Chapter 1 : A Predictable Appointment
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gorgeous CI by visenya. @TDA
Chapter 1- A Predictable Appointment
Hermione Granger strutted along the corridor of the Hogwarts Express, her bushy hair and black robes billowing behind her. There was a spring in her step and several people hid smiles as she passed them. No one was surprised to hear that for her seventh year at Hogwarts, Hermione had been appointed Head Girl.
Though everyone expected Hermione’s appointment, the appointment of the Head Boy came as a shock. Theodore Nott had been given the position, much to the astonishment of the student population. No one thought that a Gryffindor and a Slytherin would be able to work so closely together without acquiring the blatant urge to kill one another. However, Headmistress McGonagall thought it best and therefore, no one argued.
At the moment, Hermione, who was still one of the few who didn't know the identity of the Head Boy, was trotting towards the end of the train to meet up with her two best friends, Harry Potter and Ron Weasley. She looked pompously proud of herself, but very few people were willing to tell her that; she had the right to be happy--didn't she?
“Why, hello Harry, Ron!” Hermione exclaimed, squeezing past the students bustling in the hallways and entering the compartment where the two boys sat. Ron groaned, glancing at Harry and sighing.
“Bloody hell, Hermione, please,” he sighed exasperatedly, running one hand through his red hair. “The trick is up. Everyone’s saying it behind your back: you’re being obnoxious.”
Harry looked at Ron, awe written across his face. Hermione's face fell and she looked wounded.
“I’m just trying to set a good example for the younger students…” she said sadly. "You might want to try the same thing every once in a while," she added in an undertone, glaring at Ron.
“We know you aren't trying to show off, Hermione, but everyone else just sees someone who’s full of herself…” Harry muttered, biting his lip and not meeting her eyes.
“You’ve been reminding me of Percy,” Ron added. “It’s revolting, really.”
Hermione's breath came out in a huff.
"If that's what you think is best, I'll try to take your advice," she muttered grudgingly, slightly annoyed that her best friends were thinking so lowly of her. She sat down and crossed her arms, staring 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, Hermione could hear the neighbor’s two young children giggling. A few yards down, a lawn mower roared to life. The scent of freshly cut grass surrounded her, and Hermione sighed, perfectly at peace with the world. She paused in her reading and listened to the sprinklers come on in her front yard. She loved the summer.
Her mind drifted to her friends: a few weeks after school had ended, Hermione and Ron had stopped seeing each other and gone back to being friends. She had cared about him deeply, but she was concerned that their friendship would be ruined if they were to have a bad break-up, so she decided to call things off before they got more serious. Ron was hurt at first, which hurt Hermione in turn, but he understood her reasoning, and eventually accepted her decision. Hermione had received a few letters from him and from Harry, but didn't really expect more--they were terrible at keeping in touch. But soon enough she would see them at the Burrow and then together on the train back to Hogwarts for their final year.
She smiled and glanced at the blue sky, delighted to see a large bird flying towards her house. The owl landed in a tree and let out a low “hoot.” Glancing over the fence as she stood up, Hermione noted that none of the neighbors seemed to have noticed the bird’s appearance. She hurried to its perch and untied the letter from its leg. Letting out another “hoot,” the bird flew away and Hermione was left to open what she was sure was her Hogwarts supply list.
Sure enough, after slitting the wax seal, Hermione was faced with the all-too-familiar list of course books and supplies that she would require for her final year at Hogwarts. She smiled, happy once again that Harry had agreed to postpone the search for Voldemort’s Horcruxes...or at least continue it while they still attended school. He had finally listened to reason and after being persuaded to stay for their last year at Hogwarts, Harry realized what an asset it would be to their mission if he knew the rest of the knowledge that the Hogwarts teachers could provide him with. He needed to be responsible and learn what he could...people were dying and they were unknowingly counting on him to save them.
Hermione finished reading the supply list and then noticed that the envelope seemed to be heavier than usual. Tipping it on its side, Hermione grinned wildly as a piece of paper and a galleon-sized badge fell into her hand. The letters HG were embossed in the badge’s shining surface and Hermione barely suppressed a scream of joy. After six years of hard work and diligence, she was finally reaping the rewards of her effort. She unfolded the paper and read quickly. The note expressed congratulations from the Headmistress and a message that made Hermione nearly collapse in shock. It read:
“…another addition to the school this year will be the concept of a Head Boy and Girl Dormitory. I know that this is new for Hogwarts, but in an attempt to increase House unity, it is my belief that the idea should be given an opportunity. 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 therefore apologize for any troubles you experience as we try to enact this new policy.”
Nearly dreading the concept of leaving the Gryffindor common room, Hermione sighed. She knew that Professor McGonagall was trying to make Houses join in a common place, but she was still afraid of how the idea would play out. However, the excitement of her appointment as Head Girl quickly rushed back to her and Hermione ran into her house calling for her parents.
Mr. and Mrs. Granger were as equally excited as their daughter and the three celebrated that night with an enormous dinner.
Hermione’s smile faded as her memory of the next day appeared in her mind…She had performed several complicated memory spells on her parents so that they would believe their names were Wendell and Monica Wilkins. After sending all her school supplies to the Burrow, Hermione watched her parents pack a few bags and move spontaneously to Australia, a place that she truly hoped they would be safe. If she hadn’t engineered it to happen, Hermione would still not have believed it true. Her parents didn’t even remember she existed and they were now living in a completely different part of the world.
