A/N: I'll be honest...I haven't written fanfiction in forever (well over a year, I believe), and I don't exactly own this plot. We read "Les Jeux Sont Faits" by Jean-Paul Sartre in French class and it inspired to me to pick up some writing again. I'm using the basic outline of the plot because it is so fantastic, but of course, I'm changing bits and pieces to suit the fanfiction. I figure if Helen Fielding can use the plot of Pride and Prejudice for Bridget Jones's Diary, why can't I use "Les Jeux Sont Faits"? I really loved it a lot and encourage you all to read it!
Disclaimer: I don't own Harry Potter, or "Les Jeux Sont Faits". Please don't sue me.
Hermione Granger coughed, feeling her entire body shake as she clutched at her chest. Her eyes opened slowly; she felt as if her eyelids were glued shut. Reaching blindly toward the nightstand by her bed, she used it as leverage to pull herself up into the sitting position, readjusting the black covers around her. With shaky hands she grasped a cup of water she'd left on the stand and brought it to her lips. After a tentative sip, she fell into another uncontrollable coughing fit.
In the hallway, a light suddenly appeared. The feeling of guilt instantly overcame her; Harry was up again. She heard his footsteps in the hall and tried to lie back down as if she was sleeping, but only managed to sit down the glass before he'd opened her bedroom door.
"Go back to bed, Harry." she rasped, swallowing in an attempt to make herself clearer, "I'm fine, really."
Shaking his head, Harry Potter walked toward her slowly. Upon reaching her bedside, he held out his wand and murmured a few soothing words. Instantly, she began to feel more comfortable; the healing spell he was using relieved the terrible, raw feeling she had from coughing continuously, and the awful pounding of her head. She succumbed into this new, relaxed state, only just managing to whisper a "thank you" before slipping into a peaceful sleep.
Harry stroked her brown hair lovingly, and leaned down to give her a kiss on the cheek before straightening up. His tender look changed to one of sorrow as he watched her sleep, knowing that in just a few hours the spell would be overcome by her sickness and she'd fall into another horrible coughing fit. He sighed, thanking Merlin that at least, this time, there hadn't been any blood.
Letting his face fall into his hands, Harry felt himself begin to fret. Hermione was all he had left of his great childhood friends; Ron had died during the Great War, throwing himself in front of a spell to save her. And here she was, the only other surviving member of "the Golden trio", dying in front of his eyes.
He'd become so distracted by his thoughts that he had failed to hear someone walk down the hall. A hushed voice called out from the doorway, "Harry, please, go back to bed..."
Harry turned, keeping his eyes cast downward. "I can't leave her, Gin, what if she needs me again?"
Tip-toeing into the room, Ginny gently took Harry's arm and led him away. "You need your sleep, Mr. Minister of Magic." she continued to lead him into the hallway and then into his room. "I'll look after her, you don't worry yourself."
For a moment, she thought he might cry. "I can't...I can't lose her, Gin. Okay? I can't."
Ginny looked away quickly, as if she'd been hit. "Of course, darling. I understand."
He sank into his bed, not lying down, but sitting on the edge. His head fell into his hands once more. "I don't think...oh Merlin, Ginny, you understand, right?" He looked up, his emerald eyes wide and terrified, seeking some conformation.
She let out a small, somewhat bitter sigh. "Completely." she walked over, giving him a kiss on the top of his head before saying, "Goodnight, dear."
"Goodnight, honey." he answered, returning his wife's kiss with one of his own.
Closing the door softly behind her, Ginny padded softly down the hallway and peeked into the Hermione's bedroom. It has obviously been neglected for a long period of time; clothes that had not been worn in months lay discarded on the floor, and various knick-knacks had collected more than one layer of dust. Were there not a living, breathing (albeit barely) human in the bed, she would have thought it had been abandoned for years.
As soon as her eyes turned on the sleeping young woman in the bed, her gaze narrowed. Ginny Weasley Potter stared jealousy at her, to the point where hatred was prominent on her face. Mimicking her early actions, she tip-toed into the room, pulling from the pocket of her robe a vial. Tipping it into the glass of water by Hermione's bed, she looked at the restless figure.
