Chapter 2 : Until then...
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Once I had come down from the tower, I had only a few hours to pull myself together and look presentable until the minister would come to the school bringing with him my staff that I would be meeting for the first time. After I showered and dried, I pulled my hair back into a French twist, put on my black business skirt with matching black top, black Hogwarts robes, and black shoes. Being headmistress, I could wear whatever color robes I desired, but personally I liked black. It was plain, it was professional, and it matched with everything. Lastly, I applied a small touch of make up, and then my reading glasses, even though I didn’t really need them. I thought they made me look more sophisticated.
Descending my stairwell, I walked to my desk and sat down at it. For the first time in weeks it was clutter free, and didn’t have a single letter on it. Every morning since my arrival, the house elves had always put a fresh copy of The Daily Prophet on my desk, and every morning, I had just chucked it into the bin without so much as a single glance at it, but today, I couldn’t ignore the front page article that leaped out at me. It was ME. A large photograph of me right smack dab in the middle of the page directly under the headline: Dumbledore’s Successor; Will She Sink Or Swim? I couldn’t resist it. It was about me, I had to know what people were saying about me while I was stuck in this place that was beginning to feel like solitary confinement.
Hermione Granger, twenty years of age and single, is about to embark on her greatest adventure yet: being Headmistress at one of Europe’s most prestigious Wizarding Schools. It was announced to the press Monday that the young witch is to replace the late Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore. Voted the brightest witch of her age, Miss Granger is an unsurprising candidate for Headmaster, yet there is speculation as to whether Miss Granger’s young age and lack of professional teaching experience qualifies her for the job. Minister of Magic, Rufus Scrimgeour believes that she has what it takes. “Granger was preparing to graduate as Valedictorian in her year before the tragic strike, and she knows that castle like the back of her hand. Not to mention that temper of hers, I pity the student who gets on her bad side! [Chuckles] She can do it. If she can’t… well then there isn’t much hope out there for any of us. Damn determined that girl is, not a thing she can’t do. Give her a week and she’ll do it in a day twice as good as anyone on my payroll. Every one just needs to have a little faith in her.” Before the offer that changed her life, Hermione Granger was working as an assistant to the Head of Experimental Charms Committee, doing no justice to “that brain of hers” as put by her former boss, Gilbert Wimple. Miss Granger is currently mourning the loss of many loved ones, including famed Harry Potter and friend Ronald Weasley, son of admired Ministry worker Arthur Weasley. Miss Granger was unavailable for a comment on this article as her whereabouts are unknown, but the Prophet hopes that she will be back in the public eye when school starts again on September 1st. To Miss Granger if you are reading, we wish you the best of luck, you may need it.
-Lead reporter, Gloria Trombous
“Best of luck, you may need it? What? I hope they don’t know something I don’t.” I said to no one in particular.
“You’ve seen the paper, I take it my dear?”
I looked up and the Minister was standing in my doorway. “Oh, um, yes Minister, I have. I must thank you for your nice quote. It is comforting to know some one believes in me, even if I may not myself. Won’t you come in?” He shook his head.
“No, no. Please, do not thank me, it was nothing. And I was actually hoping that we could proceed to the Great Hall to meet the others. They shall be arriving shortly.”
“Of course Minister.” I rose from my desk and followed him to the Great Hall. When we got there, it was empty except for one man who was standing with his back to us and a large trunk by his side. The Minister approached him, so naturally, so did I.
“Miss Granger, my I introduce you to your new Herbology Professor, Neville Longbottom.” The man turned around, and smiled when his eyes hit mine.
“Hullo Hermione. Or should I say, Headmistress.”
“Oh please Neville, don’t tease me. It’s wonderful to see you again. Congratulations on getting the job! It will be great working with you.” I tried my best to sound happy, or at least normal, but I honestly hadn’t had this much social contact with any one of my old classmates since…it happened.
Neville’s cheeks tinged pink, and he lowered his eyes slightly.
“You haven’t changed at all Hermione, you’re still a great friend.”
“Aww, thanks Neville.”
“Ahem, excuse me Miss Granger, more have arrived.” The Minister whispered into my ear.
“Oh, well I’ve got to go meet the others. I’ll speak to you at dinner Neville.” I gave him a short wave as the Minister took hold of my elbow and gently pulled me over to some others. Neville was a good bloke, but I felt the need to get away from anyone who knew me in school, so in a way I was grateful for the switch. A few of the people in the group I recognized, and a few I didn’t. I began to worry a little bit because the few that I didn’t know look good few years older than me, and I didn’t want them to be resentful about working for someone younger.
Minister Scrimgeour directed me first to an elegant looking woman in deep red robes, with straight brown hair pulled neatly into a low ponytail so as not to cover her soft, friendly looking features.
“Miss Granger, this is Miss Carmondy Carmichael, she will be head of the Gryffindor house and will be teaching Arithmancy. Before she applied to Hogwarts she was working as a personal tutor to children in St. Mungo’s and running her own children’s bookstore in Hogsmeade.”
