Hermione Granger glowered at her partner. She knew that Severus Snape was cruel...but she'd never considered him evil. No, she hadn't thought he was evil until now. Now, the bushy-haired brunette was convinced of the Potions Master's evilness. She had exceeded everyone's expectations when she'd gotten O's on her O.W.L.s in every class she'd taken (much to Snape's obvious dismay, she'd even gotten an O on her Potions O.W.L.) and had decided to take Advanced Potions for sixth year. She had convinced Ron and Harry (who were hoping to become Aurors) that they needed the class and they had reluctantly agreed. Hermione, Ron, and Harry were the only Gryffindors in Advanced Potions; there were a few Ravenclaws; most of the sixth-year Slytherins; there were no Hufflepuffs in class.
When Snape had found out that Hermione was taking Advanced Potions, Snape had done the most sadistic thing he could thing of. Out of pure malice, Professor Snape had made Draco Malfoy Hermione's partner. It was only the first day of sixth year but the thought of being Draco Malfoy's partner made her stomach twist painfully, she had to study with him, sit by him. Sixth year was going to be the very definition of Hell.
Draco scowled at Hermione and then at the Potions Master. How could he do this to me? A Malfoy? Malfoys don't work with Mudbloods! he thought angrily. He crossed his arms over his chest with annoyance as she meticulously added the ingredients to the cauldron simmering. He frowned thoughtfully. What are we supposed to be making again?
Trying to keep his mind on the task, he looked over his notes and added some ingredients distractedly. He frowned as the potion turned pink instead of green. He glanced over Hermione's notes and noticed the checkmarks by each of the steps. He groaned as he realized he'd added twice as much hellebore and wolfbane as the potion required to the mixture. He glanced at the next step and watched as Hermione's hand moved over the potion with a pinch of thistledown mixed with thyme.
"No!" Draco cried as the thistledown and thyme entered the concoction. It was too late, the potion roiled to the horror of the two, bubbles popping all over the pink surface. Draco and Hermione grabbed their bags to protect themselves from the potion as it exploded all over them.
Hermione dropped her bag. "What did you do to my potion?" Hermione demanded.
"Your potion, Granger?" Draco scowled. "As I remember, it's also my potion."
"And you messed it up," Hermione replied. She frowned as she looked around the dungeon classroom, there wasn't a sign of the potion...or Snape...or any of the other students. The room was darker and dingier than usual and it was completely empty. The ingredients were in their respective places as if they hadn't been moved for a Potions class yet. Draco caught the brunette's curious looks around the room and his silver eyes followed after. "What did you put in that potion?"
"Too much hellebore, too much wolfbane," Draco stated.
"How much more?" Hermione asked.
"Twice as much," Draco frowned.
"And you let me put in the thistledown and thyme?" Hermione demanded.
"I bloody well tried to stop you!" Draco scowled, shoving a strand of pale-blond hair off his brow. He gazed at the table where their cauldron had been and tried to figure out what they had accidentally concocted. Whatever it was, there shouldn't have been such an explosive reaction...and why had everyone disappeared?
The bell rang and Hermione gathered her things. She'd figure this out later; right now she had Advanced Arithmancy. Hermione frowned; she also had Advanced Arithmancy with Draco. Two classes in a row with Malfoy, what could be worse? she wondered.
The two left the dungeon and headed to Professor Vector's classroom. There were students filtering in the halls but none of them were familiar in the slightest. Hermione glanced through the crowds, looking for a glimpse of red or black in the sea of brunettes and blondes. She could tell that Draco was looking for Crabbe, Goyle, and/or Pansy Parkinson. The walked silently to Arithmancy and took their seats across the room from each other. Hermione looked around the classroom, it seemed...different. She couldn't explain how it seemed different but it just was. Out of the corner of her brown eyes, she saw Draco noticing the oddness as well.
Students filtered into the classroom and Hermione almost fell out of her seat when she saw a black-haired boy...he was identical to Harry except he had blue eyes instead of green and he didn't wear glasses. He was flanked by two other boys, a tall, well-built, dark-haired one with laughing silvery-blue eyes and a smaller, thinner, brown-haired one with serious golden eyes. The Harry-look-alike had a shining "Head Boy" badge on his robes and the sandy-haired boy had a prefect badge on his robes. The badge-less boy was teasing the Head Boy. "Now, now, Prongs, we don't want you to become the bighead boy, now would we?" he taunted.
Prongs rolled his eyes. "Padfoot, mate, you're just jealous," he stated.
"You're not going to go all fun-spoiling on us like Moony, are you?" Padfoot asked, flicking the prefect's badge. Moony glared at Sirius teasingly.
"Padfoot, Padfoot, Padfoot," Moony sighed, putting an arm on Sirius's shoulder. "Someone has to spoil your fun or you'll get yourself into trouble with all the hearts you break." Hermione did fall out of her seat (right in front of the trio) when she put the nicknames together: James "Prongs" Potter, Sirius "Padfoot" Black, and Remus "Moony" Lupin.
Sirius smiled teasingly at her. "Need some help there, love?" he asked, offering his hand. Hermione took his hand cautiously and he helped her up.
James smirked. "Someone has to keep him in line...all the girls falling at his feet," James chided to Remus and Remus grinned.
