Harry was sitting his dorm by the fire with Ron, working on his Defense Against the Dark Arts paper (a full fourteen inches just about trolls), as usual. Hermione was sitting by the fire, reading over her Runes textbook, working on next week's homework for Defense Against the Dark Arts, and muttering away about how she was just positive she failed that Transfiguration test, and getting angry when Ron and Harry didn't answer.
"...and I said to Professor McGonagall that I meant to put C instead of B, and she told me not to worry, that's she's sure I did-"
"Hermione, shut UP!" Ron groaned in exasperation. "I'm sure you got, like, an OO. Outstanding Outstanding. I just made that up, but I'll bet that's what you got."
Hermione, looking dangerously close to tears, slammed her Runes book shut and ran off.
"Well, now you've done it," Harry whispered to Ron, knowing Hermione wasn't out of earshot. "Have fun apologizing to her later."
"Who said I was going to apologize?" Ron hissed back. "She deserves it. I think she's just rubbing it in now."
"And I feel the same. But Ron, mate, she looked hurt."
Ron sighed. "I guess you're right, Harry." Then, "Harry! What did Snape say that vampires dislike?"
"Your guess is as good as mine."
Just behind the door, Hermione watched them, tears falling. She sighed, knowing the conversation was now going to be about finishing the essay. She dried her tears and ran off.
Ron and Harry were so into their work, they almost didn't hear the scream. Almost.
The scream was high-pitched, obviously feminine, and was abruptly cut off after a few seconds. Ron looked at Harry and gulped, and Harry dropped his pencil and sprinted down the stairs.
It was in the Great Hall he saw it. A trail of a liquid so thick and so red, it had to be blood. He followed the blood like a dog follows a scent until he found the source.
Her hair was brown and matted with same heart-stoppingly scarlet blood. Her eyes were wide open and glazed over, mouth was open from shock. And dead. Around the body, the blood kept flowing, freely swimming around her.
Harry thought the girl looked familiar, but it wasn't until he saw the red-and-yellow Gryffindor tie he recognized the girl.