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Hermione and the New Boy

By Mena Baines

It was during a particularly boring lecture from Professor Binns in History of Magic that Hermione, for the first time ever, fell asleep in class. She certainly hadn’t meant to, it was just the droning of the old ghost’s monotone voice, the temperate, quiet atmosphere of the classroom—and maybe the fact that she’d stayed up till all hours last night studying for the Transfiguration test they’d had that morning in Professor Mcgonagall’s class. But now that the test was over, class was about to let out for the day, and Hermione felt caught up on all of her studies for the moment, she finally let herself relax. I’ll just close my eyes for a moment, she thought, letting her drowsy lids slip shut for a few minutes. She tried to open them again, but they were so heavy with sleepiness that she couldn’t manage, and she only got a hazy glimpse of Harry doodling on his parchment and Ron staring blankly out the window before they snapped shut again.

Hermione had the oddest dream, there in class. She was wandering through a forest—the forbidden forest? She couldn’t tell—she had only been there once, after all, and it had been dark. In the dream she was watching herself move through the woods rather than experiencing it first-hand. The Hermione in the dream was wearing a nightgown—it was silky and sleeveless and Hermione didn’t own anything like it as far as she knew… She also had a large cut on her right arm, and she was bleeding, though the dream Hermione didn’t seem to notice. She was very pre-occupied in the dream, and although she couldn’t hear anything, Hermione could see that she was calling something out as she walked through the Forrest. Someone’s name, perhaps? Hermione tried to read the lips of the image of herself in the dream. What was she calling? It almost looked like…Harry?

Someone poked her sharply in the ribs and she woke up with a start. “ Wha--? I, didn’t mean to—I,” she stuttered, rubbing her eyes. Hermione hoped she wasn’t in trouble. She looked at Ron, who was standing next to her, holding his wand. She realized with a start that her head had fallen onto Harry’s shoulder.

“ Class is over, Miss Attentive,” Ron said grinning. “ I never thought I’d see the day…”

“ Sorry,” Hermione said, jerking her head off of Harry’s shoulder.

“ It’s okay,” he said, getting up. “ I didn’t want to wake you…I know you probably stayed up all night cramming.”

“ Not cramming,” Hermione said, managing to stand. Her knees were still shaking from the embarrassment and the secret joy of waking up on Harry’s shoulder. “ Just reviewing. I wanted to be extra prepared—“

“ Binns was sure giving you some devilish looks!” Ron said, laughing. “ Imagine, a student falling asleep in HIS class!” he said sarcastically. “ A real shocker, I’m sure.”

“ I could hardly stay awake myself.” Harry said, “ And I’ve got a Quidditch match tonight.” He added with a groan. “ I need a pick-me-up after that class.”

“ Never fear.” Ron said, “ We’ve still got Potions to go to next. Snape will surely find some horrible way to wake us up.” Harry scoffed.

“ Hooray.” He muttered.

Hermione shook her head. “ I feel incredibly strange,” she said. “ I had such a bizarre dream, before when I was asleep.”

“ That’ll happen when you fall asleep on Harry Potter,” Ron teased. Hermione shot daggers at him with her eyes.

“ What was it?” Harry asked as they approached the Potions dungeon.

“ Something about the Forrest,” Hermione muttered, not wanting to go into the details. Something about the dream had given her the creeps, though she didn’t quite know why.

After they had taken their seats with the Slytherin class in Potions, the Gryffindor class braced themselves for the worst. Snape was always unusually cruel to their house. But instead of hitting them with his usual glares as soon as they walked into the dungeon, he was busy talking to a student near the door—someone Hermione had never seen before at Hogwarts. He was a tall, pale boy with dark hair smoothed down by lots of gel, and more earrings than Hermione had ever seen. He was wearing all black, and something that looked like a fashionable custom-made black robe with a deep-red lining. The boy glanced at Hermione, and she looked away, embarrassed for staring. She’d never seen anything quite like him before. His violet eyes almost seemed to glow.