"How dare you steal my husband, Hermione Granger." she murmured, putting a few extra drops in the glass for good measure before stopping up the vial and heading back toward the door. Taking one last look at the woman she hated more than anyone or anything in the world, she closed the door and silently made her way back to the bedroom she and Harry shared.
"Please—Draco, listen to me—this is insane!"
A cold snicker rippled throughout the alley.
"Listen, Draco, Nott's whining like a baby." laughed Blaise Zabini, glaring at Theordore Nott with all his might.
"I'm not whining!" the other boy defended, obviously flustered, "You guys just won't listen! I'm...there were at least ten of them, I was outnumbered, Draco!"
Draco stood opposite Nott, but for all the younger boy was talking, he was avidly not listening. His gaze was turned toward the ground, and his mind, too, seemed elsewhere.
Vincent Crabbe pushed the smaller man away, but he did not laugh. The atmosphere of the situation had changed drastically as soon as that last sentence had been uttered; Nott had apparently told something to somebody, and after five years of planning!
"What'd you tell them, Nott?" Crabbe asked quietly, almost to the point where he sounded deadly.
Nott's expression changed to one of terror; he'd said the wrong thing. "I-I didn't tell them much..." he stuttered, looking more and more frightened as Gregory Goyle, Vincent Crabbe, and Blaise Zabini began to stare at him menacingly. "Draco—Draco, please listen to me. If you don't listen than I'll always feel like a traitor...they beat me, Draco, what choice did I have?"
Draco, who had kept his gaze steadily away from Nott the entire time, now looking at him in shock and anger. He wanted to scream at him for what he'd done, but just shook his head and said, "Sniveling bitch."
Nott recoiled as if he'd been struck, staring in disbelief at the man he'd at one point so admired. How dare he insult his manhood, for one small mistake? He'd barely told them anything!
"Get out of my sight, traitor." muttered Draco, turning and walking away. The three men followed suit, leaving Nott in their wake.
A weak voice cried out, "...Harry!"
Without hesitation, Harry Potter was on his feet, leaving his wife and his breakfast at the table. He ran up the stairs and down the hall as quickly as he could, not for a moment considering anything else but Hermione.
He entered her room and strode over to her, getting down on his knees by her bedside and taking her hand into his own. "What's the matter, Hermione? Tell me..."
She coughed, ripping her hand away from Harry's and placing it firmly over her mouth. When she drew it away, a few spots of blood had stained the skin.
"The blood's come back." she stated, showing him the drops that littered her palm. "Only it's worse this time..." her voice trailed off and she took a shaky deep breath.
From the hallway, another voice was heard. "Harry, where'd you go?" called Ginny, before hurrying into Hermione's room, "Oh, here you are. Good morning, Hermione, how are you?"
Staring at her palm, Hermione could sense the wave of frost coming toward her from Ginny's direction. She'd always sensed Ginny's displeasure at her close relationship with Harry; when the two had broken up at the end of sixth year, the youngest Weasley had somehow gotten it into her head that the Boy Who Lived had used his need to travel as a cover for his feelings for another girl, namely Hermione. When the Dark Lord had been defeated and Harry became minister, the two had begun dating again, but it had not lessened Ginny's intense envy and paranoia.
It had not helped that Ron had died saving Hermione, either. The bushy haired brunette had been the object of his affections for quite some time, but during the war she'd pushed him away, knowing that a romantic attachment would only make her less concentrated and more vulnerable. In the final battle, he'd jumped in front of a curse meant for her, and he'd died for her. They had won, but the battle left Hermione inconsolable. Harry and Ginny had visited her every day (more because Harry was worried than anything, she supposed). She barely got outside the house for a few weeks, and when she finally felt well enough emotionally, she found that her physical strength had dwindled to practically nothing. Automatically, Harry had offered her a guest room in the Minister's Mansion, and while she detested accepting charity, she found that she just wasn't able to take care of herself...
"I'm feeling worse, actually." Hermione sighed, "Thank you for asking."
