A/N- I obviously do no own Harry Potter, so lets not get sue happy eh?
June 7, 1997
Hermione Granger could usually be found in a few tried and true places within the walls of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. The Library was among the first places that could be searched for the familiar sight of curly brown hair and a knapsack filled to the brim with books. However if one were to look for Hermione in her usual haunt on this day, one would come up empty.
Yes indeed it seemed strange that the studious Gryffindor would leave all the wonderful books that were practically begging to be read, especially with end of year exams in full swing. It makes more sense if one were to remember that the only exam left to take for Hermione was Care of Magical Creatures and she was positive that she knew all that Hagrid could test her on.
So with her mind already starting her summer vacation, Hermione was relaxing. On this day she could be found in a most unusual spot. The spot that she had chosen (and secretly enjoyed for years now) was atop the roof of the Owlery. No one could disturb her sunbathing and meditation with homework questions or pleas to cheat off her exam. No, Hermione was blissfully alone and lying comfortably on her back watching the clouds pass, trying to distinguish what shapes they were making as the floated by.
She was not entirely comfortable however, for as much as she enjoyed her solitude and secrecy, for one thing she had the worst menstrual cramps she had experienced for a long while. She knew she could go to Madam Pomfrey for a pain potion, but she was enjoying the sun too much to be bothered. She also felt slightly uncomfortable because she could occasionally catch snippets of students conversations as they posted letters. She did not like feeling like she was eavesdropping, but she can't help what she overhears!
This uncomfortable feeling intensified when she heard a familiar voice waft up to her ears. The slight aristocratic edge could not be mistaken for anyone other than Draco Malfoy.
"So your posting a letter to your mum and dad to remind them of your birthday? Don't you think your Mum would especially remember something like that?" Draco asked his companion.
A voice that Hermione did not really immediately recognize answered, " Drake, I've told you before. They don't really forget my birthday, it's kind of like they try not to think about it too much. I never did understand it, but I have to send them letters right before so they send me something. Usually I don't mind if they 'forget' but I'm coming of age soon, so I figure this birthday I'll just remind them and have a story to tell my kids one day when they come of age. You know the type, 'When I was young and came of age, my folks got me, fill in the blank here'. Do you get it now? I will not repeat myself Drake, you're not that thick!" The voice made Hermione's heart beat a bit faster. She honestly didn't understand that reaction one bit.
"Shut up Blaise, I'm not thick and you know it. I'm just confused on how a person could not forget but at the same time not remember. Especially your parents. They obviously love you and have no problems showing it. At least not like my family..." Draco trailed off a bit wistfully and Hermione felt a twinge of pity. She had met Lucius and Narcissa Malfoy before and she understood what he meant. While Narcissa seemed like she would be loving behind closed doors, Lucius seemed the type to hold in those kinds emotions at all times. That coupled with the fact that Lucius was a Death Eater didn't seem conducive to the warm and fuzzies.
"Drake, I cant explain it either. But Honestly, you have to know your parents love you. They wouldn't be taking such a risk if they didn't and you know it. They are doing all they can to protect you and if that isn't love then I don't know what is." Blaise spoke slightly lower and Hermione had to strain to hear, " I mean being sp-" Blaise was abruptly cut off.
"Blaise, what the hell! Quiet down with that!" Draco said in annoyed tone.
"Sorry mate, but you know what I mean, and if your father doesn't crush you with hugs like mine does it doesn't mean he loves you any less. Thats just Lucius's way. And besides, my family is Italian, we are boisterous, passionate people. Not like you dry English gents." Blaise snickered.
"Shut it Blaise." Draco laughed along with his friend. At that moment Hermione felt a particular sharp pain in her lower abdomen and had to bite back a whimper. Damn her Monthlies!
"Ouch!" Hermione froze, afraid she hadn't been successful keeping her pain in.
"What the hell is wrong with you Blaise? Why are you clutching your stomach?" Draco's voice held slight panic.
Hermione was unable to move once again as she heard Blaise's reply.
"Dunno mate. It felt like I knife was carving me up from the inside there for a second. Its a bit better but I've been feeling it off and on all day. Weird."
"If I didn't know you were male I'd say that sounds like menstrual cramps. At least thats how I've heard Pansy describe them once when she was trying to gross me out. Nasty topic of discussion if you ask me." Draco laughed again.
"Well seeing as how I am most definitely NOT a female, I don't bloody know whats going on. I tried taking a pain potion and it didn't work. But it comes and goes so I'm pretty sure I'm not dying today."
"Damn. I was hoping you were." Draco laughed at his friend.
"You wouldn't know what to do without me, Drake. You only get one friend like me in a lifetime you know." Blaise used a pompous voice that made Hermione want to giggle. She held herself in check, barely.
"Yeah, yeah. Blaise, lets go. That snowy owl looks ready to peck out my eyes. I have no idea what I've done to it. I'm always nice to owls, you think they'd like me." Draco said in a truly bemused voice that sent Hermione into a fit of silent laughter. He sounded so adorable.
