A/N: Yes, I know. It's not Series of Unfortunate Events. Sorry. But this one is finished. I've just broken it up into bits to be delivered at my whimsy. Hope you all enjoy. =D

Skeleton in the Closet

Hermione jabbed the elevator button for the Atrium, pretending the circular button was actually Sharon Vernus's eye. Curse that stupid cow! Not even her boss, and yet keeping her ten minutes after her shift ended. Now Hermione was late to meet Ginny and her new boyfriend for dinner.

Hermione tapped her foot impatiently as the lift slowly delivered her into the Atrium. Walking, half-running, she made her way to the nearest apparition point and pictured The Melting Cauldron, Diagon Alley's newest restaurant, in her mind. Less than a second later, she appeared in a small alley that ran along the side of the restaurant, only slightly stumbling into the red-headed witch waiting for her.

'There you are! I was worried you wouldn't make it!' Ginny exclaimed, nearly choking her with a hug.

'Of course I made it. I promised I'd be here, didn't I?' Hermione said, somewhat annoyed. When had she ever shirked her duties?

'Right, should have known. Anyway, thank you so much for coming. It really means a lot to me.'

Hermione took a step back, scanning her usually unflappable friend. Ginny Weasley trembled from head to toe, but whether from nerves or excitement Hermione could not tell. But seeing Ginny arrayed in her new outfit, Hermione was certain of at least one thing. 'I'm underdressed.'

'Nonsense. What you're wearing is fine. I just wanted to, you know, look nice for him.'

'Someone's smitten.'

Ginny laughed, the sound echoing off the stones surrounding them. 'I know. Isn't it pathetic?'

Hermione shrugged. She could think of numerous occasions when she'd dressed up to, as Ginny put it, 'look nice for him.' Of course, now she felt stupid for it, but hopefully Ginny would have better luck.

'Well, let's get this over with, shall we?' Hermione linked her arm with Ginny's and took a step towards the restaurant and Ginny's mystery man.

'Just a minute. Before we go in, I need to say something.'

'Alright,' Hermione said, trying to be patient, though really dying inside to see the guy Ginny had been secretly dating. That Ginny could have conducted a hidden relationship right under Hermione's nose without her having any idea bruised her ego, though she would never admit it.

'Please don't walk out of the restaurant the instant you see him. I really like him, and I want this relationship to work. And I really want my family and friends to accept him as well. Of course, it's too soon to introduce him to my parents without my dad or him having a heart attack. And I can't trust any of my brothers not to do something stupid. And, well, Harry…'

'Yes, ex-boyfriends are always awkward. Not that I would know, but I understand.'

'You would know if you would let me set you up with someone. I know a handful of guys who would be more than willing to date the famous Hermione Granger.'

The witch in question let out an exasperated sigh. 'I have no interest whatsoever in obtaining a boyfriend that way.'

'Honestly, Hermione. For someone so practical you put a lot of stock in romance. I hate to break it to you, but real life isn't like those books you read. Take me and-' Ginny paused, her lips contorting in a wry grin. 'Whoops, almost gave his name away. Take me and "him" for example. One of my teammates introduced us after a game. No immediate sparks, no fireworks erupting in the background, but now I could almost see myself marrying him.'

Hermione's jaw dropped. Wow. Already that serious?

'How long have you been seeing each other?'

'Unofficially, about eight months, though the whole time we only dated each other.'

'Ginny! Why didn't you tell me sooner?'

'We can talk about that later. The point I'm trying to make is that you shouldn't sit around the Ministry waiting for Wizard Right to break down the door to your office and sweep you off your feet while perfectly adequate guys would give their eye teeth to go on a date with you.'

'That's nice, but if I'm supposed to have a boyfriend, it will happen. Without any outside interference.'

'Ugh, you are so infuriating!'

'But not infuriating enough that you don't want me to go to dinner with you, right?'

Ginny's hands tightened around Hermione's arm like a boa constrictor, cutting off the flow of blood to her fingers. 'Hermione! That's not funny. If you bail on me now, I'll die.'

'Relax. I'm not going anywhere. Unless it's inside the restaurant. We are fifteen,' she glanced down at her watch, 'no, sixteen minutes late.'

'We'll go, but only after you promise me you won't walk out when you see him.'

'It's not Draco Malfoy, is it?' The very idea made Hermione's stomach clench most unpleasantly. In fact, if it were Draco, she might get sick all over the pavement.

