Hey guys. First of all I cannot even begin to say how sorry I am for not updating sooner! This chapter has just given me a lot of trouble from the very start. I think I've re-written it a dozen times or so and not to mention the writer's block that crept up on me from nowhere and stayed for a week :S But it's here! Finally! :P So...forgive me? (turns Sirius' puppy dog eyes on unsuspecting audience) :P
Anyways, time to answer some reviews :) (Have I ever mentioned how much I love them?) :P :P

loves2readalways: Thanks :) and hehe, not too sure actually. Originally that was never the plan but I did receive similar reviews last chapter so I am considering it :P lol, soz, don't know anymore than that :P

happygoluckyfull: Why yes, he did. But time is rearranging itself to try to kick her out of the past :P

Allie Riddle: hmmm...note taken. Yes, that wasn't part of my original plan but a few reviewers have mentioned that they'd like to see it so I have been considering it but kk, note taken. I'll compromise? lol, I dunno exactly but well, I guess we'll find out :P and thanks :D and lol, I don't blame you :P

TheIronyBehindMyRealName: Thank you :D And haha, kk, the book really is suspect number one, even I can't deny it :P But as for your last comment, I'd just like to remind you that Grindelwald was in the newspaper the day the professors arrived. :)

KraZiiePyrozHavemoreFun: I know :S It sucks even more in this chapter :P oh, I mean :( and yeah, I just couldn't help myself. It's Hermione's weakness and strength so I just had to put it in :P

Dark-Reader-Dude: *shrinks away* How about "update soon-ish"? :P lol, I'm really sorry though! I really was planning to update after 2 weeks or so of updating the last chapter :S And thank you :D :D :D

nlech16: Interesting theories. hmmm...but just as a small reminder - Grindelwald was in the newspaper the day the professors arrived at Hogwarts. :)

C.a.s: Same! I love Raven right now (would seriously date him if he wasn't a fictional character) :P and lol, Tom is the future Lord Voldemort - can't expect too much of him :P and yeah, I feel like hitting Hermione over the head with something too :P and lol, how I would love to spend time with him :P :P :P :P

Thank you also to who-needs-a-hero12, Lost O'Fallon Girl and alannalove1990 for reviewing :D :D :D Cookies for everyone :P

Remember, R&R :D and finally here is the next chapter :D :D :D

Chapter 23

Robert was only half way through his lessons when he heard the clock chime 11. Bolting up he swore and grabbed his robes, rushing out of his office as fast as he could. He couldn't believe he had lost track of time so easily; He was meant to be on duty today!

Swearing he hurried to the third floor corridor and began to hastily check all the alcoves and crevices for the students who were dumb enough to try and sneak out in the middle of the night.

Rushing past the corner he nearly bumped into Dumbledore but stopped himself just in time.

"Ah, Professor Robert, not quite used to our schedule I see," his blue eyes twinkled underneath the moon's glow.

Robert's voice got lost somewhere in its journey to his mouth before he finally managed to choke out a small sorry.

"Not to worry," Dumbledore continued, his mouth curving into a familiar smile.

"I myself kept forgetting to patrol these halls for the first few months that I taught here."

"Why did you choose to work here though?" Robert suddenly blurted out loud.

"You could've been brilliant. You discovered the 12 uses of dragon blood and-"

His face paled as he realised that he was being quite forward in his questioning.

Chuckling, Dumbledore waved his worries away.

"It's very beautiful here," he answered, smiling, leading the way down the corridor as the moonlight bathed them with its gentle touch.

"And watching the children grow every year into such fine adults simply delights me."

Robert mused over his words for a minute before hesitantly replying.

"But they're so dumb."

Dumbledore laughed. He did not chuckle, he did not chortle, but he laughed. His head tilted back and a deep rumbling worked its way through his body, exploding out of his mouth in fireworks. Portraits looked to the two in bewilderment and even the stars seemed to awaken with the man's laugh, brightening at the sound.

Robert himself was star-struck. His feet stopped moving and his mouth opened ever so slightly in wonder. His eyes were glued to him and his fingers twitched in silent longing.