“ Who’s that clown?” Ron asked as they took their seats near Seamus Finnigan and Neville Longbottum, as far from Draco and his clan as they could get.

“ I don’t know,” Harry said, “ I’ve never seen him before…but he sure seems to be getting along with Snape. And that can’t be a good sign.”

“ Take your seats.” Snape said harshly to the students who were still dolling around the room. “ I have a brief announcement before we begin today’s lesson.” The boy stood next to him, unaffected and completely confident. Hermione wondered if he was Snape’s new assistant. While he didn’t look much older than she and her friends, something about the way he presented himself seemed far more mature and collected.

“ This is Vincent Fossil.” Snape announced, almost proudly, “ A transfer student from Romania and a new member of Gryffindor.” That was all Snape seemed to want to say on the subject. Vincent took a seat near the back, and Snape went on with the lesson for the day.

Meanwhile, the students were a bit unsettled. A new member of their house in their last year at Hogwarts? Somehow it didn’t seem right.

“ Hey,” Ron whispered to Vincent, who had yet to crack a notebook and was staring into space. “ Why’d you get transferred?”

Vincent smiled slowly, a wicked smile that made Hermione shudder. “ Isn’t that a little rude?” he asked with an odd foreign accent that sounded more French than Romanian. “ Maybe I threatened to overthrow the headmaster.” Vincent said snidely, narrowing his eyes.

“ Oh I’m sure,” Harry whispered to Hermione, “ As if they’d let him enroll at Hogwarts after he did something like that.”

“ Um, I know.” Hermione said, wishing Harry would whisper things in her ear more often. “ He seems to have a bit of a big head.”

“ Probably a cousin of Lockhart,” Ron said under his breath, “ Anyway—what a bloke.”

***************************************************************************

Later, at dinner, Hermione was still tired, and bored because Harry and Ron were discussing Quidditch, which she’d never had much of a genuine interest in. Harry was already wearing his Quidditch robe and eating quickly so he had time to digest before the match. Hermione smiled slightly watching him talk to Ron animatedly about the game, hurriedly finishing his sandwich. Hermione wondered how she could love someone like Harry as much as she did—so that every thing he did was cute, was added to her list of desirable qualities in a boy. The way he pushed his glasses up on his nose every two seconds, the way his messy black hair wavered slightly when he laughed…

“ Earth to Hermione,” he was saying to her suddenly, and she snapped out of her trance, “ Are you going to come watch us play tonight?” he asked, “ Or do you have something to study?”

“ I don’t know…” Hermione teased, “ I may just lose myself in a History book this evening…”

“ Oh, come on,” Harry said, “ Can’t you do that after the match?” Hermione grinned at him without meaning to.

“ Well I know I’ll be there.” Ron said, “ I haven’t missed a Quidditch game since I came to Hogwarts!” he said proudly.

“ I was thinking of joining the Quidditch team, myself,” someone said suddenly, and they turned to see Vincent looking down at them smugly. “ But I never was one for athletics,” he added, throwing Hermione an odd smirk.

“ Er…hello,” Harry said uncertainly, “ You’re in our house now, eh?”

Vincent shrugged, “ Whatever,” he said, obviously not interested in small talk with Harry. He sat down heavily next to Hermione and stared at her until she couldn’t stand ignoring him any longer.

“ What?!” she shouted in his direction, only looking at him out of the corner of her eye.

“ You’re in my Potions class, aren’t you?” Vincent asked her, completely unaffected by the annoyed tone she’d used.

“ We’re all in your Potions class.” Ron remarked flatly.

“ Ah, so you are.” Vincent said, “ What’s that you’re eating?”

“ Me?” asked Hermione, since he hadn’t taken his eyes off of her since he’d sat down. “ It’s a slice of pie…” she said, which seemed rather obvious to her.

“ Hmm,” Vincent said, as though he were hearing this for the first time. “ May I have some?” he asked. Hermione heard Ron snicker.

“ Sure.” Hermione said, aggravated. “ They’ve got plenty of it up at the counter.” She said curtly, getting up. “ Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go change before the Quidditch game. See you later, boys.”

