Chapter Three: What Matters
A/N: Thanks for the reviews, and I will keep writing because the inspiration is still strong and I will keep it strong as long as possible. Life and Reviews do wonders. Please enjoy.
There was a bounce in Hermione's step as she entered the Gryffindor common room. It had been a week since she and Pansy started their clandestine study sessions, but the more she got to know the other girl the more she felt this anger at the man who was abusing her. His identity was revealed through a letter, or more aptly a Howler.
It had been five days since the incident with Crabbe and Goyle, and Pansy seemed to folding easily into the group of friends Hermione had. She tended to want to sit on the opposite side of the table from Neville to avoid some of the catastrophic events that surrounded the tall raven haired boy. It appeared Gin had noted the closeness in the way Hermione would sit with Pansy which made the brunette worry about getting the third degree from the ginger haired girl. Even Ron was back with the group regardless of how he had been acting, and that was fine with her as long as he didn't insult Pans.
The hooting of owls caused them to look upwards. Feeling the raven haired girls hand grip her arm as a dark colored owl came their way carrying a red envelope. When the letter dropped in front of Pansy the she grabbed the letter and ran out of the Great Hall. Deciding to follow her, Hermione was about four yards behind her heart's desire when she darted into an unused classroom. As the brunette opened the door she heard the familiar sound of a howler being opened. As she closed the door the screaming began.
"PANSY LILLIANA PARKINSON WHAT IN THE HELL DO YOU THINK YOU ARE DOING? I HEAR THAT YOU HAVE BEEN HANGING OUT WITH A MUDBLOOD AND IGNORING YOUR OBLIGATIONS TO MR. MALFOY! NOW HEAR ME YOU LITTLE SLUT I WILL TAKE NO MORE OF THIS NONSENSE, AND I WILL BE IN HOGSMEAD NEXT MONTH SO YOU BETTER PRAY TO GOD THAT…"
Hermione's ears were ringing but the sound had stopped abruptly as she embraced Pansy. She whispered tender comfort into Pansy's ear as the raven haired teen broke down into a cascade of tears. Glancing up she saw her mother standing there with this furious look on her face.
"Are you two all right?" The two of them nodded. "That would have exploded causing injury to the two of you. Be careful what mail you open Pansy I could not rescue your mother, but that does not mean I will let harm come to her child." With that the Olympian fade away in her trademark silver light.
"Are you okay Pans?"
"Yes Mi, but you shouldn't have come here." The raven haired girl buried her head into the Gryffindor's shoulder.
"Why not Pansy?" whispered Hermione.
"What your mum said is correct that howler would have blown up because I was not alone."
"Please tell me that it was not your parents Pansy." Hermione's voice was laced with concern. She was already calculating what she would do to get Pansy into a safe home environment. The one that she could only dream of was her living with the Weasley's. Ron would never live in the Burrow again if a Slytherin was staying there; which was a pity really because no one else in his family held such ideas.
"It's not them it was my Uncle Jeffery. He has total control over the family because he severed You-know-who. Which caused fear in my grandparents whom he killed because they were 'cowards' as he puts it."
Hearing this caused Hermione's blood began to boil, but she kept her temper under control. She never once released her hold on Pansy. Once she felt the other girl pushed back she looked into pale green eyes.
"Are you okay now?" the other teen nodded in agreement. "Come on let's get back to breakfast, and if he is at Hogsmeade I will be there with you don't doubt that for a second."
Shaking her head to clear her mind Hermione walked up and gave the password to enter the common room. As the portrait of the Fat Lady closed behind her Hermione's thoughts were interrupted by a cough of to her right. "Oh hey Gin what's up?"
"Oh nothing just wondering when you were going to tell us." Ginny was tapping her foot while Harry and Neville were looking as confused as the brunette felt. "What was in that howler that made you so mad?"
Relieved that she didn't have to admit to being in love with Pansy just yet she answered as honestly as possible. "Someone sent that howler because she was not seeing Malfoy anymore, and I heard the tail end of it."
Harry was the next to speak. "Well Hermione if anyone threatens Pansy they will have to deal with us, because regardless of how she treated us last year and the year before, she has proven to be a very respectable young lady."
"Thank you Harry and Ginny come with me I need to talk to you… alone." She looked over at the boys who just looked between each other and shrugged. When they got to Hermione's dorm the girls were alone saved for Lavender. "Lavender can you leave us for a moment?"
