by alejandra

Hermione had thought that her first time would, perhaps, be Ron. Or Harry. Her best friends -- first times were supposed to be the sort of thing one shared with people one loved. She wanted to share it with someone who knew her, someone who could anticipate when she would get panicky, someone who could calm her down. Someone who could say, "Hermione," in an exasperated tone and still make her feel turned on, wanted. Well, Ron was right out, then, but -- but someone with freckles and bright hair and sharp eyes and long limbs.

Of course, there was always the chance that Ron would be as ignorant about the proceedings as she was, and that Harry would be just as focused inward. Unless they'd both already had their first times, and hadn't told her. She doubted that, though, because Ron couldn't keep a secret to save his life, and Harry didn't seem very interested in girls. If Harry was interested in a girl, there was no way in Merlin's six hells that the girl would be able to keep it a secret -- she'd get death threats from the other girls, and probably some other people in the Wizarding world, and Rita Skeeter would post an expose on her childhood, and the Quibbler would have a whole issue devoted to how the poor girl was really a mermaid or some other tosh.

And, anyway, maybe Harry was interested in boys. Nobody ever thought of that. Maybe after the lights went out, Harry and Seamus -- oh.

No, probably not. But it seemed rather likely that all boys did that occasionally, especially in places like Hogwarts where boys outnumbered girls 7-to-1 (or Durmstrang, where the ratio was more like 10-to-1).

Hermione researched that anyway, because who ever heard of a gay wizard? Apparently the most famous gay wizard was a witch named Cecilia. She ran a saloon from 1876 through 1941, when she and her lover were kidnapped by Muggles and burned to death in ovens to make Muggle soap.

Sometimes Hermione wished she didn't come from the non-magical part of the world, because hearing about events like that made her feel nauseated.

There was almost no information about gay witches and wizards otherwise, and Hermione was determined not to bollocks-up her first time, but there was also almost no information about anything else. There were indices of spells that Hermione couldn't find the books to learn, and indices of pornography that Hermione couldn't find the books to look at, and indices of romantic novels like the ones Lavender and Parvati were always giggling over, but Hermione couldn't find the books themselves.


Which didn't matter anyway. Hermione knew the basics. She knew how it worked. She just wanted to know more, which she always did -- the kind of more that wasn't in Parvati's romantic novels, but in textbooks. Facts. There should be facts. Maybe even a graph.

That was her comfort zone: graphs. Charts. Explanations. Something to guide her through Ron's awkward fumbling or Harry's quiet desperation.

Or Malfoy's brutal sneering and painful shoving. Goyle's slobbering lips. Crabbe's pinching fingers. Zabini's bored eye-rolling. Pucey's bad breath wafting across her nose, Warrington's apologetic "So sorry," whispered as he pulled away.

They left her on the table in the library, all the books shushing each other, pages flipping, scrolls snapping. She slid down to the floor, legs unsteady, thighs sticky and quivering. Draco's spit had crusted on her cheek, and something was running down her thigh.

She looked down -- blood.

Her stomach heaved and she leaned against the table leg, crouching, closed her eyes to regain her equilibrium. Her mind replayed, in full color and sound, Malfoy shoving himself off her, rubbing his blood between his fingers, saying, "Hm. I thought it would look dirtier."

Then he stepped back and let Goyle have seconds.

The left hand of the master, Hermione thought bitterly. She breathed in through her nose the way Ginny had showed her when Hermione still thought she could learn to meditate. It didn't work to calm her down.

She felt oddly disconnected from herself. Malfoy's spit made her cheek feel tight, and the collar of her robe was wet where Goyle drooled on it, and her robe, blouse, and skirt were cut down the front from Pucey's knife, and there were bruises all over her chest from Crabbe's fingers. But she didn't really feel those things. Hermione was somewhere inside this body, she knew it, but she wasn't -- she couldn't -- there was no.

There was nothing.

She opened her eyes to the darkness of the library. "This is what you get for studying after curfew," she said out loud.

"I would think they'd be less inclined to that sort of ridiculous behavior considering that now important elements of creating heirs are now covered with your blood and various other... fluids."

Hermione's head jerked. Theodore Nott, his nose wrinkled like he smelled rotting pumpkin, was leaning against one of the shelves, arms crossed on his chest. One of his fingers appeared to be petting the spine of a book.

"Come to take your turn?" she asked, and struggled to stand.

