Chapter 1 : A Beginning and Therefore Change
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Notice! I do not own any rights to this story or the characters, all the rights belong to our wonderful J.K. Rowling!
Draco and Hermione: A Beginning and Therefore Change
Around 3 Months Later After the War…
Hermione opened her eyes. She still hadn’t gotten used to the feeling of her warm, soft bed and getting a good night’s sleep… well mostly good. She had nightmares sometimes of what she’d seen and heard during the war. Not the mention what had been done to her by Bellatrix. Her summer wasn’t going as well as she’d hoped either, Ron had decided that he didn’t want to be more than friends and Harry was being quiet. Her parents were also adjusting to being in their real home again and Hermione had needed to walk them through the whole process of what had happened. She had returned their memories and they had been shaken, but were now getting used to it. They did not like it, but after a long conversation about why she had done it, they started to see her reason. It was now about a week before she would be returning to where it had all ended, Hogwarts. She had received a letter from Headmistress McGonagall during the middle of the summer inviting her to return and finish out her last year with all the other students who had been on the run or punished. She had decided that she wanted to attend and had spent the last week packing and re-packing her trunk. She found it hard not to take all the things she’d needed for the past year, all the things that had helped protect her and helped her. But she had finally managed to get it just right.
As she woke up, she felt overwhelmed by emotions. Fear, excitement, anxiety but she couldn’t quite pinpoint it. She lay in bed wondering: who had decided to go back? What did the castle look like now? How would she feel when she walked into the Great Hall?
She was broken out of her far off thinking by her mother calling her. She bolted out of bed, brushed her teeth, combed her hair- which was no longer as puffy and ridiculous as it used to be, it fell down her back in soft, silky waves. She ran downstairs to see what was up, as her mother looked at her in surprise Hermione realized her mother had probably only been calling her for breakfast.
“Everything ok Honey?
“Yeah mum, I’m fine.” Hermione rolled her eyes at herself. How long would it take her to relax and not think bad things were happening when someone called her name? She ate breakfast with her parents and as they got ready for work, Hermione realized how much she was going to miss them. Her mother saw her face when she was saying goodbye,
“Oh honey,” She said, kissing Hermione’s forehead. “You know you can write us and we’ll send a letter and whatever else you need as soon as we can. We love you.”
Hermione felt tears in her eyes.
“I love you too mum. I’ll write you and see you at Christmas.”
She waved to her parents from the door, she was glad that they were happy and that they still loved her. Her heart gave a little throb, but she ignored it. Glancing at the clock she realized she had to get going.
Hermione apparated to Kings Cross and crossed through the barrier. She couldn’t help but smile at the sight in front of her. The Hogwart’s express, children and their parents saying goodbye, first years looking excited and terrified at the same time. She laughed to herself when she realized she felt the same way. She sighed and moved forward, dragging her trunk. She noticed some people stared at her a little and whispered. She had forgotten that this would happen because of course, she knew Harry Potter, the Chosen One, The Boy Who Lived and now… The Boy Who Defeated You-Know-Who. Oh well, I guess I better get used to it. She thought to herself. A little ways ahead of her she saw two things. One was her best friend, who had apparently decided to go back to Hogwarts, and the other was Draco Malfoy. What the bloody hell was he doing here? She saw him walk up to Harry and exchange a few words then walk away. Harry looked a little surprised and taken aback, but not angry or hurt. Well that’s good at least, Malfoy must still feel indebted to Harry. She walked over and when Harry caught sight of her his face lit up.
She smiled. He took two steps forward and embraced her in a warm hug. She had missed this. As he released her she saw other people she knew. Ginny saw her and gave her a smile and a wave from the other side of her mum and Ron. Ron just kind of looked at her awkwardly and then pulled her into a hug. Maybe being friends wouldn’t be so bad? They hurriedly said goodbyes to Mr. and Mrs. Weasely and got on the train. They looked for a compartment and saw that the only one not full was one with Draco Malfoy. Ron didn’t like the idea of sitting with him, but Harry said that he had changed, not to mention there was nowhere else to sit at the moment. As they entered, Malfoy looked up. He took in the three of them as they walked in, but his gaze stopped on Hermione for a few seconds longer.
“Mind if we join you?” Harry asked.
“Not at all, although Weasely doesn’t look too thrilled.” He said with a small sneer, but something like shame almost flitted across his face.
“No throwing curses at each other and we’ll all be fine.” Harry said, aiming his comment to Ron. Ron took a seat as far from Malfoy as possible and Harry sat next to him, which left Hermione to sit either on a very cramped seat or next to Malfoy. For some reason she opted to sit on Malfoy’s side.
For awhile, they all sat in silence barely even looking at each other. Then Malfoy spoke, but it wasn’t in his usual sneer or sarcasm, it was a casual tone.
“How were your summers?” He asked them all, then added. “If you don’t mind me asking.”
“Mine was pretty quiet actually.” Harry replied. I could tell he was trying to be the better man and give Malfoy a chance. I, on the other hand, found myself staring at Malfoy. When I realized this I glanced away and then decided to answer.
“Mine was fine. Spent it with my parents.” She had no idea why she added the second part. She doubted he cared, but then he surprised her and everyone else in the compartment.
“How are they? Your parents, I mean.”
“Um,” She said stunned. “They adjusting again.”