"Sure, I was about to go to the Great Hall anyway to meet Pravati." Lavender then walked out.
"Okay what's up Mi?" Ginny asked as she sat down on Lav's bed.
"You nearly gave me a panic attack out there you know." The know-it-all tone was hard to shake, but she was trying.
"What do you mean all I said was… Oh my god you have a crush on Pansy?" Ginny quickly covered her mouth after she finished the statement.
"Yes Ginny I do, and when you said that I nearly had a coronary."
"Oh really, have you told her?" Ginny had this smirk on her face that was almost daring the brunette to say 'yes'.
"No, and before you ask I don't think it would be a good idea for me to ask her about it now."
"So when would be a good time to do it Hermione?" Ginny had one eyebrow raised, and was giving the older girl a look as if she were saying 'Your point is?'
"I don't know Ginny. I just think that asking her RIGHT NOW would make me seem like a vulture. I would feel as if I was prying on her moment of weakness." She let out a soft mournful sigh. "Which would make me no better than Draco Malfoy, and I wouldn't feel too good about doing that."
"You best do it soon, or you may never get the chance." Ginny was tapping her foot on the ground. This was one of her many nervous ticks. She knew what was coming.
"This is coming from the girl who has the world's biggest crush on one Harry Potter." The older Gryffindor couldn't help but smile at this.
"Well that's different."
"Oh really Ginny, how is it different?"
"Well I am younger than Harry, and he is well… Harry." The blush coming up on Ginny's cheeks was cute.
"So, he is just a boy. How is he different? So he's the boy who lived how does that change him being a student and a friend of yours?"
"Then ask him out, or at least be your normal self around him more. He will like for who you are not what you look like."
"Oh so if I looked like Professor Snape he would love me?" Ginny challenged.
"Well thankfully Gin I don't think you have to worry about that unless you want to use a Polyjuice potion."
"God NO, do I look crazy to you?"
Both girls started to laugh hysterically after that. Conversation soon turned into girl talk about things that had been going on from the dementors to the speculations on Sirius Black. Hermione got Ginny to promise not to tell a soul about how she felt about Pansy, and decided to let her know one last secret: her mother was at the school.
"You're kidding! Where is she?" The red head heads eyes nearly popped out of her head.
"I don't think I am at liberty to talk about that part of it…"
A smooth silken voice interrupted her. "You shouldn't have let anyone know that much my daughter." The ethereal form of Hecate entered the room. "But I trust Ms. Weasley as much as you do, but now that she knows she has to be sworn to secrecy." Hermione looked over at Ginny to see that she was now standing with her head bowed in respect of the goddess.
"Mother…" Hermione kept her voice low, but did not let her eyes drop to the floor. This was her friend, and she viewed her more like a sister than a friend.
"I was planning on letting the friends you trust implicitly know the truth on the eve of you birthday anyway, and this is the reaction of a god showing their true presence to a mortal." The goddess nodded her head to Ginny. "Well almost all your trusted friends. There are those who I doubt have the mental fortitude to be in my presence without being vaporized, or the fact that they would keep their mouths closed. You Ms. Granger I trust."
Once Ginny motioned her understanding the raven haired immortal continued. "Now in six days I will tell you who to bring to the dungeons do you understand?"
"Yes ma'am I do, but why the dungeons?" The fear in Ginny's voice was obvious, but to Hermione seemed unnecessary considering it would take a monumental fool to attack a goddess. Like Crabbe and Goyle but that would be their last action.
"Like I said my daughter I would not kill unless I had no choice. I believe someone must exhaust all options before I must give them my fatal judgment." The brunette just nodded. "Well I must go some poor sot is lost in Sudbury." With that Hecate faded from view.
"Oh my god…" was all Ginny could say.
"Gods," Hermione corrected.
"Right I'll have to remember that."
