Chapter 1 : Chapter One
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It was a wonderful morning in early summer 1999 when the Burrowgradually came to life. Molly Weasley stood in the kitchen and prepared breakfast for the whole family. Hermione was up next and helped her, finally Ron, Harry and Ginny joined them, still yawning. Arthur was already at work, he had to be in the Ministry early.
Hermione sat down, took a muffin and snatched herself the Daily Prophet.
"Finally!" she called out. "Hogwarts will be reopened in September!"
"Was about time." Ron emphasized chewing. "After all the work we put in last month."
The four of them had spent the previous month rebuilding the heavily damaged castle, together with hundreds of volunteers. She was glad to repeat her final year, because without her N.E.W.Ts she would barely be able to get a proper job. Loving school she felt joy rising inside her when she thought about lessons, homework, and,or most of all, spending time with her friends. Although she had been staying at the Burrow for the whole time since the end of war, there was a difference between the Weasley´s home and Hogwarts. So many dear memories were connected with the old castle...She smiled when she remembered the "good old times".
"It will be odd to go to school again." Harry said thoughtfully."One last time returning to the sanctuary of our childhood..."
Hermione's smile faded when she noticed the melancholic expression on her best friend's face. Harry had been forced to grow up much too fast and all of them were made to handle too much responsibility. They hadn't been able to have a peaceful childhood. Fun, (really) enjoying first love; all of this had been overshadowed by Lord Voldemort, the personification of evil.
And now it was too late. Now they were returning to school after a month of restoring their shattered world. The buildings were now repaired and they would have to face a much more difficult task, the task of putting together the pieces of their souls and healing the invisible wounds left by death and despair. Maybe this feeling of belonging nearly everybody felt at Hogwarts would do best.
"But guess what, Harry, it will be wonderful! We will all graduate together, you, me, Hermione and Ron. And without a Dark Lord trying to kill us!!"
"You´re definitely right, Ginny." Hermione said as a smile appeared slowly on Harry´s sorrowful face. But she couldn´t get rid of the fact that there would be many students missing, students who had lost their lives during the war and in the final battle. And not only students, but teachers also.
"Hey, Hermione, is everything alright?" Ginny asked, shooting her an inspecting glance.
"Yeah, I´m okay," she answered deciding to avoid such depressing thoughts.
"Coffee, dear?" Mrs. Weasley asked, interrupting the conversation.
"Adonsche." Ron said and shoved the rest of his cornflakes into his mouth.
"Eat properly!" his mother reproved and rolled her eyes. Then she turned her attention to Hermione.
"Hermione darling, when are you actually going to fetch your parents back? Please, don´t misunderstand me, you are like a second daughter to me, and you know you can stay as long as you wish to, but I thought that you certainly must miss them."
The girl sighed. She couldn't get that thought out of her mind, but she wasn't able to force herself to do it.
"I would like to see them again so much...," she responded hesitantly.
"But I´m scared that they aren't out of danger yet."
"Oh, don't worry yourself!" Ron said. "Voldemort is dead, what's going to happen?"
She felt anger boil trough her veins when she listened to her boyfriend's words. Sometimes he didn't understand her. They had been together for one year now, and most of the time it was a perfect relationship, but he couldn't comprehend the fears the war had created in her. For him, everything was fine as soon as the final battle had ended. Of course, he hadn't been able to deny Fred´s death, but it seemed as if he had decided not to think about it anymore.
"And what about the Death Eaters who are still on the run?" she asked angrily. "Lucius Malfoy? Rodolphus and Rabastan Lestrange?"
"I think I can calm your fears over Lucius Malfoy." Harry interfered.
"Do you remember him in the final battle? He didn't even fight. If you ask me, his main aim is to avoid Azkaban..."
"Okay, maybe he isn't really dangerous, but what about the other two? What, if they continue to give hell to muggles, even without Voldemort?"
"Honestly Mione, you're getting paranoid!" Ron said and rolled his eyes.
"So. I´m getting paranoid? I´ll tell you something, I will fetch my parents back, but only if there´s absolutely no danger for them!"
"Calm down, Hermione, I wasn't planning to scare or upset you," Mrs. Weasley , who had followed the argument in a concerned way, said soothingly.
"Stay as long as you like and inform us if you feel like changing the situation."
"Thank you, Mrs. Weasley, I owe you a lot..." Hermione said, almost whispering, and left the kitchen.
Ginny sighed and followed her friend.
Ron shot an unsympathetic glare at Harry.
"What did I do wrong this time? Bloody women..I only wanted her to feel better about this Death Eater thing of hers."
"Then you should think about expressing this in a little more appropriate manner...," Harry advised and grabbed the newspaper Hermione had left, while Ron thought about what the bloody hell his best friend had meant with "a little more appropriate manner".
Meanwhile Hermione and Ginny sat in their shared bedroom.
"Hermione, believe me, he doesn't really mean it, it´s just..."
