Rapping helplessly at the door for a reply, Harry had not heard Hermione sobbing wildly, sitting at a dirt-free patch below him. He bent down and drops of water dripped off of his sopping wet hair. Hermione was soaked. Harry softly sat down next to her and planted an apologetically wet kiss on her lips, where she muffled a sob into his mouth as he hugged her. A sound of marshy footsteps were slapping up the muddy hill.
A bedraggled and disheveled looking Professor Sprout was tripping up the hill, mud on most of her robes. She was irritably flicking her wand at the plants, who were growing color and drying immediately. She was pointing her wand at Hermione and Harry – when she stopped in her tracks.
"Potter? Granger? What are you two doing out here?"
Harry struggled to his feet and helped Hermione up as well. He muttered an answer before Hermione would get embarrassed.
"We got locked out."
Professor Sprout looked at them suspiciously, before slowly raising her wand to the door and mouthing a clear: Alohomora! The door sprang open before their eyes, and Hermione rushed in with a hand over her mouth as she stifled back more sobs.
"Hermione? What happened?" Harry whispered, pulling a dripping Hermione to the side. He examined the back of his shoes. If Filch saw him dirtying up the hallway with mud, he would surely have detention. He was looking anxiously around for something to clean up the small footprints of brownish color tracing back to the door in which they came from.
Hermione gave a sniff and a scowl to Harry.
"Absolutely nothing, Harry." She answered in a dry, impassive voice, before stomping off to the Gryffindor Tower. Harry was gaping at her vanishing figure unbelievingly, but she was hurrying back in less than two minutes. She waved her wand at the footprints, which vanished, and then cleaned her shoes with her wand as well. Muttering another spell, hot steam came out of the tip of Hermione's wand, blow-drying her wet figure. Harry looked enviously at the shower of hot steam.
"I'm going to class." Hermione said warmly.
The cone of steam vanished suddenly as Hermione briskly walked off.
Hermione tried to think about the upcoming Hogsmeade visit she was going to Harry with, but the Hogsmeade weekend did not come as fast as the two thought it would. Hermione was planning on what shops to enter in the small village – and had settled upon some new books about Ancient Runes and Defense against the Dark Arts – along with perhaps a new quill. She would have written down on the piece of parchment (or a wish list, perhaps) Get more planners and parchment rolls, but she thought Harry might get bored of all this school shopping for her, so she crossed that out reluctantly and instead wrote Go to The Three Broomsticks for Butterbeers.
However, first, Halloween stuck close to her mind. And sooner or later it was here glistening menacingly in front of her eyes.
The night was perfect. Not only was the lightning bolting across the sky, making fearsome explosions around the castle, but the fact that most of the castle's corridors were dark was even better.
The pumpkins floated merrily, every once in a while spooking the students by flashing into a different sort of smile, or flickering into a menacing grin. The orange of the ripe vegetables hanging about the stormy ceiling hovering evilly over the large wooden tables and fantastic Halloween feast made it perfect.
But only for Ron and Harry.
Hermione winced, flinched, and twitched around as thunder rumbled around the ground. She knew it was only a storm, but on Halloween, the coincidences were a little odd. Every time she would bring this up, the two boys would grin, replying: "That's what makes Halloween a real Halloween," exchanging scheming looks.
Maybe it was just Hermione's imagination, but the darkness around the castle did not rely on electricity and disconnection of it, considering the menacing storm outside. The corridors were always lit with burning torches, but those were stifled out. This, along with everything else going on around the spooky school, certainly didn't make those creaks of the floorboards and swishing from the ghosts any more calming.
Passing Peeves and the silent Slytherins was particularly difficult. During this dark day, in the dark corridors, startling students seemed ever more of a treat to the school's poltergeist. The Slytherins, however, were at the smuggest during this day. Smirking about the halls, their shoes were absolutely catlike on the floor, allowing them to sneak up on people even more easy and fun. Malfoy and his goons even managed to sneak behind the suits of armor; making the first years shriek when they see the silver decorations rock back and forth in movement.
Hermione rounded the corner uneasily, stepping around the creaky floorboards uneasily. Her books were clutched tightly to her chest, and she dug her fingernails into the pages at thunder continued to roar and duel outside. A small 'whoosh' that only someone as quiet as Hermione right now could hear. Her face sweaty, she immediately flattened against to the wall in shock, when a book fell out of her slippery hands, corrupting the halls into a loud clang.
Hermione wiped her forehead, dipping down into the shadows to hastily pick up the book, and edge along the cold walls.
She hurried diffidently then her usual confident self, shoving the books into her bag.
