DISCLAIMER: I do not own any of the Harry Potter characters L, J K Rowling does. But this is entirely MY story so for now I'm borrowing them. J
Also it's a Fifth book spoiler, so I suggest you read the fifth book before reading this. J
Chapter One: Slipping
Hermione Granger scowled in Draco Malfoy's direction. She, Harry and Ron were in the Great Hall eating breakfast when Draco began imitating Ron Weasly at the day-before Quidditch match. It had been a poor performance of goal keeping by Ron. The roaring of laughter from the Slytherins gathered around Malfoy rang through the hall and echoed endlessly.
Ron sank lower and lower in his seat, his ears burning red. A mixture of anger and embarrassment spread across his face.
Hermione leaned forwards. "Ron, please, you're acting like a child. Just ignore him." She turned and looked over her shoulder to see another impersonation of Ron's appalling display.
Malfoy was making weird gestures as though he was hanging off a broom, which is what had happened to Ron. Ron had been hit by two bludgers at once from behind, causing him to fall forward. He had almost fallen completely off his broom, however one of his hands managed to grasp the handle just in time. He attempted to swing back onto his broom but it was difficult using only one hand, the rain did not help. He seemed to make his situation worse with every attempted swing. His fingers eventually lost their grip and slipped, causing him to fall down no less than fifty feet from the air. He hit hard on the pitch. It was a horrible sight. During the whole time Ron was dangling from his broom the Slytherin team had made seven goals!
Ron glared at everyone around him. "I would like to see you ignore that!" He retorted, bitterly, as the Slytherins burst into rendition of "Weasley Is Our King!"
"Oh, don't give me that!" Hermione snapped, "Harry here ("Please Hermione, don't get me involved" Harry pleaded,) has had to put up with a lot worse than you and he seems to be able to manage!"
"Shut up, Hermione! Don't bring Harry into this! ("Thank you!" said Harry.) Anyway how would you know how he feels! He doesn't tell you every tiny detail of his misfortunes!"
"That wasn't my point!" She huffed, angrily, "What I mean is for you to put it into perspective!"
"Look, it was just one bad Quidditch match. You'll pull through."
"One bad Quidditch match?!" Ron scoffed, "Did you forget the fact that I broke not only my arm, but my ribs and ankle too!! Also that tiny detail called my DIGNITY!"
It was here when Harry decided to jump in and put a halt to their argument. "Please, Hermione? Ron? Could you guys calm down?"
Hermione huffed and took in a deep breath. Ron eyed her coldly. They finished their breakfasts in silence.
Both of them were in bad moods for the rest of the day.
As their last class ended (Care of Magical Creatures) Hermione and Ron were still pretty tense around each other. Hermione decided to take a break from Ron and Harry, so instead of heading toward the castle she walked over to the lake and sat herself upon a rather large rock.
She pulled out her homework and began to work.
She was in the middle of her Defense Against the Dark Arts essay when she realized she couldn't concentrate. She put her essay back into her bag and stared out across the lake.
Hermione was now in sixth year and she hadn't really changed at all since first year, physically. Same bushy hair, same know-it-all self. She hadn't really grown much in height either. She was still petit. The only difference from when she started Hogwarts to now was her teeth that she had shrunk in fourth year.
Hermione leaned down over the rock and gazed at her reflection, which whirled a little in the water. She sighed, hopelessly. Looking at herself made her feel so plain. She never put any effort into making herself look pretty, there would be no point. She didn't have good looks like the other girls. Her body didn't have many curves and her chest could have been mistaken for a pancake. Hermione smiled at her reflection, a useless attempt to try make herself appear prettier. Her smiled faded. It was no use.
Her mind wandered back to Harry and Ron. There were only two things that Ron and Harry talked about: Quidditch and Girls. Hermione could bare the Quidditch talks but when it came to the two boys talking about girls Hermione became very frustrated. They would talk about how pretty this girl is, and how pretty that girl is, they would often talk about who they'd want to go out with. And sometimes they would even rate girls out of ten; this annoyed Hermione the most. She would usually scowl at them and bury her nose in a thick book.
