Chapter 1 : A Predictable Appointment
| ||Rating: 15+||Chapter Reviews: 56|
Background: Font color:
gorgeous CI by abhorsen. @TDA
Chapter 1- A Predictable Appointment
As Hermione squeezed past the students milling in the hallway of the train as they searched for compartments, she couldn’t quite believe this day had already come. Once she found Harry and Ron, she would sit down to her last train ride to Hogwarts. It felt like she had blinked sometime during her first year, and suddenly her days at Hogwarts were dwindling.
She smiled in spite of that. She was ready for this year.
At last, she spotted Ron’s flaming red hair through the window of a nearby compartment. The hallway of the train was beginning to clear, and Hermione made a beeline to her friends, sliding through the door and closing it behind her.
“Hello Harry, Ron!” She said, grinning and plunking down in the seat between Harry and a large wicker basket. “Thank you for bringing my trunk and Crookshanks.”
Ron grinned. “Already off changing the world, Head Girl?”
Hermione rolled her eyes, but smiled all the same. “More like showing first years onto the train so no one gets left behind on the platform.”
“Ah, well,” Ron conceded, “they couldn’t have chosen anyone better for the job.”
Hermione smiled wider and leaned forward to stare out the window at the blurred countryside. She remembered when she had received her Hogwarts letter with the news that she had been appointed Head Girl…
Hermione lay in the green grass of her suburban backyard, her eyes skimming the pages of the latest novel she had chosen to read. The box-shaped houses around her were filled with life. Behind the fence, the neighbor’s two young children giggled, and from her own front yard, Hermione heard the chuck-chuck-chuck of the sprinklers turning on. A few yards down, a lawn mower roared to life. The scent of freshly cut grass surrounded her, and Hermione sighed, perfectly at peace.
She laid her book beside her and rolled onto her back, the sun heating her face as her thoughts drifted to her friends: The crush she had harbored for Ron for many years had fizzled out a few weeks into the summer, and she was relieved to know that he felt the same. They had always assumed that they were “supposed” to be together—what girl-boy friendship didn’t end that way?—but when it came down to it, they were friends, and that was more than enough. They hadn’t spelled it out so explicitly, but Hermione knew that Ron understood. She couldn’t wait to see him and Harry and for everything to continue as it always had.
Hermione had received a few letters from her friends, but she didn't really expect more—they were terrible at keeping in touch. Soon enough, though, she would see them at the Burrow and then they would be together on the train back to Hogwarts for their final year.
As if her thoughts of correspondence had summoned it, a shadow fell across her face, the shape of a large bird eclipsing the sun. Hermione sat up immediately. The owl had landed in a tree, and it let out a low hoot as it watched her. Glancing over the fence as she stood, Hermione saw that none of the neighbors seemed to have noticed the bird’s appearance.
Lucky for that, she thought, hurrying to its perch and untying the letter from its leg. Why can’t the wizarding world start mailing exclusively at night? Muggles aren’t as clueless as they think.
She shook her head, her bushy hair swaying in its ponytail. The owl let out another hoot and took flight again, and Hermione was left to open the heavy packet of parchment in her hands. Her name was written in glittering green ink on the front and the Hogwarts seal was stamped in wax on the back. She cracked the wax and unfolded the papers in her hands, leaning against the tree absentmindedly.
The packet contained much of the same from the previous six years: a familiar list of course books and supplies that she would require for her final year at Hogwarts, reminders of the rules and regulations of the school, a greeting from Headmistress McGonagall…Hermione found herself smiling as she leafed through the rough pages. She had known it was the right decision to return to Hogwarts for their final year, and she was excited that it was finally here. Harry had been hesitant at first to postpone the search for Voldemort’s Horcruxes, but Hermione had persuaded him that there was value in the knowledge that the Hogwarts teachers could provide them in their NEWT year. They should learn as much as they could. At last, Harry had agreed.
Hermione finished reading the familiar papers and then reached a last, heavier sheet. Pinned to the bottom of it was a galleon-sized badge with the letters HG debossed on its shining surface. Hermione’s fingers trembled as she unpinned it and held it in her palm. Her smile spread wider as she stroked the badge with her thumb. After six years of hard work and diligence, she was finally reaping the rewards of her efforts. She glanced back at the accompanying sheet of paper and read quickly. The note expressed congratulations from the Headmistress and a message that wiped the smile from Hermione’s face. It read:
“…another addition to the school this year will be the concept of a Head Boy and Girl Dormitory. This is new for Hogwarts and will be used as an attempt to increase House unity. If we as a school can unite our student leaders, perhaps the student body will follow suit. This year is the first that this concept will be in place, and I would therefore request that you report any troubles you experience as we try to enact this policy so that we may improve the concept in future years.”