"Here." He stretched out one arm, his robe draping dramatically as he handed her back her wand.

She took it. Luckily that didn't mean she had to move very far away from the table as her legs still couldn't hold her up.

She debated what to do, ignoring Nott. If this was the Muggle world, she would go straight to hospital and have samples taken and be subjected to humiliating exams and then talk to the police to bring charges against Malfoy and his prat mates.

But the Wizarding world didn't seem to have such things in place -- one never read about the Wizarding police or Wizards getting into trouble for assaulting each other. There were no meetings of witches who were -- survivors. Of anything. No Wizarding marriage counselors. No --

"Don't," said Nott softly. He pointed his wand at her, and she cringed away before she could help it. "Tersify. Resarcio."

Hermione snorted at the word, but could feel -- everything -- become. Clean. Her skirt and blouse mended themselves, and her robe knit itself back together, all the way up to her chin.

"It'll only go worse for you," he said, and came out of the shadows.

"So I should just -- forget?"

"No." He smirked at her. "Nec alieno venia."

"What, is that your family's motto?" she asked sarcastically.

He stepped closer to her. She had no place to go but onto the table, which she refused to do. She forced her limbs to remain steady, to hold her up.

"Yes, as a matter of fact," he said. "Do you know what it means?"

"Neither forgive nor forget," she said, and lifted her chin. "How could you just stand there and let them do that to me?"

"And make myself enemies defending you? I don't think so." He ran a finger down her cheek where Malfoy's spit had been. "However, I didn't participate. Don't you want to know why?"

"Because you're a -- "

"No," he said over her words. "Because I am disinterested in their petty games. I will tell you something my parents taught me as a child. Knowledge before blood."

"But you're Death Eaters."

"My family? Nonsense. Do we support the death of all Muggles? No. Do we support Wizards coming to power in the Muggle world? No. Do we support killing all Mudbloods? No." Nott shook his head. "You must be thinking of my father's brother. Not a smart fellow. However, we also don't support allowing our family to be decimated by prejudiced Muggles who are afraid of what they don't understand, or having our rights taken away by Wizards who feel badly for those without magic And -- "

"So?" interrupted Hermione. "I should let Malfoy win because that means I'm smarter? That's shite -- and you know it." Hermione wrapped one arm around her stomach. The other held her wand. She leveled it at Nott. "Why didn't you help me?" She was dismayed to hear a quiver in her voice. How embarrassing.

"I already told you." He sounded amused. "I didn't help you because it wouldn't have been smart for either of us. And, frankly, you should know better than to be out and about after curfew without an invisibility cloak."

She scowled at him. He took a step back, and then another, and then another.

"Your problem is," he continued, "that you're a Gryffindor, and therefore always thinking like a Gryffindor. Do you even really believe in bad things? Think like a Slytherin; we're not all bad." He bowed to her and then melted into the shadows of the Restricted Section.

She stared after him for a moment, then moved. First one foot, then the other. He'd cleaned her, but not healed her, and it felt as though there was a gaping hole between her legs, but she couldn't remember any of the healing charms she'd memorized back in First Year.

Eventually she made it back to the dormitory. The Gryffindor common room was only a few first years playing Exploding Snap and one doing his homework. She walked slowly into the small room she shared with Lavender and Parvati and collapsed onto her bed. She didn't know what she would have done if they'd all been there -- could she even interact with anyone? Likely not. But where were they? A Dumbledore's Army meeting she'd forgotten about?

She looked at the clock on the wall -- it stuck its tongue out at her and crossed its eyes. It wasn't even half-eight yet; where had all the professors been? Filch? If she'd been sneaking about the corridor, Snape would have appeared as if from nowhere -- held down and -- and -- in the Library, and no one is there to take House points or give her detention for soiling the Slytherins' Pureblood skin with her dirty blood.

Stupid Malfoy and his jeers and his minions. Hermione curled up on her side and held her stomach and pressed her wand to her face. She closed her eyes, but didn't cry.

"Think like a Slytherin," she murmured. "Is there a spell for that? Vindicat. Ulciscor. Ultionis."

"Macto, dear," said the mirror across the room. "To slay unto death for honor or punishment."

"How do you know that?" said Hermione. She sat up a little and looked into the mirror.

The mirror chuckled a little -- the tinkling sounded like breaking glass. "Do you think you're the first sad little Mudblood to sit on that bed?"


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