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Push & Pull: Chapter 7

Chapter 7: The Thunderbird in Hogwarts

"Hi Hermione." Cedric Diggory said with a smile before he sat next to Ginny. Although surprised, the bushy haired Gryffindor managed to return the gesture. "Hello Cedric. What can I do for you?"

Her question put a frown on the young man's handsome face. Hermione can only suppose he's going to tell her a bad news, and by the looks on her friends' faces, they too were anticipating the same thing.

This is also the reason why they all were surprised when Cedric chuckled. "Don't be so glum." He said. "Well, at least not you Patil. And the Weasleys." He added switching from the olive skinned girl to the ginger haired siblings.

"What is it?" Ron couldn't help but ask. If he didn't he's afraid he'd do something else like thinking. And really, thinking isn't his favorite pastime.

"Well, you go to your rounds as per usual tonight. With Abbott." Cedric said addressing Ron before he turned to Hermione. He fixed his tie before he did and Ginny swore she saw him gulp. Parvati also noticed Cedric's sudden change of expression but knew better than to point it out.

"Hermione I know you'd dislike it but I have no choice. McGonagall specifically requested for your participation in this." Cedric started. "What kind of request would Professor McGonagall make that I'd not be happy about?" Hermione asked looking at Cedric like he said something stupid.

"A task that requires you to share it with Draco Malfoy."
"Do you have any idea why it has to be us?" Hermione asked as she and Draco walked to the carriage where their supposed task is situated. It was chilly and she, due to her anxiety hasn't even taken into consideration the temperature outside.

"I don't." Draco responded not meeting her eyes. He put his hands in his pockets due to the cold. The cool air sent shivers to his spine but unlike Granger, he was wise enough to put on a thick cloak before leaving the castle.

"How do we know what time this ends?" The witch asked again. "No idea." Came Draco's short response. He doesn't even know why he's bothering to talk to her.

"Don't you think it's too late for a task? It's already half past 9." Hermione said. It really is an unusual task to be waiting by a carriage with nothing more than an instruction that they get back when the right time comes.

When is the right time anyway?

"Don't you bloody shut up? Salazar! Why'd you have to be a freaking blabber mouth!?" Draco snapped. He really didn't want to raise his voice but the Gryffindor just didn't know when to stop.
It was fascinating to watch how the Gryffindor's cheeks turned crimson after his outburst. It wasn't the angry red she usually has when arguing with him, but a scarlet color that of embarrassment. It took him a few seconds to realize he was staring and it seems she too didn't notice.

There was silence after Draco's display of apparent annoyance and not one word was spoken while they stood by the carriage. They reached it at 10 and although clueless on what to expect upon waiting, none of them tried to break the ice.

Hermione had her eyes on the ground. It was the first time she's seen Draco so frustrated at her and she wasn't even picking a fight. Although she didn't want to admit, he frightened her a bit.

While contemplating between keeping quiet and trying to start conversation, Hermione wrapped her arms around her. And by the sound her companion is making, she guessed that he too was struggling with the cold air that touched their skin. Although he pretty much got himself all covered except his face.

The truth is, Draco is indeed struggling. However, his reasons for making teeth crashing against teeth sounds wasn't because they were chattering involuntarily. No. He was grinding his teeth because he was frustrated.

He was frustrated of her for being too inquisitive when he wanted peace and quiet and get things over with. But he found he was more frustrated of himself for not forgetting how her hand felt against his that time he helped her up and now the sight of her red cheeks was burned in his memory. How she affected him the way she did, he had no idea.

Hermione was sure her heart stopped for a while when she felt something warm wrap around her. She was deep into her thoughts about this task that she didn't even notice the Slytherin move to wrap a cloak on her shoulders. When she looked up to her side, he was already looking forward not meeting her gaze. He had his arms to his chest, now that he was in her previous predicament.

"Nobody will know about this." Draco said but he didn't turn to face her as he spoke. "Mark my words Granger. I swear-" he supplied but she cut him.

"Or what? Your father will hear about this?" Hermione said apparently not thinking her words over but her actions told her companion she realized it soon enough when she covered her mouth.
"Think it's funny do you? I didn't think you were dumb enough to go out in the cold with just your uniform." Draco said livid. And he too, just like Hermione, realized he was acting nothing like the prefect that he is.

"I'm sorry." They said at the same time.

Hermione's big brown eyes widened the same time Draco's steel grey eyes did. The two of them were staring at each other with awe when they heard a voice.

"I hope I didn't interrupt anything."
"Alex Russo." Says Alex as she extended her hand. The tall blonde young man was first to come up to his senses and stepped forward to reach her.

He was about to accept her hand but failed to hold it when she put it down and looked at him from head to toe. "Not so fast." Alex said. "You're not born to no-maj are you?" She added with a question.

"Pft." Was the blonde's response as he put his hand down and smirked. It was the first time someone refused a hand shake from him after Potter. "Ilvermorny? Let me guess." He said as he moved to circle her where she stood.

By the dangerous looks on the young man's face, Alex knew what she did was wrong. Now she was under his scrutiny and she was in his territory. His grey eyes bore onto her so intensely, it's as if he was trying to melt her with his gaze.

"Thunderbird, are you not?" He spoke once more. This time, his voice was nowhere near cordial. He finished his scrutiny and stopped in front of her.

"Granger, this one's allergic of you." He said. Alex watched as he turned to the only other person present in the area. He wore an amused look on his face, Alex was sure she found the wizard she's going to marry.

"I'll have you know, that's not the proper way to speak to a prefect. That's no way to speak to a Slytherin. You have in no way, any right to address a Malfoy the way you did. And that's not how you're supposed to speak to me." He said addressing her this time.

"That over there is Granger. She's one of the Gryffindor Prefects. And I'm Malfoy." The blonde Slytherin by the name of Malfoy said as he stretched an arm to offer her a hand shake.

Alex was about to take it but it was him who took his hand away from her reach this time. She watched as he nodded towards the Granger girl who for the most part looked dumbfounded and as mesmerized as she is of the only wizard present.

"Cat got your tongue Granger?" The Malfoy boy said as he grinned at the bushy haired girl. He followed her onto the carriage and sat himself next to the other prefect before turning his attention back to the new comer.

"You coming Thunderbird?"