'Of course not. I would never date him or even consider dating him after what his aunt did to you.'

Hermione sighed in relief. 'Well, if you aren't dating Malfoy then you have nothing to worry about. I'm sure I'll get along with him just fine.'

'You say that now…'

'Ginny, we're late! Whoever he is, he's going to think you stood him up.'

Ginny took a deep breath, nodding her head. 'Right. Let's go.'

They walked around to the entrance of the building, and Hermione moved her hand to the door to push it open. She nearly jumped a foot in the air when Ginny cried out, 'Wait!'

'What is it now?' Hermione snapped irritably. 'I already told you I'll be happy with whoever's at the table.'

'That's good to hear, because he brought a friend.'

Before Hermione could object, Ginny pushed open the glass doors of the restaurant and disappeared inside. The little rat! Hermione stared at the closed doors, half a mind to abandon her there. Ginny had been trying to set Hermione up on a few dates over the last year, but Hermione had always seen through her lame attempts. And thank Merlin for that. Some of Ginny's hand-picked bachelors were real duds. For instance, Cormac McClaggen. ('What? I'm sure he's learned to keep his hands to himself, and you have to admit, he's hot!'). Or Oliver Wood. ('Alright, he isn't the sharpest tooth in the dragon's mouth, but at least you don't need to worry about him pawing you like Cormac'). And most laughably, Dennis Creevey. ('Unlike Oliver, he's smart. And he may be short, but that's probably because he hasn't had his last growth spurt.').

Walking as quickly as propriety would allow in such a fancy restaurant, Hermione hurried to catch Ginny. Pulling her up shortly, Hermione hissed in her ear, 'What do you mean he brought a friend? Is this a double date?'

Ginny shrugged her shoulders. 'We both thought it unfair that he should have to face you on his own, so I told him to bring one of his friends. He didn't specify their gender. '

Hermione stopped walking. Two steps later, Ginny realized she was by herself. Turning back around, she contorted her face, eyes wide and open, mouth slightly parted—the picture of innocence. It did not fool Hermione.

'Hermione, come on. What's the big deal?'

'Some warning would have been nice.'

'What do you think I was doing outside?'

'Telling me the instant before we walk into the restaurant is not a warning. Geez, Ginny, I'm still in my work clothes.' Hermione glanced around at the grandeur of the restaurant, once again feeling out of place. And awkward! More than one patron stared at her, though they quickly glanced away when she looked back at them. Great, now she had an audience. Lowering her voice, she snarled, 'You know what, I won't do this. I thought I was doing you a favor, and instead you were just trying to dupe me into meeting some guy I'm sure I'll dislike. You're on your own.'

Ginny's hand on her elbow made it impossible for Hermione to leave. 'This isn't a trick. I wanted to introduce him to everyone, but you're the only person that won't hex me for dating him.'

Hermione stared straight ahead, her expression as inviting as a pit of quicksand filled with flesh-eating vipers.

'Please don't make me beg,' Ginny pleaded.

Oh, so tempting. But Hermione had something better in mind. 'You will promise to never set me up with anyone ever again.'


'Never, ever, ever. Not with Cormac, Oliver, Dennis, or anyone else. Swear it, or I will walk out of this restaurant right now, then owl Ron, Harry, and Rita Skeeter that you are here with your new boyfriend.'

Ginny scowled, but her eyes glinted with grudging respect.

'Fine. I swear I will never, ever, ever try to set you up with anyone. Now can we go? We're late.'

'Now you care about being late.'

Ginny ignored her, approaching the host's stand. A man whose nose and lip seemed frozen in an upturned position glanced up, giving Hermione the stinkeye for daring to wear anything less than an evening gown. 'May I help you?' he asked Ginny. Apparently Hermione looked inhuman and therefore did not merit eye contact.

'Yes. My party's already arrived,' Ginny answered.

'Mmm hmm. Your name, please.'

Hermione rolled her eyes. As if the host couldn't recognize either of them on sight. Between the two of them, they were in the Wizarding papers almost every day.

'Ginny Weasley.'

The man's finger ran down a list until he located her name. 'Ah, right this way, madam.' Hermione assumed that included her too.