“It’s a pleasure to meet you Carmondy. I would love to discuss books with you some time.”
“Yes, that would be lovely.” She responded politely.
“Great. Now over here,” He pulled me over to a portly man with a thick mustache and a heavy upper lip. “Is Mr. Edward Eughlar.”
“That’s Eughlar, pronounced ‘you-lar’.” Mr. Eughlar interrupted.
“Oh, um alright, Eughlar, got it.” Something about his manner did not set right with me, and I was wishing the Minister would hurry up with his introductions already.
“Mr. Eughlar is heading the Ravenclaw house, and teaching Muggle Studies and Care for Magical Creatures. He was also one of the candidates for Headmaster.” The mist was back. My eyes clouded over, the tear ducts kicking into overdrive.
Poor Hagrid. What a great, great man he was.
I sniffed and looked up to the ceiling, holding the tears back.
“It is nice to meet you acquaintance sir, I look forward to deliberating with you.” I looked to Mr. Scrimgeour and gave him the ‘lets move on’ look.
“Do you think you’re going to able to run a whole school little lady?” Mr. Eughlar asked somewhat rudely.
Oh! Well if that’s what he’s really thinking…
“Yes. I know that I can.” I said confidently, even if I was still a bit worried on the inside. Who was he to question my authority? And I had only just met him as well! Prick…
“And over here is Mary McBride. She just moved here from Cork.”
“Oh, you’re from Ireland?” I asked. She nodded shyly. She was a petite little woman. Her wavy yellow hair fell sheepishly into her eyes when she looked to the floor.
“Mary will be heading Hufflepuff house and teaching transfiguration.”
She nodded again in compliance with what the Minister had said, and added, “I read this book… um, I think it’s called Hogwarts, A History but I’m afraid there is still a lot I do not understand about this school. It is much larger that anything I am used to.”
“Not to worry, Mary. That is Hermione’s favorite book, and I’m sure she would be happy to answer any of your questions.”
“Bye.” I said before being hauled off once again. I was parked in front of a very tall, very thin, and rather… pointy woman. She looked like she meant business. Her sharp nose alone made her look quite strict, but her height made her even more intimating. I suppose she was at least fifteen years older than me. The bags under her eyes and worry lines in her forehead hinted at her older age.
“Hermione, this is Priscilla Pinehurst. She is the librarian.”
“I do not tolerate ruckus of any kind. I hope I will be able to work with you, and not against you.” Priscilla said stiffly, her large nose pointed into the air.
“Ahem, of course, I… I agree.”
Why did I stutter? Now she’s going to think I’m a ninny.
“And here,” Minister Scrimgeour was moving more quickly now. “Lavender Brown, the History of Magic professor, you know her, correct? Wonderful, old friends together again, brilliant.” I flashed Lavender a halfhearted smile as I was ushered past her, and she gave a small one back. She was in the hospital wing on the bed next to me when Molly had me enervated, and she saw and heard everything. She pitied me no doubt, but all I could do now was follow the Minister on his little ‘meet and greet’ tour.
“Poppy Pomfrey, yes, still a devoted one that woman. You know her quite well if I’m not mistaken…” As I walked past her, Madame Pomfrey reached out and gave my hand a kind squeeze. “Jacque Sardou, the Defense Against the Dark Arts professor,”
“Pleasure.” He said, dipping into a short bow.
“Jacque is from France. He attended Beauxbatons Academy of Magic, and has a special talent for DADA.”
Jacque was quite handsome, and I would not be surprised at all if a few of the female students developed school-girl crushes on him with his perfectly combed jet black hair, stylish clothes, and French accent. I probably would have found him attractive as well, but he wasn’t my type. I learned that if they were better kept than I was, they were probably high maintenance and snotty. Example A: Draco Malfoy, which was probably why I was the only girl in school that didn’t fall head over heals for that gel abusing git. Well that, and the fact he was a deatheater.
“Rolanda Hootch, flying instructor, yes you know her from your own school days… always nice to have a few of the veterans back… and now where did that potions boy get to? My goodness that boy moves faster than firebolt…” Minister Scrimgeour released my arm and was frantically looking around the Great Hall.
“Perhaps he is not here yet Minister. He could just be running a little behind today…” I was tired. I really wanted to go take a nap, three hours not being nearly enough sleep. As the Minister looked back at me, he caught me mid yawn. My mouth was stretched wide open, my eyes squinting. He shot me a puzzled look, and I shut my mouth quickly.
“Tired Miss Granger?” He asked.
“Yes sir. Unfortunately I was kept up by the storm last night.”