"...that he isn't good at comprehending the feelings of people around him, including the ones of his girlfriend!"
"Yeah, that´s the main point," Ginny agreed lamely.
"But, see, who knows what the remaining Death Eaters are cooking up right now? I want my parents to be far away from those lunatics!"
"I understand your feelings, Hermione. But it seems as if you and Ron have different ways of getting over the past. Maybe he tries to repress his fear and sorrow, while you talk about it and, according to this, behave different. I try to do both."
Then she added quietly, "Every time George comes to visit us I see Fred...That´s so cruel.."
Silent tears started to flow down her face, and Hermione hugged her friend tightly.
"See, that´s exactly how I feel. And then I see my parent's picture, and all I want is to protect them. And that´s why I simply can't bring them home."
Ginny smiled and wiped away her tears. "Boys can be awful, right?"
"Yep. By the way, did I ever thank you for sharing your room with me all the time?" Hermione asked, suddenly realizing that she had been living here with Ginny for almost two years, talking about girls stuff, having fun.
"No, but you don´t have to. I like it a lot, you know. It´s like having a sister. Brothers are great, but several things..."
"...You can only tell a sister!" The brown-haired girl finished smiling.
"Right. So come on, let´s go downstairs, you barely ate anything," Ginny said and pulled her friend to her feet.
"Did I ever tell you that you sound like your Mum?" Hermione asked and laughed.
"Maybe, I think two-hundred times after my last count!" Ginny replied and ran down the stairs. Lets see how I can get my dumb brother to apologize, she thought.
But there was nothing to worry about. After thinking for a long time, Ron finally understood what Harry had wanted to say with his cryptic statement and as soon as Hermione entered the kitchen he confessed, "I´m really sorry Mione, it was rude to say such things.“ He blushed and looked at her hopefully.
Hermione smiled inwardly and answered, pretending to be insulted:"Indeed Ronald!"
His face fell and she regretted mocking him, so she added quickly, "It´s Okay, Ron. I believe you didn't want to hurt me."
"Oh, okay!" He sighed in relief and gave her a warm smile, before he returned his attention to his plate.
Ginny beamed at Harry. "Do you have a part in this sudden reconciliation?" she asked and raised an eyebrow.
"Meeee? Never!" he grinned and failed miserably in looking innocent.
"And what about you?"
"Please, you know I´m completely unable to solve such problems," she answered indignantly. Harry laughed and kissed her on the cheek.
Hermione watched them carefully. They seemed to be up to something, but she couldn't put a finger on it.
"Did I miss something important?" she assumed.
"No!" both of them chorused, and she shook her head. Whatever it was, it would be harmless. Stop thinking the worst, she told herself and continued eating.
"So what do you think,who else will return this year?" Harry asked after some minutes of silence.
"Maybe the Patils" Ginny suggested. "It would be great to share a dormitory with Parvati."
"Oh, yeah..," Hermione muttered. While she liked to talk about boys some times, Parvati didn't seem to know another theme.
"I hope Neville, Dean and Seamus! Oh, and Luna of course," Ron said and added snorting: "And no Malfoy this year!"
"Who knows?" Ginny replied. "Maybe Mummy and Daddy want him to come back?" She failed to be earnest, and soon they all rolled in laughter.
"Honestly, even if he comes back, he will not survive it," Ron grinned. "There are too many people he or his father have hurt. Us included. I don´t promise anything if he shows up, I will rip his bloody ass..."
"...Ron!There´s no need to swear in such a disgusting manner!" Harry drawled and Ron laughed so hard he nearly fell on the floor.
Molly Weasley monitored both couples carefully. She was glad to see them laughing again, but she also didn't want to let them go. In a few weeks they will get their letters for the last time, and then I have to release them into the world, she thought and a silent tear trickled down her cheek. She could only hope that Hogwarts would let them recover further.
Some days after the particular incident at breakfast, Hermione was playing exploding snap with Harry and Ron in the garden, when Ginny called them in.
"Harry, Ron, Hermione, our letters arrived!"
They ran into the house immediately. Four owls sat on the old kitchen table, each carrying a heavy envelope.
"So remember children!" Ron said, imitating his mother. "You will now open your Hogwarts letters for the last time in your life."
Hermione faked a laugh. She wasn't happy about this fact, it was as if an important period of her life ended in that moment. She didn't want to think about graduation yet.
Reluctantly she opened the envelope and a glittering red badge fell into her hands. The letters H and G were engraved in gold and under it she could read Head Girl. Slowly she felt a huge grin appear on her face. So at least she had reached her goal. Head Girl. She enfolded the letter and read:
Dear Miss Granger,
I am glad to inform you that you have been made Head Girl for your final year at Hogwarts School for Witchcraft an Wizardry. You partner will be Terry Boot from Ravenclaw.
Term begins on September 1st. Please introduce the new Prefects to their duties on the Hogwarts Express. You will find a compartment reserved for you. All further information will be given to you at school.
"Hey Mione, what's this?" Ron asked and looked at her curiously.
