Chapter 5 : Homecoming
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September the first came around quickly after they had got all their things. Hermione found herself wishing for the castle, wishing for the lessons and the homework and sitting in the common room late at night in front of the fire with Crookshanks. She had missed everything about it while they had been away and there had been many nights when she wished more than anything that she was in her big four-poster bed with a good meal inside her.
Now as she packed up her trunk the night before she could feel the butterfly’s floating around in her stomach. She made sure she had everything by unpacking and then re-packing again. It wasn’t until she reached the bottom of the first trunk that she found the book she had hidden for two months. Without looking at it she piled a load of freshly washed cloths on top of it and shut the lid. She unlocked the second lock and re-opened the trunk to find her books. She put her notebooks on top of them and just as she was closing the lid she heard a shriek from downstairs. It was followed by light running up the stairs and Ginny bursting through her door, a broomstick in her hands.
"Mione you will never guess what!" she cried.
"What?" she asked with a smirk. Of course she knew what Ginny was on about. She had been there when Ron had used up the last of his savings and the money he had from George to buy both himself and his sister brand new broomsticks.
"Ron bought me a broom! A real life broom!"
"Yeah?" Hermione said, not able to wipe the smile off her face.
"It’s a nimbus 2003. It’s not as good as Harry’s Firebolt but it’s nearly as good! Hermione I have my own broom!"
"I can see that."
"Mione?" the red head said as she slipped onto the bed, the broom in her lap.
"Yes?" Hermione sighed, knowing exactly what the girl was going to ask.
"Well I don’t have enough room for all my things in my trunk and I was wondering if I could perhaps borrow that last bit of trunk space that you’re not using. You know for some clothes, and my broom and Socks’s things…" she batted her long eyelashes at her best friend.
"Go on then, just remember to come and get them off me."
"Thanks!" the girl jumped up and ran from the room just as Ron was walking in.
He shut the door behind him and walked up to his girlfriend.
"That was a nice thing you did," she said lacing her arms around his waist.
"She’s never had her own broom before," he shrugged, "she deserved it, mum says she was going mental with worry while we were away, her brother, her best friend and the guy she’s in love with all putting themselves in danger. George told me that she used to spend every night staring into the fire and then crying herself to sleep." Ron lifted her face towards his and kissed her gently on the lips.
"Have you packed?" she asked.
"Yeah, mum did it all for me."
"Ronald Weasly," Hermione said with a sly smile on her face, "you asked your mother to pack for you?"
"No," Ron replied, "actually she came in all flustered and started shouting at me that I’d done it all wrong and then she started crying but dad came in a told me to go and find something to do. So I came to find you."
"Is she ok?" Hermione asked worried for, what she hoped would be, her future mother-in-law.
"She’s fine, she’s just thinking about Fred that’s all."
"I wish I could make it better," Hermione whispered, "I hate that we all live like this." Ron just pulled her closer and stroked her hair.
"We know that he died for a good cause, at least that’s what Ginny says."
"The world was to small for two Weasly trouble makers," Hermione laughed, "if they had carried on like they had it would have meant world domination."
"I’m not sure Fred would have said no to that," Ron chuckled.
They stood there in silence thinking about those they had lost on the eve that they went back to the place they had lost them. Hermione knew one of the first things she would do would be to visit Dumbledore and then the memorial. McGonagall had even put up a plaque to Fred in the entrance hall, on the insistence of the students, remembering everything he had done, including terrorising Umbridge.
That night Hermione could barely sleep and instead sneaked up to Ron bedroom, meeting Ginny on the stairs who seemed to have the same idea (but about Harry) the girls tried not to giggle as they snuck past Mr and Mrs Weasly’s room. Ginny went into Harry’s room and Hermione snuck in with Ron. She had to shake him awake but he welcomed her and she fell asleep wrapped in his arms.
She was woken the next morning with a shake of the shoulder. Opening her eyes she saw a smug faced Mrs Weasly staring down at them. Hermione jumped, causing Ron to wake.
