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Slowly she gave a nod to him. She had known that her last option would not be taken well. And so without another word, the girl matched her steps to his once more as they used the silencing charm and began to try and slip past the woman in pink. But as they got closer, the girl's heart was racing because of what they were hearing and because Malfoy was one of Umbridge's little birds.
As they got out of the room and rapidly retreated to the Gryffindor common room, her head was reeling. She only just caught Harry's words. [b "This is not good at all. Especially if Malfoy is in charge of the informants...this means we'll have to be even more careful."] The girl whispered as she removed the cloak from them, muttering the password to get into the common room. The school year had just turned into even more of a nightmare.
[b "This weekend we'll have to start to try and gather others..."] Hermione said quietly and moved over to the corner of the common room and took a seat. Slowly she was rubbing her temples, suddenly having a huge headache. Any want for food or for sleep had been wiped away by what they had heard. [b "We have to tell Ron too..."]
[b "I'm definitely not leaving you here!"] he whispered adamantly.
So it would be one of the first two options. Harry muttered a quick silencing charm over the cloak, and gripped Hermione's hand to start edging towards the door.
Umbridge was standing in front of the desks in the classroom, hands clasped behind her back. Her usual tight-lipped smile was aimed at Malfoy and a few other Slytherin students. [b "Stay close,"] Harry spoke lowly in Hermione's ear.
[i "Mr Malfoy, are you leading me to believe that illegal doings are underway here at Hogwarts?"] Umbridge continued to speak.
[i "I'm suggesting, Professor, that if teachers aren't following orders, it's only a matter of time before the students stop following orders. Given the Ministry's new bylaws, it's safe to say that rules will be broken,"] Draco stood taller than her by a head, but still looked like a dutiful child.
[b "I ought to curse him into oblivion right right,"] Harry practically growled, thankful they'd put the curse on themselves.
[i "Then I'll need all of my watchers on high alert. Any suspicious activity at all will be reported to me immediately. I grant you permission to use a binding spell, if need be, to secure the suspects until I arrive,"] she ordered.
Harry's grip unintentionally tightened around Hermione's hand as he led them out the open door and rapidly towards the Gryffindor common room. [b "Okay, well, she's just given the blonde psychopath permission to curse students,"] he breathed deeply as his heart raced.
The girl just had remembered the plates when he had asked where to hide the orb. And honestly it had seemed the most logical way to go about it as well. Not that she would say it because she knew what they were doing was already breaking about ten school rules. And if she was nervous for it, the girl could only guess what her best friend felt. So with that being in mind, Hermione didn't speak until they came upon the icy Defense Against the Dark Arts classroom. It surprised her how it felt more like a prison's cell than a classroom. But agaim she kept the comment to herself.
Upon slipping into Umbridge's office, the pink was a hideous sight. There must have been at least fifty different shades and each clashed with the last. It was quite overwhelming to the senses and just the sight made her head spin slightly. Or was the spinning from her lack in eating and sleep? Honestly she didn't know and didn't regain her focus until the orb had been held out to her to transfigure. After she had and Harry slid it into place, a faint smile traced her lips. [b "See she won't even notice the difference or the new plate."]
Her words had just barely left her lips when she stiffened hearing the pink devil as well. Internally she was screaming and freaking out, but the girl kept her composure. She had honestly thought that they had longer. [b "Either we try and slip past her by using a silencing charm...or we are stuck here until she retires for the night or another professor distracts her."] She whispered as brown gaze locked with Harry's. Hermione would let him make the call. [b "Or you can go with the cloak and I can distract her...I'll tell her I was looking for her because I didn't understand the reading."]
He'd completely forgotten about those nauseating decorative plates. [b "Brilliant, Hermione!"] he beamed, once again grateful for her help.
Umbridge's class was just as cold while empty as it was full of students. [b "It doesn't even feel like a classroom anymore,"] he murmured, walking in step with her so they both stay hidden.
The only splash of colour came when they entered her office. And by splash, it was more of a tidal wave. Harry had never seen so much pink before in his life. It was almost blinding. [b "Is it bad that I didn't know that pink came in quite this many shades?"] he whispered, stepping past a horrifying armchair to get to the shelf she'd spoken about with the plates.
Harry held the orb out for Hermione to transfigure, biting back a grin when it took shape to match the other meowing cat plates. [b "Poor orb,"] Harry joked as he slid it into place.
It was that moment he heard Umbridge's voice and footsteps enter the classroom. [b "Shit!"] Harry muttered, turning to Hermione. [b "What are the odds we can slip past her?"]
