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The girl couldn't help the squeal and laugh as she was hoisted of the ground and thrown over only what she could guess to be her best friend's shoulder as his still had the cloak on. If it had been anyone else she would have demanded that they stop and set her back down, but she loved the times that they could be carefree. [b "Bet they would love that."] She said, her words obviously amused as the game was kept up for a few moments more and then she was back on the ground.
Brown eyes locked in Harry and she gave him a mocking glare. [b "And just how much did you see?"] She had joined him for a moment before the cloak was placed back in the bag and she fell into step beside him. Het hand had come up to rub the side of her head as she gave the boy at her side a faint smile and nod. She was surprised he even had to ask as it was Malfoy after all.
[b "He was on about Quidditch and what his father bought for the team, talking about how rumours are spreading about us...and also making me deal with most the others. He's really a headache and I can't believe he's a prefect."] The girl said with a groan. She didn't mean to rant but she was tired enough for one night.
After she realized what she said, Hermione's cheeks turned a bright pink and she looked away. [b "I'm sorry for the rant..."] And once more she fell into silence as soon they reached the Hospital Wing and Madam Pomfrey who began asking them what happened as she set to helping them.
Staying silent, Harry waited until Draco had rounded the corner and was out of sight before turning to his next victim. Hermione clearly knew he was there, but he still wanted to have some fun. Lurching forward, with his cloak still on, he hoisted her over his shoulder.
[b "Imagine how odd it would be for someone to walk by and see you floating in mid-air like this. They'd probably think Hermione Granger had gone crazy and jinxed herself,"] he spoke with an innocent tone.
He kept the game up for another few moments before placing her back on her feet and removing his cloak. [b "Did you know that you were floating in the air, just then? Surprised the hell out of me when I saw it,"] he played dumb.
Stuffing the cloak back in his bag, he set them off towards the Hospital Wing. [b "Was he talking the whole two hours you were patrolling? I could hear him four corridors away,"] he exaggerated. [b "At least detention with Snape gave me some peace and quiet. You've had an evening of headaches."]
Having Harry left to Professor Snape after they had "tended" to the residue of their last detention left the girl on edge. She knew that the Potion's Master could be harsh but hoped for her friend's sake it wasn't as hellish as Umbridge. Her mind was more on what could be going on in the dungeon but she was still aware enough of the patrol and reminding students they had to be back to their common rooms. Honestly the night and hours seemed to go on and on. Half of the watch Draco was complaining about how dull it was or making her be the one to deal with the students. It was a nightmare as he still was mocking her for how she and Harry seemed to be together.
Only was she putting up with it because she didn't have the energy to argue with him. She was still tired from the night before, classes, and her hand was throbbing. [b "You know what Draco, I think I see a couple over there snogging. Why don't you go and tell them they have to stop and they must be back to their respective houses before curfew?"] She asked, earning a glare from the Malfoy but he did it.
When the pair was almost done, Hermione was stuck walking with him and listening to all the new Quidditch equipment his father had apparently bought the Slytherin team. Honestly she was tuning him out or was until he fell face first onto floor. Hermione had to bite back a laugh as she reached out a hand to the boy which he only smacked away. [i "How dare you trip me like that? Watch yourself Granger."] Malfoy said as he scrambled to get up and soon took off.
She waited until the blonde terror was far away from them before she laughed and shook her head. There was no way she had tripped him and no way he was that clumsy. [b "Harry that was horrible. But I was close to hitting him. So thanks. Ready to get going?"] The bushy haired brunette asked as she shifted her bag on her shoulder and waited for Harry to remove the cloak. If she was talking to the air then she really was out of it, but somehow she didn't think she was.
[b "I solemnly swear that I will come find you so that we can go to the Hospital Wing together,"] he smiled softly. [b "But if I have to drink anything gross, I'm blaming you, and I expect a pile of sweets to make up for it."]
Harry made sure their bandages were secured before going back to the hall. He hesitated. On one hand, he knew he had to meet Professor Snape for detention. On the other, he didn't want to leave Hermione after such an awful experience. [b "I'll come find you right away. Don't put up with anyone's attitude,"] he advises her, stepping backwards as he spoke.
He forced himself not to look back as he headed in the direction of the dungeons. Snape was waiting for him, motioning silently to the cupboards caked with dust that Harry was to clean out. Not as harsh as their previous punishment. It was almost a relief.
The hours ticked by painfully, both from the throbbing ache of his hand, and the dullness of the detention. [b "I'm finished, Professor,"] Harry grumbled, dropping the rag back into the bucket of soapy water.