An hour seemed to pass by before Dumbledore's laugh quieted to a small chuckle, his lips still spread in a joyous smile.

Robert hastily shook himself awake and continued to follow the man down the corridor.

"It might seem so," he continued, as if nothing had happened in those few seconds, "but only at first. By the end of their final year they grow up into extraordinary wizards and witches. I know you teach only the first to fourth years, but consider swapping positions with your brother. It really does change one's perspective."

He nodded absent-mindedly as he heard a small shuffle from somewhere to their right.

Spinning around he shone light into the dark alcove in the wall and found a first year Gryffindor huddled there, wincing at the bright light from his wand.

"Miss Abercombie, what do you think you are doing wandering the corridors at night?"

"I…I…" The young girl shivered at the stern man's glare.

"I'm waiting," his foot tapped impatiently on the stone floor but a gentle hand stopped him as Dumbledore motioned for him to step aside.

He stumbled back, his shoulder burning from the touch.

"Miss Abercombie, what are you doing out here all alone? You should be in bed," he spoke to the girl calmly, his twinkling eyes comforting the girl enough to speak out loud.

"I'm on a dare professor. But I've ruined it by getting caught." Her mouth began to quiver as tears pooled into her eyes.

"Lemon drop?" He asked her, searching his many pockets for a spare lolly.

As the girl accepted the sweet gratefully Robert's eyes widened infinitesimally at the offer.

"Well off to bed now," he motioned for her to come out of the alcove. "Oh, and I'm afraid I'll have to deduct 5 points from Gryffindor." She nodded glumly before running to the staircases.

Dumbledore straightened and faced Robert who was looking back at the girl with a frown on his face.

"Something the matter?" Dumbledore asked him.

"I think I've been punishing the students a bit too roughly." He muttered, joining Dumbledore again as they continued to look for miscreants.

"I've been giving them detentions and deducting 20 points from their houses when I catch them." He ducked his head in embarrassment but Dumbledore merely chuckled.

"I think I'm a bit too lenient Professor, not the other way around."

"Not that you're going to change anytime soon, right?" He threw the older man a cheeky grin that made the other chuckle again.

"Quite observant I see," Dumbledore replied and they continued strolling through the corridors in silent companionship.

Tom checked the corridors once more before silently traipsing into the girls' lavatory.

"It's definitely here," he muttered as his magic begun to tug more forcefully.

"But where?"

He walked around the whole toilet but there was no place where the tugging grew in force.

Sighing he began a more thorough search.

Walking into each stall he tried to find something that would let him know where it was but there was nothing.

Making his way into the last stall he froze as the sounds of tiny footsteps clacked quietly on the marble floor.

A door swung closed and he could only thank Merlin that he was in the last stall and not the first. Quickly casting a disillusionment charm on himself he tiptoed out of the stall and made his way to the entrance.

Quiet sobs echoed in the empty bathroom and he sneered at the miserable girl before leaving the bathroom altogether.

Hurrying down the stairs he made it safely to the common room and sighed in relief.

He would just have to wait till tomorrow night to further study the bathroom.

Hermione practically ran to Robert's classroom the following evening, so excited as she was.

"Sir?" She called out, gently pushing the door open when no reply came from her knock.

His office was empty of human life though and she frowned before making her way to the front.

Maybe he was simply late.

Sitting in the chair set before his desk she waited for what seemed to be hours before he finally entered the classroom looking tired.

His brows furrowed curiously when he caught sight of her but then his eyes widened briefly as he remembered.

"Sir?" She felt her cheeks go red in embarrassment as she realised that she was in his office without his permission.

"I'm sorry I-"

He didn't need to read her mind to see what she was apologising for. Waving her apology away he made his way slowly to the front of the desk, sitting himself gingerly into the chair there.

"Sir, a-are you okay?" She asked him, her keen eyes catching his wince as he sat on the chair, the bags that had made themselves home underneath his eyes and the wrinkles on his forehead that had never been there before.

"Just a bit tired," he muttered before turning the conversation on her.

"I'm sorry I'm late. So did you have anything in particular that you wanted to ask me about the book?"

