This was inspired by SkoosiePants' Mutiny!, located at Astronomy Tower, although there are no pirates in this one. I hope you enjoy it anyway, even though you might have wanted swashbuckling captains a la Jack Sparrow.


Monday; Arithmancy classroom

Hermione was a creature of habits, and as such, she had routines. Breaking these routines would mean disrupting her well-planned day. These routines included always choosing the same seat in Arithmancy class. She had, in fact, sat in the same seat in that classroom since third year. Professor Vector had started calling it Hermione's seat. By now, no one else ever sat in it, because they knew it was hers. Which was why Hermione was surprised to come to class one Monday morning to find the seat already taken. Taken by a tall and lanky someone with black hair and a decidedly Zabini-like appearance.

He was just sitting there, reading his Arithmancy book, ignoring everyone around him as if they weren't important, and not caring that he was in her seat. Overcoming her surprise, Hermione walked up to him and stopped there, arms crossed and foot tapping on the floor. He still didn't react.

"Zabini," She said, "Do you mind?"

He looked up at her, seemingly surprised that she was even bothering to stand there, and watched her for a moment with those mismatched eyes of his, before returning to his book with a Slytherin-style smirk on his face.

"No," He said, "Not at all."

Her jaw dropped, amazed at his arrogance and ignorance, but she snapped her mouth shut before she could say anything, knowing better than to lash out on a Slytherin. She turned on her heels and walked away from him, taking the seat directly behind him instead, so that she could glare at him in peace.

She didn't like her routines disturbed, and Zabini knew that by now, and he had never taken her seat before. He must be up to something, and she was going to find out what it was, and she was going to put an end to it. No one stole her seat and got away with it, much less a Slytherin who should, by all rights, know better.


Monday; Great Hall; Lunch

It was hard to concentrate on eating mashed potatoes when across the hall there was a creepy Slytherin staring at her, mismatched eyes concentrating only on her. She poked around in her food some more, hoping to find the appetite she'd lost, but not succeeding. She looked up from her plate, startled, when someone sat down next to her. Relaxing again when she realized it was Ginny, she went on poking her food.

"Hey Hermione, what's wrong? You haven't even touched you food." The redhead said.

"I hate Slytherin gits." Hermione replied sadly.

"So do we all," Ginny said, puzzled, "But we don't lose our appetites over it. What happened?"

"This morning, Zabini stole my seat in Arithmancy, and now he just won't stop staring at me." Hermione exclaimed, throwing up her hands in desperation, "He's freaking me out!"

Ginny looked towards the Slytherin table, and saw Zabini staring at her friend, leaning back in his chair and arms crossed over his chest. He looked unaware of his Housemates, concentrating solely on Hermione. Ginny couldn't hold back a giggle, and had to look away.

"He isn't even bothering to hide it!" She giggled, "He hasn't touched his food, even."

Hermione glanced over at him, and saw that he indeed hadn't touched his lunch, which consisted of pasta Bolognese, and instead opted to watch her. It was such a Slytherin thing to do, claiming all the pasta like that, she reflected sadly.

"Why do you think he's watching you?" Ginny asked.

"It's all involved in a Slytherin scheme to drive me insane," Hermione sighed heavily, "And so far it's working."

Giving up on ever getting time to finish her lunch, she picked up her bag and walked away from there. She could feel Zabini's eyes on the back of her head as she walked out, watching her silently. Whatever the Slytherins were planning, it was slowly driving her mad.


Monday; Gryffindor Common Room; Evening

Hermione was staring blankly at the page in front of her, cursing Zabini's existence. As she'd spent the Arithmancy lesson glaring at the back of his head, she'd missed the lecture on what they were supposed to do for homework, rendering her unable to understand what she'd written down. Never mind that it had been a very handsome head to glare at. That wasn't the point.

It didn't matter that Zabini was handsome, or funny, or intelligent. It didn't even matter that he was a Slytherin. All that mattered was that he was a sneaky seat-thief who deserved to be hung upside down from the Astronomy Tower during a blizzard. She'd find out what the hell he was playing at, and she'd make sure he couldn't finish what it was, no matter how hard he tried. Her trains of thought became more and more irrational the more she thought about his behaviour, and no matter how she tried, she couldn't figure him out.

Giving up on her homework, she slammed the book shut and started up the stairs to the girl's dormitories, ready to go to sleep. One more thing to add to her list of reasons to kill Zabini; he'd ruined her concentration. Normally she would never have left off homework for the next day, but Zabini's superfluous staring had distracted her from understanding the paper. He really, really deserved to die now. But that was most definitely a quest for tomorrow, right after she'd finished her Arithmancy work.


Tuesday; Great Hall; Breakfast.

Ron and Harry were talking about historical piracy, and Hermione was desperately trying to get away from a certain Slytherin's unwavering attention. However, she wasn't succeeding. After a while, when Harry and Ron had moved on to arguing about the likelihood of one finding a chainsaw in a pudding, Dean noticed her strange behaviour. He leaned across the table, narrowly avoiding a rind of bacon thrown his way by Dennis Creevey.

"Hey Hermione, what's up with you?" He asked, "Your attempts to hide behind Neville aren't very successful, you know."