She stopped, listening for whatever had made the sound. Her ears were most alert on something like Halloween, and she listened keenly for a sound of maybe a broken ink bottle oozing out ink, or maybe even an owl cage to bring up to the owlery.
"Peeves!" She called out in a shaky voice.
No ghost came into the hall.
"Peeves, stop hiding, I can hear you!" She said more boldly, and after one minute, she walked among the halls again.
"Boo!" Came a voice behind her, and she jumped, her bag flapping open and spilling the contents. She whirled around to face two laughing boys, in scarlet robes and innocent smiles.
"Harry! Ron!" She cried out, and the Gryffindors bent down to help her pick up her things. Harry gave her a smile and a wink.
"God, you guys, I thought you were Malfoy." Hermione muttered into the darkness, where definite scrambling was emitting around the floor. Hermione dusted off her black robes.
"You don't have to be so afraid, Hermione, you should expect more of that." Ron teased.
"I'm changing." Hermione said briskly, hurrying off to the girl's dormitory.
The safest place of course would be the common room. The common room was attack-free. No one could sneak up on her, of jump out from behind a chair wearing lime green rubber gloves. However, this reassuring couldn't keep Hermione from uneasily shifting on her spot and awkwardly eyeing the things around her. The portrait hole creaked open.
"It's too dark out there," Lavender commented furiously, her face fuming with angriness. She stomped up the stairs until her footsteps were faint and faded away. Hermione eased out of the still-open portrait hole and glanced around.
The moon seem to have hid been the clouds, since no light emitted from the windows, except the sudden blinks of lightning. A sound of heavy and running footsteps were parading down the hall. One pair.
"Hermione!" Yelled the voice with panic. "Hermione!" And the voice became clearer as the familiar black-haired boy rounded the corner and sped up to Hermione.
"Malfoy got quite a scare back there. Peeves was standing in the doorway of the great hall, which by the way – since dinner is over, is completely blackened out – and you saw him hovering so threateningly when lightning flashed."
Harry grabbed hold of Hermione's arm.
"Stop…" He muttered. "Do you hear that squeaking?"
Hermione panicked almost immediately, not even wondering to consider if this was some sort of twisted and evil joke, but remained calm on her face.
"That… sound. Come on." He ushered her towards what seemed like the nearest oak doors what seemed like the Transfiguration classroom.
"Where did Ron go?"
"Dunno. After Peeves' little prank he disappeared," Harry said. "In here." He said, peeking into the creak of the door.
"Harry, that's a broom closet." Hermione said bossily, pulling him out with a rolling of her eyes. She shut the door, gripping his arm so tightly the blood streamed into the front of his hand; giving it a bloodshot purplish color.
"You know, for a friend, you're not so friendly." Harry said frustratingly.
"And for a girlfriend…"
"You're bloody beautiful – but still–"
"I hate Halloween!" Hermione interrupted loudly, wrenching her arm away from Harry's. A tingling feeling ran across his body as the blood rushed away from his arm. His face was still rather pale.
"Oh – hate is such a strong word–"
"I know, that's why I'm using it." Hermione said icily.
"This should be the Great Hall…" Harry said slowly, looking around nervously for a sight of ghosts or suits of shiny armor.
"C'mon – look! There! The Gryffindor Common Room!" Hermione said delightfully into the darkness.
"Than why is there a big, fat, bloody serpent in front of it?" Harry asked, throwing his arm toward the stone snake. Hermione blushed; but no one saw her in the darkness.
"I – I don't know," But her voice trailed away by a thrashing thunder. "How long can a storm go on?"
"Oh, I don't know. Let's just go find Ron." Harry said quietly to lingering air in front of him, looking frantically around for the slight shadow of a person. Hermione's bushy hair came into view.
"Thank god," Harry breathed as he saw the bushel of hair in front of his eyes.
"Yes, yes, come on now, it can't be that far away." Hermione said quietly in a whisper that he wouldn't have heard if everything was so quiet and creepy.
"How about we just sink into a classroom and die?" Harry suggested sarcastically, a scowl forming on his face.
"Oh, Harry that isn't funny. Oh – that must be Potions door!" Hermione said gleefully, pointing at the stony, large, and cold doors.
"Oh, great. We're in the dungeons. My orientation in this castle sucks." Harry said bitterly, whirling Hermione the other way.
"Does Ron have a costume?"
Harry started laughing, and in the darkness and silence, it sounded almost menacing.
"Oh, yes, Hermione."
"What is he? Quidditch Captain?"
"Oh, no. Much, much worse. But that makes it oh-so much more funnier."
"Is he a Professor or something?"
Harry laughed softly. "No. No, not a Professor. He found the need to dress up like a cupid."
