Fourteen Steps to Nowhere

Entry Fifteen

Harry Potter and the Strange Girl's Dream Part IV.

One week later...

It's early morning and due to Hogwart's northernly point on the globe, the sun has not yet risen.  The early morning glow is coming up between the mountains and the grey clouds had a slight aura of warmth to them.  At the moment it is mild out, but the clouds belie a stormy day.

Ron and Harry are walking through the halls talking to one another when Hermione comes up between them, smiling brightly.  Her hair is up in a disorderly bun and she looks exactly the same as she did before the incident with the _______s.

"Hermione!"  Ron cries excitedly and hugs her.  Harry joins in the hug too, grinning and laughing.

"When'd you get out the infirmary?"  Harry asks.

"Just this morning," Hermione says, "Madame Pomfrey said that I had been responding well enough to the treatment to be able to go back to classes.  She did say though that if I start to feel poorly I should drink this cordial and go immediately to the infirmary."  Hermione holds up a small bottle connected to a leather cord that she has around her neck.  She grins and then tucks the bottle back under her shirt carefully.  "Has the new teacher for the Defense of the Dark Arts shown up yet?"  Hermione asks as the trio starts moving, walking toward their first class.

"Yes, and he's horrible!"  Ron bursts out, his eyes wide.  He leans forward and gestures wildly with his arms as emphasis.  "He's worse than Gilderoy Lockheart!"

"Come on, Ron," Harry says, "He's not that bad."  He laughs as they walk.  Laughing and shoving and joking with one another, the trio merrily makes their way to class.

Later in the day...

Classes have finally ended for the day and the trio regroups as they head up to the Gryffindor common room to drop off their schoolwork before heading to dinner in the Great Hall.  Hermione, is carrying much more than a normal load of homework.  She also looks a bit pale, but is grinning and chatting animatedly with her friends.

"Geez, Hermione, where'd you get all that?"  Ron asks eventually.

"It's make-up work for all that I missed."  Hermione answers.

"You didn't get it done in the infirmary?"  Harry looks surprised as they head toward the moving staircases.

"No, although I tried," Hermione says smiling.  "Madame Pomfrey barely let me lift a finger the entire time I was there!  She was worried I would relapse, but really!  It's just homework!"  Ron and Harry exchange a look.  Ron obviously thinks Hermione is mad for not happily taking advantage of nothing but lazing around and being waited on hand and foot.

The three step onto the the moving staircase and start to go upward, Harry first, Ron second and Hermione trailing with all of her extra books and papers.  They stomp upward in silence until Ron and Harry hear the sound of books and papers hitting against the stairs.

"H-harry," Hermione says shakily.  Both Harry and Ron turn around quickly to see Hermione's pale face as she fumbles with the cord around her neck and tries to get the cordial out.  The staircase jerks suddenly nearly knocking both boys over as it starts to move.  The sudden jolt does manage to knock Hermione off her feet and Harry and Ron watch in horror as Hermione falls backwards toward the opening near the bottom of the staircase.  Neither has time to reach her and can only pray that the stairs resettle themselves before Hermione has the chance to fall between the cracks.

"Wingardium Leviosa!"  A loud voice cracks echoes through the entire area and Hermione stops falling and floats lightly as lays stiffly in the grip of spell.  Above on another staircase, McGonnagal holds her wand out, holding Hermione up with her magic abilities.

"Come on, Ron!"  Harry orders and rushes past his red-haired friend to grab Hermione's hand and pull her back to safety.  Ron flounders for a moment before grabbing Hermione's other hand.  Hermione collapses onto Ron, her eyes dull as she picks idly at her clothing with her hands and smacks her lips noisily.

"Potter, give her the cordial around her neck!"  McGonnagal orders as she rushes down the steps toward the trio.  "Longbottom, get Madame Pomfrey!"  She shouts as she rushes past the concerned young wizard.  He looks around in shock and then runs off to get the doctor.

Harry slips the necklace off Hermione's neck as Ron cradles her and keeps her from sliding down the steps and pops it open.  He leans over to administer the potion and looks into her dull eyes.  In a split second he notices that her pupils have changed shape and that her normally brown eyes seem speckled with a hint of green.  He wastes no time and forces the head of the bottle into Hermione's mouth in an attempt to make her drink.  Most of the liquid dribbles down her lips and into her hair.  Hermione's eyes suddenly gain a bit of clarity and she looks at him strangely, staring directly at the scar on his forehead.

"Harry Potter." she whispers in a strained voice, her teeth dark blue from the cordial.  She continues to stare at him, but the clarity drains away from her eyes and she moans heavily.

"Potter, move!"  McGonnagal reaches his side and kneels next to Hermione, placing a hand on her foward head in an attempt to soothe the younger witch until Pomfrey arrives.

To be continued...

More Posts by StoneLion