"I know." She moaned, "It's Zabini; he's been staring at me since yesterday morning, and it's driving me crazy!"

"Zabini?" Seamus broke in, momentarily stopping his attempts to throw a pea at Dennis Creevey, "Isn't that the guy with the freaky eyes?"

Hermione nodded, not looking up from her plate in fear that Zabini might catch her looking at him, and she most certainly didn't want that. He was creepy enough without having to look at him.

"Oh yeah, he's watching you alright," Seamus went on, "He hasn't even touched his pancakes, the crazy boy. Imagine anyone missing a chance at pancakes."

Dean, who was sitting with his back to the Slytherin table, turned around to see if Seamus was telling the truth. And sure enough, there was Zabini, staring at Hermione was if she was the most fascinating thing in the magical world, not touching his pancakes. As he watched, Malfoy leaned across the table and said something to his fellow Slytherin, and only got a headshake in reply. The blond boy leaned back in his seat and turned to his gaze towards the Gryffindor table, raising an eyebrow when he met Dean's eyes. Dean raised an eyebrow of his own, and looked from Malfoy, to Zabini and back again. Malfoy shrugged; apparently he had no idea what was going on either.

Dean turned back to his own table and watched as Hermione tried to hide behind Neville's not-so-large frame. There was something going on here that he might want to get a hand on. He caught Seamus' eye and winked. He had a fair idea of what was going on, even though Hermione didn't.


Tuesday; Quidditch pitch; practice session.

After lunch, all Gryffindors had a free hour, so therefore the weekly Quidditch practice was scheduled to Tuesdays. Since the beginning of the school year, Hermione had taken to watching the team practice every Tuesday and today was no different. She sat on the stands with her troublesome Arithmancy paper in her hands, staring blankly at Ron as he saved yet another goal. She just couldn't wrap her mind around the figures on the page.

Of course, there was another distraction. Blaise Zabini was sitting on the other side of the pitch, on the empty Slytherin stands, arms crossed and legs stretched out in front of him, watching her silently. He'd followed the team to the pitch a respectful distance away, and then climbed his side of the stands silently, just so that he could watch her watching the team. He was lucky the team hadn't noticed him yet; any member of an opposing House on the pitch during practice was immediately suspected of being a spy for their own team and taken to McGonagall at a moments notice.

She'd glared at him. She'd made rude gestures. She'd even pulled her wand and silently threatened to hex him, but he hadn't batted an eyelash. In fact, when she'd pulled out her wand, he'd smiled at her, which was a frightening sight on any Slytherin, let alone Zabini. After many fruitless attempts at making him go away, she'd returned to her book and tried to read.

Half an hour later, she still hadn't gotten very far. Trigonometry was hard to grasp when one had a frightening stalker watching. Every time she looked up, he'd still be there, watching her with that pair of green and blue eyes. How it was possible for someone to have one bright green eye and one light blue eye was beyond her comprehension, yet Zabini did. It must be some kind of disease, something he was born with.

Why she was wasting time one contemplating her freaky stalker's eye colour was a question that didn't even cross her worried mind. If it had, she would have been afraid.


Tuesday; Great Hall; Dinner

Back and forth the pea went. Back and forth, back and forth.

Flicking a pea across her plate might not be the most intellectually challenging activity Hermione had ever engaged in, but at the moment, it was an appropriate one. If she wanted to avoid her stalker, that was. And she did, so she flicked her pea across her plate. Simple as that. He'd been staring at her the whole day, in lessons, in corridors, at meals, everywhere, and he didn't show any signs of stopping just yet.

"He's still staring at you," Ginny informed her, "Are you going to do anything about it?"

"Ha," Hermione mumbled, "Like what? Go up to him and say ´Hey Zabini, stop staring at me, you git´? Kepping in mind, of course, that he's twice my size, two heads taller than me, and Slytherin to boot. He wouldn't put it past him to use that situation to his advantage."

"Maybe you want him to?" Ginny quipped, "I can see one way he could take advantage that you would protest against."

Glaring at the grinning redhead, Hermione flicked her pea at her. This prompted Ginny to flick it back, and soon they were engaged in a minor food fight, which ended with Ginny's bacon on the floor, and peas in Hermione's hair. Hermione leaned across the table, and made sure Ginny could hear her.

"If you ever imply anything of that nature again, I will rip out your intestines, braid them together and use them as a jump-rope, understood?" She hissed, eyes flashing.

Ginny gulped and nodded, but there was a grin not too far off. Hermione, however, didn't stay long enough to see it, because she left immediately afterwards, to do her homework. If she was to ever get finished with her Arithmancy paper, she needed to do it now. Zabini could burn in hell.


Wednesday; Dungeons; Potions classroom

There was a heavy silence over the dimly lit dungeon. There always was in Snape's lessons; even the Slytherins didn't want his attention turned towards them during the brewing of a particularly difficult potion. Hermione was having a hard time not losing her temper and screaming out loud, Snape or no Snape. Zabini had made the transition from merely distracting to full out insanity-inducing.

