Bathwater

BreakUps and Spiders

"Top o' the morning!"

"Would you shut up?" Seamus Finnegan's cheerful greeting was cut short by Lavender Brown's growl. She was sitting on the Gryffindor table with a half eaten bowl of cereal in front of her and a look that could send Merlin himself running into the arms of his mother. Her cheeks were bright red and underneath the tabletop her leg tapped rapidly. "This isn't Ireland, you know? " She slapped the spoon into the bowl.

Seamus coughed, raising an eyebrow at Lavender, then looked at the others. "What's with her?" He asked his fellow Gryffindors as he took a seat across from his fiancée and grabbed a plate full of elf-made breakfast.

"Oh, like you care," Lavender hissed, stabbing her cheerios with the end of her spoon.

"Lavender found out this morning," Luna Lovegood began as she handed her Quibbler edition to Hermione, "that after the Family Consumer lesson the other day that Professor Slughorn taught, that she's been suspended from the next two trips to Hogsmeade."

Lavender dropped her head on the table, startling Harry and Ginny. The two love-birds separated at once from the mouth and looking flushed. The ends of Lavender's dirty blonde hair splashed inside of her bowl.

"She's a bit sensitive about it," Ginny commented, pulling herself from Harry's arms for a moment to pull the Gryffindor's hair from the cereal bowl. "A new dress shop is opening in the village and she wanted to be there for the grand opening. But seeing as Slughorn ratted her out and McGonagall has a low patience now..."

"Serves her right, doesn't it?" Seamus snorted, nudging Dean Thomas with his elbow and distracting his friend as he gawked at the dreamy Ravenclaw present at the table. "She's a bloody menace. No wonder Slughorn reported her. He was practically trembling. I wouldn't be surprised if she gave the old bloke a heart attack."

"Oh, Seamus, no." Hermione put the Quibbler down and shook her head at her fellow Gryffindor, motioning with her finger for him to stay silent. Sharing a dormitory with the Brown girl for seven years was enough experience for Hermione to know that you don't mess with her when she's angry. It could be the last thing you do before you land petrified in the Hospital Wing.

"Trembling?" Lavender raised her head quickly, scooting her bowl a couple of inches back with a whoosh of her hair. "If I recall, Finnegan, you were the one hiding behind the Professor! What kind of wizard are you? Dropping your wand and making a run for it! Typical thing to do by the bloke that has a brain of the size a troll's!"

All at once from Lavender's loud voice, the Great Hall suddenly went silent. Nothing was heard from any of the other three houses or the staff table but Lavender's gritting teeth and Seamus' frighten heartbeat. "How can I not be scared, you wench? You threw a mini-fridge at me with everything inside!"

"You bloody deserved it and you know it!" Lavender glared, taking the spoon out from the bowl and pointed it threateningly at Seamus. " I cant believe the Sorting Hat placed me with you."

"Lav—" Harry, who had adopted Ron's nickname for his ex-girlfriend in their Sixth Year, pulled on the sleeve of her purple shirt. "…Not in front of the younger students," he whispered, pointing at a few confused faces while the others, those involved in the new law, nodded in agreement.

"Oh, thanks, Harry," Lavender whispered back, patting his arm appreciatively. "I almost ruined it, didn't I?" She gave a small giggle and smiled at the Boy-Who-Lived.

After Harry let her sleeve go, she turned back around to face her fiancée. "If it wasn't because I'd give my Gran a heart attack, I'd leave you in a second for Hermione! Don't think her offer wasn't tempting!"

Hermione coughed, gawking at Lavender like a mad woman. "Lavender!" She gasped, turning red as the students in the Great Hall raised their eyebrows.

"I'm," Lavender stood from the bench, ignoring Hermione and the stares of her fellow peers, "breaking up with you!" She spat and threw him the spoon.

And to the Headmistress' displeasure, and all over the manners her mum taught her, Lavender stuck her finger out at Seamus and retreated out of the Great Hall. Whispers and eyes following her out like buzzings of her stunt.

"…Blimey," Seamus breathed, his eyes connecting in the middle as they stared at the spoon hanging on the tip of his nose. Milk dripping from the sides of his nostrils and a cheerio was stuck in the middle of his brows.

"I know." Dean leaned over and took the spoon off of his best mate's face. "She has uncanny throwing skills." He twirled the spoon between his long fingers. "You should give her a go as a Chaser for the house-team, Harry."

"Not bad at all." Harry nodded his head, his emerald eyes gazing at the spoon along with the rest of the Gryffindor table.