A pain in the ass as always, Snape moved to drag a finger over the top of one of the cupboards. [i "I'd advise against a career as a custodian, Potter. It'll have to do, however. You're dismissed."]
It was nearing curfew but Harry hurried through the dimly lit corridors in search of the Gryffindor prefect. He'd come across the Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw duo, who were quick to remind him of the time. [b "I'm going, I promise,"] he lied, turning away to continue his search.
Pausing in an abandoned corridor, he laughed. [b "How dumb can I be,"] he muttered to himself, pulling his neatly folded cloak from his bag that he'd forgotten he had packed away that morning.
Confidently invisible, he trekked on. When he finally spied Hermione and Malfoy ahead, he decided to have a little fun. He could hear Malfoy's sneering voice bragging about some kind of new Quidditch equipment that his father had generously purchased for the Slytherin team. Getting into place, Harry knelt down and waited for them to get closer before reaching out and grabbing Malfoy's ankle, causing him to faceplant.
Hermione couldn't help wincing a little as Harry tried to help clean the engraved words in her pale hand and it didn't want to stop bleeding. The gargoyle really had done a number on both of them. [b "I can't believe she even thinks something like this would be okay..this is a punishment of torture and one that had been used in the dark ages. You're right...we have to talk to someone and see if something can be done."] The girl said quietly as her own hand had been wrapped with the cloth and she began to help Harry with hers.
She didn't want to make that promise but knew that he would only push her until she agreed to it. Slowly, brown eyes came to meet green as she had wrapped his raw and tender hand as well. [b "I'll only promise that if you promise to come find me after. I'll take you to Madam Pomfrey so that way Malfoy or one of the others can't dock more points. Besides...I want to see what advice we both can be given if any to hide these."] She said, holding up her injured hand.
Harry wasted no time pushing his chair back and grabbing Hermione's non-injured hand to drag her from the room. [b "She's mad. Absolutely insane. If she's the representative of the Ministry, I'd hate to see what the rest of them are like,"] he grumbled as they walked as far from the room as they could get.
He ducked them down a short hallway, calling out from the doorway before pushing the heavy door open to pull her inside. It was a boy's bathroom, but thankfully empty. After ensuring the door is well locked, he led her to the sinks. [b "This might sting,"] he wet a cloth and then held it over her cut flesh.
The blood was wiped away but returned as soon as the cloth was lifted. [b "We'll have to make some kind of paste to put on this to fight infection,"] he murmured quietly, holding her hand carefully as he dabbed at the words engraved in her pale skin.
He looked up to catch her eye. It hurt to see the glassy appearance of unshed tears, and he pulled her into a hug. [b "We can go to Dumbledore. Maybe there's something he can do about this."]
Pulling back, he grabbed a dry cloth to wrap around her hand. [b "Not a very good bandage, but it'll have to do until you can get to the Hospital Wing. Promise you'll go before your patrol? Mine will have to wait until after my next detention."]
By the tenth line, her hand was near howling her from the pain of it. But she still didn't say anything as tears stung her eyes. The girl was trying her best not to show how it affecting her, knowing that it could set Harry off. Her best friend was already in enough trouble that she couldn't let him get into more. Not because of her at least.
As the lines went on, the more blood began to dribble onto the desk. And the louder the humming of the pink nightmare seemed to grow in her ears. Of course she was being silly, but the annoyance was grating on her nerves. She could not think how someone could be so cold and enjoy to cause pain. Well Voldemort, but others especially a ministry official. Slowly did she allow her eyes to come up and see the smug little smile that never faultered from Umbridge's lips as she read from the text book she had given them.
After what seemed forever, the woman stood and came to check on their progress in their lines. Her hand was raw and still bleeding by the time the woman came and snatched her wrist to see it. Almost emotionless brown eyes came up to the woman and she nodded. [b "Yes, Professor."] It was all she said, but in the back of her mind she was thinking on finding someone who might be able or willing to actually teach them.
[i "The two of you seem to have learned. So you may leave. See you next class."] The woman said, smile never faltering as she watched both Harry and Hermione gather their things and leave
Harry's jaw was beginning to twitch with how hard he was clenching his teeth. He lowered himself back into his seat and picked up the quill. He did his best not to glance towards Hermione, already feeling sick from the tears welling in her eyes. He felt a hated towards Umbridge that he had only felt towards Voldemort until that moment.
He took deep breaths to try and ease the pain as the words etched deeper in to his skin. Blood leaked out and dribbled onto the desk. He pushed the thoughts of pain aside and focused on getting the lines done.