As she had tried to continue her routines even after the stolen seat in Arithmancy, she'd fully expected to be able to have the same seat she always did in Potions class. But, knowing that Zabini would probably jump at the chance to do the same thing again, she'd arrived in the dungeons twenty minutes earlier than normal, just so she could have her usual seat. As soon as she'd stepped into the classroom, that notion had been ground to dust beneath the heel of the universe.

Zabini was already there, sitting in her seat once again, at the every back of the classroom. Knowing that she couldn't get him to move, she glared at him, stomped to the seat in front of him and sat down, turning her back to him. She realized only seconds later that this was a mistake. By sitting in front of him she gave him the perfect opportunity to stare at him as much as he wanted. She could hear as he leaned forward, and she snapped her head around, preparing to hiss something insulting at him, but stopped abruptly.

His face and those mismatched, strange, alien eyes were only inches away from her own. Their noses were almost bumping together, but Hermione hardly noticed. She was staring into those eyes of his, and found a small piece of amusement in them. She glared at him, trying to get him to back off, but he didn't. He just kept where he was, looking at her.

And then he smiled. And godforsaken, insane, stalker-prone, Slytherin, freak-eyed creep smiled at her.

She would have given him a black eye had the door not opened at that very moment. She immediately turned around in her seat and concentrated on Professor Snape and his usual acidic comments. Anything to get away from that crazy blighter behind her.


Wednesday; Hogwarts grounds; Care of Magical Creatures lesson

The sun was shining, the birds were singing, and Hagrid was showing off yet another lethal monster. A perfectly normal Wednesday, all things considered. Hermione was listening to the half-giant ramble on and on about why you shouldn't get too close to a Manticore, which was a concept she'd grasped at the age of eleven, after reading a short, straight forward and honest description of a Manticore.

She had let her attention drift a long time ago, since Hagrid rarely asked questions anyway. Instead, she was focusing all of her self-discipline on not killing Blaise Zabini. He'd not taken her seat this time, but the one behind her and she could just feel him staring at her. It had gotten worse since Potions class. She was pretty sure she'd caught him with a moronic smile on his face while watching her. It freaked her out, literally. She was sure that she would have finished her Arithmancy paper by now if it hadn't been for him. As it was, she had still to get beyond a few sentences.

"...And the Manticore has poisonous fangs, which helps it kill its victim." Harry was just answering one of the very few questions Hagrid did ask.

"Ver' good Harry. Five points fer Gryffindor." Hagrid said.

Hermione started to doodle on her parchment. It started out as nothing but a line, which quickly became a gallows' pole, from which a tiny, crudely drawn stick figure of Blaise Zabini hung. In small spiky letters, she then wrote "Zabini's going to hang" underneath it. She then, deliberately slow, folded it and passed it to Zabini without looking at him. He took it, and she could hear him unfold it, and his chuckle as he looked at her inexpertly drawn replica of him. A quill scratched across the parchment and a minute or so later, it was passed back over her shoulder.

She unfolded it and raised an eyebrow. He'd drawn a quick sketch of himself standing on the ground, stick-figure style, with a message of his own. "Not if I can help it", it said with somewhat larger letters than her own. She folded the parchment once again, and tried to concentrate on Hagrid's lecture. Slytherins could certainly be puzzling at times, if not always.


Wednesday; Gryffindor Common Room; Evening

"Slytherins deserve to be shot."

As a whole, Gryffindors are not prone to disagree to such a statement, as their dislike for Slytherins is quite large, but this time it was different. Hermione Granger had been doing the stating, and she was one of the few Gryffindors who preached peace with the offending House. She never ever used physical violence against a human being, except Draco Malfoy, who didn't count in any case.

As this was the case, the Gryffindors knew instinctively that something was, indeed, very wrong. Hermione was sprawled out over the couch in front of the fireplace with her arms across her face. There were several crumpled pieces of parchment on the floor around the tattered couch, and she had a quill clutched in one hand. Harry leaned over the back of the couch with a grin on his face. The other Gryffindors watched him, all of them thinking the same thing; The Boy Who Lived is too reckless for his own health.

"Well, I think we can all agree on that, but why this statement?" He asked her, smiling.

She lifted her arms and glared at him, waving the apparently offending piece of parchment under his nose.

"Because Zabini is a confusing, stalkerish, insane, maniac!" She exclaimed. "And he deserves to be executed by a firing squad!"

Harry jumped back, frightened by her wild-eyed, nearly frothing at the mouth appearance. Hermione sat up and buried her face in her hands. Things were not going her way. Her Arithmancy paper was unfinished, her mind could do nothing but concoct plans on how to kill Zabini, or dwell on why he was driving her crazy, and now she even lashed out on her friends for no reason.

"What's he done?" Harry asked confusedly, "He's not very troubling, is he?"

"Not very troubling? Are you blind?" She screeched, "He's been stalking me since he stole my seat in Arithmancy on Monday morning! Oh, and speaking of Arithmancy; just because of him, I don't know what for a kind of homework we have, and I haven't had time to ask Professor Vector about it, so now I probably won't finish it for tomorrow!"

Harry, shocked by the Wrath of Hermione , took a step back and raised his hands in front of him. Hermione was now standing in the middle of the Common Room, looking fully ready to tear her hair out. She took a deep breath, and tried to calm down.

