156 Hermione Slap
The relationship between Hermione, Arth, Ron, And Harry had become a amicable once more, however, there was still some awkwardness when they talked to each other. Plus, Arth was formulating a plan for Ron.
(AN: I'm sorry but I had to put that paragraph there before people start hating me for "oh you made Ron and Arth friends again". They are not friends. They are just friendly. Remember that."
The safety measures imposed on the students since Black's second break-in made it impossible for them to go and visit Hagrid in the evenings. Their only chance of talking to him was during Care of Magical Creatures lessons.
He seemed numb with shock at the verdict.
"S'all my fault. Got all tongue-tied. They was all sittin' there in black robes an' I kep' droppin' me notes and forgettin' all them dates yeh looked up fer me, Hermione And Arth. An' then Lucius Malfoy stood up an' said his bit, and the Committee jus' did exac'ly what he told 'em..."
"I should've been there with you," said Arth. "I could've made it so that the Committee would've have been embarrassed to side with Lucius Malfoy. That is, if Wizarding laws are anything like muggle laws."
"There's still the appeal!" said Ron fiercely. "Don't give up yet, we're working on it!"
They were walking back up to the castle with the rest of the class. Ahead they could see Malfoy, who was walking with Crabbe and Goyle, and kept looking back, laughing derisively.
"S'no good, Ron," said Hagrid sadly as they reached the castle steps. "That Committee's in Lucius Malfoy's pocket. I'm jus' gonna make sure the rest o' Beaky's time is the happiest he's ever had. I owe him that..."
Hagrid turned around and hurried back toward his cabin, his face buried in his handkerchief.
"Look at him blubber!"
Malfoy, Crabbe, and Goyle had been standing just inside the castle doors, listening.
"Have you ever seen anything quite as pathetic?" said Malfoy. "And he's supposed to be our teacher!"
Harry and Ron both made furious moves toward Malfoy and Arth took out his wand, but Hermione got there first —
She had slapped Malfoy across the face with all the strength she could muster. Malfoy staggered. Arth, Harry, Ron, Crabbe, and Goyle stood flabbergasted as Hermione raised her hand again.
"Don't you dare call Hagrid pathetic, you foul — you evil —"
"Hermione!" said Ron weakly, and he tried to grab her hand as she swung it back.
"Get off, Ron!"
Ron flinched and immediately backed away while Arth slowly put his wand back into his pocket. It seemed that he no longer needed it.
Hermione pulled out her wand. Malfoy stepped backward. Crabbe and Goyle looked at him for instructions, thoroughly bewildered.
"C'mon," Malfoy muttered, and in a moment, all three of them had disappeared into the passageway to the dungeons.
Arth let out a disappointed sigh.
"You should've hexed them Hermione, then I could've wiped their memory so we don't get in trouble."
However, he was promptly ignored. Arth couldn't tell if it was on purpose or just nature acting out again.
"Harry, you'd better beat him in the Quidditch final!" Hermione said shrilly. "You just better had, because I can't stand it if Slytherin wins!"
"We're due in Charms," said Harry, with a wry smile. "We'd better go."
Arth and Hermione split off from Harry and Ron before slipping into an empty classroom.
They spun the time turner twice and continued their way to Arithmancy. After the class, Hermione fell asleep and Arth hesitated on whether to wake her up or leave her alone to rest. In the end, Arth let her sleep for four hours before waking her up and turning the time turner five times.
Hermione wouldn't stop thanking Arth for waking her up, though she was mad that he didn't wake her up sooner.
They quickly rejoined Harry and Ron who were heading to charms and practiced their cheering charms.
Together they climbed the ladder into the dim, stifling tower room. Glowing on every little table was a crystal ball full of pearly white mist. Arth, Harry, Ron, and Hermione sat down together at the same rickety table.
"I thought we weren't starting crystal balls until next term," Ron muttered, casting a wary eye around for Professor Trelawney, in case she was lurking nearby.
"Don't complain, this means we've finished palmistry," Harry muttered back. "I was getting sick of her flinching every time she looked at my hands."
"Good day to you!" said the familiar, misty voice, and Professor Trelawney made her usual dramatic entrance out of the shadows. Parvati and Lavender quivered with excitement, their faces lit by the milky glow of their crystal ball.
"I have decided to introduce the crystal ball a little earlier than I had planned," said Professor Trelawney, sitting with her back to the fire and gazing around. "The fates have informed me that your examination in June will concern the Orb, and I am anxious to give you sufficient practice."
"Well, honestly... 'the fates have informed her'... who sets the exam? She does! What an amazing prediction!" she said, not troubling to keep her voice low. Harry and Ron choked back laughs while Arthur raised an eyebrow.
Hermione was especially vicious today.