CHAPTER 3 - THE CONFESSION

"Well, you remember how the other night, I was out late?"

"Yeah," Ron remembered, "You were in the library doing homework. You hadn't come back yet when we went to be past midnight." Harry nodded. He also remembered that night.

"Well, I finished up in the library at around 11:30. I was really tired, so I was heading for the common room, planning on going straight to bed. Well, I was just rounding into the corridor by the Great Hall, when." She stopped.

"It's all right Hermione." Harry's soothing tone encouraged her to go on.

"Well, the corridor was empty except for one person." She stopped again, and gulped.

"Who was it Hermione? Who was the one person?" Ron could feel the tension building up. He wasn't even sure he wanted to know, but he wouldn't fail Hermione. No. Not when she needed them most.

"Draco Malfoy" It was barely a whisper.

Ron and Harry glanced at each other, both sensing this was much more serious than they had first thought. Harry voiced the question they both were wondering. "What did he do?"

Hermione gulped, and gulped again. Ron pushed her hair back from her face. "He.he said he wanted to talk to me. Somewhere private. I agreed and followed him. He led me to an empty room. He locked the door behind us, and I asked him why. Why did he need to lock the door if we were only going to talk? He laughed." Tears were streaming steadily down her face. "He said he had no intention of just 'talking' with me. I tried to leave, but I couldn't open the door. He'd used a spell other than 'Allohamora'. He was still laughing. I turned around, and." She stopped again. The tears were flowing more rapidly now. Harry thought he heard an occasional whimper.

"I turned around and.I noticed that he had.taken his shirt.off." Ron gasped. Harry's eyes were wide with fright. "I was scared, I started screaming. He dashed over and clamped a hand over my mouth. He hissed that if I didn't stay quiet, he would." She stopped again, and her eyes darted fearfully to Harry. "He said if I wasn't quiet he would do something. So I stopped screaming. He.started unbuttoning my robes.and he oh!" She wailed, "It was horrible!"

Ron and Harry listened quietly as Hermione described in detail the night Draco Malfoy had raped her. Though, through it all, a question burned deep in Harry's mind.

When Hermione had finally finished, she looked up at the boys, expecting to see disgust in their eyes. What she saw didn't surprise her. Their eyes were filled with fright, anger, disgust, hatred, all the worst possible emotions. Misinterpreting them, Hermione shot up, sobbing, and ran for the girls' dormitories.

But she wasn't quick enough. Harry grabbed her arm, forcing her to sit down. Seeing the fear in her eyes, he immediately released her, still wouldn't let her pass. He and Ron watched Hermione cry for a moment, then they knelt so that they were eye-level with her. Harry touched her chin, pleading for her to look at him. Not wanting to see the disgust again, she resisted, then finally gave up. She'd have to do it sooner or later. She slowly looked into his eyes, and what she saw surprised her. She didn't see anger or disgust or anything like that. All she saw was love and compassion. She turned to Ron and saw the same thing.

"Hermione. It's ok. We're here for you." She turned to Harry.

"No matter what" Harry nodded at Ron's comment. Hermione let out a huge sigh of relief. She had been so afraid they would abandon her. But they weren't going to. Her eyes filled with fresh tears, and she threw her arms around the both of them.

Ron was embarrassed for a moment, then followed Harry's example and returned the hug. The trio sat like that for a long time, relishing in the comfort of the other's being there.

"Hermione." She glanced up, looking at Ron, waiting for him to go on. "Hermione. You need to tell someone. A teacher." Her eyes widened in fear. "No. Listen to me. This kind of thing deserves expulsion, Hermione. He deserves to be expelled after what he did to you!" Harry nodded. Hermione's eyes still held quiet, desperate fear.

"I can't! I can't tell anyone!" Harry and Ron glanced at her in surprise. They watched her for a moment, then Harry's face showed understanding.

Ron was confused. "Why not?"

When she didn't answer, Harry asked her something that he had been dying to ask ever since she had first mentioned it.

"Hermione? What did Draco say he'd do if you didn't keep quiet?"

Sorry about the cliffy, but I still want you to read the next chapter! Teeheehee PLEASE review! I luv hearing what you guys think, and it's your reviews that keeps me writing. This story will be as long as you want it to be. Same with my "New Baby" story. Keep reviewing, and I will keep writing!