~ Dueling ~
The next morning, during Potions class, Harry told Ron and Hermione what he had overheard and seen the night before. He told them in full detail everything that he had overseen and heard. Unfortunately, they were looking in pairs. Poor Neville also over heard everything. "Poor, poor Creevy.."
"Malfoy's a right old git, smirking and passing notes over there," Ron muttered. "Blaize Zabini is with him today… I bet they're talking about how Draco is the heir of Slytherin."
"I don't think he is," Neville stammered out.
"Longbottom…" Harry shook his head at the boy. "Why stand for him… he picks on you."
"In case you haven't noticed Harry, everyone pretty much picks on me," the boy murmured.
"Neville… that isn't…" Hermione found herself being interrupted by Ron.
"He's right, 'Mione…" Ron muttered. "Harry and I are at times tempted to pick on him."
"Ronald Weasly!" the girl snapped.
"Not talking," Snape suddenly snapped, then scooped one of the supposed notes up. "And no passing… a petition?"
Snape muttered something, then signed the paper himself, and let it continue being passed around. Ron glowered at the man. "I bet it's a petition to get Harry expelled."
"Ron…" Hermione shook her head at the boy.
"Actually… the petition is something Diggory—sempai and I came up with…" Neville murmured as his own was passed back to him.
"Sure… you're friends with Diggory. As if!" Ron shook his head at the boy. "If that were true, then it is possible for Malfoy to be nice to someone!"
"Twenty points from Gryffindor, Mr. Weasly," Snape glared at the boy, causing Ron to gulp.
"How's that project going Hermione?" harry asked.
"It's going well," the girl murmured. "I have to agree with Neville somewhat… I don't think it is Malfoy. But he may know something."
"Bloody hell… how can it not be Malfoy. He's always spouting off Pureblood garbage," Ronald groaned.
"You would too if that was all you were taught… look at Harry's cousin," Hermione snapped, as she added the final ingredient to the potion.
"Why bring him into this?" Harry asked, becoming rather irritated.
"Sorry… but, maybe if he wasn't spoiled rotten and didn't have your aunt and uncle teaching him to hate wizards…" Hermione hummed.
"I agree…" Neville stated as Ron glared at him. Longbottom shrunk back a little bit, and pointed his finger at Ron as he put the wrong ingredient into the pot, yet he couldn't open his mouth to say anything.
"I don't think that is right," Snape stated firmly. It was then time for class to be dismissed. Draco went up to talk to the man after class.
"I still say that if Neville is friends with Cedric, then Malfoy could possibly be nice," Ron muttered, only to have something hit his head. He reached down, and picked up a red, rubber ducky. "What the bloody hell?"
"That's Luna's," Elizabeth murmured.
"It's supposed to be my lucky item for the day," the blond smiled.
"But why did it hit me in the head?" Ron asked.
"Because Luna has to do something with her lucky item to people who say or do stupid things so that Cumeco's don't attach themselves to their heads," Elizabeth stated.
"You're friends with Lovegood?" Hermione shook her head in disbelief.
"She makes for… interesting conversations, more so then most Ravenclaws… or anybody," the girl shrugged her shoulders.
"What I said wasn't stupid!" Ron muttered.
"It probably was Weasel, as you are very stupid," Malfoy stated as he walked past them, disappearing through the crowd.
"That little…" Ron muttered, only to have Neville grab his arm. "It isn't worth your time."
Elizabeth and Luna had both decided to still attempt to make friends with one Ginny Weasly. It was obvious to the two girls that something was bothering the youngest of the huge family. Possibly, it had to do with the incident with her eldest brother, but something about the reoccurring dream was bothering her. So far, it hadn't changed up.
It kept cropping up, and cropping up, becoming irritating, even though the dream didn't come every single night. On the nights of the petrifications occurring, they seemed to become more vivid, id that was at all possible. There was something about that man that downright puzzled her. There were other things in the dreams, but she could never remember what they were. She didn't mention these dreams to any one, not even Luna.
Soon after running into the Slytherin and Gryffindor second years, they had managed to find Ginny and corner her. She folded her arms across her chest and gave them an odd look, kind of far off. "What do you two want this time?"
"Something seems to be bothering you?" Luna asked. "Share to tell?"
"Not really…" Ginny muttered, looking for a way to escape.
"It looks like you could use a friend," Elizabeth used her fingers to pull on her hair nervously.
"Says the person who doesn't know the true meaning of friendship. Your other friends… I bet they're all majorly pretty, right?" Ginny snapped.
"I have spoken to some of them…" Elizabeth muttered.
"Mostly they argue," Luna sighed, referring to their classmates. "The…"
"Don't…" Elizabeth sternly stated. "I've covered for your craziness one all ready today."
