Pick Your Poison
AN: This chapter is a probably the longest chapter I’ve ever written hahaha. It’s longer due to the flashback of Hermione and Theo that ended up being more lengthy than I thought, so if you aren’t up for reading the entire flashback, I’ve added a summary of it at the bottom. It does switch back to the original timeline at Hogwarts, so if you want to just read that, keep your eye out for the bold title: EVENING BEFORE BEGINNING OF SIXTH YEAR
Warning: drug usage, alcohol, foul language, attempt of rape, drugging
*CURRENTLY REVISING CHAPTER*
RECAP: “Nott?” Hermione asked incredulously. The last person she would have expected here at a muggle party was Theo Nott, a pureblood Slytherin. She quickly glanced at the guy she had been dancing with, worried that it was actually Malfoy, but let out a sigh of relief when it wasn’t.
SUMMER BEFORE SIXTH YEAR - CONTINUED
The guy that eerily looked like Malfoy smiled at her with a confused expression. “What was that?”
“Who’s the bird, Lewis?” Hermione looked back at Theo.
Of course he wouldn’t recognise her. Even if she hadn’t straightened her hair, she was sure he wouldn’t have recognised her. Honestly, if she hadn’t befriended Harry or Ron, most of the students at Hogwarts most likely wouldn’t have spared her so much as a second glance. The thought didn’t upset her by any means. She was quite antisocial when in a school setting, something she would admit to anyone who asked. Hermione didn’t think that was something to feel ashamed about.
“Uh, sorry, love. I don’t think I caught your name.” He draped an arm around her shoulder and guided her to the sofa.
As the guy, who Hermione now knew was named Lewis, went to sit down, he shoved Theo’s leg as a signal for him to slide over and make space for them. Theo moved closer to the arm of the sofa, his attention remaining focused on the cards in his hands. Both her and Lewis sat down. She was enjoying the party, but was far from how drunk she was hoping to actually be. Hermione honestly didn’t care too much about sharing her name with her current party date that she planned to never see again after tonight. It was the fact that she was still able to think coherently that made her realise she definitely needed more alcohol in her system. She hoped he’d be too drunk to remember that he asked for her name. The expectant look on his face as he watched her, told her otherwise. She sighed and grabbed a beer can off of the table, which she assumed to be Theo’s, and took a long sip before finally answering him.
“Hermione.” She thought about going by her surname, but figured it best to cut any connection to her parents. They were the only Granger’s in Hampstead and were well known amongst their upper class circle of friends.
As soon as the word left her lips, she saw Theo’s attention snap to her face with confusion. His brows knitted together as he stared at her. It reminded her of herself when she had her first divination class with Professor Trelawney, the entire time thinking how ridiculous and impossible the whole lesson seemed.
‘He must have not heard me call his name earlier,’ she thought.
“Having fun playing delinquent with the muggles, then?” She raised an eyebrow at him and smiled when she saw the realisation dawn on his face as she confirmed his suspicions.
His head jerked back ever so slightly from the shock and his eyes widened. She was slightly surprised herself when his lips formed a warm smile. That was not the reaction she had been expecting, but then again, she didn’t know what she expected. They never interacted before that moment.
“Fuck. It’s really you, Granger.” He tossed his cards on the table, revealing them to the others. The other three groaned with frustration.
“Mate. You’ve dried me out,” said the one that sat opposite to Theo. He wore a bright orange beanie and groaned as he pulled it down over his face before pulling it right back to it’s original position on his head.
“Said every bird you’ve tried to trick into bed,” retorted Theo before looking back at Hermione. She smiled at Theo’s comment as she stared at the one in the beanie. He made eye contact with her in that moment and looked her body up and down before returning a smile.
“This one’s got a sense of humour. Ollie.” He held his hand out for her to shake. She brought her hand to his and he clasped hers with both of his hands and winked before letting her have her hand back. “You’re fucking, fit.”
Ollie turned to Lewis. “Might have to steal her from you, mate.”
Before anyone could comment, Theo spoke again, ignoring Ollie’s remarks. ”Literally the last person I would ever expect to run into here would be you.” Theo addressed Hermione once again, the expression in his eyes incredulous and slightly devious.
“I could say the same. It makes more sense me being here, rather than you, though.” She smiled as she shrugged her shoulders and took another long sip of the beer.
Theo watched her with intrigue as the can touched her lips and smirked.
“Wait so you two know each other? This is the rich bloke I was telling you about,” Lewis added. The surprised expression that washed over Hermione’s face further amused Theo. He chuckled.
“Uh, yeah. We were classmates.” ‘Emphasis on the were’, Hermione thought. She didn’t want them to realise she was underage and deduced that they assumed Theo was older as well. “Are you here alone, or should I expect to see more of your,” she paused, “friends?”
“What, you mean like Malfoy?” Theo smirked. “Muggle Malfoy not good enough for you, Granger?” He nodded his head towards Lewis.
“About the third time I’m hearing both of those words. Is he the complicated reason you said you wanted to get shit-faced, then?” Lewis asked.