Hermione was almost certain that Harry didn't quite believe her, but was grateful he didn't push it. She was almost sinking into the habit she had had their third year, though not because of classes. But she was quick to push those thoughts away when he joined her and soon they had made their way back to the common room.
Adrenaline almost did seem to be rushing through her at the prospect of the two of them breaking rules together. It usually was not something she was big on, but with or for Harry she was okay with it. And she did keep close to him while huddled under the cloak to make their steps match and if she were honest she just was comforted by it. Again not something she could say.
[b "She had all those cat plates lining the walls didn't she? Perhaps that is where we can hide it. Transfuguration if done properly won't change back from what you have changed an object to. If I get a good look at one of the plates I can change the orb to be a plate like one she has and we can replace it. She won't know the difference."]
Harry eyed her with concern, but let it be. He trusted her more than anything, so if she insisted she was fine, he would have no choice but to believe her. [b "Alright well...just tell me if you need medicine or anything? I'd hate to see you get sick due to working so hard."]
Her note of the time was enough change of the subject for him. [b "I'll get the orb from my trunk and then meet you in the common room. We can go from there. I already have my cloak."]
It was almost an adrenaline rush to be breaking school rules together again. Harry always enjoyed it more when it was Hermione joining him on mischievous adventures. Still, he had to push those thoughts away as he dug the orb from the trunk and met up with her again to go.
[b "We'll have to place it somewhere hidden enough that she won't see it, but where we'll still get a clear picture of what's going on,"] he murmured to her, huddled close under the cloak.
[b "If we get Lupin's help and he sends a list of curses and spells to practice I can look into them. And we can definitely practice them first. Like you said, it would be better to know what we'll be doing before trying to teach others."] The girl said, her cheeks flushing in a soft pink when he pressed his palm to her forhead.
Slowly she shook her head and gave a faint smile. [b "I'm fine, really. I just got distracted with the reading and my thoughts on what I'm asking of you here..and just a little tired."] The last part she had to add because she felt like she was lying if not. She also didn't want him asking again.
Hermione slipped the book into her bag as her gaze met Harry's and she sighed at seeing his look. [b "Umbridge should be out of her office now. If we hurry we can get that orb from the twins placed among her things."] She said as she stood, giving Harry a pointed look.
Harry sat quietly, taking in her explanation. It wasn't a horrible idea at all. If anything, it would give the students some semblance of dignity back. It was sort of empowering. [b "Just when I thought you couldn't get any more brilliant, Hermione,"] he laughed quietly.
The students will fight back under the Ministry's nose. Lupin might even be able to send them a list of curses to try. [b "If Lupin chooses to help, I'd like you and I to practice any spells he gives us before we go ahead and teach them to the class. That way we know what we're doing and we don't look like fools."]
Harry took notice of her full place. [b "Are you feeling alright? You've barely touched anything,"] he reached out a hand pressed his palm to her forehead. [b "You feel a little warm. Should I take you to the Hospital Wing?"]
The girl gave a small smile. She knew that it would not be easy and she had expected he would have a small issue with it. But she would never have thought of it if she didn't believe he could do it. [b "This won't at all be easy and many of them can be a little hard to get to listen.. But if they have the chance to really learn and to really know what is out there I think they'll come around. Besides you won't be alone...at least I'm definitely going to stand with you on this."] Her words again were soft as to not let anyone else hear their words.
Now he knew what she had been thinking and knew how crazy it sounded. But she also knew that he would possibly go along with it. [b "If we could get word out to Remus or even Tonks I know they would have advice to help...as to keeping this secret and having a place to meet... That part may be a little more complicated."] She whispered as she closed her book and poked at the food she still had left on the plate. Her gaze had wandered from Harry as she almost felt like she had let him down and was throwing him into something else.
[b "All of this is your call of course. It's why I wanted to run it by you without Ron being around..."]
Harry froze and blinked at her, his mouth opening and closing as he failed to form a sentence. Him? Teach? Their classmates hardly took him seriously enough as it was. [b "I don't..."] he began to say but cut himself off.
Maybe she was right. Maybe this was their solution. He wasn't as knowledgeable about the Dark Arts as their former professors, but Harry remembered enough from their classes to get them started. Maybe he could even correspond with Remus to get more information on counter-curses.
It was going to be risky. His classmates were not ones to take orders from someone their own age. They had a hard enough time obeying prefects. And after the debacle of last year with the Tournament, there were bound to be some that didn't trust him.
[b "Do you really think they would follow me? And want me to teach them?"] he asked her, almost shy.