“ What, you’re going?” Harry asked, and Hermione almost detected a delightful note of disappointment in his voice.

“ You’ve still got an hour before the game!” Ron announced loudly with a mouth full of pudding. “ What’s the rush?” Hermione glared at him.

“ Ron,” she said, leaning near to his ear, “ You are the master of saying the wrong thing at the wrong time.” She whispered through clenched teeth. “ Congratulations.”

“ Wait,” Harry said, grabbing her arm before she could walk off, “ Aren’t you going to wish me good luck for the game?” he asked.

Hermione decided to be bold. “ Good luck, Harry.” she said, before leaning down and giving him a quick peck on the cheek. She was glad to be leaving so the boys couldn’t see the quick spread of red across her cheeks or her gleeful smile. Hermione Granger is the bravest person in the world! she thought to herself.

“ See ya later, Minnie!” Vincent called before she could get away. Hermione groaned. She didn’t want to be rude, but she certainly hadn’t asked for this strange boy’s attentions. She scolded herself for thinking he was strange, though, because he was new and from another country. But still….

***************************************************************************

Hermione was having a hard time staying awake at the Quidditch game, which, of course, ran into overtime. The process of watching Harry dart back and forth on his broomstick looking for the Snitch had become rather tiresome, and she was afraid she would fall asleep and collapse onto Colin Creevy, who was sitting in front of her, unknowingly watching the game. Meanwhile, Ron was going on about how Harry could certainly make a career out of Quidditch.

“ Imagine that,” he said, “ Ron Weasley—best friend to a famous Quidditch player! Well, I suppose Harry’s famous enough already—“

“ Quite.” Hermione said.

“ –But do you suppose they’d let me travel around with the team—maybe handle their equipment or something?” Ron went on, “ Blimey that’d be a regular free ride—I’d surely get into every match for free and maybe get to watch from the floor with all the coaches—“

“ Ron,” said Hermione, “ Why would you wish such a future on yourself? Or on Harry for that matter? You’re both such promising wizards—there are so many USEFUL things you could do with your powers. Surely you’ll have Quidditch completely out of your minds in a few years, anyway.”

Ron was silent for a moment. “ Me?” he finally said, “ A promising wizard?” He seemed flattered by the thought of it, Hermione just hoped that would keep him quiet for a bit.

“ Hello there,” someone was suddenly saying her ear. Hermione jumped, causing Ron to do the same. She turned to see Vincent sitting behind her, leaning alarmingly close to her ear.

“ Vincent!” she said, “ What are you doing, sneaking up on me like that?! You scared me half to death!” Vincent raised his eyebrows, thoughtfully.

“ I often have that affect on people,” he admitted with a slight frown. “ Most unfortunate.”

“ Ugh, what do you want?” Hermione asked. It was very unlike her to be cruel to anyone—except maybe Ron, but only in kidding. Vincent, though, had no excuse. He was really starting to give her the creeps.

“ I heard that you were the head of your class?” Vincent said, still unfazed by Hermione’s unpleasant reaction. “ Wondered if you could help me out in History. It’s always been my worst subject…”

Hermione sighed, and she actually felt sorry for him. “ Is that all you wanted?” she asked, “ Why didn’t you say so in the first place? I thought—“

“ ALRIGHT HARRY!” Ron screamed, standing up and throwing his hands in the air, causing the contents of his thermos to spill all over poor Colin. Vincent laughed, and Hermione couldn’t help joining him. Harry had just caught the Snitch, winning the game for Gryffindor. Colin Creevy was the only one on the Gryffindor side who wasn’t cheering wildly.

“ Ick!” he cried, wiping off his trousers “ Pumpkin juice!!”

***************************************************************************

Hermione hung around the Gryffindor common room for most of the night, talking with Ron, Ginny, Seamus and Harry. Harry’s cheeks were still pink from the exhausting Quidditch match, which had lasted longer than usual. Hermione gazed at him absentmindedly as the others discussed Hogwart’s mysterious graduation test. I’m in love with an athlete, Hermione thought, how horrible. She smiled to herself.