Hermione thought about his question. In a sense he was. Or he played a small part at least. It was no secret what his pureblood family’s beliefs were. They were something he made sure to let her and everyone else at Hogwarts know. Malfoy never directly said anything about his family’s stance, but the way he threw around words like mudblood and blood traitor, plus the way he especially looked down on her and Ron, made it quite clear. And it was those type of ideals that was the reason Voldemort was able to be as powerful as he was and why he was becoming more and more of a threat each day.
Hermione chugged the rest of the can and unconsciously shifted her body away from Lewis. Theo scrutinised her body language and once again the expression on his face changed in an instant to a stare that was a mixture of confusion, shock, and like a little child who had just been given a lollipop.
“Wait. Is there truth to what he’s saying? Is there something I don’t know, Granger?” His eyes were filled with anticipation and that deviousness returned in full force.
She wouldn’t have guessed Theo to enjoy gossip, but they were both discovering things about one another for the first time.
She found it rather amusing that Theo could seriously believe that Malfoy and her had some sort of relationship that was anything besides extreme dislike. Whether he thought she had some sadistic one sided crush on Malfoy or that they were having some type of “lover’s spat” from a secret relationship, she had no idea. But the notion made her laugh in her mind. She had to force her nose not to crinkle at the idea of her and Malfoy sharing anything romantic between one another. Sober Hermione would have dismissed the ridiculous concept immediately, but drunk Hermione was feeling more playful, so she shrugged her shoulders.
With just one simple movement of her body, Theo was now completely engrossed in their conversation. He wore a full blown smile as he let his hand lazily clasp Lewis’ shoulder before turning his head towards him.
“Alright, mate. Time to get up. The big boys are speaking now,” he winked at Hermione and she couldn’t hold back her quiet laughter.
Lewis looked hesitantly between the two before lingering on Hermione’s face. When she made no sign that she would suggest he should stay, he huffed in frustration as he got up. Hermione Granger absolutely hated giggling and was absolutely powerless against the small giggle that left her lips. Yep, she was definitely more drunk now.
“I’ll be around, Hermione. If you decide to come find me later.” Lewis added, but didn’t sound convinced that she would. He went over to say something to Ollie before him and the other one who they had been playing cards with, all got up and left.
The music was amplified when the door to the room opened and became once again muffled once Ollie shut it, making sure to wiggle his eyebrows at Hermione before doing so.
“Want some before the long elaborate story that I very much intend for you to tell?” Theo pulled out of his pocket a small bag filled with weed and a small boxed package.
When he looked up at Hermione, her eyes were glued to the contents, watching them curiously. Theo smiled before taking a thin piece of paper out of the small package and laying it on the table. He cleared his throat before opening the bag and gently tapping it over the small, rectangular piece of paper, letting a small amount of the contents fall out into a thin line. Theo rolled the piece of paper tightly around the weed before taking the entire thing towards his mouth and slowly dragging his tongue across the edge. He then twisted one end with his fingers to seal it off. Hermione was impressed that his large hands were able to handle everything so delicately. She was sure he did well in potions class and wondered what it would’ve been like had they ever been partners. He seemed decent enough, friendly even, but perhaps that was the weed and alcohol.
He held up the blunt and inspected it as he twisted it between his thumb and index finger. “Not my best work, but it’ll do the trick. I’m going to make an educated guess and say you’ve never smoked weed before?” He raised an eyebrow at her.
“Very good deduction skills, Theo. You must be an excellent potions class partner.” Hermione randomly added and smiled at him before leaning against the back of the sofa to try and calm the dizziness in her mind.
He placed the cigarette in his mouth, holding it there with just his lips as he shoved both of his hands into his black trousers’ pockets, searching and finding seconds later, a lighter.
“Impressed you then, did I?” The rolled blunt moved up and down as he spoke.
After he roughly brushed his thumb against the lighter to ignite it, he brought the small flame to the tip of the cigarette and let the paper burn, slightly catching fire. He inhaled, causing the ends of the cigarette to glow orange and seemed to hold his breath in his chest before grabbing it with his long fingers, pulling it from his mouth, and releasing a deep exhale that blew smoke into the room.
Hermione felt the smoke wrap around her lungs as she took a small breath. She knew the smoke wasn’t going to be pleasant for her and her slight cough made sure that Theo was aware as well now, but she was sure that his knowledge of her lack of experience told him that anyways.
Theo chuckled before casually passing the blunt to Hermione and leaning his head back on the sofa. “Just try and do what I did. It will be more effective if you really let the smoke sit in your lungs for a few seconds before slowly releasing it.”
She cleared her throat with determination as she carefully plucked the rolled piece of paper out of Theo’s fingers, rolling it with her own to inspect and get a feel for something she wouldn’t have dared to even look at only a year ago.
“It’s not going to bite you, Granger.” Theo was watching her curiously. Like he wasn’t sure if she would really go through with it.