The soft sounds of clinking silverware and dinner conversation seemed to stop at every table they walked by. Even after growing up as Harry Potter's best friend and being a major player in the war, Hermione had still not gotten used to her fame. She missed her privacy most of all. But at least in a place like this, she didn't have to worry about being asked for an autograph. While not so grand that it merited the host's snobbery, the candle-lit restaurant offered a decidedly more elegant atmosphere than The Leaky Cauldron.

The host led them towards the back section of the restaurant. Ginny's sharp intake of breath alerted Hermione that the table of the Mystery Boyfriend was close at hand.

Sure enough, Ginny pointed to a table where one man sat by himself, his back toward them. In the dim lighting of the restaurant, the only thing Hermione could determine concerning the Mystery Boyfriend was that he had dark hair.

Rushing past the host, Ginny moved to stand behind Mystery Boyfriendfriend's chair, placing her hands over his eyes. The host, probably disgusted by the informal behavior, bowed slightly to no one in particular and left.

'Guess who,' Ginny asked, giggling.

'Millicent Bullstrode,' Mystery Boyfriend answered.

Ginny socked him in the shoulder. He drew up his hand, rubbing the now sore spot. 'Careful. I bruise easily.'

The lazy drawl of his voice sounded familiar, sending a chill down Hermione's spine. But it wasn't him, she reassured herself. And when Hermione listened more carefully as they continued speaking to one another, she realized the voice was different. Slightly deeper. Still Hermione couldn't place it. Mystery Boyfriend stood to his feet, but Ginny quickly blocked his face from Hermione's sight by stealing a kiss from him.

As one, they turned towards Hermione.

'May I introduce you to my boyfriend, Blaise Zabini.'

Blaise Zabini? Hmm. Hermione could live with that. Not the nicest person, but hardly the worst. And who knows how he might have changed in the years since they'd graduated from Hogwarts. Whatever other objections Hermione could have had vanished in the face of Ginny's obvious happiness. Her skin glowed as if someone had charmed her with a Lumos spell.

Determined to be a good friend, Hermione extended her hand to shake Zabini's. She almost fell over from shock when he pressed his lips to the back of her hand.

'Good evening, Hermione. Thank you for joining us tonight.'

Hermione nodded her head. 'You're welcome.'

'Who did you bring?' Ginny asked.

'Ah, yes,' Zabini said, smiling at Hermione. 'My token friend. I'm sure you are already intimately acquainted with one another so introductions will be unnecessary.'

What did he mean, intimately acquainted?

A throat cleared behind her. 'Evening, Hermione.'

The hairs on her arms stood on end. It couldn't be. But his voice, unlike Blaise's, was unmistakable. And unforgettable, though she had tried her hardest to banish it from her memory.

Stupid, stupid Hermione! She should have known the second she saw Zabini that Malfoy would be at the table. But Ginny's disgust at the idea of dating Malfoy had lulled Hermione into a false sense of security. Not even three years after the war and already she'd gone as soft as a cotton ball.

Hermione did not want to look at him, but curiosity overruled common sense. They hadn't spoken in weeks. Had studiously avoided each other in the Ministry hallways. Well, she assumed he had, since that was exactly what she'd done and she hadn't seen him once since the day he'd pushed her away. Literally. And really, that was fine with her.


Hermione glared at Malfoy, refusing to speak unless absolutely necessary.

'Now, children, play nice,' Zabini chided a little too gleefully.

'Blaise, I'm not sure…' Ginny said hesitantly. If Hermione had looked over, she would have seen Ginny clearly distressed on her behalf. But Ginny's shock and dismay were entirely lost on Hermione, who had decided to ignore her so-called friend for the foreseeable future.

'It's been, what? Almost a month since I've seen you. How have you been?' Malfoy asked.

'Fine. Actually, better than fine. This past month has been the best in my life.'

'Even though that bit of house-elf legislation you helped draft didn't make it into final law?' Malfoy asked, smirking.

Smug bastard! He would bring that up! Hermione ordered herself to uncurl her hands, which were choking the life from the material of her pants.

'I have had other reasons to be happy,' she said, pushing the words through her clenched jaw.

'It must be all that Malfoy-free living that agrees with you. You look like a new woman,' Blaise said.

'What are you talking about, Blaise?' Ginny asked, confused. 'Didn't you know they work together? On the same floor? I'd hardly call that Malfoy-free living. '

'Oh, my apologies,' Zabini said, placing a delicate hand on Ginny's arm. 'For some reason I was under the impression that they no longer were together. Excuse me, I mean, worked together.'