"Of course," Ginny smiled, but it was a very chilly one. It caused Hermione to wonder; what had happened that she had lost a friendship she had at one point considered to be so strong? She didn't have much time to dwell on the subject, however, as Ginny piped up again. "Hurry, Harry, your eggs are getting cold."
With that, she turned with flourish and walked out of the room.
Harry seemed to instantly forget that she had ever entered. He retrieved his wand from his robe pocket and did a quick cleaning spell on her hand, getting rid of any trace of blood. Then he helped her lay down comfortably.
"Harry, really, you don't need to do all this..." she murmured, closing her eyes as her head sank into the pillow.
He smiled. "But I want to...I want to help you, Hermione. I need you to get better."
She smiled lightly, trying to shake her head but finding the action too painful. "Don't be silly, you have everything you could have ever dreamed of. Why would you need silly old Hermione Granger?"
"No, don't say that!" he cried, suddenly looking very serious. He reached out his hand, cupping her cheek. "The truth is, Hermione, that I...I—"
From downstairs, Ginny could be heard calling him again.
Giving a glare to the doorway, Harry heaved a sigh and stood. Giving her a quick kiss on the forehead, he promised her he'd send someone up to check on her and make sure she was alright. Then he strode out the doorway.
Had Hermione felt well, she probably would have pondered more the exact sentiment that Harry had had so much trouble expressing. Yet in her weakened condition, even her mind suffered, and she could not find the will to worry about it. All she really wanted to do was take a nap, and try to get better.
Footsteps could be heard up the stairs and then in the hallway, walking quickly and heavily toward her room. Suddenly, Ginny appeared in the doorframe, looking very cross and very hateful.
"Can't you at least let him enjoy his breakfast in peace?" she hissed, hands on her hips.
Struggling to get herself in the upright position, Hermione looked at her blankly. "It's not something I can just turn off, Ginny, I'm sorry. Trust me, I hate being a burden on him..."
"Oh yes, I'm sure." replied the red-head, rolling her eyes. "You just DETEST being waited on hand and foot, and having him do your every bidding at the drop of a hat.."
Hermione let out a sigh of frustration. "I don't understand you, Ginny. Why can't you accept that there is nothing for you to be jealous of, that there's nothing between us besides friendship."
"Because I know better than you do, Hermione Granger! You may be the cleverest of witches, but you certainly are the blindest as well!" Ginny stepped inside, closing the door and locking it, "On your side there may only be friendship, but if you had eyes than you'd certainly see that...that..." she couldn't bring herself to finish the sentence.
"That what? That you're being paranoid?" Hermione raised her voice, knowing that getting into a passion would do her no good but unable to stop herself, "There's nothing there, and there never has been!"
Ginny gave a sarcastic snort. "Well, hopefully there no longer will be in a short while."
A look of confusion crossed Hermione's features. "What are you implying?"
"You know what I'm implying." Ginny muttered.
Horror bubbled inside Hermione's chest, and she felt a hysterical coughing fit coming on. "You're hoping I die?" she added, bitterly, "Merlin, Ginny, we used to be friends."
For a moment, Ginny seemed to almost feel sorry, regretful. But then her face hardened, and she shook her head. "Yes, and then my husband fell in love with you."
And with that, she turned on her heel, threw open the door, and closed it with a bang.
A five minute's walk had passed, when suddenly Draco Malfoy cursed outloud. His friends all shifted their gazes to his face, looking a little perplexed. He shook his head, and stopped walking.
"I forgot my bloody keys back in the alley, I think. I have to go back."
The trio shrugged, and continued to walk on. Turning slowly, Draco broke into a light jog back to the alley from which he'd just come.
"I'll live...I'll live and I'll show her. She'll see..." thought Hermione, swallowing thickly in an attempt to quell another fit of coughing. "Then I'll prove her wrong..."
The hacking cough rose to her throat and she succumbed to it, barely having the strength to bring her hand to her mouth. When she pulled it away, blood was splattered across her palm. She desperately wanted to call for Harry, but part of her did not want to give Ginny the satisfaction of knowing that she was only getting worse.