That look was enough for her to take the final plunge. She learned long ago that she hated when people assumed things about her, and it made her sometimes do very stupid things to prove whatever assumptions as false. Like chase after one of the most notorious wizards with two boys that happened to be just as stupid as she was, apparently.
She quickly, albeit hesitantly, placed the cigarette to her lips and attempted to mimic Theo’s actions. The air she inhaled felt like sandpaper against her throat, causing her eyes to begin to water. Fighting her body’s natural desire to cough, she held the air inside for a few seconds until it became too much and ultimately ended with her coughing as the smoke left her lungs immediately. Hermione held up the cigarette for Theo to take as she covered her mouth with her other arm to conceal her coughs.
She began to laugh simultaneously with her coughs and Theo joined in. “That’s dreadful.” She said once her lungs had settled.
“Pick your poison,” he added. She found it an interesting thing to say, but was too drunk to think much about it.
Theo took another hit before passing it back. Hermione attempted once again to smoke from the cigarette and still managed to end in a slight coughing fit.
“It takes times to adjust. You also may not even feel anything this time, actually. Could take a few tries before you feel high.”
Hermione nodded her head as she took in his words, slightly disappointed.
“So, you and Malfoy? How the hell did that happen? It’s so fucking ridiculous that I think I believe it.” Theo’s head still rested on the back of the sofa, but his gaze turned towards her. He watched her with eager eyes.
“Yea, I know,” Hermione fought the large grin that was begging to be released, trying her best to keep a serious expression on her face. “Really...fucking ridiculous.” The word felt so foreign on her tongue, but she quite liked it.
She was far from a saint, ‘although many would argue against that statement,’ she thought begrudgingly. Hermione found herself cussing often in her mind, but never really aloud.
“I mean the more I’m thinking about it though, the more it’s staring me straight in the bloody face. It makes absolute fucking sense.” Theo shook his head incredulously, lost in his own thoughts as he sat up and took another hit of the cigarette before handing it back to Hermione.
“Penny for your thoughts, then?” She added before attempting for the third time to take a smooth inhale of the cigarette.
It still felt like someone had poured acid down her throat as she took in a breath of the smoke, but she did manage to keep from coughing this time. She held it out for Theo to take once again, but he ignored it, fully engrossed in how her and Malfoy made so much sense. So she kept it in her hand and took another hit. Theo turned, his whole chest facing Hermione now. His eyes were twice their usual side.
“Yea sure, he makes fun of Potter and takes the mick out of him, but he really gets nasty when it comes to you and Weasley. I always thought it had to do with the whole blood status thing, but see,” he wagged his finger and cocked his head to the side as if making a fairly obvious point, “notice how he doesn’t go around giving the same treatment to the other Weasley’s? Or other,” he made quotes with his fingers, “‘blood traitors’” as he likes to call them. Just you two. And you know, one could argue,” he waved his hand in the air as if to dismiss the frivolous notion he was about to add, “the other Weasley’s are older, whereas Ron is his age, but no.” Theo shook his head rather enthusiastically.
Perhaps he was so engrossed in the conversation because the weed was affecting him. He spoke to Hermione as if this was his life’s passion. It made the whole ordeal that much more entertaining and the smile was getting harder and harder to contain, slowly making an appearance around the corners of her mouth.
“Mhmm?” Hermione added, goading him to continue.
“He has no issue giving a mouthful to that annoying prefect Weasley. And he barely looks twice at the little Weasley girl. He’s completely enamoured with just you two. And I don’t see him giving even a fraction of attention to any other mudblood around the school. He always knew that that Weasley’s had a hard on for you and he couldn’t stand it. But there’s nothing he can do about it, at least not openly,” Theo wiggled his eyebrows at Hermione before the contemplative look reappeared on his face, “because if daddy dearest ever found out, he’d probably be shipped off to Durmstrang in a heartbeat. Thus,” he waved his hand dramatically in the air, like the queen of England herself, “never seeing his forbidden true love, Hermione Granger, ever again.”
She was blatantly aware of his use of the word mudblood, but was quick to forget it when he continued speaking. By the end, Hermione could barely hold back her laughter, managing to speak the words, “And scene,” before a large smile finally forced it’s way onto her face and loud laughter erupted from her lips.
The pleased look on Theo’s face slowly morphed into one of a more tentative nature. “Either I’ve completely butchered that or you were messing with me from the beginning.”
He cautiously glared at Hermione before she met his eyes and laughed even more. It was enough to cause Theo to chuckle before turning into full on laughter himself. Neither of them expected that they would be in one another’s company tonight at a muggle party, of all places, and they most certainly did not think that it would lead to both of them laughing together on a sofa, sharing a blunt.
“I blame the alcohol. It was such a ridiculous notion, I had to see where it would go.” Hermione was finally able to breathe again.
“Well it certainly lead to a good laugh.” Theo added once his own laughter subsided.
"If Malfoy and I were to have been a thing, your reasoning sounds 100% logical.”
“And you’re positive on the ‘if’, then?”
Hermione nodded her head. “Extremely. There has been only animosity between Malfoy and I.”
