Author's Notes: Thank you to my Beta Adele, who is a really cool person and was quick to beta this chapter. Thanks babe!
Warnings: Violence, Language, Supernatural themes, Necromancy, Non-con, Drug use, Angst, Cross-generation, Incest, Horror, Romance, Drama, Mystery.
Chapter Five - Reconsider
She takes it into stride
And waits it on the shore
Sure enough beside the sand
Is that little something more
Hermione woke up three mornings later in Harry's empty bed.
Most the beds in the Gryffindor seventh year dormitory were empty, because, she assumed, the boys had gotten up early for their morning Quidditch practice. However, Harry had been absent from his for the past few nights, because he was sick and being treated in the Hospital Wing. She had refused to sleep with Ron that night, and instead had decided to sleep in Harry's empty one. It smelt strongly of him - the musky scent of sweaty skin, plain shampoo and the pumpkin juice he always had on his breath. She rolled over onto her front and breathed in his essence from the pillow.
There was a shuffle heard from within the room as Seamus' bed curtains were pushed aside.
She looked up sleepily and saw Anthony in the only other occupied bed in the room, naked and grinning bashfully. The sunlight filtering through the window blinded her and she blinked.
"So when are you going to tell them?" croaked Hermione.
Anthony's welcoming smile faltered. "Well good morning to you too."
"Today, I hope."
"Well today was a good morning until you -"
"I meant I hope you tell them today."
Anthony rolled his eyes and fell back against the pillows, exhaling exhaustedly. "Yeah, maybe tomorrow."
Hermione, still in yesterday's clothes, got up.
She walked out the dorm and Anthony called after her to wait for him in the Common Room.
Ten minutes later they were walking to the Hospital Wing, when they passed Professor Weasley's office. They shyly said Hello as he walked out, looking flushed and distracted.
"Rumour has it he's sleeping with a student," Anthony whispered to Hermione when the professor was almost out of earshot.
"He's not," Hermione lied.
"But look at him! All mused and flustered! Bet he had a big night last night."
"Oh no," Anthony deadpanned, smiling. "He's absolutely gorgeous. Wouldn't mind taking him for a ride, so."
She pursed her lips and flicked a strand of hair away from her face. "I think your sex schedule is a bit full, don't you."
He chuckled. "Oh, ouch, that killed me."
As soon as they got to their destination, Hermione ran into the room and up to Harry's usual bed. "Hey," she gasped, "how are you feeling?"
Harry was extremely pale with strange blotches here and there, as if someone had painted his face with plaster then smeared purple eye shadow for blusher. Hermione and Anthony leaned over and peered at him closely.
"Have you been in a fight mate?" Anthony blurted.
Harry looked absolutely exhausted, though his emerald eyes were bright with manic activity. He nodded and looked away.
Hermione crossed her arms and straightened. "I think you better go," she told Anthony. He took the cue and left.
She waited. Finally Harry said quietly, "I was released last night, but I didn't get very far. Ran straight into Malfoy, that bastard, and before I knew it," he grinned and faced her, "we were rolling all over the floor, trying to punch each other to death."
"Merlin, Harry," Hermione sighed as she pulled up a chair and sat down.
He bit his dry lips thoughtfully. "You know," a deep breath, "he was really ready to kill me. Said that I killed his father."
"And did you?"
Harry's eyes widened and he stared at her, his eyes searching hers. "No," he said boldly.
Hermione shrugged. "Well I don't know do I? You never tell me anything about that night."
He looked away and she grabbed his warm hand and held onto it tightly. He was everything to her; her best friend, her brother, her almost-spouse.
"I didn't kill Lucius Malfoy," said Harry softly.
"If you say so, then I believe you."
"But I did," he took a deep breath, "kill the others. I had to, and then I thought Sirius was back and then I was so glad, because it meant I had a one over Bellatrix Lestrange but I didn't. In the end."
"But Malfoy doesn't believe you?"
Harry squinted in thought. "It's all in his head," he sighed. "No matter what I say, it won't register. There's something seriously wrong with his brain."
So Malfoy had psychological problems. But Hermione had figured that out herself a while ago. She sat and rubbed her thumb across Harry's hand, and waited.
He was going into some kind of trance. He began, "I apparated outside Malfoy Manor, knowing that Lestrange and Wormtail would be there. Lucius too, I wanted to kill him, for Ginny." Here he glanced in the direction of the other hospital beds. Of course, Ginny was not in; it was obvious to Hermione she had spent the night with her brother. But Lavender lay on her back in a bed, pale and unmoving.
"Have you found out anything about what's causing the sickness?" Harry asked suddenly, startling Hermione. Harry's eyes were wide and focused again, which made Hermione feel a bit disappointed. She wanted to hear his story.
"I'm working on it."
His face darkened and he looked away. "Yes I heard. You're getting help from Pansy Parkinson." As he spoke his bruises started to disappear. He must have drunk a healing potion before she came in, and it was starting to do its job.
"Don't trust her," Harry muttered. "Don't. She has issues."
But Hermione wanted to trust her. "What sort of issues?"
"She can keep a grudge to her grave. She's one of those girls who seems calm on the outside but all the while there's hate boiling inside. It grows and grows on and on forever."
Hermione clicked her tongue. "Oh please, Harry, don't be so dramatic. So, what happened the night Lucius Malfoy disappeared?"
"What?" He yawned. "I went to Malfoy Manor and… I hate this story. Um, I don't really remember. Kinda blurry."
"Were you on something?"
"No. What is this, Twenty Questions?"
Hermione said nothing, staring at Harry stonily. If she did not move, maybe he would think her a statue and talk his heart out.