"Where is this blood coming from?" she found herself repeating, with no clear answer. She had been tested for sickness after sickness, and yet there was no reason, medical or magical, for her to be ill. Doctors, wizarding and muggle alike, were baffled. And yet her situation only continued to degenerate.
Another cough, more blood on her hand. She tried to reach the bedside stand for a box of tissues but was dismayed to find her arm just did not have the strength to obey. Tears started leaking from her eyes, and a small drop of blood trailed from her mouth. Defeated, she called out weakly, "Harry—Harry, please help!"
The moment the sentence was out of her mouth, Harry Potter was running up the stairs and down the hall at full speed, throwing open the door and rushing to her bedside. His face changed from that of concern to a look of shocked horror as he saw the blood dripping from her mouth. It only made her feel like crying more.
"Harry, something's wrong..." she whispered, her distress only increasing upon finding that she was having trouble speaking.
"No, not at all. Nothing's wrong, Hermione." he stated, obviously lying. He grabbed a tissue and dabbed at the bloody trail, "Look, all better, see?" He then reached for her hand to clean her palms.
As he lifted her wrist, he noticed her hand was limp and unmoving. He dropped her arm and turned toward her face, noticing the still peacefulness of the features.
"No!" he yelled, grabbing her face in both hands. "No, Hermione!"
Lightly patting her cheek, he found that she was not responding. He reached for her wrist again, this time turning it over and feeling for a pulse. His face collapsed when he felt none. He put his hand on her chest, but it did not rise and fall with the pattern of steady breathing.
"No, no, no..." he repeated to himself, bringing his knees into his chest and wrapping his arms tightly around them. His head dropped, and he continued to said, "no, no, no..."
Ginny Potter stood in the doorframe, watching her husband cry over another woman.
Theodore Nott had felt many things when Draco had insulted him. Fear, anxiety, but most of all, shame. Yet as the four men had walked away from him, leaving him pleading in the alley, his feelings had changed quite drastically.
He hated them.
How dare they, he thought, accuse him of being a traitor? He'd told those thugs practically nothing—nothing! And had he not been right to do so? After all, he couldn't help the cause from his grave, could he? So how could it have benefited anyone if he'd allowed himself to be beaten to death! No, they were unjust, that was it! Unjust, bullying pigs!
He felt no shame, just anger.
Seated next to a trashcan in that same alley, he allowed himself to dwell on his feelings of hatred. Draco Malfoy had humiliated him for no reason, and now he was left alone, thought a traitor and a fool when the real idiot was the one everyone was so intent on following! His bitter reverie was interrupted, however, when the sound of footsteps approached.
Drawing his legs close to himself, Theodore knew he was completely hidden by the trashcan. He did want to encounter anyone; he wanted to be alone in his miserable anger. Still, he decided to chance a glance and see who this person was.
It was a great surprise to him when he saw Draco Malfoy busily searching the ground for something. He was so distracted, so absorbed in himself that suddenly, Nott had a wonderful, dastardly plan.
Standing up silently, Nott pulled his wand. Draco, squatting in the opposite direction, was running his hands over the ground, moving pieces of trash around, looking for his keys. He never saw Nott, nor did he hear the Avada Kedavra that killed him.
As soon as Draco's lifeless body hit the ground, Theodore Nott turned and fled.
A/N: It's been awhile since I've written anything, so I may be a bit rusty. Feedback would be MUCH appreciated (constructive criticism would be a dream!). If there are any spelling/typo/grammatical errors, I apologize, but I don't have a beta. Anyone interested in volunteering? Leave a review or email me!
Also, I realize that Ginny may seem a bit OOC, but I saw it as this. She is passionate, and she loves Harry very much. She's proven in the past that she's capable of horrible deeds, and though she was influenced then that doesn't mean she isn't still quite able. So if I put these things together, I can see Ginny doing these things. Hopefully, you can too.
Thank you very much for reading, and I hope you enjoyed it. Please leave a review!
P.S. This may sound a bit odd, but it's been so long since I've done this that I can't remember for the life of me how I can upload this thing so that the italics show up. If anyone can give me a quick refresher course, that'd be great. Again, you could leave it in a review, or email. Thank you!