“ I heard they leave you alone in the Forbidden Forrest for a week!” Seamus said, “ Just to see if you can survive!”

“ Oh, that can’t be it,” Ginny said nervously, “ They’d never allowed something life threatening…would they?”

“ Of course not,” Hermione said, giving the younger girl a comforting smile, “ I’m sure it’s just a written test. Maybe very long—like 500 questions.”

“ Or 1,000!” Ron said, making a face, “ I’d rather be stuck in the woods!” he decided, “ I’d have a better chance of passing, anyway. Well…minus the spiders…”

“ No, no, a written test is too normal for Hogwarts,” Harry said, “ It’s got to be some kind of performance thing,” he said, “ Based on ability—ability to perform under extraneous circumstances.”

“ I’ve begged Percy to tell me what it is,” Ginny said, “ But not a word from him—even Fred and George won’t speak of it!”

“ Well it’s the most noble right of passage from Hogwarts—The Oath,” Harry told her, though she surely knew it already, having older brothers, “ No magic involving Muggles… um, all that other stuff—and no telling the younger kids about the graduation test.”

“ They probably change it every year anyway,” Hermione said, “ That would be the sensible thing to do.”

“ I wonder what happens to you if you tell,” Ron said gravely.

“ I wouldn’t want to know!” Seamus said.

They stayed up for a long time that night, lazing by the fireplace and chatting. Ginny and Seamus went off to bed first, and as soon as they were gone the rest of the group discussed in whispers whether or not they thought Ginny and Seamus were sweethearts. Harry swore he saw him kiss her goodnight last week before they separated into their dorms.

“ Seamus…” Ron said, clenching his fists, “ That rotter—he’s too old for her.”

“ Oh, Ron,” Hermione said, rolling her eyes, “ One year is all.”

After the talk about his little sister’s love life Ron seemed to be in a bad mood, and went to bed, leaving Hermione blissfully alone with Harry.

“ Here’s hoping he doesn’t strangle Seamus in his sleep,” Harry joked. He was quiet for a moment. “ I wonder what it’s like to have a younger sibling. To have any sibling.” He crossed his arms on the footstool Hermione’s elbow was leaning on and rested his head on them.

“ I wouldn’t know,” she said quietly. “ But I did always wish I had an older brother. To, you know, look after me and such.”

“ Oh, Hermione,” Harry said, peering at her over the top of his glasses. “ You know I look out for you.” He said, and her heart melted for him. “ And Ron does, too.” He added before she could get too excited.

Hermione sighed. “ I know.” She said. “ I should be thankful that I at least have—“ she stopped herself before she had to put her foot in her mouth.

“ Parents?” Harry finished for her. “ It’s okay—you can say it. I…I don’t mind.” He said, though she could see his eyes grow quietly sad.

“ Harry…” Hermione said, starting to reach over to smooth his wild black hair. Harry shut his eyes. Hermione knew he must be tired from playing Quidditch—she wondered why he was still up. You’re exhausted, too, she reminded herself. Are we staying up for…each other? Her hand trembled as her fingertips touched the ends of Harry’s hair, which was hanging lazily over his forehead…

“ Allo there,” said Vincent, suddenly in the room, making Hermione jump out of her skin for the second time that night. Hermione jerked her hand away from Harry as his eyes snapped open.

“ Vincent!” Hermione said, trying to hide the fact that she was shaking in anger, “ You’ve done it AGAIN!”

“ Done what?” Harry asked sleepily, lifting his glasses to rub his eyes.

“ It seems I make Hermione incredibly nervous.” Vincent said, sounding rather self-satisfied. “ I continue to scare her out of her wits.”

“ You don’t make me NERVOUS at all!” Hermione protested, lying through her teeth as his eerie purple eyes on her were making her squirm that very moment. “ It’s just that you keep sneaking up on me wherever I go!”

“ My apologies, sincerely.” Vincent said, in the least sincere of ways, “ May I meet you at dinner tomorrow, Hermione? After History?”