"I killed people, alright?" He sat up suddenly. "I killed Wormtail, then I killed Bellatrix Lestrange. Then I went after Malfoy, but someone else had gotten to him first."
"Was he dead?" Hermione tried to keep her voice a calm monotone, but it was very hard to do with the amount of thought and emotion buzzing through her body.
"No. But he had been tortured. A lot."
"Who did it to him?"
A pause. "I… don't know."
"Didn't you see who was with him?"
"Yes I did. But my memory has been erased." They stared at each other. "I realize that now."
Harry was hungry. Together the two of them went to breakfast, then Ron joined them and they went for a walk down to Hagrid's cottage.
Ron lit a joint. "Just tell Hagrid I've already eaten," he requested of his two best friends. "I can't eat his rock cakes, no way!" To take the stress away from being Head Boy, Ron often took drugs, which were aplenty in a school for wizards. But taking drugs meant constipation, which meant Ron was never hungry unless he was coming down from a high. Ron made sure he was never coming down from a high.
They entered and Hagrid greeted them joyfully, offering tea, which they accepted. He asked Harry how he was feeling, and Harry said he was fine, which Hermione knew was a lie. They had conversations about school, and Hagrid talked about his classes, and the animals he had in store for his students. At some point Ron rolled up some paper and snorted a line of Mandrake pollen.
Hermione was about to report to Hagrid of her progress with Grawp and his mate, when something cold crept up along her neck. At first she thought it was merely a fly and swatted it away, but then she realized it was creeping under her collar and over the bare skin of her back, chest and shoulders. She paled when she realized it was very suddenly hard to breathe.
Harry slumped forward and his head hit the table.
Ron was shaking him, demanding what was wrong.
Hermione heard none of it.
She turned in her seat and froze at the figure of Him, staring at her through the window. Ice crept along the glass and mist spread through the air. He lifted a finger and pointed to his right.
A few minutes before, Pansy Parkinson had been running. She was unsure of what she was running from; it may have been fear, sadness, a broken heart. It was not as if Draco would come after her, no, he would have caught her by now. It just went to show he did not care. But Merlin, it hurt, it hurt so much, and perhaps, just maybe, that was what she was running from: the hurt. Either that or she was running from the fact that she was hurt, running from the hate she had for herself because she was not supposed to care!
And, a few minutes before the running, she had been in her dorm room. She had seen with angry eyes Draco fucking Daphne Greengrass on the bed next to Pansy's own.
She knew it happened. Everyone knew, in fact, and she was not one to care. She heard the rumours and raised an eyebrow and said, "That's Draco, that's what he does." Not a tear shed, not a tear.
Perhaps that was what she was running from: the fact that, after all this time of not crying, she had finally burst into tears. It was one thing to hear about Draco, it was quite another to see it. And with one of her so-called friends as well.
So Pansy ran, and sobbed, and cried. She ran through the corridors of the Dungeons. Ran up the moving stairs and through the halls filled with light. Ran through the doorway and outside.
She ran across the lawns and down the hill and to the lake and did not stop running. She fell into the water and it surrounded her.
Nearby a figure was standing, pointing in Parkinson's direction. As soon as Hermione left Hagrid's cottage, it disappeared. But her focus had gone to something else. The lake rippled near the shore, as if there were movement just below the surface.
It was Hermione running, this time.
Cold water hit her ancles and soaked into her shoes. She paused, caught her breath, then dived.
The Hogwarts Lake was known to be deep and murky and to be the home of the Giant Squid. There were also weeds, which scrapped and grappled onto Hermione's limbs, and twisted in her hair. Her fingers caught onto something a little more solid.
She grabbed Parkinson by the arm, and then pulled her up a little higher so she could circle her arms around the slim waist.
Their head broke the surface; one slumped down onto the other's shoulder. Ron and Harry were in the water up to their busts, and helped the girls get closer to shore. The girls kneeled in the shallow water.
Parkinson was waking up. She mumbled something against Hermione's neck and the hands pressed against her back moved. The white cotton of their shirts clung to their skin and the water made the material slightly transparent. The Slytherin slowly lifted her head, her lips sliding against Hermione's jaw. Her hands fell to Hermione's stocking clad thighs.
"I'm really sorry," Parkinson rasped, and kissed her.
It was cold, wet and sloppy, unlike the soft, warm, firm feeling Hermione had imagined. She was aware of Harry and Ron standing nearby.
Hagrid thundered down the hill. "Yer all righ' thur?"
Parkinson abruptly stood up, knocking Hermione over onto her elbows. "I'm fine," Parkinson snapped, her hands flying to her messy blonde hair, then over to smooth down her clinging wet skirt. She turned to the boys. "What are you looking at!" Ron shut his gaping mouth. "Peed your knickers, have you? That excited to see a girl in a wet T-shirt, are you?" She stomped up the shore and pushed past them, and walked fast up the hill.
Harry was looking a little pale, and was staring at Hermione, who looked away from his green glare. "What a bitch," Ron mumbled. Hermione wanted to cry.
As Head Girl, Pansy had access to the Prefects' Bathroom. She took a bath and ordered an elf to get her some clothes. It reappeared with jeans and a jumper.
When Pansy returned to the Slytherin commons, she was resolute in her plan of action. Predictably, Sigma, Artemis and Zabini were sitting up the back in the shadows.
"A fish out of water, you are," said Zabini.
"What you want, then?" said Sigma. "Rather not see your ugly face, so just get lost, alright."
Pansy took a deep breath and held her chin up. "I want to say I'm sorry." The other three looked at her with a little more interest than before. "And I think we should be friends again."
They stared. Pansy stared back.
Artemis let out a little sigh. Sigma said, "It's about time, you thick cunt."
To Be Continued.
Return to Archive | next | previous