Okay, here's chapter 11. I couldn't wait to upload this one because I have chapter 12 already planned and I can't wait to finish it so I can share it with you. I'm really happy with how my imagination kicked in, I hope you'll be too when you see it. For now enjoy this one :)
Hermione's footsteps echoed on the stone floor. Draco had told her Pansy was going to see a Slytherin friend in the dungeons so she was now walking through the cold corridors, looking for her. She just turned a corner when she heard a laugh behind her. Turning around she peeked around the corner. There was Pansy, laughing with another girl. She also had brown hair like Hermione, but she was taller and her skin was a shade darker than the Gryffindor's. The girl seemed to have said something funny because Pansy was laughing in front of her, clutching her sides. Seeing this made Hermione feel something but she wasn't sure what it was. What she was sure about was that she didn't like it. Straightening out her uniform, she puffed out her chest and walked back in the corridor she had just left.
"Pansy" she said, walking over to the two girls.
"Oh, Granger" the raven-haired girl said. "What are you doing here?"
"You shouldn't be walking around the snake's pit, girlie" the other Slytherin smirked.
"I can handle it" Hermione said curtly, looking her in the eyes.
"Woah, no arguments, okay?" Pansy chimed in. "Come on, Granger, I'm nice to your friends. Let's see you with mine – that's René. She's in sixth year."
"Hermione" the Gryffindor said after a brief hesitation, extending her hand.
"Nice to meet you" René said, shaking it. "So you're Pansy's friend too, huh?"
"Yes. I was actually hoping to talk to her" Hermione responded.
"Ah, then I shouldn't keep her" René smiled truthfully this time. "See you around, Granger."
And she left, hugging Pansy before doing so.
"So who's that René?" Hermione asked rather sharply the moment the girl was out of earshot.
"A friend" Pansy raised an eyebrow at her. "What's got your knickers in a twist, you don't look happy."
"Well, I can hardly be happy if you're being a total-" Hermione stopped herself, remembering she hadn't come looking for Pansy to start arguments.
"A total what, Granger?" Pansy's eyes flashed dangerously.
"Nothing. Forget that. I just wanted to talk to you. You've been weird all day, I don't know if I did something to offend you, or-" she stopped again, this time because she wasn't sure whether she could hold back her tears. Why was she even crying?
"Hey, hey-Granger-Hermione-look at me" Pansy stepped forward and hugged her. "You didn't do anything, it's just..."
"What?" Hermione asked, pulling back to look the other girl full in the face. "You can tell me."
For a moment Pansy seemed ready to admit what was troubling her but then her face changed in the space of a moment.
"I'm just a little nervous" she said but her face belied her words by breaking into a smile. "I wanted to ask you something."
"Oh" Hermione hadn't expected that. "What is it? You know you can ask me anything."
"Yeah, that's just... nevermind. René told me that there will be a Hogsmeade visit. Next weekend, for Halloween you know."
"Sounds good" Hermione said. "So what did you want to ask me?"
"Well... I mean, I understand if you wouldn't want to go, but... would you like to go with me?"
The Slytherin was actually looking nervous now which confused Hermione even more. She wouldn't have been nervous to ask a friend to go to Hogsmeade.
"Of course I want to go, silly, why were you even nervous?" she laughed.
"Really?" Pansy looked at her.
"Yeah, why would you be nervous to ask a friend to hang out in Hogsmeade?" the brunette laughed again. Pansy looked speechless. "What is it?"
"Nothing" the girl suddenly smirked. "I'm glad you accepted – what's better than a scary friendly Halloween prank war?"
"Oooh, you shouldn't have said it, now I'll be ready."
"No way you're ready, Granger," Pansy waved a hand, "but you can try. Just don't bring anyone else – it's not going to be fair."
And she turned around and walked away, looking back only to smirk and wink at Hermione before turning around the corner. The Gryffindor looked after her, still confused about her abrupt mood swings, but happy at the prospect at spending next Saturday in Hogsmeade with Pansy.
Hermione managed to put Madam Rosmerta's horrible words out of her mind during this week and the next one. The Halloween feast on Thursday night was great but dinner on Friday had Hermione feeling a bit down.
"What's up, Granger?" Pansy asked, sitting down on her left. "You look like McGonagall told you you're going to fail Transfiguration."
