She woke the next morning to Crookshanks pawing at her face. Immediately calling Summer she asked the house elf to make sure her cat was fed before Hermione got up and opened her trunk. She pulled out a pair of light blue jeans and a white lace top. She pulled her hair into a messy bun before leaving the room, for breakfast, her wand in her back pocket.
It turned out that she was quite early because when she entered the common room Dean told her that Harry and Ron were still asleep. Deciding that it was time for them to wake up she snuck as quietly as she could into their room and whipped out her wand. With a flick of her wand she flipped off their bed covers and rolled them both onto the floor. Ron woke with a shout and jumped up, feeling around his pyjama top for the wand that lay on his bedside table. Harry got up and narrowed his eyes at Hermione. He flicked his wand, sending a jelly legs jinx at her. She blocked it easily with a shield charm.
“Oh come on Harry your going to have to do better than that.”
“Yeah?” Ron asked. Without Hermione even realising what he was doing Ron bounded over his bed and rugby tackled her into Deans empty bed tickling her stomach until she felt like she couldn’t breath.
“Ron!” she laughed. He let her go and smiled.
“Its what you get for waking me up that that,” he smiled. Hermione reached up and kissed him. He responded quickly and pulled her up into his arms.
“Oh Merlin’s beard!” Harry cried, “will you two get a room!”
“I think you will find Harry, that we are in a room, you just happen to be in it too,” Hermione laughed not looking away from Ron who bent down and kissed her again. She pulled away.
“Ok boy’s I want you dressed and ready to go down to breakfast in ten minutes.” She turned and went to walk out of the room. Before she could reach the door she shot a shield charm over her shoulder deflecting Harry’s second jelly legs jinx. She faintly heard a ‘how does she do that’ from Harry as she closed the door and couldnt help but smile to herself.
Hermione’s wake up call and demands that they be ready quickly seemed to have worked because they were out with time to spare. Ron laced his arm around her waist and kissed her head.
“Breakfast?” he asked.
“Lets go.” They walked out from the common room and down towards the great hall, where they were instantly bombard with groups of girls asking for autographs. It wasn’t until Hagrid waded through the sea of people that they all got the hint and went away.
“Thank you Hagrid,” Hermione said, relieved that she had been saved by the mob.
“No problem, Now why d’nt you kids get to breakfast before they crowd roun’ again.” The trio escaped the entrance hall quickly and went to sit with Ginny who was reading the daily prophet whilst eating a slice of toast.
“News of you being head girl got out Mione, you’re on the front page again.”
“Joy,” she mumbled sarcastically pulling a rack of toast in front of her and begging to butter a couple of slices.
“You would think they would just get over the fact that you defeated Voldemort,” Ginny said, “I mean this celebrity status is getting annoying even for me and I don’t get half of the attention you guys do!”
“Ginny,” Ron said, “I don’t think defeating Voldemort is something the wizarding world is going to get over for a long time.” Ginny shrugged.
“It’s just annoying that’s all.”
A few loud shrieks echoed from the entrance hall and a gaggle of girls followed in Mr Anderson. Hermione was shocked to see that he was wearing muggle clothes, she had never seen the teachers wearing muggle clothes before. Hermione and Ginny watched as he reached the top table and whispered something into the ear of Professor Harrow who blushed and went back to eating her cereal. The daily prophet that she had been reading completely forgotten.
“Oh I hope I have Defence tomorrow,” she said dreamily. Both girls gazed at the top table. A loud cough from both their boyfriends brought them back to reality.
“You do realise that we are still here don’t you?” Ron asked.
“Of course Ronald.”
“Lets go show Ginny our common room,” Harry said quickly.
They made their way up to the fourth floor and Ginny loved what they showed her. Harry put up a sign on the notice board saying that Quidditch tryouts where next weekend while Hermione took Ginny to her bedroom. The girl loved it and they quickly made plans to sneak Ginny in at night and get Summer to get them some chocolate the night of the Quidditch trials. Hermione opened the fifth lock on her trunk and got Ginny’s stuff, shrinking it down and giving the parcel to Ginny.
“I don’t know why you didn’t do it n the first place.”
“You can’t let trunk space go to waste,” Ginny shrugged picking up her broom and making her way back to the boys. Ron and Harry both had brooms in hand and Hermione had got her notebook. She had nearly finished writing up about the philosopher’s stone and the chamber of secrets. She just needed to add in Harry’s second talk with Dumbledore. They made their way down to the Quidditch pitch and all four were grateful for the warm clear day. Hermione sat in the stands and watched the others race each other from one end of the pitch to the other. It looked as if they weren’t the only ones who had wanted to get back on their brooms. Demelza, a chaser from when Harry was captain in sixth year, was out with a few of her friends, they were tall taking turns riding their brooms. She could see a few Ravenclaws and Hufflepuff but to her surprise no Slytherins.