"I don't need a friend who is fashion crazy or who only hang out with… her… because you think it's funny. You're a bully just like Malfoy, and I don't get how you could be Granger's sister," Ginny stated. "And anyways… I have a friend, so don't pity me! I don't need it!"
"So… what's this friend's name?" Luna smiled.
"His name is… T.R." Ginny muttered, her eye traveling to the ground.
"Oh… Theodor Roosevelt? You can see a dead Muggle president of the United States?" Luna had a far off look, and Elizabeth had to raise her eyebrows at her so-called friend, as Luna had just happened to pull something weird out of the hat, even for her.
Ginny turned pale at this. "I've never seen a M… ghost of a Muggle in my life."
"Anyways…" Elizabeth got her own grin on her face, and tried to pry in order to forge a friendship. "Sounds like the name of a boyfriend she's trying to hide."
"But… I… I… don't have a boyfriends, and if I did… his initials… his initials… his initials would be…" Ginny's two cheeks suddenly flushed a shade of pink.
"HP?" Luna queried, causing the girl to become paler.
Elizabeth shook her head, confusion as to what Luna was trying to get at, but her mind couldn't catch it. She decided to change the subject, as Ginny was becoming upset, the exact opposite of her plans. "What you're upset about… wouldn't happen to deal with catching your brother… ewe… snogging. Why haven't you told anyone?"
"Well, Percy is a Perfect, and could get in a lot of trouble. Also, he told me not to tell… the twins would be hard on him," Ginny's eyes darted around, looking for an escape route.
"But he's your elder brother…" Elizabeth closed her eyes, becoming frustrated. "…wouldn't they listen to him?"
The red head's eyes suddenly reflected with anger. "To get Fred and George… you have to work on their level, and with Percy's personality, that is never going to happen! And… I have two brothers older than him!"
At that, Ginny pushed by the two and hurried away. "Come on Luna… we can't let her get away!" However, after a few twists and turns, they had lost her. "Luna… what exactly did you mean by… HP? That computer brand. Luna?" Apparently, Elizabeth had lost Luna too.
That night found Draco sneaking out of the Slytherin dorms. Yourichi of course, his stalker in the form of a cat, followed close behind him. "Why are you sneaking out of your common room, when Madame Hooch wrote you a pass so you could do this?"
"Because, stupid, I don't want anyone knowing what I'm doing, especially the members of the Geist Club," the boy muttered, shouldering his school bag higher.
"Now… I wonder why that is… what exactly are you up to? You have enough people all ready thinking that you're heir of Slytherin," the noble cat muttered.
"I am not…" Draco stated firmly. "That's preposterous…"
"A good deal of the members of the club seem to think so," the cat had no trouble keeping up with the boy's speed.
"No offense, but the Weasly family are a blood traitor family," Draco snapped. "I don't care about those two's opinion."
"Bad blood between your family and theirs?" Yourichi stated, getting a feeling she did whenever two of the noble Shingami houses clashed. "But Granger… she has doubts about you as well. You've hidden many things from her."
Draco stopped short, glaring at the cat. "Explain to me why I should care about what she thinks? I know she hates me. Potter does too. It's because I'm a Malfoy and who my father is."
"Then make a name for yourself not associated with your father's name," the cat… purred. "And one that isn't mud."
"That's something you would definitely know about. A bunch of the Slytherin girls are complaining, you've left cat hairs all over the place, not to mention, muddy paw prints," Draco muttered.
"So?" Yourichi then noticed they were outside the hospital wing. "Look, as much as I want to find out what you're doing, I have errands to run… dealing with getting signatures for this petition."
"Why might I ask, you care?" Draco narrowed his eyes at the cat.
"Because I don't like the guy… which is why you're doing this, isn't it?" Yourichi smiled, cattishly. "You don't like him either."
"I don't really care, so long as no one finds out… certain things," the boy muttered, glancing away from her.
"What you're doing… could risk a lot," Yourichi stated, having a good idea all ready, what Draco was up too. Draco though, sent her a glare, which caused her to run off chuckling.
Draco then opened the door, and slipped in, handing his letter to Madame Pomfrey. "You're in the Geist Club dear? I wouldn't have thought… then again?"
"Exactly who all on the staff is privy to the Geist Club?" Draco narrowed his eyes.
"Let me see… only Lockhart," Pomfrey watched as the boy let out a sigh of relief. "Dumbledore didn't feel the need to tell a so called expert on such matters about this. That man is full of baloney… what with that stunt with Potter."
"Let me guess, a bunch of people are wondering why Dumbledore hired him?" Draco muttered. "Perhaps my father was right… he is a bit on the… old codger side."
"Your father…" Madame Pomfrey bristled. "For your information child, only a few applicants applied. The only one that seemed at the time to meet the qualifications… I don't want to go there. But the others… were just looking for a job, and had no background in the subject. Don't see why Lockhart needed one, being a best seller and all."