"I hope you to had a good sleep, I must say I was a little confused when I found both yours and Ginny’s beds empty this morning…" she turned away with a smile, "breakfast is nearly ready so you best hurry up, you don’t want to miss the train." Hermione couldn’t help but stare in the empty doorway nonplussed. She was sure she was going to get shouted at. Ron sat with his jaw hanging open obviously just ask shocked. Seconds later a loud noise bounded up the stairs and Ginny bounced onto the bed.
"Did she say anything to you?" she asked.
"No," Hermione said, "she just told us breakfast was ready."
"Same! I nearly died of shock, Harry said that-"
"WHAT!" Ron cried sitting up and nearly throwing the two girls off the bed.
"Harry said that he thought that mum would have cursed him into next year…why?"
"What where you doing in Harry’s room?"
"Probably a lot more than you were doing with Hermione!" the girl snapped back. Hermione giggled, she knew all about her friend’s night-time exploits but she knew that Ginny normally woke up in time to sneak back into bed before her mum woke up. Ron stared at his sister and spluttered words from his mouth that neither could understand.
"Oh Ronald grow up," Ginny said.
"Hey guys what’s going on?" Harry said popping his head around the door. The two girls broke into a fit of giggles as Ron’s face turned from pale to a sickly green to bright red, as he grew angrier.
"Actually Harry we should probably go and get ready," Ginny said jumping off the bed and attempting to push Harry out of the door.
"I’ll explain later, ok?" Ginny succeeded in getting her boyfriend out of the room before Ron exploded.
"Mione," he said, he voice strained, "what exactly have they been doing?" Hermione giggled.
"Like I would tell you! She’s your sister Ronald!"
"Yes, that’s exactly why I should know, so I can decided whether to curse Harry’s head off or not."
"I’m not sure that’s the bit you would want to curse off," Hermione laughed as she got up and straightened herself out. She left the room and couldn’t help but burst into another fit of laughter when she saw her best friend and Harry standing outside Ginny’s room a look of horror on the male’s face.
Breakfast was fairly uneventful though Ron was throwing murderous glances towards Harry from across the table. Mrs Weasly got so confused she ended up asking what on earth the matter was. This cued a hysterical fit of giggles from both girls and looks of embarrassment from the boys. After they had all eaten Mrs Weasly shooed them from the doors and into one of the brand new ministry cars that waited outside.
"Arthur got permission to use one, you know, because of Harry." She seemed very pleased about this information as her and Ginny sidled into the front seat, with Socks in her basket on their laps. Harry Hermione and Ron sat in the back seat, Crookshanks on her lap, Pig in his cage on Ron’s lap and Hettie in her cage on Harry’s. Mrs Weasly sat reading the paper out to them.
"You’re on the front page again," she said, a slightly irritated tone to her voice, "about how you three are returning to school. I swear you can’t even sneeze without a reporter there to photograph it!" Hermione looked over her shoulder to glance at the front page. There was a picture of the trio in their first year. Harry had lent the photo to Luna so her dad could use it in the interview that he had done. It was obviously where they had got it. Ron spent the entire car ride and walk through Kings Cross holding tightly onto her hand. Hermione couldn’t help but let a smirk sidle onto her face as she held it back. She knew he was trying to stop himself whipping out his wand out and cursing Harry into oblivion.
It was harder to keep control of him on platform 91/3 because of the sudden, but not unexpected, rush of reporters. They managed to push themselves through into a safe area of the platform that had been cordoned off for their safety. Hermione couldn’t help but notice the many faces that where pressed against the window staring at them or those on the platform itself whispering as they went by. Mrs Weasly said a quick goodbye to them and made her children promise to write to her before they took their trunks and animals onto the train.
Hermione had performed a spell on all their trunks making them feather light and so it was ten times easier than normal to take them onto the train. They scoured the carriages looking for an empty compartment. As they went along they were invited by many students to join them, some Hermione knew and some she had never seen before in her life. It wasn’t until they reached half way down the third carriage that they found where they would be sitting. It wasn’t empty but instead it was occupied by Luna Lovegood and Neville Longbottom.
"Harry," the girl said, "how lovely to see you again."