“If he wasn’t such a prick though, between just us, Granger, would you fuck him?” Theo raised his eyebrows at her.
Hermione coughed, “You really don’t hold back, Theo Nott.”
“Refreshing though, isn’t it? I, for one find it rather charming.” He smiled proudly and plucked the cigarette from Hermione’s fingers before grabbing the lighter from the table to reignite the cigarette and take another deep inhale.
“Actually, it is.” Hermione felt strangely comforted to be in Theo’s presence. He said exactly what was in the forefront of his mind. She didn’t have to wonder what he was thinking. He was just there, living in the moment without a care in the world. He had taken away her stress more than the alcohol ever did. He didn’t have any high expectations of her either, which was refreshing. She hadn’t found herself focused on her troubles that were always lingering and she would inevitably have to return to.
He passed her the blunt. “You’re alright, Granger.”
They shared a smile before she took another hit and then stood up as she passed it back to him once again. “I need to use the loo.”
“Should be right outside, down the hall. Is this goodbye, or should I expect your return?”
“I could use more of that refreshing ‘charm’. You’re good at calming people, Theo. I’ll come back with more drinks.” She left the room and was able to find the toilet with no problem.
Luckily, there was only one person in front of her waiting and they were only in there for a few moments before Hermione was able to relieve herself. After washing her hands, she looked up at herself in the mirror. A layer of sweat covered her skin, which gave it almost a luminesce look under the bright light. She had felt worse for wear than she actually was and was pleasantly surprised that her appearance had remained intact, especially her hair.
Hermione opened the door and as she stepped out, felt two hands grab around her waist and pull her close. A finger reached inside her mouth and she felt something dissolve on her tongue. Ollie looked down at her with a devilish grin as he removed his finger.
“It’s Hermione, isn’t it? Fancy running into you here.”
She pushed him back, but was annoyed by how little he moved. His arms stayed firm on her waist and Hermione could physically feel the energy begin to leave her body.
“What’s happen...ing?” Even speaking was becoming taxing for her.
“You alright there, love? You want to lay down? You’re looking tired.” He brushed her hair from her face, tucking it behind her ears, looking at her with concern.
Hermione’s mind began to betray her as well as she found herself slowly nodding her head. When Ollie placed one of her arms over his shoulder, she found herself leaning into him for support, having a hard time standing on her own. Her mind became cloudy and all she could register was the small lifting movements of her feet before the music became muffled and she felt herself land on something soft. It was difficult for Hermione to hold onto her thoughts. She knew she wanted to keep her eyes open, but didn’t know why. Her eyelids were becoming heavier by the second and she found herself unable to fight it as they began to close shut.
A heavy pressure on her had shocked her body just enough for her eyes to reopen. Ollie was laying on top of her, speaking to her. She wasn’t able to make out his words. She wanted to ask him what he was doing, but her mouth felt like it had dissolved into a puddle and all that she managed to get out was one lousy syllable.
“Shh. I’ll take care of you love. Don’t worry.” Ollie began sloppily kissing her neck before attacking her lips with his own.
Another shock to Hermione’s body. She didn’t like what she was feeling. She wanted it to stop. Wanted him to stop. Her attempts to push him off of her were futile. She wasn’t even sure if she managed to move her arms at all.
“St...st..ppp” She used any strength she had. Only her mouth seemed to be working and just barely.
She felt a hand on her breast, grabbing it harshly, causing yet another shock. It was enough for her to just register the situation she was in. A tear rolled down her cheek at the realisation of how completely helpless she was and what was going to happen. A moment later, the music became louder and the pressure atop of her body alleviated. A silent thanks was said in her mind before she couldn’t fight the sleep that finally overtook her.
A slight tapping sound could be heard.
‘Did Harry owl her?’ she thought and tried to lull herself out of her sleep.
She became suddenly aware that her body was moving ever so slightly in sync to the taps. Her brows furrowed and she felt her heartbeat begin to race as she discovered her eyes wouldn’t open. They felt so heavy. The tapping became louder and her body moved more as well. One of her eyelids were pulled open and she could just make out a figure.
“Granger. You in there? It’d be nice if you woke up now, before someone walks by and stares.” Her eyelid dropped once more.
More tapping. She found her brain start to wake up and was finally able to pull her eyelids open halfway, blinking to try and clear her vision.
“Theo?” She croaked, her throat feeling very dry. She could make out his face now. He was tapping her cheeks.
“There she is.” He was still tapping her cheek with his large palm that covered the entire left side of her face.
She looked at him with tired and weary eyes. “Is there a reason you’re still slapping me, despite me being awake now?” she grumbled.
“It’s fun. And you still look like you’re about to pass out again any second.” He stood up and held his hand out for her to take.
She was slow and weak still, but her body responded to her. Hermione grabbed his hand and let him help pull her back to her feet.
“What happened? And where are we?” She looked around. It was dark still and they were standing by a stone wall. She leaned against it for support.