Trying to push away her red blush and ignore the looks of curiosity from her classmates, Hermione added in for distraction, "it'll help her get her anger out if you think about it."

"Great." Seamus hissed, cleaning the milk off his face with a napkin Luna handed him. "I could handle Lavender breaking up with me because she's a nobody," he flicked the cheerio away, "but now you're telling me I got ditched by Gryffindor's Chaser?"

"—There has been no break-up, Mister Finnegan." The table went rigid as the Headmistress arrived at the center of the table where all the elder students sat huddled together, discussing Lavender's scene and wondering whether terminating their engagements was as easy as breaking up with the person. "You and Miss Brown know perfectly well that the clause that binds you two together is unbreakable." She frowned at him. "Heated arguments are expect amongst the engaged couples, but no one ever said you were allowed to terminate it."

A nearby Sixth Year Gryffindor groaned. "…I was already rehearsing the lines."

"You will go looking for Miss Brown, Mister Finnegan, and I expect the two of you to fix whatever problem it is you have encountered. And I suggest you do it purely." She pointed her wand at his rolling eyes. "Professor Slughorn is quick in brewing a Truth-Telling Serum. And if it comes to that, Mister Finnegan, you shall never be the same, I assure you."

"…Yes, ma'am." Seamus nodded his head rapidly, eyes staring at the Headmistress' wand with fear.

"Now, Mister Finnegan." Professor McGonagall watched as Seamus scrambled out of his seat, shoving his plate of food towards Dean and hurrying out of the doors of the Great Hall. "Miss Granger," the Headmistress turned around slowly, her beady eyes looking at the Brightest Witch of the Age. "How are you and Mister—"

"Good morning." A throat was cleared and Hermione almost dropped Luna's copy of the Quibbler into her goblet of Pumpkin Juice. "Are you ready, Granger?"

All eyes seemed to turn towards Hermione, along with the Headmistress', as she turned a scarlet color. "Um, yeah. I was just...Breakfast - Yes, I'm ready." Hermione composed herself from the nervousness invading her. She handed Luna her newspaper, who took it with a contemplating expression, and rose from the bench.

"Oh well, never mind, Miss Granger." The Professor smiled a minute smile. "I'm sure what you and Mister Malfoy need to discuss is much more important."

Hermione raised her brow at the Headmistress, but said nothing to her comment and she laced her arm with Malfoy's and went with him freely. She hadn't even known she was to be 'discussing' anything with Malfoy at all, but she appreciated the distraction.

"She's giddy," Malfoy commented. "I've never seen her act that way. You know, attempting to smile other than frown at you."

Hermione huffed at the Slytherin. "You've clearly not been paying attention to McGonagall for the past years, Malfoy." She shook her head, walking along with him and not particularly caring where they went as she enjoyed the sudden mood of conversation they were sharing.

It wasn't like yesterday's events went unnoticed, it's just that Hermione preferred to pretend they never happened. Like he didn't put her to bed and Blaise Zabini didn't leave to his chamber crying about a muggle-movie and they weren't on the tipping-point of being friends.

Malfoy shrugged, spreading a smile across his pale face that highlighted his stormy eyes. "I tried not letting the hag get to me. She's the toughest professor at the moment and somehow she's always had it out for me. I'm taking whatever cryptic kick she gets off us being...friendly."

"That is not true, Malfoy. McGonagall's never been unjust to any student before," Hermione replied, ignoring his last bit. "She was never like Snape. If you recall, he was always preferring you lot over everyone else and made the day harder for us than you."

"You make a point, Granger," Malfoy agreed, steering her out of the castle and breathing in a puff of fresh air. Inhaling deeply the clean scent of the grounds of Hogwarts mixing with the cold atmosphere. He felt the Gryffindor shiver from the contact of her exposed skin with the chilly air. "But you have to realize Snape was the Head of the Slytherin House and my Godfather. He couldn't help it if he preferred me over than the Golden Trio."

The cold air blew with another swoosh, Hermione shivered, and like it was the most common thing, Draco threw an arm around her shoulders to try and give her some warmth.

Immediately, she stiffened at his touch. An action that did not go unnoticed by the Slytherin as he narrowed his eyes a little and his arms felt a little heavier around her. Waiting for him to withdraw his arm and mutter an apology or sneer at her, it never came. "Godfather or not," she decided to continue like nothing, "he knew that you were a prat and enjoyed abusing his power on me."