Sighing, Hermione spoke up.
“Looking forward to our last year at Hogwarts?” she asked neither boy in particular.
“Yes!” Ron exclaimed. “I’ve been waiting for this year since the first time I boarded this train.”
Harry and Hermione laughed for a moment before Harry spoke.
“I don’t think I want this year to end…I mean, Hogwarts has been my home for so long, it will be strange to leave it behind,” he said thoughtfully. “Not to mention, after we leave Hogwarts, we'll have to focus on the war full-time, and we have a mission to complete if we don't fulfill it during the school term...”
The others nodded gravely. After a few silent minutes, Ron extracted a copy of The Quibbler from his trunk and opened it, beginning to read.
“Harry…” Hermione began uncertainly.
Harry looked at her and raised an eyebrow, clearly curious.
“I have to share a dormitory with the Head Boy,” Hermione blurted out, unable to restrain her words. 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 looked as if they were going to bulge from his face and Ron dropped his magazine and made a choking noise. Hermione looked at the redhead in concern, forgetting for a moment the reason that her friends were so upset.
“What?” Harry asked, regaining the ability to speak.
“I know,” Hermione replied, rolling her eyes and 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-”
She stopped suddenly and went red.
“You don’t really think that he’d come back after last year, do you?” Ron asked, laughing harshly.
“He could…” Hermione muttered. “I hope not though. I would think he would have more common sense than to ever show his face in Hogwarts again...no one but Harry saw what happened on the Astronomy Tower...everyone thinks Draco attempted murder.”
“It doesn't matter to me if he comes back,” Harry said, shrugging. “We're never going to be mates, but he was lowering his wand up there. He wasn't going to kill Dumbledore...but if he knows where Snape is, he had better speak up unless he wants me to make him.” Harry clenched his fists in his laps, his eyes gleaming at the thought of revenge on Snape.
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.
“Why are we talking about Malfoy anyway?” Ron asked, suddenly confused.
“Oh!” Harry realized the topic that Hermione was now adamant to avoid. “Hermione's going to be sharing a dorm with the Head Boy...” Concern was etched once again on Harry's face and Ron turned a sickly shade of green.
“Are you sure there’s no way for you to get out of that?” the redhead asked hoarsely.
Hermione shook her head, internally wincing that Ron seemed so concerned for her.
“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 won't be a terrible person...”
Harry nodded at his friend, respecting her bravery.
“Good luck,” he murmured. Hermione replied with a smile.
“Speaking of which…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.”
Stepping into the hallway, Hermione slid the compartment door shut behind her with a snap. Walking calmly towards the other end of the train, she kept in mind Ron’s words about her seeming pompous. She tried to act like her casual self again, not wanting to repel any of the new students with her mannerisms.
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 be able to meet the Head Boy and she was assured that he would be there. Her nerves were humming.
This is the guy that I will be working alongside for all of my duties this year…I hope we get along…she thought, tapping her wand in her palm nervously and glancing around the empty compartment. She closed her eyes and took a deep breath, inhaling the scent of the upholstery. It calmed her while she waited nervously. A moment later, the compartment door slid open and a brown haired boy entered. His robes bore the Slytherin crest and the expression on his face implied that he took his House seriously.
“Hello…” Hermione said, her voice coming out as almost a squeak. The Head Boy looked like he was resisting the urge to roll his eyes.
“I’m Theodore. Theodore Nott, Slytherin,” he said. His voice was businesslike and Hermione blinked a few times, wondering if she had somehow insulted him to cause his detached tone. “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 an involuntary sigh.
“Um, no,” Hermione finally found her voice to respond and sitting up straighter. “Would it be all right if I ask you a few questions first?”
“Fine. Go ahead,” he said bluntly, sitting casually in a seat across from her and leaning back, closing his green eyes.
“What do you think about us sharing a dormitory?” Hermione began, trying to sound nonchalant.
“Whatever. That’s how things are going to be, I assume, so why should I worry about it?” Theodore responded. “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 wasn’t feeling up to compromising.
“Is it a problem that you’re from Slytherin and I’m from Gryffindor?” Hermione continued sharply, her patience with Theodore waning.
“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 to 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 bluntly, not thinking first. 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. “If that’s all, I would really like to get back to my friends,” he added quietly, his voice warning her not to continue.
Hermione didn’t even have time to nod before Theodore swept from the compartment, leaving her alone.
Well, that didn’t go overly well…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, Hermione?” he asked, ignoring Ron’s previous question.
“I’m fine,” Hermione said quietly, sitting down. “Theodore Nott from Slytherin is the Head Boy,” she added.
Ron looked horrified.
“A Slytherin?” he asked, 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 her growing headache.
“What happened?” Harry asked, clenching and unclenching his fists to release his tension at the possibility of Hermione sharing a dormitory with a Slytherin. Both Harry and Ron felt very protective of their friend, even though they knew she could take care of herself.
“I asked him a few questions about working together this year and he seemed very bored. It was as if he could care less that he had been made Head Boy,” Hermione replied, biting her lip. "I hope he's up for the job..."
Ron looked thoughtful.
“Was he as much of a prat as Malfoy?” he asked finally, making yet another generalization about Slytherins. Hermione smiled at her friend.
“His mannerisms weren’t too awful until I asked if he had been part of Malfoy’s gang…” she replied. “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? Was it bearable? I hope so. Please, please, please review. It really does only take a second and I'd appreciate it so much.
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Edited as of 8-2-13