“I believe we are at Twatling Lane,” he chuckled before shifting uncomfortably and looking down the street. “And that sod, Ollie...he drugged you. It had been a bit so I went to go find you and couldn’t. I checked upstairs and found him on top of you. He wasn’t able to do much besides kiss you and grab your breast, I think. But I couldn’t say for sure. I’m sorry, Granger.” He finally looked her in the eyes, an irritated look in his own and a frown on his lips.
The faint street lights left them in a yellow glow. Hermione felt her heart rate increase at what Theo had told her. She was more awake now and could vaguely remember what happened.
“That’s all he was able to do.” Hermione hesitated. She felt an immense amount of gratitude towards the Slytherin she had not even known only a few hours ago. He was not what she was expecting at all. “Thank you, Theo,” she said before hugging him.
“Oh, uh. Yea, of course, Granger.” He shifted uncomfortably before awkwardly patting her back.
“Did you say Twatling Lane?” She asked before pulling away from him.
Theo chuckled, “Muggles and their street names. I’ll never understand, but will forever be grateful for them.”
“Agreed.” Hermione laughed. They began walking down the empty street.
“Hungry?” He inquired.
“Alright, there’s a chippy just around the corner.”
“Your family’s estate is thirty minutes from the outskirts of muggle Hampstead?” Hermione shook her head incredulously as she dipped her chip in ketchup.
“Small world, isn’t it?” Theo added. “Who would’ve guessed that we were neighbours, just separated by magic?” He copied Hermione’s actions before taking a bite out of a rather large chip. “And to think, if only you rebelled a little earlier, we would have found each other sooner.”
“So when did this all start for you then?” Hermione inquired.
“Fourth year. When my father started to see me as a ‘young man’ and all that shite.” Theo rolled his eyes.
“I take it you two don’t get along, then?”
“He’s probably the biggest arsehole you’ll ever lay eyes on, Granger. I’m talking,” he formed a large circle with his hands, the size of a watermelon, “absolutely fucking massive.” He laughed before eating a piece of fish.
Hermione laughed with him and silence followed.
“But yea. He makes Draco’s dad look like Godrick Gryffindor. So I escape whenever I can, and once I’m out, I look for other forms of escape. Anything to distract my mind from all the horrible things he’s done..does.”
“Pick your poison?” Hermione asked.
Theo smirked and nodded. “Pick your poison,” he replied. “So what is the innocent bookworm Hermione Granger trying to escape from?” Theo leaned forward, resting his elbows on the table, curiosity in his eyes.
“I don’t know. A sense of duty and obligation, I suppose? Everyone has these expectations of me and how I’m supposed to be. But I’m not that person anymore. Too many things have happened, with you-know-who.”
“Ah yes, the root of both of our problems, it seems.” Theo leaned back again and tared down at his food, pushing it around his plate with one of the chips.
“It’s like he’s eaten away at my soul. I feel numb most of the time now. I just want to forget about the looming evil for even a second.”
“Pick your poison.” Theo held up the chip.
“Pick your poison.” Hermione picked up a chip from her own plate and they tapped them together in solidarity before both plopping their chips simultaneously into their mouths.
“I think I’m going to call you Herm.” Theo ate another piece of fish as he stared at Hermione.
“Herm? That’s...a flattering nickname.” She eyed him curiously.
“Precisely. You’ll basically,” Theo motioned his hand towards Hermione, “be like a grandpa.”
“Right...because calling me Herm transforms me into a grandpa, in your mind..” So far Hermione had spent perhaps a total of four hours with Theodore Nott and she discovered that they both thought very differently from one another.
“See, knew you’d get it, Herm.” He smirked.
“Actually I don’t, but something tells me even after you explain it, I probably still won’t.” Hermione smirked.
Theo shrugged again. “Only to ensure I don’t develop some sort of crush on you,” he winked. “Can’t be falling in love with a mudblood and all that.”
That was the second time he used that word. He noticed the disdain on Hermione’s face.
It took Theo a second to register what was wrong. “Sorry... That was probably one of the first words I learned to say when I was a baby, hearing it so often everyday and multiple times a day, by my father. I don’t mean anything bad by it, I swear.”
Theo rubbed the back of his neck, feeling slightly uncomfortable. Hermione waved her hand to dismiss his apology.
“I learned the word my first or second year, but I think growing up in the muggle world, it just doesn’t have the same negative effect on me like it does for Ron.” She hoped it would stay that way, but had a sense of dread, her mind reeling back to Voldemort for a split second. She pushed it from her mind. “I got that look on my face probably because the word honestly just reminds me of Malfoy. I swear the only words in his vocabulary are ‘mudblood’ and ‘Potter’” Hermione scrunched her nose at the thought of him.
“That’s even worse. I, Theodore Nott, will do my absolute best to stop using that word then.” Theo said with a smile. “I don’t know about you, Herm, but the thought of him definitely makes me throw up a little.”
Hermione laughed and nodded her head as she popped another chip into her mouth.
“You reckon he practices his insults in the bath?”
