A/N: I know, I know. You don't need to tell me. I can't believe it's taken me this long to update but so much stuff has been going on in my life that I really had no time to write. I'm really sorry but know that I love this story and I would never abandon it.
"You're positive that this is the language that was in the notebook?"
Hermione leaned back in her seat and let out a breath. Her back hurt and her eyes were heavy. She, Luna and Ginny had spent almost two hours in the library, pouring over the translation books that Luna had received from her father.
"Yes," she said with a nod. "I'm positive."
"Now don't get mad at me," said Ginny slowly. "But what if that notebook was just a diary? That could be an explanation as to why she was upset when she thought you were looking through it."
"That could be a possibility but I don't think so," said Luna. "She's a very suspicious person. I think if it was a diary she would have said so."
"Harry and Ron are suspicious." said Ginny. "Harry told me before I got on the train that we should stop whatever it is we're planning."
Hermione shook her head and straightened her back. "He really has no right. It's not as though we're in serious danger. We're just trying to uncover something. If we find things are getting a bit too much we'll stop...or at least inform McGonagall."
Ginny nodded and Luna opened another book. "What are you planning to do in order to get that book, Hermione?"
"Well," began Hermione. "I hate to do it but it's really the only way...I think I'm going to have to get detention again."
"Hermione, that's crazy. You've already had two detentions this year and Luna has served one as well. Let me get it," said Ginny.
"Ginny, you have Quidditch. If you get detention that would interfere with practices and possibly games. I don't think Graham would care very much if you had to play."
Ginny sighed but didn't say anything. "What are you going to do to get detention?"
"I don't know that yet. I'll think of something."
Hermione was sure that getting detention would be simple. She knew Graham didn't like her and would love it if Hermione misbehaved during class so she could humiliate her in public by handing out a detention. However, Graham seemed to ignore Hermione each time she spoke out of turn, failed to raise her hand or laughed loudly when others were talking. She even was so bold as to stand up and walk over to Romilda's desk to ask for a spare quill when Graham was in the middle of asking a question. She was sure that would earn her at least a week's worth. However Graham just gave her a look of pure disdain and continued on with her lecture. It baffled Hermione to say the least.
"We'll have to break in," said Ginny as she Luna and Hermione ate their supper. It was already nearing the end of January and they had not gained any more information on Graham.
"How do you propose we do that?" asked Hermione.
"We can lure her away from her office somehow." suggested Luna. "While one or two of us are doing that, the other can get into her office and look for the notebook. I think that should be Hermione since she is the only one who has seen this book. She'll know what to look for."
Hermione glanced at Ginny and saw that she was chewing on her thumb nail. It was a nervous habit of hers that was shared by almost all the Weasley's. Hermione couldn't help but feel a bit nervous too. If she was caught breaking into a teachers office she would be expelled for sure.
"How do we lure her away?" asked Ginny towards Luna.
"We can say McGonagall asked her to tutor us in Defence. She'll give us an extra lesson for an hour or so. That should be enough time for Hermione to break in and find the book."
"Wouldn't she ask McGonagall? Or wouldn't McGonagall go to her personally instead of sending us as the messengers?"
Luna shook her head. "Graham never speaks with McGonagall. I think she fears her."
Hermione arched her eyebrows. Now that she thought of it, she had never seen her headmistress and Graham exchange words before either. Could it be that Graham was avoiding McGonagall?
"I think that's a good plan," said Hermione with a nod. "We'll do it tomorrow."
"Tomorrow?" asked Ginny, alarmed. "Shouldn't we plan more?"
"What more is there to plan?" asked Hermione, pushing her chair back and standing. "I'm going to bed."
"You're going to write Ron," corrected Ginny with a grin. She stood as well and stretched her arms above her head. "I need to leave as well. I need to go over some more plays for our next game."
"Who are you playing against?" asked Luna, gathering up her books.
"Hufflepuff," answered Ginny. "I'm not really worried but we need to tighten up our formations a bit."
"Oh there you are Ms. Weasley,"
Ginny turned around and sucked in a breath when she saw McGonagall walking towards them.
"Is everything alright?" she asked.