“ Huh? Oh…” Hermione said, remembering that she’d promised to tutor him. “ Well…okay.” She said, deciding that if she got to know him a bit better, perhaps he wouldn’t have such an aggravating effect on her nerves. “ I’ll see you there tomorrow,” she dismissed, hoping he would get the hint and go to bed.

“ Tomorrow…” Vincent repeated dreamily, “ Excellent. Goodnight, Minny.” He said, saluting to her in some odd Romanian fashion before disappearing down the hall to the boy’s dorm.

“ Minny?” Harry exclaimed as soon as he was gone. “ What a… you have a date…with him?”

“ Oh, no, no,” Hermione assured him, after relishing the look of distress on his face at the very idea for a few lovely seconds. “ It’s nothing like that. I told him…I’d help him with History.”

Harry smiled. “ Sounds like a date to me.” He said, winking.

“ Oh, stop it,” Hermione said, “ I’m only trying to be…hospitable.”

“ Is that so?” Harry asked, getting up. “ Well, anyway, you should go to bed. Go have some more odd dreams and whatnot.”

“ Ugh, I hope not.” Hermione said, reluctantly standing. She inwardly cursed Vincent for his clumsy timing, he having ruined her lovely moment with Harry. “ I want to have normal dreams tonight.” She said. “ Good dreams.” She looked at Harry and wondered if he could possibly know what she meant. Hermione had had one dream about Harry in all the years she’d known him, and she cherished it like a real memory, wishing she could have more like it. Don’t you ever dream about me? She wondered, as he stood staring at her with his bright green eyes. “ What is it?” she asked with a nervous laugh, flinching before his unmoving gaze.

“ Um,” Harry said, looking away, “ It’s just that Vincent fellow…he seems to be rather fond of you…”

“ Oh, I don’t think—“

“ I was just thinking I know how Ron feels with Ginny.” He said quickly. He then went to bed, leaving Hermione to toss and turn in bed all night, pondering over what he meant by that comment. Please, Harry, Hermione thought, peering out the window at the moon, I don’t want to be your sister.

****************************************************************************

The next day, Vincent’s strange behavior only increased. He was favored of course, by Snape, who seemed to prefer him to even Malfoy. But all the other teachers seemed to give him special attention as well, excluding Professor McGonagall, who had never favored anyone but Hermione. What Hermione didn’t understand, though, was why all the other teachers liked him so much—Vincent had yet to take a single note, or to open a book for even a fleeting moment. But even Professor Flitwick was mysteriously indifferent when Vincent refused to go to the outdoor Herbology classroom.

While he was quite a charmer in the classroom, Vincent didn’t waste much of his energy on the other students. In fact, he seemed to find all of them a complete waste of time—except Hermione, who he was almost ridiculously interested in. He was very prompt in keeping their appointment at dinner, and Hermione was sorry to have to give up her time with Harry, Ron and her other friends. She reluctantly followed Vincent to the library.

“ Now then,” Hermione said, once they’d taken seats at a table near the back. “ What exactly are you having trouble with? In History?”

Vincent just stared at her.

“ Hello?!” Hermione said, “ I just asked you a—“

“ You have very pretty eyes.” He said, unflinching.

“ Oh, um, thank you.” Hermione said without thinking. What is he talking about? She wondered, I thought he wanted to study…

“ I’m so glad we can finally be alone together.” Vincent cooed, not taking his eyes off of hers.

Oh, geez, Hermione thought, What a nerd… “ Thank you.” She said tonelessly, despite herself. Huh? She thought, I didn’t mean to say that…what the…

“ But,” Vincent said, looking behind him. “ I don’t feel I can really be very candid with you, with that nosy librarian in here…Would you like to go somewhere else?”

No way! Hermione tried to say—but the words wouldn’t come out! Somehow she had lost control of her voice…was Vincent doing this? “ Of course I would,” she heard herself say. No! she tried to redirect her mouth, but to no avail.