'You haven't asked how I am, Hermione,' Malfoy pointed out, overlooking Zabini's unfortunate choice of words.

'And I'm not going to.'

Zabini laughed, tucking Ginny's hand into his elbow. He led her to the table and pulled out her seat. Malfoy moved to do the same. Holding out his hand to Hermione, he waited for her to take it. Instead, she folded her arms across her chest. Escape was impossible. They had attracted the attention of the tables around them. But Hermione would not let him bully her into acting nicely, no matter how many people were watching.

She dismissed Malfoy with a curt nod of her head, then made her way to her seat with the ferret hot on her heels. When he tried to pull her seat out for her, she coldly informed him, 'Thank you, Malfoy, but I can do that myself.'

'Of course you can. That was never in doubt. However, it's called good manners. Perhaps you should try them sometime.'

Zabini laughed as he helped Ginny into her chair. 'Good luck, mate.'

Shaking off her sense of foreboding, Hermione sat down. The seating arrangement placed Hermione in between Malfoy and Ginny and across from the Zabini, which suited her perfectly since right now she could only stand to look at Zabini.

Their server approached the table to take their drink orders. After she decided on a glass of water, Hermione hid her face behind her menu, signifying her wish not to be disturbed. Evidently, Ginny did not receive the message as she joined Hermione behind said menu.

'I am soooo sorry. I had no idea it would be Malfoy. I don't know what Blaise was thinking, and I completely understand if you want to go,' she whispered.

Hermione straightened her spine and uttered a firm 'no,' lowering the menu. She may have been hiding from Malfoy for nearly a month, but now that they were in the same room where he could see her, there was no way in hell she would show any distress. To retreat would send the wrong message, that he had some power over her, that he had hurt her. No, as far as she was concerned, he was nothing more than a stupid, idiotic male that she had had the enviable privilege of slapping in third year.

A few minutes later, the server returned with the bottle of champagne Malfoy had ordered, putting it in a bucket of ice beside him to chill. 'Are you ready to order?' the waiter asked, in the lilting tones of an Irishman.

'I've never eaten here before,' Hermione said apologetically, looking up into the face of her waiter for the first time. Curly brown hair, blue eyes, tall, and nice, even teeth her parents would love. In short, handsome.

'I think you'd like the French Quarter,' Malfoy suggested.

Hermione pretended not to hear him. Leaning closer to the waiter, she spied his name tag. "Hello, Patrick. Do you have any recommendations?'

Patrick blinked, surprised at her overt attention, then gave her a warm smile. 'Of course, Miss Granger.'

Hermione swatted him lightly on the arm. 'Please, call me Hermione.'

'Alright, Hermione.'

Hermione nearly sighed. The sound of her name on another's lips had never sounded so musical.

Patrick leaned over her shoulder, pointing out one of the menu items. 'I would recommend the Cedar Plank Salmon.'

Hermione closed her menu. 'Then that is what I will have. Thank you, Patrick.'

Zabini watched her over his menu from across the table, his eyes crinkling around the corners in approval. Hermione fiddled with her napkin, feigning interest in Patrick as he took the rest of their orders.

When Patrick left to place their orders, Draco leaned towards her, putting his elbow on the table. 'You aren't going to like it,' he said brightly.

'You're the absolute last person in the world who would know what I like.'

His gray eyes narrowed, but she forced herself to withstand his knowing gaze. 'I highly doubt that. You can have some of what I ordered after you've admitted that I'm right.'

'Thank you, but no thank you. Your recommendation sounds like a method of torture. Or a place where prostitutes frequent. Hardly appetizing. I think I'll pass.'

'Suit yourself.' Malfoy retrieved the champagne, holding the bottle towards her. 'Would you care for a drink?'

She pointed to her glass of water.

'Well, pour me some,' Blaise said, nearly laughing. 'I can tell this is going to be a fun night, and I want some alcohol to heighten my enjoyment of it.'

Malfoy gripped the bottle, slowly curling his pale fingers around the neck. The silvery onyx ring which held the family crest glinted against the dark glass of the bottle. Hermione closed her eyes, suddenly struck by the memory of the cold metal digging into her overheated skin. Another flash of memory, this time of Malfoy's mouth, ghosting over her neck.

