Chapter 5 – Attack of the pink pantaloons
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It was the inexplicable feeling of dread, Hermione thought, which had made her throw up multiple times in the past five minutes. When she'd finally stopped retching, she straightened her back to find no sympathy from Draco. It appeared that his philosophy to life was "if I suffer, you suffer", so despite her assistance when he'd chucked up his guts not so long ago, she could see that he felt no shame in laughing in her face.
"And I thought Gryffindors were supposed to be tough." He snorted between chuckles. Evil chuckles, she noted. He was just as malicious as he was in Hogwarts, she thought with disgust.
"In case you hadn't realised, Malfoy, we're in a bleeding jungle." She snarled. His response was to laugh yet again.
"A jungle, Malfoy. We're in a rainforest. With insects, and wild animals – and, oh yes! The sun. And I'll bet you burn." She added, and when she saw him freeze, she happily allowed herself a slow smirk of victory.
Draco let out a sort of strangled shriek. "I – I don't burn. You're wrong. I only need a little spell to prevent it and I'm fine." He stammered.
"Did you forget something?" Hermione pulled out her wand, twirling it between her fingers as she strolled around him – desperately trying to mask her own "slight" panic with smirks, now that her moment of victory was over. She could already feel herself break out in sweat. "Our wands don't work, Malfoy." She continued. "And therefore you are going to burn. That must be difficult to face, knowing your vain tendencies."
"I am not vain!" he shouted.
"No hair gel." Hermione simply said, waiting for her words to take effect. A second later, he was screaming and desperately clawing at the air behind him; possibly looking to leave the way they'd entered their humid prison.
With a sigh, Hermione began to walk to what appeared to be some sort of camp in the distance. It was probably best to leave him alone when he threw a hissy fit. After a few minutes, the sound of screeching stopped for a moment, and she was almost certain that she heard someone shout:
"MY FATHER WILL HEAR OF THIS!"
Hermione tossed in her sleeping bag. She was hot, but she didn't want to leave the safety of her cushioned protection from the mosquitoes swarming around her, so she simply had to suffer in the silence – although, Viktor's snoring was not exactly quiet. She gave up, and pulled herself out of the bag, and walked out of the hut they were inhabiting. The events of the last few hours kept on playing over in her mind; sleeping was futile.
When she had eventually reached the camp just after she and Draco had arrived in the jungle, she found Parvati and Padma seated around a circle of huts in a clearing. Over the course of the next couple of hours, the rest of the contestants had found their way to the group, and once they were all assembled – sans McGonagall and Oliver – Skeeter had arrived (although nobody really knew how). The last pair to finish their challenge had automatically been eliminated, therefore Viktor and Valerie, Augusta and Will, Hermione and Draco, and the Patil twins were remaining. Brief congratulations and points for completing the challenges were awarded, with actually only Draco and Hermione gaining bonus points for their use of the mandrake plant during the pixie challenge.
Hermione's guilt was probably another factor keeping her from sleeping.
Skeeter explained that during the next week they had to ensure their survival in the jungle before the second task. When they wanted or needed, they could use their points to gain luxuries by using a their wands as they ordinarily would – certain points would be deducted from each pair per spell until they reached zero, and then no more magic could be performed. It was disturbingly simple, and yet Hermione couldn't help but feel overwhelmed.
She jumped when she felt a hand on her shoulder, and spun around.
"William!" she exclaimed, surprised – yet secretly pleased – to see the man behind her.
"Call me Will." He started. "Couldn't sleep?" he asked.
"The heat, the insects…the snoring." She laughed. "No."
"Me neither." He smiled. "It's beautiful, isn't it?" he pointed up at the moon just shining through the treetops, casting a sort of dappled, luminescent glow over the clearing.
"I mean, when you ignore being bitten every few seconds," Hermione slapped at an insect on her arm, "yes."
"Quite the sceptic, aren't you?" he teased.
"I have reasons to be on my guard." She shook her head as they sat down and continued talking as the night drew on.
Easily concealed by the shadows, they didn't notice Draco standing in his hut's doorway watching, his eyes hardening as their conversation continued. With a determined nod, he turned away.
Two days later, and the contestants' life in the jungle was in full swing. True, Valerie had attempted to use a monkey as a handbag, and true, Viktor did have a slight issue with killing everything in sight and then eating it, but otherwise, the rivalling pairs found it fairly easy to get along with each other. It was noted, with slight confusion, however, that every day when the group met from their various activities for lunch, Will and Augusta were always missing, and when one lunch time Hermione ventured back to her hut because she'd forgotten the sunhat she'd used some points to gain, she realised why.
"Come on, boy!" she heard someone – presumably Augusta – screech, and the sound of heavy grunting was heard. "Harder! Faster! Just there! YES! Finally you've got it!"
Mildly disturbed, Hermione ventured towards the hut where the sounds were coming from.
"Augusta - "
"Mrs Longbottom, sorry! Please, please can I stop? I'm exhausted!"
That was unmistakeably Will's pleading voice. Hermione peered around the doorway to find the poor guy seated on the floor, with Augusta's feet in his lap, desperately massaging them. It seemed that he was trying not to cry.
"Don't you say no to an old woman!"
The decent thing would have been to have rescued Will. Hermione, however, was beyond disturbed, and too shocked to do anything but walk away. She was silent when she returned back to the group, much to their confusion.
She'd also forgotten her hat.
The next day, lunch proceeded as usual, with Will and Augusta mysteriously absent from the meal. However, the relative peace was broken when a rustling was heard halfway through the meal, and seconds later, Will burst through the undergrowth screaming like a banshee. He ran in circles a few times around the group, so fast that all they could see of him was a flash of pink, until he finally stopped in front of them.
He was naked.
Well, not exactly. He did have a pair of fuchsia pantaloons on.
"PLEASE!" he yelled. "HELP ME! I DON'T WANT TO DANCE IN THE PANTIES ANY MORE!" he began to sob uncontrollably.
A second later, and Augusta was heard thundering towards the clearing. They could just make out the words –
"BOY! YOU HAVEN'T FINISHED DOING THE MACARENA! GET BACK HERE, OR IT'LL BE LILAC PANTALOONS NEXT TIME!"
With a terrified gasp, Will was off again, sprinting nude through the forest.
It was unnecessary to say that no one said any more about the experience.
"Was that good enough?" Augusta hissed, peeking out from behind a tree.
"Yes." Draco smirked at the memory of Will's encounter with the group. "Perfect. I'll make sure that half our points are transferred to you – I'll make up a story. Granger won't suspect anything."
"You know." Augusta smiled. "I'm not just doing this for the points. I'm not really a selfish, old woman."
"If I sense happiness, love, any good cause – I'll help a child out."
"I'm not a child!" he retorted, angrily, too indignant to catch the full meaning of her words.
Neville's grandmother simply patted his cheek and hobbled away.
There we go! The madness is only just beginning... But there was a point to this chapter. The last bit should tell you that. If you enjoyed this one, then as always, please review. I used to have a horrible system where I updated every ten reviews - which I ditched - but they aren't any less appreciated. No, siriusly. Thank you!
See y'all next chapter,