Draco blinked at this. "So… Dumbledore didn't pick him?"
"No… actually, I believe Cornelius Fudge submitted the application," Pomfrey muttered.
"that means the ministry wanted to cover up what happened supposedly, last year, by putting in someone famous," Draco groaned. "And knowing Lockhart.."
"I know… it was one more achievement to his list," the woman could only shake her head to show her irritation. "They're over there… though I don't understand what you plan on doing…"
"I would rather not explain, as I would rather not admit being a member of the club…" Draco stated, walking over and stepping behind the curtain setup.
The sight he saw, he had to rather say disturbed him. First off, the Muggle born boy lay stiff as a board, as did Ms. Norris. Second, there were doubles sitting there, surprisingly with Ms. Norris curled up next to the boy. Both seemed extremely melancholy.
"Hey Creepy… Creepette," Draco stated, lowering his mouth to Collin's ear as he did so, causing he boy to jump.
"I thought… a few tears welled from the smaller boy's eyes, threatening to fall. "I thought you couldn't see me…"
"I lied," Draco hissed, grabbing Creevy's shoulder harshly. "And if you ever tell anyone I admitted I can see and hear you, especially Granger, I will make your life miserable… understood?"
"So… you're here to bully me… and no one is here to stop you? I'm not stupid… only certain people can converse with me…" the boy shied away.
"Actually… I'm not," Draco removed his hand and reached into his bag, pulling out certain books, all first year, then a list of some sort. "And if you tell anyone that I am helping a Mudblood…"
The next thing he knew, Draco heard the curtain moving, and something hard, hitting him in the head. At this, Creevy suddenly burst into laughter, which caused Draco to glance down to see a red rubber duck on the ground. Why a rubber duck was in the hospital wing, he had no clue. But he was soon to find out.
"Luna and I both heard you use that word Malfoy," Hermione stated rather coldly. "Good evening Culling."
Draco suddenly turned on her, quite livid, his pale cheeks flushing. "You want to know why I'm here? It's because I was asked too by Hooch!"
"Draco suddenly shoved by her, only to have Luna grab his sleeve. "You're lying… the note you gave Ms. Pomfrey said it was your idea."
"Maybe she just wanted it to seem that way," Draco snapped. "What are you going to do Loony, throw your stupid duck at me again?"
"I think there's a better alternative," Luna stated, then hit him with her duck she had retrieved, compressing it. Instead of hurting, it let out an audible, and in a way, embarrassing quack. Collin again began laughing his head off, as Draco glared at the Ravenclaw, who let him go.
"I am sorely tempted to hex you Lovegood, but Pomfrey will know who did it," the boy growled, hurrying out of the infirmary.
"Luna… we didn't see the letter," Hermione shook her head.
"I guessed… I guessed," the girl smiled.
"If it had really been Hooch's idea, she would have involved some of the rest of us, as it would have been an attempt to involve him, with the rest of us," Hermione placed a hand on her chin. "Which means…"
Hermione's eyebrow suddenly rose up suddenly at the possible meanings this could have. Collin though sat there and before Hermione could come up with anything conclusive, he asked something. "If Malfoy knows you two can see and hear me, why is he so worried about you two finding out that he can too?"
"I'm not sure…" Luna stated, glancing at the ceiling and pressing her duck against her chin.
"I guess since you know, we might as well explain to you… though this is a first even for me," Hermione places a finger on her lips. "You are… a Muggle Ghost, yet you aren't dead. That's probably why your chain is still attached to your body."
"But… the Hogwarts ghosts are nothing like this…" Collin pulled on his chain, to indicate what he meant by this.
"That's because they choose to stay behind," Luna smiled, removing her duck from her chin, causing it to quack again.
"They apparently do choose to stay behind," Hermione closed her eyes. "And something about the magic and having regrets…"
"So… that's all you can tell me," Collin glanced at the list, which was very thoroughly written.
"Other than the fact that almost nobody can see Muggle Ghosts," Hermione paused. "Also wizards can be Muggle ghosts, Muggles can't be wizard ghosts."
"So… does the denying thing have to do with the whole pureblood mess?" came the boy's query.
"Likely," Luna hummed, staring at the ceiling.
"I thought out of all the Slytherin's, Malfoy would have been most likely to have opened the Chamber of Secrets," Collin murmured. "Maybe his father opened it before him?"
"I'll need to ask around, if an incident happened before," Hermione commented, sighing as she did so. "With the way he freaked out though at one of our meetings, about the possibility of it coming after Geist members, I have my doubts. He also freaked out it might be a hole."
"Hole…" Collin became confused.
"Imaginary creatures talked about in our club meetings for horror stories on Halloween," Hermione rolled her eyes.