He knew Hermione wouldn't lead him astray. If she had thought this through, than perhaps it would be their best chance. [b "We would need some place to practice. And some way to be certain that this would be kept a secret,"] he rubbed at his chin absentmindedly.
The girl had left the food she had brought with her untouched and instead had the book lying open in front of her. She was rubbing the bridge of her nose. Most of what she had read was the same as they had found before. That the Ministry would interfere when they feared there was a threat and their power and authority was being questioned. Quite the headache really.
When the boy entered and she felt him take the seat beside her, Hermione still did not look up. [b "It's very much as we found earlier. The only way to stop them is to prove they've no real reason in taking all these measures. Which from what we know of Umbridge will be nearly impossible.."] Came her quiet answer as she finally looked over at her friend.
[b "What I had been saying in class earlier... we need more on our side and we know others are.. Or at least Ron and I have heard comments from around when we have been on patrols. But they aren't as vocal... We need someone who has been there and has done it...a proper teacher. I was...if Ron and I can convince others would you be willing to set up a form of club and to help work with those of us willing to learn?"] Her voice was very low and words quick as she spoke.
[b "I'll be there soon,"] Harry confirmed.
He sat down with Ron and began digging in to the food, feeling a bit better once he got some food in his stomach. [i "Is something going on with you and Hermione?"] Ron was the first to break the silence.
Harry choked on a piece of chicken. [b "Why would you even think something like that? Everything's fine. Normal."]
The redhead narrowed his eyes. [i "Yeah but, you're both being kind of secretive."]
It wasn't exactly a lie. Truth be told, Harry didn't know how to approach the question. [b "There's nothing going on. We're just studying."]
Ron didn't seem convinced, but dropped the subject. Harry finished his food in record time and gathered his things. [b "See you after rounds!"]
He'd never been so grateful for silence as he was when he entered the library. It didn't take him long to find Hermione, seated at her usual table. [b "Have you found anything?"] he asked, taking a seat next to her.
Inwardly the girl was cringing at both her friends. Honestly she hadn't been eating much in the last couple of days but she had not thought they had taken notice. Or more like she had hoped they hadn't. More specifically Harry because he did tend to worry about her more even when he had his own plate of worries and it seemed to become piled higher and higher.
[b "Alright...I'll take a little of the chicken too. Just I want to hurry and get up there before the library is too crowded."] She said, giving a faint smile to the boys. And she had to admit she was a little shocked when Harry said he would be joining her. Well she knew he had commented back at Grimmauld Place that the common room could be a little loud and their housemates nosy but she had not given it much thought.
[b "It would be nice to have the company.."] Hermione found herself saying as she gathered the fruit, juice and the one chicken leg that had been held out to her. [b "Good luck with rounds later, Ron. And Harry remember we have something other than just homework to do too..."]
Harry managed to refrain from frowning, wanting to point out that she should eat a full meal if she was going to put in all that work. However, he knew his friend would not change her mind. [b "I'll join you after dinner. Ron has patrol, so it'll be better than sitting in the Common Room by myself."]
Ron nodded. [i "I'm on grounds patrol tonight, so I'll be a while. It's with Hannah Abbott, so it shouldn't be too bad."]
After stepping inside the castle, the boys hastily retied their ties. [b "At least take a little more than just juice and fruit?"] Harry looked at Hermione with concern.
[i "Plenty of chicken legs,"] Ron held one out to her.
[b "Either you take more than just fruit, or I'll bring you up a heaping plate of food when I go up to join you,"] Harry threatens.
The girl nodded and gave a sheepish smile. [b "I'd like that. Also would really appreciate it not being mentioned to Ron."] Hermione said quietly as they touched down just before their friend. It was more her way of asking for something that they could do to spend time together alone from time to time. She figured it would be nice and maybe even help her ease up a bit as well on the whole flying thing.
Once Ron had touched down as well, Hermione took all of their robes and ties along with the two brooms so that their red haired friend could help carry the equipment back in. It was amusing to hear the banter back and forth between the boys and made her think how much like brothers they really were. And it made her see her own fondness of them as well. But she didn't let her thoughts linger long in that direction before they all had gotten back to the lockerroom.
Honestly though she had been able to relax, her stomach still felt a bit queasy and like she had left it on the Quidditch Field. [b "Actually I was going to take some fruit and juice with me to the librabry. I'm going to start both Professor Flitwick's assignment and Professor Grubby-Plank's. Maybe even do some 'light' reading to see what else I can find out."] Hermione whispered, giving the boys a faint smile before handing them both their ties and robes back. Once she had, the bushy haired girl turned away from both her friends.
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