Hermione felt a hand clamp around her mouth and wondered for a moment if this was really hers for a moment.
"Cupid?" Hermione repeated, dumbstruck. "He dressed up like a–"
"Cupid. Yes, he did. I dunno why, but he was too scared to leave the common room when I laughed my guts out at him. He's even got a bow."
The two stopped all of a sudden as a whistle of wind and a creak broke the silence.
"Okay, that statue just moved." Harry said quietly in a petrified tone of voice.
"Y-You saw that?"
"I did too." Hermione felt herself being pulled harshly toward the nearest door, sprinting alongside Harry. The coldness of the apparent dungeon lifted as they stepped into a warmer area. The door behind them closed with a slam; Harry's robes fiercely flying. He let out a breath.
"Tell me a story." Hermione said, staring into the dusk. The snoring of the paintings snoozing peacefully filled the air.
"It's Halloween, there's an apparent blackout in the school – which is stupid because we have magic to light up places–" She stopped all of a sudden, whipped out her wand, and mumbled Lumos! to the shadowy air and a small light filled the air gratefully. Some of the paintings grunted. Harry could feel Hermione sit down as the light traveled downward evenly.
"Okay." He answered blankly, sitting down next to Hermione. He put an arm around her shoulder as he gazed into one of the paintings.
"Fine. One stormy night…"
"'One stormy night'?" Hermione repeated quizzically.
"Yes. Have a problem with my cliché beginning?"
"No. Please continue."
"Okay," He said again, shifting on the floor with a slight shiver. "One stormy night… two friends were walking through some – err, hallways in a – um, night school, when a blackout struck."
"Night School? Muggle Night School?"
"Well, yeah. Anyway, the two students were terrified out of their wits, so they clambered to the highest – err, attic tower in the school and sat watching the light from the stars away from the darkness and creepiness inside."
Hermione waited patiently for Harry to continue. When he didn't and just looked at the stream of light coming from the tip of Hermione's wand, Hermione flicked it angrily so that it went out.
"What, are you expecting a novel?"
"No, I'm expecting at least ten sentences."
"Hey – that was ten–" He stopped himself to silently count the sentences in his head.
"Oh, never mind that." Hermione said briskly, getting up and dusting the back of her robes off. Her wand was alight again the next moment.
Harry got up as well grudgingly from his warming spot on the floor.
"By the way, where did you get that Astronomy Tower part of the story? We didn't do that." Hermione inquired curiously.
"I-I know. But I did want to do that." Harry said slowly.
Hermione broke into a smile.
"Aww, that's so… nice." She faded away after 'so' and softly mumbled 'nice' afterward in a whisper. They were extremely close.
It was weird. It was like they had never kissed before. It was like they weren't together even. It was exciting, as Hermione felt a sort of new lurch in her stomach. She gulped down the nervous part of her anxiousness, the smile completely washed from her face. Harry lowered his head and felt his eyes almost being forced close.
(AN: Of course you know that this isn't going to happen! )
Suddenly, a shriek of terror rang through the hall and Harry ripped open his eyes. A terrified second year girl was running; her face bloodless and very pale; toward what appeared to be the nearest door; Filch's office.
Hermione broke out in fits of laughter as she dragged Harry toward the stone marble steps toward the common room, the small light leading the way.
"Wouldn't want to be that second year right now." Harry mused, thinking about the surprise of yanking the door to Filch's office open, which was full of chains hanging from the wall, and several wooden cabinets with people's records in them. And the last time Harry was in it, a KwikSpell letter in an enclosed parchment envelope lying on the moldy desk.
"What do you think scared her off?"
"Probably Peeves, or something. This little kids scream at thunder." Harry responded bitterly. The pulled open the door to the Great Hall in search for some leftover food, when Harry felt himself being thrust against a wall. It was more than pitch black in here.
"Hermione!" He shouted, rather panicked, but when her voice was right beside him, the chains on his stomach fell to the ground and melted.
"Where are we? Who pushed me?"
"We're in a bloody broom closet, like we were almost in before. And no one pushed you, you probably just tripped over a rag or something and fell back to the wall.
The space suddenly seemed tighter than before and Harry squirmed uncomfortably.
"I hadn't realized," He muttered, wriggling the doorknob. "This is a mop!" He shouted out, releasing the mop quickly from his grasp. Hermione squealed as the handle hit the wall loudly.
"Take out your wand, Harry." Hermione instructed, pointing her finger toward his pocket, even though the shadows were too dark to see anything through. Hermione again had no idea how close their heads were.
"Aha!" Harry yelled in triumph.
