crawled into the common room, wincing slightly. It was her first day out of the
hospital wring since the fight at the Ministry of Magic. Neville, Ginny, and
Ron were behind her; Harry also followed, but at
the sight of the Creevey brothers, fled. Hermione
understood; the last thing he needed was to be asked how he felt, when he
clearly felt miserable. Hermione herself had been horrified that Sirius was
dead – she couldn’t fathom what Harry, who loved Sirius like a father, must
have been feeling.
“Hermione!” Angelina Johnson rushed over. “Ron! Where were
you two? How’d you both get hurt?”
of the Gryffindor House was now coming towards them. That had never happened to
bit her lip. “Um… it is a very, very long story.”
people are saying you three were involved with those Death Eaters a few nights
ago,” Katie Bell said. “Is that true?”
turned to see Professor McGonagall behind them, leaning on her cane. She smiled
slightly, something Hermione didn’t think she’d witnessed before.
Professor?” Hermione asked.
am sorry to take you away from your friends, just as you return, but I want to
have a word with you,” ProfessorMcGonagall
felt her heart sink. Had she failed all her O.W.L.S.? Was she in trouble for,
as Prefect, failing to keep the other students at Hogwarts?
led Hermione into her office. “Sit down,” she said.
sat nervously, wondering what was going on.
I fail my O.W.L.S., Professor?” Hermione asked.
have not gone over your results yet, but I am sure you did not fail any,” ProfessorMcGonagall
tried to think of what she could have done wrong.
Granger… this year, needless to say, was not a good one,” ProfessorMcGonagall
began. “No, it was likely one of the worst we have ever had, along with the
attacks four years ago, and the first time the Chamber of Secrets was opened –
and, I suppose, the escape of Sirius…”
was an awkward silence; they both knew full well what ProfessorMcGonagall
had meant, but it did not make the words any easier to take in.
I mean is,” McGonagall continued, “there was quite a bit of tension, and I
think you felt particularly threatened, because of your friend, Harry Potter.
However… just recently, Marietta
told me you were behind hexing her face – out of the earshot of Professor Umbridge, of course. And according to Dolores Umbridge, Draco Malfoy, and countless Centaurs, you led her
to the Forbidden Forest,
as well as implied that Dumbledore indeed did have a dangerous weapon. Are
those things true?”
bit her lip; all those things were true. But she had only been trying to do the
I just wanted to teach them a lesson,” Hermione said. “And the weapon lie, that
was just so Harry would not have to reveal Sirius’s location! She was going to
force him to.”
did not look remotely touched. “Let’s start off with Miss Edgecome.
What you did to Miss Edgecome was what Muggles call harassment, Miss Granger.”
blinked. “But… but I didn’t threaten her, or…”
but you gave her a constant reminder of a mistake she made,” McGonagall replied
firmly. “A mistake she made under an enormous amount of pressure. Was it the
right thing to do? No. But Kingsley ’s
Memory Charm was not permanent, Miss Granger. He put one on her while she was
being questioned – but after that, she could have told Professor Umbridge. But she refused to do so. Yes, what Miss Edgecome did was wrong, but when she realized what would
happen as a consequence, she backed off. That was all she needed. Instead,
until your charm goes away, it will be a constant reminder.”
remembered Tonks making an offhand comment that when
she used her real looks, she looked a lot like a relative she never exactly
admired. At the time, she had felt bad for Tonks,
feeling that nobody should have to look in the mirror, and be reminded of
something they couldn’t help. Hadn’t she done that to Marietta,
though? Yet, Marietta had chosen to
do what she’d done.
chose to, Professor,” Hermione said timidly. She didn’t like standing up to a
teacher, but she had no idea what else to do. “I… I wasn’t trying to hurt her,
I just saw no other way. And the charm will go away in time.”
then, she may be scarred,” McGonagall pointed out. “Miss Granger, I am simply
trying to make you understand that what you did was wrong. Now… may I bring up Umbridge?”
sighed. Even then, she had wondered if it wasn’t a mistake. “I was… well, I was
panicked, Professor. I know it was a bad idea now, but I was so scared, I sort
of… lost control.”
what worries me,” McGonagall said. “You could have cost Dolores Umbridge her life. Dumbledore managed to cover for you, but
it might not have been that easy under different circumstances.”