Draco rolled his eyes, trying not to snort. "Typical thing for you, Granger. Worried about the marks Snape would've given you. At least he didn't fail you."

"Not that he never intended to," Hermione pointed out with a scoff. "The Headmaster would've seen straight through it if he decided to fail me. I am top of the class, mind you."

Coming to a stop and making Hermione stumble a bit because of the abruptness of it, Malfoy smirked knowingly. "You're a bit arrogant, aren't you, Granger?" He pulled his arm away from her and slowly sunk to the grassy ground. "I'm intrigued by it."

"I'm not arrogant, Malfoy," Hermione snapped, allowing herself to be dropped on the ground despite her thoughts of the grass being moist from the light rain yesterday night. "Unlike yourself, I don't think I am the ruler of everything."

Malfoy clucked his tongue. "That's where you're wrong, my dear bookworm," he told her as he crossed his legs and eyed her carefully."I don't think I'm the ruler of everything, because if I assumed I was, trust me when I say I wouldn't have survived the war." He shuddered internally at the memory of a snake-like face with dark red eyes, glaring at him. "But congratulations, you know something about me. I am arrogant."

The Gryffindor kept her eyes on the Slytherin, making sure he could see the annoyed look on her face. "Do you pride yourself in that?"

"Do you pride yourself in being a know-it-all?" He retorted quickly.

"In being intellectual, Malfoy, I do pride myself in," Hermione explained, clearing the term 'know-it-all' for him. "If I wouldn't have been that then chances are Voldemort would still be ruling about. Harry's a thickhead when it comes to thinking rationally."

With another internal wince, Malfoy shuttered and his blood ran cold from the mention of that forbidden name. No one mentioned it anymore, not the Dark Side nor the Light Side. The Dark Lord had gone back to being He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named and never spoken so freely about. Not like he'd been before, but at least Purebloods let go of that demented hope that he'd come back. This was the new world now.

"...You said his name," Malfoy muttered. "Doesn't that frighten you?"

Choosing to shrug and ignore the emotion swimming in his eyes that varied from terror to shame to anger, Hermione turned away from his pale, pointed face. "Wow," she breathed as something else caught her attention. "Where are we?"

"In Hogwarts, Granger."

Hermione pushed his sarcasm away as she found herself too intrigued by what her brown eyes saw. "I've never been here before nor that this place existed."

"We're on a hill between the Black Lake and the Forbidden Forest." Draco pointed a pale finger at the scenery before them. Pointing where the lake collided with the edges of the forest, enhancing the green hue by the deep blue color of the water. He watched as the Gryffindor beside him gazed at the snowy mountains that laid ahead that contrasted with the tallest trees in Hogwarts. Her eyes looking so mesmerized and enchanted. Something Draco was growing proud of: amazing the Gryffindor Princess.

"It's a complete different thing, Granger," he whispered, moving himself closer to the witch, "to read about the grounds of Hogwarts than to sit perfectly still and watch them."

Peace washed over Hermione's face as she breathed in the pine-smell from the trees ahead and gazed at the falling snow from the mountains. "…It's beautiful."

"Its yours."

Hermione whipped her head to the side. "What?"

"Its yours," Draco repeated, looking directly into her eyes. "I found this particular hill when I found the need to escape the world and be on my own. I reckon no one knows about it, though. I've yet seen anyone here, so I give it to you. Whenever you have the need to—" Draco was cut-short as a pair of arms were flung around his neck and his back was thrown his to the ground roughly with a weight suddenly on him.

"Thank you!" She exclaimed, burying her nose into his neck. "This is the best - I - thanks!"

Malfoy patted her back awkwardly yet gently. "...It's what I am here for." Hermione pulled herself up with her palms, not fully off of his body, but enough that her face was a few inches away from his. "...What?" He questioned in a small voice as the Gryffindor stared at him. His breath caught in his throat as Hermione's eyelids closed lightly and she started to lean forward.

And automatically, by the natural nature of men, Draco closed his eyes as well. He inhaled deeply as he waited for something.

One.Merlin, he thought as he counted.

Two. Should I stop her?

Three. No, I need her to get used to me.

Four. Suit yourself, you'll be the one enduring it.

Five. No! I—

"Ew!" Hermione screeched and Malfoy's eyes popped open again.

"W-what?" He asked, sitting up as Hermione pushed herself off him and took her seat back on the hill.

"I killed it!"

"Killed what?

"The spider on your hair. Ugh, I felt it crunch." She shuddered. "What kind of Gryffindor am I? I had to close my eyes to kill it!"

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