"Hello Luna. Neville." Harry sat down next to the boy after shoving his trunk onto a rack. Hermione took a seat in-between Luna and Ron and opposite to Harry. Luna was, as always buried in the Quibbler and Hermione noticed that she had a stack more in her bag, probably to try and sell along the train. Though Hermione had always had an aversion to the Quibbler, since it had become the ‘go to’ magazine for real Harry potter news (i.e. news that’s wasn’t just about how he had gone to eat at a posh restaurant or had brought his girlfriend a new cat), she had softened towards it. She looked across at Luna.
"Luna, can I buy a copy please?" Luna positively beamed as she took a copy from her bag and handed it over. Hermione went to pay her but Luna pushed the money away.
"Oh no, daddy says that you get free copies because of the story that Harry gave to the paper. He’s never sold so many copies in his life, even after that interview he did for us in fifth year!"
"Are you sure?"
"Positively." She handed Hermione the magazine and then took out copies and gave them to everyone else in the compartment. Neville blushed slightly as she gave him his. He turned to Harry.
"Thank you for what you said about me in your interview. My grandma brought me a new pot plant and told me she was proud of me after she had finished reading it." Harry smiled back at him.
"I couldn’t have left you out, you destroyed the last Horcrux for me, I could never have not mentioned it. You were the only reason I was able to destroy him Neville, without you he would still be alive."
Neville seemed very happy with Harry’s response and buried his nose in the Quibbler. Hermione snuggled into Ron and opened her own copy at an article about how to spot a fairy ring. She couldn’t help letting out a little laugh. Luna’s father must have put this out after he had found that one in his back garden. The trolley lady came around midday and Hermione bought a large stack of chocolate cauldrons and liquorice wands. Ron had bought some chocolate frogs and Harry some Bertie Botts every flavour beans. She watched as him and Ginny fed them to each other and tried to guess what flavour it was.
"You two are gross," Ron had said.
Everything was fine until around an hour before they arrived at Hogwarts someone interrupted their laughing about how Ron had once got his head stuck in a toy cauldron. Ginny was telling the story with such conviction that Luna and Neville were double up in hysterical laughter. The door slid open quickly to show a blonde haired wizard and a younger auburn haired witch.
"Can we…" He trailed off when he saw who was in the compartment. Hermione’s brown eyes caught his steal grey ones instantly and she was sure time stopped. She wasn’t sure why but everything seemed to disappear as she looked at him. He looked at her, at first his features began to soften but as soon as Hermione saw a glimmer of emotion in his eyes it disappeared and the wall was thrown up. He nodded his head at Harry and then left the room as soon as he came.
Hermione snapped herself out of her daze and met with the glaring brown eyes of Ginny.
"Well that was odd," Luna said.
"What do you think the ferret wanted?" Ron asked.
"Don’t know," Harry shrugged, "but it looks like he might be a little nicer this year, you know after we saved his life and all. It’s strange for him to come in and not say anything."
"Hermione!" Ginny cried suddenly, great, she had noticed.
"Yes?" Hermione squeaked.
"Will you come to the toilet with me?"
"S-sure," she faltered.
As soon as they were out in the corridor and a reasonable distance from their compartment Ginny rounded on her.
"What was that?" she asked. Hermione went with playing dumb.
"I don’t know what you mean," she shrugged.
"You know exactly what I mean. That little moment you and Malfoy had! He stared right at you, I swear I have never seen him look at anyone like that!"
"Really I didn’t notice."
"Ginny, I was nothing ok, I don’t understand that boy. He’s screwing with my head that’s all. Look I’m trying to ignore and forget about him. This is his way of messing us up without doing it explicitly. He can’t call us names and he can’t attack us so he’ll just try and mess with our heads." Ginny didn’t look convinced. "Gin please, its Malfoy for Merlin’s sake!"
"Ok, what ever you say Mione, come on we best get back to them."
Ginny laid off for the rest of the journey but she saw her throwing her suspicious looks while she was talking to Ron. They changed into their robes soon after the Malfoy incident and Hermione instantly felt at home and comfortable. She switched places with Neville to look out the window as the castle approached. As she saw the high turrets appearing over the treetops she couldn’t help but feel a huge sense of happiness settle in her stomach.