“Definitely not. He’s one of those cocky arses where it just comes natural to be a complete sod to everyone, and successfully as well.” Hermione rolled her eyes at the thought. ”I’m the one who practices in my head, in the shower, long after the argument’s well over. And never to be used in real practice.” She sighed resentfully as she shifted herself in her seat.
“At least you punched him that one year.” He pointed a piece of fried fish at her before eating it. “More effective than petty insults, in my opinion. When that little story spread, I slept like a baby that night.”
Hermione smiled. “It did feel quite good. Aren’t you two friends though?”
Theo shrugged. “We’ve always tolerated one another. Growing up in the same circle of people and all that. Used to hate the prick, but I’ve started to enjoy his company more as of last year. Still think he’s a prick, and would gladly tell it to his face, but it’s all in good fun now.”
Hermione nodded mindlessly, not having much to say on the matter. It was weird to hear Malfoy being described as someone tolerable.
They both finished up their food and stepped out. The sun was just beginning to light the sky.
“I should be heading back, before my parents wake up.”
“They’d be upset? Theo asked.
“Only if they found out I was out with muggles...or high.” He shrugged.
“Hmm.” Hermione found it interesting, where his parents’ morals began and ended. A cold breeze caused her to shiver. Theo hesitated for a moment. Despite it being their first time really being in each other’s company, he felt in a way that they were kindred spirits, that he could trust her. Perhaps that was the Gryffindor effect, though.
“Allow me.” Theo pulled out a wand and began to cast a spell.
Before he could finish, Hermione quickly grabbed his wrist. “What are you doing?”
“It’s just a simple warming charm, Herm.” he said and continued.
She pulled on his wrist again. “You’ll be expelled, Theo.” She stared at him warningly.
He chuckled and peeled her hand from his wrist. “Perks of having a rich, massive arsehole for a father. Undetectable wand. Shh.” He placed his pointer finger on his lips and winked.
Hermione blinked, not sure how to feel about the information.
“Shall I proceed?” He raised an eyebrow at her. In a way, this was his final test, to see if him and Granger could really get along.
Hermione guardedly stared at the wand and back at Theo. An undetectable wand? Surely that was illegal? What difference did it really make though, if an adult wizard was nearby or not when they performed magic. And something as simple as a warming charm.
Theo pulled her from her thoughts. “I just use it for simple stuff. Like this. You can’t honestly tell me you haven’t mentally cursed yourself for all the times you wished you could just use a simple spell over the summer when your away from an adult, but couldn’t because of that bloody rule? Even Durmstrang students are allowed to use magic unsupervised outside of school. We’ve only got a few more months till the Trace is taken off of us, anyways.”
He confirmed what she was already thinking, but she still had her doubts. “Well that’s a different government than ours...” Still, his points were valid, so she nodded her head towards the wand. “How does it work?”
“Well, Wolfie here,” Theo gave the wand a little shake in his hand, “is tricked to believe the one using it is over the age of seventeen. But it’s a 50/50 chance that that part actually works, so for added security, it misdirects the location of where a spell was cast. If it activates the Trace Charm, for all the ministry would know, someone in Wales, or anywhere else in the UK for that matter, could cast that warming charm. Gift from my father so I wouldn’t have to bother him more than absolutely necessary.” He smirked.
Hermione found it quite ingenious and impressive.
“Alright, go ahead then. Nice name for your contraband wand, by the way.”
Theo chuckled and cast the charm. “I mean, you did just smoke weed with me, Granger. I’m pretty sure that’s considered illegal in just about every government, muggle and wizard, around the world. It’ll be interesting to figure out where exactly your moral compass lies,” he said with a smile as he lifted his black jumper and slipped the wand between the waistband of his trousers and his torso.
Hermione smiled at Theo reluctantly with a furrowed brow and shrugged. “My moral compass is all over the place, especially as of late. I love rules, but I’ve probably broken over half of Hogwarts’ by third year. Plus the older I get, the more I’m discovering I love them in only theory..”
She thought about not saying anything, but found herself trusting Theo, especially after he saved her life while she was completely unconscious. He also opened up to her about some personal details of his own life, so they both had essentially put their selves on the line. Worst case scenario, who would believe him if he spread rumours around Hogwarts. Both considered it was probably stupid to reveal so much to someone who was essentially a stranger and in their rival’s house at Hogwarts, but didn’t think much about it. For both Theo and Hermione, tonight they were just two young wizards trying to distract themselves in the muggle world.
Theo raised an eyebrow at her and they began walking back. “And you’re getting onto me about casting a warming charm.” His hands were in his pockets and he nudged into her with his shoulder, causing Hermione to stumble slightly.
She laughed. “Well, I’m still adjusting to my new self.”
“I’m honoured to bear witness. And pleased about your metamorphosis. So much potential being unlocked.” He smirked.
Theo walked Hermione back to her car and watched her curiously as she pulled a key out of the top of her dress and shoved it into the car door.
“Might want to save that move for Draco, during potions class, Herm.” Theo smirked.