Hermione shifted her body slightly to make herself more comfortable and also to get a better view of her mournful reflection. But she accidentally placed her foot down wrong and she slipped and fell down into the lake beneath.
She splashed into the icy cold water. Her body frozen, Hermione started to swim towards the surface. Suddenly she felt something scaly grip her legs. She twisted around and saw a Grindylow clutch its long fingers around her ankles and began to pull her down into the depths of the water. She kicked her legs about, trying to shake it off and swim away but more Grindylows appeared. They all gripped her arms and legs. Their teeth gnawing at her calves. Hermione struggled to break free but there were just too many Grindylows. The pain was intense and she was losing air. They were dragging her down, down, down…
~*~*~*~ MEANWHILE ~*~*~*~
Draco smirked to himself as he remembered how that oaf, Weasley, had looked at the Quidditch game. Weasley was always good for a laugh.
Draco walked out of Care of Magical Creatures, glad that the day was finally over. He now had some free time on his hands but didn't feel like returning to the Slytherin common room. He decided to take a ride on his broomstick.
He seized his Nimbus 2001 and took it to the Quidditch pitch. He was only flying for about a minute before the Gryffindor team came striding across the pitch. He decided to pretend that he didn't notice them.
"Bloody Gryffindors," He muttered angrily.
Angelina, the team captain, shouted up to him, "Malfoy! We're gonna have to ask you to leave!"
Draco continued to fly, pretending not to have heard.
Angelina started to get a bit annoyed. She called up at him again, "Malfoy, I said you have to leave!"
This time he looked down at them and answered back.
"What if I don't want to?" He sneered.
Angelina's face turned red. She was getting pretty pissed off with him. Draco loved this it was very amusing.
"Listen Malfoy, we booked this pitch so if you don't leave I'm gonna have to bring Professor McGonagall into this."
This time he listened. He descended graciously onto the Quidditch pitch, gave them a last smirk before turning his back to them and walked away. He placed his broomstick back in the Quidditch storeroom and headed toward the castle.
He decided to take the long route and walk by the lake. As he walked he twirled his wand between his fingers, flicked it in the air. When it came down he caught it with his teeth. He flicked it in the air again but this time he flicked it a little too far and it landed in the lake.
Draco rushed forward and glanced down into the water. Damn it, he thought as he saw it sink lower and lower into the water until it was so deep he could not see it.
He climbed on the rock, stood up and analyzed the water. It looked so dark and so cold. He took in a deep breath and dived into the water.
The coldness rushed through his body like electricity. It was FREEZING!! Trying to ignore how cold the water was he searched around for his wand. He swam deeper and deeper. He strained his eyes as the water got darker, it was getting harder to see.
Finally he saw his wand resting on the bottom of the lake. He picked it up and headed back toward the surface. Suddenly, out of the seaweed emerged a group of Grindylows. They all surged forward and embarked their attack. Their long fingers gripped tightly around his arms and pawed at his face. His mind running through all the spells he knew as they seized his robes and tried to bite through.
Ultimately he remembered one. He tried to say the spell but then realized he was underwater and so nothing came out of his mouth. Instead his wand pelted them with jets of boiling water. The Grindylows abruptly let go and nursed their wounds. Draco seized this chance to escape. He swam towards the surface, shooting boiling water over his shoulder at the persistent Grindylows.
His legs, burning with pain, wanted to slow down, but his mind perused him to go further. His lungs begging for air felt tight in his chest. He kicked his legs and his arms stretched out in front of him. Only a little further, he told himself as he glimpsed light above his head.
Finally his face broke through the surface. He drank in the air and wiped the water out of his eyes. Then he heard something emerge from the water behind him. He turned and saw…