A/N: Many thanks to Muggle Jane and Krissy for looking this over. I hope everyone enjoys this new update! xx
Disclaimer: The characters and canon situations in the following story belong solely to JK Rowling, Scholastic and WB. I am not making any money from the publishing or writing of this story.
Hermione sat in the Great Hall eating breakfast. She had gone early because she just didn't want to deal with everyone staring at her. It was just easier that way.
"Hey, Hermione," Neville said, taking a seat next to her.
"Hi, Neville," she replied, turning towards him. She tried to give him a smile, but she was too exhausted to even do that.
He reached over, gently patting her hand. "How are you holding up?"
Hermione shook her head, her lower lip trembling. Closing her eyes, she took a deep breath. Please don't cry, please don't cry, do not cry, Hermione!
"Barely," she replied. "I couldn't fall asleep last night."
"It'll be okay, I'm sure Professor Dumbledore is working on a solution right now."
Hermione let out a dry laugh. "Everyone keeps telling me that it'll be okay, but how can you know for sure?"
He shrugged. "We just have to be optimistic, you know?"
Hermione grumbled something under her breath.
Looking up, she saw Ron and Harry coming towards the table.
"Hi," she said as they took their seats.
"Are you okay?" Harry asked, giving his friend a sympathetic look.
"Yeah, Lav mentioned you were crying during the night," Ron said before stuffing a roll into his mouth.
The silencing charm must have worn off during the night, Hermione thought sourly.
"Ronald, your lack of table etiquette is revolting." She took a deep breath. "No, I had a hard time sleeping. I kept having nightmares."
"Maybe Madam Pomfrey can give you something for that?" Harry suggested.
Hermione nodded. "Good idea, I'll go see her after class."
The three of them made their way to Potions. Internally, Hermione grumbled. She didn't really have the patience for Professor Slughorn today. Or to listen about how wonderful Harry was at Potions. She rolled her eyes. That Half-Blood Prince was trouble, even if no one else saw that yet.
"Hello, class!" Professor Slughorn said joyfully. "Today we will be brewing the Elixir to Induce Euphoria. It's a rather complicated potion, but I'm confident you'll all do fine, so off you go!"
Hermione pulled out her book, quickly flipping through the pages till she found the right one. Scanning the instructions, she bit her lip. She could do this. She quickly wrote down the ingredients she would need. Shrivelfig, porcupine quills, castor beans, and wormwood. She made her way towards the stores while everyone else was still getting out their books.
While she was searching the stores, she bumped into Malfoy. "Watch where you're going, Mudblood," he hissed.
Hermione didn't say anything, she simply ignored him.
He reached out and grabbed her arm. "You know, you should show a bit more respect. Especially to someone who could be your future husband," he spat viciously as his eyes flashed dangerously.
Hermione's face turned to one of horror as she tried to pull her arm from his grip. "I'd never marry you," she retorted.
Malfoy smiled smugly, pulling her close. "You may not have a choice. Besides, you should consider yourself lucky."
Hermione cringed. She cursed herself for leaving her wand at her work station. "I have dirty blood, remember?" Hermione tried to keep herself calm.
Malfoy only smirked. "Yes, you do have filthy blood, but I'm sure I could overlook that while I fucked your filthy cunt."
Hermione cringed at the brashness of his words. She opened her mouth to give him a piece of her mind, but snapped it shut when she saw other students entering the cupboard.
Malfoy quickly released her.
Turning, she grabbed her ingredients and left quickly.
"Are you all right, Hermione? You look a bit red in the face," Ron said as she walked by his work station.
"I'm fine," she snapped.
Ron's eyes widened, but shrugged it off.
Setting her things down, she quickly set to work. Add Shrivelfig until the potion turns turquoise. She did that, and then waited a few minutes. Grabbing the rod, she stirred it until it turned blue.
Glancing over, she was confused as to why Harry's potion was red, but ignored it.
Turning the heat up, she waited for the potion to simmer. It would be done once it turned yellow.
She tapped her fingers on the table while she waited. Once it was yellow, she added the porcupine quills. The potion turned blue. Once more, she had to wait while it simmered.
Her eyes scanned the room. She was surprised to see Malfoy staring at her. He smirked when their eyes met, and he winked at her.
Hermione cringed in disgust. Well at least I know who's going to try and petition for me. Merlin, I hope Professor Dumbledore figures something out soon.
Glancing at the potion, she saw that it had turned purple. "What a pretty color," Hermione said softly.
Neville leaned over and looked at her potion. "Wow, that's so nice! I wished mine looked like that," he said, sadness tinged in his voice.
Looking over, she saw his potion was a pale pink instead of the vibrant purple hers was. Hermione was honestly a bit surprised that Neville had managed to get into N.E.W.T. level Potions. He wasn't very good at it. Herbology was more his thing.
Hermione cut the seven castor beans up before dropping them into her potion.
Once more, the potion needed to simmer.
This is so time consuming. We've literally spent an hour waiting for the potion to simmer, she thought to herself.
Ron and Harry were whispering. Over that stupid book, no doubt.
Her potion was now brown, so she added a bit more Shrivelfig, making the potion turn pink.
Once more, it had to simmer.
Professor Slughorn was making his way around the room, checking on everyone's progress.
One thing she did like about Slughorn was that he wasn't biased towards the Slytherins. He's only biased towards famous people, she thought sourly.
Hermione silently groaned. She was in such a bitter mood today, but she had every reason to be.
Her potion was now orange. Adding the wormwood, she waited for the potion to turn yellow.
"Perfect," she said with a smile.
Professor Slughorn came over. "Well done, Miss Granger, five points to Gryffindor!"
Hermione beamed. Her happiness was fleeting though.
Slughorn approached Harry. "What's that I smell? Mmmmm… you've added just a sprig of peppermint, haven't you? Unorthodox, but what a stroke of inspiration, Harry! Of course, that would tend to counterbalance the occasional side effects of excessive singing and nose-tweaking... I really don't know where you get these brain waves from, my boy... twenty points to Gryffindor!" He clapped Harry on the back.
Hermione was fuming. Time and time again, Harry had to steal her limelight. She was sick of it!
Harry sent her an apologetic look, but she ignored it. Bottling her potion, she quickly handed it in. Grabbing her things, she rushed out of the class and down the corridor.
"Hermione?" Colin Creevey said as he approached her.
"Hi, Colin," Hermione replied, wondering what he wanted.
"I have a note from Professor Dumbledore for you."
"Oh, thank you," Hermione said, taking the note. By now, Ron and Harry had caught up with her. They were apologizing, but she ignored them, quickly reading the note.
"What's that?" Ron asked, noticing the piece of parchment in her hands.
"I have to go and see Professor Dumbledore," Hermione stated. Maybe he had found a solution? She took off without waiting for their reaction.