“What?” Hermione turned to face him, confused. “I thought you saw me as a grandpa?” She said accusingly. “And for the last time, there is nothing between Drac-Malfoy and I.” She was rather flustered, irritated by what he had implied. She fully regretted going along with the joke earlier, egging him on. He continued slipping comments about her and Malfoy into their conversation the entire evening.
Theo held up his hands in defence. “Doesn’t mean I’m blind, Herm. And all I’m saying is, if one did want to seduce Draco Malfoy,” Theo pointedly looked Hermione up and down as he nudged his head towards her, ”one would certainly qualify in the looks department. All one would need to do, is a little,” he wiggled his eyebrows, ”seducing.”
“Well one would rather jump off a cliff than seduce Draco Malfoy.” She turned back around, forcefully pulling her car door open before slipping into the driver’s seat and shutting it behind her. Immediately afterwards, she cranked the handle down to open the window. “But thank you for the compliment.” Hermione coughed, feeling awkward. She wasn’t used to compliments from purebloods, if she was being honest. She looked back up at him and shook her head with a smile.
Theo was staring at the car with extreme curiosity.
“How are you getting home, Theo?” Hermione inquired as she stuck the key into the ignition to turn on the engine.
“Portkey.” He answered casually as he leaned down on the door, folding his arms and inspecting the interior.
Theo pulled his focus from the car and looked back at Hermione. “You look confounded, Herm.”
“Portkeys are quite difficult to make?”
“You know, Raf,” he shrugged.
“Raf..?” Hermione thought for a moment. “Rich arsehole father.” They said simultaneously. Theo nodded his head slowly and smiled. “You’re catching on quick.”
“So what, he just has some laying around? Or you had some tutor?”
“Both. But I find it much more satisfying to steal from the old crone.” He smirked.
Hermione wondered how Theo’s life was growing up. What other spells was he forced to learn from his father? Had he been subject to dark magic as well?
“So, Herm. You really going to make a boy beg?” He unfolded his arms and pushed himself off of the car door, but kept his hands firmly in place, using the door for support as he continued to lean against it.
“I’ve always wanted to drive a muggle vehicle.”
Hermione nudged her head to the left, towards the passenger seat. “Get in.”
Theo was unable to convince Hermione to let him drive the vehicle, so instead he enjoyed his first time in a car as the passenger.
“I really do need to be getting back now, Theo.” She said after about twenty minutes.
“What have you been doing this whole time?” Theo raised an eyebrow at her.
“I thought you said you wanted to go on a joyride?” Hermione looked at him with her mouth slightly agape.
He chuckled. “I’ve never been in a car before, Herm. Any time spent in one would be considered a joyride.”
She laughed. “You’ve yet to experience a proper joyride then.”
“Let’s plan for one then. Next week.”
And so they did. Hermione wasn’t expecting to see Theo again after tonight and wasn’t planning on pushing it, but was glad that he did. He made her feel sane again and it was easy to forget about everything else when they were together, but also have someone there who understood.
Theo told Hermione to drive to her home, so he could pick up the signature location of it and make portkeys for her as well, in case of an emergency or laziness. He emphasised on the latter. She still found herself weary at the thought of him making portkeys and asked him to explain it better to her. He clarified that while he was able to make portkeys, he was far from a professional. His portkeys had greater limitations, so they only worked when one was perhaps about 300km, at the most, away from their destination. Hermione was extremely impressed at his skill and was surprised when he said it wasn’t that much of a feat. She argued him to the bone until he resigned and conceded that perhaps it was a little impressive.
Theo told Hermione about a party happening tomorrow night and invited her to come along. He made her promise that they would keep an eye on one another and not leave the other’s company unless it was absolutely safe to do so. Hermione was internally grateful that he made it a point to bring up again, making her much more willing to continue on her journey of recklessness. When she agreed, Theo said he would meet her here with portkeys.
And that was how their they both spent their summers. Eventually they began to spend time together during the week and in the daytime as well. Hermione gave him his first car lesson and he even met Hermione’s parents, spending time at her house occasionally, but not the other way around, for obvious reasons. He offered to sneak her in, give her a tour when his parents were gone, etc. but she felt too paranoid to do so.
EVENING BEFORE BEGINNING OF SIXTH YEAR
Theo plopped three bon bons into his mouth and moaned. “Perfect.” He held the bag up for Hermione to grab some.
Hermione silently laughed at Theo as she went to eat one herself.
“Tomorrow evening there’s going to be a party here. And before you say no, it’s very hush-hush. I expect you to be there.”
“Here? At Hogwarts?” She eyed him wearily. “I don’t know. People know me here. I’m not ready for rumours of the new and improved Hermione Granger to spread.”
“And like I said, there’s actually people in this school that don’t give two flying fucks about Harry and Draco’s hard on for each other. People who know how to keep a secret and live under the radar, Herm.”
Hermione laughed. ”That is true forbidden love.”
“It just seems risky. And I am a prefect.” she added.