“If you are wondering,” came a voice to her right, “why there are no Slytherins, it would be because there are very few left. Not a lot of us have returned, even in the lower years, most of them have gone to Durmstrang.” She twisted to see Malfoy. He walked up to her and sat down on the bench next to her. Hermione looked up and saw Ginny staring at her wide-eyed. The girl instantly turned around and challenged Ron and Harry to a race around the castle, to the forbidden forest and back to the pitch. They accepted and zoomed off. Hermione looked at Malfoy. His face was as unreadable as it had been the previous day but his eyes held some sort of longing she couldn’t place. It was sad to look at him. To realise how broken he had become under Voldemorts reign. She saw him glance down to the blue notebook and peacock feather quill. She snapped it shut and stared straight ahead.
“Was there something you wanted Malfoy?” He shrugged.
“I just thought that I would ask you what you wanted to do for Tuesday.”
“Oh, erm, well,” she was caught by surprise. After everything he was being this civil and …nice? “Well I thought I would just go over the basics. Introductions, what we need to organise, ask them to think up suggestions on how to improve the castle. That sort of stuff. Malfoy nodded but still he had not looked at her.
She wasn’t exactly sure what he was doing. He just sat there and stared into the sky. He looked so vulnerable that Hermione couldn’t help but feel sorry for him. Her mind flashed back to the night before when she had seen him walk into the great hall. She was sure he had been crying. It was strange to see her mortal enemy in this state, it was proof to her eyes that people could change. Because Malfoy had changed. She could see it already. He had turned his back on his old life and he was a new person. The only problem was that he obviously lacked the internal confidence to build himself back up. Yes, to the world he was still Draco Malfoy and to the papers he had confidence to spare. But here, right now as they sat in silence not looking at each other Hermione felt everything. She knew the truth about him and she knew, for some strange reason, that he wanted her to know the truth. Why was he doing this to her?
“Draco?” a voice purred as it made its way through the benches over to him. Hermione instantly opened her book and continued writing, trying not to pay any attention to the man sitting beside her, who had not changed his posture at all. “Draco, what are you doing here? With the mudblood?” Hermione chanced a quick glanced at Malfoy and was sure she saw the muscles him his jaw tighten. He closed his eyes stood up and then adopted a completely different character. The trademark sneer re-appeared on his face as he spoke.
“Head Boy stuff Astoria, nothing you need to worry your pretty little head about.”
Hermione looked up. She had known Astoria was pretty from the pictures in the paper but it was nothing to how she looked up close. Her big almond eyes sparkled a lovely green and her long black eyelashes brushed her slightly pink cheeks when she blinked. Her smile was both sweet and seductive. Her face was perfectly symmetrical and her long auburn hair, five times darker than Ginnys shade, had been curled framing her face. It wasn’t a surprise that she was on Malfoy’s arm. In her hand she held two broomsticks.
“Come on Draco, we need to practice for tryouts, I want to make sure I thrash that stupid weaslette when we play her next month.” Hermione smiled to herself. Yes because that was likely. Ginny was the best chaser she had ever seen play and she had already been approached by Quidditch teams all over the country to go and train with them after school. Hermione knew that this season for her was crucial. Scouts would be coming to every game she was in and next year she would pick where she wanted to sign too when she left.
Astoria sneered at Hermione as she mounted her broom in the stand and kicked off. Malfoy followed without a second glance at Hermione. Seconds later Ginny dropped down next to her, her broom hovering beside her.
“What was that?”
“Head Girl stuff,” Hermione shrugged. Part of her wanted to tell Ginny what Malfoy was being like, the way he was acting but she quickly decided against it. “It wasn’t anything big. I mean were going to have to work together all year. Especially if you want that Christmas Ball.” She looked around, “where are Ron and Harry?”
“Oh,” Ginny beamed, “I left them at the astronomy tower, those boys are so slow!”
At breakfast the next morning Hermione tried to look out for Malfoy. Just to see what character he was playing that day. She didn’t manage to spot him and McGonagall handed her her timetable before she could ask Ginny if she had seen him. Hermione opened it and squeaked loudly, as did lavender and Pravati. Ginny looked at her friend, it was unusual for her to squeak like the other two.
“Ginny, I have defence first!” she said. The two boys groaned as they opened their own timetables.
“Great, now I have to sit through a whole double lesson watching you stare at that idiot,” Ron asked.
“Oh Ronald, don’t think I haven’t caught you two gawking after Professor Harrow, who we have for a single lesson after break, then a free. And after lunch, I have Arithmancy! Oh Mondays are good.” Both boys brightened at the news that they had transfiguration later that day and didn’t bug Hermione and Ginny again. McGonagall came back along the table with Ginny’s timetable.
“Oh I have him third, oh and look Hermione, some of our free periods match. Mondays, the last one on Tuesday, the last one on Thursday and the first one on Friday.”