The next few days went by faster than Hermione would have liked, and that was with the Time Turner being used to give her extra study time for all her courses. She was amazed at Pansy skill with magical art work. While the rest of the class was still working on their first painting Pansy had finished one painting and started another. The first was a beautiful Unicorn that once she put her name on the back of the canvas started neighing and galloped from picture to picture. Hermione found herself distracted by Pansy when she was painting. She would get this distant look in her eyes and her delicate hands would bring that paintbrush to the canvas and one stroke would lead to the next and soon the class was looking at a forest. This, among other things, was something she appreciated about Pansy. Sure she was a brilliant artist, but she was also a good listener, and a kind hearted person. The cold façade was placed there to keep people from hurting her like that family member of hers. Hermione didn't even want to think his name, not because she was afraid of him, but because it brought to her mind emotions she did not want: Hate, anger, blind rage, and disgust to name a few. She did not like these feelings, and went to great lengths to control her emotion. Hermione was not a violent person, nor did she want to become one. It was just she could not understand how someone could hurt the person they should be protecting.
On Tuesday the brunette's life was turned upside down. She and Pansy were going over both Transfigurations notes, and the divine spells the books contained. Both girls could feel the power lying just out of their reach. The sound of a closing book caused them to look over their shoulders. Standing not five feet away was the 'dangerous' triad: Malfoy, Crabbe and Goyle.
"It looks like Granger's found her girlfriend boys." Malfoy had this sneer plastered across his face.
"Yeah Pansy why hang around with her, are you planning on going on a date with her?" Crabbe started to laugh. "Or are you two pasted that stage?"
"Oh very intelligent you brainless oaf, and I don't think that is any of your business." Pansy retorted, but Hermione noticed a blush crawling up her cheeks.
"Oh but it is Pansy, you see I am you future husband!" Draco's voice was raised a little above normal. "Or have you forgotten that?"
"That is what my uncle and you want. It is not what I want." Pansy's voice was starting to falter.
"And why is that?" Goyle had his crooked smile on full display.
Hermione could take this no longer. "What difference does it make you overgrown toddler. She said she doesn't want to marry him. NOW leave before you do something you regret." Hermione was trying to get Madam Pence's attention.
"Get over it Granger she is taken." Crabbe was reaching for his wand, and Hermione flicked her wrist sending the wand flying. "What the…"
"Just leave boys you won't win." The Gryffindor's voice was as hard as steel which caused the temperature to drop a couple of degrees in the area.
"What are you doing Granger?" Crabbe snapped.
"Nothing, now leave." Hermione pointed in the desired direction.
As the three boys left a hand was placed on her shoulder. "Mi, are you okay?"
"Yes Pansy why?" She was smiling to give her friend a sense of safety and calm.
"You were glowing silver, and your eyes were completely silver. It was quite scary." Pansy once again was blushing. "It was kind of sexy."
Hermione just blushed even deeper than Pansy. "Thank you Pansy. Pansy do you love me?" The last part left her mouth before Hermione could stop it. "I am sorry Pans you don't have to answer that if you don't want…"
"I do love you Hermione." The raven haired beauty took her hands in her own. "I have wanted to tell you for… months. You should see the amount of letters I have written to you that I have never sent. Or the poems I have tried to write you, my notes are covered in little hearts with your initials next to them." Pans let out a sigh. "Listen to me ramble on. You must think I am crazy now."
"No I don't." Hermione squeezed the other girl's hands. "I think it is kind of cute."
"You're embarrassing me Mi." Pansy said as she leaned in closer to the brunette.
"Am I now?" Hermione leaned in closer.
And with that their lips met in a gentle and slow kiss. Hermione felt the other girls arms wrap around her waist, so she placed her arms around her neck. The kiss lasted for a couple of minutes, and when it ended Hermione leaned her forehead against Pansy's. They remained like this until the librarian made her presence know.
"While this is touching ladies I think this is a little too public of a place for such displays of affections."
"Sorry Madam Pince." Both of them responded and then broke apart to gather their belongings.
After leaving the library Pansy said she was going to do something special for Hermione's birthday, which was in three days. This among other things had the Gryffindor's nerves on pins and needles. The most obvious to anyone who knew was what might happen once the day of her birth rolled around.
Late Thursday afternoon found Hermione sitting out in the courtyard trying to calm her mind for something she wanted to try. A squeaky voice behind her caused Hermione to jump.
"Hey Hermione, what are you doing out here instead of in the library?" Colin Creevey's little voice cut though the silence of courtyard like a police siren in a graveyard.
"Just need some fresh air. I have a lot on my mind."
Thankfully she was done with her classes for the day, and the Time Turner was good for when she needed a break and wanted some time to study without interruption. She decided to tell Pansy about the Time Turner and the reason for it. It was hard enough keeping Harry, Neville, and Ron in the dark about the time turner, but she told Pansy about it to prevent any suspicion.
