no, I remember now!” He grinned and reached into his pocket, pulling out a quill. “You left this during Herbology! I’ve been meaning to return it to you…”
“Oh!” I glanced at the quill, startled. “I didn’t even realize I had lost it! Thanks..” I pocketed the quill and smiled.
Justin tapped his feet thoughtfully, looking around him. I tilted my head. “What are you looking for?”
“Oh, no, nothing. I just never realized..” he trailed off and pointed to the walls, “that the walls were stone here..”
I laughed, “I thought most of the walls were stone.”
Justin blushed once again. “Oh. I guess I’m not a very observant person am I? Unlike you, that is..”
I bit my lip. Was it me and my strange imagination and thoughts once again or was the Head boy flirting with me? No, no…just my silly imagination once again…
He tapped his foot against the ground some more before looking about him once again. I couldn’t help but notice his strange demeanor and wondered why he was all alert and fidgety. I opened my mouth to ask when all of a sudden I went flying against him.
If we had been something squishy we would have went splat right into each other for he had come slamming into me too. It was really weird really, almost as if there was this magnetic pull. Seemingly, we were both magnets and so we were stuck together.
And I must say in a very very very embarrasing position.
I was pressed right up against his chest with his chest pressing right up against…me per-say. When I had finally regained my senses, I stepped back but I realized he stepped back too.
He shook his head. “We’re stuck.”
I looked at him wide-eyed. “What?! We’re stuck? And you’re saying it so calmly!” I once again tried pushing off of him, but failed.
Justin sighed, “It’s no use to panic is it? What can we do about it? You’re the smartest witch of the year, don’t you know a spell that can fix this?”
I glared, “If I did, we would’ve been out of this mess by now.” I was frustrated. This was too close for my liking. What would Harry think?
Harry, Harry, Harry. My thoughts now swam with Harry. It would be a nightmare if Harry saw what happened.
But what was that? Was that a giggle? I strained to turn around (was that a glimpse of silvery blonde hair just behind the suit of armour?) when running footsteps caught my ear…they were running in the opposite direction. What? That didn’t make sense…if someone had been around, wouldn’t they have seen Justin and I in this awkward position and tried to help us?
“Relax Hermione, you’re all tense,” Justin commented.
I frowned. “Well I see you’re clearly enjoying this aren’t you?”
He turned beat red. “N..n..not..entirely.”
This was not pleasant at all. I groaned in frustration when once again I heard footsteps…coming our way!
I strained to turn my head but the position I was in didn’t allow me clear view to see who was coming up from behind. I grumbled, “Turn around will you?”
Justin raised an eyebrow and I could’ve swore he almost smiled. “I don’t think I would want to if I were you.” He said in a whisper.
I swallowed and narrowed his eyes. “I don’t care, whoever it is. Even if it’s Dumbledore, at least he’ll get us out of this.”
Justin managed a shrug and turned around, allowing me to turn around, and allowing me to see…
Oh dear lord, let this be a nightmare.
My throat seem to go dry, my thoughts were screwn about in my mind, but I could very clearly see who it was. Yes, fate was cruel.
“Harry,” I managed to utter and knew at once I had to explain myself. “It’s not what you think. See, we’re stuck.” I attemped to pull away from Justin and..strange enough, it worked.
I stared wildly at the detached Justin who looked at me calmly, and then I stared wildly at Harry who had this unreadable expression on his face that I didn’t like at all. “I swear we were stuck a minute ago! Weren’t we, Justin?” I shifted my eyes back at the boy.
He simply stared at me, then at Harry. “Sorry.” Was all he muttered before walking off.
My eyes stared after him in shock. What was that? I wanted to scream. This didn’t make sense at all. I was stuck to Justin, and then…right at the wrong time we became unstuck..
“Harry…I was walking down the hall,” I began as he took a few steps closer to me, fixing me with his gleaming eyes, “and I heard footsteps…so I stopped, and looked around…to see who it was…but there was no one so..” I felt like I was rambling on now, but I knew what I was saying. I knew what I was trying to get out, but with Harry advancing in on my like this I was losing my thoughts…my words..
Breathe Hermione. Breathe. “Harry, it wasn’t suppose to be like that.” I finally stated, and realized I had hit the wall with Harry right in front of me, his breath coming in a steady pace, ruffling a few strands of my hair every now and then.
“Of course it wasn’t suppose to be like that,” He said in a low tone, leaning one hand against the wall above my head. I felt small now. Petite. Tiny. However small, small could get.
“Of course my ‘Mione wasn’t suppose to go pinning up to Mr. Goody-goody Hufflepuff like that,” Harry said in a almost drawl similiar to Malfoy’s. “My ‘Mione doesn’t do that, does she?”
And yet for some reason he didn’t seem like he was saying it in the good way. I tried to steady my breathing, looking up at him with a shaky breath before opening my mouth to defend myself when I was captured by his kiss.
How many times have we kissed? I don’t know, I think I’ve lost count or I hadn’t even bothered keeping track in the first place. I was stunned of course, wasn’t he angry?