She hesitated for a second more before all her thoughts on his wellbeing fled her mind and her eyes brightened considerably.

"Yes. I tried working on the Imus spell but I couldn't actually get it to work and I have absolutely no idea why!" She huffed, folding her arms crossly.

Robert though merely raised his eyebrows at her.

"Miss Granger, you are a second year student." He said, emphasising each word.

"No second year student has ever been able to perform such a spell and-"

"Sir, please. I can perform every spell a seventh year can. They really weren't that difficult!" Her eyes pleaded with his, her desperation shining through her eyes readily.

A minute passed between them before he sighed in defeat.

"Very well. Come to my office this Saturday at 7. I don't feel quite up to it tonight."

"Thank you sir!" She cried out happily, her mind instantly rearranging her timetable to free that slot.

"I'll see you tomorrow then?" Mary asked, pecking Raven as they said their farewells outside the library.

"Of course," he murmured softly, reaching down to capture her lips once more.

The love that crossed their lips was short-lived though as a sixth year Gryffindor roughly bumped into them.

"Keep your antics to yourselves," the girl sneered, her face scrunched up in disgust.

"That's exactly what we were doing," Raven replied shortly, his jaw tightening.

"Let's just go," Mary interrupted their staring match, forcefully dragging Raven away.

"She's a nobody."

"Excuse me!" They heard Irene's screeches from down the corridor but they both ignored her, laughing at her expense.

Raven was about to lean into another kiss but noticed Hermione walking the other way in his peripheral vision.

"There's something I need to do," he murmured before leaving her there confused and put out.

He hastily caught up with Hermione who was skipping rather merrily down the corridor.

"Don't you seem happy today?" He joined her, his pace twice as fast to keep up with her.

She hummed in agreement.

"Hermione, I've wanted to ask you something for a while now." He glanced at her apprehensively.


"Ever since you got that book you've been acting…distant towards everyone."

"That isn't a question," she reminded him, his words leaving no affect on her.

"Well…" he scrambled for words.

"Who gave it to you?" He finally asked.

Hermione stiffened, her eyes narrowing to slits as she glared up at him.

"Why do you care?" He stumbled as her fury was directed at him and he floundered for a reply.

"I-You don't have to tell me if you don't want to. I was just curious." He raised his arms in surrender and she sniffed haughtily before leaving him standing in the corridor alone.

"What on earth is happening?" He mumbled to himself, turning back round and leaving the other way, not seeing the little girl who was tucked away in an alcove, shivering in fright.

The rest of the week passed by too slowly for Hermione's liking. She wanted the week to end, wanted to meet with Robert again. She was practicing the Imus spell whenever she had a break but it never worked for her. Angry, she snapped at anyone who dared talk to her during the week. Including Elaine.

"Hermione, you forgot your bag." The girl held her bag in her tiny hands, a small smile fighting its way through her mask but Hermione didn't care anymore.

"I would've realised eventually. You didn't need to waste your precious time for me," she sneered, snatching the bag away from Elaine.

Elaine's brow furrowed for a moment before she straightened her back and left without another word.

It was a mark of how desperate she had become for that lesson that Hermione didn't even flinch at Elaine's turned back.

"I thought you'd appreciate that token, rather than not," a voice whispered in her ear as Tom suddenly appeared from behind her.

"I don't really care what you think Tom," she replied, making her way to the Great Hall without him. Not that it deterred Tom.

Catching up to her he followed her down the numerous stairs in silence.

When they reached the second floor though he excused himself.

Hermione really didn't care though.

She passed by the lavatory only to do a double take and walk in. She really did need to go.

It took her twice as long to leave the bathroom as it usually did, her mind somewhere else entirely as she washed her hands for three minutes straight.

She was just about to leave though when she noticed Tom's head peak through the doorway.


"Oh…I thought I saw you go in. What took you so long?"

Her eyes narrowed as she specifically recalled him excusing himself.

"You excused yourself Tom…why would you be waiting for me?"

Not a second passed before his smooth reply came.

"I was waiting for Avery to show up, but he hasn't and I thought I saw you walk in so I thought I'd join you for lunch." His smile was perfect. It betrayed nothing and nor did his eyes but there was something wrong…she just couldn't quite put her finger on it.