“ Then follow me,” Vincent said, his iridescent eyes glowing deeper. Hermione tried with all her might to stay put, but her body betrayed her, standing and following him mindlessly out of the library. Stop this! Hermione thought frantically, What’s happening? How have I lost control of myself??

They passed Ron and Harry, in the hall, as they seemed to be on their way outside. Thank goodness! Hermione thought. Harry will know what to do somehow…

“ Hey Hermione,” Harry said, “ We were just on our way to the library to see how things were coming along,” Harry threw a suspicious look in Vincent’s direction. Yes, yes, Harry, you’re right, he’s done something horrible to me! Hermione screamed in her mind, but try as she may she could not get the words out—couldn’t even slant her brows and give him a look that displayed the panic she felt. Instead she just smiled pleasantly.

“ We’re fine, Potter, Hermione’s been a great help.” Vincent said darkly.

“ Oh, I’m sure I haven’t but thank you.” Hermione said without wanting to, inwardly wincing at this stupid cheerfulness she was conveying when inside she felt scared and helpless. She’d never heard of a spell like this before, where a person could lose control of their actions in this way—and Hermione had studied them all. Except…for a large part of the Dark Arts, which was, of course, restricted. Hermione shivered, although her body didn’t show it.

“ Well where are you going?” Ron asked, frowning, “ The library’s thatta-way.” He said, pointing in the other direction.

“ Just headed to Professor Binns’ classroom to ask him something about the homework.” Vincent said smoothly. Hermione cursed him for his easy charm—she’d thought surely Ron had caught him with that question. Hermione willed herself to look at Harry—she felt like he’d somehow know if she could catch his gaze, but all she could do was stare adoringly at Vincent.

“ Want some company?” Harry asked softly. He still seemed uncertain. Please Harry, Hermione thought, you’ve got to hear me somehow…

“ No, Harry, don’t be silly.” Hermione said, and she hated Vincent for making her be so rude to him. Hermione was absolutely sure that it was the dark new boy who was controlling her—he had looked so smug and suspicious from the day she met him that she should have known to avoid him at all costs from the start. I’m such a fool, Hermione thought sadly as Harry and Ron walked away, there go my friends and I can’t even cry out to them—can’t even look them in the eye! What’s going to happen to me?

He lead her out onto the veranda of the observatory, which was deserted at this time of day. We’re not supposed to be up here, Hermione thought, maybe Filch or Ms. Norris will catch us, she hoped for the first time in her life. Meanwhile, Vincent turned his purple eyes to her ominously.

“ Ah, sundown.” He said, watching the sun sink behind the trees in the distance. “ Excellent timing on my part.” Hermione shuddered as her mind began to piece the events of the past two days together…

Vincent approached her, and Hermione stood perfectly still. Run, you stupid girl, she willed her body, why don’t you know a counter-spell for this sort of thing? She scolded herself as Vincent came closer, what kind of a witch are you? And you call yourself the head of the class…

Vincent was close enough now that his nose almost touched hers. “ My sweet girl,” he said, “ How I have waited for this moment.” He opened his mouth a bit wider and Hermione saw sharp incisors appear suddenly, and her worst fears were confirmed. “ I’m so…hungry.” Vincent hissed, his purple eyes lit up by some evil within him. Hermione let out a whimper and shrank. I moved! She suddenly realized, he must be losing his concentration. Hermione took a heavy step backward, and then another…

“ Oh no you don’t!” Vincent shouted, suddenly enraged. “ This isn’t Meals on Wheels. Stay put!” With that, he shoved her back against the wall of the school with a supernatural strength that shook Hermione’s bones.

“ Help!” she tried to yell, but her voice came out a only a squeak. Vincent laughed and barred his fangs, aiming for her throat. Hermione felt hot tears pouring down her cheeks. Why do I feel so weak? She wondered as Vincent knocked her head back against the wall, exposing her neck. I’m going to die here, and there’s nothing I can do against this power, Hermione thought, seven years of Defense Against the Dark Arts to be defeated by a common—

“ Agh!” Hermione let out a strangled scream as Vincent’s fangs pierced her throat. Is this…really the end of me?