"And that's the mop again." Hermione said gruffly, viewing something bushy and raggedy at the end of the wooden stick. Hermione started patting the wall.
"There's got to be–"
"I think there's a switch over there!"
"What? A muggle switch?"
"No, really, right behind you." He leaned forward, his hand brushing past her shoulder. It should be on the wall.
He leaned more forward to grab the tiny switch in the darkness, but leaned in a little too much and soon was an inch from leveling with Hermione, and finally, without noticing, his lips came in contact with hers and he ripped away in surprise.
"Oh my god, that's where you are! I didn't think you were that close – I was just trying to get the bloody switch…" Harry explained, muttering wildly.
"Oh, relax, we are, err – together, aren't we?"
But she was interrupted as the door creaked open with suddenly. Hermione peered anxiously around the corner, looking over her shoulder and giving Harry a nervous glance; she shrugged her shoulders and reported that no one was there. Harry, however, ushered him and her out of the closet. He grabbed her arm.
"Come on. We need to find our way to the common room." Harry said again in a low tone.
The darkness and sudden awkwardness was quite uncomfortable.
"I wish some people would just light up this bloody corridor." Hermione said irritably, swiftly bringing out Harry's wand from his back pocket.
"That's were it was." Harry said with a hint of confusion.
"Lumos!" Hermione commanded, and the light came out from the tip of the wand. She handed it over to Harry.
He directed it around the hall's stonewalls, gripping Hermione's hand tighter.
"ARGH!" Harry heard one second later, and Hermione went tumbling down into the darkness of the floor, her hand falling out of Harry's. His wand flickered off.
"Oh, shove it." Harry said bitterly, pocketing his wand. "Hermione, are you alright?"
"I'm fine. But I definitely tripped on something." Hermione mused, scrambling to her feet.
"I've got to get this bloody wand fixed." Harry said bitterly, helping Hermione up.
"Uh, am I imagining that… err, that statue moving…? Again?" Hermione tensely stated.
"The statue. Over there. It totally moved, look – it's the lion one!" Hermione whispered anxiously.
"It's fine, come on." Harry said uncertainly, grabbing her wrist toward the dungeons. The footsteps echoed noisily around the floors and bounced off the walls.
"Okay, I think I saw that move." Harry points out, looking at the badger statue.
"Relax. We must be close to the Gryffindor common room." Hermione said shaking.
"We must be close to the Hufflepuff common room. It was a badger statue."
"Well, then we missed the common room over by the lion statue. How awfully oriented are we at this castle?"
"It's just dark, that's all."
At this, Hermione grabbed her wand immediately, though sweat still trickled onto the wooden wand once she grabbed it. Clutching it and feeling slightly braver, she put more light into the hall. Harry did his too; so two petite, circular cones of light directed the way ahead of them.
Neither of them spoke until another small light beamed around the corner. Hermione put out the light in her wand – pointed her own at Harry's, so his flashed off immediately as well. She wrenched his hand toward the wall and pressed her body against it. A sort of scared looking Draco Malfoy had entered the halls with a large light illuminating the paintings as he carefully stepped about the echoey floors. He hurried around them, glancing at the two large shadows representing their bodies suspiciously, and then scurrying along the hallway rather faster – as though more afraid as he did before.
"That was bloody brilliant." Harry whispered with a smile. He was still looking at the corner where Malfoy had disappeared to; his body pressed against the wall tightly still.
"Yes," Hermione replied fondly, a sort of sad tone in her voice. "Now we've had our fun. To the common room for the fifth millionth time." Hermione added in a much more brisk voice, straightening her robes angrily.
"Yeah, of course. C'mon, Ron'll be waiting." Harry said, grabbing Hermione's hand and grasping his wand in the other.
Suddenly, with a gasp of horror from Hermione, the lightning outside strikes once threatingly – and then –
As if someone had turned off the stars, everything goes dark immediately. The grip of Hermione's hand on Harry's gets harder, as Hermione buries her fingernails into Harry's palm fearfully. Harry's knuckles turn white as Hermione digs her hand uneasily into his. No sound can be heard from the halls.
"I guess seeing the Astronomy Tower is out." Harry murmurs into the darkness, but no one answers but a shiver from Hermione.
AN: Yes, of course, Halloween is NOT here yet. I know, but I SO wanted to write this. Now. During September. Stop frowning. Stop frowning, now! Anyway, it was really hard coming up with a song for this week… Even though no one does it! Does anybody here read the AN? Please R&R and not R&F! Thankfully, after that little 'incident' no one else has found anything rude or cruel to say afterward. Grr… For this chapter, tell me the artist of the song. A little easier, sort of.
The song for this chapter's artist is: This Is Halloween