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. She walked with 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, Headmistress McGonagall's choice for the Head Boy came as a shock. Theodore Nott had earned the position, much to the astonishment of the student population. It could be heard in mutters shared between friends that 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. They all agreed that only time would tell whether or not yet another feud would break out behind the walls of Hogwarts.
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, figuring that she had the right to be happy, and not caring enough to interfere with that.
“Hello Harry, Ron!” Hermione exclaimed, squeezing past the students bustling in the hallways and entering the compartment where the two boys sat.
Ron groaned. “Hermione, please,” he sighed, running one hand through his red hair. “We can't take it anymore! Everyone’s saying it behind your back, and we wanted to support you, but," he paused and took a deep breath, "you’re being obnoxious.”
Harry looked at Ron with wide eyes, and Hermione's face fell. “I’m just trying to set a good example for the younger students,” she muttered. "You might want to try the same thing every once in a while."
“We know you aren't trying to show off, Hermione, but you're coming off as a bit pompous…” Harry said, 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 said grudgingly. 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 the term 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, and she continuously worried that Ron's feelings were stronger than hers. With those things in mind, she decided to call things off before they got more serious. Ron was hurt at first, which hurt Hermione in turn, but he eventually accepted her decision. Hermione had received a few letters from him and from Harry, 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 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 saw 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 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, realizing the value of the knowledge that the Hogwarts teachers could still provide them. 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 almost wanted to scream with 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's eyes widen in shock. It read:
“…another addition to the school this year will be the concept of a Head Boy and Girl Dormitory. I am aware 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 for success. 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.”
Dreading the concept of leaving the Gryffindor common room, Hermione sighed. She knew that Professor McGonagall was trying to make the 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 at the memory of the next day…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 of her school supplies to the Burrow, Hermione watched her parents pack a few bags and move spontaneously to Australia, a place where 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 that she existed, and they were now living in a completely different part of the world, thousands of miles away.
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.”
Hermione suppressed a grin as Harry spoke up.
“I don’t think I want this year to end," Harry said thoughtfully. "Hogwarts has been my home for so long; it will be strange to leave it behind. 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 finish 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.
“I have to share a dormitory with the Head Boy,” Hermione 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 looked as if they were going to bulge from his face, and Ron dropped his magazine and made a choking noise.
“What?” Harry asked, regaining the ability to speak.
“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-”
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 come back to Hogwarts. 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.” 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.
“Are you sure there’s no way for you to get out of that?” Ron asked, back on the topic on Hermione sharing her dormitory with the Head Boy.
Hermione shook her head, internally wincing at Ron's concern 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 too terrible...”
Harry nodded slowly. “Good luck,” he said.
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.”
Hermione stepped into the hallway and slid the compartment door shut behind her with a snap. Walking towards the other end of the train, she kept in mind Ron’s words about her seeming pompous and tried to act like her casual self again.
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 felt sure 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 brunette young man entered. His robes bore the Slytherin crest, and his face was set in an unimpressed expression as he looked down his nose at Hermione.
“Hello,” Hermione said, her voice coming much higher than normal.
The Head Boy looked as though 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. “Would it be all right if I ask you a few questions first?”
Theodore sighed. “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 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?” 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 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.
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?” 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.
“I asked him a few questions about working together this year, and he seemed very bored. 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..."
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. “He wasn'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 review! It really does only take a second, and I'd appreciate it so much.
Also: If you have additional questions that you would like answered, please feel free to go to my "Meet the Author" page on the forums. There's a link on my author's page!
(edited as of 7-19-14)
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