"That's it. I'm going to go up to my dorm, and then I'll do my homework. After that, I'll sleep, and then tomorrow, I'll hire a firing squad to kill Zabini. Yes, that's what I'm going to do." She said, gathering up her things. "I'm leaving."

Silence reigned the Common Room for a while after that. They heard the door to the girl's dorms slam shut, and someone shuffling around in there, then silence. The Gryffindors stayed silent, since no one seemed to know quite what to say, until Dean stood up from his armchair calling everyone's attention.

"It's time," He said, "that we do something about this situation."


Thursday; Gryffindor Girl's Dorms; Morning

Hermione began her slow descent into consciousness. Instinctively, she knew something was wrong, even before she opened her eyes. She was always the first to wake up, but there was someone up before her, someone attempting to talk quietly but not succeeding. She cracked open one eye and was met by something suspiciously like sunlight. But something was wrong. It was brighter than when she usually got up, and since today was Thursday, she should be getting up at the same time as she always did.

"Lavender?" She mumbled, "What time is it?"

"Oh, you're awake!" Her dorm-mate said, smiling all together too brightly for it to be legal before noon, "we thought you'd never wake up. It's half past seven."

The explanation of just how fast and in which manner Hermione got out of her bed would require several times of folding of this page, but either way she ended up awake and standing on the floor, pillow in her hands. Her hair was sticking out approximately three feet in every direction off her scalp, and the expression in her eyes bordered somewhere between panic and murderous rage.

"Lavender," She began with a frightening calm in her voice, "Do you mean that I have no more than half an hour to shower, dress, brush my hair, brush my teeth, eat breakfast, run across half the castle and make my freaking Arithmancy paper?"

Her voice rose to an unholy screech over the last few syllables, and Lavender cowered next to her bed. Parvati had fortunately left already, so she had gotten away from the terror of early-morning Hermione, so Lavender got to bear the brunt of it herself.

"Sorry." Lavender apologized in a very small voice.

Hermione wasn't listening. She was trying to do seven things at once.


Thursday; Arithmancy classroom

For the first time in her academical history, Hermione Granger was late for a lesson. She burst in through the classroom door only seconds after Professor Vector, but she was late. Apologizing quickly, she sat down in the only seat available; the one behind Zabini. He'd given her his patented moron-grin when she entered, and she'd scowled at him. Sitting down as quietly as she could manage, she listened to Professor Vector. Maybe this time she'd get away with some memory of what they were actually supposed to do.

"Ms Granger, would you please hand in your paper?" Vector asked pleasantly.

Panic hit Hermione like a train running at a breakneck pace. She'd forgotten the paper. She'd forgotten the goddamned paper. She never forgot her homework. She was famous for never forgetting her homework. And she knew precisely whom to blame this time around. Zabini was going to hang for this.

"I didn't do it." She tried to say, but it came out as a whisper.

"Excuse me?" Vector asked, "I didn't hear you."

"I didn't do it." She said, louder this time.

You could have heard a pin drop. No one made a sound. Not even Professor Vector, who for all appearances was about to have a heart attack. Zabini turned in his seat and looked at her, seeming truly curious this time, and she felt anger boil up in her. He was the reason she hadn't finished her paper.

"I'm afraid I must have misunderstood. You didn't do the assigned work?" Vector asked.

"No, I didn't." Hermione admitted once again.

"Why?" Vector's shock was apparent.

"Because I forgot." She was fighting tears down now.

She saw Zabini raise his eyebrow and snort in disbelief, and her anger just boiled over. Tears now breaking and spilling over her cheeks, she stood up and grabbed her bag with one hand, and delivered a resounding slap to him with the other. His head snapped to the side as he hadn't been prepared for it, but he turned back again almost as quickly and stared at her, this time honestly surprised. She opened her mouth to speak, but changed her mind and stormed out of the classroom.

"What did I do?" Zabini asked after she'd left.

Unfortunately, no one could give him an answer.


Thursday; Moaning Myrtle's Bathroom

Myrtle was used to girls, and some times even boys, sobbing in her bathroom. However, Hermione Granger was not a usual guest, and hadn't been in there since her unfortunate illegal potions-brewing in her second year, almost five years ago. But Myrtle had a good memory, and never forgot a face. And Hermione was really sobbing this time.

She'd come storming in through the door, unable to answer Myrtle's questions about what had happened, and hadn't moved from the corner since. Myrtle was just about to ask once again about what had transpired, when someone's ghostly arm drifted through the door. Someone she recognized.

"Sir Nicolas?" She asked.

A head which was nearly falling off its shoulders was stuck through the door, and Nearly Headless Nick's friendly face came into view. He smiled as he spotted her, and she smiled back; Sir Nicolas had always been nice to her, even though Peeves called hr annoying and a brat.

"Yes, my lady?" He asked, "Is something wrong?"

"Hermione's crying, and she's one of yours, isn't she?" Myrtle gestured to the sobbing Gryffindor.

"Indeed she is. Why might she be crying?" Nick asked, drifting in through the wall.

"I don't know; she came running in here a while ago, crying her heart out. I tried to get her to talk to me, but no one ever wants to talk to poor, moaning Myrtle." The girl-ghost answered.

