Just over a year ago had Hermione lain in bed thinking about how perfect and sorrowful life could be. Life had changed in the lapse of one year. Having just finished her final school year with Ginny, things were settling down. The two of them were sitting in the kitchen of The Burrow, awaiting their marks for their N.E.W.T.s. Every time Hermione saw a sign of movement outside the window she worried and strained her neck to nothing but a stray chicken across the yard.
“You two need to stop worrying about these exams,” Mrs. Weasley continually told them. These weren't very helpful or inspirational words for Hermione. Whenever she heard the word exam she would flip out and start stressing. Ron wasn't very helpful. He would continually say things like “did you make a mistake in Potions?” or “Defence Against the Dark Arts wasn't too hard?” It would make her think back on the exams and the questions she struggled with. Did she answer the question right? Did her practical go perfectly. In the end she would lie down and listen to the WWN or go and talk to Ginny about the answers.
“Hermione is that the results?!” Ginny was standing up out of her seat at the table and as Hermione turned around, two eagle owls swooped in through the kitchen window. The owls both held two letters. Nervously, Hermione and Ginny took the letter's identical to each others. Hermione's read:
The N.E.W.T. results of Miss. Hermione Jean Granger are as follows:
Defence Against the Dark Arts – Outstanding
Potions – Outstanding
Herbology – Outstanding
History of Magic – Outstanding
Transfiguration – Outstanding
Astronomy – Outstanding
Arithmancy – Outstanding
Study of Ancient Runes – Outstanding
Hermione eyes had tears in them as she hugged the marks to her chest. She looked over at Ginny who held her parchment in her hand.
“How did you go Ginny?” Hermione asked tentatively.
“Fair,” Ginny replied, “but it's the other piece of parchment you want.”
“What do you mean?” Hermione asked, reaching for her own.
“If someone is interested in you working for them then they send you a letter with your N.E.W.T. results. That's what I've been worrying about most.”
“Let's open them together,” Hermione said. The girls counted to three and Hermione opened her own letter:
To Miss. Hermione Granger,
We are pleased to inform you that the Ministry of Magic has granted you a position in the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures following your work in the fields of House-Elf Rights and the Hippogriff case of 1993-94 and your incredible results in your N.E.W.T.s.
Please answer this as soon as possible for your position to be maintained. Work begins next Monday.
Kingsley Shacklebolt, Minister for Magic
P.S. Those were amazing results!
Hermione laughed at Kingsley's reply. She had a job. She had a safe and secure job which would make her financially stable. It was more than she could ever ask for. She quickly wrote a reply and sent the owl on its way. She looked over at Ginny. Her eyes were still staring at the piece of parchment in her hands.
“What is it Ginny?” asked Hermione, reaching Ginny's side.
“I – I've got a position in the Holyhead Harpies,” said Ginny, tears in her eyes.
“What?!” said Hermione.
“They want me to play Chaser for the Holyhead Harpies,” Ginny repeated, looking amazed.
“Oh my God! Ginny that's amazing!” said Hermione, pressing Ginny into a warm hug.
“What job did you get ?” asked Ginny, glancing at the letter in Hermione's hand.
“Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures,” smiled Hermione, “Maybe I can make a difference for Elf Rights. S.P.E.W. could reach beyond the boundaries of Hogwarts and I could help win fair trials for any other magical creature.”
Ginny laughed at this. Hermione admitted in her mind that she was rather obsessed with these ideas but they were important to her. She believed that witches, wizards and creatures could live together. She could change the whole way that the wizarding world saw creatures like Hippogriffs and Thestrals and that gave her a warm feeling in her chest.
The door opened behind them and Ron, Harry, Mr. Weasley and Percy entered through the front door. The four of them stared at Hermione and Ginny in anticipation until both of them told them the good news. Ron lifted Hermione off the ground and told her that she was stupid to have worried while Harry hugged Ginny and told her he would train with her as much as she liked.
Mr. Weasley and Percy seemed shocked at the chaos running through the house. Ginny and Hermione both showed them their results and the jobs they had been given.
“Just don't tell your mother about that job,” Mr. Weasley nodded to Ginny as she laughed.
“Tell me about what job Arthur?” Mrs. Weasley had entered the kitchen where everyone was standing. Her expression was stern as she turned to face Ginny.
“The Holyhead Harpies want me to play chaser for them,” Ginny looked nervous as she told her mother this news. Mrs. Weasley wasn't someone to be excited by the news of what she called an “inappropriate” career choice.
“Congratulations dear,” said Mrs. Weasley, giving Ginny a warm hug. Ginny beamed at her mother's approval.
“Not what she said to Fred and me,” said a passing George. He was happier now, he was open to talk about his brother. He was still broken but he was definitely more like the George everyone had been used to before the Battle of Hogwarts.
“Where are you going George?” Mrs. Weasley said suspiciously.
“Now now mother, I am a grown man and can make my own decisions,” said George quickly as he headed for the door.
Mr. Weasley stood in front of it.
“Answer your mother,” he said strictly. He gave George a stare of authority and George caved in.
“Angelina's,” said George dismissively.
“Oh fine then,” said Mrs. Weasley as Mr. Weasley reluctantly moved away from the door.
When George had left the house, Ginny spoke.
“He seems happier since he and Angelina got together,” said Ginny. It had been when George had first gone on a date with Angelina that he had begun to seem happier. They didn't know why exactly but it was just the way things were. And as long as George was happy, they were happy.
“Well let's sit down and have dinner,” Mrs. Weasley said finally.
They all squeezed around the dining table as Mrs. Weasley began to prepare a mixture of mashed potatoes, roast beef and vegetables.
“How as work boys?” asked Mrs. Weasley when she finally sat down at the table with a sigh.
“Well the last Death Eaters have disappeared,” said Ron.
“Not a trace of them anywhere,” Harry finished.
“They'll catch them though,” Mr. Weasley said with an air finality.
Just as the conversation began to submerge itself into a dense silence, there was a knock at the door.
“Who would be calling at this hour,” Mrs. Weasley said as she moved towards the door. As she opened it there stood Bill and Fleur in their travelling cloaks.
“Good evening mum,” Bill said as she kissed him on the cheek, “Hi everyone!” he said cheerfully to the others.
“Care to eat dinner?” Mrs. Weasley asked as she sat back down.
“Oh no eet is fine Molly, honestly,” Fleur answered kindly. Her accent was slowly fading, with a few words still sounding French.
“We just thought we'd come over for a quick chat on our way home from work,” Bill said, himself and Fleur taking two seats at the table, “Where's George?”
“He went out with Angelina,” said Ginny, grinning slightly.
“Well we'd just like to share a tiny bit of news with you if that's all right,” said Bill. Mrs. Weasley swivelled her eyes to Bill, not daring to move them again.
“What is it Bill darling?” Mrs. Weasley asked.
“Me and Fleur are having a baby,” smiled Bill. The room was suddenly filled with shouts of congratulations. Mead was served as they all raised their glasses.
“Have you guys thought of any names?” Hermione asked, taking a sip from her glass.
“Sometheeng French we know,” Fleur answered, beaming.
“I heard something about me being an uncle,” said a voice from the door. George had turned up with Angelina. They had just come back from dinner.
“You'll be one late April, early May next year,” said Bill, standing up as George clapped him on the back.
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