This was where she was meant to be. This was where she was loved and she loved it. Just thinking about long nights spent in the library writing essays that where three inches more than asked for or sitting in the Quidditch stands watching Griffindor race to victory. It was all too perfect. After the year she had just had, after everything they had lost everything was finally becoming good again. She had the most amazing boyfriend, good friends, two sets of family that loved her and the wizarding world laying themselves at her feet. It was her destiny, it was fate that brought her back to this place. She had one more year left and she was going to treasure every moment of it. There had been a time when she thought that she would never see these walls again. She didn’t notice that she was crying until Ron sat next to her and pulled her face around to his. He kissed her gently and then wiped the tear away with his thumb.
"It’s good to be home isn’t it?" he asked her quietly. She nodded and let her head fall onto his shoulder. It was good to be home.
The train pulled to a slow stopped and the six friends got off and made there way up the platform, leaving their trunks and animals in a pile by the wall. They waved a hello to Hagrid who, as usual, would be escorting the first years across the lake and climbed into one of the carriages that stood waiting for them. Hermione was used to seeing the thestrals now but there were a few around her, who had seen death in both the battle of Hogwarts and during the war that started in surprise at the things pulling the carriages.
They pulled up to the castle and getting out, they ran up the steps and into the entrance hall. It was just as she remembered it. The castle had obviously been restored after the battle and it was in the centre of the hall that stood the memorial. The six walked up to it.
"This year is for you lot," she whispered placing her hand on the white marble and thinking of the lives that had been lost. Of Fred, Lupin, Tonks and poor little Colin Creevy. Hermione could still remember him following Harry around with a camera when he had been in first year. She pulled herself away from it and spied professor McGonagall out of the corner of her eyes.
"Guys," she said, "I have to meet McGonagall before the feast. Save me a seat?" She kissed Ron quickly on the cheek but before she could get away she had turned into a gaggle of what looked like fourth year Ravenclaws. They held out pieces of parchment and quills. She figured they were for Harry so it surprised them when they half screamed her name.
"You’re Hermione Granger!" one of them cried.
"I-yes," she said slightly confused.
"Can we have your autograph?" another shouted.
"Oh mum is never going to believe this when I write and tell her!" a third said as Hermione stood nonplussed in front of them. She glanced at Harry who just beamed back. She took one of the pieces of parchment and signed her name. The girl almost feinted in delight.
"You are our hero," she said, "we wish you were in Ravenclaw, everyone says that you should have been. They all say you’re the cleverest witch in the school!"
It took a while for the girls to move away and she was still shell-shocked when she turned back to the others.
"What was that?" she asked.
"That is your new found fame," Harry smiled, "welcome to my world."
"I’m not sure I’m liking that interview much anymore," she said as a small grin played at the side of her mouth. "Anyway I really have to go." She turned on her heel and walked straight up to McGonagall.
"Ah Miss Granger, I’m glad you could join us. This is the new Head Boy for the year. Draco Malfoy."
Its been a while since i updated, sorry about that. Its because atm i'm switching between two stories (this one and a lily/james fic) so that one has just been updated. I also want to apologise for making Draco head boy, i know its cleche but its importent for his character developement lol, McGonagall will tell you why he was chosen in the next chapter. I promise there will be more Hermione/Draco to come soon, but you might have to wait a few chapters for her and Ron to finish (but i love thier break up scene so its worth the wait!) Here is a preveiw of the next chapter =) Read and Reveiw xxx
Everyone started to talk about their summer and about how glad they were to be back but Hermione’s eyes were drawn to the double doors. Malfoy was walking through them towards the Slytherin table, his hand clutching an open letter and his eyes looking rather red. Had Draco Malfoy been crying?
"Hermione!" Ginny cried snapping her back to the table.
"Yeah?" she asked taking a quick glance to where Malfoy sat with Blaise and Astoria before looking back.
"Hermione I’ve been calling for the past five minutes, what where you looking at."
"Oh nothing," she said, "You wanted something?"
Hope you like! xxx
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