"Hermione, Hermione!" Athena raced across the courtyard to us , her cloaks flapping behind her in the bitter December air. "I just wanted to thank you so much for your help on the werewolf essay. I dare say, you are a genius." Hermione flushed pink at the complement and waved it off.
""Oh it was nothing, really." Hermione insisted.
""Well, no matter what you say, I really do appreciate all your help." she said. Athena turned her sharp green eyes on Ron and me. "Are you all going home for the holidays?" she already knew Hermione was heading home, but we hadn't gotten the chance to speak much in the last few months.
""No, Ron and I are staying here over break, we always do. Are you staying?"" I asked. She nodded.
""Draco's going home, so I thought it best if I didn't. I wouldn't be welcome at home anyway." she explained. I looked at her. She seemed so fine, fine that she wasn't wanted at home. Fine that her brother took out his aggression on her. Fine that she never defended herself.
""why wouldn't you be welcome?" Ron asked, sticking the toe of his trainer into the hard ground.
""Oh, beliefs and the sort." she shrugged. She pulled a rubber band off her wrist and tied her hair up in a messy bun atop her head, leaving some hair down to frame her face.
""Athena!" from across the yard, Draco stormed away from his cronies and marched up to Athena. "What are you doing with these three. One a mudblood no less." malfoy jeered. He grabbed the back of her sweater in his hand and proceeded to drag her away. Athena's hands flew up to her collar, trying to pull it away so she wouldn't be choked.
""STOP IT!" Hermione cried Draco's head shot around.
""How dare you talk to me. You filthy little mudblood!" Malfoy cried, infuriated, though he stopped walking and released Athena's sweater. She collapsed onto the cold earth. I rushed to her side. Pulling her to her feet, she wrapped her arms around my neck for extra support as she fought to catch her breath. I saw the base of her neck, where her shirt had stretched. Her collarbone and shoulder were covered in cuts and bruises, most of with looked like they wouldn't heal without magical help.
""Oh my god." I muttered. Draco's fury turned on her before I managed to get her away.
""And YOU! Father will certainly hear about this!" he grabbed one of her arms and pulled her away. She released my neck. She glanced once over her shoulder, a helpless look on her face.
""Oh god, what can we do?" Hermione cried, seemingly just as helpless as Athena. She sank down onto the ground. Placing her head in her hands.
""What can we do? She doesn't deserve it, but we can't stand up against a Malfoy. Even if it is to defend another Malfoy." Ron stated glumly, sinking down beside her. Across the yard, I saw Mathew, one of the only other people who cared about Athena's safety.
""Mathew! Hey Mathew! Come here for a second!' I shouted. Mathew turned and saw me waving. Her jogged over.
""hey. What's up?" he asked.
""It's Athena. She's in trouble." I said, and commenced to explain the scene that had just unfolded. "And she's not going to tell anyone if she gets hurt. But if you see she's in pain, or if she tells you something, get her out of the Slytherin House. It's not safe there for her. We can house her in Gryffindor. The password's Pollywog. Bring her."
""Yeah of course. I never thought things were that bad for her." Mathew shook his head and walked back to his fellow Slytherins, though he was noticeably less cheerful.