Chapter 1 : Invited Back...Alone?
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See the amazing stuff Coco786@tda makes? I think I am in love :)
AUTHOR’S NOTE: - Well, here is my first fan fic that does not follow cannon, and I am soooo uncomfortable about it. I want to keep writing one-shots, they are easier and well liked. This is what kept popping back in my mind! Hope you like this! It doesn’t follow the epilogue in ‘Deathly Hallows’, but keeps in mind all the incidents before it.
CHAPTER 1- INVITED BACK…ALONE?
Hermione Granger yawned hugely as she walked into the Burrow’s kitchen. She had reached here three days ago, when she had rehabilitated her parents with their proper memories back. The difficulty had been to convince them she wasn’t a crazy stalker when they didn’t remember her.
It had been a crazy time since Voldemort had been…vanquished. That was the word the papers were using. Hermione grimaced as she sat on the breakfast table beside Harry, remembering Fred’s funeral. Gossip hungry reporters had gathered around Harry, calling him the Destroyer of Dark, and asking him questions about the killing of Lord Voldemort.
George had bodily thrown them out of the cemetery.
Harry stuck to the theory that Voldemort’s wand had killed him, repressing the story of the Elder Wand. Heaven knew they didn’t need that added to the gossip already circulating in the press.
It was Ron who was acting strangely.
Ron courted the press, strutting in the streets waiting for them to find him. He usually cut across Harry when he answered any questions about the Battle of Hogwarts. It was strange to see, that transformation from her boyfriend to someone who hardly cared about her. His latest problem had been his old-fashioned hair-cut, which he had solved by borrowing some money from Harry and getting a hair-cut in Diagon Alley.
She didn’t know this proud, conceited man. Her Ron was lost.
She was lost.
“Hermione,” Harry breathed in her ear. “You’re muttering to yourself.”
“Thinking about Ron,” she replied. “Where is he?”
Ginny replied from her other side. “He went out early to talk to Shacklebolt in the Ministry.”
“Why? What happened?”
“Nothing, actually. He just wants the press to know he’s important. I hate the pompous little—Teddy, NO!”
The last word was shrieked into Hermione’s ear, and she turned, rubbing her poor ear-drum, to see Teddy sitting in his high-chair with butter melting on his head, while he happily cooed, clutching his bottle.
Fleur laughed as she took the upended butter from Teddy’s head. “Lookz like little Teddy wantz but-ter on hiz milk,” she smiled and turned to George, perhaps anticipating a laugh.
None came. Harry believed that it was George, not Fred, who had died. He was taking Anti-Depressant Drafts till recently, and they had often caught him muttering things to Fred, telling him all that had happened that day, or simply telling him to ‘have fun up there’. It had been disturbing, George hadn’t said good-bye.
Last week, when Hermione had been looking for her parents in Australia, George had gone to the cemetery and sat for hours. Bill had kept a close watch on him, his heart breaking in a thousand pieces, lest George became a danger to himself.
But George had just cried, cried his heart out at last, allowing closure to his numbed heart, allowing pain to flow through his very veins. Pain, he said, made him real, made him alive, because pain was the curse of life. He had come home with the setting sun, and had announced that he was going to have interviews for shop-assistants for the WWW.
That was when everyone had breathed a sigh of relief.
But right now, everyone held their breaths, thinking of ways to break the awkward silence. George was staring moodily into his soup, he hadn’t even heard Fleur.
The awkward silence was broken by a flurry of owl feathers, and four barn owls approached the window, official-looking thick envelopes tied to their feet. One landed before Harry, another before Hermione, and yet another in front of Ginny. The fourth hovered over the breakfast table, and then stopped before Mr. Weasley.
They were from Hogwarts.
All three of them opened the letters with trembling fingers. Harry disregarded the booklist for now, and read the letter accompanying it.
HOGWARTS SCHOOL of WITCHCRAFT and WIZARDRY
Headmistress: MINERVA MCGONAGALL
(Order of Merlin, Second Class)
Dear Mr. Potter,
We are pleased to inform you that you are invited back to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Please find enclosed a list of all necessary books and equipment.
Term begins on September 1. We await your owl by no later than July 31.
P.S.: - Harry, the headmistress told me to inform you that you are not being made the Head Boy as she does not want to burden you. It can still be arranged if you so want. Please reply as early as possible.
“I’m Head Girl!” Hermione squeaked. “Hogwarts is reopening, and we can all complete our…” she trailed off at the lack of reaction.
“But I can’t go!” Harry and Ginny said at the same time. Harry continued, “What about Teddy?”
The baby in question looked up from his contemplation of Fleur’s hair, then smiled at Harry’s agitation.
“Don’t be silly Harry,” said Mrs. Weasley kindly. “We will take care of him for you. You go on and complete your education.”
“I have apprenticeship in the Auror office from Monday! That’s all the education I need! I don’t need to go back, and I don’t want to. I finished the celebrity part of my life…I won’t be stared at like an animal in a zoo again.” Harry’s tone held a note of finality. “I won’t.”
“Besides,” Ginny took over, “what of the house we just bought? I’m not going back.”
“Listen here, Ginerva Weasley, you will—”
“I can’t, Mum. I can’t go back and walk the corridors where—” she stopped abruptly, glanced at George, who was looking at Hermione’s Head Girl badge gloomily, and shut up.
Mrs. Weasley cleared her throat and bravely swallowed her tears before stating that they would all discuss the matter later.
“What matter?” Ron had chosen the moment to appear, his newly styled bright red locks bouncing around his face.
“Hogwarts is reopening,” Hermione told him. “Harry and Ginny don’t wanna go, so it’s just gonna be—”
“They’re right, of course,” said Ron as he snagged a piece of bacon from Percy’s plate. “Why do we need to go back? I mean, we defeated Voldemort! What more will Hogwarts teach us that we don’t know already?”
“You’re not going too?” Hermione’s face was aghast. Who was this man? She didn’t know him at all. He looked more like…
“Gilderoy Lockhart’s son,” George answered her muttered thought as he passed her the toast. “Pompous little ass. I liked Percy better, at least he was original.”
Hermione gave a weak chuckle.
Would she have to go back alone? She had to go back to Hogwarts, she simply had to learn. It was in her genes. Hermione Granger never left learning. How could she give up an offer to back to the school that had made her who she was.
It was time to finish what she had started seven years ago at Hogwarts.
She had to go…all alone.
AUTHOR’S NOTE: - Well, what do you think? Should I continue? I have already written another chapter, so please tell me if you don’t like this. I will try to stop. Erm… and this one’s a Dramoine (pairing of Draco & Hermione).