She eventually shrugged after eyeing him carefully and followed him down to the Great Hall where they sat in their usual seats.

Rachelle it seemed, had been waiting for Tom to show, as her lunch lay unattended to in front of her.

"Hi Tom, how did you find that class? I didn't really understand what Professor Dumbledore was talking about. Do you think you could teach me?" Hermione vaguely noted that her top button on her blouse was undone, not that she had anything to show just yet.

"Of course. I'll meet you in the common room at seven then?" She could tell that Parkinson had wanted a more private get-together with Tom but she nodded her head anyways.

"Thank you Tom. You're so nice to me," she simpered.

He smiled back at her before focusing on his lunch.

"Welcome back to the living mudblood," Dolohov whispered in her ear before sitting right next to her on the table.

"I was never dead," she reminded him, sneering at his smirk.

"Of course not," he murmured, pouring juice into his cup.

Hermione rolled her eyes and focused on her own lunch.

Now that no one was talking to her she once more twirled her wand underneath the table, whispering the words to the spell.

"Intus mihi."


Groaning, she tried again.

A few more tries and she caught Tom's eyes.

"And what are you doing?" he murmured, eyes glistening mischievously.

"Practicing a spell idiot," she replied back through gritted teeth.

"Might I help?" He asked, his eyes dancing with laughter.

"It's ok, I have help." She pointedly piled a lump of something onto her fork and ate it viciously.

He shrugged, a small smile creeping up his face at her stubbornness.

Rachelle was smiling evilly at Hermione when she stepped through the doors of the common room.

Hermione as usual ignored her and made her way to the dorms.

She had only walked halfway up the stairs though when a trip jinx was cast her way and she fell down the stairs brutally.

Her nose cracked on first impact as her head slammed down viciously on the stairs. That was nothing though, the pain infinitesimal as her ribs smashed roughly into the stairs, blinding her in white pain. Her cry only increased in pitch as her jaw was dislocated too. Her ears caught laughing in the background but she couldn't hear them, not really.

She was screaming in anguish and tears flooded her eyes, but no one cared and no one could see the impending doom that she could. Her body was turning the final time, and she could see it as clearly as she could see that the sky was blue, that her spine would hit with the edge of the stair and potentially disable her for good.

A silent tear escaped her, shock, pain and fear the predominant emotions swimming below her very skin.

Just as she closed her eyes in defeat her entire body stopped moving, the laughs coming to an abrupt halt as silence descended heavily on the common room.

"What is going on here?" She would cry in relief if she could.

Raven stood at the entrance to the door seething with fury.

"Well, we were having fun watching the mudblood fall to her death before you interrupted us," Rachelle sneered at him, tossing her blonde hair behind her.

He scoffed at her and at the rest of the room who were nodding in agreement, their sadistic smiles having not entirely left their faces yet.

"She is a Slytherin. We protect our own, not the other way around," he reminded them all, glaring at the other prefects who had not interrupted the festivities but were simply lounging around, smirking.

"She doesn't exactly return those feelings if you hadn't noticed," a burly fifth year jumped in, holding his chin high in the air as the Slytherins around him hastily nodded their heads in agreement.

"And whose fault is that?" He barked, pointedly glaring at the occupants of the room.

Silence blanketed the common room as some first years looked away guiltily. However, the majority of the students were gritting their teeth, snarling at the boy.

Levitating her towards him he walked out of the common room with her following behind him, his step never faltering.

The second the stone door closed behind them with an almighty thud, he hastily ran down the corridor, magically pulling Hermione along with him.

"Don't worry Hermione," he panted, holding her hand and pulling her along the corridors both physically and mentally.

"Madam Weasley will fix you up in no time."

Her mind was slipping away though, continuously travelling into the darkness that promised a painless sleep, only to jolt back awake, watching Raven begin to sweat at the strenuous activity of pulling her along magically while running.

It was as they finally turned into the corridor that led to the Hospital Wing, that she finally left consciousness behind her and slipped into the dark realms of peace.

R&R :D :D :D