Hermione uncurled from her foetal position on the floor, and sniffling, started to gather up her books. When she was done, she stood up and regarded her House ghost with a small smile on her face, and hoisted her bag over her shoulder.

"I'm alright Nick. I'm just being silly; a homework assignment I didn't do on time, because I was so angry at someone." She explained quickly, voice still thick with tears.

"Do you want me to walk you back to the Tower?" Nick asked kindly.

"No thank you; I think I can make it by myself." Hermione smiled.

She left the bathroom, leaving two lonely ghosts behind. She knew it was silly of her to cry over something like a paper she hadn't done, but Zabini had just pushed her over the edge. It seemed she had a busy day ahead of her; on her to-do list was crying, actually getting some homework done, crying some more, oh, and let's not forget crying.

And plotting for a new way to kill Zabini


Friday; Gryffindor Common Room; free hour

Hermione was laying face-down in the couch. Friday was currently not her favourite day. Ever since her performance in Arithmancy class yesterday, the Ravenclaws had been fairly buzzing with rumours about why it had happened. Some suggested that it was an outbreak of the longstanding feud between Slytherin and Gryffindor. Other yet suggested stress. Some, horribly enough, were sure it was a lovers-quarrel.

She'd spotted Malfoy talking to Zabini earlier, or rather, Malfoy trying to catch Zabini's attention, which, as usual, was focused on her. But it had changed somehow. Before, he'd been almost teasing her, finding some amusement in driving her insane. Now, it seemed he was worried about her, probably because of her breakdown in Arithmancy.

She'd set a few of the Ravenclaws right, saying that it was just stress and overwork, but she knew how Hogwarts rumour mill worked; she'd seen it firsthand. Hopefully, Zabini would tell them as well, or he'd tell Malfoy the truth, and everyone believed Malfoy when it came to rumours. He was more or less the uncrowned king of the dungeons, in everyone's opinion. Well, except hers, of course, but since when did she count?

She'd been excused from classes for the duration of the day, because of her breakdown in class yesterday. McGonagall had assumed she was wearing herself down and needed rest. She hadn't seen fit to tell her Head of House why she'd broken down. Minerva McGonagall wasn't likely to accept that a Slytherin was stalking one of her precious students. Come to think of it, the formidable old lion probably wouldn't believe her anyway. "I was stalked by a Slytherin so I didn't do my homework"? That sounded lame even to her own ears, and she knew it was true.

She'd have time to do her homework today, however, since they'd strictly forbidden her to go to classes. She'd snuck out to the library once, though, to see if she could find a book to help her with her infernal Arithmancy paper.


Friday; Great Hall; Lunch

As soon as she'd sat down at the Gryffindor table, Hermione knew that something was not right. Dean was looking at her when she came in, and winked as she caught his eye, and he then proceeded to elbow Seamus in the side. Seamus himself grinned widely, and then stood up and jogged out of the hall. Something fishy was going on here. She sat down next to Harry and started piling sausages onto her plate.

"So, Hermione, what happened yesterday? The school is practically buzzing with rumours." Lavender smiled, "Is it true that you and Zabini are going out?"

"No!" Hermione exclaimed, slamming her fork down, "We're not! He's been stalking me all week, and it's stressed me up so much that I can't even do my homework anymore" She calmed down somewhat, "And I kind of snapped in Arithmancy yesterday, and started crying. And then I slapped Zabini and got out of the classroom."

"Oooh, a stalker! How romantic! I bet he has a crush on you." Parvati gushed.

"And I bet he's only a maniac who's gotten into his head to drive me insane." Hermione replied, a lot more certain than she felt, "And I can bet that it's all just a part of a Malfoy plot to get to Harry."

As she glared at Parvati and Lavender, Hermione completely missed the grin shared by Dean, Harry and Neville. Ron was too busy stuffing his mouth with mashed potatoes to notice anything else. Ever since he got on the Quidditch team, his appetite for food and sky-rocketed, so now he ate even more than he used to. Sometime during lunch, Seamus returned to the table, with a flimsy excuse along the lines of ´I forgot my Charms textbook´. Hermione threw him a suspicious look, but he just smiled.

Across the room, Zabini was watching her every move with rapt attention. Even her slap hadn't made him back off. If anything, he was watching her even more now, and when Malfoy leaned over to ask him something, he was simply shoved away without a word.


Friday; Hogwarts Kitchen

Hogwarts has the largest population of House Elves in Britain, but not many know where they keep it. Not many know that the portrait in the rather empty hallway was the entrance to the kitchens. However, Hermione did, and she made use of that knowledge as she went down for a sandwich, after having completed her Charms homework ("practise the flame-freezing charm, it is likely to come up on your N.E.W.T's"). That was the only assignment she could concentrate on. Whenever she sat down and tried to read, a pair of now familiar mismatched eyes loomed in her minds eye, not giving her a moments rest.

"Hello Miss!" A House Elf squeaked as she entered, "Can Netty get anything for you, Miss?"

"Yes thank you; is Dobby here?" She answered, smiling.