Hermione said slowly. “I see.”
you really want Umbridge to die?” McGonagall
continued. “I know you were not fond of her, and I… well, I understand why. But
did you think she deserved to die?”
slowly shook her head. “No, Professor. I just… wasn’t thinking.”
sighed. “Miss Granger… you have no excuse for not thinking. I am sorry, but
there simply is none. The reason I asked you to be Prefect was because I was
certain you could do the job – and yet, you have hexed a student and put a
faculty member in mortal peril. These are behaviors a Prefect should be very
realized she was wringing her hands. “You… you aren’t going to… take away my
badge, are you?”
now, no,” McGonagall said. “But if I feel that you do not truly realize the
seriousness of your actions, I may have to. Furthermore, what you have done
definitely makes me question your capability of being Head Girl.”
once in her life, Hermione did not feel nearly as horrified at the prospect of
not being Head Girl as she had before. As McGonagall’s words sunk in, she
realized the Professor was, as always, absolutely right.
Marietta had betrayed Dumbledore’s
Army. Yes, Umbridge was a tyrannical, horrible woman.
But surely none of them had truly deserved what they had gotten?
sorry, Professor,” Hermione said quietly.
Miss Granger,” Professor McGonagall began. “You are a very bright young lady –
and fiercely loyal to your friends. I have no doubt in my mind that your
actions were made with nothing less than good intentions. Yet, we must remember
that sometimes, what seems to be the right thing might come with heavy
consequences. Also, we must remember not to always consider only the issue –
but the people involved.”
McGonagall’s words sunk in, and Hermione found herself thinking. Did she really
want anyone to be hurt, even if they had done something terrible? Did anyone
deserve pain? And did Hermione really want to do things at the risk of others
try,” Hermione said. “I just… I just want to make a stand!” she said suddenly.
know you do,” McGonagall said. “And that is why I know you will be a good Head
Girl, if you simply try. However, you need to learn that there are ways not to
do things at the expense of others. Do you think you can do that?”
nodded. “I think I can.”
smiled. “I think you can too, Miss Granger. And I see potential in you.”
looked at a clock behind her chair. “I must do some things,” she said. “Take
care, Miss Granger.”
smiled. “You too, Professor.”
left the office, and on her way back to the Gryffindor common room, she saw
Marietta Edgecome leaving the library, a balaclava
around her head.
Marietta?” Hermione said timidly,
gave Hermione a dirty look. “Going to brag, Granger?”
Hermione said. “I wouldn’t ever do that. I just wanted to apologize, okay?”
snorted. “If you want to make it up, erase this bloody hex from my face.”
don’t know how to reverse it, or I would,” Hermione admitted. “But it will go
away, I promise.”
by the time we leave school, maybe a little later,” Hermione said. She took a
deep breath. “Look – what I did was wrong, okay? And I am sorry. But… but I
really didn’t have much of a choice.”
did I,” Marietta
so I guess we both… well, as my friend Ron would say, blew it big time,”
Hermione said, slightly surprised that she’d used such an
informality – especially at a time like this.
a moment, Marietta gave a hint –
just a hint – of a smile.
Hermione continued, “I really just want you to know… I was thinking
irrationally at the time…”
well… I suppose everyone was,” Marietta
said. “But still… it’s not like you had to make me live with it.”
but then… you really did betray us,” Hermione said.
how was this going to stop that?” Marietta
bit her lip. “Well…” She hadn’t really thought of that; it had just been a way
to make the betrayer feel guilty.
I have to go,” Marietta
Hermione said, slightly confused. Had Marietta forgiven her or not? “Well… bye.”
walked away, although for a moment, she did look back at Hermione – without
scowling or frowning.
walked back to the common room; yet again, a bunch of people called hello. She
had never realized that so many people had actually cared she was
that Hermione had thought they wouldn’t care; rather, she hadn’t really thought
of it to begin with.
McGonagall was right; maybe it was time to think about other people.
as Hermione joined Ron and Ginny in a circle of chairs (Harry seemed to still
be in his dorm), she found herself trying to listen to a Quidditch
she wanted things to change, perhaps the change would have to come from within.
then again, Hermione thought, maybe it already has.