The brunette smiled weakly, not looking at the other girl.
"What is it?" Pansy leaned closer and whispered in her ear. "Worried I'll scare you to death tomorrow?"
"Nope" Hermione said quietly so Ron, who was sitting on her right, couldn't hear. "I'm just not sure if we'll have a nice time tomorrow."
"Why wouldn't we?" Pansy looked at her quizzically.
"Well, for starters – I won't be very welcome in the Three Broomsticks, and from what I heard, neither will you."
"The Three Broomsticks?" Pansy shrieked with laughter, sounding a lot like her previous self. Several people looked at her but she was looking at Hermione. "You think we're going there? Ha! Rosmerta will be lucky if I don't curse her on sight so we're certainly not going there. I should be better and all that – cursing someone won't go well with that, you know."
"But you've said multiple times that you love her mead-" Hermione began.
"So what if I do?" Pansy interrupted. "You just meet me at the gate and get ready for a wild day. I promise that no rude people are going to ruin it."
"Okay" the brunette nodded and Pansy smiled.
"Perfect. See you later" she stood up, blowing her a kiss before going to the Slytherin table. Hermione looked down at her plate, blushing.
"The food hot, Mione?" Ron asked, seeing her red face.
"No, no, it's great" she said happily. He raised his eyebrows slightly, but shrugged and turned back to his chicken. Hermione didn't even know why she was blushing at this friendly gesture, but she knew that she didn't want others to know. However, when she looked up she saw Harry watching her closely. He didn't say anything, just held her gaze for a few seconds then looked away, his face completely impassive. The girl didn't dwell much on the subject but quickly finished her meal, then walked to the eighth-year Common room alone to do a bit of her homework since tomorrow was going to be a busy day.
She ended up doing all her homework on her bed, staying up until past eleven o'clock. She kept looking at the door when she heard footsteps but most times she imagined it, and only once did someone actually come in – Hannah and Susan came back, talking excitedly about Susan's last date with Theo. At half past eleven Hermione got tired of waiting and went to bed, not even pausing to think what she had been waiting for. She fell asleep, watching the empty bed next to hers.
On the next morning, she woke up early despite having gone to bed late, and noticed Pansy's bed was still empty. Another problem she just thought of was that she hadn't asked her how to dress. Sighing, she pulled on her Hogwarts robes and went down to the Common room where she found Blaise sitting alone on one of the sofas.
"Heyy, Hermione, good morning" he greeted enthusiastically.
"Morning, Blaise. Have you been waiting here for someone to go to breakfast with?"
"How did you know?" he asked defensively.
"Based on how bored you looked and how enthusiastically you spoke to me, the equation solved itself."
"Now that's a good start of the day. Nothing like some everyday Arithmancy equations to start the day."
"Yes" Hermione said. "And I've already found the missing part, too."
"I was first, though" Blaise said, striding to the door and opening it for her.
"Hmmmmm," Hermione put on a serious face, "does it start with a B?"
"And ends with –reakfast, yeah. Come on, I'm starving."
The two of them walked to the Great Hall together and sat down at the Slytherin table.
"Why didn't you come down before if you were so hungry?" Hermione asked, seeing him overloading his plate.
"I didn't want to come alone. Had to wait for someone" he said before stuffing a whole sausage into his mouth.
"Well, I didn't see Pansy in the dormitory, didn't she come down?" Hermione asked, trying to sound mildly curious.
"She came down in a rush and said she had to go get ready for something" Blaise answered after he swallowed his food.
"I see" Hermione said and busied herself with her coffee because the boy was looking at her with an odd expression on his face.
"Any chance she's going to Hogsmeade with you, Granger? We asked her to come with us to the Hog's Head but she said she had plans."
Hermione coughed and started eating faster.
"Er... yeah, we're going together but since we're having something like a prank war she didn't want to bring anyone else."
"A prank war?" Blaise raised an eyebrow with a slight smile.
"Yeah, a Halloween one" Hermione added. "And I have no idea what to wear."
"Something you can run with, definitely" Blaise did not hesitate to answer. "And something warm, she'll prank you in the forest or something."
"You're a lifesaver" Hermione beamed and gulped down the remains of her breakfast. "I need to go, see you later!"
Blaise smiled at her eagerness and she waved at him before running out of the Great Hall to go change.