Nine o’clock. Hermione sighed. One more hour and she’ll need to go back to her dorm. She ran her hand on her face, pushing a strand of hair aside, frustrated.This arithmancy problem was impossible to solve. And for Hermione to say that, it meant something.
She heard whispers a few tables away and glanced at the ones at fault clearly annoyed. Malfoy and Crabbes seemed to be arguing and next to them Theodore Nott looked at her and mouthed “Sorry”. She frowned and got back to her work.
She scribbled on her parchment a few formulas before she crossed out everything. The numbers did not make sense. Her results did not make sense. It was the first time she couldn’t answer a problem and being one month away from her O.W.L.s stressed her even more. She scribbled some more, but nothing really satisfying.
She let her mind wander to the list of homeworks she had to do for the following week, and the D.A. meeting she would have to plan with Harry and maybe she should have a cup of tea with Professor McGonagall.
She was brought back to Earth by someone coughing to attract her attention. She rose her head to face Theodore Nott.
“Hum… Hey Granger!” He smiled awkwardly. “Is this the arithmancy problem you’re working on ?”
“Yes.” She sighed. “But I’m completely stuck here. It doesn’t make sense at all.”
Theodore motionned to the chair next to hers. “Can I ?” She nodded. “Actually I saw Professor Vector today, he told me he made a mistake in the wording.” He reached into his bag and gave her his own subject as he had corrected it.
“That makes sense !” Hermione smiled, relieved. She copied it quickly on her own subject and set to work.
To her surprise the Slytherin stayed next to her and watched her work. When she finished she looked at her work to proofread it.
“I’m sure it’s correct, Granger.” Seeing her surprised look he shrugged. “You’re always right. And I found the same result.”
“Well, thank you, Nott.” She smiled.
Theodore glanced back at the table where his friends were still arguing. He looked Hermione in the eyes and whispered :
“No, thank you.” When she visibly did not understand what he meant he explained. “Thank you for the quills and spell to fool Umbridge.” (*)
“You don’t need to thank me for that. Like I said, no one deserves that kind of punishment.” She began to put her things back in her bag and checked the time. A quarter to ten. “You should go back to your dorm too, curfew’s in fifteen minutes.”
Theo stood up when she did and they faced each other in an awkward silence before he finally broke it.
“Thanks Granger, have a good night.” She nodded to him.
“Have a good night, too, Nott.”
She turned to leave and he left to go back to his friends. Just before she reached the last bookshelf she glanced back, surprised to see Theodore Nott still looking at her. He nodded to her one last time and they both turned to go back to their respective dorm.
(*) CF my other OS _ Tea Plot.