Summary: Hermione's 7th year. She is being her independent old self, when things change dramatically. What is this feeling she keeps getting around Draco after he saves her from an insane fire-crab in a 'Care of Magical Creatures' class gone wrong? Find out by reading. The chain through the story is a song by Kelly Clarkson called Miss Independent.
Chapter 1 - The Incident
Miss self sufficient
Miss keep your distance...
Hermione strolled up the staircase from the dungeons followed by her two best friends, Ron and Harry, struggling to keep up with her fast pace.
She had the usual stack of books on her shoulder, and her trademark 'know it all' look on her face.
"I heard nimbus is making a new broom." Ron began, slowing down.
"Really?" Harry replied excitedly and slowed down as well to be able to have a conversation with Ron.
"Yup. I heard it can go twice as fast as nimbus 2000 and it has a 'never seen before' brilliant magnetic balance."
Hermione groaned, having heard one too many of these conversations.
"I'll leave the two of you to talk about…" She furrowed her eyebrows "whatever… I have to go to the library to get an important book on ancient runes. So I'll meet you in care of magical creatures?"
"Sure Hermione. You're not going to eat anything?" Harry said surprised.
"Oh, I'm not hungry." She answered and ran off.
"It's that spew thing" she heard Ron exclaim behind her "she's starving herself."
Hermione jogged up two more floors until she reached the library, and opened the door of her sanctuary, saying a quiet hello to Madam Pince, her library pal.
The library was almost empty, a very small number of people used their lunch time for homework, only a few desperate souls who were behind on an essay due in the upcoming class.
Hermione didn't really have to get a book on ancient runes.
She didn't even know why she didn't follow the boys to lunch. She had an odd feeling in her stomach. It was the feeling of something exciting about to happen. The last time she had this feeling Seamus had joined S.P.E.W.
She had appreciated it at the time, even though Ron had told her later he only did it because he wanted to get laid, and this, Seamus felt, was the perfect way.
Pervert. Hermione really hated being a teenager, and even more, she hated being around other immature teenagers. She couldn't wait till the graduation, getting a job, an apartment and a life. Maybe a husband.
A husband. Hermione had never even had a boyfriend. Krum was not at all a boyfriend like a lot of people thought. He was only, as much as Hermione hated to admit it, just a toy, one which she could show off and then toss away.
In perfect control of course. 'Control' was rule number one, two and three. A keyword.
If Hermione was supposed to attend to school with hundreds of childish, lovesick and perverted teenagers, she would do it in total control.
She did a bit of homework and then realized she was getting late for a double care of magical creatures, and she still hadn't fetched her dragon skin gloves and her wool cloak to the dormitory.
Hermione shot up from the cosy chair where she always did her homework and swung the heavy brown schoolbag onto her shoulder.
Up the stairs she ran, and realized in great agony, the fact that she was a minute late.
She was almost up to the tower when she fell on a rug and hurt her wrist. How perfect.
Five minutes later she showed up at care of magical creatures, her wrist in bandages she had charmed on herself, and her schoolbag half open on her shoulder.
"Sorry I'm late Professor Hagrid." She managed to moan before she sat down exhaustedly on a wood log lying on the side.
Hagrid just smiled warmly to Hermione before turning back to the subject. He still hadn't given up the Fire-crab studies and they were getting bigger and more dangerous every week.
This week's fire-crabs had purplish shells and huge fangs hanging from their gigantic mouths.
"Hey," Ron said to Hermione and Harry "somehow I don't have a good feeling about this."
"Wow Ron." Harry answered sarcastically, "That's bright!"
"Guys, should we discuss this with Hagrid after class today. I have a feeling somebody will get seriously hurt soon." Hermione stated.
"Yeah. For everybody's good." Ron whispered in approval and they turned to Hagrid and the beasts once again.
"Well," Hagrid began "I have found that the fire crabs eat rabbit meat. The odd thing is that they don't seem to eat anything when they have a leash on. What we're going to do today is feed these little chaps." At this the trio grinned.
"Chaps..?" Blaise Zabini whined. "They're humongous!"
Hagrid ignored him "Who wants to go first?"
Suddenly the whole class looked very busy doing something else. Hermione felt bad for Hagrid standing there so stupidly, holding a fire-crab on a leash in one hand, and a part of a dead rabbit in the other.