McGonagall smiled widely and nodded her head. "Everything is spectacular. If you don't mind, could we speak in my office for a moment?"
Ginny glanced at Luna and Hermione and then back at the headmistress before nodding and walking out of the library.
"I wonder what that was about," said Hermione as she watched the pair walk out of the library. Ginny gave her a nervous glace over her shoulder before turning the corner and vanishing from sight.
"It doesn't seem too bad," said Luna. "McGonagall seemed pleased."
Hermione sighed and nodded. "I suppose that if it was about Harry or Ron or any of the Weasley's she would have asked me to come as well. She knows that they are like my family,"
Luna smiled and took Hermione's hand in hers. "You worry about them a lot, don't you?"
Hermione nodded and felt a pressure building on her chest. "More than anything. Harry and Ron are doing logic training now so they are relatively safe but I still worry that they will get hurt or too stressed out or...well,"
"You worry about them and their future with the Auror's," said Luna knowingly. "It's a terribly dangerous profession. I worry about them too sometimes. When I voice these concerns to daddy he says that he couldn't think of two braver or more capable boys than Harry and Ron to help rid the world of the evil that remains."
Hermione smiled and gripped Luna's hand. "I think so too. They are very capable. I just worry,"
"It's understandable." She paused. "You worry about the Weasley's too. Not just Ron."
"They are still so fragile. Fred's absence is so heavy and it hurts me to see them so incomplete all the time. You can see his absence in Mrs. Weasley's eyes and Mr. Weasley's posture. He seems older than I've ever seen him before. George..."
"I saw George over the summer in the joke shop. I noticed that he looked over his shoulders a lot and turned to his left to say something but would stop mid way as if he remembered that no one was there,"
Hermione let out a breath and felt tears well in her eyes. "It's almost like phantom limb syndrome in a way,"
Luna arched her eyebrows and Hermione smirked.
"It's when a person loses an arm or a leg but they still have the feeling that it's there because they are so used to it being there. Fred was a part of George...he still is,"
Luna nodded and released Hermione's hand. "The Weasley's are very strong. I've always known that. They've been through very hard times in the past but they've always managed to stay a strong family unit. I don't think anything can tear them apart."
"Except death," said Hermione with a sigh. "Thank you Luna, you're always great to talk to."
"I like to help. Daddy says that like my mum, I have a way with words."
"You do," said Hermione.
"I'll leave you to write Ronald. Tell him I said hello. I hope he and Harry visit again soon. I do miss them."
"I'll make sure to tell him that," said Hermione before taking off towards Gryffindor tower.
I hope you're doing well and that you're studying and applying yourself with your logic training. I realise that it might seem hard now but you have so much potential and you're a lot smarter than you give yourself credit for. If the material seems hard at first, don't give up. I know you'll do brilliantly and I have total faith in you.
How is Harry doing? His last letter to me was very short and didn't say much about what was going on and I took that as a bad sign. Then again, you didn't mention much about how training was going so I don't know what to think, really. How is your family doing? I miss you all so much and I hope you're all staying safe and well.
McGonagall hasn't posted the next Hogsmeade weekend yet but whenever it is, I hope you can come. I don't know what was going through my mind when I thought I can attend Hogwarts without you being with me. It's almost painful being away from you like this...did that sound pathetic? If it did, pretend you never read it. I don't know how many times I can say that I miss you but I do, so so much. I can't wait to see you again.
PS- Luna says hi. You should write to her sometime. I think she'd really appreciate it. Harry as well. Write back when you can, which I hope is soon. Bye for now. I love you.
Hermione reread her letter before sealing it in an envelope and placing it on her side table. She would go to the owlery first thing in the morning and send it to the Burrow. Lying down, Hermione folded her arms behind her head and thought about what tomorrow would have in store for her. If Graham caught her in her office she would be severely punished for sure and possibly even expelled but Hermione knew she needed to do this. Her obsession about finding out what Graham was up to reminded her of the way Harry had behaved sixth year with Draco. She had dismissed him then but he had ended up being right. She wouldn't make the same mistake twice.
Her eyes were drifting close when she heard the dorm door open and shut slowly. Hermione picked up her head to find Ginny walking in a daze towards her bed and sitting down on it, her back towards Hermione.