Hermione sighed. She was already dreading leaving Gryffindor Tower. She knew that Professor McGonagall was trying to make the Houses join in a common place, but the whole thing made her nervous. She shook her head and shoved the thoughts away. There was nothing she could do about it for the time being. Instead, she pushed off the tree and headed for the house. For now, she would celebrate her appointment as Head Girl with her parents.
Inside, Mr. and Mrs. Granger were just as excited as their daughter, and the three celebrated that night at their favorite restaurant…
Hermione’s smile faded at the memory of the next day…She had done what she needed to do. She had kept her parents safe. In truth, she had performed several complicated memory spells on both of them, giving them new identities and a new purpose in life—a purpose that would take them ten thousand miles away, to Australia, to safety. If she hadn’t engineered it to happen, Hermione would still not have believed it true. Her parents didn’t even remember that she existed and maybe never would…
Sighing, Hermione spoke up. “Looking forward to our last year at Hogwarts?” she asked neither boy in particular, forcing false happiness to push away the dread.
“Of course,” Ron answered immediately. “I’ve been looking forward to seventh year since the first time I boarded this train.”
Harry rolled his eyes. “Easy for you to say. Hogwarts has been my home. Leaving it will be…”
“Hard,” Hermione said, and Harry nodded.
“But we have a mission to complete,” Harry went on, “and a war to win. This year is just another step on that path.”
The others nodded gravely. After a few silent moments, Ron stood and reached above him to the luggage rack, extracted a copy of The Quibbler from his trunk, and laid back down on his side of the compartment, throwing his legs up on the seats beside him. He opened to a page of the magazine at random and began to read.
Hermione watched him for a moment. There was so much still on her mind. Her thoughts were swirling, and she felt as though she had to say something more.
“I have to share a dormitory with the Head Boy,” she blurted out. She had been avoiding telling her friends this information since she had learned it. She wasn’t sure how they would react, but the effect was immediate: Harry’s eyes widened dramatically, and Ron sat bolt upright, dropping his magazine and making a choking noise.
“What?” Harry asked at once.
“I know,” Hermione replied, twisting her hands in her lap. “It’s new this year because Professor McGonagall wants to promote House unity…but I’m afraid that I’m going to be stuck with someone like Malf–” Her voice cut off. Saying it made it seem too real.
“You don’t really think that he’d come back after last year, do you?” Ron asked, rolling his eyes.
“He could,” Hermione mused. “I doubt he will, though. No one but Harry saw what happened on the Astronomy Tower…everyone thinks Draco murdered Dumbledore, or at least, tried to.”
“It doesn’t matter to me if he comes back,” Harry said, shrugging. “We’re never going to be friends, but he was lowering his wand. He wasn’t going to kill Dumbledore. But if he knows where Snape is, he had better speak up.” Harry clenched his fists, his green eyes gleaming as an intense look crossed his face.
Ron and Hermione nodded, glancing at each other nervously. Remembering what Harry had told them about what happened on top of the Astronomy Tower, Hermione shivered. She knew there was almost nothing Harry wouldn’t give to get his hands on Snape and avenge Dumbledore.
“Are you sure there’s no way for you to get out of living with the Head Boy?” Ron asked, back on the topic that Hermione had raised.
Hermione shook her head. “If Professor McGonagall thinks it’s the right thing to do, I’ll give it a try. I can take care of myself, and I’m sure the Head Boy will be professional.”
Harry nodded slowly. “Good luck,” he said.
“Speaking of which…” Hermione said, “it’s time for me to go meet with the Head Boy. I haven’t heard who it is yet, so I’ll be sure to fill you two in when I get back.” She stood and smiled nervously at her friends. “I’ll see you later.”
Hermione stepped into the hallway and slid the compartment door shut behind her with a snap. Walking towards the end of the train, she let its swaying motion calm her. She internalized the confidence she’d shown Harry and Ron—she could do this. She was Hermione Granger. She was Head Girl. She could do this.
The compartment closest to the conductor was empty when Hermione arrived. She checked her watch and realized that she was a few minutes early. The letter that she had received with her badge had explained the time and place that she would meet the Head Boy, and the minutes were ticking by until he would arrive. Her nerves were humming as she took a seat by the window.
