Diana was screaming.
She couldn't remember when she had started but it felt like it would never stop. The last thing she could remember was getting ready for bed. A horrible, blinding pain had suddenly shot across her eyes and head. There were people shouting around her but Diana could barely hear them.
"Someone get Professor McGonagall!"
"She needs Madam Pomfrey!"
"What she needs is a bloody silencing charm! Has nobody tried?"
"They don't work! It's like she's been cursed!"
"What the hell is going on?"
The bed appeared in the Room of Requirement quite prematurely in Hermione's opinion. She'd only just removed Draco's shirt when the large four-poster materialised on their left.
"Hop on," Draco breathed as his teeth grazed her ear.
Hermione stumbled backwards under his direction. "Was that you?" she asked, almost as if she was out of breath. Her heart was certainly racing as though she were.
He clipped her mouth with a harsh kiss. "I thought that was you," he replied and repeated the kiss.
Hermione's mind was too hazy to question it. His wet, hot kisses were beginning to mirror how she was feeling on the inside. She kissed him back with a ferocity that caused the two of them to lose their balance. The bed hit the back of her knees and she fell backwards onto it. Draco landed on top of her. Hermione's heart was racing so fast that she was sure Draco would be able to see it through her shirt.
He paused, balancing on one elbow above her. "This isn't smart," Draco muttered, avoiding her eyes.
Hermione's heart skipped a beat for a moment, but he didn't move away from her. She gently slid her hands into his hair to pull him down. "We don't always have to be smart," she breathed just before their lips met.
Even Hermione was beyond thinking smart by this point.
Harry was passing through the Entrance Hall when the pain started.
He'd finally decided to act on the promise he'd made to Professor McGonagall; to check the castle for any changes. So far, it had been relatively quiet. The hair on the back of Harry's neck was, however, standing on end.
But Harry wasn't particularly worried about it; it had been happening on and off since the ritual. He had a suspicion it was more to do with their general increased sensitivity to magic. Hermione had briefly said that both her and Malfoy had also experienced it.
The whole situation of 'after-effects' didn't bother Harry at all. He had resigned himself to not living a burden-free life a long, long time ago. And he knew that he could deal with whatever negatives came along as they did.
But there was something about not knowing the extent of their abilities which worried Harry. Mainly because he suspected that they never would. Harry shook off the chill that those kinds of thoughts brought him. It did no good to –
Harry's sight suddenly became black as he cried out in pain. A white, flashing agony ripped through his head and Harry's heart skipped a beat.
He was breathing heavily as his sight returned; he was now on one knee on the cold, stone floor of the Entrance Hall grasping his head tightly. There was a panic in Harry's chest. He hadn't had a pain like that since…
"History is repeating itself."
Harry experienced a different kind of chill as he looked up through blurry eyes to see the translucent form of Helena Ravenclaw.
"Wha…" he began. The panic ebbed slightly as Harry realised that it was his head which was throbbing and not his scar.
As his eyes cleared, Harry saw that Helena looked scared – terrified even.
"There is no time," Helena cut him off, speaking quickly. "She needs the locket. Slytherin's locket. It will protect her and everyone else."
Helena began to float away and Harry stumbled to his feet. "Wait!" he called. "What do you mean? Who needs the locket?"
"Your friend. My mother's match. She will need the locket if she continues down this road."
Harry stiffened. She was talking about Hermione.
"Why does Hermione need protecting? And why by Slytherin's locket?"
"It is what it was created for. It protected the first Lady of Slytherin, and it will protect the second."
Harry gasped as the throbbing in his head grew worse. "Protecting from what?" he repeated through gritted teeth.
Helena opened her mouth to reply, but appeared to be distracted by something over Harry's head. "No!" she cried. Helena began to scream as the same pain as before caused Harry to collapse entirely.
As everything went black for the second time that night, the last thing Harry heard was a faint echo of a ghostly wail.
Hermione had melted into her senses. She was touch, smell, sound, taste and sight all at once. Draco had become a part of her and she, him.
His hands were in all the right places and she felt as though her lips had mapped out his entire body. Hermione felt truly fearless; confident in what she wanted and how to use her body to get it.
Yes, Hermione thought as she cried out Draco's name. This is how it's supposed to be. This is what I want.
It was daylight when Hannah came to.
Before all this had happened, she hadn't been unfamiliar with passing out – she had fainted a fair few times in her life. But Hannah knew that her passing out during the night was something different. Something had happened and she felt a chill even thinking about it.
Hannah climbed up out of her awkward position on her bed. She had to find the others and see what had happened. As her hand hovered over the door knob, it suddenly twisted and opened in on her.
"Ah!" she cried out and jumped backwards.
Regulus also appeared startled. "Are you okay?" he immediately asked, closing the door behind him.
Hannah shrugged. "The door didn't hit me or anything so…"
Regulus was frowning. "So you weren't affected by whatever happened last night?"
"Oh," Hannah's cheeks began to heat up. "You mean the fainting thing." How bloody embarrassing.
"You fainted?" Regulus asked incredulously.
"I was talking about the crazy pain I got in my head during the night. It was magical, so I assumed it had happened to you, too."
"How do you know for sure that it was magical?" Hannah was confused. She was also trying to remember if she'd felt a pain like that before she'd passed out. It was certainly possible.
"You forget we're libertas operatas now. It's always going to be magical."
Hannah was frowning deeply. "So what do you think happened?"
Regulus perched on the end of Hannah's bed, leaning heavily on his hands. "If it's a libertas problem, then it must have been something that happened to one of us – so I came to check on you first."
Hannah bit her lip to hide her smile. She walked over to him and stood between his legs. Hannah placed her hand on Regulus' cheek and he leaned into it.
