CHAPTER 1 - HERMIONE'S SECRET

Hermione woke with a start. It was that dream again. That horrible dream. Couldn't she dream something different for a change?

It had been a little over a week since that fateful evening in the trophy room. She just couldn't forget it. But then, how could she. How could anyone forget something like that? She glanced at the clock: 2:37. She tossed the blankets aside and crawled out of bed. She'd never be able to get back to sleep without a drink. A drink and a good cry. Ooh! How she hated that Draco! Why had he done that to her? Her! Of all people! Things like this weren't supposed to happen to good girls like her. She shivered and glanced towards the window. Darn that Lavender! She'd left the window open again. Hermione rushed to close it, muttering under her breath. December was much too cold to leave the window open. Especially after this. Hermione shook her head. She wouldn't let him get to her anymore than he already had. She rushed from the dorm and headed for the bathrooms, where she sat in her locked stall and had a good, long cry.

*----------*----------*----------*

"Hermione? Are you all right? You look exhausted! Didn't you get any sleep last night?" Hermione glanced up from her breakfast to see Harry watching her closely.

"Yeah. I'm fine. I just didn't sleep well."

"Wow Hermione," muttered Ron. "That's 3 nights in a row. You've got to get some sleep!"

Harry jabbed Ron roughly in the shoulder. "What's wrong Hermione? Why haven't you been getting any sleep?"

"I've just got a lot on my mind, ok?" She glared at them, then got up and stalked off.

"Wow" Harry watched her leave. Hermione never spoke to them like that. It was usually him or Ron talking like that, not Hermione.

Ron was also watching her retreating form. "Whadya reckon's wrong wit her?"

Harry said nothing, only stared at the door Hermione had disappeared through.

*----------*----------*----------*

Hermione felt bad about snapping at her friends, but she couldn't help it. She was just so mad! Besides, it was Draco's fault anyway. If he hadn't.No. It was better not to think about that. She sighed, and headed for Transfiguration.

*----------*----------*----------*

Harry and Ron walked in just as the bell rang, and sat on either side of Hermione. Harry turned to say something, but stopped when Professor McGonagol began talking about transforming Teddy Bears into rabbits, and how they should pay attention because this particular test would show up on their N.E.W.T.S.

"As you all know, N.E.W.T.S. will show up at the during your 7th year, which means you only have one more year to prepare." With that said, she went on to give them the instructions, then set them free.

Ron noticed that Hermione was having some trouble with her rabbit, which was still stuffed, and still had a button nose. He was surprised, and reached behind her to nudge Harry. Hermione was always the first one to get the spells right, but today was different. But why?

*----------*----------*----------*

As the bell rang for class to end, the 6th years stood up to leave. Harry noticed Hermione walking especially slow. He slowed down himself to walk by her.

"Hermione, could I speak to you for a moment?" Hermione stopped and turned, heading for Professor McGonagol's desk. "You boys go on ahead. I assure you, Hermione will be quite all right without you for 5 minutes." She watched them trudge out the door, then, with a flick of her wand, the door closed and the lock clicked. Sitting down, she motioned for Hermione to do the same, which she did.

"Now," she began, "I have noticed that for the past couple of days, you have seemed especially down. Is anything bothering you? Anything I can help you with?"

Hermione hesitated. She couldn't tell her! What would she think of her? Her whole life would be ruined if anyone found out! But then, she might be able to help. Maybe it wasn't as bad as it seemed. She opened her mouth to speak.