"Ginny?" asked Hermione, worry creeping up her spine. "Ginny what's wrong?"
Ginny looked over her shoulder and she looked pale as a ghost. Hermione quickly got off her bed and walked towards her friend.
"Ginny, what happened? Is it Harry? Ron? What's going on?"
Ginny shook her head and lowered herself into a laying position. "No-No it's nothing like that..."
Hermione let out a breath. "Well then? Are you going to tell me or am I going to have to guess?"
Ginny's eyes drifted towards Hermione and she moved her thumb to her mouth and began chewing on her nail. "McGonagall told me that a scout from the Holyhead Harpies is coming to the next Quidditch match. She's coming to watch me play."
Hermione moved a hand to cover her mouth. "Oh my god, Ginny that's fantastic!"
"I can't believe this is actually happening. I've wanted to play for the Harpies since I was six years old..."
"Oh Ginny, I'm so proud of you. You're going to do amazing and knock the socks off that scout. You'll definitely be recruited!"
Ginny slowly sat up and ran her fingers through her long red hair. "Do you really think so? I mean, we've been playing alright this year so far, even with Jade on the team." She quickly looked at her roommate's bed and sighed with relief when she saw it was empty. "I have to make sure the formations are really tight for the game and that our plays are flawless. I can't have them messing up because it will look bad on my part."
Hermione smiled. "Don't stress yourself out, Ginny. You're going to do fine."
"I have to do better than fine. I have to be flawless." She quickly reached under her pillow and pulled out sheets of parchment and a quill.
"Making new plays?" asked Hermione, standing up and walking back towards her own bed.
"No, I'm writing Harry." Ginny said with a small smirk.
"He's going to be so proud of you, Ginny. Ron as well. Make sure you write him too."
Ginny nodded. "Of course. I really owe it all to Ron, anyway."
"What do you mean?"
"Well, he taught me how to fly. I was seven and he was eight. We weren't supposed to fly yet because we were both so small and even the smallest fall could injure us quite badly but we always watched the older ones fly around the yard and my brothers all taught Ron without mum and dad's knowledge. Ron would be such a prat, rubbing it in my face that he knew how to fly, even if he just went a few feet in the air."
Hermione smiled and rested her head in the palm of her hands. She loved listening to stories about Ron when he was young. There was a whole eleven years that she hadn't been a part of but she longed to learn about his life before he became her friend.
"Anyway, I got really upset one day and I stole one of the Cleansweeps from the shed and decided that if nobody was going to teach me, I was just going to have to teach myself. Well Ron must have been looking out his window because I hear him hollering at me to get off and ten seconds later he's running outside with this panicked look on his face. He started yelling saying that I was going to break my neck and that he was going to tell mum but I started crying and I guess he felt bad. He decided that he was going to teach me and well, the rest is history."
"You were really close when you were younger, huh?"
"We still are close," said Ginny, glancing up from her letter. "But yeah, we were best friends. Bill always had Charlie and the twins were always together. Percy never cared to hang around with any of us. He was always so concerned with his studies. Ron was always there for me and he always took care of me. When the twins left for Hogwarts it was just us at home and that's when we became really close. When he left to go to school I thought I would die. My best friend was leaving me alone. I was so excited when he came home during the summer holiday but he changed a bit. He didn't want to play with me anymore and all he could talk about was Harry and you."
Hermione sighed. "I'm sorry, Ginny."
Ginny shook her head. "Don't be silly, it's not your fault. We grew apart a bit for awhile there but recently we became close again and I've never been more grateful for that. He's a great brother,"
Hermione nodded and rested her head down on her pillow. "He is. He's a great friend too,"
"And an even greater boyfriend I can imagine," said Ginny with a wink.
Hermione laughed and shook her head. "I'm going to turn in early. Big day tomorrow,"
Ginny sighed and lowered her quill. "Are you sure you're ready for this, Hermione? I know Luna and I are going to try our hardest to distract Graham for as long as we can but what if that's not good enough?"
"It will have to be, Ginny. I plan on getting in there, grabbing the notebook and leaving. I don't plan on taking my time."