Unwilling to relive that past, she forced her eyes opened. They met with scrutiny from the wizard seated across from her. And while it was impossible for Blaise to know what she'd been thinking of, Hermione shifted in her seat, looking to the side to avoid eye contact. Unfortunately, Malfoy happened to be on her side. And when their eyes met, the distance and month's time that had settled between them seemed to burn away under the heat of his gaze. The restaurant disappeared. Instead, they were seated across from each other in her office, knees and hands intertwined.


'Hermione, what's wrong?' Ginny asked, alarmed. Silly goose. She still attributed Hermione's discomfiture to Malfoy. And she was right, but for the wrong reasons. Malfoy did not remind Hermione of Bellatrix's torture. His presence recalled events that were much sweeter, and yet somehow much more painful.

Hermione blinked, willing the blurriness in her eyes to go away. That was over, and it was for the best. She stared down into her lap, her restless fingers playing with her napkin as she regrouped.

Plastering a sheepish smile on her face, she lied, 'I skipped lunch. I must be lightheaded, that's all.' Still hesitant to look up from her lap, Hermione felt around the table for her water. Her fingers quickly encountered the cold, hard surface of the glass, but there was something warm and yielding there as well. Malfoy pressed the glass into her hand, and she lifted it to her mouth with trembling fingers. When she set the glass down, he had a slice of bread, taken from the basket in the middle of table, ready for her. 'Eat this.'

'No, thank you.'

'Granger,' he said, his voice low in warning.

'I said, no. I'll eat when Patrick brings me my food.'

Malfoy opened his mouth, ready to argue with her, but she turned away from him. 'Zabini, how did you get Ginny to date you?'

'He offered her a million galleons,' Malfoy said, irritably.

'I didn't ask you,' Hermione said, though she stared ahead at Blaise. Malfoy did not merit a glance. 'Ginny said something about meeting her after one of her games?'

'Yes. I had gone to a Harpies game with a business associate and thought it would be entertaining to reacquaint myself with Ginny. Said business associate was the brother of one of the women on the team, and so he kindly brought me into their clubhouse. And the rest, as they say, is history.'

'What a lovely rendition,' Malfoy interrupted. 'But you forgot the part where she turned you down the first five times you asked her out.'

'Enough of my love life, Malfoy. Let's talk about yours. Last I heard, you were hooking up with a coworker in the Ministry supply closets.'

Ginny wrinkled her nose, obviously critical, though Hermione suspected it wasn't rooted in any real censure of Malfoy's closet shenanigans. Hermione knew for a fact that Ginny had a particular fondness for the Hogwarts broom closet near the base of the stairs to the astronomy tower. But Hermione welcomed Ginny's attempt to show solidarity against the nephew of Bellatrix Lestrange.

'Sounds scandalous,' Ginny muttered disdainfully.

Hermione's skin flushed, and she looked at her glass, checking to make sure it contained water and not champagne.

'Very scandalous,' Blaise agreed. 'You're awfully quiet, Granger. What do you think of Malfoy's behavior? Does his cavorting with a coworker in the Ministry's supply closets make him a slut?'

Ginny, who had till that moment adopted the stern look of a disapproving Molly Weasley, let out an astonished laugh, badly disguising it as a cough.

Hermione raised her hand for another sip of water, but when she saw how badly it shook, she folded her hands in her lap. 'What Malfoy does in the Ministry's closets is none of my business. So long as it doesn't interfere with my work, I don't care who he cavorts with.'

'Even if it's Sharon Vernus?' Zabini asked.

Red hot anger boiled over in Hermione's gut. She despised Sharon Vernus! Her eye twitched just thinking of that spoiled, lazy snot. And the fact that Malfoy had talked about that cow with Zabini. But rather than sharing her thoughts with those at the table, she said, 'Again, I do not care what Malfoy does in the Ministry closets, or who he does it with.'

'I know you dislike Sharon, but your jealousy is unfounded,' Malfoy said quietly.

'Why would I be jealous?'

Patrick chose that moment to levitate their food to the table, sparing Malfoy the trouble of responding. 'Here is your cedar plank salmon, Hermione. Careful, the plate is hot.'

'Thank you, Patrick,' Hermione said, shooting him her most brilliant smile. It grew even larger when something that sounded awfully like a growl escaped the man sitting next to her.