Umbridge began humming by his thirtieth line. Harry looked up at her smug smile as she read from one of her Ministry books. He wanted nothing more than to curse her into oblivion. He spared a look of apology towards Hermione, hoping that she was holding up alright.
It seemed like the parchment went on forever. Their professor's humming grated on his nerves more than the punishment was. His skin was raw and throbbing by the time she cleared her throat and stood. [i "Let me see your progress,"] she spoke as she came to stand in front of them.
She held her hand out and took Harry's in her grasp, examining the bleeding words shining back at her. [i "Maybe this will remind you to know your place, Mr Potter,"] she snipped, dropping his hand and grabbing Hermione's. [i "And you, Miss Granger? I trust this has been a valuable lesson."]
It was curious how all the woman did was put a quill before them and without ink as well. There didn't seem anythihg different about it, so maybe it was charmed in some way? The question was in what way. Her eyes were still on the quill until she heard Harry and looked over to him and also heard their professor. And then it was that it dawned on her what had been done. [b "This is completely barbaric and unethical."] The girl said, her eyes shooting to the woman.
[b i "The both of you need to learn to keep quiet and to bot spread lies. This is simply a way to remind you and have it sink in. What I do in my classroom is purely under my control. Now the both of you best write your lines and serve your detenions or I will be adding more."] Her smile never faded, but the gleam in those eyes was bright. It was scary even.
The girl looked to Harry and gave a weak smile. [b [i 'I'm sorry...']] She mouthed as she looked down. Slowly the girl picked up the quill and began to write. Each letter and word hurting more than the last. But she did not whimper or did not let her tears fall. Like she knew Harry wouldn't, Hermione would not give Umbridge the satisfaction as she continued to write her lines.
[i "I would follow Miss Granger's example Mister Potter. The sooner the lesson sinks in, the sooner you may leave."]
Harry hadn't noticed that he was still holding her hand, but it grabbed his attention quickly when she suddenly withdrew her own from his. It had been easy to continue holding it as they left the common room. [i Maybe too easy,] he thought to himself with a red face.
The atmosphere immediately grew more tense as Umbridge greeted them and instructed them to sit. Harry took a desk beside Hermione and did as they were told. When the quill was set in front of him, he eyed it warily. Perhaps it was simply charmed to prevent cheating. Though how they would cheat at writing lines was a mystery.
[b "Professor,"] Harry called as she walked away. [b "You haven't given us any ink to write with."]
Umbridge's smile got tighter. [i "You won't need any, Mr Potter."]
Harry's eyebrows furrowed as he glanced at Hermione. Picking up the quill, he hesitated before beginning the first set of lines. By the third word, his hand was burning, and it was then he noticed the words etching into his skin. [b "Are you mad?"] he snapped his eyes up to the professor, dropping the quill and rising from his seat.
Her smile never wavered. [i "Mr Potter, you are to serve your detention silently, or I will add another. This will ensure that the message sticks with you. That you must not tell lies."]
Harry looked to Hermione, angered that she was going to have to deal with the same punishment. He gave her a small shake of his head. [i No]. Umbridge cleared her throat. [i "Mr Potter, I will say it only once more. Write your lines, or I will see you for another detention."]
Hermione was rubbing her temples. So they found their reason for what was going on. But no hints or ways to stop it. It was dangerous with how it could and most likely play out. [b "They will get people killed and then blame those who knew he was back because they were too thick to listen."] She said quietly as she pushed the book she had been reading closed and back to the stack. Each book would most likely say the same and honestly her mood was dampened by it.
Slowly she took Harry's offered hand and her eyes went to Ron as he offered to keep reading. [b "It's okay. A break for you might be good since we do have a basic idea. Besides I can see the chess game is calling your name."] And with those being her last words the busshy haired girl walked with Harry out of the common room, the portrait swingining closed behind them.
[b "I can't imagine it would be that horrid.. But she makes me anxious. Especially with what we now know. So we need to be careful."] She found herself saying, a heat rising in her cheeks as she realized her hand was still in Harry's. And with that realization, the girl let go and her hand returned to her side.
When the two teens entered the office, Umbridge looked up at them with her smile. [i "Good evening children. Please take a seat and take out some parchment. I will be having the both of you writing lines for me. But you will be using some special quills of mine."] The woman said and set two quills on the desk and waited for Hermione and Harry to take their seats. [i "Mister Potter I want you writing 'I must not tell lies' and Miss Granger, I want you writing 'I will not question what I am being taught'."
It was clear that the Ministry was attempting to paint themselves as saints who know best. It would probably be similar in every book on the table. [b "Much of the same,"] Harry answered her question. [b "So far this one has talked about how the Ministry retains the right to intervene any wizarding institute, in the event that a threat of peace is recognized."]