"Hollows aren't imaginary," Luna stated, only to receive two skeptical looks.
"However, he may very well know something about the whole matter," Hermione finished.
"Then he's only doing this because he feels guilty," Collin muttered, folding his arms across his chest. "He's a coward for saying nothing…"
The subject then became closed as Luna and Hermione helped the first year Gryffindor figure out what he had missed for the day, flipping pages for him.
There soon came, and announcement from Lockhart, that even his none supporters ended up becoming excited about. Why shouldn't they, as there had been no such thing in such a long time, that quite a few ended up being thrilled about the reopening of the dueling club. A good deal of people were going for different reasons too.
When everyone got there, the whole place was seriously packed, and in the center were dueling stages, one might call them. Everyone was looking at each other, wondering when the excitement was going to take place. A good deal of the students were in awe and wondered what kind of dueling that they would get to see Lockhart do.
Draco Malfoy and his two friends were there, to see what damage Lockhart would manage to inflict upon the school building itself, as there was no way he could trust the man to do anything well. That, or he hoped the man would land on his butt, and all the girls would then realize what a loser the guy was. For in truth, he thought the man was an idiot.
This was only proven true, when Snape had disarmed the man in one quick swoop. While it was funny, and he laughed with some of the other Slytherins, he had been hoping for something more entertaining, that what he had seen, but then again, Lockhart was an idiot, and not a trained clown. If it had been Peeves, there would have defiantly been more excitement.
Meanwhile, a bit latter, when they had separated into groups to practice, Hermione ended up in a scuffle with Pansy Parkinson, with Pansy pulling on her curly hair, and Hermione clinging to her robes to try to get her to stop. Draco tried to think why Parkinson would do something so stupid, then remembered what he had noticed.
Granger had successfully used a disarming spell on Parkinson, and Pansy immediately jumped into accusing her of cheating, not just on the duel, which it really wasn't, but also in classes. That was, to no surprise of his, what started the whole tussle that was going on there. He could only shake his head, then glanced over to where Millicent Blustrode was.
His two silver eyes went wide, as he saw a bunch of first years piling onto the girl. He saw both Lovegood and the younger Granger girl there. He actually over heard he stating aloud. "That is six first year students! How many more!"
Crabbe and Goyal were laughing at this, until Millicent's eyes shot up to them. "I bet I could have more first years pile onto me then you two!"
Draco could only feel his eye twitch, as the two boy's hurried off, and got five and six first years on top of them before they fell to the ground. Millicent… ended up with seven. For some reason, he guessed this scheme was some way for the two girls not to be put into headlocks by the bigger girl. For some reason, that fit their personality, more than Hermione's. Which made him wonder how the two Granger's were related even.
Snape and Lockhart separated the two people, and picked out him and Potter to go and demonstrate. Today… was going to be a long day… and he noticed Hermione looking triumphant about something.
Author's notes – I saved that one person's suggestions for Luna's special items. Not so sure as I'll be able to use all of them, as some of them are bulky, cumbersome, and… could potentially be dangerous, but oh well.
Ginger Heads –
~ Some anon. reviewer went off because of something that I wrote in chapter two. What they said about me never being in a British school is true, but then again, I haven't been in a Japanese school either. What I wrote was based off of my research, and I never once said that red heads didn't have problems in Britain. Even in America, we have teasing of red heads in our schools too. Thing was, what I was referring to in what I wrote, wasn't the actually bulling going on, but the connotations that went with being red headed. Realistic ones that is…
~ What I wrote was this. "From her cousin, she ended up learning a lot about some things in Japanese culture… some things she rather felt would have been better left unsaid, as there was the problem with the fact that the boy had the orange hair that he had. This wasn't something that in normal life in England that would have been a problem, but over in Japan, it was a problem, as the kids thought that Ichigo bleached his hair."
~ Over in England, the biggest connotation that having red hair has, is that you are likely of Scottish or Irish decent, which tends to be most insulting to those who are not. Over in Japan though, having 'natural' ginger hair, is for one thing, a sign that one is of non-oriental decent. It isn't 'just' red heads who get poked fun of, but anyone without natural hair color. In older days, having 'bleached' hair, was a sign that one had no choice to work outside all day, thus the sun bleached their hair color. And then there is the modern interpretation. If one has 'bleached' hair, one is in a gang of sorts, or happens to be some sort of punk.
~ I figured, anyone who knows Bleach, would know this, as Ichigo has made the comment about the reason why he makes such good grades he does, is to get teachers off his case, and to set a good impression. So, yes… to Hermione, her cousin's situation wouldn't be normal in comparison to that in England. I also personally, because of these facts I've put out, feel it is worse in Japan then England, simply because it has 'extra' connotations, due to ginger heads not being natural, while in England it is.
~ Sorry for the rant…