Disclaimer: I don't own it, if you don't know who does, you need to crawl out of your hole...
Note: I've only read the first two books and seen the movies, but with all the fanfics I've read, I already know quite a bit of spoiler information about the others... This fic takes place in their fifth year, an AU that I've had on my mind for a while. Don't bother asking about pairings, I've already got them in mind and the next chapter or two should clear up any confusion that may have resulted from reading the prologue.
"Hey! Watch where you're going!"
"No running in the halls: Five points from Gryffindor!"
"Don't let her escape!"
Despite the various warnings and exclamations of surprise and a plea for assistance, the Gryffindor that caused such reactions continued running through the halls. Dodging students and professors alike, anyone that managed to catch a glimpse of the racing Gryffindor's face was either startled or amused to find one Hermione Jane Granger was unashamedly fleeing from something in a complete panic. Though she tended to be calm and collected, and more aggressive over the last few weeks, as soon as she had exited her last class of the day, Hermione had felt as if she were being hunted. And like any good prey, she had fled.
It wasn't the first time she felt as though someone were stalking her over the course of the last week, but it had never been as intense as it had when she emerged from the Transfiguration room at the heels of Ron and Harry. She had halted in the middle of speaking, nostrils flaring slightly as she scanned the hallway. Though it was far from deserted, her skin had prickled, rocketing her senses into full alert. Harry had turned, asking what was wrong, but his only answer was the loud thud as Hermione's bag dropped to the floor at their feet and the pounding of her soles as she tore off as fast as she could. Almost as soon as Hermione had left, Ron and Harry were nearly bowled over as identical tiger striped ginger haired human bludgers tore past in pursuit.
"Fred! George! Leave 'Mione alone!" Ron had shouted, scooping up her bag and looking at Harry as if to ask if they should make an attempt at helping their best friend. To Ron's surprise, Harry had given a shake of his head before whistling softly and turning to head toward Gryffindor Tower.
After nearly plowing into poor Professor Flitwick, Hermione reached the relative safety of the grand staircase, having taken a very long route to get there... Unfortunately for her, the stairs were in the process of changing. With an inhuman snarl, the witch launched herself onto the banister and from there she gave a powerful leap, flying down and to the side as the Patil twins screamed in shock and fear. An impressive cat-like landing two floors down and Hermione tore off through the nearest door just as the tiger striped twins appeared at the banister.
"This was a great idea, we should have done this ages ago..." One twin declared, the other agreeing whole heartedly.
Matching cheshire grins turned on the Patils as Fred and George Weasley asked in unison, "Which floor did she land on?"
Padme wordlessly pointed out the appropriate floor. The Weasley twins saluted the Patil twins and boldly followed Hermione's route of escape. Feet hitting the landing, each gave a sniff and shared a grin before following through the doorway and into the hall beyond. Two floors above, the Parvati exchanged a glance with Padme and the Patils raced off in opposite directions to gather the gossip mongers of the castle.
Meanwhile, back at the Gryffindor Tower, Harry Potter was lying on his side with his head resting on Ginny Weasley's lap while Ron Weasley ranted about stupid streaky twins. Ginny listened attentively, her fingers brushing through the messy raven locks on her lap. She seemed entranced by the silver tips that caused Harry's hair to look frosted lately.
After some time of brushing out his hair with stubby claws, Ginny sighed. "Ron, I don't think that insulting Fred and George's bloodlines is all that intelligent." She rolled her eyes while Harry chuckled and Ron sputtered. "Besides, Hermione's smart enough to flee to Professor Dumbledore or Professor McGonagall if the twins don't back off after a while."
"That's just it though, Ginny! She could have just turned around and gone back into McGonagall's class, but she freaked and took off down the hall instead." Ron, being the overprotective type, made a strange chirrup sound as he paced back and forth.
Harry snorted softly. "She's probably on her way to Dumbledore's office." He didn't sound too concerned. Of course with Ginny petting his hair, there wasn't much that could concern him at the moment.
"Knowing Hermione, she's just heading to an open space so that she can turn around and hex those two prats."
Ron and Harry both paused before nodding in agreement.
"Oh and Ron... Stop worrying! You'll end up molting at this rate!"
An indignant shriek pierced the air of the Gryffindor common room.
Several corridors, floors, wings and curses away, the chase continued.
Hermione was beginning to feel winded, her stunt at the staircase along with a second trick of darting into the Kitchens had given her a lead over the twins. An abrupt about face and backtracking halfway down one of the corridors and Hermione was throwing the bolt on the girls' bathroom door. Falling to her hands and knees near the hidden entrance to the Chamber of Secrets and ignoring Myrtle's sullen inquiries, she panted for breath. Sharpened hearing picked up the sound of the twins and she held her breath as she heard them thunder past the bathroom.
Knowing it wouldn't be long until the twins realized they had lost her scent, Hermione hoped she would be rested enough to keep those two terrors from catching her once they discovered her ruse. As she slipped into one of the stalls, she tried to figure out just what had happened to lead her into this situation...
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