“What a pity. Well, if that damnable boy gets here before we all kneel over and die, I can leave you and the Heads to evaluate the house towers.” Before I could reply, the sound of the heavy double doors behind opened caught my attention and I looked to see who was entering. It was someone with a great body, sexy, tousled ‘bed head’ hair and immaculate clothing. Someone with confidence in their step, someone who looked frighteningly like-
“Draco Malfoy! Boy I though the Earth had opened up and swallowed you whole! What took you so long?”
“I had other business to attend to. But it’s no matter since I’m here now, aren’t I? Where are all the house elves? I have some trunks that need carrying.”
“You may leave them in the entry hall Mr. Malfoy, they will be carried up later. Now, Miss Granger, won’t you come here?”
No, no, no, no, NO!!!
“What was that?”
“Oh, um, I didn’t say anything.”
Did he just smirk? I think he did. I could have sworn…
“Good, good. Well Miss Granger, this is Draco Malfoy, your new Potions professor and Head of Slytherin house. Mr. Malfoy, this is Hermione Granger, the new Headmistress.”
Oh that’s it. Just Avada Kedavra me right now.
“We’ve met.” I said coldly. He still hadn’t said anything.
“Lovely. I will just leave you with the rest of them for the evaluation of the castle, and let me know tomorrow what repairs are needed, and then my restoration team will be here first thing on Monday.” He stuck his hand out for me to shake. I did, and then stepped back. Tipping his hat, he left, leaving me with a group of people to dictate. While I was thinking of the order of which I wanted to go through the castle, I had forgotten that Draco Malfoy was still beside me, watching me with an amused expression.
“Gods, Granger… how many hours of sleep did you get last night? Four? The bags under your eyes match your bland outfit perfectly.”
“Three, actually. Interesting how I managed to be on time nevertheless, isn’t it? And since I am your superior and your coworker, I must insist that you call me Hermione for the sake of appearances.” I shot back. There was no way he was actually concerned about me, he only wanted to poke fun.
“Yes, quite interesting Hermione. But what I am finding more interesting is how much some of us have grown up in four years.” He said flirtatiously.
“Or how some of us haven’t.” I snapped.
Not true. Merlin’s toes he looks good! Still a complete pervert though. He will be all over Carmondy by supper I bet.
“I think all that black is putting you in a bad mood.”
“I don’t think it’s my clothing that’s causing my frustration, Draco.” Before he could say anything, I tried to grab everyone’s attention.
“Excuse me everyone! May I have your attention please?” I called out. The all looked at me expectantly, their conversations dying down to a low murmur. “Now that most of us have had a chance to get acquainted, I think this would be as good a time as any to begin the inspection. If you would all follow me, we can visit the house common rooms and classrooms to see what, if anything, needs repairing after the four year closing.” I motioned to them with my hand, and they followed in a pack behind Draco and I.
“This ought to be fun. First head boy and girl together, now this.” Draco said quietly to me. I could not tell if he was joking or not, and that bothered me.
“Do not confuse your job description with mine, Draco. You work for me, not with me.”
“Exactly what I said. It ought to be fun.”
“Oh? And you think that you’re going to be able to handle being under a woman?” I wasn’t looking at him but I knew by the tone of his voice that he was smirking. I wanted to eat my words.
“Oh yes, I love being under a woman as a matter of fact. I find it to be very pleasurable for both parties.”
“Get your mind out of the gutter for Merlin’s sake. This is a school.” He put his hands up in the air defensively.
“Hey, I didn’t say a single sexual thing, it was all in how you interpreted it. So maybe you should be the one to pull out that head.”
That stupid bugger can’t just turn it around on me like that! It’s not fair!
“I don’t have time for this.” I said. I turned around but kept walking. “Our first stop will be the Slytherin common room and dormitories down in the dungeons. If you see something that needs fixing, cleaning or updating, just write it down on these,” I waved my wand and everyone was suddenly holding a clipboard and a quill. “And I will collect them at the end of the castle examination.” Opening the portrait hole, we filed in one by one until we were all inside.
“Women, if you would please check the girls’ dorms and men to the boys’ please. I will stay down here and I shall take care of the common room.”
Ripped couches need to be reupholstered, fireplace is missing two bricks, aurors need to scan for any objects left behind containing dark magic, mirrors are shattered, cobwebs and dust are everywhere… I was writing down my list of necessary improvements when I could feel someone’s eyes over my shoulder.
“Objects containing dark magic? I’m insulted. Us Slytherins would never hide dark objects for the future generations to find and use to take over the world!” I knew he was kidding, I just knew it, but there was something about the way Draco Malfoy talked about dark magic that made me want to crawl out of my own skin. I turned on him and grabbed his wrist, shoving his dark green ribbed sweater up to his elbow.
“When you can no longer see this,” I traced the faint scar of the dark mark on his forearm with one of my fingers. I could see the goose bumps rise on his arm. “Then I will believe every word you say. Until then…” I pulled his sweater sleeve back down for him, and walked away to look at an old organ that sat in the far corner.
Remove organ in Slytherin common room and dispose. There is no need to sound like a mortuary.
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