Tears streamed down Hermione's cheeks. She wanted to scream at Ron. This felt just as bad as when she had to watch Ron and Lavender snog. She believed she and Ron were heading toward a relationship but seeing that little tramp with her head buried in Ron's lap was too much.

She went to a nearby bathroom and cried for about ten minutes straight.

As she thought about it more, she realized how hypocritical she was being. She snogged with another guy, a death eater no less, right in front of Ron. But Ron had to understand it wasn't the same thing. She was doing it to distract him, not for her own enjoyment. It meant nothing. She even tried to lie to herself and claim she didn't even enjoy it.

Then rational thought took over. She and Ron had been playing this 'game' for far too long. Ron had been jealous of Viktor; she had been jealous of Lavender... She even used Cormac just to make Ron jealous. She and Ron had always been too afraid to take the first step, even though they had multiple chances to do so. It was because they knew deep down, they were better off as friends. This feeling of mutual jealousy was just them being immature, and she was determined to stop it, once and for all. She decided that if Ron had a new girlfriend, she would congratulate him instead of being jealous this time. Ron deserves to be happy even if it wasn't with her.

She washed her face, freshened up and even cast a beauty charm on herself to hide the fact that she had been crying. With a death eater in the house, this wasn't the time to show any sign of exploitable weaknesses.

Instead, she returned to the library in hopes of finding more information on Horcruxes.

"Welcome back," Cyrus said to Hermione as she returned to the library.

"Yeah, glad you are still here," Hermione said to Cyrus, in relief that she didn't find herself alone with a Death Eater in the library, "I was wondering, do you have any books on dark magic, horcruxes specifically?"

"I do have books on dark magic, not that I have read them all, but I never heard of a horcrux," Cyrus answered. Then he turned to Antonin. "Think you can help her with the books?"

"Sure." Antonin nodded.

Hermione didn't really want Antonin's help, so she started looking at the titles on the shelves herself to see if anything useful jumped out. She was too distracted to notice the sound of Cyrus' footsteps becoming more distant. Only after hearing the louder noise of the door opening and closing, did she realize she was indeed alone with Antonin now.

When she glanced at the Death Eater, she saw him pulling out his wand and it occurred to Hermione that the only reason Antonin didn't attack her before now was because Cyrus was there. She immediately pulled out her wand too and cast a shield charm. She didn't wish to be hit with Antonin's curse again.

Antonin himself didn't notice Hermione's reaction because he was looking up and merely used his wand to pull down some of the books on higher shelves. He controlled the speed and brought them down slowly.

"Did you find Potter and Daphne?" Antonin asked in a casual tone, no traces of hostility or anger in his voice.

"No, but that is ok. I will warn him that Daphne is basically a gold digger later," Hermione said, matching his casual voice tone.

Antonin continued to use magic to pull down a few more books. He stacked them neatly on a coffee table. "No, she isn't a gold digger," Antonin disagreed.

"But you said…"

"Her father is the one that cares about the size of his bank account. Her interest in him is for a completely different reason," Antonin clarified.

"Are you sure? She is a Slytherin after all. Ambition is a key trait."

"Positive." Antonin levitated another book from one of the highest shelves. "I think this should get you started." He pointed to the coffee table that had plenty of books on dark topics like unforgivable curses, necromancy and other dark magic. Most of the books were in pristine, brand-new condition. The notable exception was the book on the unforgivable curses. This one had pages folded back, plenty of wear and tear on the cover and binder and even a bookmark sticking out of it. Antonin was about to put his wand away, but then he looked at Hermione and realized she had hers out and ready for use. "Please put the wand down."

"You first," Hermione insisted.

"Ok," Antonin lowered his wand. "I was only trying to help you get the books you wanted. The more dangerous books are all on the high up shelves. Please don't repeat that to Cyrus' daughters."

"Oh," Hermione said. That explained why she wasn't finding anything useful on the lower shelves. She lowered her wand but didn't lower her shield charm. She knew Antonin was capable of wandless, wordless magic. Putting his wand down didn't mean much in terms of him not being dangerous.

Antonin realized her discomfort and let out a nervous laugh. "You are safe in Cyrus's house. I won't be trying to kiss…" Curse those Freudian slips. He meant to say kill.

Hermione chuckled. "Yeah, that is what I am worried about," she said sarcastically, then she took on a more serious tone. "I was more concerned that you would try to kill me again."

"I am glad I failed on that one. I actually meant to say I wouldn't try to kill you, not kiss, but I won't do that either, promise," Antonin said.

"I wish I could forget that kiss ever happened," Hermione admitted, intentionally infusing her voice with a lot more disgust than she truly felt.

"That can be arranged," Antonin said with a bit of disappointment evident in his voice. "Just ask Cyrus to use an obliviate spell on you."

"Maybe you should too," Hermione suggested.

"Hell no. I would probably never be able to do the Patronus charm again if I did that," Antonin admitted.


"I don't know if you are familiar with the Patronus charm, but it requires…" Antonin began to explain.

Hermione took her wand out again. "Expecto Patronum," she called out and with a wave of the wand bluish white light emitted from the end of her wand and her otter appeared and danced around the library meandering between bookshelves. "Yeah, I am familiar with it."

"Impressive," Antonin said with a nod. "Then you know that spell requires a happy memory. So far, that k-kiss h-has been the o-only one to w-work for me."

"Of course, because you thought you were finally getting a kiss from queen psychopath," Hermione laughed.

"After kissing you, kissing her would probably be a big disappointment in comparison," Antonin speculated.

Hermione couldn't help but smile at how flattering that was. "Flattery will get you nowhere," Hermione said with a giggle.

"I know. Obviously, I enjoyed it way more than you did," Antonin admitted.

"I highly doubt that. It being unforgettable means it was fantastic." Hermione admitted with a sigh. So much for not showing exploitable weaknesses. This is worse than letting him see how upset she was about Ron and Astoria.

"You must be joking." Antonin couldn't help but doubt she meant it, but why would she say it? Just to be nice? No, he couldn't think of a single reason Hermione should be nice to him at all. Maybe she was just trying to help him with the Patronus Charm - knowing the effect of his kiss was 'fantastic' rather than 'disgusting' would certainly have a better effect on his memory. That too, he found farfetched. Why would she care about that at all? The other option was the kiss was as good to her as it was to him, and her negative reaction to it was due to their 'rocky' past encounter, which he couldn't blame her at all.

Antonin realized he didn't want to discuss the subject any further. And since Hermione didn't reply to his comment to clarify if that was a joke or not, he realized the feeling was mutual. So, he went back to business and picked up the book he thought most likely to have what she was looking for and went through the index. "I think I found it." He opened the book to the specified page and handed it to her.