Oh dear. He sounded adorable? What in Merlin's name was that all about?
As Hermione dropped down from the roof of the Owlery a bit later she was immensely grateful for the gymnastics she had taken as a child. She was more agile and flexible as a result and it helped when she was climbing up and down from the roof of her secret place. Most people thought she was deathly afraid of heights, but it was misconception.
She had an aversion to flying mainly because for the longest time she didn't like the idea of a thin piece of wood holding her up hundreds of feet in the air. Now, she wasn't as frightened and had even played Quidditch occasionally at the Burrow.
As she made her way out of the Owlery she set herself on the path to visit the infirmary for a vial of pain potion. The corridors seemed oddly empty and she figured most students were either in their common rooms or the library cramming. Hermione felt grateful for the slight reprieve of her sixth year. She was in between the major testing years and she was glad to not have to stress out too much.
When she walked into the infirmary she slowed her pace as she heard the same voices from the Owlery once again deep in conversation. They hadn't noticed her entrance so she took the opportunity to listen quietly and see if she could figure out what was troubling her so much about the pair.
"Geez Drake, you are starting to remind me of my mother with all your nagging. I came to the infirmary as you insisted I do, but I'm telling you mate, I've already tried a pain potion today, and it didn't work. One more isn't gonna make a difference." Blaise was whining slightly.
"You never know Blaise, maybe it wasn't a pain potion you took earlier." Draco seemed insistent.
"I would know. It tasted like dirty socks. That was a pain potion for sure. " Blaise pulled a face. Hermione snickered softly, but it was enough to alert the Slytherin boys to her presence.
"Granger." Malfoy nodded slightly in her direction. Hermione returned the gesture and took the opportunity to study them both while they waited for Madam Pomfrey. Draco had grown taller than even Ron at this point, standing at 6'3. He had lost the pointy face quality he had in his younger years as he filled out and let his hair free of all the gel he had once bathed his hair in. Without his outer robe it was plain to see that while he was lean, he was not lacking in muscles. His silver eyes were looking back at her with an unreadable emotion in them. Hermione noticed a slight increase in the room's temperature after her appraisal of Malfoy.
Hermione directed her attention to Blaise momentarily after she felt his gaze rest on her. She hadn't ever really spoken to him or even noticed when he was around. He seemed quiet around large groups of people. However he was not easily ignored in the looks department. He stood an inch shorter than Draco, with a similar build but more muscular. His tan skin looked lovely against his Hazel eyes. He had a dark chestnut head of wavy hair. He was indeed handsome, especially when he showed off his even white teeth framed by full lips. Hermione smiled at him on impulse, but not in the least because she was attracted to him. She had looked at him and simply couldn't help but smile.
Blaise saw her smile and returned it in full. No words were exchanged as their gazes locked. Draco noticed their seeming staring contest and cleared his throat feeling oddly irritated. Luckily they were all saved by the arrival of Madam Pomfrey.
"What can I do for you students?" Her tone was warm but straightforward.
Hermione nodded her head at the boy's, acknowledging that they had gotten there first. As her cramps got particularly nasty she winced. The boys seemed to notice and they did something unprecedented.
"You go ahead Hermione." It was Blaise who spoke.
Swallowing her shock at Slytherins being selfless she composed herself quickly. "I need a pain potion Madam Pomfrey, please. " She directed at the Medi-Witch.
"Me too!" Blaise called out as Madam Pomfrey bustled away to retrieve the vials.
"Thanks guys," Hermione muttered softly to the boys.
"No problem, Granger" Draco said equally as soft as Blaise shot another smile her way.
Hermione's mind was reeling. They were being nice to her. No insults, no bickering, no anything she had come to expect from Slytherins. It was nice. If there was one thing she had learned it was to not ignore small miracles. In her mind Magic was a miracle and she felt blessed to have it. Friends were another one of her miracles and now the boys from the house in which she had come to expect cruelty from were being nice, that would not be ignored or trivialized. Sure she would be cautious but not totally disbelieving that their actions were genuine.
Madam Pomfrey interrupted her musings by handing a vial of pain potion to her. The procedure was to drink it and hand the empty vial back to the Medi-Witch and wait five seconds to ensure it worked. She swallowed quickly after another sharp pain was tearing across her tummy. She could have sworn she heard Blaise mutter a low pain filled curse in the middle of her atrocious cramp. Soon the pain stopped mid twist in her abdomen and she breathed a sigh of relief. She grinned at Madam Pomfrey as she gave her back the vial.
"Thank you so much Madam. I feel loads better now!" She began to walk away when she heard a startled, "Me too..." come from Blaise.
"But you haven't had your potion yet Mr. Zabini." Madam Pomfrey sounded incredulous.
"I don't know what happened. It just went away. My stomach has been hurting all day and just now it stopped, like it never hurt to begin with." He sounded amazed.
"Well, off you go then?" Madam Promfrey's confusion echoed in her voice.
Hermione continued walking towards the Great Hall, hoping things would make sense soon. She had the strangest feeling that something was going on. She also felt like something was coming.