This is the guy that I will be working alongside for all of my duties this year, she thought. I hope we get along. Hermione tapped her wand in her palm nervously and glanced around the empty compartment. It was similar to all the other compartments: well-worn cushioned seats, wide windows that showed the blurred Scottish countryside. She closed her eyes and took a deep breath, inhaling the scent of the upholstery. It calmed her while she waited. A few minutes passed as Hermione concentrated on counting the seconds between her breaths, breathing in for five, hold for five, out for five. Finally, the compartment door slid open. Hermione’s eyes snapped open at the sound and she stood hurriedly as a brunette young man entered. He was handsome in a plain sort of way, tall and muscled, standing stock-straight in Slytherin robes. He had light brown hair that fell just past the tops of his ears and striking green eyes. He might’ve been more attractive if he relaxed, but as it was, he wasn’t smiling. Instead, he looked unimpressed as he stared down his nose at Hermione.
“Hello,” Hermione said, her voice coming out much higher than normal.
The Head Boy looked as though he was resisting the urge to roll his eyes. “I’m Theodore Nott, Slytherin,” he said. His voice was businesslike, detached, and Hermione blinked a few times, wondering if she had somehow insulted him already. “You’re Hermione Granger, Gryffindor.”
Hermione continued to stare, wondering why he wasn’t pausing to even let her interject her own name.
“Are we done here?” Theodore asked, letting out a sigh and turning back towards the door.
“Um, no.” Hermione finally found her voice. “Would it be all right if I ask you a few questions first?”
Theodore sighed. “Fine. Go ahead.” He slung himself into a seat across from her and leant back, closing his green eyes as though terribly pained with the effort it took to humor her.
“What do you think about us sharing a dormitory?” Hermione asked, trying to sound nonchalant as she took a seat across from Theodore.
“Whatever. That’s how things are going to be, I assume, so why should I worry about it? I’ll stay away from your things if you’ll stay away from mine.”
Hermione sighed. This year was going to be very long if this boy’s attitude didn’t change. “Is it a problem that you’re from Slytherin and I’m from Gryffindor?”
“Whatever,” Theodore said again, shrugging his broad shoulders. “I didn’t choose you to be Head Girl. I can’t change what House you’re from. I don’t really have a particular adversity towards Gryffindors, but I doubt we’ll end up chummy.”
Hermione’s eyes narrowed. Theodore’s lack of interest was really starting to bother her. She gritted her teeth. “Are you one of Malfoy’s former gang?” she asked, her patience up.
Theodore’s eyes snapped open and he glared at her across the compartment. “No, I’m not,” he replied, his voice sharp as he stood, “and if that’s all, I would really like to get back to my friends.”
Hermione didn’t even have time to nod before Theodore swept from the compartment, leaving her alone. Well, that could have gone better, she thought, sighing as she stood to return to Harry and Ron.
“So, who’s the Head Boy?” Ron asked the moment Hermione stepped into the compartment. Harry looked concerned at her crestfallen expression.
“Are you okay?” he asked, ignoring Ron’s previous question.
“I’m fine,” Hermione said, sitting down. “Theodore Nott from Slytherin is the Head Boy.”
“A Slytherin?” Ron said, his mouth gaping. “What’s McGonagall playing at?”
Hermione simply shook her head. “I don’t know. It didn’t go that well with him, though…” she said, rubbing her temples with her thumbs to stave off the headache that was quickly growing.
“What happened?” Harry asked.
“I asked him a few questions about working together this year, which he answered with as little enthusiasm as possible. It was as if he couldn’t care less that he had been made Head Boy,” Hermione replied, biting her lip. “I hope he’s up for the job.”
“Was he as much of a prat as Malfoy?” Ron asked.
“He wasn’t too awful until I asked if he had been part of Malfoy’s gang,” Hermione said. “After that, his attitude could have rivaled even Malfoy’s.”
“I’m insulted, Granger,” a voice said, causing the trio’s heads to snap towards the open compartment door. “Nott has never had my charisma.”
Hermione’s eyes grew wide as she stared at their unexpected visitor leaning on the doorframe, his blond hair shimmering in the light streaming in from the window:
Draco Malfoy was returning to Hogwarts.
Author's Note: Hello everyone! How did you like this? I'm so excited to be editing it right now in 2017 and working on its sequel. Please review if you have a moment. It's much appreciated.
(edited as of 10-30-17)
Other Similar Stories