So against her will she stepped ahead and raised her hand slowly.
"I will." She whispered and approached carefully, most wanting to run away and crawl under her bed.
"Well Hermione. Here's a piece of rabbit flesh."
She put on a glove before taking the bloody piece from Hagrid's hand and holding out for the fire-crab to notice, and Hagrid let go of the leash.
This particular fire-crab had red eyes that reminded Hermione of the long lost albino bunny she owned as a kid.
She felt the whole class' eyes on her and there straight in front of her, stood Draco Malfoy in a grey wool robe with a green scarf hanging sophisticatedly around his neck.
He was smirking at Hermione and looked like he was waiting for that monster to eat her alive.
Suddenly, the fire-crab raised his small head and opened his mouth threateningly. But he didn't eat the meat. However, he took a few steps forward on his disgusting claw feet, causing Hermione to take the same number of steps backwards.
Harry was taking his wand from his robe pocket when Hagrid shook his head, explaining to Harry that the Fire crab was just going to get the rabbit, but Hermione kept walking away from him.
Hermione herself was regretting the whole thing deeply but had no intentions of running away, not in front of the Slytherins and Draco Malfoy.
But when the crab started shooting fire balls at her (luckily they all missed) she didn't feel all that brave anymore.
Now a lot of students were casting 'stupefy' at the beast, but the red light bolts from the crowd's wands seemed to have no effect on it, and all the spells bumped right back from its shell, stunning a few unlucky bystanders.
One of the stunning spells hit Hermione though, she felt herself stiffen up and the fire-crab crawled on top of her, ready to barbecue her with a fire ball.
The sharp pink claws hurt her horribly and bruised her stomach's skin, and the worst thing was that it stepped up and down, creating a new wound every time.
Then, to her amazement, the monster suddenly backed of her and attacked one of the students, holding a bloody knife in his hands.
Her view was certainly very limited, where she lay on the ground stunned, but it was enough to figure out that Draco Malfoy had stabbed the fire crab through the shell with a glistening green pocket knife.
What he did next was both brilliant and weird. Draco raised his long wand, and squeezed it into the wound, as he snarled "Stupefy."
Just before the crab almost bit Draco's head off, it fell limp to the ground, its read eyes still open and furious.
Hagrid quickly leashed the crab and Harry and Ron ran up to Hermione, followed by the rest of the class. Hermione stared flabbergasted at Draco Malfoy, who was casually wiping the crab blood of his hands and wand with a handkerchief. She pulled up her school shirt a bit, to check on her stomach, it was all bruised and wounded.
Ron freaked out, seeing so much blood, and in his agony he ran to get the nurse.
Madame Pomfrey showed up minutes later and plastered and bandaged till Hermione was capable of walking to the hospital wing herself.
"Miss Granger stay here" Madame Pomfrey ordered Hermione when they came in, and pointed a manicured finger to a bed in the corner of the room. "You have to take good care of your stomach skin now, so they wounds wont leave scars."
She ordered Hermione to put on some dreadfully old school pyjamas and to lie down in the bed she sat on.
She also gave her some pain killing potion and healing cream.
"This ought to be okay in about two days. Until then you'll stay here. Understood?"
Hermione nodded and lay down on the bed. She couldn't help but wonder what had caused Draco's sudden heroic actions. He had definitely put himself in a lot of danger only to save 'Miss Mudblood'.
Just as she was getting to the odd conclusion that Malfoy wasn't the devil's offspring, Ron and Harry came running to her, and were given an evil eye by Madame Pomfrey in the process.
"God Hermione are you sure you're fine? No internal bleedings? No cancer?" Ron asked worriedly.
"Cancer?" Harry and Hermione said in unison.
"Yeah, once George told me a story about a man who got kicked and he got cancer."
"Really?" Hermione asked in sarcastically. "He was lying to you, you silly dolt…"
"But you can get cancer by…."
"Ron." Harry kicked him in the shin "I'll explain later."
"Oh, I'm going to sleep anyway. Thanks for stopping by and I'll see you tomorrow!"
"Oh okay." Harry answered."
Hermione turned off the nightlight, closed her eyes, and got lost in thoughts of secret heroes and stupid friends.
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