Harry, where are you?

Suddenly there was a sickening crack, and Hermione thought it must be her neck breaking. But she didn’t feel any different…she looked up at Vincent to see him wince in pain and cry out loudly. Behind him stood Harry and Ron, Harry holding his Quidditch broomstick like a sword, and Ron clutching his wand and looking terrified.

“ YOU!” Vincent screamed at Harry, “ Quit trying to cut in on my meal!” he shouted, lunging at him, only to be met by a broomstick handle in his stomach.

“ Stay away from her you monster!” Harry screamed, green eyes blazing behind his glasses. Ron ran over to Hermione to see if she was alright.

“ I’m fine.” Hermione said, rubbing the small cuts on her neck, “ He just bit me—all I’ll need is a Band-Aid. Let’s help.” She said, and Ron nodded. He lifted his wand and preformed a disarming spell, which sent Vincent flying into Harry and knocked them both over.

“ Bugger!” Ron shouted, “ That’s not what I meant to do…”

Vincent had grabbed Harry’s neck and was preparing to make an impromptu meal out of him when Hermione finally felt the spell weaken enough for her to reach for her wand. What spell do I use? She wondered feverishly as Vincent lowered his fangs to Harry’s neck. Hermione panicked—she couldn’t think and Harry was going to—

Hermione threw her studies out the window and ran up behind Vincent, plunging the wand into his back with all her might. Vincent screamed in pain but still didn’t seem to be defeated. He turned to Hermione with a menacing glare.

“ Hold it right there, Lywellyn!” came the voice of Professor McGoganall from the entrance to the veranda. Vincent’s eyes shot up, to see Dumeldore and Snape standing there as well.

Dumeldore approached the ancient vampire, wand raised, but before he could do anything there was a great “ POOF” and Lywellyn seemed to have disappeared. Left in his place was an ugly bat, which flew away screeching into the night.

“ Shouldn’t we go after him?” Harry asked, jumping up, still out of breath from trying to hold off the vampire’s attack.

“ No, Harry, I wouldn’t bother,” Dumeldore said, “ Lywellyn won’t be back for another 100 years. It’s not in his custom to strike out of schedule.”

“ I can’t believe the old beast managed to sneak into Hogwarts,” McGoganall said, “ Of all places.”

“ Well, centennial vampires are some of the cleverest monsters in the world.” Dumeldore said, “ Don’t take it too hard.”

“ Centennial vampires,” Hermione said weakly, “ I should have known…they come out of hiding every 100 years to drink the rarest blood type of all.” She sighed, “ And I just happen to be O negative.”

“ Let’s go Hermione,” McGonagall said, “ Let Madame Pomfrey have a look at you in the infirmary.”

“ Hold on,” Hermione said, taking a breath, “ Let me get my strength back,” McGonagall nodded and left with Dumdedore and a wordless Snape.

“ Are you okay?” Harry asked, running to her and examining her neck. “ Did he break the skin? Did it hurt very much?” he took her face carefully in his hands and tilted it slightly to see the wound. Hermione’s already rushing heart beat sped up.

“ I’m…fine,” Hermione finally admitted, wishing he’d continue to hold her face like that nevertheless. “ Thanks to you guys.”

“ Thanks to Harry,” Ron said glumly, “ Who almost got bitten because of me,”

“ Rubbish.” Harry said, “ Don’t listen to him. It was Ron’s idea to check Professor Binns’ classroom, and it was when you weren’t there that we knew you were in trouble.”

“ Yeah, well…” Ron muttered. Hermione went to him and threw her arms around his shoulders, and them wrapped Harry in a hug, too.

“ Thanks for looking out for me,” she said, knowing Harry would know what she meant. “ But how did you know where I would be?” she asked, releasing them.

“ Don’t look at me,” Ron said with a shrug.

“ I don’t know,” Harry said quietly, looking back at her with his beautiful, burning gaze. “ I just knew.”

THE END