"What if you can't find it? What if it's hidden?"
Hermione sighed. "I'll have to find it."
Ginny nodded slowly and lowered her eyes back to her letter. "I'm a bit nervous about what we're going to find in that book,"
Hermione glanced at her friend who was writing her letter to Harry, but her brow was creased and she was chewing nervously on her lower lip. Ginny was one of the bravest people she knew but the worry on Ginny's face was evident. The war had thinned a lot of people out and created a strain on everyday life.
"Me too," Hermione agreed. "But remember, if we find anything bad we'll report it to McGonagall immediately."
Ginny sighed and nodded. "Right, there is no reason we need to get involved."
Hermione closed her eyes and pulled her duvet up to her chin. "Gin, we're already involved." She heard her friend's quill stop scratching on her parchment but it quickly started up again and Hermione soon fell asleep.
"Alright, you remember the plan right?" asked Hermione as she tied her hair into a pony tail.
Luna nodded as she chipped the polish off her nails while Ginny shifted the weight from each leg to the other. "Yes," she said. "We find Graham as she's leaving the Great Hall and tell her McGonagall asked her to give us an extra defence lesson and we're to use the empty classroom on the first floor."
"Right," nodded Hermione, glancing back into the Great Hall where everyone was finishing their supper. "Her room is on the fourth floor which gives you plenty of time to warn me if she's coming with the D.A coins." Hermione let out a deep breath and nodded. "Alright, I'm going to go."
"What if Graham wants to stop by her office first?" asked Ginny, holding Hermione's elbow.
"Stop her," said Hermione. "I need as much time as I can. I don't think finding this notebook is going to be easy."
Ginny sighed and glanced at Luna. "Good luck, Hermione."
Hermione nodded. "You too,"
Hermione turned around and ran up the steps. By the time she reached the fourth floor her legs were burning and she was gasping for breath but she couldn't slow down. She needed to be quick. Glancing around her she quickly placed a disillusionment charm over her and walked towards Graham's classroom door. She tried to open the door but, like she had expected, it was locked.
"Alohomora," she whispered, pointing her wand at the lock. The door clicked and Hermione pushed her way inside. She let out a deep breath and quickly walked to Graham's desk at the head of the room. The desk was clear and the drawers were empty. Hermione quickly walked towards the back door that lead to Graham's personal quarters.
"Alohomora," Hermione whispered again. She opened the door once it clicked open and shut it securely behind her. Pressing her back against the door, Hermione surveyed her surroundings. There was a single bed against the wall with a blood red duvet and matching curtains that hung on the windows. A black wood desk was placed under the window and many books and parchments were covering it. Hermione quickly walked towards it and inspected. Each parchment had scribbles and cross outs on it. Some were crumpled into balls and littered the floor around her. Hermione lifted up the books and quickly saw that none of them were the notebook.
"Damn," she whispered. She turned and walked towards a large book shelf that rested near a wardrobe. She scanned the spines of the books and saw that most of them were Defence text books and they were covered in dust. Hermione ran her fingers over them but paused when she saw a Herbology book that rested on top of the text books, as though Graham had been reading it recently. Hermione quickly grabbed it and thumbed through the pages.
There, right on the tenth page was golden highlights around the words Asclepias Curassavica. There were pictures of red and yellow flowers that looked like tiny stars surrounded by green leaves. The words highlighted were basically what Hermione already researched and found out about the plant but Hermione tore out the page anyway and stuffed it in her pocket. She placed the book where she found it and turned around. Now she had to find that notebook.
Taking out her wand she pointed it out and muttered "Accio notebook,"
She heard a noise from inside the wardrobe and turned around swiftly. The moment her eyes fell upon the wardrobe, her pocket began to grow warm and Hermione new it was the D.A coin. Graham was on her way back.
Rushing forward, Hermione threw the doors of the wardrobe open and was met with black robes and lines of shoes. She pushed the robes out of her way and arched her eyebrow. Hanging on the back wall was a long piece of parchment. Hermione felt the hot coin in her pocket and knew that she didn't have time to read it and she needed to find the notebook.