"How are you doing after last year?" Colin asked a bit apprehensively.
"I am fine I knew what I was up against I just wish I could have found out sooner." Hermione looked down at the ground. "How are you doing Collin?"
"I am doing okay I think I have had enough excitement for a life time… maybe." Collin said this holding up his camera.
Laughing Hermione responded "Well you're sure in the right house Colin."
"Well I will see you around Hermione." With that Collin walked back into the castle.
Looking at her watch Hermione noticed it was almost time for dinner, and Pansy wanted to meet up for some alone time. Before she did that though the brunette wanted to try something she read in her book that was not in Pansy's. Standing up she looked to her right then left. No one was there saved for a few birds, and baring an animagus among them that was it.
Hermione focused her energy on her form, and being able to see in three hundred sixty degrees. She felt something shift both through her and around her. Once the ill feeling passed the brunette opened her eyes and jumped. Not only could she see the old crumbled wall she was staring at earlier she could see Professor Dumbledore and McGonagall standing to her right and behind her respectively.
"Ms. Granger what is going on?" The shock in the head of Gryffindor houses voice was more than obvious.
"Um… stretching my legs?" sure it was weak, but compared to how she was feeling it would have to do.
The shock on McGonagall's face was replaced by agitation in no time. "Ms. Granger this is no joke Sirius Black could have used you to sneak into the castle, and using illegal spells is..."
"Professor this is why I wanted to talk with you with Ms. Granger present." The twinkle in Dumbledore's eyes was brighter than normal. "Hogwarts has been given the honor of teaching not one but two demigods. The second of which is Ms. Parkinson. Now we need to keep this amongst ourselves, for now, Professor McGonagall because the dementors would have even more desire to enter the school once this is known."
At the mire mentioning of the dementors the headmaster's voice took on this agitated voice not to mention this undertone of sheer hatred of the things. Hermione had only encountered one and that was enough to last a life time.
"Are you serious Albus? She is a demi… god?" McGonagall nearly whispered the 'god' part of the question.
"Yes and by tomorrow there will be no doubt about it, and I thought you should know being she is a Gryffindor."
"I see…" Professor McGonagall looked at her again. "Who is your parent…?"
"Mother, it is Hecate professor." Hermione kept her voice level and down to earth as it were. "May I go now professor I am a little hungry?" Hermione let the ability fade as it was starting to give her a headache.
"Of course Hermione," Dumbledore said with a smile. "… I believe Ms. Parkinson is waiting for you in the entrance hall."
Hermione didn't even need to ask how the headmaster knew this information she knew he was aware of just about everything that happened in the school, though how she was unsure. Running through corridor after corridor as fast as she could Hermione wonder if by tomorrow she would physically be faster or stronger? Personally she would rather be faster because it would allow her to get from class to class easier. As she made to the Entrance Hall a smile crossed the brunette's face.
"Hermione there you are!" Hermione embraced her charging girlfriend. "I was worried about you, ya know." Pansy ended this statement with a kiss.
As they kissed the two love birds hear the doors to the Great Hall crash open, and two familiar voices collide with one another.
"Hey watch where you're going Zabini!" Ron yelled at the top of his lungs.
"You shoved me Weasley, and I am just concerned about Pansy and Hermione." Blaise had been hanging out with the four of them as of late (her, Pansy, Harry, and Neville).
Ron's response was drowned out by a chorus of Oh's and Awe's with two very similar voice towering over them all. One of them was doing cat calls and the other said "That's how it's done Hermione!" through closed eyes Hermione rolled said eyes at Fred and George.
Someone else said "They really are a couple."
While others said "They are so cute together."
As Hermione put her head against Pansy's she felt someone grab her arm. She was then violently jerked away from the Slytherin. "What the hell do you think you doing Hermione?"
"I was having a romantic moment with my girlfriend till you ruined it." She struggled against her fellow Gryffindor's grip. He may have looked scrawny but he had a vice like grip, and all she could think of was a gust wind. Then Ron Weasley was sent flying across the Entrance Hall as Percy came up to his brother and Hermione.
"Are you okay Hermione?" asked Percy.
"I am fine." Hermione looked over to Pansy, and then to Ronald. "Don't ever touch me again Ron Weasley." She then took Pansy's hand as they walked through the crowd into the Great Hall.