It was a usual day at Hogwarts. Harry, Ron, and Hermione were sitting in their first DADA class with Professor Lupin. For their first class the Professor would teach them the Riddikulus spell. He'd brought in a boggart that was stuck inside a small closet. All they needed to do was stand behind the line the Professor had marked on the ground and cast the spell once the boggart came out. If they couldn't do that then the Professor would step in and offer them a piece of chocolate. For the next few minutes Harry watched the other students get up once their name was called and attempt to best the boggart. Some of the students failed while others passed with ease, eventually Professor Lupin called out Hermione's name.
Once Hermione got up, Harry couldn't help but feel a bit nervous. Lately Hermione hadn't been doing well in school, which was a first for her. One time she was supposed to cast a simple levitation charm on a feather in Charms for a quick review, but she somehow ended up causing every single one of the desks in the classroom to levitate. Her transfiguration skills were suffering as well, and he noticed that Hermione had begun to fall asleep during their History and Potion classes. He and Ron had tried asking her if anything was wrong, but she'd usually smile and claim that everything was fine.
Hermione stood behind the line and took a deep breath as Professor Lupin opened the door, letting the boggart out.
"Well this is new."
Harry saw Hermione's eyes grow wide as she stared at the boggart that had transformed into a man in garish garb. The way the man's face was painted and the wide smile on his face reminded Harry of a clown or a jester. The boggart curiously looked around the room, staring at Lupin and everyone else in the room. Eventually his gaze landed on Hermione, causing her to flinch.
"I didn't expect to see you here." the man said. "Though you look a bit different...did you dye your hair?"
The man took a step forward, causing Hermione to take a step back in fright.
"No that's not quite it, is it?" the man asked, "You're her, but you aren't her at the same time... interesting."
The man then let out a loud laugh that sent shivers down Harry's spine. Hermione took another step back and accidentally tripped over her own feet and fell to the ground.
The boggart was slammed back into the closet once it was hit by the spell. Professor Lupin lowered his wand and helped Hermione up to her feet.
"Are you alright Ms. Granger?" Professor Lupin asked.
Hermione nodded, and Professor Lupin handed her a piece of chocolate. Everyone's eyes were on Hermione as she slowly made her way back to her seat next to Harry. Professor Lupin then called for the next person to come up as Hermione rested her head against the desk.
'Hermione...' Harry thought as he stared at his friend, 'What happened to you?'
"Well that was...something else." Harry said as he, Ron, and Hermione left Professor Lupin's classroom. Hermione was trailing behind Harry and Ron; her gaze was firmly focused on the ground as they made their way back to the classroom.
Ron nodded in agreement. "I wasn't expecting that at all."
The two of them turned to look at Hermione, who was barely paying any attention to them.
"She looks out of sorts." Ron said. "I don't think we can ask her who that guy was until we get to the common room."
"First she needs to get enough sleep, we'll ask her who he was after she's rested." Harry said. "We don't want to overwhelm her."
"That makes sense." Ron said as he shot another worried look at Hermione. He turned around and let out a loud groan. Harry looked away from Hermione to see that Draco, Crabbe, and Goyle were heading straight towards them. There was a vicious smirk on Draco's face, which caused Harry to clench his fist in anger.
"Here comes Malfoy." Ron grumbled. "I've got a good guess as to why he's coming this way..."
Draco sauntered past Harry and Ron and cleared his throat. "So, you're scared of clowns Granger?"
"Leave me alone Malfoy." Hermione said. "I don't want to deal with you right now, I don't feel well."
"' Leave me alone Malfoy I don't want to deal with you right now, I don't feel well.'" Draco mocked. "That's a shame, I certainly want to deal with you Granger."
"Knock it off Malfoy." Harry said as he roughly grabbed Malfoy's shoulder. "You heard her; she isn't feeling well, so leave her alone."
"I don't have to do anything you tell me, Potter." Malfoy said as he jerked away from Harry. "I can do what I want, and there's nothing you can do about it."
"Do you want to bet on that?" Harry asked as he drew his wand. Ron did the same thing and the two of them glared at Draco. Draco, Crabbe, and Goyle drew their own wands as well and the five of them found themselves in a tense standoff. The students around them began to gather as they realized that a fight was going to break out. Harry was prepared to fire a spell at Draco when suddenly-
"Just stop." Hermione said. "Fighting him isn't worth it, let's just go back to the common room."
"But...Hermione, Draco isn't going to let this go!" Ron shouted, "He'll keep bringing up the clown just to embarrass you!"
"I don't care Ron." Hermione said, "He's an insecure brat, you don't need to waste your time with him."
"W-what was that!?" Draco growled, "Where the hell do you get off on talking to me like that!?"
Hermione turned to leave, but Draco grabbed onto her shoulder. What followed was something that Harry didn't expect. Hermione shoved Draco away from her, and a gust of wind slammed into Draco's chest, sending him soaring through the air. He slammed against the wall and fell to the ground. The other students who had been gathered around them stopped talking and stared at Hermione with wide eyes. Hermione looked down at her hands, then back to the crumpled form of Draco. She whirled around and pushed through the crowd of people as she ran away.
"I'll go after Hermione, Ron!" Harry shouted, "You should make sure that Malfoy's alright!"
Ron started to say something, but Harry ignored him and rushed after Hermione...
Hermione had already gotten a head start, which made it difficult for Harry to keep up. But given the specific paths Hermione was taking, Harry was sure that she was heading for the Library.
"Hermione?" Harry asked. "Are you in here?"
A small sniffle was his only response. Harry stepped into the library and gently closed the library door, after that he searched for Hermione. He didn't have to search for long, she was tucked into a small corner of the library that was close to the bookshelf.
"Hey Harry." Hermione said as she rubbed her eyes. "Is Draco alright?"
"I don't know." Harry said as he sat next to Hermione. "I didn't get the chance to check on him, Ron's doing that."
"Oh." Hermione said.
The two of them sat in silence for a moment before Harry decided to ask the question that had been burning in his mind.
"Hermione, what's going on with you?" Harry asked.
Hermione sighed and hugged her knees to her chest. "To be honest, I don't really know."
"It all started a few months ago, I started having these strange dreams about people and places I've never seen before." Hermione said.
"Was the clown one of those people?" Harry asked.
Hermione nodded. "I don't know what his name is, but whenever I see him I just...feel like I want to run away."
"Anyway, after I started getting my dreams my magic hasn't been working right." Hermione said, "I'm sure that you noticed that during the past few weeks."
"Well, did you think about asking Madame Pomfrey for help?" Harry asked.
"Look Hermione, you can't keep everything to yourself." Harry said as he stood up, "I'm sure that everything will be fine if you ask for help, maybe she can figure out what's going on with your dreams."
"You have a point." Hermione said as she got up from the floor, "Maybe I-"
Suddenly, Harry heard what sounded like broken glass once Hermione got up, which caused her face to pale.
"What was that?" Harry asked.
Hermione reached into her pocket and pulled out looked like a charm. Before he could ask her what it was, she dropped it onto the ground, which caused a blue portal to appear.
"Harry!" Hermione screamed as she was sucked into the portal.
Throwing caution to the wind, Harry leapt into the portal so he could save Hermione. Once he entered, the portal shut with a snap and the library fell silent once more...