"Accio notebook," she said again. From the pocket of one of the black robes the notebook flew out and Hermione caught it with a smile. She crammed the notebook into her pocket and closed the wardrobe.
Suddenly the sound of the classroom door opening caused her to jump.
"Oh no," she said, backing up towards the wardrobe. Hermione quickly turned around and opened the wardrobe again before quickly stepped inside and closing herself into it.
Hermione heard the door open and someone walk inside. The coin was now burning into her thigh through her jeans. She turned around and tried to see through the darkness that surrounded her. She could hear Graham walking around her room and mumbling something to under her breath. She had no idea what she was going to do.
Her heart was beating wildly in her chest that she was sure Graham could hear it. What was Graham going to do when she opened her wardrobe and found Hermione in there? Would she send her to McGonagall or deal with her herself? Hermione knew she was two minutes away from hyperventilating. She couldn't believe she had been caught. Why had she wasted time and looked at the Herbology book? She couldn't be more angry with herself if she tried.
The darkness that surrounded her and the small quarters she was in was starting to make her feel claustrophobic. Hermione pulled out her wand from her pocket and whispered, "Lumos," The tip of her wand light up and she was slightly comforted by this. She could still hear Graham moving around and tears entered her eyes. This was a disaster.
She turned around and her eyes widened when the list was light up before her. She pushed the black robes that hung out of her way and moved towards the back of the wardrobe. She raised her wand and squinted, trying to make out the tiny print that was written on the parchment.
Three brothers and a sister
Mum and dad live in the South of France
Twenty year old daughter named Darcy
Hermione stopped reading when she heard a thump.
"Nox," she quickly muttered and backed father into the wardrobe, trying to hide herself behind the thick black robes. She knew her disillusionment charm had worn off and even if she placed another one on, the charm wasn't very strong and Graham would definitely know someone was there.
"Bloody fucking hell!" Graham suddenly screamed. The wardrobe doors suddenly were pulled open and Hermione saw Graham's livid face through the black robes and she held her breath. Graham reached into a robes pocket and cursed loudly again. The wardrobe doors were slammed shut and Hermione heard the door to the room shut soon after. Hermione instantly exited the wardrobe and ran out of Graham's bedroom. She raced out of the classroom and down the corridor. She felt her hair fall out of its ponytail but she didn't turn around to fetch her hair tie that had fluttered to the floor. She turned the corner and reached the fat lady.
"Cauldron Clusters!" Hermione nearly screamed. The Fat Lady looked started.
"Alright, alright, you don't have to yell." She said.
Hermione quickly ran into the common room and was met with Ginny and Luna. Hermione collapsed into an arm chair and placed her head in her hands.
"What the bloody hell happened?" asked Ginny, going to the floor in front of Hermione. "Breath Hermione, just breath."
Hermione couldn't control her breath as it came out in ragged gasps. She looked up and arched an eyebrow in Luna's direction.
"Oh," said Luna. "I asked Ginny if I could wait with her for you to return. We were awfully worried when you didn't come back right after we sent the signal."
Hermione let out a few coughs before reaching into her pocket and pulling out the notebook.
Ginny's eyes widened and Luna smiled widely. "You got it?"
Hermione nodded. "She came back when I was still in the room. I had to hide in the wardrobe."
Ginny shook her head. "Bloody hell, how did you escape?"
Hermione looked down at the notebook and then back up at her friends. "She knows, Ginny. She knows her notebook is gone. She's going to suspect that it was me,"
"Why do you say that?" asked Luna.
"Think about it. You two asked for Defence lessons out of the blue and when she returns her book that she caught me looking at once before is suddenly missing? She knows the three of us hang out."
Ginny shook her head. "We never actually got a chance to ask her for the lesson,"
"That's right. She was talking to Professor Sprout for the longest time. We tried to eavesdrop but Graham made sure they were out of earshot." said Luna. "When they finished talking, we approached her but she said that whatever we had to ask her could wait for the morning. That's when we sent you the signal."
Hermione let out a breath and opened the notebook. Her eyes were met with Russian words that she couldn't wait to start translating. "There's something else," she said.
"What?" asked Ginny.
"When I was in the wardrobe, I found something..."