But the soft feather-light kisses I was use to did not meet my lips this time. Sure, it started out light, sweet, and innocent. Then, it rapidly increased in force and passion (or was it lust?), until my head painfully was pressing against the wall, his mouth so forceful against mine that I thought I would break underneath his kiss and simply disappear.
And yet I didn’t disappear, though I wasn’t so sure if that was a good thing or a bad thing.
And then I could taste something bittersweet in my mouth. Was it blood? Who’s blood? His blood? My blood?
I couldn’t tell, I just wanted to breathe.
I even wanted to push back against this monstrous kiss that I was sure even the Dementor’s Kiss wasn’t that forceful. Yet he was too strong, and pressed onwards when all of a sudden he stepped back and fresh air met my nostrils and mouth and filled my lungs with air. Clean, cool air.
My breath came fast, a trickle of blood. I brushed it away with the sleeve of my robes and tasted the blood in my mouth, from my lips no doubt. I wouldn’t be surprised if a bruise would form somewhere near there.
“..Harry?” I uttered, dazed and shocked. Was I scared? I couldn’t tell. I was so confused.
“My ‘Mione…my sweet, intelligent ‘Mione…” He said it almost…menacingly? I shivered.
He gripped my chin, almost tightly between his beautiful fingers. He lifted my chin now, tilting me back, the blood still flowed.
“You know better than to go near someone else…especially someone like Justin…you know how much I dislike him…” his eyes flashed. “And the only reason I do is because he likes you ‘Mione. Can’t you see?”
“…What…?” I managed to say but he seemed not to hear.
“But of course, you must’ve known he had an interest in you ‘Mione, didn’t you? Is this your little game, ‘Mione?” he muttered. “Are you playing foolish little girl games with me? Perhaps the game of jealousy? Are you trying to make me jealous ‘Mione? Are you?” His grip tightened, I winced.
“It’s hurting isn’t it?” he said steadily. “Painful? But this is nothing compared to the pain I have suffered, don’t you agree? A little squeeze to the chin is nothing. Nothing at all…a mere sting from a bee.”
“I’m not playing games,” I found my voice once again.
Harry smiled…no, he smirked. “Oh really now? Well, ‘Mione is much too mature for games isn’t she? Yes…she’s much too smart for games.” His nails were digging into my flesh ever so slightly, the blood in my mouth didn’t seem too unusual anymore. I swallowed, not minding the taste but minding the fact that I was afraid. “Then what were you trying to do? Play hard to get? Show me that you were wanted by others too and that I should feel lucky to have you?”
I shook my head against his grip. “No.” I answered. “It was a mistake.” And once again he seemed to not hear…was he deaf now? No…he was merely lost in his own thoughts and his own images on what had happened…his own interpretation of the event. But it was wrong. Why couldn’t he comprehend it?
“My ‘Mione, I thought you knew better than that…” he sneered, “I already feel lucky to have you. I cherish you, I adore you…I love you, is that not enough?” His voice had gone so soft now, the hairs on my neck standing on end with the tickling brushings of his breath.
“You don’t understand,” I said much loudly than I had thought I would say it.
He seemed surprised, his grip loosened. My chin was soar, my lip seemed to have stopped bleeding. “I don’t understand?” he repeated monotonously. “Oh…what can I not understand? You’ll never know…what I do know. Of course I understand what-”
I didn’t let him finish. “No Harry. No.” I sucked in a breath, standing up and away from the wall. My back ached too. “It was simply a mistake. What I told you before was the truth. He followed me. I mean, he’s been following me for the past few days and I stunned him with a spell and then all of a sudden we were stuck.” I said this while staring at him. Never leaving his unreadable face.
He fell silent. Perhaps processing my words…
I felt my stomach relax. My shoulders dropped. It was alright now…everything would be back to normal now..
But then it went to fast. So very fast.
I had blinked and before I knew it I was flat against the cold floor, my hair in my face, a tangled mass of brown curls, but that didn’t take away the stinging pain in my cheek and the tears threatening to spill. It took me a while to get a grip on things, took me a while to figure out why and how I had gotten to the floor.
And when I had finally managed to understand what had happened, he was down with me. Holding me. His strong warm arms encircling me. Embracing me.
“Oh ‘Mione..I’m so sorry,” he mumbled softly into my hair, his voice muffled. “Maybe it was just…one of those…wrong place at the wrong time kind of things…don’t you agree now, ‘Mione?” He brushed a strand of hair away from my now tear-stained face.
He planted a soft kiss on my stinging cheek, and strangely the pain seemed to go away…all away. “Don’t cry ‘Mione…don’t cry.”
I felt so tired..so weak. I couldn’t understand this at all. One second…it was as if it wasn’t Harry…then…all of a sudden my Harry was back. My dear loving Harry…always there, always supporting me.
I looked up at him, those warm pools of green as his eyes, his raven black hair tangled. He looked down at me then, and I knew those eyes. Those were my Harry’s eyes. Not that monster’s eyes. This was Harry.
This was my Harry.