"We'll have to go find everyone then. 'Cause Hermione didn't come back last night, and I'm assuming because you came here alone, Draco didn't either," Hannah replied, thoughtfully.
Regulus wrapped his arms around her waist and pulled her closer to him. "Right now?" he asked with a smirk on his face.
Hannah smiled and planted a small kiss on his nose. "Definitely now." She untangled herself from his embrace and stepped away.
Regulus sighed but a smile remained on his face. "I'm sure it's nothing," he said getting to his feet.
Doubtful, Hannah slipped her hand through his and pulled him towards the door. She opened it wide and had a smile on her face as Neville stepped out of the shadow of the hall – she froze as she saw his expression. Regulus' hand gripped hers a little tighter.
"Harry's in the hospital wing." Neville's words were unclear as he quickly fumbled through what he had to say. "I was trying to find Hermione… it's about his head… I hope it doesn't mean…"
But Hannah was already pushing past him and pulling Regulus along with her.
Draco woke up with a smile on his face. He was also really warm.
His heart skipped a beat as the corner of his eyes saw something move on the bed next to him. After flinching away so furiously, the thing began to move more. It took Draco a few moments to realise that the mass of hair next to him was not a wild animal and instead a very beautiful girl…
"Draco?" Hermione mumbled, still adorably half-asleep.
Draco realised he was grinning stupidly when his cheeks began to ache. But by Merlin was Hermione Granger beautiful. Even the nest on the pillow next to him was becoming endearing. Her hand slipped backwards to search for him blindly before she slowly turned around. Draco watched her wandering hand until it found him.
He planted a soft kiss on it when she turned over fully. "Afraid I'd done a runner?" he teased.
"No," Hermione said through a smile. "Just making sure," she continued quietly.
There was a swooping sensation in Draco's stomach at the strength of her 'no'. Words failed him and he responded by kissing Hermione hard. He rolled on top of her and she giggled beneath him.
"Draco! We're naked!" Hermione had the audacity to go pink when Draco pulled his head back.
An unintentional guffaw left Draco before he could help it. He placed his forehead onto hers so that their noses were also touching. "I think that's the point," he whispered.
Hermione didn't respond but Draco could hear her breathing change. He was having a hard time controlling his own.
"Draco," she finally whispered.
And that was all Draco needed.
By no means was it the first time Harry had woken up in the hospital wing but it was his first time in the refurbished one. It hadn't needed much work done in comparison, but it was deemed necessary for change like the Astronomy Tower had. Bad memories and all.
Harry sat up on his elbows and sighed loudly. Here he was again; waking up from passing out with yet another puzzle and problem to solve. He needed to talk to Hermione. That's who Helena was trying to warn him about. Hermione and Draco? It couldn't be anyone else. Harry barely had time to swing his legs off the bed before he was interrupted by a panicked: "Harry?"
Hannah and Regulus half walked and half ran across the room towards him. "Are you okay?" Hannah asked.
"It happened to us, too," Regulus spoke before Harry could reply.
"What the hell?" Harry got straight up out of bed. He felt absolutely fine – so what had it been?
"Do you not know what it was?" Hannah looked tense.
Harry cringed. "Helena Ravenclaw spoke to me right before I collapsed. Something happened… and she disappeared."
Regulus scoffed. "Helena Ravenclaw spoke to you? I mean…"
"She's the Grey Lady of Ravenclaw," Harry replied coldly. "But she warned me before she… I don't know what it was but I think something took her. She looked terrified."
"Hold on a creepy minute," Regulus held up his hand. "This has to do with the ghosts?" He looked as though he was having trouble processing all of the information.
"Well, have you actually ever thought about how the ghosts got here in the first place?" Hannah asked quietly. At Harry and Regulus' blank stares, she bit her lip. "It wasn't as if most, if any, even died here, right? So how did they get to be here?"
Regulus visibly shivered. "I don't really think I want to think about it."
"It's like magical hallowed ground," Harry muttered. "Hogwarts," he said louder. "It's way more magical than any of us thought. Maybe ghosts can only appear in truly magical areas like how the Founders made the castle?"
Hannah nodded. "Or maybe the Founders are more connected to them than we had originally thought."
"Don't even go where I think you are about to." Regulus was shaking his head vigorously.
"The ghosts are somehow connected to the Founders magic, too," Harry said, ignoring Regulus. "But we've got something more important to figure out first. Where's Hermione?"
Hannah shrugged. "We thought she might be here. She nor Draco came back to the rooms last night."
Harry pinched his nose. "They're in the Room of Requirement."
"It's them. That's why this happened." Harry sighed as he remembered what had happened the previous evening.
"Harry, what are you…"
The three teenagers simultaneously turned to see Professor McGonagall striding towards them. Harry gulped involuntarily. This was not good.
"Was it you? Was it the ritual's magic? What did you do?"
Harry stepped back as Professor McGonagall stopped in front of them. "Professor, I don't…"
Professor McGonagall's usually tight bun was wispy around her face and Harry felt as though it made her look even more stricter than usual. But he knew that a visibly stressed McGonagall did not mean good things at all.
"You three better have a good explanation as to why Hogwarts is no longer haunted by its ghosts and I better hear it right now."
Harry was frozen to the spot as he felt his insides equally freeze. Hannah gasped and Regulus blindly sat on the bed next to Harry's, staring at the floor. It had to have been them.
Whatever Hermione and Draco had done… Hogwarts' ghosts were gone.
A/N: ! This bitch is back ! Lol so how are we feeling? Things are happening and shall continue to happen... (Ignore the lack of smut, not the time or place ok).
Still here and still going and as always, please review!
Holly - xo