There it was again, a pained expression crossed his face for an instant. Did he feel sorry about it? He was a Malfoy, how could he? But as she thought back she realized that he had not joined his parents when Voldemort had given the chance. Maybe he had changed. Just then the trolley lady appeared and asked all of us if we wanted something. Harry bought a Pumpkin Pasty and sat down, Malfoy bought a couple chocolate frogs, and then she watched Ron buy everything he could fit in his arms. She sighed. Ron hadn’t changed. As we all sat and ate, I kept glancing at Malfoy. He was so different and now that he wasn’t stressed, She noticed that he was actually quite handsome. She stopped herself. What was she thinking? Malfoy handsome? No… but as she looked at him a few minutes later she saw how his hair was thicker, longer and messier and how it fell in his eyes a little. He also looked like he’d been working out, she could see his arm muscles through his shirt and when he moved a certain way, she could see his abs. She had to catch herself again. What the bloody hell was she doing looking at Malfoy and finding him attractive.
After they were done with their snacks, apart from Ron who was still munching away, conversation somehow started up. They talked about random things, all of them avoiding anything to do with the war and pretty much all of the past two years. Then as they changed and were nearing Hogwarts, Malfoy addressed them,
“I want to apologize to all of you. I look back at the way I behaved and am ashamed. I can’t undo what I did and have said, but I hope you accept my apology and that maybe… maybe we can be less of an enemy to each other.”
As he finished speaking, the train lurched and then stopped. Malfoy grabbed his trunk and made to leave, pausing slightly to look at Hermione. She thought he was finally going to make a retort or sneer, but he just looked at her, realized what he was doing and then left. Hermione saw a faint pink flare up on his cheeks as he looked away. Ron breathed out a sigh and said,
“I don’t know what he’s playing at, but I still think hes a ruddy git and if he gives me one good reason I smash his face in.”
Hermione barely listened to him, she was thinking about everything Malfoy had said. She didn’t know why, but she found herself wanting to give him a second chance. She started to walk toward the carriages then stopped. She heard herself take a sharp intake of air. She could see them. The Thestrals.
“You can see them now can’t you?” Said a voice.
She jumped and looked around. Malfoy was standing right behind her. For some reason she didn’t feel uncomfortable. She did, however, take a step back as she turned to look at him. As he looked at the creatures his eyes seemed to deepen as though he was in a far off place. She stared at him, he really was very handsome.
Her name being shouted pulled both her and Malfoy out of their thoughts.
“Well, I’ll see you around Granger.” And then he walked off.
As she got into a carriage with Harry, Ron, Seamus and Luna, she looked behind her and saw Malfoy watching her.
“Why is Malfoy watching you Hermione?” Luna asked.
Of course she had noticed. Luna always seemed to notice these things and then make a comment, but she also had a good heart so Hermione wasn’t bothered by it.
“I’m not really sure,” She said honestly. “but he is different.”
10 minutes later Luna exclaimed,
Everyone turned to look, it was the castle. Almost everything was rebuilt and it looked beautiful. Hermione felt tears in her eyes and quickly looked away so no one would see. She glance at Harry and noticed he had tears in his eyes too. She squeezed his hand and he smile. The carriages began rolling to a stop and students tumbled over one another to get out but not get too close to the thestrals. She was surprised to see everyone so at ease, so excited but it was a good thing. As she walked through the entrance and in to the Great Hall, she was bombarded with emotions and memories. Harry and Ron seemed not to have noticed that she had stopped. Images of bodies lying on the floor floated before her eyes… Fred, Tonks, Lupin and many others. She felt the pain she had felt when it had been announced that Harry was dead. She felt her legs give out beneath her and prepared for the ground, but it didn’t come. Someone had caught her and pulled her out of the crowd.
“Granger… Granger! Are you alright?”
The voice was familiar, but it was the wrong voice. She opened her eyes and noticed that it was Malfoy kneeling over her. He could see her surprised look.
“Sorry, I saw you start to fall…” He looked away from her, coloring rising in his cheeks.
She was quickly composing herself.
“Um, thanks.” She mumbled as she made her way to her feet. Then she looked at him and she saw concern in his face. Then he left.
She just stared after him for a second, stunned at him rescuing her, him being concerned. She then continued walking to the Gryffindor table to sit with Harry and Ron.
He had seen her stop and watched as Potter and Weasely just kept walking. They must not have noticed her pause. She was standing still, students moving around her eager to get to the hall and start the Sorting. Then he saw her start to fall and something inside him made him run over and catch her. She was quite light he noticed and as he looked at her face he saw the pain etched in it. He pulled her from the crowd,
“Granger… Granger! Are you alright?” he half shouted. Why was he so concerned? But for some wild reason he had thought about her a lot over the summer. He had felt no anger or disgust at what she was. What he had felt were feelings he had never really felt before. Shame, sadness and the urge to apologize to her. He looked down at her and saw her opening her eyes, she looked totally taken aback.
“Sorry, I saw you start to fall…” Wow, he thought, way to explain the obvious. He saw her try and compose her face.
She sounded like she just threw it out there not knowing what to say. He just looked at her, thinking how he wished she knew how sorry he was and how he wanted to take back everything he’d ever done to her. Then he left her. He wandered his way over to the Slytherin table. He looked at everyone seated and felt out of place. So, he sat down away from everyone and looked around. He spotted Hermione sitting next to Harry and watched as she looked pained again. Was she having flashbacks? He remembered what the Great Hall had looked like. It had been horrible. He shook his head and turned to the front. Professor McGonagall, now headmistress, was standing up and ready to start the sorting. He tuned it out and looked down feeling ashamed.
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