And now for dinner. The pink flesh of the fish stared up at Hermione. Never having been a big fan of seafood, Hermione had only ordered it to spite Malfoy. Picking up her fork, she twirled it, contemplating how she could manage this daunting meal without proving right Malfoy's assumptions that she would dislike her dinner. She waited as the others were served, hoping the salmon would appear more appetizing the longer it sat on her plate. It didn't.

'Can I get you anything else? Perhaps more water?' Patrick asked.

'Oh, how thoughtful of you. Yes please, I would love some more water,' Hermione simpered.

'He's only doing his job, Granger. No need to throw yourself at his feet in gratitude,' Malfoy sniped as Patrick went to retrieve the pitcher of water.

Ginny lowered her fork and knife to the table with a bang. 'Alright, what is going on between you two?'

'Nothing,' Hermione and Draco grumbled in unison, then glared at each other.

Zabini snorted. 'Draco's in love with Hermione.'

Someone over at the next table gasped, startling the already startled Hermione. Her hands jumped out of her lap, knocking over her glass of ice.

'Zabini, you've had too much champagne,' Draco said through gritted teeth as Patrick scurried over to clean up the mess.

'Blaise, what are you talking about?' Ginny said. Her head swung back and forth between Hermione and Malfoy like a pendulum, trying to puzzle out the situation.

'Unbeknownst to you, your friend and mine have been engaging in illicit trysts in random Ministry closets. Or rather, had been engaging. It ended about a month ago.'

Ginny blinked. 'Hermione? Is this true? Did you and Malfoy…in a closet?'

Patrick, who was slowly cleaning up the water with his wand, accidentally elbowed Ginny's champagne glass.

'Are you kidding me?' Malfoy snapped over the waiter's apologies, snatching the wand from Patrick's hand. 'Give me that, you moron!' Pointing the wand at the stain, Malfoy barked 'Tergeo.' Once he'd siphoned off the water, he thrust the wand back at the waiter. 'Here, and if there is another spill, I'll take care of it.'

'Yes, sir,' the waiter said. He walked away, giving Hermione a forlorn glance.

'Gods, Draco, was that really necessary?' Hermione said angrily. 'Why must you be such a prat?'

'Draco?' Zabini said. 'How interesting.'

'Hermione, why haven't you answered me? Is Blaise telling the truth?' Ginny asked, her voice growing shriller with each word she spoke. If she had spoken another sentence, Malfoy would have had to cast another cleaning spell from the champagne glasses shattering.

'It was not illicit. We only kissed,' Draco pointed out before Hermione could. A twinge of gratitude for his defense of her honor began to blossom inside her chest, but she brutally stamped the tiny seedling out. None of that! So what if he stood up for her? Where had that been a month ago?

'Draco, gentleman that he is, refuses to discuss the finer points of what happened, so I had to imagine it myself and may have…embellished some,' Blaise admitted. 'Regardless, our friends have not been very forthcoming. From what I've gathered, they had been going at it for months until Draco bollocksed things up. Since then he's been trying to get back in her good graces. Does that seem like a fair assessment, Hermione?'

'Your help is no longer required, Zabini,' Malfoy warned, his voice menacing. 'I will handle this myself.'

'Are you sure? You don't seem to be doing a very good job, and I for one am tired of hearing you pine over your lost love.'

Malfoy gripped the stem of his champagne glass so tightly, Hermione feared it would snap.

Blaise leaned in towards Hermione, conspiratorially. 'Honestly, it's kind of pathetic.' In a high pitched voice, Zabini mocked his friend, 'Why won't she speak to me? Do you think she'll ever like me back? Hermione this, Hermione that. Blah, blah, blah.'

'I have no idea what you're talking about!' Draco protested. 'And neither do you, since you are insane.'

'You just don't remember it because you were drunk at the time.'

'If that is the case, which is by no means certain since you are an incurable liar, why would anyone believe the ravings of a drunk?' Malfoy argued.

'In vino veritas,' Blaise replied drolly. He took a sip of his champagne, then set the glass down slowly. 'And you've all but admitted that, drunk or not, you have raved over your Dear Miss Granger.'

All eyes were now on her, even the ones at the tables around them, waiting for her response. What was she supposed to do? Were these new revelations even true? And if they were, should it change anything? The questions buzzing in her brain muddled her normally clear thinking processes.

Hermione could take it no longer. Standing to her feet, she dropped her napkin onto the table, said a terse, 'Excuse me,' then walked away from the table.

To Be Continued

Reviews are always welcomed, though not always replied to. =D