“Same as mine,” Harry said, her glanced at Hermione’s timetable, “I don’t match your other ones, I have divination when you have free and you have Ancient runes when I have free.
“Must mean the same with mine, I have the same as Harry,” Ron said as he munched on his pancakes.
“Yeah and I have my other frees when you lot have charms, at least we have one set of frees where we are all together,” Ginny smiled brightly.
“On Friday every week after lunch I have a period that set as HG, what is that,” Hermione asked.
“That is Head Girl duties Miss Granger. Every N.E.W.T student has an extra free which is down for silent study in the study hall,” McGonagall said as she walked by. “Mr Malfoy has the same lessons and frees as you so his times table matches yours perfectly, meaning that you will be able to meet up in this period to discuss things.”
“Great,” Hermione mumbled as McGonagall left, “just what I need, compulsory time with Malfoy.”
The bell rang throughout the castle and everyone who was still in the great hall left to go to their lessons.
“What you got Gin?” Harry asked.
“Charms,” she said hugging Hermione, “I’ll see you in your common room at break? Tell me all about defence.” They split up as Ginny went to Charms and the others made there way through the halls to defence. Hermione could barely contain her excitement as she bounced into the classroom. Every single seventh year was there. Hermione knew that because there was so few of them they had all been put together in classes. It meant that there would only be six of them in Arithmancy. Hermione sat at a desk in-between Harry and Ron and took out her wand, her book, parchment and a self-inking quill.
Professor Anderson stood at the front, flipping his wand around in his hands. For some reason Hermione had the thought that this would have been exactly like Sirius would have turned out had he not been sent to Azkaban. He was wearing robes of pure black over what looked like jeans and a T-shirt. When the class has settled down he spoke.
“Now I realise what most of you have been through in the past year and I know that some of you have over come obstacles that many wouldn’t ask a full grown adult to tackle. His eyes landed on the four in the front, Harry, Hermione, Ron and to his embarrassment, Neville. I know you know most of the spells you will need to know when fighting the dark arts and I realise you have learnt non-verbal spells. I also understand how many you have used these in battle and successfully pulled them off. However though you have managed this you lack technique. This year is all about applying what you have learnt to situations that you would face in the real world.”
“But sir, we have already done that,” Lavender said, “Harry defeated Voldemort, I don’t think he needs any more practice.”
“Yeah, sir, Harry taught us all how to do that sort of stuff in fifth year, when he started the DA,” Dean said. Professor Anderson smiled slightly and then shrugged.
“If that’s how you feel then the lesson is obviously over, I’ll see you at your exam.”
He began to walk from the room. Everyone was whispering with each other but the hairs prickled up on Hermione’s neck. She instantly twisted and threw a shield charm above her as every other person in the classroom stiffened and fell to the floor. Professor Anderson walked back around the classroom and smiled.
“Well done Miss Granger,” He said, “I am impressed. But as you can see you were the only one who managed to block the spell and now everyone else has been put under the body-binding curse.” He waved his wand and everyone unfroze. Ron got back to his seat rubbing the spot where he had hit his head against the desk. Hermione’s eyes flicked over where Malfoy was sitting up and laughing with Blaise over the fact that he had fallen on him. “I realise that was a harmless spell but it could have been something a lot more serious and then everyone apart from Miss Granger here would be dead. I would like you to turn to page three of your textbooks and read the chapter on surprise attacks. By the end of the lesson I would like some notes on how best to prepare for surprise attacks in the home and five spells that could aid this. For homework this week I would like you to learn one of those spells and a spell that could be used in a duel, in for Friday.” He went around to his desk and sat down, motioning everyone to get on with their work.
“That was amazing!” Hermione cried as they walked out of the classroom, her smile stretched from ear to ear as she walked along with Harry and Ron.
“No not really,” Ron said rubbing the bump on his head, “he could have warned us.”
“Oh Ronald, that was the whole point wasn’t it, he wanted us to feel what it would be like to be under a surprise attack.”
“Yeah well, not all of us have the super senses that you seem to be possessed with.”
“Its not super senses its being aware of your surroundings, if you and Harry want to be aurours then that’s something you have to learn.”
Ron was still grumbling when they met with Ginny in the common room.
“How was it?” she squealed.
“It was amazing! He put a surprise attack on us and I was the only one who blocked it.”
“Yeah, we get it Mione,” Harry laughed, “Your cleverer than us.”
“Well I can’t help it if you’re all unobservant.” Ginny giggled but bit her lip when Ron threw a glare at her. She looked at Ron but he was looking in the opposite direction, waving at lavender Brown. The girl giggled and blushed as she looked away from him. Jealously bubbled in her stomach but she pushed it down, there was no need to get annoyed about it, they were just waving…Lavender suddenly blew Ron a kiss and his ears went red. Hermione instantly picked up her bag and stormed from the room leaving the others behind not knowing what was wrong.