She'd given up on S.P.E.W. It was just too much work, especially with the Elves themselves working against her. Finally, after much hard work, Dobby had managed to get her to understand that it wasn't work that the elves protested against; it was certain, careless masters. She settled down at a table and waited for Dobby.

She came to the kitchens once every week, to hear what only the House Elves picked up; mostly gossip, but sometimes also important information. Like last year, she'd gotten through the House Elves that certain students had been waking up a lot during nights, clutching their arms. Not only Slytherins, but Ravenclaws as well, one or two Hufflepuffs, and even a few Gryffindors. This information she'd taken to the Headmaster. The result was a few less students, but a lot safer school years.

"Hello, Miss." Dobby sounded as excited as usual, "What can Dobby get you, Miss?"

She smiled; all House Elves sounded alike, all so eager to please their masters. But Dobby was different, not only because he was wearing a tea- cosy, but because he served without being bound by the ancient spells put on the House Elves, but because he wanted to.

"Just a sandwich, Dobby." She smiled, "Has anything happened lately?"

"There was a Slytherin here yesterday, Miss, and he ate a sandwich. Dobby asks him why he's got a bruise on his face, and Dobby says he should go to the nurse." The little green creature smiled widely, "He says you slapped him Miss."

"He was here?" Hermione demanded, "Why?"

"He says he's worried about you Miss. He says he knows you goes here, and wanted to see if you were here."

With a wide grin, the small, tea-cosy wearing Elf disappeared into the crowds of other Elves, leaving Hermione quite alone with her thoughts. And they were quite a few, flying around her head like leaves in a fall storm. Zabini had come here, because he'd been noticing her habits (which in itself was pretty scary) and asked Dobby about her because he was worried (which, coupled with the first point, was very scary indeed). But also somehow endearing. She shook her head.

It was no use denying it. She was frightened out of her wits.


Saturday; Great Hall; breakfast

Hogsmeade weekends always made for great clamour at breakfast. It seemed everyone was talking at once, not caring that they wouldn't be heard. Hermione contented herself with listening to everyone else and hiding as much as possible beside her Housemates. Blaise was making eyes at her from across the hall again, scaring her further. But there was safety in numbers, and she was sitting in a group of Gryffindors, so she should be safe.

They were all talking about what they'd buy in Hogsmeade, and about how great the pranks they'd pull with their purchases would be. Ron complained that he had still to top Charlie in his Hogwarts days; apparently the Weasley dragon keeper had stolen a toilet seat and gone through the difficulties of climbing to the top of the Astronomy Tower just to hang it there with a small note to the Astronomy teacher at the time, Professor Bernard Kingsley.

Hermione still hadn't come to terms with Dobby's revelation, and had spent a sleepless night seated at her desk, thinking about everything, anything that came to mind. Unfortunately, most of it related in some way to Zabini. And his alien eyes had become a familiar presence in her mind as of late. Unfortunately, they wouldn't leave, no matter how she tried.

Maybe it was just something she needed to get out of her system, like a symptom of overwork. That must be it, because any other notion would be insane. Maybe she'd come up with a new disease; stress-paranoia. Zabini's stalking was sure making her paranoid.


Saturday; Hogsmeade village; the main street

Hermione was feeling quite alone. Harry and Ron had left to drool over the latest broom on the market, Seamus and Dean had gone to Zonko's, Neville had found some Hufflepuffs to talk to, Lavender and Parvati had found some new shop, and Ginny had gone off with her friends. This was scary, because they never left her alone otherwise. And she was sure she'd seen Dean talk to some nondescript Slytherin first-year earlier. Something fishy was definitely going on.

She sat down on one of the benches that were placed near the small public well, a small book clutched in her hands. It was the last vestige of a normal week she had left. On Monday morning, the week had looked so good, with her favourite subject being the first lesson, but in hindsight, she should have known it would turn sour. Even psycho-stalkers aside, it had been horrible.

Speaking of psycho-stalkers, wasn't that him down the street? He was just coming out of some small and obscure shop with a parcel under his arm. Hopefully, he wouldn't see her sitting there, and would go to the Three Broomsticks and take a Butterbeer with his friends like any normal student would. Unfortunately, Blaise Zabini wasn't, had never been, and would never be normal. He was as abnormal as you could get. What normal boy would spend a week stealing chairs from and stalking someone who would rather see him adorning a gallows pole?

He did indeed spot her, and seemingly without thinking about it, turned in mid-step and headed for her. She suppressed a sigh; she would have run, but he would just have followed, and in nay case she wouldn't have gotten far before he caught up with her. He had very long legs.

He settled down on the same bench as she, although about two feet away. He placed the parcel on his lap, leaned forward with his hands clasped and his elbows on his knees, and watched her silently. Hermione tried to read, but soon found it was impossible. It was unnerving to have a seventeen year old boy, nearly seven feet in height, with the most unearthly eyes she'd ever seen watching her while she was reading.

"What do you want?" She asked finally, not lifting her gaze from the book.

He mumbled something she couldn't make out, and a faint, very faint mind you, pink tinge appeared on his cheeks. Hermione blinked, shut her book with a snap, and crossed her arms over her chest, glaring at him.

"I said what do you want?" She repeated.


