Dear Percy,

Hope your caseload isn't too difficult at the moment; dad said your new boss is a bit too much at times. Ginny sends her love, and reminds you that you promised mum to visit on Sunday for lunch.

I want to ask you about something, actually; my friend Hermione (you know, the one I mentioned in my last letter) doesn't seem to a ghost like all the others are. She seems to be halfway physical some of the time. Have you ever heard of ghosts being created out of humans who weren't dead? Come to think of it, have there been any humans who are unconscious to such an extent that a ghost could be created, without the person being dead?

I know it's not really your department, but I don't know anyone else who would know this stuff. Didn't you say your old friend Penelope works in St Mungos? Could you ask her about it?

Anyway, hope all is good with you, and don't forget to go home for Sunday lunch.

Love,

Ron.


'Biting people?'

'Well, I did wonder where you get your blood from…'

Ron and Hermione were sat near the back of the library, as the redhead applied the finishing touches to his Herbology essay.

'Most vampires don't tend to need regular blood until they're fully passed puberty. And I'm only half-vampire, so it's a bit different for me.'

'Well, if I was in my physical body, would you want to suck my blood?'

The two of them stared at each other for a moment. Hermione suddenly seemed to realise what she had just asked, and turned a delicate shade of silver.

'S-sorry!' She stammered, looking very flustered. 'That's a rather personal question, isn't it…'

'N-no problem,' Ron mumbled, feeling his own ears turn pink. 'I honestly don't know, actually. I don't really want to bite people. Dunno if that'll change as I get older, though. Especially considering its… well…'

'What?'

'W-well, the twins say that biting someone is the vampire equivalent of… k-kissing.'

If it was possible, Hermione seemed to turn an even stronger shade of grey. She immediately dropped her gaze to the table, unable to look Ron in the eye.

'Oh.'

'Yeah.'

There was a very awkward silence.

'I'll… I'll go put these books back,' Ron said, clearing his throat as he stood up. 'I've finished the essay, anyway.'

'O-okay,' Hermione mumbled.

Ron felt his ears continue to flush as he walked away. Bloody hell…

He was just slotting the last book into its place when he heard someone speaking from a table nearby.

'I tell you what; it's a miracle that mudblood ghost hasn't been exorcised yet...'

Malfoy.

Ron gritted his teeth as he turned. The arrogant Slytherin was stood nearby, surrounded by a group of hangers-on as he spoke.

'I've been on at my father for years to have the school governors do something about it. Bad for the schools reputation to have a mudblood haunting Hogwarts library, after all…'

'Shame they couldn't exorcise prats like you instead, Malfoy.'

Ron strode up to Malfoy, his hands curling into fists.

'Problem, Weasley?'

'Only problem round here is your bigoted face.'

'It's not my fault you have to hang around with the ghost mudblood because normal humans are too scared of you-'

Ron's fist promptly collided with the side of Malfoy's face.

'What…' Malfoy, gasped, holding the side of his mouth. 'You…'

'Don't you dare talk about Hermione like that,' Ron snarled, unconsciously baring his fangs. 'She's more alive than you are, ferret!'

Malfoy scrambled away, his cronies following him out of the library.

Ron walked back to the table Hermione was sitting at. Now that the adrenaline was wearing off, he could begin to feel his knuckles aching where they had connected with Malfoy's face.

Hermione stared at Ron as he sat down.

'You didn't need to do that, Ron,' she said, looking confused. 'Malfoy isn't worth your bother.'

'I don't care. No-one talks about you like that,' Ron replied. 'No-one.'

The two met eyes, and shared a shy smile.

Thud.

Hermione blinked hurriedly, clutching her chest. What… it almost felt like…

Thud. Thud. Thud.

Hermione wobbled, her vision blurring. The library swam around her.

'Hermione?' Ron exclaimed, his voice now full of worry. 'Hermione, what's wrong?'

'I…' Hermione gasped, her mind reeling. 'I…'

Oh, god… she was going to disappear… she was… going somewhere…

And she wouldn't ever see Ron again.

Hermione's eyes filled with tears.

No, she sobbed in her mind, anything but that…

Hermione turned, and flew up to the top of the nearest bookcase.

'Hermione? What are you-'

At that moment, he was momentarily distracted, as Pigwidgeon appeared, flying around his head, and carrying a letter. Ron recognised Percy's tidy handwriting as he pried the parchment from the owls clutches.

Dear Ron,

Yes, work is a trifle intense at times. Don't worry; I'll make sure not to miss Sunday lunch at the burrow.

In answer to your question, I've never heard about a case like that. But I did ask Penelope; she said that a Hogwarts student -a young girl- was transferred from St Mungo's long-term ward to the ministry barely a week ago. Gryffindor student, lots of bushy hair? Ring any bells?

Love,

Percy

Ron stared down at the parchment, his hands beginning to shake.

Hermione's body was still alive.