Harry dropped the book open on his lap and rubbed at his eyes. [b "So essentially, if the Ministry feels their authority is under scrutiny, they can have a tantrum and block conflicting news sources from speaking out."]
Ron grimaced. [i "They can brainwash people by doing that."]
It wasn't the only thing they can do with that power. [b "They can endanger lives doing this,"] Harry added. [b "If people believe that Voldemort doesn't pose any real threat, then they leave themselves open for Death Eaters to attack. What the Ministry is doing is incredibly irresponsible."]
He glanced at the large grandfather clock in the corner of the room. [b "We'd best get to Umbridge's detention. Wouldn't want her to tack on another one,"] he rose from his seat and offered his hand to Hermione to pull her up.
[i "I'll read some more. You guys just focus on detention,"] Ron tried to sound helpful, but Harry caught him looking wistfully over to the chess game Seamus and Neville were starting up.
Once the portrait door closed behind them, Harry let out a deep breath. [b "I'm too tired to deal with her. How strict do you think she's going to be? I can't imagine it'll be worse than going into the Forbidden Forest when we were eleven."]
It had shocked Hermione that even Ron had agreed to help them in the reading. Usually their red haired friend would be moaning and groaning about the idea of reading. But his statement about Umbridge said that he understood how much problematic the woman may be. So all she did was give a small smile as Harry gathered the snacks onto the plate and they made their way up to the Gryffindor common room.
The three were able to find a comfortable corner and the room was prettt much empty with most their house going down to dinner. It would be easy enough ane quiet enough to get some reading down. Or it would be if they focused on what they were looking for. It was after Harry had grabbed the great leather bound volume did she take one like it and huddle up in an armchair with it, instantly burying her nose in the book. Her attention was no longer in Hogwarts but upon what she was reading.
Page after page seemed almost useless and lacking in what they were looking for. But when she heard Harry's question did her eyes find a little bit of something she found of interest. [b "The last time they sent out Ministry personnel like this was when Gellert Grindelwald was at large and they worried he would corrupt the minds of young witches and wizards. For a little while they were in each of the schools to try and keep watch. Reports were constantly being sent to the Minister and read to make sure that all was as it should be.."] The girl said quietly as she looked to Ron and Harry.
Ron looked a little unsettled as that had been said. [i "So you're saying that they think You Know Who will try to get into the school again?"] Ron questioned.
Hermione rolled her eyes. [b "No, Ron... I think that they don't trust Dumbledore and think that he will try and get into our heads. You know all the rubbish that has been printed about both Harry and Dumbledore."] The girl said pointedly. She then sighed and looked down. Already she was tired and in need of coffee, but didn't say it. [b "Did either of you find anything?"]
Harry shifted the books in his arms, glancing at the hall as it filled up. [b "It's probably our best bet. With detentions tonight, this will be our only chance to get started today."]
[i "I'll come help,"] Ron chimed in. [i "You're right. Something's off about that woman."]
Harry raised his eyebrows with a smirk. [b "You're going to willingly read?"]
Ron shrugged. [i "Just give me the shortest book,"] he joked.
The black-haired boy quickly piled some snacks on to a plate and handed the books to Ron to carry. [b "We're going to need food before we go to Umbridge's class,"] he justified.
Back in the Gryffindor common room, they were fairly left alone with the majority of the students flooding to the Great Hall for dinner. Harry grabbed a thick leather-bound volume and dove in. It was mind-numbing and tedious, but if it gave them any clue as to what the Ministry could and couldn't get away with, it would be worth it.
Harry munched on a cookie as he turned the page, blinking away the sleep that was building up. He'd need a coffee before detention. [b "Any luck with you guys?"] he glanced up to look at Ron and Hermione over his glasses.
Brown eyes grew icy when the pink gargoyle had walked past them. Just a feeling of tension eminated around the woman. An off and odf feeling that was hardly given by others, but it was enough to once more put the bushy haired brunette on her guard again. Something just didn't sit right, especially with what they had heard about Umbridge and her seeming to evaulute the Herbology professor.
Quickly she shook her head and her attention was back on the boys as she followed after them. [b "I'm guessing we we're not. All the professors seemed off... And with Umbridge being a Ministry spy.. well she will be watching all of us like hawks. I think we should do what we had planned and soon, Harry."] Her words were quick and quiet as if she was afraid that they might be overheard.
As soon as they entered the Great Hall again, Hermione looked to the other two. [b "We have a free period... do you think maybe looking into the books now would be a good idea?"] The look she gave was pointed, especially after Umbridge's visit to the greenhouse.
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