Her head snapped around. Behind her were Dean and Seamus, with Zonko's bags in their hands and uncertain expressions on their faces. She raised an eyebrow, wondering what they wanted, and without turning her head, she knew Zabini had left the bench, because she could hear his footsteps crunching across the gravel. Was she imagining things, or was there a disappointed look on the boys' faces?

"What?" She asked.

"We were just wondering if you wanted to get a Butterbeer with us at the Three Broomsticks." Seamus offered, "What do you say?"

She nodded, and walked off with them. She might as well drink with her friends, as questioning a potentially psychotic stalker could be dangerous. It wasn't until she entered the Three Broomsticks that realization hit her over the back of her head with a shovel.

Zabini had been blushing.


Saturday; Gryffindor Girl's Dorms; night

Tick. Tick. Tick. Tick. Tick.

Like sand through an hourglass, so are the sleepless nights of our lives. The clock didn't usually keep her awake, and to be fair, it wasn't this time either, but it certainly didn't help. Her mind, usually so rational and calm, was obsessing over one small thing.

Zabini had been blushing.

The normally so stoic and calm Slytherin had been blushing, just because she'd asked him a simple question, a question she had all rights to ask. Ever since Wednesday, she could have cared less about why he was stalking her, but now that question arose from the depths she'd assigned it to, and it rose quickly. He had, until this Monday, never even bothered looking at her, much less engage in the small social games all Slytherins engaged in, more popularly called "harassment" by others, and now he was obsessing over her, almost.

To be honest, the first few hours it hadn't bothered her; then she'd thought it was only because he wanted to gauge her reaction of his stealing her chair, but as the hours turned to days, it had slowly but surely started to drive her to distraction. And Zabini was very distracting indeed. Tall, slender figure, soot black hair, and those eyes. She practically knew those eyes better than she knew her own, if only because they seemed to have made their home in her mind the last few days.

Lavender's deep breaths in the bed next to her was a comfortable, normal sound, compared to her raging thoughts and decidedly not normal afternoon, if not week. It seemed Zabini's supposed scheme had succeeded; she was laying in her bed, contemplating his appearance.

She must surely be insane.


Sunday; Gryffindor Common Room; morning

Hermione was curled up on the infamous couch with a blanket wrapped around her. She had a cup of cocoa in her hands and she was staring into the flames, feeling rather sorry for herself. She had confirmed her own insanity earlier that morning, when she'd caught herself wondering (once again) why Zabini had blushed.

Ron plopped down in the couch beside her, and put his feet up on the table. She watched him sadly, wishing, not for the first time why Zabini had chosen to drive just her insane. Ron offered her a smile, and she attempted to smile back.

"What're you doing, Hermione?" He asked.

"Being sorry for myself." She sighed.

"Why? Did something happen that I'm not aware of?" Ron looked concerned, but Hermione knew he knew perfectly well what was going on.

"Zabini's succeeded in his scheme to drive me insane, it seems." She said sadly.

"Scheme to drive you insane?" Ron echoed, "What scheme?"

"That's what he's been doing the whole week, hasn't he?" Hermione demanded, almost hysterical, "He's been stalking me, stealing my seats, everything he could think, just to drive me insane!"

"Is that what you think he's been doing?" Ron asked, baffled, "Tell me, Hermione, have you even watched him?"

"No, I told you Ron, he's been watching me." Hermione said patiently.

"Well," Ron gave her a mysterious smile, "and they call me stupid."

With that, he got up and walked towards the portrait, smiling. Hermione sat still for approximately two seconds before standing up abruptly. Ron ignored her and kept walking towards the portrait.

"Ron, what are you talking about?" Hermione called after him.

He chuckled, but kept walking. Hermione didn't even notice that the whole Common Room had gone quiet as she walked after him, ignoring that she was only dressed in an oversized green T-shirt, which reached her mid-thigh, leaving a sizable amount of leg bare. Ron grinned, opened the portrait and climbed out.

"RON! Answer me!" Hermione shouted after him as she climbed out as well.

When she managed to shut the portrait behind her, she saw that Ron wasn't there. Someone else, however, was. Almost disturbingly present. Blaise Zabini, in all his stalker-ish glory, was standing there, with a beautiful deep red orchid in his hand, and his jaw around his knees. It took a moment before realization hit, but when it did, she squeaked like mouse hit by Webster's Unabridged Dictionary, and turned red. She was wearing practically no clothes whatsoever, and in front of her psycho stalker.

"" Zabini managed to get out, probably trying to apologize, "I..uh." He held out his hand to her, handing her the orchid, "Here."

He then turned on his heel and more or less ran down the corridor. Hermione was left standing there with an orchid in her hand, an embarrassed expression on her face, and absolutely no thoughts whatsoever in her head. They seemed to have taken a vacation, to a very far away place, with a one- way ticket. Ron appeared at her elbow, and she didn't even blink.

"Hey, fancy flower there. Where did you get it?" He asked, smiling.

"He..I.flower..I couldn't. I'm not." She stammered, not knowing how to form proper sentences, or words for that matter. "He just saw me."

"In practically nothing but your knickers?" Ron finished for her, "But he's not protesting, is he?"

"He disappeared." Hermione pointed down the hall.