Sirius rolled his eyes even as they shone with mirth. "Don't mind James and Remus, they're idiots," Sirius said. "Are you new? I haven't seen you around before. I'm--"
"Sirius Black," Hermione said, blushing as the boy shook her hand. James and Sirius are dead! And now they're my age? How!? Hermione thought. He looked a lot different than the Sirius Black she had gotten to know the summer before fifth year. His eyes were full of life and mischief and his skin was tanned.
"Your reputation precedes you," James teased, shaking Hermione's hand. "James Potter...and this is our mate, Remus Lupin."
Remus shook Hermione's hand. "H--Hermione," Hermione stammered.
"You have a last name, Hermione?" Remus asked.
"Er...no," Hermione squeaked. James grinned and she could see his son in him.
"Well, Hermione with no last name, it's a pleasure to meet you," Sirius said, winking at her as he and his friends walked to their seats.
Hermione took her seat and the red-haired girl with a Head Girl badge on her robes sitting beside her rolled her eyes. "I see you've met Remus, James, and Sirius," she said. The redhead didn't catch the longing look James sent her before going back to talking to Remus and Sirius.
"Yeah," Hermione said. "They're...interesting."
"They're jerks," the girl said. "I'm Lily Evans."
"L--Lily?" Hermione stammered and the girl nodded slowly as if Hermione was crazy. An elderly man entered the classroom and Draco finally took note of how weird things were. Hermione jumped to her feet. "P--Professor, I suddenly don't feel so well? C--can I visit...er...the nurse?" She wasn't sure if Madam Pomfrey was still here.
"Uh...yes...Miss...?" the professor stated.
"Um...de Lioncourt?" Hermione stammered. She would have given anything to have one of Fred and George's Skiving Snackboxes right now.
"Yes, Miss de Lioncourt, you may," the professor said.
"I'll accompany Miss...de Lioncourt," Draco volunteered. "I don't feel so well either."
"Very well," the professor stated, seeming overwhelmed. Sirius raised his hand and the professor glared at him. "No, you may not go to the nurse, Mr. Black."
Draco and Hermione exited the classroom and as soon as they were clear of the Arithmancy room, Hermione dragged him up the stairs to the empty Astronomy Tower. The Astronomy Tower was hardly ever used except as a rendezvous for couples seeking a quiet getaway. It was well-furnished with soft carpets and a daybed as Professor Sinastra had often fallen asleep during her late-night searches of the sky. It was used as her office every once in a while.
Draco stared at the girl with a cock of his pale brow. "Why, Granger, on the first date?" he taunted.
"Shut up, Malfoy. We need to talk to Professor Dumbledore," Hermione announced.
"I'm not talking to that half-witted old bat, he's off his bloody rocker," Draco scowled.
"Professor Dumbledore is not off his rocker, Malfoy," Hermione said. "He's the only one that can help us out here."
"We don't need any help," Draco replied.
"Did you recognize any of those people in that classroom?" Hermione asked.
"No, but it's Advanced Arithmancy, there's only one class, all of the Ravenclaws and Hufflepuffs are in it," Draco shrugged it off.
"You may not have recognized any of those people but I did," Hermione stated. She reached into her satchel and pulled out a tattered old picture. "All of you that I haven't seen today, please leave the picture." Most of the people left except James, Sirius, Remus, and Lily. She showed the picture to Draco.
"So you have a picture of them," Draco rolled his eyes. "Get to the point, Mudblood."
"That's Lily and James Potter," Hermione said, ignoring Draco's comment and pointing at the happy couple. "They've been dead for fifteen years. You've met Professor Lupin, you know...the only good Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher we've had...the one that your father had sacked." She pointed at Remus sitting near them and then her finger flew to Sirius Black. "And that's Sirius Black; he died earlier this year because of your father's master." Hermione glared menacingly at him.
Draco scowled at Hermione. "Is there a point to this?"
"Damn it, Malfoy, I've seen dead people! And they were very alive and in their teens," Hermione stated.
"Okay, I admit. Dumbledore's not off his rocker, you are," Draco said.
"You can tell that to your father," Hermione said, looking past Draco. She had finally noticed the blonde that looked remarkably like Draco except his hair was longer and pulled into a ponytail. A blonde woman had unbuttoned his shirt and was now kissing his neck.
"I will," Draco said.
"Well, here's your chance," Hermione stated, turning the blonde around. Draco's jaw dropped as he saw the boy that could be his twin. "Now do you believe me?"
Draco turned around and winced, his face beet-red. "Blimey, Granger, the last thing a bloke wants to see is his father...like that," Draco said with a shudder.
"Care to join us, you two?" Lucius Malfoy's voice came.
"Father?" Draco whimpered as Hermione managed to keep her composure but blushed at the Lucius's comment, more out of embarrassment for Draco than for herself. She had once stumbled upon her parents like this and had been scarred ever since.
"N--no, thank you, we were, uh, just leaving. Going to find ourselves a nice, quiet dungeon or something..." Hermione stated, her face the color of Weasley hair.
"My, my, love, didn't know you were so kinky," Draco said and Hermione hit him upside the head as they exited the Astronomy Tower.