“Even more reason to keep things quiet. It’ll be nice to have a witch on the inside,” Theo wiggled his eyebrows at her. “Come on, Granger. Think of all the progress we made in the summer. We could continue our shenanigans. They don’t have to end. Life isn’t the same without them. I know you a good amount now. You need all of it, to keep sane, like me.”
“Merlin, shut up, Theo,” she rolled her eyes and smiled. Perhaps it would be ok if she got a feel for things first. “Give me a month? I think I want to get a feel for things first. So I’ll brew a polyjuice potion.”
Theo laughed at the idea and looked at Hermione as if she had a third eye on her forehead when he didn’t hear her laughing as well. “You’re serious, aren’t you?”
“Perhaps...” she hesitantly added.
“Kinky, Herm.” Theo looked at her with another one of his devious grins. Hermione simply watched him with an amused look, used to his comments.
Theo sighed. “Lucky for you, I’m about to reveal another one of my secrets, Herm. I, being king of mischief, always make sure to have a supply of polyjuice potion on hand.”
“I’m surprised that I’m surprised,” Hermione added and folded her leg so that she could turn to face Theo on her sofa.
Theo smirked. “Never know when you’ll need it. And look,” he waved his hand in the air, “a moment has presented itself. Patience and I don’t get along. A month, Herm? A month?” He raised an eyebrow at her.
“Ok, I’ll go then if you give me some.”
“It’s yours,” he shrugged and a devilish grin appeared on his face, “a few things, though.”
“Of course,” she mumbled under her breath, but still loud enough to cause him to chuckle. “Get on with it then, Theo.”
“Can’t have anyone know about my little polyjuice potion stash. And I’m not going to miss out on the party while you enjoy it in my body. So, you have ten minutes in the party, which is more than enough for you to get a proper feel and kill those nerves of yours, trust me.”
“Who said I was going to polyjuice as you?”
“And who do you plan to go as, Harry or Ron?” Theo inquired with a raised eyebrow and laughed at the notion.
Hermione felt the bon bon begin to affect her and suddenly the conversation was becoming quite hilarious to Hermione. “Yeah, alright. What are the other conditions?” Hermione asked with a large grin on her face.
“First day of sixth year is tomorrow. I dare you to switch positions with me for the entire day until ten minutes into the party.” Theo quickly flashed his eyebrows up at her before they both busted into laughter.
A few moments later, another knock rasped on her door. Theo and Hermione froze in silence before the person behind her door knocked again, this time louder. They both hurriedly stood up and Theo grabbed the bag of weed as Hermione shoved him into her bedroom and shut the door. She coughed and unconsciously smoothed her hair before she quickly opened the door.
“Hey Hermione. Everything alright?” Padma Patil smiled at Hermione.
“Yes, of course. Hello, Padma,” she smiled back. “It’s so good to see you again. It’s been ages!” Hermione pulled her into a warm embrace as if they were the best of friends.
“Uh yea, it has. Prefect meeting in ten minutes in McGonagall’s transfiguration classroom. See you then,” she smiled curiously at Hermione’s sudden warmth towards her. Hermione had always been friendly, but more reserved. It was strange for Padma to see her so open.
“See you then, Padma.” She shut the door in her face and started laughing. Theo came out of her bedroom, laughing and trying to shush Hermione.
“She’ll hear you, Herm.” He lazily smushed a finger to her lip as they continued laughing. She shoved his finger from her mouth.
“You’re completely stoned, Theo.”
“As are you.”
“Not as much as you, though.”
They both laughed. Theo grabbed a few bon bons and shoved them in his pocket before making his way to the door.
“I should get back before anyone else stops by.” He turned around once more to look at Hermione. “So, do you accept my dare?”
“Yeah alright. What the hell.” Hermione laughed and made sure to look down the hall before kicking Theo out and shooing him away. They both shushed each other, laughing quietly before Theo made his way down the hall and disappeared down some stairs.
Another long and slow chapter. I really intended for Theo and Hermione’s first interaction to be shorter but here we are. If you enjoy reading, hopefully my writing was bearable enough hah. If you stuck with me the whole chapter, I appreciate it!
SUMMARY: Hermione and the guy she had danced with from last chapter sit down on the sofa with Theo. Malfoy’s name is mentioned again, and Theo then questions if Hermione and Malfoy have some sort of secret relationship. He goes on about his theories and how it seems so ridiculous, that it actually makes a lot of sense. She is drunk and messes with Theo and lets him believe that her and Malfoy do have a relationship until she isn’t able to contain her laughter anymore. They share a blunt and Hermione gets up at one point to use the loo. When she exits the loo, someone grabs her and shoves a drug into her mouth. She is barely able to keep her eyes open. The guy attempts to rape her, but Theo rescues her. He sobers her up as they eat in a chippy and they chat a little more, sharing a bit about each other’s personal lives. Hermione discovers that Theo has access to an undetectable wand. They make a deal to make this a weekly thing over the summer and keep an eye on one another. Theo spends time at Hermione’s eventually, learning to drive and even meeting her parents.