Ron walked down the corridor as well, disappearing around the corner. Hermione looked down on the orchid in her hand, not knowing whether to laugh, cry, or kill someone. Blaise sodding Zabini had just seen her in not much more than her knickers. Why, oh why had she decided to get out of bed this morning?


Sunday; Gryffindor Girl's Dorm; sometime after lunch

The little ball under the covers on the bed didn't move, not even when a large orange cat jumped down on it. On the bedside table lay a single, red orchid, and at the foot of the bed stood a very worried Lavender. Since this morning, when a blurry green-and-brown shape had streaked past everyone and up the stairs, no one had seen Hermione. Her only answer to their questions was a small sob, or a simple "Go 'way!"

"Hermione, you can't stay there forever. You have to come out. Come on now; tell me who gave you the flower." Lavender wheedled.

"Ask Ron. He'll know." The ball-who-was-Hermione answered, mumbling.

"Why'd he know that? Was it he who -" Lavender interrupted her train of thought as a new, more interesting one came along "It was Blaise Zabini, wasn't it?"


"It was. How romantic! What'd he say?" Lavender was fairly jumping with joy.

The-ball-that-was-Hermione uncurled, and removed its blanket, making Hermione herself into the sunlight. Her hair looked ruffled, her green shirt wrinkly and she glared at Lavender as if she'd mortally offended her.

"He didn't say anything." She said, sounding altogether too calm for comfort, "He handed me the bloody flower and walked away. He's a creepy psycho who needs a lethal injection. All I want from is for him to stop stalking me, and to give me an explanation to why he even started. Now go away."

Lavender opened her mouth to speak, but was interrupted by Parvati storming in and grabbing hold of Hermione, dragging her out and down the stairs. Down there, Ron and Harry were waiting with a very, very confused looking Blaise Zabini. As soon as the black haired Slytherin spotted Hermione, he turned slightly pink and he looked away. Hermione was deposited in front of him, but immediately turned to Ron and Harry and glared at them.

"What," She hissed, "is the meaning of this?"

"You two," Harry answered, "need to talk. Ron and I have decided you can borrow the small room behind Gorric the Ugly."

It's quite hard to speak when one is being dragged out of ones Common Room, ones stalker just behind one, to god knows where, because ones best friends are determined to make one and ones aforementioned stalker "talk things out".


Sunday; the small room behind the statue of Gorric the Ugly; noon

Hermione, who still had had no chance to put on her clothes, was facing off with her sworn enemy; Blaise Zabini, a k a "Psycho Stalker", in a small, square room with pleasantly blue walls and comfortable furniture. Room temperature was, by this time, enough to instantly freeze boiling pitch. Zabini was looking quite nervous and embarrassed, while Hermione was glaring fiercely enough to make Snape proud.

"Why," She began slowly, as if talking to a child, "Did you stalk me?"

Zabini rubbed his neck nervously, and smiled sheepishly at her. She didn't even crack a smile.

"I.uh, actually, I'm not quite sure." He admitted.

"Here's an easier question then; why did you steal my chair in Arithmancy?" She was developing a tick under her right eye.

"To see your reaction, actually." Zabini shrugged, "I wanted to see if I could get you to argue with me. Why I stalked you afterwards. Well, at first I wanted to see what you said to your friends about it, and then it just developed from there, I guess."

"Do you realize, Zabini, that you've almost driven me insane?" If ice had a sound, her voice would be it.

"Blaise." He said quietly.


"Blaise." He repeated, louder this time, "My name is Blaise. Don't' call me Zabini. Please," He added almost as an afterthought.

Hermione blinked. And blinked again. She had used what the Gryffindors had affectionately termed "The Voice of Doom", and all he'd done was tell her to use his first name. Maybe she'd been wrong about her insanity; maybe he'd gotten it.

"Alright, Blaise," She stressed his name unnecessarily, "do you realize that because of you, my life has been drastically screwed up over the last week?"

He didn't answer.

"Well, do you? I haven't been able to do my homework, and I arrived late for class for the first time since I started here, I've got my friends thinking I've gone stark raving mad, my hair looks like hell, and I haven't have time to dress properly yet, and all this because of you. Do you understa-"

It is almost impossible to speak when ones mouth is covered with another person's mouth, Hermione discovered quite quickly. Apparently, Blaise had grown tired of her ranting, and decided to shut her up the old fashioned way; by full frontal snogging. Her mind was screaming at her to shove him away and scream at him, but it seemed less important now that it would normally have, and she ignored it. Instead, she found herself kissing him back.

Neither noticed when, five minutes later, the door was opened and a white- blonde head peeked in through the crack. Said white-blonde head was soon joined by a black haired one, belonging to a green eyed boy of international fame, but then both disappeared. A conversation could be heard through the wall, although it was muffled.

"Did I just see what I think I saw?"

"I don't know; despite your suspicions, I have yet to learn telepathy, so I have no idea what you think."

"Did I just see Blaise snogging Granger?"


"But..but that can't be! He's a Slytherin and she's a Gryffindor! It'll never work, Harry!"

"That's what you said about us too, Draco, and see where we are now."

"But that's different!"

"In what way?"

The voices faded away, leaving only a rather..busy silence.