"I was made Head Girl!" she said and beamed at him. She felt so proud of herself.
"Wow! I knew you had it in you!" He cheered and spun her around. "You know that you´ll have a room on your own, don´t you?"
"Ronald!" She giggled as she got the sense behind his words.
"What? I think that's called logical reasoning," he replied and kissed her.
She didn't allow herself to lean into it too much, there were other people in the room. So she broke away reluctantly. He looked disappointed, but she only pointed at Ginny and Harry, who watched them curiously.
"Mione was made Head Girl," Ron explained, and their eyes widened. Finally they beamed at her.
"That´s so great, Hermione!" Harry grinned. "We can hang out in your room..."
"Why is this damn room the only thing you three think about?" she exclaimed angrily. Being Head Girl meant a lot to her, it was a position of high responsibility and she was proud that Professor McGonagall trusted her so much. Having her own room was a nice addition, but it wasn't the main point. At least not for her.
"Don´t be upset!" Ginny tried to calm her. "We thought it would be so fun...I know this means a lot to you."
Mrs Weasley entered the kitchen and Hermione was glad about her arrival.
"What happened?" she asked, obviously noticing the tension hanging in the air.
"Hermione was made Head Girl." Harry said happily, and the next thing she knew was that Mrs. Weasley had pulled her into a tight hug.
"Hermione, I´m so glad for you! It´s like another of my children was made Head Boy or Girl!"
She couldn't help but smile. It surprised her again and again, how easily her boyfriend's mother had adopted her. She had helped her a lot with this, it had made the separation from her parents a bit easier.
"So, after your letters arrived, I think we have to pay a visit at Diagon Alley!"
Thousands of miles away Draco Malfoy was absolutely outraged.
"I will not return to that damn school!!" he shouted and gave his father a furious glare while he crumpled the letter in his hand.
"Don´t interrupt me, son," Lucius Malfoy answered coolly, while he fixed his son with his gaze.
"And control your temper. The circumstances require your return, there´s no other chance. I received a letter from your dear uncle this morning, you can imagine what he wants. But I´m not willingly to shut the doors that opened after the final battle. I will not put our family in danger again and I will not spend the rest of my life in Azkaban."
He had spoken with such force that Draco hadn't interfered. But now he tried to express his resentments. "Did you ever think about how it might feel for me to go back? I can hear them say: Look, there´s Draco Malfoy,the traitor, the Death Eater. That will be unbearable."
"Then learn to control your emotions. Shut them out. Emotions weaken you, I have told this to you a dozen times before. No further discussions."
Draco understood that he was meant to leave. He sighed and left his father´s study, horrified by the thought of facing his fellow students. It would be hell. But also, he didn´t understand what his father had wanted to say. What did Uncle Rodolphus want him to do? And why was it so urgent that he returned to Hogwarts?
Meanwhile his father sighed and buried his face in his hands. The decision not to join the remaining Death Eaters had not been an easy one. But after he hadn't fought in the final battle he wanted to take the chance to switch sides. He was tired of intriguing and manipulating people, his family was more important than his beliefs. He knew it would be difficult for Draco to return to Hogwarts, but he had to. His sons feelings were second-rate this time. Safety was of main importance now. Lucius cringed as he thought how Draco would react when he told him the whole plan.
In the evening all members of the Weasley family sat in the kitchen having dinner. They chatted happily about their visit to Diagon Alley. George had recovered a bit from his brothers death and had reopened the joke shop. It was painful to see him without Fred, but business was going well and Ron thought about becoming Georges partner after finishing school. Hermione read her new Arithmancy book and hardly listened to the conversation around her. Suddenly she heard Ginny ask:
"Hey, Dad, anything interesting at work?"
"Yeah, any dark magical objects?" Ron added.
Hermione looked up and listened carefully.
"No, nothing, unless you call the Malfoy family a dark magical object," he joked lamely.
"What did you have to do with the Malfoys?" his wife asked suspiciously.
Hermione agreed with her inwardly. Did this mean that Malfoy had started to manipulate the Ministry again?
"Actually nothing!" Mr. Weasley said. "But I saw them leaving Kingsleys office."
"What did they do at Kingsleys office?" Hermione joined the conversation.
"Then Lucius would have come alone," Harry murmured.
"I remember an encounter with Malfoy senior and Fudge. A sack full of galleons was of main importance."
Arthur took up his remark and confirmed. "Right, Harry. That wouldn't explain why the whole family was there. Lucius used to arrange matters of money alone, without son and wife. I don´t know what they wanted. That´s King´s problem."
They dropped the topic, but Hermione had a bad feeling about it. She suspected that there was more behind the Malfoy's visit at the Ministry.
She didn't know how right she was.
A.N.: So this is actually my first "baby" :), I hope you all liked it! Please leave a review, if
you have any ideas/ suggestions/critique, tell me! It's highly appreciated!
I did some editing and quotation marks and such should be better now!